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Paul Hagan's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
Casual Dragon Deck
Hey all, and welcome back
to the deck garage. Here’s this week’s e-mail…
Thanks for offering your time to the community. We all enjoy
advices from pros [Paul’s Note: I’m far from pro, but thanks
for the praise :-) . I'm sorry if my english isn't five
star, as it is my second language.
First, my deck is made to play casual T1 1on1/chaos or team
with 3 other friends mostly and some other random games. I'd
like the deck to be fair and fun for everyone while
competitive at the same time. It has to have the opponents
feel like they can win a game even if they don't start out
really great. (ie. isochron scepter + counterspell is not
My budget is limited to about the price of the deck (around
290$US I think). So a couple of fancy cards are ok but no >
I think it is pretty obvious, this is a dragon deck. First,
the mana diversity is ok, I don't think I'd need more
manafixing, maybe a bit more acceleration but it depends on
my first hand.
Second, the combos. The main combo of this deck is to drop
buried alive. Now I have 2 choices, bury 3 thralls if I
don't have a zombify and a chance to drop a dragon soon (fledgings
are good for this), or get bladewing the risen, another
situationaly good dragon (vampiric against weenies,
kilnmouth against fattier creatures or even kokusho/ryusei)
and a thrall. If I chosed the first, I can get 4 creatures
as soon as I get a dragon out. For the second, 3 much better
creatures and much more versatily.
The terminates coupled with the kilnmouth and vampiric
dragon handles the creature control. (I use ryusei against
squirrel/token decks or the alikes)
It can also reanimate pretty well after a wrath of god
granted I have a zombify. Otherwise I can still bring back
the thralls to the board really easily.
I tried to add some draw engine with skullclamps. If I have
1 in hand at start I might get kokusho with bladewing the
risen instead, and two thralls, this way I have 2 creatures
I can play with that the opponent doesn't want to kill
Gratuitious Violence is mainly a finisher. It can also be
used as a combo with the Vampiric dragon to handle tribal
Now on the bad sides, it can't handle enchantment/artifact
hate well. With a bad hand I can lose the game to fast
decks. It can't really do much against control decks (counterspells...)
but I don't intend to take it into tournaments so it might
not matter as much (remember, fun is a factor).
The cards I'm not sure about keeping are Dark ritual,
Demonic tutor, Gratuitious Violence and Skullclamps. But I'd
also switch a few other ones for better options if need be.
If you are still reading this, then, you really love your
job! If you can send me some feedbacks via email it would be
4x Bloodstained Mire
1x Maze of Ith
4x Reflecting Pool
2x Bladewing the Risen
4x Bladewing's Thrall
2x Vampiric Dragon
2x Kilnmouth Dragon
4x Dragonspeaker Shaman
2x , the  Star // see sideboard
2x Fledging Dragon
4x Buried Alive
1x Demonic Tutor
4x Dark Ritual
2x Gratuitious Violence
Sideboard : (incomplete)
2x Ryusei, the Falling Star
2x Kokusho, the Evening Star
Thanks so much in advance.
OK, jumping right into the mix of things, I immediately want
to include my all-time favorite dragon, Lightning Dragon. It
will help out the speed of the deck, and it is a good card
in its own right. Just don’t forget to pay Echo!
+4 Lightning Dragon
Going along with the cheapness of Lightning Dragon, we could
probably up the count of Fledgling Dragon to four as well.
It will help smooth out the curve, and this deck seems
capable of reaching Threshold quickly.
+2 Fledgling Dragon
All is not well in Dragon-Land, though. I’m not a huge fan
of Vampiric Dragon or Kilnmouth Dragon, as they both cost a
bit too much to be consistent winners. I realize that this
deck is utilizing such cards as Dark Ritual and
Dragonspeaker Shaman, but by the time they hit the table,
Carl should be well on his way to winning the game anyways.
-2 Kilnmouth Dragon
-2 Vampiric Dragon
To fill in the [Blank] the [Blank] Star slot, I really
prefer Kokusho the Evening Star over Ryusei. Not only is he
an issue that must be dealt with immediately, but you can
easily end the game by only swinging once or twice and then
finding a way to send him to the graveyard. In fact, I like
him enough to up the total count to three.
+3 Kokusho the Evening Star
Moving towards the non-creature spells, I think we can
immediately eliminate a few of the cards currently taking up
space, namely Gratuitous Violence and Skullclamp. Gratuitous
Violence is just a bit over-the-top, especially considering
that most of the cards in this deck do a ton of damage
already. No need to go overboard!
-2 Gratuitous Violence
Meanwhile, Skullclamp is great in decks with small creatures
that are easily killed and that need to see a lot of cards
in hand. This deck, however, should be set as soon as it
gets one or two creatures of size on the table. No need to
go killing your hard-earned dudes!
As a manner of preference, I think Carl could get rolling on
his reanimation strategy by including Exhume in the deck
over Zombify. So what if your opponent gets a creature too?
Yours are likely bigger and better anyways!
Finally, just as a minor change, I’d like to use up our
final slot (of the sixty) to include a single copy of
Vampiric Tutor. I don’t really have a great explanation for
that addition, except that Vampiric Tutor is an amazing card
and if you can play it, you should.
+1 Vampiric Tutor
Carl said that his mana base is working out well for him in
the e-mail, so why don’t we leave it as is? Remember – even
if it looks like it might need fixin’, don’t touch it if
it’s working for you as is.
Turning our attention to the sideboard, I immediately want
to get rid of Ryusei the Falling Star and Kokusho the
Evening Star. If I can’t immediately identify the match-up
in which these cards would go in, they really don’t need to
be hanging out.
-2 Kokusho the Evening Star [SB]
-2 Ryusei the Falling Star [SB]
Next, I’d like to up the count of Cremate to three. If Carl
is seeing enough reanimation in his area to include this
card in the sideboard, he might as well include a third copy
to help the odds of drawing it up.
+1 Cremate [SB]
Carl mentioned that he has difficulty against some of the
faster decks, which I would assume have smaller creatures
than he does. What could we throw in to solve this problem?
Pyroclasm, of course! If the faster decks have a
creature-theme to them, such as Goblins or Elves, then you
could also swap Pyroclasm out for Engineered Plague.
+3 Pyroclasm [SB]
Carl also said that he has difficulty against decks packing
a lot of counter-magic. If that is an issue, it usually
comes with Islands. What does red have that can take care of
Islands? Boil! They can’t counter if they don’t have mana,
right? They could counter Boil, but if you play it at the
end of the other player’s turn, then they won’t have access
to the mana to counter the important stuff.
+3 Boil [SB]
Another helpful card against the blue decks with
counter-magic would be Urza’s Rage. I’m not sure what these
decks are using to win, but I’d be willing to bet it is at
least somewhat slow – blue tends to be like that. In that
case, as long as Carl is getting the opportunity to draw
more and more land, he might as well play an uncounterable
card that deals either 3 or 10 damage.
+3 Urza’s Rage [SB]
Finally, I want to include Perish. I don’t really have a
great reason to include this other than “Read The Card”, and
I would assume that someone in Carl’s area is playing green.
Teach them the way of the dragon – by wiping out a forest
full of green creatures!
+3 Perish [SB]
With that last change, I think we’re all wrapped up. Here’s
how the deck turned out…
4 Bladewing’s Thrall
2 Bladewing the Risen
4 Dragonspeaker Shaman
4 Fledgling Dragon
3 Kokusho the Evening Star
4 Lightning Dragon
NON-CREATURE SPELLS (18):
4 Buried Alive
4 Dark Ritual
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Maze of Ith
4 Reflecting Pool
3 Urza’s Rage
Hope that helps, Carl, and good luck!
I’ll see y’all next week.