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Paul Hagan's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
Casual Red Burn

Hey all, and welcome back to the deck garage. I think I mentioned last week that I was making an attempt to work on decks from formats other than Type II, and I received a very interesting deck this week that fits that theme. Here’s the e-mail…

Hi Paul,

I love the deck garage. Thank you for providing this service.

My local comic store is having a tournament next month. It's Vintage, but with a twist. You have to have 20 creatures that share a type in the deck. I've wanted to build a rat deck for a while, so I'm using this as my motivation. I decided to splash green for Pernicious Deed and a few other cards. There are a few cards I wonder if I should find room for, namely Spiritmonger, Gaea's Cradle, Yavimaya Hollow, and Rancor.

I do have some budget constraints. I can't afford any P9 cards. I'm trying to find some Bayous at a reasonable price. Let's assume that I don't get them in time. If I do, I can just sub out some basic lands. I put Gaea's Blessing in the board, because the last tournament I went to at the this store I saw several Millstone-type decks at work. Here's the deck:

Creatures (22):
8 Relentless Rats
4 Ravenous Rats
4 Chittering Rats
4 Crypt Rats
2 Eternal Witness

Other Spells (16)
4 Dark Ritual
4 Duress
3 Pernicious Deed
1 Tsabo's Decree
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Sol Ring
1 Lotus Petal

Land (22)
4 Llanowar Wastes
2 Maze of Ith
1 Strip Mine
11 Swamps
4 Forests

Sideboard (15)
4 Naturalize
4 Diabolic Edict
2 Reanimate
2 Gaea's Blessing
2 Tormod's Crypt
1 Perncious Deed (or another Tsabo's Decree?)

So, I appreciate whatever help you can offer. I know you've done a rat deck before, but this one is a little different so I hope I make the cut. Thank you.

"Employment is, hands down, the single biggest
obstacle to getting anything ineresting done."
--- Matthew Frederick Davis Hemming



Ok, it looks like Tom is off to a great start, so most of the work will be on doing minor adjustments to the deck.

I noticed that Tom was playing Tsabo’s Decree. I had initially assumed that cards like that would have been banned in this type of tournament, but if not, I think I have a much better solution. Since everyone will be playing at least twenty creatures of the same type, Tom might as well play four copies of Engineered Plague.

+4 Engineered Plague

To make room for it, we can go ahead and cut Tsabo’s Decree (too expensive for a similar effect), both Eternal Witness (please don’t yell, there isn’t enough green), and one land (considering everything in deck is cheap).

-2 Eternal Witness
-1 Forest
-1 Tsabo’s Decree

Since Tom is now playing a full set of Engineered Plague and three Pernicious Deeds, I’m not really seeing a need for Crypt Rats. In their place, I would like to toss in Nezumi Graverobber. Outside of Block and Standard formats, the graveyard is often as valuable resource as the hand, and being able to tamper with your opponent’s can be critical.

-4 Crypt Rats
+4 Nezumi Graverobber

With Eternal Witness leaving, there are only three cards that require green mana in Tom’s deck. In any other instance, I might go ahead and cut green altogether, but we’re going to leave it, since Tom asked that the deck be centered on Rats and Pernicious Deed *and* because of the sideboard options it opens up.

Looking over the lands, I think it would be OK to cut the three remaining Forests in the deck, replacing them with City of Brass. Now, if Tom sides in all of the green possible, he still has enough of the proper mana to cast them, but at the same time, in the pre-sideboard game, he won’t wind up with lands he can’t use.

-3 Forest
+3 City of Brass

Turning our attention to the sideboard, I’m pretty pleased with where it stands. I like the final copy of Pernicious Deed, the four Naturalize can stay, Diabolic edict is acceptable, and Gaea’s Blessing is fine since Mill decks are all over the place in Tom’s metagame.

This leaves behind Tormod’s Crypt and Reanimate. I’m really tempted to pull the Crypt, but the idea of someone getting off a Turn 2 or so reanimation is scary enough to allow it to stay. Reanimate, however, is never a good trick to use on your opponent (especially once they know you have it), so it goes out of the deck.

-2 Reanimate [SB]

In their place, I have to put my all-time favorite black sideboard card. Knowing that some people will show up with monsters that can’t be blown up by a couple of Engineered Plagues (such as Beasts), why don’t we put in the best hate card against green ever printed: Perish.

+2 Perish [SB]

I think that wraps up work on this week’s deck. Here’s the final list…

4 Chittering Rats
4 Nezumi Graverobber
4 Ravenous Rats
8 Relentless Rats

4 Dark Ritual
4 Duress
4 Engineered Plague
3 Pernicious Deed
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Sol Ring
1 Lotus Petal

LANDS (21):
3 City of Brass
4 Llanowar Wastes
2 Maze of Ith
1 Strip Mine
11 Swamps

4 Diabolic Edict
2 Gaea’s Blessing
4 Naturalize
2 Perish
1 Pernicious Deed
2 Tormod's Crypt



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