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Aburame Shino

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Aburame Shino's Corner

Steps to Creating a Rogue Deck Part 1

    Before I begin this article, allow me to introduce myself. I am Orconem, also known as Aburame Shino on the Pojo forums. I have been playing card games in general for almost nine years, although I've been playing magic since the release of Darksteel, when a friend of mine was getting out of the game and sold me his deck. Ever since then, I was hooked on the game. And then, a year later, I attended my first Regional event with a deck I created myself. After the event I decided to only play rogue decks. Why I came to that conclusion I will explain later. Now on to the article.

I'm certain that there's a fair amount of gamers out there who have played against a Tier 1
deck and have gotten crushed, discouraging them that they didn’t do as well as they thought they would. This is a problem for most players at least at some point in their life. While this may be because they are stubborn, most of the time it's because they don't take enough time and effort into making their decks to beat the Metagame. This leads a majority of them to copying the best deck and playing it themselves. But for the other players, they will either quit or strive to fine-tune their deck. For the other players, this article is for you.

This string of articles will explain the steps that I take to build my tournament decks. While none of the decks have become Tier 1, yet, some of them have become similar to the Tier 1 decks, such as my creation of Ghazi-Glare that used swarms of creature tokens created by cards like Vitu-Ghazi, Selesnya Evangel, and Scatter the Seeds to win the game while shutting off the opposing attack force. After seeing decks similar to mine become Tier 1, while I'm upset to see their decks become top level while mine stays at the lower levels, I try not to think too much about it and simply go on to the next deck. Now let us begin with what I believe is the most important step to making a good rogue deck.

1. Study the top decks intensely, then exploit a flaw in the design.

I don't care how amazing or how many people play a certain deck, there is always at least one
flaw which you can take advantage of. For example, let's take a look at last year's Tier 1 deck for Standard, Tooth and Nail. The deck didn't become the best deck in the format because it was slow, but because it could generate a ton of mana fast enough to entwine the card before the opponent had time to react. In the correct build, the deck could assemble the UrzaTron by turn three and entwine a Tooth and Nail on turn four. This is what made the deck win so consistently, because after that they could destroy your mana with a Kiki-Jiki/Sundering Titan combo and beat you down. Since I was going to be competing in Regionals in a couple weeks, I knew that I was going to be playing against a lot of Tooth and Nail decks. At first I thought I could beat the deck by using Cranial Extraction naming Tooth and Nail, but then they could just hardcast their big creatures. After I studied the deck intensely, I discovered that what gave the deck it's strength could also be it's weakness; the UrzaTron.

Even though the Urzatron could give the opponent a ton of mana, if they didn't assemble the tron, they couldn't win. But while you could use a Stone Rain on the Urzalands, they could easily grab a replacement. Taking out only one of the lands was not going to accomplish anything because they ran Reap and Sow and Sylvan Scrying to fix their mana. So when I was looking for cards, I tried to find something to take out the entire thing. That's when I stumbled over Thoughts of Ruin.

If your hand was big enough, Thoughts of Ruin could easily take out two or all three of the tron pieces at once, along with a forest or two they might have. And since the deck consisted mostly of high cost cards like Mindslaver and Sundering Titan, it became hard for the deck to recover if they were hoping to use the mana right then and there to win. While they were recovering, you could beat them down with a creature like Arc-Slogger before they could get moving again.

Then Regionals began. Now I didn't do any serious testing against Tooth and Nail before the event, only playing against one version and barely winning. So needless to say I was really nervous, going off of a hunch that I had not too long before the event. When the first round began, sure enough, I ended up playing against Tooth and Nail. I ended up winning the coin toss and chose to go first. After accelerating into a third turn Molder Slug with Birds of Paradise and Kodama's Reach, my opponent assembled the Tron the very next turn and was ready to win immediately afterward. When my turn began, after I drew, my hand contained five cards. Then I noticed what I thought was an Arc-Slogger for a couple turns was actually a Thoughts of Ruin. Noticing the current field, I played the Thoughts of Ruin, taking out everything on his field except for a forest. My opponent conceded, because he knew there was no way he could survive. This is what led me to only play rogue decks.

Being able to figure out key weaknesses like this is not always easy. Also, finding a card that can exploit that weakness can be much, much harder. In the above statement, it took me almost a week to discover how badly Thoughts of Ruin can beat the opponent into the dirt. In order to figure out these weaknesses, you have to study, study, built, play test, study some more, rebuild, and do more play testing. Just remember to never say never, because every deck has their weaknesses.

And this concludes my first article. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an e-mail at OrconStores@yahoo.com, or talk to me on AIM at OrconStores.

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