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
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
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
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
Arc-Slogger before they could get
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
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