IBC Deck of the
by Aaron Teare
In my opinion, this is the most exciting time to be a magic player. Invasion has proven to be one of the most well received base sets ever. Now with the release of Invasions first expansion Planeshift, deckbuilders have a chance to start brainstorming about my favorite format, Block Constructed. Serious players have to pay attention to Invasion Block Constructed as it will reveal the future of another popular format... Standard!
Saying that, I'm quite surprised at the lack of quality information on the 'net in regards to IBC. What I plan on doing is writing a weekly report letting all of you know my results as I playtest decks using Apprentice over mIRC. (Apprentice is used to play Magic online, there is a link to download it on the frontpage of the Pojo magic site. The chat software mIRC is used to find other people to play online with and can be found at www.mIRC.com.) Every week I will exclusively test one deck against the field and let you know the results. Hopefully this will give you some insight as to what decks are popular and how they all interact.
And before I get to the good stuff, I would like to state that I'm no Finkel. I'm a married 25 year old who sold out and works for the Man as a Banker. I didn't even get a chance to go to last weeks PTQ. However, I have been playing Magic since '95 around the time when Dark came out. I was the Midwest Champion back in '96 and I'm serious about testing online to give you guys as much info as possible. =)
Anyway… first the decklist!!
4 Ravenous Rats
4 Nightscape Familiar
4 Blazing Spectre
3 Doomsday Spectre
2 Crypt Angel
4 Urza's Rage
2 Ghitu Fire
3 Wash Out
3 Salt Marsh
3 Urborg Volcano
2 Crosis's Catacombs
A quick explanation of how the deck came to be. It was originally 2 separate decks, a b/u Warped Wash deck and also a r/b burn deck. Initially while testing both these decks I noticed how well Nightscape Familiar works with both Spectres, and that was that. This deck is all about card advantage. With the exception of the burn, ALL the cards in the deck generate some form of advantage that over time wear down the opponent. I could write a paragraph on each card in the deck and how they interact together, but I want to get to how it faired against other decks I played online. I do want to comment on my thoughts of Doomsday Spectre. While very powerful, the other creatures in the deck have to be built around the Doomsday in order for it to work, which is harder to do than you'd think. Obviously Rats work well with Doomsday, and Familiar does as well since it allows the Spectre(s) to come down on turn 3. I was really surprised how well Blazing works with Doomsday, it's all about haste. Blazing can come down and attack. Untap next turn, attack again and then gate for Doomsday. Then next turn it can come down and ATTACK AGAIN! If your opponent can't stop this you pretty much are guaranteed victory and get MANY cool points ta boot!
And now for how it faired against the field:
5 Color Restraint
Main Cards: Harrow, Star Compass, Collective Restraint, Worldly Counsel, Restock, Rage, and Ghite Fire.
This deck seemed like it was in the beginning stage of tweaking. It spent the 2nd and 3rd turn developing mana with Harrow and Compass as well as searching for its key components with card drawing like Worldly Counsel. This was really bad for this deck as while it was doing this, it had no way of stopping spOOOky from beating it over the head with Spectres and he was almost always left with 0 cards in hand by the time he had set up his mana base. One game he was able to get 5 different basic lands on the board and 2 Collective Restraint, I showed him Wash Out and named Blue and he requested a new game. =)
Results: 2-0 spOOOky
G/W/U Death or Glory
Main Cards: Blue/White Familiars, Fact or Fiction, Probe, Reviving Vapors, Fattie's and Death or Glory.
This is what's great about this environment, seeing a card played for the first time and realizing it's way better than you first thought. Imagine my horror watching a deck use tons of card drawing to dump fatties like Questing Phelddagrif, Waterspout Elemental, and Angel of Mercy into the graveyard only to bring half of them back DIRECTLY into play using Death or Glory. My discarding only seemed to help fill up his grave with fatties he wanted there anyway. =( After losing the first game miserably, I was able to get Doomsday up and running game 2 to strip Death or Glory out of the opponents hand. Game 3 I thought I had won, but a top decked Death or Glory is all he needed!
Results: 2-1 opponent
Main Cards: Absorb, Undermine, Prohibit, Spite/Malice, Rout, Fact or Fiction, Yawgmoth's Agenda.
This deck ran a BUNCH of counters… it even ran Dromar's Charm! This deck struggled with mana consistency, I'm sure the 19 cards in my deck that force discarding didn't help either. It seemed like the lone road to victory for the opponent was a few Voice of All, but I guess that can do it if the deck can stabilize the board and then drop an Agenda. Long story short… he couldn't. Absorb and Undermine are very good counterspells, but over the past few months of playing with Invasion I've noticed they can be frustrating as they require 3 colored mana to cast.
Results: 2-0 spOOOky
Main Cards: Rats, Battlemage, Blazing Spectre, Terminate, Void, Pyre Zombie, Urza's Rage, Flametongue
Ah, Red/Black… it had to happen eventually right? This color combo has soooo many power cards to draw off of it's sick. This deck combines tons of discard, tons of removal, and recursion just to add insult to injury. Every friggin' card in this deck is removal which makes it most annoying. The 187 effects of the Battlemage and Flametongue Kavu were very effective and have "protection from bounce" written all over them. The 2 games I lost I didn't see any Probes which hurt as the ability to draw into a threat and take 2 removal cards out of the opponents hand at the same time is really spOOOky's only hope against this match up. I'm not sure it would've matter as all 3 games came down to us both having 0 cards in hand and whoever could out topdeck won. He was better at topdecking than me, which prolly means pound for pound the cards in his deck are better than spOOOky.
Results: 1-2 opponent
Main Cards: Blazing Spectre, Pyre Zombie, Crosis, Tahngarth, Terminate, Void, Undermine, Urza's Rage
You know Wizards has put together a good set when 2 decks of the exact same colors run into each other and they are using completely different strategies and cards. spOOOky is all about early disruption, while this deck uses tons of early removal to buy time to drop a fattie and protect it with countermagic like Undermine and Prohibit. His deck seemed like it had a lot more spells requiring double colored mana like Tahngarth, Undermine, and Crosis… but he was able to find it with no problem. (props to this deckbuilder for building a solid mana base, I wish I knew exactly what he ran) All the beef in the deck has me wondering if there's away to squeeze some of it into spOOOky. (Crosis and Wash Out is quite the combo… hmmm) The only game I was able to win was due to spOOOky's back up plan… burn. Being able to "eot rage u" and then untap and jam a 8 point Ghitu Fire down the opponents throat is always fun.
Results: 1-2 Opponent
Well, hopefully you guys got as much out of this as I did. Obviously spOOOky style decks (heck, any deck for that matter) are gonna have to find ways to combat all the abundant removal in this block. My first thought was to squeeze another Crypt Angel into the deck as it recycles Spectres and is a great gate for Doomsday. A 3/3 pro white flyer is certainly a threat in its own right. More card drawing like Fact or Fiction would keep the deck from stalling out as well. Wash Out worked well sometimes, but it really shines against beatdown decks that lay multiple creatures early. With all the playable sweeper removal in the set there aren't too many beatdown decks showing up, perhaps Wash Out is better suited in the sideboard of this deck?
This week I plan on testing out the much hyped "Warp Wash" since I haven't seen too much of it yet. I'll let you guys know what I find out next week! Same spOOOky time, same spOOOky place. (OK so I'm lame, give me a break)
Hope this helps… have fun!