Cajun Cookin' 2.0

Congratulate me.

Seriously, I'm deserving! I actually accomplished what few could ever dream of doing. Nay, I've done what people said never could be done…

I built a bad R/B deck using Invasion Block cards.

(insert your laughter and ridicule here)

In my defense I'd like to state that… uh, er… well honestly there just isn't any defense for the pitiful R/B deck I built this week. With such a huge card pool of cards to choose from I feel quite scrubby indeed. While I won't go into the details, lets just say Crypt Angel, Flametongue Kavu, and Lava Zombie look much better together on paper than in actual gameplay… and I'll leave it at that. Here's the list of what I put together after I got sick of getting my skull kicked in on-line…

Cajun Cookin' 2.0

4 Ravenous Rats
3 Pyre Zombie 
4 Thornscape Battlemage
4 Blazing Spectres
3 Skizzik
2 Tahngarth

4 Urza's Rage
3 Ghitu Fire
3 Terminate
2 Tsabo's Decree
2 Yawgmoth's Agenda

4 r/b taplands
3 g/r/b lair lands
2 Keldon Necropolis
9 Mountains
8 Swamps

I'm pleased to announce version 2.0 more than redeemed my self-confidence. This is the deck as I originally imagined. Let's go over the key points together:

Creature Removal? Check!
Enchantment Removal? Check!
Discard? Check!
Burn? Check!
Recursion? Check!

It really sells itself, doesn't it?

I'd like to point out how happy I was with the removal in Cajun Cookin'. Nevermind that discarding works as removal. I'm talking about the 17 maindeck cards that just plain blow stuff up!! Big, small, pro red or black, it just doesn't matter. Not only can it deal with anything, it can deal with a lot of anything. Nothing demoralizes an opponent more than blowing up all his/her stuff, dropping Yawgmoth's FRIGGIN' Agenda, and then blowing up stuff again! When there's no more creatures in need of disposal, you can always jam kickered Rages down the opponents pie hole. Loads-o-mana + red X spells = COMBO in my book.

B/U/W Control
Key Cards: Undermine, Absorb, Stormscape Battlemage, Stormscape Master, Reviving Vapors, Fact or Fiction

For 2 weeks now I've bashed this deck type, and until someone can beat just one of my decks with it… I'm gonna keep bashing it! What exactly is the favored matchup for this goofy deck? I actually saw a version of this deck that went total control and decked the opponent with a lone Elfhame Sanctuary. I have 2 words for this deck… PYRE ZOMBIE! This lil' bugger is in like every IBC deck out there. There's just nothing a pure control deck can do to stop this recursive beat stick without sideboard help. But enough ranting, please note from the list above this version actually had creatures as a road to victory. Also note that it still didn't matter as Pyre Zombie owned all those creatures too! After a double mulligan on my part game one, Pyre Zombie showed up game 2 allowing me to actually control the control deck by chumping and flinging multiple times. This slowed the game enough for me to lay 11 lands and go "eot kicker rage u, untap kicker rage u again" Huh, Urza's Rage is another IBC staple that this deck can't do jack about! Game 3 went quicker as my discard showed up in full force… I'd say beating an opponent with 7 cards in hand while they're in top-deck mode is a pretty convincing win.

Results: 2-1 Cajun Cookin'

R/B/U Spectre
Key Cards: 8 black and blue Familiars, 8 Spectres, Void, Urza's Rage, Recoil, Crosis, the Purger

This Spooky variant ran 8 familiars to try to increase the odds of a turn 3 Spectre. This matchup boiled down to who got it's disruption online 1st. Game one I proved that point by coasting to victory after my Battlemage stripped the last 2 cards out of the opponents hand, 2 Voids. Game 2 he got the decisive disruption as I got stuck at 5 land and he dropped an early Crosis. Legendary Dragons with built in Persecutes are a good thing, especially when the Persecute grabs 2 Urza's Rage and a Ghitu Fire… my last three cards in hand. The last game was another tough loss for me as he Voids away my Blazing Spectre and is rewarded by grabbing another Spectre as well as a Skizzik out of my hand. 3-1 card advantage makes it tough to mount a comeback…

Results: 2-1 opponent

G/W Beatdown
Key Cards: Kavu Titan, Noble Panther, Voice of All, Charging Troll, Hobble, Wax/Wane, Eladamri's Call 

While G/W does have some playable creatures in this block, it's lack of any real card advantage and/or card drawing puts it at a serious disadvantage. The surplus of quality removal it has to deal with in this block is another obstacle the deck will have to overcome if it wants to breakout. Game 1 he started out slowly as he was mana flooded, so flooded in fact I hit him with 2 kickered Battlemages and only got 4 lands out of it! Tahngarth was more than enough to finish this game as its an attacker, blocker, and removal all in one. (Did you know you can announce him as an attacker, then activate his ability to take out a potential blocker, and he still attacks!?!) Speaking of attacker, blocker, and removal all in one... Pyre Zombie wanted a piece of that action game 2.

Results: 2-0 Cajun Cookin'

R/G Bears
Key Cards: Shivan Wurn, Red and Green Battlemages, Thornscape Battlemage, Burn and Necropolis

The diversity of this deck is a real asset. Some matches Cajun Cookin is a very solid control deck, riding recursion until the opponent just can't take it any more. Then there's times where haste creatures and direct damage can win the game at unreal speed. I almost felt like I was cheating game 1 as I went turn 4 Spectre, turn 5 Spectre, turn 6 Spectre! Game 2 wasn't any more merciful with turn 2 and 3 rats, followed up by turn 4 Spectre and turn 5 Skizzik. God draws aside, I did drop game 1 as he beat me to the punch dropping Keldon Necropolis while I had one in hand. Laying a turn 4 Shivan Wurm only made things worse for me.

Results: 2-1 Cajun Cookin'

G/W Protection from Creatures
Key Cards: Llanowar Knight, Voice of All, Sabertooth Nishoba, both Acolytes, and Armadillo Cloak

This deck certainly put my removal to the test as it sports plenty of pro Red AND Black creatures. I started game one with emptying his hand with Battlemages. He pants'd up a Knight soon after but luckily I had an answer in Ghitu Fire. 2 Skizzik ended the game in a hurry for me. Game 2 wasn't as keen as he dropped creatures on turn 2, 3, 4 and 5… me being stuck at 3 mana didn't make it any easier for me. Unfortunately we didn't make it to game 3 as we got disconnected, which is one of the only drawbacks to playing online. Apprentice is really an excellent program.

Results: 1-1 undecided

In the aftermath of this week, several idea's come to mind to tweak this deck out. While fun, Ravenous Rats could certainly be replaced with something more affective like Addle. An early Addle always seems to make the opponent squirm, making his/her hand look much less attractive. The added bonus of also knowing the remaining contents of the opponents hand makes it much easier to make play decisions. Another "meta' choice would be adding a few Scorching Lava in the main deck as Pyre Zombie is shaping up to be a bomb in this environment. 

I'm slightly undecided on the land mix, 26 lands is a bit much. All that extra mana certainly feeds the Zombie recursion and fuels big Ghitu Fires, I'm still gonna test out 25 lands as there's plenty of great stuff to put in that extra slot. Adding a 4th terminate is my first thought as this environment has plenty of creatures to nuke.

In close, I had a great time playing this deck (once I put a playable version of it together.) It has access to all the tools necessary to be a big competitor in IBC, no matter what the final expansion of the block brings. With Yawgmoth's Agenda completely shaping this block, Cajun Cookin' loves having 4 ways to remove it via Battlemages. While I plan to continue testing this deck, now I've got a hefty task, building a deck that can beat the mighty R/B archetype for next weeks report. This should be tough, as in the past 3 weeks my results have boiled down to this…

Non-R/B matches: 9-4 me

R/B/x matches: 9-2 opponent

I'm gonna need all the help I can get, if you guys have any suggestions or tips send me a message at! Thanks in advance…

Hope this helps… Have fun!
Aaron Teare