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John Shultis on Magic
Precon Recon
Entangling Webs
Magic 2012 Intro Pack

       Welcome to another great Precon Recon! This week, a reader submitted a request that I will be tangling with, since it’s spiders! Len Roche asked me to take a look at the M12 Preconstructed deck Entangling Webs, and see if I can reconstruct it for his friend. They really like the way the spider aspect is, but it seems to lack any punch. So, here we go. For a look at the original deck list, just head here: http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/productarticle.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/magic2012/themedeck#deck5

60 cards

18 Forest
7 Mountain

2 Acidic Slime
1 Arachnus Spinner
2 Crimson Mage
1 Garruk's Companion
1 Garruk's Horde
3 Giant Spider
1 Lightning Elemental
3 Llanowar Elves
1 Runeclaw Bear
2 Stampeding Rhino
2 Stingerfling Spider
1 Vastwood Gorger

3 Arachnus Web
1 Fireball
1 Fling
2 Greatsword
2 Hunter's Insight
1 Overrun
3 Rampant Growth
1 Slaughter Cry
1 Titanic Growth

      I personally enjoyed certain aspects of this deck myself, but quickly found what the main problem was for myself. The color combinations are all wrong for this deck. It is reconstructed green/red, when clearly the best option for a deck built this way should be green/white. The reasons are quite simple, look at what white can do for enchantments. Auramancers, Mesa Enchantress, all great enchantment based cards, all white. The thing I have learned about spider decks (as I have built two successful ones) is that they rely on playing defensive, until the time is right to strike, similar to how an actual spider is. This means that it is mostly about survival while building up, and then launching an all out offensive. This in Magic can be quite tricky, since your opponent will likely not let you have the time to build up. For this deck, I built it extended, but it wouldn’t be too hard to correct that if you preferred current standard, plus I will include cards from Innistrad, since it officially launches this weekend.

      So the first change I said already, all red should go. While there are some good things in red, it does not suit what this deck should try and accomplish. And the little influence that red played in this deck will hardly be missed. We will be building sixty card, and that means an adjustment must be made to our mana. The deck ran 18 Forests and 7 Mountains, we will need much more Plains than the deck needed Mountains. We will look into some alternate mana sources, but if unavailable, just go with 10 Plains and 12 Forests. If the deck seems unbalanced, adjust accordingly, and if we locate some alternate multi-colored mana, by all means, replace Plains with them, but try and stay around 22 mana.

     The red cards pulled automatically opened up six slots, which again makes me question why use red at all. I also think that the Greatswords are not nearly as effective in this deck as they should be, so they too can be pulled. That opens eight slots. Next we will tackle the green cards that aren’t needed. Remember, this deck is going to be primarily defensive, in several ways. Waiting for the opportune time to strike.

    For starters, Vastwood Gorger and Stampeding Rhinos just don’t suit the deck. They are high mana cost, and for relatively low power. Runeclaw Bear is fun, but does not suit this deck either. Titanic Growth will not be necessary anymore, nor will the Hunter’s Insights. These options open up seven more slots for us. However, I also feel that the two Garruk cards, Garruk’s Horde and Garruk’s Companion would be better used in other decks as well, and should be removed. This means that we removed nine green cards, six red cards and two artifacts, for a total of seventeen cards to play around with.

     The mana acceleration is still there with the Rampant Growths and Llanowar Elves. For some great green spells to add, I would first go with the Deadly Recluse from M10. Can’t beat a ˝ reach, death touch for just two mana. For those of you who wish to stay closer to Standard, you could always instead use the Deathhood Cobra from New Phyrexia, just remember that it costs four mana every time you want to make it into Deadly Recluse. Four copies of the Recluse is my recommendation. Then, the best thing about those guys, is they kill things, the worst part is it usually kills them too. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If we add in Trollhide, we get big spiders that regenerate. And that is one mean spider bite. I would probably go two or three. One or two Lures is a nice set up card, making your opponents creatures all have to block one creature. Hopefully a creature with a Trollhide on it. The last green card I highly suggest putting in here is Triumph of Hordes. Granting all your creatures +1/+1, Trample, and Infect can be a game winner. And what’s best is your opponent won’t expect it. And if just one of your creatures has Lure, you can end the game, regardless of their life total.

      The white cards I suggest just go along with helping out defensively. Running some Auramancers to pull lost enchantments back from the graveyard is always nice. And using cards such as Lifelink to gain life while defending is a plus as well. If we use Bonds of Faith from Innistrad, it is as good as Pacifism, except we could opt to put it on Auramancer for a pump if necessary. I would run Pacifisms and Bonds of Faith, to keep the board on lock down. Of course, rare wise, if you can get your hands on True Conviction, that is a very nice addition to this deck. And a Mesa Enchantress means when you are locking down your opponents things, you get card advantage. But the Enchantress is not a necessity. But I would try and get your hands on a True Conviction for the deck. Or even use equipments that grant your creatures first strike, such as Sharpened Pitchfork from Innistrad. So white cards going in mainly are Lifelinks x 4; Auramancers x 4; and Pacifism/Bonds of Faith x 4-6.

     The main point of the deck is to hold off, and gain life. Strike when it best suites you. I would try and get two Triumph of Hordes into the deck so your chances of pulling them are better. With those and even the one Overrun, your chances of crushing the opponent is pretty good. And if you can get one of the Lures onto a creature, it is almost a certainty that they should. And just remember, spiders lie traps, and wait it out, and that’s how this deck plays. Strike when the opportunity presents itself. Don’t go for a little damage, go for the kill. Arachnus Spinner’s ability to pull a Arachnus Web can be annoying to your opponent, since it wouldn’t be removed until the end step. And then next time you can just do it again.

     If the deck seems like it is still being overpowered, add in some other deterents, such as Fog, or Rebuke or Smite the Monstrous from Innistrad. These cards can significantly impact a players resolve to attack you. And there are some fun spider based cards from Innistrad as well. Somberwald Spider and Spider Spawning can be fun, but both require things dying, which is why they were excluded. But Prey Upon could be a fun way for your spiders to take out some critters, dealing damage to a creature equal to the spider’s power, and the other creature does the same. Since spiders have a high defense, they could survive. Another option is to use Beast Within from New Phyrexia. Destroy target permanent, it’s controller gets a 3/3 green Beast token. The spiders are for more likely to be able to handle say a 3/3 than a 7/7+.

     There are plenty of options, it comes down to personal style. I like using this deck in the defensive, and then springing the trap, just like a spider does when a fly lands in its web. Your opponent makes one wrong move, and it is game over! And sometimes, the mistake they make will be letting you sit back, all the while your web grows bigger around them. And then once they realized it, it’s already too late.

     So there we have it! Hope that this deck is up to par for Len Roche and his friend, I hope to hear feedback and see how they like it! And if there is a deck any of you would like to see get reconstructed, just send me an e-mail, and I’d be happy to take a look at it. Just send me the deck name, and what format you would like to see it reconstructed to.

     So that is it for this week. Join me next week when I look at another reconstructed deck. Until then, keep safe, and keep gaming!


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