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John Shultis on Magic
Koth vs Venser: Koth: Erupt and Overwhelm

Welcome to a new Precon Recon on Pojo.com! Precon Recon is where I take a preconstructed deck and make it play better! This week, I am taking a look at the Koth vs Venser Dual deck, specifically Koth’s half, Erupt and Overwhelm. The original deck list can be found here:

The Koth deck focuses on getting mana, FAST. The problemKoth of the Hammer I have found with this deck is once you have it, what are you supposed to do with it? There are some really great cards that rely on Landfall, yet there are only one copy of some of them in the deck. Then there are cards that I see we are CAPABLE of playing, but why the hell would we want to? Sure, being able to say we cast cards like Volley of Boulders and Bloodfire Colossus doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. Nine mana for six damage? Or how about spending eight mana to blow everything we’ve amassed off the map? Not good ideas. But never fear, that is why Precon Recon is here, to scout and fix the issues!

There are a lot of things we can and will do with the insane amount of mana that this deck can generate. They will not be however to cast spells that are ridiculous. Mana is key in so many ways, we will certainly look and see what we want to do with them, and more importantly, what makes sense to do with it. Cards that reward number of Mountains will also get some attention.
So as is always the case with Precon Recon, we begin by evaluating what is just not worth having around in the deck anymore. The deck itself needs some serious work. In a majority of games played against the Venser deck, Koth’s just seems to fall short. If you pull something useful, you have to evaluate whether to cast it or not since so many good spells only have a single copy in the deck. This means that if it doesn’t work, it is lost. That will also be an area of focus for the deck, improving numbers of spells that are useful.

Honestly, as I said earlier, Volley of Boulders and Bloodfire Colossus are nice to be able to say that you cast, but really, who would care. Take these cards out. Greater Stone Spirit is another card that is fun to be able to use, but totally unnecessary in the deck, remove it. Earth Servant iBloodfire Colossuss another fun but not useful card in the deck. Chartooth Cougar is a 4/4 four six mana, really not worth it just for Firebreathing, remove. Geyser Glider is nice, but there are better red fliers that do not cost five mana, and if they do, they would be bigger than a 4/4 usually, so I would remove the Geyser Glider. The Bloodfire Kavu is another card like the Bloodfire Colossus, why spend mana to lose your own cards? Remove. While I understand from a flavor standpoint why they chose to include some of the Vulshok themed cards, they may not be the bets choices for a functional deck. Vulshok Beserker is nice, but a 3/2 haste for four doesn’t sit well. Neither does a 1/1 with Firebreathing that cannot block, so Pygmy Pyrosaur is also a removal. Armillary Sphere is almost good in this deck, but then it isn’t. There are so many ways of getting some mana in your hand that this becomes useless. Thus, it should be removed. Seismic Strike is great late game, but we want to win before this card gets a chance to be good. I think removing them is a good idea. The two Vulshok equipments may seem good, and fit from a flavor standpoint, but for functionality for this deck, we will find better replacements. Remove. The Stone Giant also just does not seem to fit in this style deck. And as much as I love the new art for Anger, I don’t feel like he fits either.

That is sixteen cards out. Now the thing that made me laugh the most when I was reconstructing this deck was the fact that Wizards realized how well some of the cards from Zendikar matched up with Koth, yet fell short of some better ones. One of those is of course Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. I know, I know, they didn’t put it in because of the stir it made on the Pro circuit. But this is no Standard legal deck, is it? Put in Valakut, two tValakut, the Molten Pinnacleo three copies, if not more. You will want to pull the difference in Mountains, in other words, if you put in two Valakut, take out two Mountains, and so on. These cards are CRAZY once they get going. And it is so hard to avoid damage from a land. Another card that I thought would have been a no brainer was the Claws of Valakut. Talk about making a creature look like a Vulshok! The artwork pretty much shows a human gaining Vulshok Gauntlets! The Claws of Valakut are amazing in this deck! They pump based off of the number of Mountains you control, and grant First Strike. Definitely add in three if possible. Another great card for once things begin going your way are both Fling and Soul’s Fire. Three copies of each. The reason why is the number of cards that have the Firebreathing ability. You will likely never add in the pumps prior to attacking, that fun is reserved for right when the creature is about to hit, that’s what makes them so nice. Fifth turn, five Mountains. You are swinging with a Fiery Hellhound that has Claws of Valakut. It is a 7/2 already. If your opponent cannot block, you’ll pump in two or three, and then either Fling or Soul’s Fire. That can then be anywhere from eighteen to a solid twenty damage! And that is just with one creature! I Would also add in three copies of Flamekin Brawler, a very good one mana drop that suites the deck style. Another great card for this deck both in terms of a flavor and function stand point is the Crusher Zendikon. It turns a land into a 4/2 beast with trample. Should the land die, it goes back to your hand. Sounds like what Koth does, right? And once you’ve put the Crusher Zendikon on a land, putting a Claws of Valakut on it makes it huge, with first strike, and trample. The final two spots go to a card that when combined with the deck style could be a game ender, if you have the mana, which we should. They are Ember Gale. The fact that the opponent cannot block is amazing, and thus means that you will walk in unblocked with a card hopefully enchanted with a Claws of Valakut, that also hopefully has Firebreathing, and can then land the final blow needed. I would also straight add in another copy of Searing Blaze. It is like having a double Lightning Bolt in one card. One for the creature, one for the owner. The extra mana in the deck means you shouldn’t have to add anything else, especially since you are able to accelerate the mana. Thus, you will be able to keep problems off the board, and a path to your opponent clear. A last card to straight add in for a decisive blow is Flame Fusillade. It turns all permanents you own into sources of damage for a turn. Imagine Koth’s emblem, but for everything you have on the board! Koth himself would be able to tap for a damage, all your creatures, lands, artifacts, enchantments. How much damage could you rain down?

So, the final deck list should look a little something like this:

22x Mountain
3x Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Claws of Valakut3x Flamekin Brawler
2x Plated Geopede
2x Fiery Hellhound
1x Torchling
1x Lithophage
1x Cosi’s Ravager
1x Vulshok Sorcerer
2x Pilgrim’s Eye
1x Aether Membrane
1x Koth of the Hammer
2x Wayfarer’s Bauble
1x Journeyer’s Kite
3x Fling
3x Soul’s Fire
3x Claws of Valakut
2x Ember Gale
2x Searing Blaze
2x Crusher Zendikon
1x Downhill Charge
1x Spire Barrage
1x Jaws of Stone
1x Flame Fusillade

And there you have it! Now while the deck loses some of the “Vulshok” feel, let’s remind ourselves that there was a time when Koth himself lost touch with the Vulshok, and went in search of help to save Mirrodin. He didn’t have legions of Vulshok when he first arrived on Mirrodin either, he had the land, and elementals, like what his card does.

Of course keep your options open. If you find that you can really use another Flame Fusillade, then by all means, put another in. Take out Spire Barrage to add one in. If some of the cards you only have one of in the deck are seeming useless, and you wish you could more reliably pull another card, by all means, swap. That is what makes the deck unique. I only lay out a much better template, the final tuning is up to you!

So take command of the Mountains, and use them to crush your opponents under a tidal wave of Earth!

As always, if there is a deck you would like to see get reconstructed here on Precon Recon, even if it is one of your own, send me an e-mail! I’d love new ideas to take a look at! Next time, I will be taking a look at the Venser half of the Koth vs Venser Duel Decks, and then I begin looking at the Avacyn Restored decks! But, should a reader suggestion come along, I would be happy to reconstruct that as the priority!
So, until next time, keep safe, and keep gaming!




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