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The McShake

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The McShake Alchemist on Magic
From the Vault: Tokens
August 31, 2012

Hey everyone! Hope that you didn't miss me too much after taking a break for about a week, as I've been under the weather as of late. I'm going to be talking about something that most people care about a great deal more than my recent article, competitive standard.


"Sean! I thought this talked about From the Vault: Tokens!"


Well, I can't say I've been completely truthful since there is a vault here, but, it is more about a card than a set.


Vault of the Archangel, to be exact.


I may be getting a bit ahead of myself, so, here is the decklist that was played at a dual land tournament as well as a larger local tournament (+32) to split first. Twice.


B/W Tokens

As suggested by Sean Handy




2 Evolving Wilds

4 Isolated Chapel

3 Swamp

3 Vault of the Archangel

11 Plains



3 Champion of the Parish

4 Doomed Traveler

4 Blade Splicer

1 Hero of Bladehold



4 Honor of the Pure

4 Intangible Virtue

1 Oblivion Ring



2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad


Other Spells

4 Lingering Souls

3 Midnight Haunting

4 Gather the Townsfolk

1 Dismember

2 Go for the Throat



2 Revoke Existence

2 Hero of Bladehold

1 Elspeth Tirel

1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

2 Celestial Purge

2 Nihil Spellbomb

2 Divine Deflection

1 Sword of War and Peace

2 Oblivion Ring


The deck's match record was 11-1-1 and 22-3 in actual games played (not acknowledging the 1-1-1 ID involved). Bear in mind this was all essentially locals, but, take the following stats.


Games lost with less than three lands by turn 5: 3 (100% of losses)

Games won against Delver with 6> cards in hand: 3 (One of which was on the play)

Games lost against Zombies with Vault online: 0


While one could argue I just ran hot over the course of the weekend, the deck itself is a solid meta-call right now. Why?


Bonfire of the Damned is phasing out

I'm not sure why this is happening, but, it is hard to ignore the lack of decks playing more than 1-2 of this 1-sided sweeper.


Delver of Secrets can barely beat a single Lingering Souls

Seriously. Why do you think Croatia was on the Solar Flare plan in the World Magic Cup top 8? I'd be willing towager thye thought everyone would bring Delver or Celestial Purge and thought that was the best shell for Lingering souls.


Zombies can't beat Vault of the Archangel

Obviously this is not 100% true, as there is some nut-draw v. land flood where Zombies can win, but, the lifegain + card advantage just wrecks the zombie deck.


You get to play Blade Splicer

Blade Splicer's golem eats most relevant creatures. Pair it with Vault of the Archangel, and it eats all of the creatures. Did I mention this triggers Champion of the Parish?


Boarding is pretty flexible

Most of your cards do the same thing, so playing with numbers is somewhat easy, and what cards go in where is somewhat obvious.


While there are many strengths to the deck, I must also admit the weaknesses.


Bonfire of the Damned can wreck you

Generally it takes a few test games against Naya to really know how much you should commit to the board at once so you don't just die to the spell, but, there are times when it is just unavoidable. Bonfire of the Damned is the main reason for Divine Deflection out of the side.


Ratchet Bomb

Can absolutely wreck you if they know how to use it. Getting your dudes blown up can be devastating, but all of your cards make more. If they hit your enchantments, you may actually be in trouble.


Invisible Stalker

You basically have to race this guy, which is really difficult without a Vault online. Curse of Death's Hold doesn't really work with the current mana. Wrath effects generally hurt you much more than the average delver deck, especially if 'Stalker is a threat.


You have to have 3 mana

This isn't really up for debate. It is nice to get more an curve out, but, hitting land #3 by turn 4 is crucial, or you will fall behind.


Naya Pod

Generally they also crap a bunch of creatures onto the table. This matchup can go back and forth pretty quickly. If they get a Bonfire, you have to know how to play out of it. If they get Township online, you have to apply pressure before it gets out of hand. If you have more guys than them, try to apply pressure if you can. Their endgame is better than yours, and you need to try to capitalize while they are still developing.


The deck generally plays itself with a few exceptions. The hardest decision to make it what 3-drop to cast when generally speaking, cast Lingering Souls first. It is an incredibly strong play to cast an anthem and flashback the Souls on turn 4, so you don't have to over commit to the board and leave yourself open to wraths.


I personally will be piloting this deck at the first Starcitygames.com Classic Series in Knoxville, TN, hopefully to success. If you will be traveling to this event, feel free to get in contact with me, as I would love to meet anybody there! I will also be at the Super Invitational Qualifier the following day, probably on the same list. If you wanna talk strategy, jam some games, or just hang out, feel free to let me know!


facebook: facebook.com/shakezilluh
email: andro_sphinx@yahoo.com
twitter: @paper_gangsta_
youtube: themcshakealchemist

Hopefully I will begin streaming in the near future so I can get to talk to more people who read my stuff, if you have any suggestions on what you'd like to see me play, let me know! I am more than likely just going to start off around Return to Ravnica and go from there.

Thanks a ton for reading!
Never stop learning,


Sean Handy
The McShake Alchemist



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