Argothian Treehouse
Andy Van Zandt



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Argothian Treehouse

with Andy Van Zandt

WuG Beasts in OBC

Okay, this is a deck I've been tinkering with for the past few weeks for the
Onslaught block constructed PTQ's.  I like working on theory a lot,  and so
most of the deck was built on theory rather than practice.  To jump right
into things, here's the decklist:

4 Krosan Tusker
4 Ravenous Baloth
4 Canopy Crawler
4 Riptide Mangler
4 Caller of the Claw
4 Whipcorder
4 Silver Knight
4 Pacifism
4 Complicate

4 Grand Coliseum
4 Flooded Strand
4 Windswept Heath
6 Forest
4 Plains
2 Island

The first thing everyone does (after making fun of the riptide manglers) is
question the stability of the colors,  especially with the double white
2-drops.  That's one of the things I wanted to test for future brainstorming
of bad decks in this block,  is how stable you can make a three color deck, 
even with rougher than average mana requirements.  The answer is-
surprisingly stable.  Proxy it up and play it out,  very rarely will you
have problems getting the whipcorder or knight out on turn two (look at the
mana- there are 16 potentially white sources),  and you'll generally have
even less of a problem getting out the baloth on turn four (14 potentially
green sources, plus a third turn land search with a tusker).  The closest
thing I've had to a problem is mid-game not being able to lay a mangler and
still have another blue for complicate mana (but 10 potentially blue sources
plus the tuskers means you'll at least have 1 blue mana when you need it). 
As weird as it sounds, I've considered dropping a land or two, since despite
all the land thinning this deck does, it has a reasonable tendency to get
mana flooded (especially since the basic curve stops at 4 mana and you're
operating at peak efficiency if you have 5 mana to lay two drops and still
have a complicate or caller back-up).   So all in all, from my playtesting, 
now I know that I can try a plethora of other bad three-color decks, 
probably even without the tuskers in a lot of cases.

Now onto the theories.  The two decks types to beat in the environment are
non-counter based control decks and sligh.  The first thing to look at is
the sligh match-up,  which actually has worked out how I expected it to so
far.  You've got the early drops, including most especially silver knight, 
to jump in the way of their first couple of dudes.  The mangler is quite
spiffy here, since with its three toughness it can't be shocked, and
although it can't block piledriver, usually one of your other 8 early drops
can handle that.  Or your pacifisms,  which are also good for Clickslithers
(better safe than sorry, don't want those siege-gangs coming down the turn
after the slither).  Complicates aren't amazing here,  but they do stop the
mid-game finishers,  again being clickslithers and siege gangs.  After your
first couple of turns of cheap drops,  you'll hopefully either drop a fatty
canopy crawler or a baloth.  You really want a baloth sometime in the first
6 turns usually,  since with any two of mangler or crawler (or second
baloth) to help him,  the blocking + life gain can stabilize the board
pretty quick for you.  And obviously,  if you get a creature burned away and
then get to insta-block two or three guys with caller,  that's quite good as
well.  The scariest thing in the sligh deck is easily the commanders,  and
as with almost any deck,  you can still lose games to sligh.  That's why
it's so popular,  any deck can accidentally drop a couple games to the sligh
match if sligh goes buck wild and you get a slightly slower than average

The other thing this was theoretically designed to romp was control-
particularly mono-white and red-white.  The idea behind this is that you get
your early drops down (silver knight, as always, being ideal,  but
whipcorder being surprisingly strong in the match) and start swinging,  take
off half their life or so,  then when they use a piece of mass removal like
starstorm or vengeance (notes on this- starstorm doesn't kill the silver
knight, of course,  and in most cases can't be done turn 4 by them since
that doesn't kill mangler either) you complicate it or caller back up a team
of bears to swing with next turn.  Two of your three bears can fight with
silver knight, and the third, if need be, can tap it.  More importantly, 
that whipcorder can stop some of the scariest stuff that'll come your way, 
dragons and angels.  The pacifisms are also very good at this.  Another
thing people want to do is change the pacifisms into wing shards, since the
deck does easily support the double white.  And while I do agree that wing
shards are amazing,  the pacifisms are more pro-active.  When someone lays
an exalted angel or eternal dragon,  you want to be able to either pacify or
tap it and keep sending,  not stop your assault for a turn waiting for them
to attack you.

Now the problem is that this theoretical stuff hits a couple of snafus... 
lightning rift, starstorm, and decree of justice.   The match-up is pretty
much as expected against mono-white,  but if they have a couple decrees to
fog you,  it can be less than optimal.  The match is still very slightly in
your favor, I think (from my limited playtesting),  but it's not quite as
good as I expected it to be.  More importantly,  the red-white matchup is
NOT in your favor.  The fact that they have decrees to fog you, and the
(here's the bad thing) consistent ability to do mass removal two turns in a
row (because of starstorm + vengeance) means that you can often knock them
down to single digit life,  but not finish the job.  And if you toss in an
early active lightning rift,  the battle becomes a touch more uphill,
especially if they've got any two of the cycling lands to make it extra
effective on turn four.  In any case,  unless you've got early beats plus
three complicate/callers (which means an extremely lucky draw),  odds are
they'll wipe your board a couple of times and then take control of the game.
  I'm currently adjusting the deck to see if I can work past this problem
(adding stabilizers, or hindering touches, maindeck), because if you don't
have at least a 40% game against red-white, you shouldn't be playing.

The other main deck that's running around is Zombie Bidding,  and this is an
odd game,  but if you've got the complicate for the bidding,  it should be
in your favor.  Whipcorder and Pacifism answer twisted abomination,  and
your guys beat the rest of their team (which mostly consists of grizzly
bears that don't win in combat vs. mangler or silver knight).  While this
does sometimes mean you're slowly pushing through rotlung tokens,  you still
should win out.  Your life gain undoes the gempalm damage, in case you were
wondering. Again, not an out-and-out victory by any means,  but slightly in
your favor (from my limited playtesting, as always).

Anyways,  this deck is fun,  and you get to play blue and green,  which is
abnormal in the environment,  but it does need some work.  If anyone's got
any comments, suggestions, or ridicule, feel free to send me a message.


You can reach Andy at:

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