Argothian Treehouse
Andy Van Zandt



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Argothian Treehouse

with Andy Van Zandt

Scrubbing Less With: Alluren

This time around I'm going to talk about a deck I wouldn't play.  So
depending on whether you trust my advice or not, maybe you should play it 
;)        It's a solid deck, to be sure,  but I simply think that Isochron
Tog is too common an archetype at the moment, particularly at the top tables
at PTQ's.  If it weren't for the Isochron part of that,  I'd be all over it,
  but the nitty gritty of it is that if they isochron before turn 4 and
imprint a counter of some sort, you have to win IMMEDIATELY,  and that's
asking too much, as far as consistency goes, that early in the game. 
Alluren goes off turn 3, 4, or 5 consistently, assuming no disruption. 
Basing the likelyhood of you winning the game on factors such as whether
they have an isochron, whether they're going first, or whether you'll have
the therapy turn one is just not acceptable in my eyes.  Psychatog without
scepter though, is a favorable matchup- as are most decks in the environment
at the moment, in fact...  until people start playing more suicide black. 

Normally here, I'd start with a decklist from a top 8 somewhere.   Since
this deck hasn't seen a lot of pro-tour action,  I'll go with the list I
played two weeks ago and squeaked into the top 8 at the local PTQ with.  I
certainly take no credit for the design,  my friends Jeff, Ty, and Dal
playtested alluren to death last season, and this build is basically theirs:

4 Living Wish
4 Alluren
4 Cabal Therapy
4 Birds of paradise
3 Vampiric Tutor
2 Intuition
3 Raven Familiar
3 Wirewood Savage
3 Cavern Harpy
3 Brainstorm
1 Soul Warden
1 Cloud of Faeries
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Pernicious Deed

4 Hickory Woodlot
3 City of Brass
4 Yavimaya coast
3 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp
3 Islands
5 Forests

1 Soul Warden
1 Cavern Harpy
1 Raven Familiar
1 Maggot Carrier
1 Veridian Shaman
1 Llawan, cephalid empress
1 Academy Rector
1 City of Brass
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
1 Boneshredder
1 Monk Realist
1 Absolute Law
3 Orim's chant

Their list has the fourth brainstorm instead of the third savage,  I'm a
firm believer in profuse amounts of your integral combo pieces.  They also
wanted me to run Chrome Mox instead of Cloud of Faeries/Stroke,  but I went
with keeping them because they're useful separately, mox is weak and
disrupts yourself, and you can't go off instantly unless you've already
tutored for the carrier without them.  Infinite mana is better than just
assuming you'll only need the 2 from the mox you'll draw for a single living

Another thing to note, Gilded Drake is not in the sideboard, but should be- 
though 90% of his function in life is to steal Stronghold Taskmaster so you
can sac it to a therapy and go off,  and most rock decks aren't running him
in their sideboard at the moment.  Plus you've got the deed main anyways.

Here we go, the cards that make the world go round (or boom, as the case may

Alluren - Duh.  Free dudes.  Only lay it when you need to go off, or when
you need to sneak it in under a counterspell/hand disruption.  Though them
laying creatures rarely matters at that point.  This fuels the combo: 
Cavern Harpy and either Raven Familiar or Wirewood savage.  Repeatedly play
the harpy and gate it,  or gate the familiar and pay the life to return the
harpy.  Do this until you've either got a savage (so you can repeat-gate
without life loss) or a soul warden (infinite life from harpy's repeat-gate,
then sift your deck with the familiar).  Then either use the cavern harpy
with cloud of faeries or maggot carrier (after infinite life),  to gain
infinite mana and stroke of genius them to death or maggot carrier them to

Living Wish - Redundancy of all the combo components that aren't Alluren. 
Additionally, lets you reach in your tool-box of a sideboard and answer
whatever obstacles they've put in your path to combo'ing out.

Vampiric Tutor - Also redundancy, but consistency as well.  Get what you
need-  combo piece, disruption, land, whatever.  Important to note, you can
cast this when you get duressed or therapied,  the card you search for goes
safely on top of your deck.

Brainstorm - With the card shuffling of vamp, intuition, and polluted delta,
this card not only lets you get your combo pieces faster, it lets you hide
them from invasive hand-searchers.

Intuition - Yet another searcher, this one has the added bonus of being
-the- spell you want to resolve against control decks.  Get your cabal
therapies, and you should be able to win easily shortly thereafter.

Cavern Harpy - Gates itself at no cost, yielding infinite life or infinite
cards with a warden/savage and alluren.  Also, blocks non-trampling fatties
and returns at the loss of only one life.  Don't be scared to just cast this
guy and start serving,  in the mirror, that's how you win half the time. 
When going off, this is the card people should most often "respond" to with
spells.  Not his gating, but the harpy itself.

Wirewood Savage - Cavern Harpy is a beast.  Draw cards.  Cards good. 
Sometimes you just do this without the alluren, so you can (gasp) get the
alluren faster.

Raven Familiar - See Wirewood Savage, except that you lose a life each time
you gate this guy and return the harpy.  He still lets you dig deeper, and
often you'll do a few cycles of him to get to the savage/warden.  Another
card you shouldn't be afraid to cast by himself-  I've often living wished
for this guy just because I needed to hard cast him to find something else.

Cabal Therapy - This is so you can resolve your spells.  Sometimes it's to
do other stuff, but mostly that.  Very multi-functional, really,  but the
reason it's in the deck is to stop hand-disruption/counters/seal of fire.

Birds Of Paradise - Mana acceleration for a three color deck that's trying
to go off fast,  and often cabal therapy food.

Soul Warden - Infinite life with alluren/harpy.  You've gotta have this guy
to be infinite (both life and mana), that's why there's a spare in the side.
  Wouldn't want to just concede when he undergoes therapy, now would we?

Cloud of Faeries - Infinite mana with alluren/harpy/warden gate-bouncing. 
Don't be afraid to cycle this away if you don't need it, you'll still have
the carrier win.  I've also searched it out quite often to get a woodlot out
from under a port or tanglewire.  Incidentally, that's the turn two win: 
turn one woodlot, turn two blue source, this guy, alluren, win.  Don't
expect it to happen a lot.

Stroke of Genius - Your way to win instantly (most important in the mirror
match),  but also a good card to vamp for just to fill up your hand.

Pernicious Deed - They lay something that stops the combo, you either living
wish for the answer or you vamp for this.  Also a handy-dandy board wiper
for those pesky weenie decks.

Sideboard Notes:
Most of the uses are obvious-  boneshredder for meddling mage, shaman for
sphere of resistance, etc.

Academy Rector - Lets you get an alluren down even if they've meddling
mage'd for alluren,  sac him to your therapy.  In effect, this guy means you
can living wish for alluren.

Llawan - Stops opposing cavern harpies, and also psychatogs <nod nod>

Sylvan Safekeeper - stops removal you can't therapy away (as well as the
ones you can),  like seal of fire,  which would otherwise slow you down
something fierce.

Orim's Chant - honestly, I bring this in 50% of the time,  but it's supposed
to be for against control decks and the mirror match.  It ensures you can
safely go off, and can also fog a tog.

Specific Match-ups:
The Rock:
Favorable-  usually they don't slow you down enough AND don't put on enough
pressure.  If they have a treetop and see your hand 4+ times in a game
though, you'll probably lose.  Monk Realist the Pernicious deed,  if you
didn't therapy it away early.

Unfavorable- but only if they're playing with scepters and know what they're
doing.  Sometimes they don't (lots of people don't know how to play against
alluren well).

Red Deck Wins:
Seal of Fire + pressure = bad,  but if you get to cast alluren, you should
win.  RDW is a bit slower than last season's sligh, so it's a bit more in
your favor,  but this was the bad matchup last season.  Tanglewire is also
bad news.  Vamping for absolute law after sideboarding should eke it out for
you though,  and anyways, nobody should play this deck-  it loses too badly
to rock and rogue decks.

Don't lay alluren unless you cabal therapied them THAT TURN and know you can
safely go off.  Wait for them to go off instead, then go off in response, 
or just lay dudes and attack.  Two smart players should make this game the
coin flip,  but there's a lot of bad alluren players.

Final Notes:

You can deal with anything, just depends on how much time you've got to do
so.   Playtest playtest playtest, both with and against this deck.  It's not
easy to play right.  Its best advantage at the moment is that-  not enough
people play it, or know how to play against it correctly, so they and their
sideboards may not be well equipped.  Still though...  Isochron...


You can reach Andy at:

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