with Andy Van Zandt
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
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.
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
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 Cabal Therapy
4 Birds of paradise
3 Vampiric Tutor
3 Raven Familiar
3 Wirewood Savage
3 Cavern Harpy
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 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 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
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
without life loss) or a soul warden (infinite life from
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
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
Cavern Harpy - Gates itself at no cost, yielding
infinite life or infinite
cards with a warden/savage and alluren. Also, blocks
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.
Sometimes you just do this without the alluren, so you
can (gasp) get the
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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...
You can reach
Andy at: email@example.com