Argothian Treehouse
Andy Van Zandt



Card Price Guide

MTG Fan Articles
Single Card Strategy 
Deck Tips & Strategies 
Tourney Reports 
Peasant Magic 
Featured Articles

Featured Writers
The Dragon's Den
Rumblings From The Ass
The Heretic's Sermon
Through The Portal
DAB: Oh My!
The Argothian Treehouse

Deck Garage
Aaron's School

Message Board 
Magic League

Contact Us

Pojo's Book Reviews



Argothian Treehouse
with Andy Van Zandt

Control Skies Affinity

8.25.04  All right, we're in the midst of an interesting Mirrodin block constructed Pro-Tour Qualifier season. The most popular deck seems to be Ravager affinity still, despite both the large amount of hate cards out there for it, and the lack of skullclamp. Tooth and Nail and Big Red seem to be the other 2 top-tier archetypes for the moment, both with their own contingent of cheap artifact removal. So here's one of my stabs at a somewhat rogue deck, though it takes its cue from one of the affinity variations. Now I say that, but the ideas behind the deck and the way it plays is vastly different from standard affinity, so don't jump the gun and assume it's an inferior affinity build- look at it like an aggro-control deck, like Skies. We'll start with a decklist and then I'll go into the concepts:

4 Somber Hoverguard
3 Qumulox
4 Serum Visions
3 Thoughtcast
4 Condescend
3 Override
4 Frogmite
4 Ornithopter
4 Scale of Chiss-goria
2 Paradise Mantle
2 Chromatic Sphere
3 Cranial Plating

4 Seat of the Synod
4 Ancient Den
4 Darksteel Citadel
2 Vault of Whispers
6 Islands

This is a more tuned version than my original, which included Myr Enforcers and Arcbound workers. Now stop screaming about the lack of Disciple and Ravager, we already went over this- it's not the same deck. It does use affinity, and thus some of the same cards, but it functions altogether in a different manner.

First off, the simple idea is to lay a flying creature or two...hopefully adding up to a 3 turn clock, roughly... any two flyers, or one with a cranial plating. Two sombers is still satisfactory because you'll have got the one swing with the original off before the real clock starts. Once you've got your beats set up, you sit back on a counter or two while your
quick clock starts ticking. The plan's stability is enforced by the blue
flyers- most decks simply don't deal with them. They're not artifacts, and the most common air creature in the top-tier decks is blinkmoth nexus.
Which doesn't cope.

Notes on specific card choices:

Scale of Chiss-Goria not only gets your affinity up fast, it does very mean things to red decks... the vast majority of games where you scale to save your Hoverguard from an E-bolt, you will win. Additionally, it gives Somber the toughness to survive a self-pumping Blinkmoth Nexus. Then the side benefit of blocking some Witnesses and Uktabis with your Frogmites and Ornithopters is a much less important perk.

Serum Visions and Thoughtcast smooth out your draws to make it all flow the way it should. There are 4 Visions rather than Thoughtcasts because having the turn 1 play is more important, and they honestly do a very similar thing anyways.

Override is basically a hard counter in the deck. The reason Condescend gets the higher number is that it can counter on turn two AND lets you smooth your draw more. If it didn't do both, there would be 4 Override.
Counter Arc-sloggers and Tooth and Nails. Win.

Chromatic Sphere and Paradise Mantle are very similar cards in the deck, and while in normal Ravager builds, the Mantle is best only on turn 1 and 2, the Sphere is better any time after that... this deck needs the slightly more permanent source of blue mana, plus the actual -acceleration- it provides to get your flyer out is better. There were 4 mantle, but when I lowered the creature count, it suited the deck better to lower the mantle count, thus the split.

Environmental Notes: Not only are your creatures not artifacts, but half of your lands don't die to artifact kill either. This makes you more resilient to hate, however an oxidize-shaman-shaman draw can still cripple your mana too much in the beginning, if they're "wasting" it on your land rather than saving it for the Ravagers you don't have. I've thrown up my
hands on several occasions when the second Shaman came down. A very strong
Ravager Affinity draw against you is hard to beat main-deck, unfortunately, particularly if they go first and lay Vial turn one- odds are you won't get the opportunity to Condescend Ravager then. However, If they don't get a blazing fast draw, this deck tends to be more consistent, and a Cranial Plating will be your best friend, because they can't cope with it on a flyer.

4 Aether Spellbomb
4 Test of Faith
4 Annul
3 Blinding Beam

Aether Spellbomb is mostly for Tooth and Nail, and even though you won't need it that often, it's still a superior card to the Scales in that match-up. I also sometimes bring in the Spellbombs over scales against Affinity. The more standard bring-ins for Affinity are the Annuls and Blinding Beams. Leave in 2 condescend, take out the rest of the counter, 1 Serum Visions, and 1 Scale to accomodate them. Test of Faith is for the Big Red match. The sideboarded white cards are the reason there are more main-deck white lands than black.

That's about it... oh, and you should generally mulligan hands that don't
have a permanent blue source. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me
and e-mail.


You can reach Andy at:

Copyright 2001

Magic the Gathering is a Registered Trademark of Wizards of the Coast.
This site is not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast and is not an Official Site.