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Pimp My Precon
June 2, 2006

Yes, I have returned. No long winded, splashy intros for me this time. Let’s get to the point: Previously, I had abandoned the ways of the hardcore, ruthless, win-at-all-costs mentality of tournament PEZ so that I may walk the path less traveled: creating Peasant Magic theme decks.

So, what monstrosity have I built in the months since my last appearance? Well, um...nothing, really. Look, I’ve been BUSY, okay? Just get off my back! Oh Gawd! (*sobs*)

But I do have me an idea: Pimp My Precon!

The ground rules: I pick one of Wizards’ very own preconstructed decks (they range from Tempest block all the way to the present), dissect the thing and then proceed to build a deck that’s PEZ legal while also sticking to the spirit of the original deck’s theme/game plan for victory.

So, what’s up first? I’m so glad you asked. I’m going with a personal favorite of mine from Stronghold.

THE SPARKLER, Version 1.0
(Uncommons marked with an *, rares with an **)
1 Mogg Fanatic
*1 Wall of Razors
*1 Wall of Tears
2 Capsize
1 Contempt
1 Counterspell
**1 Evacuation
**1 Intruder Alarm
3 Mana Leak
1 Mind Games
2 Power Sink
*2 Propaganda
*1 Ransack
**1 Reins of Power
2 Spell Blast
*1 Whispers of the Muse

*2 Fanning the Flames
2 Flowstone Blade
3 Lightning Blasts
*1 Searing Touch
1 Shatter
2 Shock
14 Island
13 Mountain
"The Sparkler" was one of Wizards’ very first preconstructed decks. I’ve also heard that it’s a favorite of Star City Games’ very own Abe Sargent as well. I’d love to give y’all a link to prove it, but I see no reason to arouse the wrath of Ye Mighty Pojo Editors. Instead, I humbly suggest you dig thru That Other Site’s archives and read his article on precons, wherein he spreads the Sparkley gospel. (Personal aside to Ye Editors: If this paragraph gets included, I’ll be friggin’ shocked!) ;)

Damn, sidetracked again. Where was I? Ah yes! Playing Ol’ Sparky here is not for the faint of heart. The deck itself is a counterburn deck, with the gimmick being that it has only one card that can actually WIN! It relies on stalling the game with countermagic, blue bounce and it’s less-than-a-handful of creatures until it can draw one of two Fanning the Flames, at which point you have a choice of two options: Tap out and go for broke with the mother of all X spells or nickel and dime your opponent to death by paying the Flames buyback cost.

So what’s wrong with the engine? Turn it over and it runs like a dream, but it frequently sputters out. I asked Mr. Mechanic to take Sparkler out for a test drive, see if he could find the trouble with her. I didn’t like seeing the bill.

1) Eight counterspells, four of them being X spells. Slooooow X-spells!
2) Inconsistent creature stall: Capsize and Propaganda are decent. Contempt and Mind Games? Not so much.
3) The rares, while powerful, are expensive. (And in the case of Reins, very situational.)
4) Cheap burn spells are good. Flowstone Blade and Lightning Blasts bad!
5) Only three creatures, I can live with that. But do they all have to be different?
6) Fanning the Flames is the lone path to victory and you simply will not win without it.
Still, it wasn’t all bad news. The tranny’s in good shape...
1) Make like Fox News and spread the Propaganda. It slows down traffic on the highway for us Sunday drivers.
2) Card drawing. Whispers of the Muse was a Godsend for finding the Flames.
3) The *other* burn spells: At least 4-8 smaller burn spells are an essential for dealing with creatures.
Now traditionally, this would be the part of the show where I’d call Xzibit and shamelessly beg for a new ride. But since we’re playing in Dominaria and not southern California, I’ll have to settle for Niv-Mizzet. (Tell me THAT don’t sound like gangsta slang! "Fo’ shizzet, my nizzet! On the D-O-double G-izzet!" But again I digress...)
(a.k.a "Izzet time for the fireworks yet?" Uncommons marked with an *)
4 Wee Dragonaughts
3 Frantic Search
4 Counterspell
4 Miscalculation
1 Syncopate
3 Capsize
*2 Propaganda
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Kaervek’s Torch
*2 Fanning the Flames
4 Incinerate
1 Feldon’s Cane
14 Island
13 Mountain
I’ll leave the excited screams of "OhmyGawd!OhmyGawd!OhmyGawd!" and shouts of triumphant joy for my dawg Niv-Mizzle to bask in while I explain the pimpage.

1) I upgraded the countermagic. We’re now sporting a full compliment of Counterspells in addition to four Miscalculations and a Syncopate. Yes, the Syncopate is still an X spell, but I rationalize it with the fact that whatever it counters is removed from the game.

2) Card drawing: Miscalculation (Mana Leak with cycling) is great in the mid to late game when you’re looking for that Flame to close the deal. Frantic Search (draw and discard two cards but untap three lands) will hurt some but won’t tie up your mana once you find an X spell.

3) Wee Dragonauts replace the original creatures. Since everything in this deck is an instant or sorcery, they’ll combo up fine as well as give you a second win condition in case the Flames die out early.

4) Kaervek’s Torch: As close to an Urza’s Rage as PEZ can get, the Torch is a back up plan in case your Flames fail miserably.

5) Everything else: Propaganda is in for the reasons discussed earlier, Lightning Bolts and Incinerates are primarily for creaturekill and one Feldon’s Cane is included to help get you thru extra innings.

What’s that you say? "Where’s the sideboard?" Silly rabbit! Precons don’t HAVE sideboards! Just be happy you got your Magic ride back, you little ingrate! Xzibit tried to jack your ride, man! I had to drag his ass from behind the wheel! :)

Once more, with feeling! Send yer love letters or hate e-mail to me at whatever@hcinet.net. Until then, I remain...
B. Siems





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