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Peasant Magic Decks - 2009
/////Blue-Red Tempo- Robert Barone
4 Izzet Boilerworks
3 Keldon Marauders
4 Flametongue Kavu*
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Accumulated Knowledge
1 Sol Ring*
3 Unstable Mutation
First off, this deck definitely has game. It has beat the relatively best deck of my meta (WGR slivers) and managed to be above average all around.
The goal of the deck is to control the board long enough to go in with your creatures. Bounce on its own usually doesn’t cut it, but this deck plays the blue ability with the attitude of red. The deck feels very blue when you play it (by this, I mean it requires a lot of analyzing and good maneuvers) and red simply puts it over the top and in a position to win.
The creatures of the deck serve either or both of these functions:
1) Bounce or remove an opposing creature with a “comes into play” ability
2) Take advantage of superior board position.
The first function is critical to the deck. For example, when a Man-O’-War is played, you gain a 2/2 creature and your opponent loses a creature and is forced to spend their mana next turn just to replay the creature. When this ability is multiplied, the result is the slowing of your opponent tremendously (because he has to spend his mana multiple times for each single creature) and a superior board position (you keep gaining creatures while your opponent keeps having his bounced). Simply killing creatures is even better, as it’s straight up card advantage and board position—you gain a creature and kill one of your opponents. This is even better than bouncing a creature because it is not just delayed, but eliminated. The creatures that serve this function are: Man-O’-War (4), Flametongue Kavu (4), and Stingscourger (3).
The second function is a little vaguer, as taking advantage of superior board position can take a variety of forms. Outright killing the opponent by having more attackers than his blockers is one option. For this role, Keldon Marauders and Flametongue Kavu can put a relatively quick clock on the opponent.
The choice of Keldon Marauders may need a quick explaining. First, the deck is meant to take advantage of the small window of opportunity it creates via board position to kill the opponent. Thus, the vanishing counters on Keldon Marauders are somewhat negligible. Although it only can only attack once, Keldon Marauders can, if unblocked, take 5 life from your opponent for R1. Even if it is blocked, being a 2-mana 3/3 means that it will probably take a blocker with it (and still deal two damage due to its ability). Additionally, bouncing the Marauders opens up all kinds of tricks that saves the creature, deals through its leaving play ability, and allows for it to be played again. Overall, it’s a better fit than it appears.
Ninja of the Deep Hours (4) also serves the function of taking care of board advantage in a slightly different way. Superior board position usually translates into having more attackers than blockers. The focus of board position allows you to maximize the Ninja’s card drawing ability. The ability to Ninjitsu it into play (and for U1) is just icing on the cake. The more cards drawn the better, and Ninja of the Deep Hours maximizes your superior board position to put you miles ahead of your opponent. Additionally, using Ninjitsu on any of the creatures and then reusing their comes into play abilities is a strong play and another way to negate Keldon Maruaders’ drawback among other things.
With the exception of Accumulated Knowledge (which I believe is the best common blue instant for drawing), all of the instants in this deck serve to create superior board position (surprising huh). Jilt (4) is the MVP of these spells, being able to bounce 1 creature early on, or bounce 1 and kill 1 creature later on. Jilt can also be used for shenanigans like bouncing your own creature while burning an opponents etc. Repeal (2) simply bounces an opponent’s creature while replacing itself (which is actually very important for a sustained advantage). The mana is conditional, having an X cost, so 2 seems like an appropriate number. The single Capsize is actually very relevant, because it can serve as utility bounce and a recurring late game bomb—yes bomb. Dead draw turns late game are saved by utilizing Capsize and its buyback ability.
Burn serves double duty here. It is stronger than bounce as it kills creatures instead of delaying them, and it also finishes off the opponent when you run out of steam. If you lose board position before you can finish off the opponent, Lightning Bolt (4) or Fireball (2) can give you just enough to win pull of the win. However, burns main purpose IS board control. A first turn Lightning Bolt to your opponent’s life total is the wrong move. Burn should only target the opponent when it put you in a position to win. Otherwise, save it for his creatures. Fireball is the absolute finisher late-game, as this deck sports a strong mana base. However, it is also possible to use Fireball to clear out multiple creatures at once, and this can be the strongest play of the deck.
Unstable Mutation (3) is the only enchantment of the deck and it serves to powerup your creatures. It takes 3 turns for Unstable mutation to break even, giving the enchanted creature +0/+0. Until then, it is a powerful enchantment that compensates for the decks lack of large creatures. Against green or other big creatures, Unstable Mutation shines. Unstable Mutation also has a powerful synergy with the decks bounce theme too, because when the creature accrues a lot of -1/-1 counters, simply bounce and replay it.
The mana base is very stable for this deck, which is more mana hungry than one might think. Mana screw rarely happens, and I’m almost never at a lost for a particular color. The Izzet Boilerworks may seem clunky and slow, but are very important. Although they cause a slow second turn, they lead to an opportune third turn. Also, for example, late in the game you’re going to be happy that although you only have drawn four lands, you can produce six mana thanks to having two Izzet Boilerworks. There’s a Sol Ring in the deck because there was a single open uncommon slot and because it provides a quick burst of mana. Like I said, the deck is more mana hungry than you may think. Early, the Sol Ring solidifies an early board dominance by allowing quicker Man-O’-Wars or Flametongue Kavus. Late in the game, Sol Ring helps power out Jilt with the Kicker, big Repeals, or game-changing Fireballs.
Overall, the deck is very intricate to play and an extensive knowledge of the deck improves performance. With time comes the knowledge of when to pick targets for bounce, when to burn the opponent instead of his creatures, when to not pay the echo cost of Stingscourger etc. The deck should play with a sustained advantage throughout the game, but it can use bombs like Fireball, Capsize, Jilt, or Flametongue Kavu to get ahead after being behind. On top of all this, the deck is incredibly entertaining to play with and against, and is much more fun than playing Affinity vs. High Tide. It has competitive power (can beat top-tier slivers), yet interacts with the opponents deck to create fun situations and games.
To improve the deck, I have pondered adding Lonely Sandbars or Forgotten Caves to help negate dead draws late-game, but the mana base seems so perfectly content that more testing will have to be done on my part. Maybe getting rid of an Unstable Mutation depending on your meta and adding a Merchant Scroll or Ponder would be a good move. I encourage you to play the deck and even create your own spin-off.
Feel free to send me your ideas and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
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