Monday, September 29, 2014

The Casual Gamer

The Booster Box Challenge

It's finally here, rotation. 

Goodbye Ravnica block. 

Goodbye Core 2014. 

Hello Khans of Tarkir. You sexy beast you!

The biggest challenge to rotation is finding a deck you enjoy in Standard. Most people just lost half, if not more, of their current Standard deck. That either means trying to fill the holes with a new set or scrapping the old for something brand spanking new. 

You spent two years playing Esper control, why not try Temur Aggro?

That is why most people budget bigger for the post rotation set. It's got the cards that will be the foundation for Standard for the next 18 months. You'll need more than a couple of cards to begin rebuilding or starting a new. Hardcore Magic players will buy a case of boxes (6), while the casual gamer will grab a booster box. 

So I'll ask, is it better to spend that budget on the box or on the deck? 

Me, I personally think buying a box is smarter. It gives you a good base of commons and uncommons to build from over the next 18 months, plus it gives you great trade bait to pick up the cards you want, and maybe a few extras for down the road. Sure buying an entire deck in singles gives you the deck you want but then there is no flexibility and no trade bait, outside of your money cards, to pick up some versatility. 

Yet it made me wonder, "What kind of current Standard deck could I put together for 109.99?". That's a larger budget than I usually use for a deck, but if I'm willing to drop 109.99 on a box of Khans then 109.99 isn't out of the ballpark for a deck I'll play with for over a year. 

Here is the deck I came up with:

Waiting 2 Exile

Creatures (7)

Generator Servant x4
Narset, Enlightened Master x3

Spells (30)

Deflecting Palm x2
Lightning Strike x4
Magma Jet x4
Anger of the Gods x1
Howl of the Horde x3
Arc Lightning x4
Chandra, Pyromaster x2
Jace, The Living Guildpact x2
Stoke the Flames x4
Cone of Flames x1
Elspeth, Sun's Champion x1
Dig Through Time x2

Land (23)

Temple of Epiphany x1
Temple of Triumph x1
Battlefield Forge x2
Evolving Wilds x2
Island x2
Plans x2
Shivan Reef x2
Mystic Monastary x4
Mountain x7

Sideboard (15)

Erase x2
Magma Spray x3
Reprisal x2
Negate x3
Banishing Light x2
Winterflame x2
End Hostilities x1

And that is what I'll be playing for the next few months until the new set in January.

The deck I guess would fall into the category of Tempo. It can be a burn deck or a control deck. To me it is a Narset deck. When she was spoiled about a month ago, I lost my mind. She was everything I wanted in a card and more. So I built this entire deck around her.

The mana base was most import to figure out. For budget purposes I avoided fetch lands. I feel evolving wilds are just as useful and I'll take the "tappped" disadvantage so that my fetch can grab me one of my three basic land types instead of two. 

The other big money land choice would have have been Mana Confluence but I took four Mystic Monastary instead. It gives all three mana and at end game I don't have to worry about choosing between one life and casting a spell. Confluence is great for speed decks that don't care about life totals. This deck works well with tapped lands because it is flexible in play style. 

Once the mana base was taken care of I began working on my main deck. Generator Servants are a no brainer. He pushes out Narset on turn four with haste. That puts a lot of pressure on a deck to answer. Plus he helps bring out Planeswalkers earlier or cast a Dig Through Time for 3 cheaper (2 mana, delve the servant).

The rest of the deck was just finding the optimal instants and sorceries. Howl of the Horde is a game ender. Narset triggers the raid ability plus usually provides an burn spell to copy. Nothing more fun than turn four Narset then getting double Howls plus a burn spell for the win. 

The sideboard is put together to adjust for situational match ups. Negates are more protection than control. There is only a handful of spells that can remove Narset from the field. Negate counters those. The rest of the sideboard is pretty straight forward.

Now the important part, the price:

That's a full deck and a sideboard for less than a box of Khans. I'm excited to keep tinkering with this deck but after play testing this weekend, and spending the past three weeks putting the deck together, I am confident this deck would be FNM ready for Standard this Friday.

What would you play if you had to take the booster box challenge? Aggro Mono-Black? Mardu Midrange? Delver?

No matter what you play, it's going to be a fun time. We're past rotation and that feels like a new day. 

A day full of free burn spells!!!