Friday, April 29, 2016

The Casul Gamer


I'm old.

When I first started playing Magic in 1993, my mom still gave me lunch money. I would like to tell you that my $20 a week always went towards lunch and not Magic. I'd also like to tell you that playing Magic in school made me the prom king.

Neither of those things are true. But it did teach me how to budget my money and date a person who is into me for me. Both valuable life lessons. So thanks Magic.

Now this weekend is Shadows Over Innistrad Game Day at 1PM with a $5 entry. It's a Standard Constructed tournament with Full Art promos for all players and Full Art Foil promos for those that make the top 8 cut. The winner will walk away with the champions play mat.

What deck are you going to play? Eldrazi? Mono-White Humans? Tokens? What if you only had my old school Magic budget? What if you only had $20 to build a deck with?

I took this challenge yesterday after stumbling onto a combo I absolutely love (and hate myself for not seeing sooner).

I've written about how awesome Zada, Hedron Grinder is. Then yesterday a customer had a question about Silverfur Partisan and how it's ability works. That's when my brain clicked that the two could work really well together. Best part is a play set of both is about $7. That's amazing.

Even better is since I'm going wolves (werewolves are too undependable to always be wolfy), I can spike in a ton of creatures at bare minimum costs. Match that with cheap targeting spells and we're talking super budget.

Here's the deck list before I break down the deck:

One Man WolfPack

Creatures: 21

4x Ember-Eye Wolf
2x Quilled Wolf
4x Scourge Wolf
4x Timberpack Wolf
4x Silverfur Partisan
3x Zada, Hedron Grinder

Spells: 19

4x Might of the Masses
4x Slip Through Space
4x Titan's Strength
4x Vines of the Recluse
3x Howlpack Resurgence

Lands: 20
2x Evolving Wilds
6x Forest
1x Highland Lake
2x Island
6x Mountain
2x Timber Gorge
1x Woodland Stream

All of that for roughly $17. There's money left to build a sideboard with. I'd suggest cards like Moonlight Hunt, Fiery Impulse, Glint, Expedite, and other situational cheap stuff to fill out the sideboard.

First you'll notice there isn't any direct removal. When building I couldn't find any I truly liked that didn't take away from the deck or cost a bunch. I figured it was better for sideboard material and to focus on the strategy of the deck: Pump out wolves, pump up wolves.

This is an aggro deck. It just takes the first turn off. Like a wolf you stalk your prey. It also leaves turn one for tap lands to set your board for the game. Then on turn 2 you start jamming out wolves.

Since most of your spells are instant speed (even the enchantment) it opens up a bunch of combat tricks for your pack. Opponent has flyers then give a wolf reach. Opponent has a big beast then hit Titan strength to take em down. Opponent has a wall of creatures you can't bust through then make a pumper unblockable.

Add Zada to the mix and all your wolves can do those tricks. Add in Silverfur Partisan and you'll make puppies for each creature a spell copied by Zada targets. It gets crazy quick.

Even better is that it abuses the Magic rules for priority & stack. I'll go through a scenario that I worked with a MTG judge on. I believe this is how it plays out but if I am wrong PLEASE let me know. The judge I talked to seems to believe this is how it plays out.

You know your opponent has an Ultimate Price. They know you're holding Zada. Both of you are in a stand off. On the board is two wolves and a Silverfur Partisan on your side. Your opponent has three zombies. Your opponent doesn't wish to use the price on the Partisan because Zada is the game ender. You draw into your sixth land and play Zada.

Your opponent will scramble to tap their lands to blow up Zada but can't until you pass priority from the resolution of the casting. That's when you can cast one of your two spells, which will trigger Zada & thus lead to triggers on Partisan. You don't want to spam cast because you need the Zada ability to resolve first to trigger the Partisan.

You cast Zada then hold priority to cast Slip Through Space. The Slip targets Zada and triggers him. Before he can begin to create copies to trigger Partisan you need to pass priority. You pass priority so opponent can cast UP on Zada.

You respond to the UP casting by casting Might of the Masses. Then your Might of the Masses will target Zada and triggers him. That trigger resolves and creates 3 Partisan triggers for 6 total wolves. The first three wolves from MM come into play and then MM resolves on your original 4 creatures for +7/+7.

Next Ultimate Price resolves to kill your Zada.

Finally your Zada SS trigger resolves for 6 copies of SS to make your 6 wolves unblockable and you draw 6 cards. Those 6 copies create six wolf token triggers from the Partisan. You end it by swinging out with your three original wolves that are all unblockable 9/9.

So that's the deck. Pretty cut and dry. Play smart and be willing to toss your wolves around. It's ok to sit back and let the game come to you. As shown above the deck can pounce on your opponent in one turn.

Now let's rock out to some Duran Duran and start sleeving all those wolf tokens.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Casual Gamer

Shadows Over Innistrad Is Here!

Were you one of the 178 players that participated in Nerdageddon's Shadows Over Innistrad Prerelease weekend? If not then you missed a helluva weekend. Including the discovery of my new best friend:

He's sooooo good!

When I first saw this card I didn't have my socks blown off. Not a huge defense, so he can be dealt with. His ability can bite you when you need land and your opp is putting it in your GY, but after playing with him that really isn't the downside. I'm not saying it can't come bite you but I tended to draw more spells with him & the times he sent land away, it helped because I drew power with my actual draw step.

In limited he was a beast because you're almost forced into higher casting cost stuff for deck construction & now those high costs get added value with this Devil on your shoulder. Add in his menace ability and you're scoring a bolt a turn with him as long as your opponent has only a creature untapped or alive. Something that happened often this weekend. 

So I got home after a long day of MTG prerelease fun and of course spent the next day brewing up my Standard deck. We've got a Fat Pack Battle this Friday for FNM but the rest of the month, including SOI Gameday on April 30th, is Standard Constructed at Nerdageddon. 

Here's my brew:

"Slow Burn" 

Creatures: 18

Insolent Neonate x4
Sin Prodder x4
Avaricious Dragon x2
Inverter Of Truth x1
Thunderbreak Regent x4
Goblin Dark-dweller x3

Spells: 19

Avacyn's Judgment x4
Tormenting Voice x3
Alms of the Vein x2
Exquisite Firecraft x4
Fiery Temper x4
Ruinous Path x2

Artifact: 1

Pyromancer's Goggles x1

Land: 22

Foreboding Ruins x3
Smoldering Marsh x3
Swamp x5
Mountain x11

No sideboard because I haven't really focused on that. The deck will take some tooling and testing but this is a good place to start.

It's a burn deck but it's not. Most of your burn decks are fast out the gate. This one really doesn't get the ball rolling until turn 3. Yet this one comes with mid-range headaches. The creature base has a lot of evasion abilities either with flying or menace.

The spells all can be targets for Dark-Dwellers plus be hefty enough to get value from Sin Prodder. The madness triggers for Vein & Temper are huge when paired with any of the discard cards. Pyromancer's goggles is just sprinkles. It adds mana and finishes games.

Now I wanted to add Kolaghan's Commands to this deck but at 20 a pop I wanted to stick to more of a budget. I added Ruinous Path & Alms of the Vein to replace the commands. If you wanted the more expensive version then switch those out and put the other two cards in your sideboard. The difference is a $110 deck or a $200 deck. 

As always Casual Gamer is about budget brewing. 

Again the deck isn't coming out of the gate strong. You might get a neonate on turn 1 but really its turn three where everything comes online. Don't be afraid to burn early and often. Get the Sin Prodder out as fast as possible, especially if you're holding land on turn 3. In fact the more Sin Prodder's out the better. 

After turn three just keep tossing creatures and burn out. Save your Avaricious Dragon & Inverter of Truth until you need them. Also Inverter is a great finisher with Sin Prodder. Outside of the lands in your GY you'll be turning your library into pure gas for the Prodder. This is one card I'm torn on for creature count. I might switch Inverter of Truth with Avaricious Dragon for a two of instead. 

I'm excited for this new cycle of Standard. Fetches are gone. Rhinos are toast. Now we get to brew a whole new world. 

Don't forget to swing in this weekend to pick up your Shadows Over Innistrad Booster boxes, Booster Packs, Intro Decks, Fat Packs, and Deck Builder Toolkits. Everything is available at NOON on Friday.