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Four New Stagtusk Decks for Standard
Feature Article from Craig Wescoe
Craig Wescoe
5/3/2013 10:01:00 AM
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If you haven't heard the news, Voice of Resurgence (a.k.a. Stagtusk) is the next big thing. Today I would like to show you four new homes for the freshly printed Elemental, spanning across all three Selesnya shard combinations: Bant, Naya, and a pair of Junk (GWB) builds. Then at the end we have the Magic Pop Quiz Showdown – the final week of the contest to decide the winner(s) of the mystery prize. The theme of this first contest was Bible References in Early Magic Sets. If you would like me to start a new contest with a different theme, then suggest a theme in the forum and I'll consider it.


Junk Midrange

One deck that can really benefit from Voice of Resurgence is Junk Midrange. The cards for Junk have slowly been coming together, and between Stagtusk and Sin Collector, I think it finally has enough to compete. Restoration Angel + Thragtusk combo was best used in Bant Control to combat aggression and midrange strategies. Sin Collector now makes Restoration Angel that much better against control decks, nabbing their Sphinx's Revelation or a timely Supreme Verdict. Voice of Resurgence adds yet another anti-control dimension to the deck without weakening it against aggressive or midrange strategies. Consider a list submitted by sugy25:

Junk midrange by sugy25
Main Deck
Sideboard
2 Arbor Elf
4 Loxodon Smiter
2 Obzedat, Ghost Council
3 Restoration Angel
3 Sin Collector
3 Thragtusk
4 Voice of Resurgence
Creatures [21]
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Liliana of the Veil
Planeswalkers [3]
4 Farseek
2 Ground Seal
2 Orzhov Charm
2 Putrefy
2 Selesnya Charm
Spells [12]
1 Gavony Township
4 Godless Shrine
3 Isolated Chapel
4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
1 Vault of the Archangel
4 Woodland Cemetery
Lands [24]
Deck Total [60]







Click for full deck stats & notes!


Maindeck Ground Seal is a pretty drastic anti-Reanimator measure, though it may be justified if that deck continues to be as prevalent as it has been recently. I could see replacing these with Abrupt Decay if you expect a more diverse metagame, moving the Ground Seals to the sideboard. I would also consider adding a couple Garruk Relentless and some bullet creatures such as Sigarda, Host of Herons and Blood Baron of Vizkopa. These could come in handy in a lot of matches. If nothing else, these would be some worthwhile cards to consider for the sideboard, in addition to a third and fourth copy of some of the 2- and 3-ofs from the main. Oh, and one other thing: “Revealing a Bonfire miracle? Sweet, let me play this Restoration Angel and blink my Sin Collector with the miracle trigger on the stack. What's up now, boss? You weren't planning to play that, were you?”


Junk Tokens

Staying in the Junk shard, another deck that benefits pretty significantly from Voice of Resurgence is Junk Tokens. In my testing for Pro Tour Gatecrash, our Junk Tokens deck was able to handle midrange and control decks, but we were having a lot of difficulty beating super aggressive strategies. Unless we had Call of the Conclave, our second turn was usually spent not doing anything to curb the pressure. Intangible Virtue could sometimes be enough if followed up with Lingering Souls, but there simply weren't enough versatile cards to make the aggressive matchups winnable without punting the midrange and control matchups.

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Then Voice of Resurgence got printed.

Now we have a very good two-drop against aggro, midrange, and control decks. Instead of having to rely on drawing Call of the Conclave, we can draw Voice of Resurgence instead and be fine against aggro. We also have an improved midrange game plan in Advent of the Wurm, making us more resilient to Supreme Verdict without having to run Restoration Angel. Between Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, Garruk Relentless, and Advent of Wurm, we do a really good job of taking over in the mid-game. Intangible Virtue is finally what it was in Block Constructed prior to getting banned for power-level reasons. Take a look at Zadrie's list:

Junk Tokens by Zadrie
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Voice of Resurgence
Creatures [4]
1 Garruk Relentless
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Planeswalkers [3]
4 Advent of the Wurm
4 Call of the Conclave
2 Celestial Flare
4 Intangible Virtue
4 Lingering Souls
2 Midnight Haunting
2 Oblivion Ring
3 Path of Bravery
1 Ready // Willing
3 Selesnya Charm
Spells [29]
1 Forest (249)
1 Gavony Township
3 Godless Shrine
2 Isolated Chapel
3 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains (233)
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Vault of the Archangel
3 Woodland Cemetery
Lands [24]
Deck Total [60]


2 Appetite for Brains
3 Beckon Apparition
1 Celestial Flare
1 Duress
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Ray of Revelation
1 Rootborn Defenses
2 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Swamp (241)
2 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


I would make a few changes. Instead of Liliana of the Veil and Garruk, Primal Hunter, I would run Garruk Relentless. This gives us another strong token maker at four-mana that doesn't die to Supreme Verdict. It also gives us another way to kill Huntmaster of the Fells or most other problematic creatures. I would also cut a pair of Midnight Hauntings for a pair of Oblivion Rings. The deck has enough instant speed spells to afford to cut down on Midnight Haunting. Oblivion Ring gives us more ways to handle opposing Planeswalkers. It's the sort of all-purpose answer I like to have in decks like this one that try to win the semi-long attrition game. When you plan on giving your opponent time to find their problem cards for the matchup, you want to make sure you have the answer ready. O Ring is that answer.

I would also add some number of Duress to the sideboard for the control matchup, along with Sundering Growth for decks that have good targets for it. We have enough good tokens to populate, so even if you're only killing a Keyrune or whatever, it can be good. “End of turn, kill your Keyrune, make another 6/6 trampling vigilant wurm token. My turn?” It only gets better when you kill their Detention Sphere that was targeting your Intangible Virtue(s).


Bant Skywalkers

I already talked about Bant Skywalkers, but I wanted to Reiterate that I think it's the best Bant home for Voice of Resurgence. Stagtusk doesn't do a whole lot in a control shell since you're unable to capitalize on the grizzly bear mode of the card. You're also generally unable to make the token very big since you're otherwise fairly creature light. This makes aggro shells the best equipped to take full advantage of Stagtusk. Bant Skywalkers fills a place along the spectrum that plays just enough creatures to make the token a legitimate threat while also being able to make good use of the early grizzly bear damage. You can also do some sweet things such as lifting a bear way up high with Spectral Flight on turn three. For reference, this is the build of Bant Skywalkers I recommend:

Bant SkyWalkers by Craig Wescoe
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
4 Dryad Militant
4 Geist of Saint Traft
4 Knight of Glory
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Restoration Angel
4 Voice of Resurgence
Creatures [28]
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
2 Garruk Relentless
1 Gideon, Champion of Justice
Planeswalkers [4]
3 Oblivion Ring
1 Spectral Flight
1 Unflinching Courage
Spells [5]
4 Breeding Pool
2 Cavern of Souls
1 Forest (270)
1 Gavony Township
2 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
1 Plains (250)
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
Lands [23]
Deck Total [60]


1 Garruk Relentless
1 Gavony Township
1 Geist-Honored Monk
2 Gift of Orzhova
4 Nearheath Pilgrim
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Rest in Peace
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
3 Syncopate
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


The biggest hole in the deck was a lack of two-drop alongside Knight of Glory. We have too many non-creature spells for Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Precinct Captain was decent, but it was no Grand Abolisher. Grand Abolisher would have been perfect…

Then Voice of Resurgence got printed.

Now we have a de facto Grand Abolisher that leaves a Crusader of Odric behind when it dies. I can't harp enough on the subtle synergy between Voice of Resurgence and Restoration Angel. The two cards might not seem like they work together, but they do. Stagtusk forces the opponent into one of three options:

Option 1: Play spells on your turn and accelerate your clock.
Option 2: Play spells on your turn and then deal with them right away on their turn.
Option 3: Plays spells on their own turn.

If they choose option one, then Restoration Angel will increase your clock by at least four points (pumping the token and attacking for three power). If they choose option two, then we have a three power flyer to add to the board during their end step, in addition to the token that Stagtusk leaves behind. If they choose option three, then we get to make decisions based on more information than the opponent has. Our spells will resolve, we know that they do not have tricks or counters, and we can go crazy with things like Ajani, Caller of the Pride jumping Gideon, Champion of the Justice for huge amounts of damage. This is the perfect deck to really punish the opponent no matter what path they choose against Stagtusk.


Naya Aggro

Another deck that has gained a lot of popularity recently is Naya Blitz. It can sometimes get super explosive draws involving a one drop followed by some number of Burning-Tree Emissary. If you're the type of person who likes to aggressively mulligan, roll the dice, and be done with your matches in ten minutes whether you win or lose, Naya Blitz is probably your deck of choice. I'm not sure cutting Flinthoof Boar is optimal, but I like where ELKu is going with Naya Aggro:

Naya Aggro by ELKu
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Dryad Militant
4 Experiment One
4 Flinthoof Boar
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Voice of Resurgence
Creatures [28]
4 Domri Rade
Planeswalkers [4]
2 Advent of the Wurm
2 Boros Charm
2 Unflinching Courage
Spells [6]
2 Clifftop Retreat
1 Forest (270)
1 Mountain (265)
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Stomping Ground
2 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
Lands [22]
Deck Total [60]


2 Blasphemous Act
2 Electrickery
2 Pacifism
2 Pillar of Flame
1 Ray of Revelation
2 Rest in Peace
2 Selesnya Charm
2 Volcanic Strength
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


Voice of Resurgence is good in the mirror and also against decks that attempt to wipe your board. It gives you a lot of much needed reach against Supreme Verdict, at the expense of slowing you down a bit. After all, you can't play Voice of Resurgence off a Burning-Tree Emissary on turn two. Pyrewild Shaman and Ghor-Clan Rampager make combat extra difficult for opponents, and Unflinching Courage give the deck a way to win races on the size axis as well as on the lifelink axis. Have you ever tried racing a 4/4 lifelink Stagtusk? What about after I give it an addition +4/+4 trample?

Boros Charm is another way to make up for the slight loss in tempo, giving you more resilience to Supreme Verdict and another way to burn the opponent out. This deck has a strong combination of combat tricks and burn spells. I also like that it sideboards into more removal spells against other aggressive decks. It has the classic Voice of Resurgence into Boros Reckoner line, which gives aggro decks fits, and it also has the infinite life combo with Unflinching Courage on Boros Reckoner + Boros Charm for indestructible.

Is the payoff worth it? Is it worth slowing the deck down a bit to give it a bunch more resilience? I don't see why not. The one glaring change I would make is to add the remaining two copies of Searing Spear to the sideboard, but otherwise this deck looks tournament-ready and one of the few decks I would consider for a tournament this weekend.


Conclusion

Voice of Resurgence completes all four of these decks. It's rare that a card gets printed that is so universally good across the board. It straight up improves aggressive, midrange, and control matchups for decks that can utilize all of Stagtusk's modes. The key to combat Stagtusk is to minimize its effectiveness by choosing whichever mode you can best handle. If, however, you build your deck in such a way that can capitalize on whichever mode the opponent chooses, you essentially give them no good options for combating Stagtusk. The above four decks aim to do exactly that.

The Junk Midrange deck gained two important new tools in the form of Stagtusk and Sin Collector. This gives the deck a lot more weapons to fight control decks and to strengthen the impact of Restoration Angel. Junk Tokens now has a very good two-drop alongside Call of the Conclave, and its token-production naturally combines quite well with the Crusader of Odric token generated by Stagtusk. Bant Skywalkers was desperately in need of a good two-drop, and Stagtusk more than fits the bill. Finally, Naya Blitz cannot afford to run Stagtusk over Flinthoof Boar because it relies heavily on being able to play its two-drops off Burning-Tree Emissary mana. Naya Aggro, however, can afford to slow down by about half a turn (if even that) in order to go the route of one-drop into Stagtusk into Boros Reckoner. You still have the Emissary nuts draws, but they happen slightly less often in this build. The trade-off is a big jump in resilience to board sweepers. You're less all-in, but more powerful overall. All things considered, these four decks should give you some good starting places to try out whatever flavor of Stagtusk piques your interest.


Magic Pop Quiz Challenge

The Week Four Question was: This Magic card derives its name from a prophesied battle site that is only mentioned once in the bible.

Answer: Armageddon (Revelation 16:16)

The correct answer was provided by: Marshall Landon Lake, Jon Boschert, Josh Ford, Mark Schofield, Ryan Dampf, Paradise Games, Benjamin Carney, Xiran Shao, Joao Miguel Azoia, Terry Andrew Halderman, Nofan SaGita, Abby Suh McLallin, Brandon Whitt, Brandon Zink, Lorenzo Liverani, Kevin Jardine, Cody Goodwin, Alex Menningen, Justin Robb, Matteo Mazzola, Russell Cole Jr, Colin Derue, Andrew Hicks, Marc Roy, Joe Steady, Devin Cox, Michael Gene Pilapil, Mark Phillips, Luke Beth, Morten Ingo Pedersen, Johnathan James Minjarez, Wade Kirkpatrick, Hollis James Frazier, Cody Roberts, Tim Burns, Spencer Mead, Rodney Chad Davis, Bud Yackey, Logan David Prather, Jannus Blackseed, Wagner Char King Imperiale, Bobby Whitworth, Nathan Simpson, Dave Larsen, David Adam Willis, Daniel Edwin Fladung, Adin Rudd, Ryan Hagge, Waldemar Barrientos, Ian Ulman, David Nelson, Adam Moore, John Ludlam Jr, Tim Jackson, Nicholas S SA, Jarom Lemmon, and Joshua Slone.

We are now down to just 17 participants in the running for the grand mystery prize:

Adam Moore, Benjamin Carney, Brandon Zink, Cody Goodwin, Cody Roberts, Colin Derue, Hollis James Frazier, Ian Ulman, Justin Robb, Joshua Slone, Joe Steady, Jon Boschert, Mark Phillips, Russell Cole Jr, Ryan Dampf, Tim Burns, and Wagner Char King Imperiale.

This brings us to the fifth and final week of the contest!


Week 5 Magic Pop Quiz Challenge Showdown

Week 5 Question: This Magic card derives its name from a legal principle prescribed in the Torah, which Jesus later cites in his Sermon on the Mount when encouraging his followers to ‘turn the other cheek'.

Hint: The card was reprinted exactly three times, in consecutive core sets.

Tie Breaker Question: Which three books of the Torah mention this legal principle?

Hint: The Torah is comprised of five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy)

Please provide your answer to Question 5 in the forum below, along with your answer to the Tie Breaker Question if you are one of the 17 still in contention for the grand mystery prize. Also be sure to let me know if you want me to start another contest with a new theme.

Winners will be announced next week.

Craig Wescoe
@Nacatls4Life on twitter



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