The Leporatory - Thrift Shopping (Junk Midrange)

Feature Article from Frank Lepore
Frank Lepore
5/20/2013 10:00:00 AM
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Welcome back to The Leporatory! We took a short hiatus, because a ton of your guys were sending me decks that had Dragon's Maze in them and, believe it or not, those are incredibly hard to showcase when there is no Dragon's Maze available on Magic Online.

Now that Dragon's Maze is available on Magic Online, this week we're going to take a look at a reader submitted deck from Scott Messamore. Scott submitted a Junk list, with some of the hottest cards from Dragon's Maze. As usual, we'll first take a look at what Scott had to say about the deck, then we'll take a look at the list itself.

“Hey Frank,

I was wondering if you would mind doing your first Leporatory on a deck my friends and I have put together called Thrift Shopping. We've done some pretty extensive playtesting, and the results it's putting up are pretty good. Currently we've been playtesting against Junk Rites and American Midrange. The whole deck is about getting value from your creatures, either by abusing ‘enters the battlefield' triggers, or by scavenging, or discarding to scavenge later. Anyways I was hoping to take this brew to States in California, but unfortunately I am going to be unable to attend. At any rate I know that you probably get a lot of emails/messages from people that want you to play their decks, but I think this deck can be a meta-changer. It's good early, it's good in the mid game and it can get out of control in the late game.”

And here's the deck Scott has submitted:

Thrift Shopping by Scott Messamore
Main Deck
Sideboard
2 Centaur Healer
1 Disciple of Bolas
4 Doomed Traveler
4 Lotleth Troll
2 Restoration Angel
2 Sin Collector
2 Thragtusk
4 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
4 Voice of Resurgence
Creatures [25]
1 Liliana of the Veil
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Planeswalkers [3]
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Lingering Souls
2 Putrefy
Spells [7]
2 Gavony Township
4 Godless Shrine
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
4 Woodland Cemetery
Lands [25]
Deck Total [60]


1 Abrupt Decay
2 Centaur Healer
1 Deadbridge Chant
1 Golgari Charm
3 Ground Seal
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Putrefy
1 Restoration Angel
1 Sever the Bloodline
2 Sin Collector
1 Thragtusk
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


Now keep in mind that me showcasing Scott's deck had nothing to do with him asking me to showcase it. I actually just really liked the deck and thought it had a lot of potential. I also wanted to play with Voice of Resurgence and Varolz, the Scar-Striped, so there's that...

Additionally, Marcus Cofield took a similar list to Virginia States and managed to nab second place. You can find his list along with all the other Top 8 States lists from around the country here, with more being entered by the day as they pour in!

With the formalities out of the way, let's take a look at how his creation fares.

Thrift Shopping - Intro



Thrift Shopping vs. Bant Control



Thrift Shopping vs. American Midrange



Now, as I mentioned in the intro, I wasn't a huge fan of the Liliana of the Veil; she seems very random, while other cards like Restoration Angel and Thragtusk are just so much better both in a vacuum and in combination with the other cards in the deck.

Although he's awesome, and a central part of the deck, I also feel like we can cut one Varolz, the Scar-Striped. He's at his best when we have other creatures to regenerate him, and we rarely want to have more than one. Unlike something like Obzedat, Ghost Council, a card where I advocated running four in my Dead Life build, Varolz isn't A) a card that simply must be dealt with, or B) a card that is particularly difficult to deal with; sure, he can regenerate, but he is a 2/2. Simply put Obzedat is much more oppressive, and I'd much rather have a Restoration Angel and a Varolz in my hand, than two Varolz.

Another card I was on the fence about was Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, but having played even two matches with the deck, I can definitely justify his inclusion. The deck is able to put out a ton of defenses. And if your opponent manages to sweep those defenses away, then you should still have...a ton of defenses! (That's kind of how the deck works.) This is perfect for Sorin, since it allows you to defend him quite effectively. Furthermore, his emblem is huge when our deck consists of many small token creatures.

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Basically, I would take the Restoration Angel from the sideboard and swap it with the Liliana I think. In addition, I think I like Purify the Grave better than Ground Seal. For one, it works better with things like Liliana where we can discard it, for two it can't be destroyed, and for three, we have the surprise factor going for us, where they will try to cast their Unburial Rites or their Snapcaster Mage, and it won't be until they've made their investment that they realize it was all for naught! As for number four, well, Purify the Grave is also able to nab flashback cards that Ground Seal can't touch.

This brings us to the following changes:

Maindeck
-1 Liliana of the Veil
-1 Varolz, the Scar-Striped

+1 Restoration Angel
+1 Thragtusk

Sideboard
-1 Restoration Angel
-3 Ground Seal

+1 Liliana of the Veil
+3 Purify the Grave

It feels extremely weird, but these few changes are the only I could think to make. The deck is so nuanced, that they might not even be correct! They do feel good though, and I love the interaction between Restoration Angel and Sin Collector against control, or Restoration Angel and Thragtusk / Centaur Healer against Aggro. Plus, having the extra Angel and Thragtusk means more potential creatures to scavenge with Varolz; just a nice side bonus.

I also wanted to take out some or all of the Lingering Souls. Being that they weren't creatures we could scavenge, I just weren't sure they were necessary, but they do such a good job on three different fronts: 1) saccing to Varolz to regenerate, 2) making Voice of Resurgence Elemental tokens larger, and 3) working really well with Sorin's emblem. They also work really well with the pair of Gavony Townships, so...four different fronts?

Anyway, this is the list that brings us to:

Thrift Shopping Update by Frank Lepore
Main Deck
Sideboard
2 Centaur Healer
1 Disciple of Bolas
4 Doomed Traveler
4 Lotleth Troll
3 Restoration Angel
2 Sin Collector
3 Thragtusk
3 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
4 Voice of Resurgence
Creatures [26]
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Planeswalkers [2]
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Lingering Souls
2 Putrefy
Spells [7]
2 Gavony Township
4 Godless Shrine
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
4 Woodland Cemetery
Lands [25]
Deck Total [60]


1 Abrupt Decay
2 Centaur Healer
1 Deadbridge Chant
1 Golgari Charm
2 Liliana of the Veil
3 Purify the Grave
1 Putrefy
1 Sever the Bloodline
2 Sin Collector
1 Thragtusk
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


Let's see if the changes make a noticeable difference, or if we're just fixing something that isn't broken.

Thrift Shopping Update vs. Gruul Midrange



Thrift Shopping Update vs. Naya Humans



And that's that. I guess we can still stand on our own, with or without the changes. The deck is clearly capable of winning games no matter how much you tweak it, I guess (within reason of course). Like I said, it's hard to tell whether my changes made too much of a difference as I was already winning. So as far as The Leporatory goes, maybe I didn't need to tweak the deck, so much as simply showcase it, which is also one of the main purposes of The Leporatory.

Anyway, Scott told me the deck was testing well, and I have to concur after playing some matches with it myself. The deck simply shines; the creatures are all incredibly resilient, or useful, or...annoying. It's just a blast to play, and you have so many options against so many decks. Playing against aggro? Bring in more life gain. Playing against control? Bring in more Sin Collector. Playing against Rites? We've got answers for that too.

That's all I have for this week and a special thanks to Scott Messamore for providing the list! Remember, you can send your ideas to “leporatory[AT]tcgplayer[DOT]com”! Please be sure to include your name, a name for the deck, and a brief synopsis of what the deck does or is supposed to do. I get a decent number of requests each week for help with decks, so it's unlikely I'll get back to you, and I do apologize for that, but I definitely do read all of your emails!

As usual, I'll be back with more Magic later in the week. Thanks for reading and I'll see you then!

Frank Lepore
@FrankLepore on Twitter
FrankLepore on TwitchTV



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