MTGTech Deck Clinic #4: Type 2 Rock

Feature Article from Jay Schneider
Jay Schneider
5/6/2003
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Welcome to the Brainburst MTGTech Deck Clinic!

The Brainburst MTGTech Deck Clinic is a column that provides expert review and commentary for a deck provided by a Brainburst Premium Member. Much of the quality of the columns is up to you, so please Submit your deck ideas! For further information on the Deck Clinic, background on the expert reviewers, or to submit a deck to the Deck Clinic please visit the Deck Clinic Main Page.

The deck reviewers are as follows:

{Andy} = Andrew Wolf

{Chris} = Chris Cade

{Dave} = David Leader

{Mons} = Mons Johnson

{Jay} = Jay Schneider

{Rick} = Rick Saunooke

{Sean} = Sean Frackowiak


Brainburst Premium Member Kristopher Teehan presented us with the following question and a Black/Green deck: I just want a Braids deck that wins and doesn't involve blue. Is that too much to ask?

We've answered Kristopher's question with an incredibly strong B/G deck, that draws from the Extended Rock deck combined with the Braids/Reanimation combination in a build that's far from what the MTGTech team initially expected. As guest feedback Sol Malka, the creator of the Rock deck, was kind enough to give us his take on a recursion B/G build.

Brainburst Premium Member Kristopher Teehan Black/Green deck has been selected as the feature deck for the MTGTech Deck Clinic. Kristopher's deck is based on the Braids/Reanimation combination and designed for Type II tournament play. This column will take a look at his deck, refinements suggested by the reviewers, along with commentary on the choices made and playing suggestions. We strongly encourage you to try this deck out and to send us tournament reports on your results using the modified versions of Kristopher's deck. And as always we welcome Brainburst Premium Member to submit your deck designs to be considered for use in future Deck Clinic Articles. Please note that reviewer & designer comments have been edited for clarity.

Premium Member Kristopher Teehan submitted the following deck design:

Deck Name: Tori Amos
 
10x Forest
8x Swamp
4x City of Brass
 
4x Bird of Paradise
4x Werebear
4x Wall of Mulch
3x Slithery Stalker
4x Ravenous Baloth
3x Braids, Cabal Minion
4x Krosan Tusker
 
4x Oversold Cemetery
4x Chainer's Edict
4x Smother
 
Sideboard
--------------------
4x Duress
3x Cabal Therapy
4x Withered Wretch
1x Slithery Stalker
1x Braids, Cabal Minion
2x Worship
 

Article Overview

If you're planning on playing B/G then this article is a must for you. It's loaded with tech and concepts that will either help refine your build or possibly offer a build you might prefer to play.

If you're not planning on playing B/G, this article is not intended to make you switch. However, I'd still recommend you read over this Clinic article to see what sort of surprised the B/G player might have in store for you.

Shayne had this to say about his submission:

The goal of this deck is to beat R/G or any creature based strategy with removal, Baloth creature and life recursion, while still staying 50/50 against Tog thanks to Oversold Cemetery and the Baloth life swing.

The deck's concept is nullify/trade early threats with the opponent and get a cemetery into play. Then start recurring Tuskers, Walls, Baloths, or Braids. The important combinations in the deck are Oversold Cemetery and the high number of utility creatures in the deck.

When playing this deck, play creatures early and don't be afraid to sacrifice creatures to Braids. Hit the opponent's creatures early. Play defense early and win in the mid to late game with Baloths, Werebears, and a hard cast Tusker if you feel like being silly.

The Sideboard Strategy is as follows:

Tog:
In:+4 Duress, +3 Cabal Therapy, +1 Braids
Out: -4 Chainer's Edict, -3 Slithery Stalkers, -1 Wall of Mulch.

R/G:
In: +1 Slithery Stalker, + 2Worship
Out: - 1 Oversold Cemetery, - 2 Braids

U/G:
In: +2 Worship, +4 Withered Wretch +1 Slithery Stalker
Out: -1 Oversold Cemetery, -4 Wall of Mulch, -2 Braids

Slide:
In: +2 Worship, +4 Duress, +1 Braids, +1 Slithery Stalker
Out: -2 Smother, -1 Chainer's Edict, -2 Krosan Tusker, -2 Wall of Mulch.

I just want a Braids deck that wins and doesn't involve blue. Is that too much to ask?

A deck in time...

As you, the reader may realize, this Clinic article was presented in the week immediately proceeding regionals.

What does this mean? Well we're more likely to make a mistake, either in the design/build or have missed a card that should have made the deck. Also, we haven't tested the deck as thoroughly as we usually do so we're not as confident in our results as we are with most of the articles we present.

So although we like the design and believe what we're saying about the deck there's a difference between a deck that's had weeks of testing and analysis and one that has only been in development for a matter of days.

{Dave} When deciding if we'll do the Black/Green Cemetery, consider we have a recent article on it from sideboard. We need to make sure the deck is different enough that we wouldn't just end up suggesting they switch to the second list presented in the article (which appears very well thought out).

Breaking the mold:
Do we have anything new to add?

When selecting this deck and during the initial consideration we were extremely concerned that we couldn't add anything to the design that hadn't been mentioned already. B/G recursion has been analyzed by several Brainburst authors and forums (in part even by the MTGTech Clinic - see the 2/17/2003 Clinic article), the Sideboard and Star City.

However, we felt there was still some room to work with the deck.

{Sean} Wirewood Herald/Nantuko Husk/Caller of the Claw will give this deck considerably more oomph.

Withered Wretch will beat this deck all by himself.

Faceless Butchers are better than Slithery Stalkers. Mesmerizing Fiend needs to be in here.

Living Wish might be a good fit here.

{Mons} "I just want a Braids deck that wins and doesn't involve blue. Is that too much to ask?"

hmm... maybe, then again maybe not....

I would definitely agree that Slithery Stalker shouldn't be maindeck. Just too many decks that it misses (particularly bad when you have a Baloth in play).

I don't think that Withered Wretch beats the deck all by himself, but it certainly does makes it hard to run the Cemetery.

Werebear definitely seems a little too slow. With the only threshold enabler being the Braids, it seems unlikely that it will be consistent enough.

The Nantuko Shade / Wirewood Herald / Caller action is pretty good, but if we go there we will end up almost cut & paste from the article on the Sideboard.

If the idea of Braids is central to the then if we stay with Green, it seems that Living Wish is mandatory (just to insure that Braids is actually seen). However, let's not automatically restrict our thinking to Green even if it is probably the best color combination for Braids.

{Sean} We definitely don't want to just ape the Sideboard. I'm awful fond of random wins, but what the heck.

If we are thinking about moving away from Green we could go B/W Cleric. Tier 2 for sure, but amusing nonetheless. Cabal Archon/Rotlung Reanimator tricks work pretty well with Braids.

{Dave} I wrote a message to Sol on the G/B to see if I can release his secrets/get his commentary on it. Part of my problem commenting on the GB is:
A) I am privy to some information that I may not be allowed to share... this wouldn't be a terrible problem, though they are good ideas
B) Several recent articles have done a really good job of talking about it (sideboard just finished an article on this exact archetype) Sean's comments spoke about moving the deck towards the one in the sideboard article (with his comments about putting in the Husk/Wirewood/caller combo?)... What is the difference here?

Braids/Cemetery deck has been discussed, and my primary comments would be to move him either towards this version or Sol's version. If we're just going to recreate Victor's deck, it wouldn't seem fair. Any feelings here?

Dealing with Conflicts of Interest:

When Magic authors write about decks, strategies, play styles for serious tournament decks they often encounter conflicts of interest between publishing the best deck they can and keeping "tech" secret. Each author or group of authors have their own personal publication policy to resolve these issues.

On one hand it's unreasonable to expect authors to reveal every piece of useful tech that comes their way. Some information is provided on a trust basis (I want to share this with you but don't publish it). Other times tech is developed by a group and several people share the publication/release decision making privileges.

It is very reasonable to know what the publication policy of an author is. For the "Decks of Jay Schneider" columns I have my publication/tech release policy spelled out in my column FAQ.

The MTGTech team on Deck Clinic articles assumes that all discussion we have about the Clinic Deck are public and will be published in a timely manner. We discuss discuss and analyzes the Clinic Deck and offshoots to the best of our individual abilities so long as we're not hampered by earlier commitments.

In cases where a member of the MTGTech Team has an earlier obligation of privacy that interferes with their ability to discuss the Clinic Deck, we expect that member to uphold their obligation. The member who is bound by an earlier commitment is expected to simply not participate in the Clinic Deck discussion or it's offshoots while the Clinic Deck is being discussed before the article is published.

Why is this relevant? Because Dave Leader tests with Sol Malka, keeper of all things Black and Green. Sol presented Dave with certain piece of tech and a request for privacy. So Dave's participation on this deck less active than usual and the rest of the MTGTech team still don't know Sol's B/G tech!

{Jay} I do have a couple of lines of approach that might be unique:

1) Last Rites/Chain of Smog build: I tested it a little and had some solid results with it (remember the build, Last Rites ditching Rootwalla, Braid & Genesis?). Downside is it doesn't have Braids.
2) Braids,
Oversold Cemetery & not Green. If we go this route I'll want to check in with the author - my guess is we could do that

{Andy} For G/B, I think the first thing we need to decide is whether or not we are going to try and make a Braids deck or not. If so, some thought for inclusion might be Squirrel's Nest.

{Rick} Braids + Nest = Better soft lock. I really like that one.

{Rick} Well, since we are going with Black & Green, I'll go ahead and shoot out some initial impressions:

Negatives
===========
Wall of Mulch - Walls do not attack
Slithery Stalker - Too narrow, should be Butcher
Werebear - Use Elves for acceleration, although potentially OK in the late game (Threshold).
Chainer's Edict & Smother - Why not use guys for removal instead (i.e., Butcher)

Possible Additions
================
Llanowar Elves
Faceless Butcher
Bane of the Living - Sweep the Table and be able to get your team back
Grave Digger
Nantuko Husk
Cartographer
Squirrel’s Nest, as Andy mentioned earlier, or any other permanent generator of some type
Living Wish (and the utility sideboard stuff)
Nantuko Vigilante
Wood Elves (mana acceleration)
Braids #4
City of Brass
Mesmeric Fiend (could possibly be main, but a beat-down field makes me say sideboard)
Visara the critter killer
Silvos the beatdown machine
Genesis
Additional Beasts for Baloth abuse

Some of these should be in multiples of course. The real idea to exploit here is that you should stick to guys with effects to further the card advantage options of Oversold Cemetery. The list above is totally off the top of my head before even looking at any card lists, so it is not all inclusive by any means. With the City of Brass in the main deck in conjunction with Bird of Paradises this list can easily be expanded to non-core color components. That is actually something we should decide ASAP as it will effect card selection and variety. Auramancer would be a good option in order to get back an Oversold that gets smoked.

Another option is the talked about Wirewood Herald engine along with Caller of the Claw, and main deck utility elves. I have a warm spot for Wood Elves though, as they thin the deck AND put an additional land into play immediately. The Wirewood Herald engine thins the deck and offers one additional permanent via the Wirewood Herald, but does not have the advantage of the extra land. I guess it would be a casting cost issue, but the extra land would help out if you are going for a Braids lock-down of some type or another.

A tangent to possibly explore, kinda along the lines of Forsythe Angry Hermit or the Rock . You play mana acceleration to take advantage of Braids and Band of the Living later on. (Thinking of Yavimaya Elder+Yavimaya Granger+Pernicious Deed here) Unfortunately, we don't have anything as good as Plow Under to exploit. There are a few card advantage opportunities and/or interactions. Wood Elves + Braids + Creeping Mold + Rancid Earth.

LASTLY I think you just might want an additional land in the main. Birds of Paradise and Elves get Firebolted pretty often. BTW - Tori Amos?

{Jay} First of all no clue about the deck name. Hey, I just compile the information. Also, I'd like to mention that I like your idea of going with mana accel & board sweeping leading to a Braids lock. Basically, what if we can mana accel, then sweep the world then drop Braids or Silvos?

Then there's removal. We need to stay alive vs. R/G & U/G.

The other issue is of course disruption. We need an element of this either Duress/Therapy/Fiend or Last Rites.

I'd start with a deck I'd built a while back in B/G and lets see where we can go from there. It didn't suck but wasn't good enough. Here's the old build: See Sidebar

To continue the stream of thoughts:
The manabase was fine but we might need to adjust as we're using the Rock as our model. Let's see, the Rock had Walls, we have a Wall. Our Wall sucks because of Wonder but we can fix that (Withered Wretch). The rock had Deed, we've got Bane. That seems reasonable. The Rock had Elder, we have Woody the Wood Elf, a little loss for us but not fatal. The Rock had Monger we have Silvos. I'd call it a push. Looking at available Options we also have Hollow Spectre. Bird & Spectre, beats any start other than Mongrel & Wonder, yes?

So to take this towards a build, here's all the cards I'd like: See Sidebar

I suspect Genesis plays more towards the decks play style than Oversold Cemetery. The deck needs point removal (Smother.) I'd like another Genesis. Mongrel wouldn't suck. Don't have Hollow Spectre in here either.

On the even more random notes, what about a 3 color build using Akroma's Vengeance? We can work the manabase to make it sing. And in the related yet random, could we go with a MBC style build packing Braids, splash Green via the Tainted lands for Naturalize & Genesis?

An earlier B/G MTGTech list build

Smoking Wurm
 
 
12 Forest
6 Swamp
4 City of Brass
 
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Basking Rootwalla
 
4 Chain of Smog
4 Tempting Wurm
4 Wild Mongrel
4 Smother
 
4 Last Rites
4 Call of the Herd
 
4 Roar of the Wurm
 
2 Genesis

{Rick} I thought that Chris would jump on the idea of mana accel and board sweeping as well. We did something similar to that in the Red/Green WTF deck (his name BTW). It actually turned out to be a pretty solid deck overall. Kim had some measure of success with that one.

I'm in agreement with your comparisons to the Rock, that is more or less what came to mind when I was responding to the original listing. The only thing I don't care for is the Hollow Specter. I REALLY do not like the idea of giving a madness based deck another enabler.

I would like to see a few Llanowar Elves here to go forward with the ramp up concept a bit more, especially if we keep a land count of 22. That forwards the ramp up plan by allowing for turn two Woodies or Krosan Tusker cycle with a higher frequency than with just Birds. They would be additional victims of the Bane, but so it goes, we have the Genesis plan to exploit here as well.

How about this modification:
-1 Withered Wretch
-1 Wall of Mulch
+2 Llanowar Elves

I agree with the need of both of these, but don't think we really need them in four counts. Wonder and Wild Mongrel beatings need to be stemmed to allow time to put our plan into place, but I think the additional acceleration off-sets the deficit of going down to 3 counts on the defensive measures.

I was introduced to the power of Last Rites last summer at Nationals by Chris Donahoe and Don Raether. The unfortunate thing was that I played Chris round one of the first constructed grinder. He whipped up on me REALLY bad mostly because of that card. However, I don't think that we need a four count here either. I would like to pursue the Living Wish option of problem solving to some extent instead and this would be a decent place to do it. The Rites just don't seem as if they would be of all that much benefit except vs control and Rites is just another way we could enable madness for somebody. So I'm thinking -1 Rites +1 Living Wish here.

Bane of the Living, this is another area to go down to a three count and insert another Living Wish.

I agree with the Genesis choice vs. Oversold Cemetery. I have become a proponent of either over-loading with Disenchant targets in a deck or having none at all. That was an influence of Wakefield and Alan Webster that has proven to be true time and again since the time we first discussed it. It makes any main deck Disenchant options played by your opponent into a dead draw. Alan would always joke about how people are actually taking a mulligan against you without even knowing it at the time, whenever they had a chant in their opening hand. This is turning into the name drop response. 8-)~

Silvos is a "Service Machine". I think you are most likely correct that the deck needs point removal but I'm unsure of where to fit it in. Last Rites?

Living Wish makes more Genesis happen. Mongrel, is he ever bad? The only slot I think we could do that is Last Rites. Same thing for Smother, but I think it should be Chainer's Edict as we intend to reach flashback mana levels at some point. Maybe we relegate the hand disruption to the sideboard for the control type of match. The field is beat-down oriented currently.

We need to decide upon if we were going to branch out from the core colors. Birds and Cities make it easy to happen. BTW - I think that if we REALLY need to consider a red splash to at least bring Contested Cliffs into the mix. That would give us some additional removal options for the deck, in the later stages of the game anyhow.

Living Wish allows us to also put one City into the sideboard, and if you concur, a copy of the broken Cliffs. I think we would want at least 3 copies of Living Wish in this, once again that leads me to consider Last Rites as the place to do it. The card is undoubtedly strong, but we have other problems to consider first I think.

First Cross Build with the Rock:

 
 
 
12 Forest
6 Swamps
4 City
 
4 Birds
 
4 Withering Wretch
4 Wall of Mulch
 
4 Wood Elves
4 Krosan Tusker
4 Last Rites
 
4 Bane of the Living
3 Ravenous Baloth
3 Braids
 
2 Genesis 
2 Silvos

Rick's suggested Changes:

Add:
Elves
Living Wish

Remove:
Last Rites
Reduce several Creatures to 3ofs

{Chris} With this deck, I think the key to mirroring The Rock is honing in on card advantage options. Bane/Spectre are good starts... and though Rick says he doesn't want more madness enablers, I also think there's some merit to considering how good Hollow Spectre is against non-madness decks. And worse-comes-to-worse, it can be boarded out.

I'm in agreement here as well. Living Wish provides a lot of flexibility in the maindeck... it becomes that 3rd Genesis, Braids, extra land, etc. Since The Rock is supposed to be a control deck, Living Wish fits perfectly into the slot of "Find what you need and break your opponents' back."

I'm not big on the Last Rites either. Without cards I actively want to put in my own graveyard, it just doesn't appeal to me very much. The Duress/Therapy strategy seemed to work quite well in extended, and the creature base here is pretty similar (If we add Elves) for support.

I'd actually want to stick to 4 Bane maindeck. It's one of those cards you really don't want to lose tempo with. Living Wish allows us to sacrifice tempo for card selection, and while Bane is a pretty darn good card to select, it's also a card where when you need it, you often can't afford to be taking an extra turn to go fetch it.

I could see a safe argument for sending discard to the board. Though I still really like the Duress/Therapy combo. It's one of those kinds of draws that can just auto-win sometimes.

As for Living Wish, while 3 would be nice, 2 is a minimum. 4 is too much. ;)
With current discussion, here's where I'd go with the deck:See
Sidebar

This is a build that leans away from the original Braids strategy and more towards [midrange]. Withered Wretch is situational enough I feel it can be relegated to the board and fetched with Living Wish. The Wall of Mulch is conceptually nice to stop early beats, and has good synergy with Genesis, but I think in too many matchups it'll be card that reads: "Cycling, GG1". This version of the deck also does not have point removal -- something I'd like to fit in.... and as before, just don't know where. The idea of a turn 2 Hollow Spectre can really wreck a lot of decks, especially if backed up by Duress/Therapy.

While drawing parallels to The Rock is a good starting place, I think once the initial comparison is done, it'll be more effective to not try and mirror the deck entirely. I found when I build an Urza's Block version of The Prison, I was trying so hard to mirror card-for-card that the deck ironically lost its focus (because the current cards were less powerful than the older ones), and as a result, could "do" what The Prison did, but not nearly as effectively.

I don't think the build I presented is optimal by any means, but it's yet another starting place for us to work from and mesh our ideas together.

Rock build after Chris & Rick's suggestions

 
12 Forest
6 Swamps
4 City
 
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Llanowar Elf
4x Hollow Spectre
4x Krosan Tusker
4x Bane of the Living
3x Ravenous Baloth
3x Living Wish
4x Duress
3x Cabal Therapy
2x Silvos
2x Genesis

{Sean} Two thoughts:
1. Original deck was called Tori Amos because Braids sorta looks like her.
2. Your new build has 0 Braids. Braids is the card the guy wants the deck built around.

Would it be possible to go with G/B madness to utilize Braids? Mongrel, dump some lizards and wurms, sac the little bastards (or lands) to maintain Braids? Since Braids isn't stellar right now it seems like early pressure + Braids screwing up their ability to respond/recover should be the goal. To that end the deck would probably want rancid earth. Hmmm...maybe it isn't possible to make that work. The problem I've had building aggro Braids is that G/U can race you on permanents and has better synergy between their cards. Maybe Smother helps fix this?

I like the GBR Cliffs/Beast idea. I just don't see where Braids fits in that deck.

 

More Aggressive Build:

 
12 Forest
6 Swamps
4 City
 
4x Wild Mongrel
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Llanowar Elf
4x Graveborn Muse
4x Braids, Cabal Minion
4x Withered Wretch
4x Rotlung Reanimator
4x Hollow Spectre
4x Smother
2x Genesis

{Chris} With this additional information, then I'd definitely go with something much more aggressive... almost ignoring traditional control elements altogether. Put pressure on the opponent and put them in situations where they are backed into a corner with few options.

{Rick} >The original deck was called Tori Amos because Braids sorta looks like her.
I feel sorry for Braids.

I think this has potential with the Beatdown slant, although I would prefer to run Call of the Herd over Hollow Specter for the same reasons given as before. This could be another case where two builds are presented. The first build being straight beatdown, the second ramped up board control.

The original deck was called Tori Amos because Braids sorta looks like her.

I feel sorry for Braids.

{Chris} I don't know why, but I hadn't even thought of Call of the Herd. I'd consider running it over the Mongrels in this deck, if I considered anything. With 8 1-drop mana producers, the 3-drop slot is where you really want to maximize anyway. I can't imagine many decks being able to deal well with a turn 2 Call of the Herd followed by Turn 3 Braids.

 

{Mons} And you really want to focus on one thing. For a Braids deck it obviously should be permanents in play/mana production. The Hollow Spectre & Braids just doesn't work well together.

Obviously in the old Necro decks you had Hymn & Sinkhole. But that was because both of the those spells were undercosted and therefore very efficient, which more than made up for the lack of focus.

 

Jay The surprise hit of the night in testing was Tori Amos aka Type II Rock aka the Clinic Deck. I don't know how close this deck is to Sol's build but I'm now convinced that there is a B/G that is Tier 1. Myself and one of the people I test with (an occasionally qualifying player) played the Clinic Deck and it was amazing. We wound up referring to it as the "Best Deck Ever", mostly because of how amazingly the deck top decks. I've never seen a deck TD like this since playing the Rock in Extended. If I had more testing sessions with it and we continue with similar results, I'd say we drop our existing deck choice and play "The Best Deck Ever" however I don't have the results so I won't say that. I will say it's a Clinic deck we can be proud of and a blast to play.

The deck as listed is the third evolution but the early changes were quick and as listed it's been tested against U/G (7-3), Mono-B Control (4-2), Reanimator (6-0). Beasts (2-1). The mana base is solid although you do occasionally mulligan the hand with no G but 2 or 3 other lands. This is rare (twice in the nights testing). The 2 Cities & 2 Grand Coliseum are correct - we tried different numbers and this was superior. 4 Cities is too painful and 2 Grand Coliseum come into play tapped don't affect the mana development too much. The double color was not a problem in about 30 games. This is due to the lateness that the double color are needed and the amazing card power in the deck.

Here's the listing. Please comment ASAP as I've got a Sunday evening/Monday morning deadline for the deck to make publication deadline! See Sidebar

A little more feedback. This is a Braids/Recursion deck, as can be seen by how often Braids/Genesis was searched for. It's also a Rock deck. Akroma's Vengeance is so amazingly good (even without the surprise value) that words don't describe it. You won't be surprised to hear that when you Disc on turn 6 you just win...Especially when your Silvos, Brushhopper. Genesis, Wall etc. all really don't mind the Disk.

Tusker feels just like the Yavimaya Elder, especially when you're recurring it with Genesis. As for Genesis I found no problem getting him into the graveyard. Usually I'd play him as a blocker/threat on turn 4-5 and the opponent will either kill him or I'd Vengeance him away (yeah that's a creature that you "hate" to see die to an Vengeance.) Never once did I need to discard him to the Hopper but he always made it to the graveyard in short order.

Card's I'd like more of: 1 or 2 additionally Duress/Therapy (a mix seems good with the 'nod' to Therapy) although not the full suite. 2 more Wall of Blossoms (they're just nice point defense.) Maybe a 3rd Genesis but 2 isn't bad. 2 Braids are right.

Rock with a Vengeance

 
8 Forest
5 Swamps
4 Windswept Heath
2 Plain
2 Grand Coliseum
2 City of Brass
 
4 Bird of Paradise
4 Krosan Tusker
 
3 Cabal Therapy
2 Duress
 
4 Smother
2 Wall of Mulch
3 Living Wish
 
2 Anurid Brushhopper
 
3 Ravenous Baloth
2 Braids, Cabal Minion
 
2 Genesis
 
4 Akroma's Vengeance
2 Silvos
 
Sideboard:
-------------
(Wish Targets approaching 
order of Wished forness
1 Braids
1 Genesis
1 Intrepid Hero
1 Withered Wretch
1 Grand Coliseum
1 Exalted Angel
 
(Didn't wish for any of 
these but I suppose 
they're good.)
1 Nantuko Vigilante
1 Teroh's Faithful
1 Faceless Butcher
 
6 other spells
Compost?
Tranquility?
Seedtime?
Reprisal?
Ray of Revelation?
Worship?

{Chris} I don't know how many decks actually run bounce/Hibernation, but after more thought I definitely think the Call of the Herd should go into the More Aggressive Build over Mongrel. it'll usually come out on turn 2 anyway, and it has better synergy with Braids. Not to mention, without madness cards nor Elephant Guide, Mongrel is just a situationally better Grizzly Bears.

 

{Rick} I also think that the Call of the Herd is a definite as it plays into the card advantage aspect. With that being said, that would apply to the beat-down version, which I also still think we want to add the Contested Cliff splash. One or two Sulfurous and/or Karplusan substitutions should be enough to make it happen, but a single mountain is not out of the question here either. Unless somebody has a more specific idea.

For the B/G/w version that Jay listed, I think you want to incorporate some additional card advantage guys into the mix. I'm thinking of the Rotlung here. After thinking more about the beat-down version and the number of card advantage opportunities, it made much more sense to me that we should continue down that road. I had play-tested a very rough Zombie-type of thing about a month ago and found that the key element that gave people the MOST difficulty was that you would re-use Rotlung, Skin-Thinner or Gempalm via the Unholy Grotto. The same type of option can be exploited here via Genesis, but without the loss of draw phase. Rotlung is a two for one, might as well abuse it. I'm not sure as to where, and would go with whatever Jay recommends as he did the IRL testing of the deck. Kudos on the inclusion of the Hopper with the white splash. BTW - It should make the madmanpoet happy to see the Disk in action. ;-)

 

{Andy} I'd like to see results vs the other big 2, R/G and Tog, because I'm dubious about the quality of this deck. The Tog matchup seems pretty bad to me. With so many things to wish for, why not add the 4th Wish? And is it possible that you would want a Tusker in the board? How about a Baloth. I've also been unimpressed with Intrepid Hero, and think in the matchup where you want him, Silklash Spider is better.

 

{Jay} I agree with y'all that Call of the Herd is better than the Mongrel in the aggro build. As for the B/G/w I'd disagree here. The deck has really good draw power and although the Rotlung would be nice the deck is really way tight on space.

As for Andy's suggestion of Tusker in the board, I'd argue against it. I'm not tutoring for small card power but Utility. I don't think I'd ever tutor for a Tusker and I certainly want all 4 in the main!

As for the quality, to a casual appearance the deck looks bad, as "bad" as the Rock did when Sol insisted on playing it in a field of Donate, Goblins and Jank. To quote from one of my opponents "That deck's amazing, it always seems to have an answer to what ever I do." A trademark of the Rock I believe.

I will test vs. R/G and Tog however. There should be a Baloth in the Board. As for the Intrepid, I searched for him a lot. Against the slow U/G or Beasts hand turn 2 Wish. turn 3 Intrepid is game.

 

{Mons} I always liked a card like Tusker in the board if you are playing Living Wish. The theory is you give Living Wish a lot more flexibility if you include a card draw creature. The most typical example is you are either low on land or are searching for a sideboarded non-land card.

It might not be more efficient overall, but decks with lots of options are less likely to lose to the random card that you just can't deal with or the land light draw, or whatever. The cost is pretty low, imo.

This deck does look pretty interesting. I think that you are working a little against yourself by including both Braids & 6 6cc spells. Not to mention that you will have to or want to hard cast Genesis quite often. I would suggest dropping a Vengeance & a Silvos replacing them with a Duress & a Living Wish respectively.

You really should add a Glory to the board. Once again, a non-creature creature that occasionally just owns. And as previously suggested you should move a Tusker to the board, probably add another Braids, after all the guy did submit a Braids deck, so we ought to give him what he wants. :)

Background on Sol's contribution:

Sol is an old friend of several of the Clinic deck reviewers. It's no surprise to anyone that Sol has a B/G build at hand and has spent considerable time/effort refining it. Sol is to Black/Green as Mons is to Goblins.

As Dave is physically collocated with Sol (they're both in Atlanta) and was limited in what he could reveal about Sol's design, we forwarded our Clinic deck discussion to Sol. Sol was kind enough to monitor the Clinic reviewers discussion and provide his feedback on B/G which we include here.

As always Sol's comments are insightful and enjoyable to read. Now that his Cabal teammate Adrian is editor of Brainburst perhaps he'll convince Sol to start sending regular Premium Articles.(hint, hint.)

 

{Rick} Why not try a Wood Elf in the sideboard. That would help you with the land light draws AND allow you to keep all 4 Tuskers in the main.

I bet Andy is right about the Psychatog match up, Upheaval wrecks all plans of Genesis abuse to run them out of counterspells.

Glory is a pretty valid sideboard choice as well. It allows those hard cast Tuskers to APPLY!

Guest Contributor: Sol Malka

On Saturday, April 5, I judged a JSS here in Atlanta. About 36 kids played. One of them, Michael Le, didn't have a deck and asked to borrow one from me. I had thrown this together earlier in the week and hadn't played a single game vs. a live human yet, but I gave it to him anyway.

The Mongrels are last minute replacement for 'unnecessary' maindeck wretches #2-3; could have been Calls. Yes, I know '2 Mongrel' looks wack. The Chainer's Edict's killed tons of un-smotherable creatures over the course of the day.

Michael swept the swiss at 6-0-0 and then won all 3 matches in the top 8. He played against U/G twice (one madness, one threshold), a couple Burning Wish Reanimators, and at least a couple other 'stock' decks.

Of note: One maindeck and one SB copy of a particular creature means I have *seven* chances to get it (for instance, if I want a Wretch, I can draw one of 4 Wishes, 2 Buried (get Wretch + Genesis + X), or the maindeck wretch itself. Hence the extra wretches weren't needed and I replaced them with 'random good early-game creature' (Mongrels).

Bane of the Living, though a very strong card, isn't the 'new Deed'. It's important enough to keep around, but I'm thinking of cutting it back to 1 and 1. I want access to at least 1 more butcher (or possibly a slithery stalker instead - cheaper). I might play a butcher main. Eastern Paladin could be devastating. It's cheaper than Visara and green decks with white can't reprisal it. But I'm much more concerned about U/G than W/G or Beasts and Paladin (or Spider for that matter) isn't as good as Butcher against U/G's optimal draw (with an Unsummon in the mix).

I might remove the Baloth and Centaur from the sb and put them in the 2 slots opened up by removing maindeck banes #2-3. I don't wish for either of them much (possibly never) and both are excellent cards against virtually anything in the field.

The red mana is there because my one random Wish land is Contested Cliffs. It doesn't end up mattering a lot of the time, but occasionally the Cliffs dominates a game. I have 8 beasts to power it (the Tuskers get cast often in the late game). One creature I really want to test in the main (1) or sideboard (1) or both is Anger. Haste is always good and occasionally backbreaking (MBC, Centaurs vs. Tog). This would probably necessitate the replacement of about 4 forests/swamps with Wooded Foothills and Bloodstained Mires since, unlike Cliffs which can be run off Birds, Anger needs the Mountain.

Those 2 Mongrel slots could become a Butcher and an Anger. Unfortunately that would mean replacing FOUR 2-3cc cards (2 morphs and 2 Mongrels) with four 4cc's (Anger, Butcher, Baloth and Centaur). Would it be too much? I don't know yet. That would give me 11 4+cc's (4 Baloth, 4 Centaur, Anger, Butcher, Genesis) - Bane is a morph and Tusker is a spell. Last year I played the same 24 land/4 bird base with 4 Centaur, 4 'Monger, 2 Genesis and 4 Fact or Fiction, so I think I'd be fine, color issues notwithstanding.

I also want to try a couple Grand Coliseums. I often have a hole in the mana curve in which I could play it and as often as I tap out in the mid-late game (Genesis) I don't think I want the mandatory pain of City of Brass. God damn they better put the Apoc lands in 8E.

There are two non-wishable cards I need to weigh the merits of in the SB (~2 of each): Haunting Echoes and Engineered Plague.

Sol's Build:

Deck Name: 
Sol's Initial B/G
Author: Sol Malka
 
4 Birds
3 Baloth
3 Centaur
3 Bane of the Living
1 Genesis
1 Nantuko Vigilante
1 Withered Wretch
2 Wild Mongrel 
 
4 Duress
4 Living Wish
4 Chainer's Edict 
4 Krosan Tusker
2 Buried Alive
 
14 Forest
9 Swamp
1 Mountain
 
Sideboard
--------------------
4 Compost
1 each of
(Wish targets):
Contested Cliffs
Bane of the Living
Faceless Butcher
Mesmeric Fiend
Visara
Withered Wretch
Genesis
Nantuko Vigilante
Phantom Centaur
Ravenous Baloth
Silklash Spider

{Jay} From initial testing the B/G/w deck at least meets the 50/50 criteria vs. Tog. Here's what happens in testing:

The discard draws down all his counters. He can't handle the Baloth/Wished for creature pressure (backed by Recursion). So he's forced to Upheaval or die. It's amazing how well Birds help you recover from a premature 'Heave especially when you have Wished for a Wretch that's kept his graveyard empty. Unless you just Braids lock him and win on turn 3/4. So at a minimal the deck is sound vs. Tog.

 

At this point due to publication deadlines I'm forced to end the Clinic Discussion on B/G. As our regular readers will have noted normally we'd continue refining the deck for another week or two. As is we have 3 builds that are all very strong. If you're experienced with and been practicing B/G recursion builds I'd suggest you try any/all of these.

The MTGTech Deck Clinic hopes you all had a good regionals and that you all played at your very best. To modify Chris Cade's tag line I'd like to add:

Best is Lucky and Good!

Is the B/G recursion decks Tier 1?

The answer to this question is an unequivocal, yes. However, I don't feel that we have refined the builds to the level needed to say that "this" deck is Tier 1. They're all very close and close enough that if you're experienced with B/G it's entirely possible that you will determine the Tier 1 build.

    Tori Amos Kristopher Teehan & the MTGTech Deck Clinic    
  Format: Type2    
Read the article that included this deck HERE
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Birds of Paradise
2 Braids, Cabal Minion
2 Genesis
4 Krosan Tusker
3 Ravenous Baloth
1 Silvos, Rogue Elemental
3 Wall of Mulch

3 Akroma's Vengeance
1 Buried Alive
3 Cabal Therapy
3 Duress
4 Living Wish
4 Smother

2 City of Brass
8 Forest
2 Grand Coliseum
2 Plains
5 Swamp
4 Windswept Heath
1 Braids, Cabal Minion
3 Compost
1 Faceless Butcher
1 Genesis
1 Grand Coliseum
1 Intrepid Hero
1 Nantuko Vigilante
1 Phantom Centaur
1 Ravenous Baloth
1 Slithery Stalker
1 Teroh's Faithful
1 Withered Wretch
1 Wood Elves
 
Total deck value: $321.6       
Notes:

Average Casting Cost (ACC)= 3.2
Spells by Color:
Cards by Type:
*Hover mouse cursor over pie chart to see ==>> COLOR/TYPE : # CARDS : % OF CARDS.
*Left click on pie chart or legend to isolate a field.
    Angry Tori Amos Kristopher Teehan & the MTGTech Deck Clinic    
  Format: Type2    
Read the article that included this deck HERE
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Braids, Cabal Minion
2 Genesis
4 Graveborn Muse
4 Hollow Specter
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Rotlung Reanimator
4 Withered Wretch

4 Call of the Herd
4 Smother

4 City of Brass
12 Forest
6 Swamp
15 ?
 
Total deck value: $292.5       
Notes:

Average Casting Cost (ACC)= 1.92
Spells by Color:
Cards by Type:
*Hover mouse cursor over pie chart to see ==>> COLOR/TYPE : # CARDS : % OF CARDS.
*Left click on pie chart or legend to isolate a field.
    Malka BG Sol Malka    
  Format: Type2    
Read the article that included this deck HERE
Main Deck
Sideboard
1 Anger
1 Bane of the Living
4 Birds of Paradise
1 Faceless Butcher
1 Genesis
4 Krosan Tusker
1 Nantuko Vigilante
4 Phantom Centaur
4 Ravenous Baloth
1 Withered Wretch

2 Buried Alive
4 Chainer's Edict
4 Duress
4 Living Wish

4 Bloodstained Mire
10 Forest
1 Mountain
5 Swamp
4 Wooded Foothills
1 Anger
1 Bane of the Living
4 Compost
1 Contested Cliffs
1 Faceless Butcher
1 Genesis
1 Mesmeric Fiend
1 Nantuko Vigilante
1 Silklash Spider
1 Slithery Stalker
1 Visara the Dreadful
1 Withered Wretch
 
Total deck value: $352       
Notes:

Average Casting Cost (ACC)= 3.2
Spells by Color:
Cards by Type:
*Hover mouse cursor over pie chart to see ==>> COLOR/TYPE : # CARDS : % OF CARDS.
*Left click on pie chart or legend to isolate a field.

Brainburst welcomes your discussion and submitted tournament reports using the Clinic Decks. Best of luck with them!

- Jay Schneider and the Brainburst MTGTech Deck Clinic Team




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