March 09 2016 Wednesday at 01:30 PM

CGB's Deck Box

I keep my deck box pretty lean, I hate to have over ten decks at any one time.  It reminds me to work with and on what I feel is the best.  CGB’s deck box is for the readers and viewers who want decklists, decklists and more decklists.  Keep in mind that I change cards often, and I’ll try to update this series once a week.


Izzet Prowess

A viewer caught me in a good mood this week and asked me to try an Izzet Prowess deck, and since it has been some time since I played such a deck I obliged.  Here is where I am at -


4 x Fiery Impulse

4 x Titan's Strength

1 x Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

2 x Abbot of Keral Keep

4 x Mage-Ring Bully

4 x Twin Bolt

3 x Jhessian Thief

1 x Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh

3 x Anchor to the Aether

2 x Exquisite Firecraft

3 x Whirler Rogue

1 x Akoum Firebird

2 x Pia and Kiran Nalaar

2 x Brutal Expulsion

9 x Island

9 x Mountain

2 x Sulfur Falls

2 x Izzet Guildgate

2 x Evolving Wilds


Things I don’t know - I don’t know if this is better than Thopters against Ramp, and I don’t know if this deck is good against Thopters at all.  I see no point in playing Blue/Red Prowess if it can’t beat Thopters and if it can’t beat Ramp more than Thopters does.  I expect that Prowess will be worse against control than Thopters is, because it is easier to stop one creature than a three-for-one creature.  Prowess also lacks the late-game value chops of a Thopter Spy Network.  Still, the deck hasn’t failed me yet, and if we get Stormchaser Mage from Oath of the Gatewatch this deck will be looking good.


Jund Crats



1 x Bone Splinters

4 x Perilous Myr

3 x Carrier Thrall

4 x Gatecreeper Vine

4 x Elvish Visionary

1 x Shadows of the Past

2 x Evolutionary Leap

1 x Liliana, Heretical Healer

4 x Nantuko Husk

4 x Act of Treason

2 x Smothering Abomination

2 x Pia and Kiran Nalaar

1 x Flameshadow Conjuring

2 x From Beyond

2 x Chandra's Ignition

3 x Swamp

3 x Mountain

3 x Forest

2 x Smoldering Marsh

2 x Cinder Glade

2 x Woodland Cemetery

2 x Rootbound Crag

2 x Dragonskull Summit

4 x Evolving Wilds


My inner Johnny (yes, he’s not quite dead) has been really enjoying the combos in this deck.  Every game is like a puzzle - will I win with Flameshadow/Leap value town, Nantuko Ignition, will I draw my whole deck with Smothering Abomination, or will I Act of Treason an Ulamog?  Fun.  In a world of Acid-Moss, this three-color build needs Gatecreepers.  In a different meta, those could be Blisterpods and the deck would be more explosive.  I also think the sprinkling of one-ofs is right, you don’t want the creature density of the deck to be damaged by multiple Shadows, Conjurings or Bone Splinters, but sometimes you just have to have one.


Esper Tutelage

2 x Dispel

1 x Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

4 x Alchemist's Vial

2 x Celestial Flare

3 x Horribly Awry

4 x Disperse

3 x Sphinx's Tutelage

2 x Scatter to the Winds

4 x Spell Shrivel

4 x Artificer's Epiphany

2 x Languish

1 x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

2 x Planar Outburst

1 x Ob Nixilis Reignited

3 x Plains

3 x Island

3 x Swamp

2 x Shambling Vent

2 x Sunken Hollow

2 x Prairie Stream

2 x Drowned Catacomb

2 x Isolated Chapel

2 x Glacial Fortress

4 x Evolving Wilds


All my head-meets-wall experience with Esper lead me to this version.  I think you want/need Tutelage.  It gives you a god-draw of double Tutelage that gets under Acid-Moss and gives you a chance in mana-short games.  It is also a helpful looting engine that allows you to survive mana floods and discard spells that are not good in the matchup you happen to be in.  For example, I am sure that a card that is already turning the stomachs of some readers is Dispel.  Yes, there are games where this card is the worst, the absolute dirt worst.  Well, you can discard it to a Tutelage activation and get something else (you can also toss it to a non-vial supported Epiphany or Jace).  So when do you want Dispel?  On turn four against a control deck with three mana open and a Tutelage to resolve.  When you are at two life against Red Aggro.  You have cleared the board, you have a Shambling Vents, but you know the opponent has Fiery Impulse because you haven’t offered any other targets all game.  Against that rogue Fog when Gideon is swinging for lethal (its a known player in the XB1 meta).  4 Disperse seems a bit thoughtless with all the options at two drop between three colors, but I would argue that it is the best thing you can do with the slot.  It is one of the only cards you can run that is great in some fashion against every deck.  


Not Green Tutelage

I make lots of green decks, I love green decks, I don't try to keep green cards out of my decks - that is some throwback for longtime readers.


4 x Fiery Impulse

1 x Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

4 x Alchemist's Vial

2 x Celestial Flare

4 x Disperse

3 x Sphinx's Tutelage

4 x Artificer's Epiphany

2 x Radiant Flames

4 x Brilliant Spectrum

2 x Languish

2 x Planar Outburst

1 x Ob Nixilis Reignited

2 x Plains

1 x Island

2 x Swamp

1 x Mountain

2 x Shambling Vent

2 x Smoldering Marsh

2 x Sunken Hollow

2 x Prairie Stream

2 x Drowned Catacomb

1 x Clifftop Retreat

1 x Isolated Chapel

2 x Sulfur Falls

1 x Dragonskull Summit

2 x Glacial Fortress

4 x Evolving Wilds


We go from COUNTER EVERYTHING Tutelage to COUNTER NOTHING Tutelage.  While this deck has several cards in common with Esper, they play out very differently.  This deck has a fun-to-play assertive pattern - ideally you get out a Tutelage, sweep the board, draw some cards, kill some stuff, draw some cards, sweep the board, win!  When I cast Brilliant Spectrum with a Tutelage or two in play your Millstone effect evolves into a modern buzzsaw!  The deck is fun if you like control and it is deceptively effective against all kinds of decks.


Sultai Crats

3 x Bone Splinters

4 x Perilous Myr

1 x Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

1 x Gatecreeper Vine

4 x Elvish Visionary

2 x Evolutionary Leap

4 x Eldrazi Skyspawner

1 x Liliana, Heretical Healer

4 x Nantuko Husk

3 x Bounding Krasis

3 x Whirler Rogue

2 x Smothering Abomination

2 x From Beyond

2 x Drowner of Hope

3 x Island

3 x Swamp

3 x Forest

2 x Lumbering Falls

2 x Sunken Hollow

2 x Woodland Cemetery

2 x Drowned Catacomb

2 x Hinterland Harbor

1 x Dimir Guildgate

4 x Evolving Wilds


The difference between this deck and other crats decks is the removal of the low impact cards (Blisterpod, Carrier Thrall) and the addition of stronger cards like Bounding Krasis and Drowner of Hope.  This leads the deck to playing out like a strong value-creature deck that happens to have a few big combos (Husk + Rogue).  I do like playing it a lot, and prefer it to the former version that also packed Tutelage.  I also prefer it to the Dimir and Golgari versions, but Jund is probably more fun.  Oddly, the changes to this deck make it less effective in the Crats mirror, as you play a slower Solitaire combo game.  I find Sultai Crats in this form stronger against linear aggro decks like Elves, Allies and Thopters, but I find the more explosive version better against Ramp and other crats decks.


Gruul Ramp

3 x Jaddi Offshoot

4 x Gatecreeper Vine

2 x Evolutionary Leap

3 x Rolling Thunder

1 x Nissa, Vastwood Seer

2 x Radiant Flames

4 x Nissa's Pilgrimage

1 x Akoum Firebird

2 x Zendikar Incarnate

2 x From Beyond

4 x Mwonvuli Acid-Moss

2 x Outland Colossus

2 x Chandra's Ignition

1 x Oblivion Sower

2 x Nissa's Renewal

1 x Omnath, Locus of Rage

1 x Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

1 x Swamp

4 x Mountain

12 x Forest

2 x Cinder Glade

2 x Canopy Vista

2 x Rootbound Crag


My evolution of Gruul Ramp is tuned to beat on other Ramp decks and Thopters.  Chandra’s Ignition wrecks the Thopter lists, and many other decks, because it wipes their board while keeping the pressure on them.  Evo Leap is a trump card in Ramp mirrors where you are bouncing big monsters off each other.  Firebird is a wrinkle that helps against Tutelage, keeps a threat on the board when you are flooding, gets the opponent within burn range, makes sure you have a creature to ignite with Ignition, and combos off with Evo Leap.  Zendikar Incarnate is a great Gaea’s Revenge replacement in the deck.  Revenge was great against control decks, but the deck is already strong against them.  Revenge was great against Act of Treason decks, but Evo Leap makes that situation better.  Incarnate costs three less mana but often trades up for Revenge, Crusher, or some other creature in the mirror because it’s power scales with the game state.  No Fiery Impulse or Twin Bolt, the deck now leans on Jaddi, Radiant Flames, Thunder and Ignition to stave off doom.  It leads to more aggressive mulliganing, but this deck is very consistent and recovers from mulligans better than most.


Red Aggro



3 x Goblin Glory Chaser

4 x Goblin Arsonist

4 x Foundry Street Denizen

4 x Fiery Impulse

4 x Titan's Strength

2 x Abbot of Keral Keep

3 x Ember Hauler

3 x Call of the Full Moon

4 x Infectious Bloodlust

4 x Twin Bolt

4 x Dragon Fodder

1 x Chanda, Fire of Kaladesh

2 x Exquisite Firecraft

18 x Mountain


Red has underperformed in competitive play (see my Duels Diaries post for those numbers), and while I think the 23 land version with strong four drops is good for playing randoms, I think Red Aggro could benefit in tournament play from being less consistent and more high-impact.  A two-out-of-three situation means you don’t have to be equally strong 90% of the time, you are better off being extremely strong 70% of the time and weak-to-horrible 30% of the time.  Running just 18 lands creates a density of threats that helps the deck recover from adversity, and having eleven one drops and seven two-drop auras ensures intense turn two pressure on a majority of draws.  Red aggro is popular, but I feel like both the go-wide and burn versions are in a funk.  I like the idea of going tall and hyper-aggro to get some swagger and some quick gold.


Vile Thopters

3 x Runed Servitor

4 x Perilous Myr

2 x Abbot of Keral Keep

4 x Twin Bolt

3 x Pilgrim's Eye

3 x Chief of the Foundry

3 x Vile Aggregate

3 x Thopter Engineer

2 x Exquisite Firecraft

3 x Whirler Rogue

1 x Akoum Firebird

2 x Pia and Kiran Nalaar

1 x Aligned Hedron Network

2 x Thopter Spy Network

7 x Island

7 x Mountain

3 x Foundry of the Consuls

1 x Blighted Gorge

4 x Izzet Guildgate

+2 Sulfur Falls that I missed -

 

There are some regular NGA posters who think this version of Thopters is the best deck in the game.  I remain unconvinced, but I am willing to play it out,  The Thopters debate seems to only be about a handful of spots, you can choose from -


Vile Aggregate, Abbots, Hedron Network

Esperzoa and Alchemist’s Vial

Removal and tempo like Fiery Conclusion, Disperse and Jace


If we consider Acid Moss the big bad wolf, I am not sure which package is best against it.  I believe it is between Aggregate and Esperzoa.   Aggregate is more likely to survive removal and boardwipe, and in a weird way it gives the follow-up Thopters pseudo-haste by letting them add one damage to the Vile one.  Zoa can slap for 4 damage on its own if you have an Engineer, and late in the game it can generate card advantage.  If Ramp decks run Fiery Impulse, Vile is clearly better.  If they run Twin Bolt, Zoa is likely better.  The mirror belongs to Aggregate in my opinion, as does the aggro matchup.  The removal suite is left in the cold.  It gives the deck the ability to answer all kinds of matchups, but it leaves the deck potentially weak to a few specific matchups.  This is all to split hairs about five to eight slots in a deck that is otherwise identical, so I don’t want to get too analytical about it, most of the time Thopters just plays like Thopters.  In those close games though, those one out of ten that swing on every card, what do you really need in those places?  Vile?  Zoa?  Disperse?  I can’t settle the debate today, but for now I am trying Vile.


That’s all for today’s Deckbox, keep checking back with the blog for more updates and check me out on YouTube or Twitch to see the decks in action.


<3 CGB

 

The End Credits -

 

Bookmark - http://www.hauntedflower.com/blogs/duels-diaries

 

Twitch - http://www.twitch.tv/covertgoblue/profile

 

Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/danno029

 

About Duels Diaries - http://www.hauntedflower.com/blogs/duels-diaries/79645700-what-is-duels-diaries

 

Awesome Duels resources and recommendations -

 

Magic Duels Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/magicduels/

 

No Goblins Allowed - http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewforum.php?f=38

 

Hakeem928’s YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8mBGuYP99vIwDJpof7nawQ

 

Mobius’s YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCay_JnLWpWhfz8pV-EqnSZQ

 

Nighthawk233’s YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHkyvV-IbA3_udD0M3wiQ3g

 

Legenvd’s YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/LegenVD


Twitch Magic Duels - http://www.twitch.tv/directory/game/Magic%20Duels