Entries from June 2010 ↓

Just in Time: Obstinate Baloth


Obstinate Baloth ∙ Loxodon Hierarch ∙ Ravenous Baloth
Wilt-Leaf Liege ∙ Dodecapod ∙ … and Obstinate Baloth

So here’s a fun one from M11:

Obstinate Baloth

While it’s not a clear upgrade to any of the staple big bad fours in Green, Obstinate Baloth has the bonus superpower of showing up just as onetime Staple — and for that matter “best card in Standard” — Loxodon Hierarch evaporates from the Extended format. So despite the loss of Ravnica Block, the tradition of an efficient 4/4 Green creature for four mana, that somehow (either coming down or leaving town) can gain four life lives on in Standard and Extended.

As for Standard, I like this card in general. I mean it is an efficient 4/4 creature for four mana. Most of you kids out there probably don’t recall that once upon a time Erhnam Djinn (4/5 with a drawback for four mana) was the most fearsome offensive creature in Standard, and for that matter Nettletooth Djinn (4/4 with a serious drawback for four mana) was played in Pro Tour Top 16 Constructed decks. So as for precedent, it is clearly there already, not a lot of convincing has to go on here.

I like it in particular in Standard.

Right now one of the top “anti-” decks is Red Deck Wins and its cousins (Barely Boros, Devastating Red, and what have you); that deck in particular beats up on U/G Turboland to the point of making Turboland non-viable if there is any expectation of Red Deck Wins.

You probably already know that after Pro Tour San Juan BDM wanted to play a deck based around Lotus Cobra, Oracle of Mul Daya, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor but I objected on the grounds that any of the three parts that make that deck roll fold in embarassing fashion to Lightning Bolt. In order for U/G Turboland to be viable in the format, it needs a nigh-transformative plan for Red Deck Wins… I think that a counter-offense that relies somewhat on Obstinate Baloth is a good start. The card will typically require two non-Flame Slash cards to remove, and the 187 on Obstinate Baloth is the equivalent of two Red cards in counting to begin with.

In a word: Mise.

What about the other application?

I don’t know that you would play the card for just the second ability, but you don’t really have to make that decision. Dave Humpherys once won a Grand Prix with main-deck Dodecapod, but that might have been a special case (Probe, Recoil, Gerrard’s Verdict, and Ravenous Rats were all Staple at the time); we know how good Wilt-Leaf Liege was last year, played everywhere from White Weenie to Doran variants to of course Elves. So the second half is also quite good… Especially in a format that is so friendly towards Blightning.

Seems like this cat (and by “cat” I of course mean “Beast”) would play nicely with our old buddy (and by “old” I mean “new”), Vengevine. Not only is Obstinate Baloth potential fuel, but they are such jolly “I hate Blightning” friends; heck, they even share a mana cost.

Uncontroversial rating here.

Snap Judgment Rating: Staple


The World’s Best Eldrazi Monument

Today Matt Sperling said to me that most Eldrazi Monument decks are basically precon decks…

Until they play the Monument.

Then they bash Bash BASH you, of course. Eldrazi Monument being the frightening motherlover that it is.

Now even though a number of different decks can play Eldrazi Monument — Jund, Vampires, and so on — we most closely associate Eldrazi Monument with Green creatures due to the pre-Worldwake Eldrazi Green decks (you know the ones with Nissa Revane), the Block versions popularized by Team Zvi Mowshowitz or Ben Hayes, and of course the present crop in Standard that float between Block upgrades and G/R Overrun builds.

But the best Eldrazi Monument in my experience is commingled with Bloodghast. Bloodghast is such a great partner; you sacrifice the Vampire on upkeep, play a land to re-buy it, and half the time you are swinging in anyway due to the card’s conditional haste.

For three.

What kind of deck can play this uncanny combination of Eldrazi Monument and Black creatures? Is Monument at its best in the Vampires deck?


In our experience that title belongs to DredgeVine.

Modified Dredgevine

2 Eldrazi Monument
3 Mistvein Borderpost

4 Bloodghast
4 Extractor Demon
2 Grim Discovery
4 Sedraxis Alchemist

4 Enclave Cryptologist
4 Hedron Crab
4 Merfolk Looter
3 Renegade Doppleganger

4 Vengevine

4 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Drowned Catacomb
6 Island
3 Misty Rainforest
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Swamp

Modifications include…
-2 Sphinx of Lost Truths / +2 Grim Discovery (never cast Sphinx)
-1 Ponder +1 Mistvein Borderpost (the main thing you are Pondering for is land)

Now I don’t mean to say that Dredgevine is the best deck ever to play Eldrazi Monument (I think the jury isn’t back on that topic yet)… More that Eldrazi Monument itself is more impressive in this deck with its Bloodghasts and Vengevines than in most other decks. The Bloodghasts come at almost no cost, which is even better than sacrificing a Nissa’s Chosen or Awakening Zone token (which comes at a small cost)… especially as they are so often attacking the same turn anyway.

How does this deck work?

There are a couple of different things going on: you can play more than one game plan.

One game plan starts on Renegade Doppleganger. You can play a Hedron Crab on turn three (doubling up the Doppleganger), then play a Misty Rainforest, and Millstone yourself for twelve cards. You probably have a Vengevine in the bin at this point, so playing a Bloodghast or other two mana (or even one mana) creature will get you a hasty re-buy.

The Doppleganger is also good for doubling up on Vengevine or Extractor Demon for tons of damage out of “nowhere”. It is also just a cheap creature that you can use to set up the Vengevine.

Another game plan is to just start on one of your one drops and hope that it doesn’t get removed… Fill your graveyard and / or improve your hand accordingly. I am often surprised at how often I actually go “Jayemdae Tome” rather than “merely” Jalum Tome on Enclave Cryptologist. There are long games where you actually have to fill up your hand to set up a Vengevine re-buy.

The surprising All-star in this deck is Sedraxis Alchemist. He is a serious over-performer and the key reason I play a third Mistvein Borderpost. You really just want a Blue permanent in case your enablers have all gotten themselves killed.

Now you have probably read my friend Steve Sadin’s article on this deck already.

I don’t actually love it as much as Steve and BDM but I respect it enough to think that the interaction between Bloodghast and Eldrazi Monument is tops in [at least my experience of] Eldrazi Monument interactions. I have actually had serious problems performing with this deck in MTGO tournaments relative to other decks I like (for example decks with Eldrazi Temple in them).

But I wanted to write a blog post on it to frame a match that I recently had with KYT.

KYT refers to “some Japanese deck designer” … Those of you who follow these things know Shimizu was one of the top designers to come out of Japan a few years back, responsible for Solar Flare (aka michaeljBane) as well as Scryb & Force.

I lost Game One principally due to chatting with Jake Van Lunen. Jake had just smashed me and was curious about the DredgeVine list. I missed the fact that KYT could kill me if he had a certain Knight-Errant in grip, and I am pretty sure I would not have cracked that land had I not been engaged with the Sliver Kid Champ.

Anyway, enjoy the vid!


Terrified of Sun Titan

If you haven’t seen the upcoming Magic 2011 Prerelease card Sun Titan, you’re about to; here it is:


The sound high heels make on linoleum.

Bugs… Especially grasshoppers. Spiders… Do spiders count as “bugs” (certainly not insects)? Tons of our readers are frightened of those.

Small spaces.

“The ocean”

Garden gnomes. Heights. Overhead construction.

“Eldrazi Monument.” [me too]

“The price of Jace, the Mind Sculptor.”

There are certainly a lot of things that our readers and Twitter followers will admit to being scared of. But you know what scares YT? New card Sun Titan.

What is so frightening about Sun Titan? Is it going to be Standard’s next Faeries-like boogeyman?

Probably not. But it is scary to me.

You see, my goal in life — or at least in Magic — is to not play The Rock.

Let me explain: While I was one of the first players to popularize The Rock, handed down by Sol Malka, The Rock eventually revealed itself to be a not-desirable strategy most of the time. The Rock, being defined by progressive card advantage… You know, every Yavimaya Elder, every clever trick with Cabal Therapy, wheedling down to low margin victories, typically on the backs of anemic, even flaccid, threat cards…

I decided some years ago to try to avoid that despite some early success around 2001.

Even when you are not B/G you might be The Rock. I once played a B/U/R control deck and Zvi told me I was playing The Rock. Where was my Stage Three? Nope… My deck was all two-for-ones… Incidental ways to win while grabbing small amounts of tempo: The Rock.

That is what scares me about Sun Titan. I don’t want to get excited by a card and accidentally fall into old patterns.

It doesn’t help when one of my best friends (BDM in this case) is Tweeting…

“T/F you will Sun Titan back Borderland Ranger.”


I hope not.

It didn’t help that at the time I was confused about what a Sun Titan was. Twitter was all-a-Tweeting about Sun Titan, but I hadn’t seen the card yet; I thought they were talking about Sundering Titan. I guess Borderland Ranger and Sundering Titan can go into a deck together, I thought. Lo and behold, different card altogether.

Note that Sun Titan doesn’t get back a three, per se. You can’t, say, get back a Survival Cache for more and more action and possible card draw. It has to be a permanent. And in my case — in the very “The Rock” flavor I fear — it is going to be something along the lines of a Pilgrim’s Eye.

You know, progressive card advantage.

But maybe, like our fears of spiders and small places, this fear is unwarranted.

You see, there is nothing wrong with progressive card advantage; it is really a question of being able to finish off the opponent before he recovers, and Sun Titan is, after all, a gigantic fatty boom boom.

Fear averted?


Let’s assume Sun Titan is non-awful. What are some of the things we can do with it?

The absolute bomb-diggity-est possibly returning permanent has got to be Jace Beleren. Jace runs himself out after drawing three cards (or trading with Jace, the Mind Sculptor… I see nothing wrong with a re-buy here to nix future Jace Planeswalkers or just shotgun more cards.

And what about shotgunning more cards?

Here are some options that seem pretty cool:

Armillary Sphere
Courier’s Capsule

You can buy back one of these artifacts every turn, draw two cards, keep going and going while attacking and defending; remember, this fatty boom boom is vigilant as a Serra Angel.

An off the wall [of Omens] option is to get back Arid Mesa or Marsh Flats every attack. This is a case where putting the permanent directly into play is highly advantageous… One of those White strategies so good they seem almost Green. You can actually accelerate your mana this way.

Why might you want to do this rather than something more powerful?

Because you can jump from six to eight to ten to Emeria, the Sky Ruin online in just a few attacks. Which would, of course, allow you to resurrect even more expensive things.

The only problem is that you’ll probably kill the opponent before fulfilling this little strategy… barring lots of Solider tokens blocking or some such.

I guess we got over that fear 🙂


Snap Judgment Rating: Staple


“A Master’s Course in Role Assignment & my weekend with Floresdrazi, inc.” by Benjamin Botts

Ben Botts aka @BottsThoughts has graced us with another guest blog post — this time a great experience with the U/W Eldrazi deck (or as he calls it “Floresdrazi”).

Anyone who wants to check out Ben’s previous contributions to Five should check out:

Thanks Ben!

Third time around the block, and I still find this to be both an honor and a sweet, sweet opportunity to put myself out there.

Once again, I took up the mantle as a steward of Flores’ recent suggested deck list for Standard. And I must say I was not disappointed (How could I be?). I was, however, hesitant but only for a short distance between my trade binder full of Super Friends, U/G Polymorph, Gerry-Naya and other such variants a-waiting to find a home in those exclusive 75 sleeves.
Before I dig into an excerpt of the weekends’ events I will provide the deck list (both MD and SB):

4 Everflowing Chalice
4 Spreading Seas

4 Path to Exile
4 All is Dust
2 Day of judgment
2 Mind Spring

3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Gideon Jura

4 Wall of Omen
2 Sea Gate Oracle
2 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth

6 Island
3 Plains
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Celestial Colonnade
3 Sejiri Refuge
4 Eldrazi Temple
2 Eye of Ugin

1 Jace Beleren
2 Eslpeth, Knight-Errant
2 Day of judgment
4 Oblivion Ring
4 Kor Firewalker
2 Oust

Moving along.

Round 1: Josh, playing Boros Allies

Josh is an awesome guy. I can’t help but have a great time regardless of whether it’s a win or loss.

I won the die roll for Game 1:

Let’s just say I stabilized at 9 life, Swung once with an Ulamog that ate his only Plains when it was cast (So as to not find myself on the fetch a basic side of a PTE) – and he rips the 3rd Lightning Bolt. He pocketed 9 to my dome. And thus was the short end of game 1.

Game 2:

-1 Eye of Ugin, -1 All is Dust, +2 Day of Judgment

He took a horrendously slow hand, and I never looked back. I dropped a Wall, Spread his only Mountain, DoJ’ed the board, Dropped a Gideon, Dropped a Jace, Dropped a Ulamog (That Jace then gladly returned said Ulamog to my hand to simply be recast post combat to eat an opposing Elspeth).

Game3: I kept the sideboard intact sans the post-first game changes.

He did a few cute tricks with his Ally triggers before I resolved back-to-back DoJs then cleared his board on turn seven with a game ending All is Dust … the card is just retarded. I showed my hand full of removal, and my Jace was going up to Ultimate status on my next turn. He graciously extended a handshake.

1-0 (2-1)

Round 2: James, playing SpiritDancerWW(?)

Game 1: I won the die roll

I didn’t see much of his deck. Honestly. He misplayed countless times, and it was sort of a rag on the experience. Example – He played a T2 Spirit Dancer. Then T3 plays a Hyena Umbra on said Dancer then plays another Spirit Dancer which he showed he had in hand BEFORE he played the Umbra. I know it may seem inconsequential but that sort of thing misses a free draw. Also – I don’t think this guy was very conversational. After a number of Walls hit the table alongside my couplet of Sea Gate Oracles to clog his Red Zone attempts I ushered Kozilek out to the table w/ his good friend Ulamog. He quickly scooped to go to game 2 … in which he brought 15 cards in … 15.

-1 All is Dust, -1 Eye of Ugin, -1 Everflowing Chalice, -1 Jace TMS, -1 Kozilek
+2 Oust, +1 DoJ, +2 Elspeth

Game 2:

I Ousted a Spirit Dancer that he failed to attack w/ to break my Wall of Omens down, but instead he seemed content to play 3 Hyena Umbra’s on her so he could draw. He did play 3 Lone Missionaries on me which didn’t hurt my feelings – I just played a DoJ that ended up giving me a dirty look from him (I mean … “you killed a puppy” look). I resolved a Butcher, and he extended his hand after I revealed 2 more All is Dust and a Gideon to fog past his combat phase(s).

I inquired as to what he sided in against me, and he just darted back with a, “If you had played fairly you would’ve seen my Sideboard in the game”.

I took my win without losing any sleep.

2-0 (4-1)

Round 3: CJ, playing WW (w/ Stoneforge tutoring)

CJ won the die roll

Game 1:

CJ opened with a first turn Elite Vanguard. I simply played a tapped Celestial Colonnade. His turn 2 procured a Mystic-Stone Forger fetching up a trusty machete. My turn 2 graciously gave me an Island with which gave me the option to play a 0/4 wall, or accelerate into a turn 3 Sea Gate Oracle with PTE mana left up. Knowing CJ’s deck doesn’t have the potential to run me over before turn 5 I opted to play a Chalice for 1. This ended up being the strongest play for me – I curved into a turn 4 Gideon after ripping said Fog Master off the top of my library. As always Senor Giddy Pants received the obligatory sigh of disapproval from yet another aggro player. It seems to me that Gideon’s first impression left a sour taste across the archetypal landscape. After a DoJ cleared his board of some unwanted creatures I simply set-up further classes on why Flores’ deck just gut checks the aggro match-up.

1-0 me

Knowing CJ doesn’t run a crappy sideboard in case he does run into a Control deck I knew I had sleeved up my Oblivion Rings for a reason (aside from them being FNM promo 4’ofs). I didn’t know exactly what he took out, but I knew he sided in 4 Luminarch Ascensions. Albeit I run All is Dust, but sometimes an early Oblivion Ring can be the needed punch to set-up an All is Dust w/ an Eldrazi to follow foot.

-1 All is Dust, -1 Eye of Ugin, -1 Everflowing Chalice, -1 Kozilek
+2 Oblivion Ring, +2 Elspeth

Game 2:

Sure enough. CJ slams a turn 2 Ascension. I figured he was aiming hard to get one down immediately; seeing as that he decided on a 5 card hand mulligan. Fortunately for me he missed the first counter; which allowed me to play a little loose before setting up an AID on turn 5. I dropped a turn 2 Chalice, which led to a turn 3 Chalice on 2. He was able to activate Ascension for 2 Angels which took me down to 6 before I was able to dig into a turn 7 AID; which came after he played his own O Ring on my Gideon. As is the case he struggled to recover, and Gideon swung with a +3/+3 buff from his Girlfriend Elspeth. Only took 2 swings with Senor Gideon before CJ extended his hand after pulling nothing of consequence.

3-0 (6-1)

Round 4: John L (3-0, 6-2), playing Valakut Combo

We decided to ID the round because there was only 1 other 3-0 at the time. Looking back on this decision now made me realize I should’ve just pushed for the win that round. I hadn’t had any time spent on specific match-ups, and this would’ve been a great chance to cover some ground in respect of researching the inner-workings of said deck on deck play. I must admit though, plenty of people over-look Valakut Combo as a viable deck in this format. It may not be Jund and/or Mythic by any stretch. Hell it isn’t anywhere near the price-tag of Super Friends. But when you can simply say (Or Simply walk into Mordor for that fact), “I dealt 12+ damage with a single Harrow”. Well then you damn well deserve a high five worthy of Flores, let alone anyone else.

3-0-1 (6-1)

Round 5: Bryan W (3-0-1), playing U/W tap-out

Bryan is a good friend of mine, and I asked him how he managed a draw, and he told me it was against another Control deck. They spent 50 minutes of attempting to resolve answers on both sides of the table, and when the time ran down they had 5 turns to figure out how to bore each other a little more.

Needless to say I respect Bryan as a very strong player, and he asked me if I would like to draw. Without fear of being bumped out of any of the top 8 slots I gladly accepted the ID. We then spent that time discussing EDH, and watching various other matches underway for Round 5. You know – Jund v Jund; those exciting matches.


Top 8 – Round 6

Adam M (Playing Jund – traditional build w/ Sarkhan the Mad)

I won the freaking die roll … WWMFD? Fist Pump and smile.

Game 1:

This is where the master’s course in role assignment came into effect. I never take Jund lightly. Nobody should. Until this cancer rotates out of Type 2 you should never shrug off the opportunity to play test against any of the builds (old or new).

I lead off with a turn 2 Spreading Seas on his Savage Lands (note: I have played [them] all tournament – this was the only relevant match-up where I felt it necessary to express, emphatically, when I played one).

Which gave me an Eldrazi. I then played a turn 3 Chalice for 1 leaving PTE mana open in-case he decides to play his Turn 3 Thrinax. No such luck. I met a turn 3 Blightning; which oddly enough made me happy. I didn’t want Kozilek in my hand, neither the Eye of Ugin that was sitting lifeless in my grip as well. So I shipped those two cards off, and gladly took a free shuffle courtesy my opponent’s Blightning. On my turn 4 I had a very serious decision to make: Play my Jace and leave myself naked to a BBE (albeit I could leave 1 mana up for my PTE, but I didn’t want to risk running him out there without absolute assurance of his survival). I opted for a Chalice at 2. This came as the best play looking back. I met a second Blightning which asked me kindly as to which 2 cards I would like to lose. I was staring at:

Jace, Mind Spring, DoJ

I chose to toss the DoJ and Jace. This left me with a prayer on ripping a 5th land for turn 5 – which would give me a Mindspring for 6. I mise’d the land drop, and quickly pushed Mindspring for 6.

He came out strong on his turn 5 – knowing I may have pulled some serious answers to whatever he played. He gave me a BBE which flipped a Ruinblaster; he opted to over-look the Kicker cost, and swung for 5. Which after 2 Blightnings and that left me at a precious 9 – he then chose to bolt me down to 6. So I was now within Bolt/Blightning range. BBE/Bolt~Blightning range. Or any sorts of threats that would call me dead.

I resolved a much needed DoJ w/ Path mana left after I played a post-DoJ Wall of Omens. He played a Thrinax (which met my Path), and passed the turn. I dropped Gideon and immediately rolled him up to perform guard duty. After Adam played his Sarhkan he opted for his first ability … flipping his 2nd Sarhkan. Bad times.

I quickly dropped Kozilek and a Sea Gate Oracle. Which He then asked if we could get on with game 2.

1-0 me (I am both pumped and nervous … Jund is a rough match-up for me)

-2 Jace TMS, -1 All is Dust, -1 Eye of Ugin
+2 Eslpeth, +2 DoJ

He comes out with a turn 2 Trace of Abundance … Which means I am possibly facing a turn 3 BBE, or possibly a Blightning w/ Duress. Any of those combinations would make for a bad day.

I run out a turn 2 Chalice, and pass. Fortunately he does not play any of those. Instead he drops a Prophetic Prism which then cantrip’s him into a Duress. He gladly drops this on me – with which I was able to safely show him a hand full of this:

2 Wall of Omens, 2 Eslpeth, All is Dust

He takes away 1 Elspeth (which makes me wonder if he has a Pulse for her, or if he is hoping to Strip my hand with a Blightning or two).

My turn 3 finds a freshly drawn Land which allows me to set up the board. I lay down both Walls and draw into 2 Lands (made me glad to see this … because Blightning can eat those if I am sufficient on mana)

His turn 4 gladly showed a missed land drop. He played out a pair of Putrid Leeches, and passed. I took advantage of this good fortunae and knowing his shrouded land + lens would give him the colors required sans any Spreading Seas I may draw into/play I still knew the prospect of having a land Spreaded gives your opponent additional mana math to deal w/ while restocking your hand for a probable Blightning. My turn 4 found a Spreading Seas off the top. I laid it down on his Dragonskull Summit. This drew me a 2nd Spreading Seas which then clasped safely on to his Forest. That Spreading Seas, by sheer fortunate, drew me into a Sea Gate Oracle. He managed to squeeze out a Siege-Gang Commander on his 5th turn. Which I gladly dropped my All is Dust on the following turn. Yes I lost my Spreading Seas, but he lost both his lens and Trace – along with his SGC & company. He was able to rebuild while I spent the time doing the same, and preparing myself for the worst of it. He gave me another Blightning as a present, but I was able to use my miser’s copy of Eye of Ugin in response to fetch up an Eldrazi to toss to said BBE > Blightning; which then gave me back my graveyard. Granted he was able to push me down to 2 life over the next 2-3 turns, but I stabilized with 2 back to back Gideons that both died valiantly and for a cause I was hoping wouldn’t have been in vain. I drew into my 1 copy of Jace TMS I left in, which gave me a DoJ and Elspeth with which I gladly shipped back 2 lands and proceeded to drop both, and then make a token. I was on the open-season end of a ripped Bolt, Blightning, BBE into any other haster. But He never managed to pull an out. And I grabbed the game when I resolved an Ulamog and ate his only Raging Ravine that had been played.

Sejiri Refuge = Godsend. That 1 life may seem miniscule. But when it helps you stay above the 6ft under guidelines for shaking hands and giving the GG to another player then you’ll come to respect that little uncommon with generic artwork.

4-0-2 (8-1)

Top 4: Round 7

John T, playing Mythic (Never saw the entire decklist, but it was a Conscrptn/Finest Hour mix)

Game 1: I do not procure the die roll

John T dropped a 1st turn Birds, and I am already mentally bolstering myself for a turn 2 Lotus cobra into a turn 3 Sovereigns, etc, etc. He does stick his turn 2 Lotus Cobra, which gives him a second Cobra to follow foot. On my turn 2 I opt to not play a single spell (I had 2 untapped lands, one having been my turn 1 Sejiri Refuge putting me up to 21 … w/ 2 PTE’s gripped I was ready to pray and slay). On his 3rd turn that’s when I watched as he laid down a Fetch Land (cracked it netting him 4 free mana), tapped for a 5th in the pool – tapped the birds and the 2 other lands for a grand total of 8 mana. I watched as he Dropped Finest Hour and 2 Noble Hierarchs. I started doing the math in my head.

+3 Exalted triggers for the first Combat on a Lone Lotus Cobra then receiving another set of +3 for the next combat phase. I waited for him to announce combat. I dropped a Path, one for each Lotus. Looking at that play I had just given him 8 mana on turn 4. My turn 3 showed me a Wall of Omens and a Path off the cantrip. I passed the turn. John T smiled. I figured he was pocketing a Negate for this moment. I was wrong – he went greedy, and played a BS Angel, and nothing else. He swung in with an Exalted Noble.

My turn 4 showed DoJ. I threw an obligatory Fist Pump and tapped out for the answer. He had all but spent his hand in the early turns, and never drew into any PW’s or any other severe threats (Which honestly I don’t think he was playing any, and if he were I never saw them, nor did he ever talk about it). I dodged a bullet on that one – because I hate seeing Sovereigns just sit there, and point their puffy cloudy fingers at you as they give way to smashing your face.

Game 2:

-1 Eye of Ugin, -2 All is Dust, -2 Sea Gate Oracle, -1 Chalice
+2 Oust, +2 Oblivion Ring, +2 DoJ

Turn 1: Noble. Me? Land. Turn 2: Lotus Cobra with a cracked fetch dropping a KotR. Me? Turn 2 I played a wall of Omens, which then led me to a turn 3 O Ring on his turn 3 Finest Hour after my Wall had soaked up a good chunk of damage from an Exalted and beastly KotR before allowing me to take 5 off the exalted triggers. Turn 4 gave me an Oust on his Lotus Cobra and a Chalice set for 1, and 1 land left open to bluff a PTE. I proceeded to run a clinic on my opponent. I was able to stabilize with a Jace spending his loyalty counters bouncing a Lotus Cobra and eventually after Gideon showed himself table side I was able to DoJ the table a couple more times while letting Gideon get in there. After I showed an Ulamog and Kozilek in my hands, and with John T at an unfortunate disadvantage due to multiple board wipes he extended his hand and congratulated me on the win.

Top 2: Round 8

Adam Uhler (6-1), playing Mythic (sans Conscription build – more Kibler’s list)

We chose to split 44 packs between the two of us (Because quite frankly it was 1:47 am, and he wanted to go out and hash with his friends. And my girlfriend was ready to go.)

He gave me the win so I ended the night with a 6-0-2 match record overall, and we had it written up as a 2-1 in my favor.

I personally went 5-0-2 match play with 10-1 as my games played record.

All in all I was fortunate to play another one of Flores’ lists. I always enjoy the challenge, and I won’t lie – I almost Blue 42’ed back to my Super Friends. But once I had already publicly spoken via Twitter and FB that I was going to give Mike’s deck a run for its money I couldn’t back down and chance looking like a pansy for not remembering what a tree branch feels like.

This deck is a serious reminder as to, “Who is the Beatdown?”*

And as with his previous King Hulk list you must obey this rule first and foremost.

It is not a suggestion.

Because suggestions end up in bargain bins and yard sales.

As always here’s to hoping you stayed awake for the entire read.

I am always open for criticism and advice. I am learning to write better tournament reports/articles. So any advice on how to approach match-play breakdown and/or any statistical research to better my craft would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again, Mike Flores, and you his viewers for the time and space allotted.


Benjamin David

For Reference:

Who’s the Beatdown? by Michael Flores
The Danger of Cool Things by Chad Ellis

Yep – All is Dust


All is Dust ∙ Eldrazi Giants ∙ The U/W Mirror
Videos with KYT and DougP ∙ Canadians ∙ … and All is Dust

All is Dust – You don’t want to know what Mulldrifting calls this.

I have been very happy with the U/W deck posted earlier this week. I made some small modifications to the deck list, but nothing too sweeping…

U/W Eldrazi Giants version 1.1

4 All is Dust
2 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
2 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

4 Everflowing Chalice

1 Jace Beleren
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Sea Gate Oracle
1 Sphinx of Lost Truths
4 Spreading Seas

2 Day of Judgment
3 Oust
2 Path to Exile
4 Wall of Omens

4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Eldrazi Temple
2 Eye of Ugin
4 Glacial Fortress
5 Island
3 Plains
4 Sejiri Refuge

1 Jace Beleren
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Baneslayer Angel
2 Day of Judgment
2 Gideon Jura
4 Kor Firewalker
1 Oust

I swapped out one copy of Jace, the Mind Sculptor for one copy of Jace Beleren. In all my testing and tournament play, I have come to the conclusion that no one really needs four copies of Jace, the Mind Sculptor; every time some miser goes from four copies to three copies the next tournament, they seem to do a little bit better. The one Jace Beleren is equivalent to a Jace, the Mind Sculptor for purposes of hassling an opponent’s Jace; however you can also start off a little turn earlier to initiate the card advantage Jace trades.

The other main change was to cut one Sphinx for an Oust. The Standard format is a bit faster than the Block format where Daniel Gardner excelled with the original build of this deck; I wanted to respect my opponents’ Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarchs, and Sprouting Thrinaxes. It is possible the deck needs more instant speed copies of Path to Exile for Celestial Colonnade, Gideon Jura, or Eldrazi Conscription, but so far Oust has been outstanding.

This deck has been very good against everything I’ve played against so far but in particular “regular” U/W decks. I was lucky enough to test against DougP and KYT earlier this week and they actually recorded the games. KYT hasn’t finished editing them but you can check out the first game; notice how DougP trash talks me the whole time while their asses get ka-blammo’d.

That’s right: Ka-blammo.

If you pay attention to DougP’s strategy, it seems like he is trying to deck me by eliminating all of my Eldrazi Cthulhus; presumably the Canadians can win with their “everything else” or I will just run out of cards; at any point that I am actually in danger of being decked, I can just draw up with Eye of Ugin and discard a last Eldrazi, or I can draw-and-discard with Sphinx of Lost Truths. In sum, I don’t think that the right plan for the U/W deck is to try to deck the U/W Eldrazi giants.

If you listen to DougP’s commentary at the beginning of the video, he talks about watching me get battered around by Kor Skyfisher; what happened in that match was that I kept playing something awesome (say Jace, the Mind Sculptor); my opponent would play an Oblivion Ring on it, and I would play another copy (replace with Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre or whatever); he would play Kor Skyfisher and pick up his Oblivion Ring, Legend Ruling my face.

My opponent was a mono-White deck based on Emeria, the Sky Ruin, so as cute as that Oblivion Ring interaction may have been to watch, it probably doesn’t surprise you to read that I won the match in overwhelming fashion (I have four Spreading Seas and two infinity copies of 10/10 Vindicate for his only card that matters); however I underestimated my opponent and managed to lose the second game.

He simply made ten Soldiers with Martial Coup and hit me twice while I failed to find an answer. I was configured to beat I-don’t-know-what, and only had three copies of All is Dust and no copies of Day of Judgment at all in that game, and I failed to death, losing Game Two.

I feel that if the regular U/W deck wants to win, regular U/W has to be the beatdown and try to beat up Eldrazi U/W with Celestial Colonnades or Martial Coup tokens. If the game goes long, Eldrazi U/W is going to batter regular U/W with Eye of Ugin… Essentially infinite, un-counter-able card advantage.

To answer your question – Yes, I would recommend this deck for play this weekend. Good luck friendlies!


A Different Look at Wall of Omens

Wall of Omens… goes into every U/W deck

After I wrote this week’s Top Decks (forthcoming in a day or so, obviously), I was inspired by Daniel Gardner’s U/W deck.

His deck hybridized a U/W strategy with Eldrazi Temple and a bunch of gigantic Eldrazi Cthulhus.

I threw this together and battled about with it tonight, maybe about ten matches?

U/W Eldrazi Giants (Standard)

4 All is Dust
2 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
2 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

4 Everflowing Chalice

4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Sea Gate Oracle
2 Sphinx of Lost Truths
4 Spreading Seas

2 Day of Judgment
2 Oust
2 Path to Exile
4 Wall of Omens

4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Eldrazi Temple
2 Eye of Ugin
4 Glacial Fortress
5 Island
3 Plains
4 Sejiri Refuge

1 Lighthouse Chronologist
4 Baneslayer Angel
2 Day of Judgment
2 Gideon Jura
4 Kor Firewalker
2 Oust

I was pretty successful with the deck. I even came back to beat a G/R land destruction deck starting Goblin Ruinblaster (didn’t think that was going to happen); in Game Two I got an Everflowing Chalice draw into Baneslayer Angel and he failed to remove it; in Game Three I ran three Walls into two Sea Gate Oracles and stayed mildly ahead to hit Chalices and three Baneslayer Angels. Go go Gadget card advantage!

The sickest win may have been over Red Deck Wins. I was behind a Manabarbs, but Eye of Ugin let me play All is Dust off of two Eldrazi Temples almost for free; I made sure I had all four Everflowing Chalices in for Game Three… But that one was pretty easy when I matched his first turn Goblin Guide with my Kor Firewalker! I am not sure if we want maybe two Celestial Purges, but Gideon Jura seemed like a necessary card against Mythic Conscription and so on.

Unsurprisingly, you can’t possibly lose to another U/W deck. The winning is so effortless (this is based on tapout and U/r/W Planeswalkers opponents)… They lay out a bunch of stuff and you blow it up with All is Dust. Finally hard casting the Eldrazi has come up, revealing the super sickness of their triggers. I know this may seem heretical to some readers but I feel like the Opportunity on Kozilek, Butcher of Truth is more significant than Jace, the Mind Sculptor advantage. I fell behind opposing Planeswalkers several times tonight, and never really felt like I was in any danger. Even if my opponents had a Counterspell, I always had so much more Eldrazi gas, and Eye of Ugin is almost impossible to stop with Ajani Vengeant. Getting out of trouble wasn’t much trouble at all.

Not too much to say at this point… It’s a U/W deck.

You use Wall of Omens and Spreading Seas to hit your land drops early, get ahead with Everflowing Chalice, and then go big with the sweepers and big card advantage.

That said, it’s a U/W deck that seems to be pretty fantastic in the mirror; it looks to hold the rest of the matches okay. Oust has been spectacular, by the way. I think Zvi was the one who first said it… I feel so stupid having played Path to Exile for so long! Oust has been tearing up every Leatherback Baloth, Lotus Cobra, whatever. And then the big big spells come online.

Good night!

I mean that, actually… good night.