Thursday, March 1, 2012

Help Each Other Out, That'll Be Our Motto

When struggling for a title, default to Simpson's jokes.

One interesting thing about Magic is that while you play against people, it is very possible and encouraged to brew up decks with them. I don't know that I've talked about this quality much on the blog but it's a critical aspect of the game: nearly everyone who plays Magic does so by making up decks with others. The pros do it, as can been seen in the preparation for Pro Tour: Dark Ascension, and an entire series at Starcity Games is set up around that premise for Commander.

As the old one in the playgroup (the player with the most experience...and also probably the oldest), I often get asked to do deck checks, to help people build stuff better. I like doing it: I'm a firm believer in the idea that any concept is viable, if one is willing to make the choices necessary to support it. Which is how I came to assist someone building a deck around Sudden Disappearance and Sundial of the Infinite. The idea is this: cast Sudden Disappearance to remove all your opponent's nonland stuff, then use the Sundial to end the turn, bypassing the part where the opponent's stuff comes back.

The deck was U/R/W: the goal to stall out until everything gets removed and then smash face. The problem was that 1) it wasn't quite focused enough in how it wanted to stall out and 2) the manabase was in improper ratios for the cards to cast.

And then I saw it: Galvanoth. I told him "Holy shit, man; This is your combo!" Using Galvanoth to cast the Sudden Disappearance for free, swing, then use the Sundial means you can save a lot of mana and actually have Sudden Disappearance happen at a time in the game when you could recover (or win) without having to break the bank.

What has been seen, cannot be unseen. And it's a pretty cool idea, so how should it get built?

4 Sudden Disappearance
4 Sundial of the Infinite
4 Galvanoth

Then there are cards in R/W that have Clash or Scry that might help stack the library: Judge Unworthy, Magma Jet and Stand Firm or Lash Out, Redeem the Lost or Pollen Lullaby. Not all of these cards will be great but some may help stall until the combo can be achieved.

Now: I could keep it R/W/U, which suggests cards like:
Mystic Speculation, Research the Deep, Whirlpool Whelm, Foresee, Serum Visions or Preordain.

The other possibility is to go R/W/G, in order to add a card like Sylvan Library or Cream of the Crop. A permanent that can perpetually restack your library is pretty powerful, coupled with some effects in green that have Clash or Scry could help make the deck more consistent. Best of all, because it's a three color bridge (Green connects Red and White, where Red is the opponent of Blue and White) there are more lands that support the combination, especially from the Planeshift set and the Shards of Alara block, whereas there is nothing that intrinsically supports a U/W/R color combo.

Drawbacks to Sylvan Library: it costs life to pull up more cards and I'm not sure this deck has room for that.

Drawbacks to Cream of the Crop: it needs creatures with power greater than 2 to really give me options. Most tokens have a power of 1.

Part of me wants to minimize the white in the deck but cards like Hunted Lammasu, Angelic Fervor, Order/Chaos and Return to Mist all play into the theme, in addition to having many cards that produce tokens in Innistrad and Dark Ascension which, if a Galvanoth is out, will be cast for free.

Red actually seems to offer the least to the deck, except one needs Galvanoth to really make this work and the opportunity to use a card like Charmbreaker Devils, along with spells that do damage in Red that can be potentially cast for free, may be too good to ignore.

Another possibility is to make this a R/W deck with artifacts. Crystal Ball, Druidic Satchel and possibly even Lantern of Insight could assist with this. The clear upside is that the mana base becomes a lot easier to deal with, even if the costs become a bit more expensive.

There are a lot of options but the danger, of course, is going for the Glory of Cool Things and getting screwed because of it.

Most likely, this is what I will do: "Hmm, what cards do I own that need using/can get for super cheap?" Then a small group of cards will hop up and say "Me, me, me!" And I'll say: Awesome. You're my deck! Currently, I'm inclined to try and go W/R/u (White-Red-touch Blue) to get this to work so that will probably be the first version of the deck. Which also needs a name, just so I have a way to file it, mentally.

No comments:

Post a Comment