Thursday, March 27, 2014


Once upon a time, Heartwood Storyteller came out. I tried it in a treefolk deck but just wasn't working, as the deck demanded actual evil cards that weren't creatures. Storyteller pretty much demands an unequal deck: I need to be able to draw card for anything they do and I have to give nothing back. This is because as creature-centric as Magic has become, it just cannot compete with a solid spell suite-especially after the introduction of planeswalkers.

So the card and the idea stayed shelved until Ruric Thar. I call the deck Viceroy, from the Cloudkicker song because Ruric Thar and Heartwood Storyteller are leaders of the deck. Here we go:
9 Forest
7 Mountain
4 Temple of Abandon
2 Skarrg, the Rage Pits

4 Mwonvuli Beast Tracker
3 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
4 Pyrewild Shaman
3 Ghor-Clan Rampager
3 Wasteland Viper
4 Heartwood Storyteller
3 Hammer Mage
4 Scryb Ranger
4 Zhur-Taa Druid
1 Deadwood Treefolk
2 Cinder Elemental
3 Spitebellows

This deck comes with some unique challenges. The limitation of creature spells only means that many of the tools that might be available to deal with problems have to come in a less-than-ideal package. I can't do the straight up aggro game because Ruric costs 6 but the deck still wants to be one that attacks.

Skarrg is in there to help Ruric get through. Vigilance and reach are powerful abilities but they conflict with Ruric's need to attack every turn, so making him a scarier threat is important.

Scryb Ranger is a card Noah called me out on (in a manner of speaking) and I wasn't entirely sure of at first but I feel like in preliminary testing, it's really proved its worth. Because the Ranger is difficult to block, it's really easy to get into a situation where recurring Pyrewild Shaman every other turn is feasible. Pyrewild Shaman also comes in handy with Hammer Mage, effectively negating the discard drawback.

Wasteland Viper and Ghor-Clan Rampager are solid, scary beasts that are cheap. The attack bonus is particularly effective with each other, because blocking becomes a '1 and done' affair, with the rest of the damage going to the opponent.

But I didn't have enough mana, something else Noah called me out on (again, in a manner of speaking) so I went for the Zhur-Taa Druids. They get annoying very quickly because they can just ping for 1 every turn-but do you really want to waste removal on it?

There are other cards that are flat out concessions to necessity: Spitebellows and Cinder Elemental are there to do damage that I would need spells for, otherwise. They are slow and need watching but I cannot rely on absolute creature superiority so the situation calls for some creative thinking.

This is also why the Temples are in the deck; not exactly card draw but it's a free effect that I can't afford to ignore. Viceroy has to be leaner because of its constraints. Going to hope it pays off.

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