Tagged: Blue Deck

MTG: Anointment Everlasting

It’s funny to me just how quickly I get bored of decks in standard. It’s probably a byproduct of standard being very big, but also the standard environment being full of small things that don’t work together too exceptionally well. I can’t play with all the things I want to play with in a 60 card deck, which means instead I make a bunch of different, interesting things.

When I sit down to play I tend to bias heavily towards extremely aggressive, or extremely passive. I don’t tend towards combo, and when I do, it tends to be a really well insulated, extremely safe combo that can be sort of hidden away in a shell of a different deck. I just don’t like trying to Assemble The Machine under pressure.

This obviously means I tend towards red and black as aggressors, since they have reach, and I love my green beef so I almost always play with that in some way, and all this means that when I do play an aggressor, it is inevitably playing anything but Blue And White. They’re not my thing, they don’t tend to have the kind of reach or aggression I really like.

Anyway, here’s a blue white aggressive deck I’ve been playing and enjoying lately.

Anonited Eternals

The Bodies (29)
Trueheart Duelist
Adorned Pouncer
Wharf Infiltrator
Vizier of the Anointed
Sunscourge Champion
Cloudblazer
Vizier of Deferment
Vizier of Many Faces
Aven Wind Guide

The Juice (7)
Anointed Procession
Farm // Market
The Lands (24)
Plains
11 Island
Irrigated Farmland

The last time I played Blue-White aggression for any length of time, I was playing a Return To Ravnica era Arrest-based Enters-The-Battlefield deck, spread out into modern to include the combo of Ghostway and Archaeomancer, and, of all things, Sky Hussar. Which I love. Don’t @ me.

This mainly taught me that for my tastes, a UW aggressor deck needs some way to really sustain itself. It needs something it can do to juice up later. In the previous deck, it was the ability to perma-vigilance your team and endlessly recycle arrest affects to keep opponents from necessarily slamming you down with superior creatures. Much like Lightning Bolts and Zulaport Cutthroats give you some way to break up a stall or go over the top, this deck needed some way to take over the board, some way to make early plays into really juicy late plays.

And thus we meet our buddy, Anointed Procession.

Double Trouble

I played with Doubling Season once; I played with Dual Nature in Commander and in Extended (it was a thing!). I played with most of these effects, and so far, I think this is the best use of this effect I’ve ever played. With those other cards, with the decks those cards had to fit into, Procession doesn’t care if you get the token-makers before it or after. Embalm and Eternalise feed into Procession elegantly, both before and after it on the mana curve. It’s not like the awkward math where you’re left wondering ‘wouldn’t the Mycoloth have just won this on its own?’

Procession lets this deck treat its graveyard like a second much scarier hand. I’ve had games end on the spot after I drop a procession and untap to Eternalize Adorned Pouncer times two onto the battlefield. It even lets you do silly things like copying two things at once with embalmed Viziers.

The deck’s threats, overall, are hard to counter – and I mean that as killing or counterspelling, and even creatures traded for a card typically to go to the bin and wind up embalmed or eternalised for more head count. There’s even a durdly toolbox effect where the Vizier of The Anointed can go hunting up other things – and if your opponent has a great big creature, you can steal it with your Vizier of Many Faces, then trade them, then bring back your vizier as two also-huge creatures.

The sad thing is, I sometimes feel like Cloudblazer – the reason I started making this deck! – might just not be a good fit for it, since at five mana is when you’re bringing bombs out of your graveyard! At the same time, though, it’s an incredibly juicy target to Vizier of Many Faces with a procession – four or five cards, and four life!

Still there is at least one critter that needs some explanation and that’s the Wharf Infiltrator. Synergy between the Infiltrator and Eternalize and Embalm is a tiny bit obvious; you can have a turn three of attack, ditch a Trueheart Duelist or Sunscourge Champion, and then you’re left with the possibility of making a 3/2 Eldrazi (for no real card loss), or embalm the duelist, or, say, make an Eldrazi, play a tapped land, and untap into something like Sunscourge Champion Eternalized.

Notably, the Infiltrator can make a 3/2 off any discard, not just their own, and if you have two of them, you can serve, discard one card and make two 3/2s or if you’re feeling saucy and it’s late in the game, discard two cards for four 3/2s. And that’s without their interaction with Procession.

Price

With a quick check at MTGGoldfish – and I use them because they have a tool that makes it easy and free to check, not out of any particular love for them – this whole deck costs eight dollars to make. The bulk of that price is five dollars for the Irrigated Farmlands – which, again, I will stump for: Buy dual lands if you cans.

Followup Update

Real quick, here’s the most recent build of the deck I’ve been playing when this article comes out. I like this deck a lot and keep playing it when I mean to go do other things, play other decks for other articles.

Anonited Eternals 2.0

Creatures (21)
Thraben Inspector
Sunscourge Champion
Vizier of Many Faces
Trueheart Duelist
Adorned Pouncer
Wharf Infiltrator

Vizier Toolbox (8)
Vizier of the Anointed
Sacred Cat
Anointer Priest
Glyph Keeper
Aven Wind Guide

Spells (7)
Anointed Procession
Farm/Market
Lands (24)
Irrigated Farmland
Island
13 Plains

Two quick notes: The Sacred Cat is there when you have other Vizier of the Anointed out so you can play a second Vizier, pay a single mana and draw 2 cards. Also, Oketra’s Monument doesn’t seem to work super well with this deck in testing, because A. There’s a better Monument deck, and B. this deck doesn’t cast spells as often as it Embalms or Eternalises.

MTG: Improvise Approach

20:22 Talen Lee: I think for all that I like the things this deck does, I never want to play it ever again

It’s a good idea to know what you like when you play a deck. Maybe you like the varied math of making creatures and putting on pressure. Or perhaps you dig the way you change the rules of the game by imposing more force on your enemies. Sometimes you like seeing a mechanism, a device of the deck just working. It’s sometimes about watching a game’s mechanism working without those parts. It could be an elaborate combo of two parts that you wrestle into existence, and then bam they fire off and it’s spectacular or it’s safe or it’s redundant or – whatever.

Anyway, I tried to build a delirium and improvise-based Approach Of The Second Sun deck.

The Improvised Approach

Win Conditions (1)
Approach of the Second Sun

Controlling The Game (26)
Reverse Engineer
Commit // Memory
Cast Out
Farm // Market
Metallic Rebuke
Implement of Improvement
Descend upon the Sinful

Mana Augmentation (9)
Inspiring Statuary
Trail of Evidence
Wild-Field Scarecrow
Lands (24)
Irrigated Farmland
Desert of the Mindful
Desert of the True
Plains
Island

This game’s win condition – broadly speaking – is firing off an Approach of the Second Sun, then hold the game under your thumb for a mere seven draws, then do it again. The issue is that it’s designed to make sure your win condition is redundant and safe and protected – which means using Memory to reshuffle it if it’s countered, using your own counterspells to protect it, and firing it off after you’ve thinned your deck of things like Aftermath cards and put all the lands on the battlefield.

This deck is kind of fun.

Once.

Then, if you’re like me, you finish playing it, you set it aside and you never want to look at it again. Because how many times in one game can you want to cast Approach? I’ve had a counter fight and clue token accumulation result in one turn featuring three castings of the same Approach.

This is a surprisingly resilient casual control deck. You can buy the whole thing for ten bucks and you’ll have a deck that works just fine and the pices within it will even be somewhat redundant – you’ll have a use for other applications of the cards that cost more than a cent.

But oh my god am I done with it.

MTG: Cycles of Knowing Dark

Are you, like me, fond of decks that sit around, and powerfully do nothing? Well, do I have a deck for you.

Cycles of Knowing Dark 1.0

Creatures (8)
Archfiend of Ifnir
Curator of Mysteries

Spells (28)
Faith of the Devoted
Censor
Hieroglyphic Illumination
Countervailing Winds
Flaying Tendrils
Consign/Oblivion
Take Inventory

Mana Base (24)
Fetid Pools
Island
Desert of the Mindful
Desert of the Glorified
Swamp

This deck, in its simplest form, is a cycling control deck. You spend lots of your turns just turning your existing cards into piles of cards in the bin. It’s a very pure sort of control deck: You’re trying to get rid of cards you have for cards you don’t have. That doesn’t actually help you win, but you just… you just do a lot of stuff.

Along the way, you will see a lot of other cards – you’ll periodically even want to use some of them. Eventually, you’ll drop either a Faith of the Devoted or Archfiend of Ifnir, and that will eventually win you the game, but it’s very much a byproduct of just doing things and ripping through your deck.

Unsurprisingly, you’re really susceptible to mill and Fraying Sanity.

This deck can win by controlling the board with an Archfiend just neutralising ground forces repeatedly, or when that solution doesn’t work, it goes over your opponents, munching away at their life total with Faith-based drains, which has a side effect of blunting increasing threats from your opponents, which encourages them to spread onto the board in a way that walks into a board sweeper or make a Darkness a gross hand-emptying blowout.

I have never had an opponent destroy a Faith of the Devoted, by the way. It’s been bounced – but never so far hit by a standard destruction spell.

This is not the first build of the deck I’ve been practicing with! I’ve been using Flaying Tendrils as my board sweeper, which is a choice I’m not actually wild about. Originally the deck was using Corrupted Grafstones to advance mana but it didn’t tap for black with a Flaying Tendrils in the bin, and it was also proving that the mana acceleration was less useful than blowing everything up periodically.

Ironically, Bontu’s Last Reckoning kind of wants the mana rocks again, which pulled me towards this:

Cycles of Knowing Dark 1.5

Creatures (8)
Archfiend of Ifnir
Curator of Mysteries

Spells (28)
Faith of the Devoted
Censor
Hieroglyphic Illumination
Corrupted Grafstone
Bontu’s Last Reckoning
Consign/Oblivion
Take Inventory

Mana Base (24)
Fetid Pools
Island
Desert of the Mindful
Desert of the Glorified
Swamp
The overall result is a deck I like a lot, though there are still plenty of ways to make mistakes. The Grafstones often tap for blue and sometimes for black which can mean your first Reckoning is fired off a cluestone and two lands, just because the cycling options for blue are so strong and so often just one mana rather than two.

As this is an exhaustion deck there are some plays which can feel a bit weird when you do them – like Consigning a random enchantment or other permanent on the end step so you can untap and Darkness away their last two cards after the board’s been swept a few times. It really is a Wrath deck – you force your opponent to overextend somehow, then you blow up the board and mop up afterwards. It can’t exactly stall up the ground, but it can leech away life.

Some quick tips:

  • Tap mana rocks for Bontu’s Last Reckoning, every time
  • Don’t cycle away your third tapland on 2 hoping to draw a basic. It won’t happen enough to reward you and you cannot afford to fall behind on mana.
  • You will steal some early plays via Censor and the occasional big greedy pull, but don’t sandbag your Censors waiting for it
  • Archfiend of Ifnir is decent but slow against aggro. If you can’t play it and cycle in the same turn you probably won’t get value out of it.
  • Two Faith of the Devoted is a fast clock, but three doesn’t speed things up as much as you’d think, since you still have to pay the extra 1.

In the end though this deck does what I really like: Casts Take Inventory multiple times.

According to MtgGoldfish and my own price scrounging, this deck is about eight bucks – which includes the Fetid Pools. On this point I want to put out there a detail: Always grab cheap dual lands. If they’re in the colour you play, while they’re standard legal they tend towards being cheap. If they’re available for you, and you can get mileage out of playing them in a few decks, duals will almost always be useful, and over time, your mana base will be the most expensive reusable part of any deck you play.

I may want to play with Kozilek’s Return, but it’s twenty bucks per copy. If I want to play with that, though, it’s one deck, probably an Emerge or Delirium build. It’s not likely to be a deck maker that lets me reuse it over and over again.

In the end, duals will be handy in a lot of decks you play, and hey, this one will almost always cycle back into being handy for you~.

MTG: Reader Prowess

Did I just f_cking win?

It’s not a line you’re used to hearing yourself say aloud. I said it today, after emptying my hand, tapping the top of the deck and seeing what the deck was going to give me, with an opponent sitting on nine, with a Gearhulk, Hapatra, a pile of scarabs and worse all sitting in front of them. But all I did, with a little fistful of mana, was untap, play three spells looking for a win, and-

Then I had lethal.

Here’s the list:

Reader Prowess

Creatures (20)
Curious Homunculus
Bedlam Reveler
Stormchaser Mage
Firebrand Archer
Jori En, Ruin Diver
Bloodwater Entity

Spells (18)
Shock
Censor
Unsummon
Take Inventory
Strategic Planning
Lands (22)
Aether Hub
Island
Mountain
Geier Reach Sanitarium

First things first, before we go on, these lands are bad. I do not recommend you play this deck seriously if you have this manabase. If you have UR lands already, or you can borrow them, then use those, and then this deck gets a lot better.

The basic gist is just it’s a very rudimentary blue-red tempo deck, which is fine because it gets to play a bunch of cards I really love even if they’re masquerading as something else. For example, Take Inventory isn’t Accumulated Knowledge, and a Prowess deck isn’t a UG Threshold deck but that extended format is long gone and the only place people serve with Werebear is the kitchen table. But while Taking Inventory once, twice, gets you up a few cards, what’s super sweet is Taking Inventory with a Voracious Reader on the table and two in the bin, or, as you may know it, Ancestral Recall.

Shh, I can dream.

You play out one or two durdly creatures, beat for one or two, then go over the top with cards like Firebrand Archer and Stormchaser Mage for the last few points. Bedlam Reveler and Voracious Reader are just great big ground donkeys and they may well be worth cutting, I suppose, but I cannot stop loving the Reader for making cards 1 cheaper.

There might be too many creatures, but I’m a little stymied as to what to get rid of. You could swap some of the cards for more permissive pieces, run Baral, run Supreme Will, maybe shift it to a more controlling shell with things like Niblis of Frost.