Thursday, 4 October 2012

Mixing the Fixing, part III

Following on from my previous posts on mana fixing for budget three-colour decks, I thought I'd just quickly present the deck that I actually built for our challenge.

Because I like restrictions, I decided that I would also make my deck Standard-legal (just prior to the release of Return to Ravnica) and also adhere to the rules of Merchant Magic. Briefly, Merchant Magic sets limitations on the cards that a deck can have at each rarity as follows:

1. A deck may contain no more than 1 mythic rare card.
2. A deck may contain no more than 5 cards that are rare or higher rarity combined.
3. A deck may contain no more than 20 cards that are uncommon or higher rarity combined.

I'd decided that the two cards that I wanted in my deck would be Drogskol Captain and Lingering Souls. The combination of these two cards put me into a three-colour deck. However, based on the premise that I like good mana, I decided that I wanted to make one of the colours a splash colour. There are different ways you could take this, but it seemed like the deck could work well without any Black sources until later in the game to pay the Flashback cost on Lingering Souls. So, while the deck could have used some of Black's creature removal, I stuck with a base White-Blue deck with a Black splash.

Here's the deck that I played:

Lands (24)

10 Plains
9 Island
1 Swamp
4 Evolving Wilds

Creatures (7)
3 Niblis of the Urn
4 Drogskol Captain

Other Spells (29)

4 Ponder
4 Essence Scatter
4 Think Twice
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Pacifism
1 Oblivion Ring
4 Midnight Haunting
4 Lingering Souls

One of the things that I've enjoyed about the recent sets is that there has been the number of anthem effects available, each rewarding a different creature characteristic. If you build your deck right, you can ensure that all of your creatures meet all of the characteristics to get full value from all of your anthems. The main options include Honor of the Pure, Drogskol Captain, Favorable Winds and Intangible Virtue. I have previously built a deck that included the first three of these along with the creatures to match (nothing but flying White Spirits). This time, however, I decided to ease back on the anthems a bit and only include the first two. This left room for a few more options.

Ponder is good at digging for what you need, including mana fixing and I liked having that in the deck. My opponents tend to like playing creature decks, so I wanted to include some good ways to combat that. In particular, based on past experience I thought I'd need a way to combat cards like Thragtusk and Rampaging Baloths - and I was right - so I looked to Essence Scatter as an option to take care of these cards.

The deck is a little light on creatures but plays a bit more like an aggro-control deck. You setup a bit with an anthem or just hold up counter magic, then start making Spirits when you have an opening. Before your opponent realises, they're facing down a bunch of 3/3 hexproof fliers.

I ended up winning my match against Michael but didn't get to play against Gund. The guys also wanted to play some multi-player and I managed to win the first game before becoming public enemy #1. If I wanted the deck to be a little better at multi-player I'd likely increase the creature and anthem counts and decrease the reactive stuff to ensure that I had more meaningful action to take on multiple opponents.

Overall, I really liked how the deck played out when dueling. I'll likely update the deck for the new Standard - Honor of the Pure is gone but Favorable Winds can step right in to take its place. After that, I really only need a replacement for Ponder. Any suggestions?

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