You all probably knew this was going to happen. I was rash and didn't think things through. Leaving Trading Post was the worst thing I ever did. It was so good to me. I can barely look myself in the mirror for throwing it to the curb like that. Luckily Trading Post let me back into its life and we can have a long and luxurious life together.
For those of you that don't know this by now I have been spending almost all of my Magic time as of late playing with Trading Post. There was a small stint where I was dabbling in Zombie Pod but it really couldn't compare. I just really love Trading Post.
I know I've already written about this card a couple times before and that variety is the spice of life but something strange has been going on that I need to address. No one else cares at all about this card. Like no one! Sam Black has talked a bit about it but other than that I rarely see a word on it. I feel that this strategy is worth giving a shot now since it will be gone once Scars block rotates. I love how the deck plays out and really just want more people to enjoy winning games the way this deck wins. So I am going to do one last Trading Post article in the hopes of inspiring some of you guys out there try out the strategy. I promise this is it even though I know I said that already.
[Editor's note: Whatever you say Brad.]
Trading Post can be a really good card if you give it a chance. I promise that this version is the very best like no other ever was. To cast it is my real test; to activate it is my cause. I have traveled across the card pool searching far and wide each ability to understand the power that's inside. It's just Post and me and I know it's my destiny. It's my best friend in a net deck world against which we must defend. Our hearts are so true; our courage will pull us through. It taught me and I'll teach you. TRADING POST!
Now I know it isn't Jace the Mind Sculptor good or even Jace Beleren for that matter but I get tons of amusement out of this card. It slices dices minces grinds and mashes. It does it all and is extremely flexible. The only problem is that it does all of these things with a very flimsy and dull blade. The card just doesn't have that oomph most people look for in a Magic card. It is a very grindy usually low impact card that can lead to many a beating on the receiving end.
The trick to the strategy is to find a balance of high impact cards to go with Trading Post. In the beginning I thought the entire deck should revolve around Trading Post and every card in the deck should have some form of interaction with it. I was on a mission to find an artifact that was good with every ability on the card. Some would always be good coming back from the graveyard others would be good to sacrifice and the rest would just help solidify the brown board state. It took me almost a month to figure out that the deck couldn't just grind until it got to Wurmcoil Engine inevitability.
I started experimenting with different color combinations to try as many cards in the deck as possible. On one special day while filming a playtesting video I had a revelation about a certain strategy. I was playing Wolf Run Blue designed by Reid Duke while Gerry was playing his take on Delver. In one of the games I simply played a Rampant Growth and three Thragtusks that were protected by a Cavern of Souls. That was easily enough to win the game as well as to get my brain turning.
Thragtusk is one of the strongest cards against Delver. It has a built-in protection from Vapor Snag as well as an extremely flexible casting cost. This was the high impact card I had been looking for. Thragtusk is easily splashable in every Trading Post deck. The mana is usually very good since most of the cards are colorless and the deck already wants to run some number of Mycosynth Wellsprings. I jotted this down in the Trading Post rulebook: always play four Cavern of Souls and four Thragtusk.
I wanted to put another theory to the test so I brewed up a list for a Daily Event on Magic Online. At the time my alternate account (Ghost_Account) was one of secrecy. Only a handful of friends knew it was mine and I liked playing under those conditions. I brewed up this list and went to battle on the account.
The theory behind this list was to add multiple ways to end the game. In the maindeck were Entreat the Angels Wurmcoil Engine and Thragtusk. This was the highest density of threats I had ever put into a Trading Post deck. I originally only had Wurmcoil Engine but the deck needed to draw more threats since it was already designed to grind a player out.
This strategy allows the miracle mechanic to be very powerful since you get so many more draw steps on the opponent's turn that allows for more miracles. Not only that but the games tend to go longer than most. The more draw steps you have the higher the percentage you have of drawing a miracle that has a huge effect on the game.
I broke one of the Trading Post rules when playing this deck. I didn't know what turns were going to be important and how well I would control players so I put mana acceleration in the deck. I tend to shy away from this type of effect since it is hard to ramp into a Trading Post and be ahead. The decks are too powerful in Standard to just ignore them slamming Trading Post. I knew this was wrong but I had three minutes before the event so I didn't have much time to think about it.
This deck was bad! Thragtusk was awesome as I knew he would be but the rest of the deck was a mess. The funny thing is that I easily 4-0ed with the deck. I played tight and got a few needed miracles to help me win my matches but for the most part it was unplayable.
The best part about all of this was that this list got a decent amount of attention. Even Evan Erwin (tongue twister!) highlighted this decklist in his most recent "The Magic Show" stating "Brad Nelson should take a look at this!" Nothing brings me more joy than people telling me to take a look at my own deck.
I went back to the drawing board to figure out what had to change. This was when Trading Post told me it was actually with another Magic player during our split.
Peter Vieren of Belgium played a very interesting version of Trading Post in the World Magic Cup last weekend. It was R/G with a splash for only Thragtusk. You don't say? It ran Galvanic Blast Whipflare Phyrexian Metamorph Wurmcoil Engine and Pristine Talisman. All of these cards made sense to me but the real shocker was Faithless Looting in the deck. I was blown away by his two copies of the card. Most of the versions of Trading Post I played had a problem in the late game of drawing too many lands since so many extra cards have been drawn. Faithless Looting is a way to not only smooth out an initial hand but to help get rid of flooding in the late game—an amazing piece of technology.
A couple things were strange in the maindeck so I changed them to accommodate what I liked in the deck. I took this deck into battle for the next couple days and it ended up looking like this:
I know what some of you are thinking. "There is no way I am touching this piece of garbage. Go back to 2010 Brad." Yes this isn't the next Caw-Blade or Delver. This is just something that is competitive and fun at the same time. Right now Standard is made up of a bunch of 50/50 and 60/40 matchups. There are very few decks that have more than one bad matchup. This is exactly what Wizards was working towards and they are finally succeeding. It is rather boring though since there really aren't many options; there are roughly five decks fighting to be the best and it's not obvious which one is the best or worst. This means that most players out there gravitate to one of these decks creating a stale environment.
This deck has the ability to run with the big dogs and is unique enough to get free wins from players just making mistakes because they're not familiar with Trading Post. Most decks do not have enough hate cards to even come close to hosing the deck without using their very linear strategy. This means that most of the sideboard slots can be used to have answers to the metagame's basic strategies.
Let's talk about the matchups.
From the moment the leaves started coming back this spring I've tried to find decks that can attack Delver in ways it is not prepared for. Solar Frites was my prized steed in this department but all good things come to an end and that deck became obsolete. R/G Post has a ton of the same qualities that Solar Frites had. This deck has Phyrexian Metamorph Slagstorm and Whipflare to deal with Talrand Sky Summoner and Geist of Saint Traft. I feel that one of the biggest flaws that most players make is they do not have enough ways to kill these cards. They are the most important spells to answer yet people still die to them. Well not this guy!
Trading Post is actually very good in this matchup (when it resolves). The ability to recur Phyrexian Metamorph tends to be the most devastating but even gaining four life a turn forces a Delver opponent into investing more cards to the board allowing a sweeper to push you even further ahead.
Red versions of Zombies tend to be the most difficult solely because of Falkenrath Aristocrat. This card is extremely dangerous and should always be the card you play around the most. It can be easy to use your big threats as answers to the small army left standing but only when Falkenrath Aristocrat is not flying overhead.
Treat this matchup like you would a Mono Red deck. They tend to run out of steam in the mid game allowing you to take over the game with a couple monsters. Just kill things as much as possible and time your spells according to how many turns it will give you. It can be correct to Galvanic Blast a Gravecrawler if it means having a four-turn clock instead of three.
It took me a very long time to figure out that Pristine Talisman is pretty mediocre in this matchup. It can gain some extra life but the investment of an early turn to do so costs even more. It ends up being worth it to just have more ways to interact with the opponent rather than to try to land a five-drop a turn faster.
Spellskite is not in the sideboard specifically for this matchup but it still has four toughness for two mana. This card can sometimes protect a different permanent on the board but mostly it is just a gray Kraken Hatchling. It gets the job done since most of the ground pounders in Zombies are three power or less.
Wolf Run Ramp
Now Trading Post is not everyone's cup of tea but I really wish everyone would play this matchup from the Trading Post side. It is by far the easiest matchup I have ever played in my entire life. Nothing they do is relevant. Phyrexian Metamorph copying a Primeval Titan is game over. Inkmoth Nexus has an unbelievably difficult time getting through Galvanic Blast and Ghost Quarter. The matchup is just filthy!
Sideboarded games become even more of a joke since now you have access to Spellskite and Zealous Conscripts. This means you will almost always get to search for two lands any time an opponent plays Primeval Titan.
This matchup is fun to play!
Birds of Paradise Decks (Pod Naya Bant)
This is one of the more difficult matchups for the deck. We have access to some cards that are decent but the spells just do not line up for this one. Try to keep the board clear for as long as possible to eventually chain Wurmcoil Engines for multiple turns in a row until they succumb.
Sideboarding for Pod
Sideboarding for Non-Pod
The best thing this deck has going for it right now is that Birds of Paradise decks have been dropping off the map a bit. They still exist but the numbers are going down enough to make me feel confident playing R/G Post. It really is just a train wreck of a matchup though.
Thank you so much for sitting through yet another article about Trading Post. I will be bringing you guys something different in a couple weeks but I urge all of you to give this a shot. It is not only the most fun deck in the format right now but is also not really on the radar yet. Don't let this one sneak up on you!