Gorillas In The Midst...
This is what keeps Magic interesting, and also helps to keep me frustrated on a regular basis as of late.
Last week I said that you were better off in general if you decide to go with a mono-colored deck in Masques Block Constructed, due to the colorscrew problems that are inherent in the set. I still firmly believe this, but as I playtest more and more, I've found there are a handful of dual-color decks that are certainly playable and can win on a consistent basis... it's just that I'm paranoid, I guess. When I sit down to play, whether it's just goofing off at someone's house or in a high-pressure situation, I like knowing what to expect from my deck. I want to minimize the random luck factor as much as possible, and colorscrew is part of that random luck element that I hate. Some have joked that I'd play a bad deck as long as it was consistently bad. If I'm going to lose, I want it to be because I was outplayed - not because I couldn't draw double green to play the 3 Blastoderms in my hand.
Anyhoo... there are a couple of similar decktypes that have been floating around, and they are probably the best original attempts at dual-color decks I've personally seen so far (the "original" part excluding any previously established mono-color strategy that simply splashes a second color for utility, like U/G Cowardice, B/W Control with Enchantment removal, etc.). They both try to exploit Prophecy's Limited powerhouse spellshaper, Mageta the Lion, to establish board control and provide a win condition. Since MBC is basically Turbo-Limited for all I care, this strategy definitely has some merit, since I mentioned before that there are very few cards that are threats in MBC that aren't creatures (a brilliant deduction, I know, but still...).
Thus, while I certainly wasn't the one to develop the concepts, since Mageta is the workhorse of both decks, I've affectionately dubbed him "Mageta Gorilla."
Now if I could only work in a couple Jabberjaw and Hong Kong Phooey references, I'm set.
Guess I just did.
"Gorilla Red" (both are my versions of the concept)
4x Mageta Gorilla
4x Squee, Goblin Engine Fodder
4x Seal of Fire
4x Rhystic Lightning
4x Arc Mage
4x Kris Mage
3x Parallax Wave
4x Seal of Cleansing
4x Chimeric Idol
Even though the majority of the deck is red, I decided to lean slightly more towards white when solidifying the mana base, since all the red spells only require one red to cast, while seven of the eleven white spells need two white to cast.
The premise of the deck is to take care of the early threats through the various burn spells, use Seal of Cleansing to keep any game-breaking enchantments out of harm's way, establish some sort of permanent creature control through the Mages or preferrably Mageta, and then eventually win with Mageta himself and/or Chimeric Idol (Idol and Mageta...synergy! Heh...).
A first-turn Kris Mage is VERY bad for a lot of decks in this format nowadays, much less if Arc Mage can show up later on. Parallax Wave provides yet more support - and if the situation allows, you can use it to save your own creatures before you Wrath with Mageta. Squee is there for the spellshapers, obviously, but it can also actually be hardcast *boggle* to provide a chumpblocker until reinforcements arrive (and Mageta doesn't kill him, either).
Chimeric Idol is popping up in multiples in a lot of decks, and for good reason, since he's excellent in this format in general but really shines in tandem with the Gorilla. One thing I'm trying to pay attention to as the Idol's popularity grows, though, is how open it's going to leave a LOT of decks to the better Rhystic cards in the format. This is definitely something to take into account as the season goes on.
Before I get into "Gorilla Blue"....
Quick Bursts of Patented Side Rants:
#1: All these people struggling to find an answer to Blastoderm.... hello, Crenellated Wall? It's 4 mana too but it blocks just about any groundpounder I can think of after it goes active AND any color can use it.
#2: The word "Mise," like many other things that were funny or cool at first, has been ran into the ground. It's getting dumb now. You know what it reminds me of? The word "Smurf". Remember how the Smurfs used to talk? Read any tournament report that abuses slang and as you go along, replace all instances of the word "Mise" with "Smurf". You'll see how ridiculous it is then. I still endorse trying to get some of your non-playing friends to use "mise" in casual conversation though... as Omeed said, it IS rather amusing.
#3: Just an observation...I've had Dark Ponza referenced in at least two other articles on here now. That, along with Dennis Miller getting a job on Monday Night Football, surely is a sign that the end of the world is nigh.
4x Mageta Gorilla
4x Accumulated Knowledge
4x Seal of Removal
4x Stinging Barrier
3x Squee, Goblin Engine Fodder
1x Rath's Edge
This take is more similar to an old-school U/W control deck... at least as much as is possible, given the format. This deck is more reliant on the Gorilla to take care of business, although the Seals and countermagic here and there help out. Soothsaying can become just an utter machine, and the more I play with Accumulated Knowledge in this format, the more I love it. Also, extra copies of Soothsaying can be pitched to Mageta or Foil, so they're not completely dead. Don't forget the shuffling ability should the situation present itself either.
In an attempt to encourage some people to actually playtest (PLAY WITH THE CARDS, I say!), I won't really go over match-ups with either of these decks. How many of the match-ups go should be very obvious just by taking one or two glances at each deck, but I will mention a few things about The Most Annoying Deck Since Stasis: Gorilla Red does surprisingly well against it, since it has a lot of things that can sneak through early or are must-counters later, which can allow for Mageta to get through. Anything like a Mage or a Seal will prevent the Waters player from dropping a critical Bouncer, and he can't really safely tap out without countermagic around turn 4 or 5 to drop a Barrier for fear of Rhystic Lightning or other assorted goodies. Remember that a key element to beating Waters is that the creatures provide the board control, and it is generally bad for the blue playerto drop Waters until this control has been established. This stability is very hard for the Waters player to gain though in this situation.
Gorilla Blue, on the other hand, does well against most of the decks that Gorilla Red does well against (better, in some cases, since it can protect Mageta with countermagic), but is a little worse against Waters. It is still certainly winnable, though, even if difficult.
May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house,
Zeke2517 on IRC
The King of Greyhounds