Hello! It's your favorite Eternal Dominion-wielding superhero and forumite. This time I'm going to take my lessons from playing Magic Workstation, and a week of solid Standard playtesting, to show you what's possible when you take the raw power offered by Guildpact and apply it to tournament-winning decks.
I have three concoctions for you today: A classic Control twist, a new Control, and a meta-Control that completely ruins the first two decks.
Confused yet? Allow me to explain...
Everyone is familiar with the Izzet-fueled Counter-Burn strategy: you steal lands with Annex, you counter anything dangerous, and you drop bombs and draw cards and create the Eminent Domain. Congratulations Mr. Sullivan, I hate your stupid deck.
When I found one that broke the mold, I had to stand up. Allow me an aside:
In Magic Workstation, players aren't limited by silly things like collection size. This is, coincidentally, why I purchased a license for the product (I know! For shame!) I just scoff at the idea of not being able to use four Putrefy when I need four Putrefy.
The same goes for Guildpact. You're so tied into the cash you pour into the game, you're limited by your creativity. In Magic Workstation, the sky is the limit. Of course, with that limit comes the inevitable Horrible Deck Syndrome where you may play nothing but trash, game after game. There is, however, the potential for amazing technology to be discovered on an innocent server sitting in some far away place.
Here's that magical list:
The idea with this switch-out of Godo for Kokusho and the inclusion of Tatsumasa is obvious. However, what is not obvious is how well this deck works now that Godo is included.
For a start, Shinka is just unfair when Godo is on the board. Same goes for Keiga, but with Godo getting two attacks a turn there is no room for blocking that guy. Tatsumasa, of course, is your primary — well, only — target. No one wants you to untap with Tatsumasa in play, let along stick it on a Godo for a First Striking (thanks Shinka!), untapping-after-attacking-twice (thanks Minamo!) face-beater. Even after Godo is Putrefied/Mortified, Tatsumasa can turn into reusable life-gain with nine mana and Miren.
It sounds silly, but probably only to those who have no experience with Eminent Domain. You have a ton of mana thanks to Annex and eight Signets. You have plenty of card draw (Compulsive Research, three Tidings) and you have lots of weenie removal (Pyroclasm) and Loxodon Hierarch/Burning-Tree Shaman removal (Wildfire).
Godo is the secret that utterly destroys the mirror match, taking this deck to the next level. Decks that have been geared to defeat 5/5 Flying Legendary Dragon Spirits cannot deal with a creature that pulls out a huge beatstick and then, well, beats you to death with it. They can deal with Godo but not the equipment, or the other way around. This double threat turns the deck from good... to great.
Next up: the new B/W control.
Here's the best version I've found:
- 4 Blind Hunter
- 4 Nekrataal
- 4 Ghost Council of Orzhova
- 4 Kokusho, the Evening Star
- 4 Yosei, the Morning Star
I, like most of my friends, immediately dismissed Debtor's Knell. "Seven mana? Stupid ability? Meh. See you at the casual tables."
But no, my friends. No.
This card is utterly and completely amazing. At a mere seven mana, it's one more than a 5/5 Flying Legendary Dragon Spirit and, better yet, it keeps them coming back time and time again.
You want to see Gifts howl in pain? Drop Debtor's Knell and watch them Death Denied all of their creatures just so you can't have them. Few still play that deck, but those who do have nightmares over this one.
Simply speaking, you have a hard time playing any sort of Control deck in the new metagame if you don't have Dragons in it. Sorry, that's the facts. There is so much removal in this format. Putrefy and Mortify will be in so many decks, you'll need something that will fire off when it dies to counter this sort of removal.
With Debtor's Knell you actually look forward to having your Dragons destroyed (Putrefy, Mortify, Wrath of God, how you doin?). Because they'll come back... and few decks have an answer to Debtor's Knell [apart from Mortify that'll be in so many decks... - Craig, feeling frisky] Most Green mages aren't even packing Naturalize anymore, because who needs that silly thing when you can run Putrefy, which is obviously the better spell! Duh, right?
Right. Which, of course, makes them all the more scared when you drop the enchantment which they Can. Not. Stop.
I haven't even spoken of the New Fantastic Tech: Blind Hunter. This ugly dude just wins games. Let's take a look:
Most people realize Ghost Council of Orzhova is amazing, one of the best Limited cards you could ever hope for (future W/B/g Ravnica-Ravnica-Guildpact Draft deck, I love you). But in Constructed, it normally plays like this:
- Play Blind Hunter. You lose two life, I gain two life.
- Play Ghost Council with a mana up. You lose one life, I gain one life.
- Sacrifice Blind Hunter with Ghost Council. Haunt my Dragon, or one of your creatures. When Ghost Council comes back you lose one life, I gain one life.
- Sacrifice my haunted creature or kill yours with Mortify. You lose two life, I gain two life.
That's a six-point swing with two creatures. That's tricks that you don't just see in your mind's eye; they're tricks you'll be pulling off game after game.
Oh, and Otherworldly Journey? Everyone falls for Otherworldly Journey. Right now we call this "The Fringe". Everyone thinks that's a silly Kamigawa block card, no one plays around it, and Blind Hunter is the best enabler you could possibly hope for.
I play Otherworldly Journey on Blind Hunter at the end of their turn. They're at three. I'm at thirteen.
I swing with Blind Hunter. They're at one.
I play Ghost Council. They're at zero, I'm at fourteen. Good game, sir.
The tricks and synergy in this deck build and build until there's nothing the opponent can do. The obvious synergy with Nekrataal and Otherworldly Journey. The atomic bomb that is Debtor's Knell (get em now while they're cheap!). The Haunt goodness. The huge Dragons that always end up in your opening hand, or ripped from the top when you need them the most.
Wrath of God with a Debtor's Knell in play is not only cruel and unusual... it's also punishment.
The most important thing to take from this deck is that synergy is only good when it can be spread across multiple cards. When you take a look at the deck, it pays to think of interactions and not just the cards by themselves.
I was thinking of adding Phyrexian Arena to this deck as well, but feel free to experiment and see what you can do. This deck is just potential building on potential.
The Great Meta Deck
Oh boy, you're either going to love this one or hate it with a passion. You have no idea how excited I was to play against this deck once it "went off" on me. It simply destroys Control decks like nothing I've ever seen.
With such amazing Control decks in the environment, many people run to their favorite face-beaters like Burning-Tree Shaman, Rumbling Slum, and even Isamaru, Hound of Konda to compensate. This is a bad idea, because Control was custom-built to ruin super-aggressive decks.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have this annoying deck that wins games with a Saviors of Kamigawa uncommon.
I think I just heard someone spit through their nose.
Again: it wins with a Saviors of Kamigawa uncommon. Seriously.
Control decks like to have cards in hand. They want to have “card advantage” and “tempo advantage.” When you take away the latter portion, with cards like Eye of Nowhere, and you give them what they want with Howling Mine and Kami of the Crescent Moon (another Saviors card!), they get excited and can't wait to play what they have.
Except their lands are bouncing (Boomerang, Eye of Nowhere).
Except they're taking damage (Ebony Owl Netsuke)
Except they can't untap (Exhaustion)
"Your deck is stupid," they say, after taking four damage.
"Your deck doesn't do anything!" they screech, after taking eight damage (two Ebony Owl Netsukes? You betcha!)
They try to rid themselves of the "great" cards in hand, while getting destroyed with the "bad" cards you're playing.
Needless to say, this deck is not strong against aggressive decks. Since this is a meta deck, I figure it would be fitting to have a meta sideboard. When I play a Gruul or a weenie deck variety, I side in the following:
+2 Keiga the Tide Star (just wins)
+3 Meloku, the Clouded Mirror (see above)
+4 Drift of Phantasms (blocker, Transmute ability)
Otherwise, this is a simple Aggro-strategy that works on efficiency. With your deck having such a drastic change, who knows what your opponent is sideboarding in, and who cares? They will be blindsided with a 5/5 Flying Legendary Dragon Spirit (just love that phrase) or a 2/4 flying killing machine.
Even if Drift of Phantasms is a wall, it's still a great wall. It stops everything shy of a Rumbling Slum, something you should be bouncing or countering anyway. You aren't total Aggro after sideboarding, just more of an Aggro-Control variant that gives plenty of options.
Call it silly, but this deck wins games. The B/W and the Eminent Godo deck have a very hard beating this deck, pre and post sideboard. They're so busy trying to lay signets and hit the four-mana threshold that any deck which can stop them from doing so completely wrecks their plans and stomps them into the dirt.
With your card draw (Howling Mine, Kami of the Crescent Moon, and Remand), you keep drawing gas while they keep discarding it. You work on a clock of Ebony Owl Netsuke and if you can't find it you simply transmute for it (Muddle the Mixture), and while they're busy playing Signets on Turn six you're busy winning already.
For those looking for something new and exciting, I think you should try the decks listed above. I love Wizards of the Coast, but I don't love their legal practices (Free R_E!) or their unprecedented use and abuse of their online component. Full price for digital cards? No thanks.
In the Workstation world, the sky is the limit. In the real world and Magic Online, the wallet is the limit. Add in two jobs, two kids, one wife, and bills, and I think you too will find that to really get your money's worth when buying cardboard (digital or otherwise), you should be able to test and re-test and get cracking as soon as possible using any cards you choose, not just those that came out of a booster.
I was using Magic Workstation and playing with Guildpact cards in the new Standard format by the end of the day of the Prerelease. Now for those on Magic Online who are suffering through another two weeks of non-Guildpact play, I pity and empathize with you. These decks are simply not possible right now, and even when the set comes out you'll be spending time, money, and trouble to use them.
Here's to hoping your online journeys in this awesome card game are worthwhile.
- Evan "misterorange" Erwin