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CardShark Content - Gareth Middleton (1/24/2005)

I haven’t written anything about the great game of Magic for quite some time, but I am in a creative mood at the moment, so, here we go! This article is aimed at the rogue PTQ player, someone who takes the game somewhat seriously, but doesn’t play established net decks. As regards to that type of player, sometimes you just have to realize when you should purchase four Arcbound Ravager
Arcbound Ravager
Arcbound RavagerSet: Darksteel
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Sacrifice an artifact: Put a +1/+1 counter on Arcbound Ravager. Modular 1 (This comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it. When it's put into a graveyard, you may put its +1/+1 counters on target artifact creature.)
s, however, rogue decks can work and I certainly encourage those players not to give up hope – I speak from experience, as I won my first PTQ with an elf deck. I am going to discuss a deck I built myself recently, I am not going to hold any tech or ideas back because I have decided not to play this deck at any qualifiers. There is a strong chance that I will not be able to go to Philadelphia if I do qualify because I am starting my last few months of college at the moment, thus I won’t have time to test a new format. If I even get time to go to any qualifiers, I’ll be playing a deck I enjoy playing. So I have decided to share this deck, hopefully someone will find it useful. Without further ado, here is the list;

4 Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.

4 Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.

4 Diabolic Edict
Diabolic Edict
Diabolic EdictSet: Tempest
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Target player sacrifices a creature.

4 Innocent Blood
Innocent Blood
Innocent BloodSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
145
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Each player sacrifices a creature.

4 Gerrard
Gerrard
GerrardSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
2
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
-4
Toughness:
+0
Text:
During your draw phase, draw an additional card.
s Verdict
4 Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian ArenaSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
47
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

3 Chrome Mox
Chrome Mox
Chrome MoxSet: Mirrodin
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
152
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Imprint - When Chrome Mox comes into play, you may remove a nonartifact, nonland card in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.) T: Add one mana of any of the imprinted card's colors to your mana pool.

3 Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.

2 Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric TutorSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
161
Artist:
Gary Leach
Text:
Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it. You lose 2 life.

1 Night of Souls Betrayal
Betrayal
BetrayalSet: Visions
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Gary Leach
Text:
Play only on a creature an opponent controls.If enchanted creature becomes tapped, draw a card.

4 Exalted Angel
Exalted Angel
Exalted AngelSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
28
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying. Whenever Exalted Angel deals damage, you gain that much life. Morph 2WW (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)

11 Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.

6 Plains
Plains
PlainsSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add W to your mana pool.

4 Caves of Koilos
Caves of Koilos
Caves of KoilosSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
140
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add W or B to your mana pool. Caves of Koilos deals 1 damage to you.

1 Kor Haven
Kor Haven
Kor HavenSet: Nemesis
Color:
Land
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
141
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. 1W, T: Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt by target attacking creature this turn.

1 Volrath
Volrath
VolrathSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
8
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
+2
Toughness:
-3
Text:
Whenever any of your creatures is put into your graveyard from play, you may put that creature on top of your library.
s Stronghold

Sideboard

4 Isochron Scepter
Isochron Scepter
Isochron ScepterSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
188
Artist:
Mark Harrison
Text:
Imprint - When Isochron Scepter comes into play, you may remove an instant card with converted mana cost 2 or less in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.) 2, T: You may copy the imprinted instant card and play the copy without paying its mana cost.

4 Orim
Orim
OrimSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
5
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
+0
Toughness:
+12
Text:
Your creatures can block as though they had flying.
s Chant
1 Serenity
Serenity
SerenitySet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
41
Artist:
Cliff Nielsen
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, destroy all artifacts and enchantments. They can't be regenerated.

1 Disenchant
Disenchant
DisenchantSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Target enchantment or artifact is destroyed.

1 Seal of Cleansing
Seal of Cleansing
Seal of CleansingSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
18
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Sacrifice Seal of Cleansing: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.

1 False Cure
False Cure
False CureSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
Bradley Williams
Text:
Until end of turn, whenever a player gains life, that player loses 2 life for each 1 life he or she gained.

1 Coffin Purge
Coffin Purge
Coffin PurgeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Remove target card in a graveyard from the game. Flashback B (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

1 Haunting Echoes
Haunting Echoes
Haunting EchoesSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
142
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Text:
Remove all cards in target player's graveyard other than basic land cards from the game. Search that player's library for all cards with the same name as cards removed this way, and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

1 Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.


Let’s have a look at the maindeck first. The plan is to use the wide variety of disruption and creature kill to stop your opponent winning while you beat him down with an Angel. Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian ArenaSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
47
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.
offers a source of continuous card advantage, the life loss can be offset by the Angels/Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
s and Verdicts, Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
can also get rid of the Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
if it becomes a problem. The Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
s serve as removal much of the time, it is however surprising how often “Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
for the kill” comes up. Cabal Therapy
Cabal Therapy
Cabal TherapySet: Judgment
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
62
Artist:
Ron Spencer

Text:
Name a nonland card. Target player reveals his or her hand and discards from it all cards with that name. Flashback - Sacrifice a creature.
is much stronger than Gerrard
Gerrard
GerrardSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
2
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
-4
Toughness:
+0
Text:
During your draw phase, draw an additional card.
s Verdict, but obviously enough, with a lack of creatures to sacrifice to the therapy; verdict is a better choice for this deck. The Night of Souls Betrayal
Betrayal
BetrayalSet: Visions
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Gary Leach
Text:
Play only on a creature an opponent controls.If enchanted creature becomes tapped, draw a card.
is strong against a lot of different decks, especially RDW and goblins (actually resolving NOSB against RDW is rather difficult but, if you do, then their win conditions are severely restricted). The manabase has been working fine so far, Volrath
Volrath
VolrathSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
8
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
+2
Toughness:
-3
Text:
Whenever any of your creatures is put into your graveyard from play, you may put that creature on top of your library.
’s Stronghold allows Angel recursion, while the Kor Haven
Kor Haven
Kor HavenSet: Nemesis
Color:
Land
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
141
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. 1W, T: Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt by target attacking creature this turn.
offers some extra insurance against Reanimator and Cephalid Breakfast.

The sideboard is transformational in nature; your opponents should board out artifact removal after the first game, especially if they get to see your deck (for example, via cranial extraction). A quick aside on extractions – This card is certainly useful, however it isn’t in this list because it just doesn’t do enough, its main appeal is to hose combo decks and it often doesn’t achieve that – Life/Desire have too many different ways to combo off, Aluren
Aluren
AlurenSet: Tempest
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
April Lee
Text:
Any player may play a creature card with total casting cost 3 or less whenever he or she could play an instant and without paying its casting cost.
/Cephalids are far too fast to worry about extraction much of the time. Note however that this deck is quite vulnerable to extractions, so it should definitely be one of your top targets for Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
, of course, you do have the advantage that no-one should guess the exact nature of the deck initially, so they may not pick angels with their extraction. Anyway, once your opponent is defenceless against artifacts, you can bring in the Scepters and the Chants. This is great against aggressive decks, but do remember that they all have outs (disciple, sharpshooter etc) so there is still work to do once you have a Scepter with Chant. Diabolic Edict
Diabolic Edict
Diabolic EdictSet: Tempest
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Target player sacrifices a creature.
or Disenchant
Disenchant
DisenchantSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Target enchantment or artifact is destroyed.
can also be good with the scepter, Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric TutorSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
161
Artist:
Gary Leach
Text:
Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it. You lose 2 life.
is rarely imprinted, but it is an option. The only other card that can be imprinted is Coffin Purge
Coffin Purge
Coffin PurgeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Remove target card in a graveyard from the game. Flashback B (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
; once again, it should be rarely required. Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
is a card that few expect; it is a gamebreaker against decks that play a long game such as Tog or Scepter-Chant. It should also come in against decks that have cranial extraction in order to diversify your win conditions. Haunting Echoes
Haunting Echoes
Haunting EchoesSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
142
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Text:
Remove all cards in target player's graveyard other than basic land cards from the game. Search that player's library for all cards with the same name as cards removed this way, and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
should come in against slower decks, resolving it against Rock/Tog and other controlling decks will usually make it very difficult for them to win. Serenity
Serenity
SerenitySet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
41
Artist:
Cliff Nielsen
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, destroy all artifacts and enchantments. They can't be regenerated.
is a tutor target that comes in against affinity; False Cure
False Cure
False CureSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
Bradley Williams
Text:
Until end of turn, whenever a player gains life, that player loses 2 life for each 1 life he or she gained.
is a tutor target against life. Seal of Cleansing
Seal of Cleansing
Seal of CleansingSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
18
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Sacrifice Seal of Cleansing: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
and Disenchant
Disenchant
DisenchantSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Target enchantment or artifact is destroyed.
are good against a range of decks, Coffin Purge
Coffin Purge
Coffin PurgeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Remove target card in a graveyard from the game. Flashback B (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
can deal with a number of problem cards, e.g. incarnations, Squee
Squee
SqueeSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
7
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Power:
+3
Toughness:
-4
Text:
Your opponents play with their hands face up.
, reanimation targets.

So, what metagame should you play this in? Well, here is a list of matchups and what I think of them. Since this will involve upwards of 10 decks, what I say will be brief – if you play a rogue deck, you really need to test it A LOT, so I advise you to do that if you are interested in playing this. I have not tested the matchups thoroughly enough to play this at a tournament; advice/strategy should be taken with a grain of salt.

1. Aggressive decks

RDW/Goblins – Very different decks, grouped together because your chances are about the same, around 50-50. RDW has a lot of disruption of its own and can kill Exalted Angel
Exalted Angel
Exalted AngelSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
28
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying. Whenever Exalted Angel deals damage, you gain that much life. Morph 2WW (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
easily enough (though it does take multiple cards), The Goblin matchup isn’t as bad if they aren’t running Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
, NOSB gives both decks headaches and should almost always be your tutor target. The scepters and chants should come in; the arenas come out as they are a liability – especially against RDW. The other cards to take out are less clear, and the right choice will change depending on the exact deck. I usually board out duress, but I keep it in against Burning Wish
Burning Wish
Burning WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
83
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer

Text:
Choose a sorcery you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Burning Wish from the game.
/Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
variants of Goblins, as well as RDW builds that play Tangle
Tangle
TangleSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
213
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn.Attacking creatures don't untap during their controllers' next untap steps.
IFdpcmU=.
If Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
stays in, then I would just trim the deck here and there – However I don’t recommend this normally, if you are doing this it clearly shows that your sideboard plans aren’t thought out and focused.

Affinity – Affinity also doesn’t enjoy NOSB, again it should be a priority to cast this quickly. However, the scepters don’t come in for this matchup. A scepter with chant is a very flimsy lock against affinity, the plan is thus to bring in the Serenity
Serenity
SerenitySet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
41
Artist:
Cliff Nielsen
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, destroy all artifacts and enchantments. They can't be regenerated.
, Disenchant
Disenchant
DisenchantSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Target enchantment or artifact is destroyed.
and Seal of Cleansing
Seal of Cleansing
Seal of CleansingSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
18
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Sacrifice Seal of Cleansing: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
while removing 3 Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
. However, if they are playing Tangle
Tangle
TangleSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
213
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn.Attacking creatures don't untap during their controllers' next untap steps.
IFdpcmU= then you will need to take out some arenas instead as this deck will never recover from a 2nd turn Tangle
Tangle
TangleSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
213
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn.Attacking creatures don't untap during their controllers' next untap steps.
IFdpcmU=.

Reanimator – This is more of a combo deck, but I always think of it as an aggressive deck. The good news is that this is pretty much a bye. Things get trickier if your opponent is running the older version of reanimator with verdant force but even then the matchup is fine. You have 8 non-targeted removal spells and 2 tutors for them, as well as duress to disrupt them. Finally, you have kor haven, which shuts them down completely unless they can get a rorix and an akroma out, the haven is great because it can’t be duressed/therapied and it is very rare that a reanimator deck can remove it when its out, as reanimators catch-all card is typically Echoing Truth
Echoing Truth
Echoing TruthSet: Darksteel
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
21
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Return target non-land permanent and all permanents that share a name with it to owner's hands.
or Rushing River
Rushing River
Rushing RiverSet: Planeshift
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
30
Artist:
Don Hazeltine
Text:
Kicker-Sacrifice a land. (You may sacrifice a land in addition to any other costs as you play this spell.) Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand. If you paid the kicker cost, return another target nonland permanent to its owner's hand.
. You will often have to get through Putrid Imp
Putrid Imp
Putrid ImpSet: Torment
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Imp
Rarity:
C
Number:
77
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Putrid Imp gains flying until end of turn. Threshold - Putrid Imp gets +1/+1 and can't block.
first, but with so much removal, this isn’t a problem. If they have Verdant Force
Verdant Force
Verdant ForceSet: Tempest
Cost:
8
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
R
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Power:
7
Toughness:
7
Text:
During each player's upkeep, put a Saproling token into play. Treat this token as a 1/1 green creature.
, you will need a NOSB out before you can kill it (unless you use Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
or an EOT/upkeep edict). After Game1, you should bring in the scepters/chants and the Coffin Purge
Coffin Purge
Coffin PurgeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Remove target card in a graveyard from the game. Flashback B (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
, take out the verdicts (they help them!), most likely Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
s as they can’t hit akroma (although with roguish versions, Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
should stay in), and an arena (or NOSB if they aren’t playing verdants). Gerrard
Gerrard
GerrardSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
2
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
-4
Toughness:
+0
Text:
During your draw phase, draw an additional card.
s Verdict isn’t very strong in this matchup, if possible you should use it as a mox imprint – it’s fine to cast it later in the game when they are unlikely to have creatures in their hands.

U/G Madness – This is bound to be a popular deck, luckily it’s a good matchup. You have a lot of removal along with Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian ArenaSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
47
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.
to keep it coming. Gerrard
Gerrard
GerrardSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
2
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
-4
Toughness:
+0
Text:
During your draw phase, draw an additional card.
s Verdict is at its most ineffective here, as with reanimator – put it under a mox early or cast it late in the game. Board out the 4 verdicts, NOSB, 2 vamps and 2 Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
. Bring in the scepter plan and the Coffin Purge
Coffin Purge
Coffin PurgeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Remove target card in a graveyard from the game. Flashback B (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
(the purge is useful all-round and is worth siding in as they may have Genesis
Genesis
GenesisSet: Judgment
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Incarnation
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Mark Zug

Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Genesis is in your graveyard, you may pay 2G. If you do, return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
). Note that if they are running 1 toughness outlets (bouncer/looter) then consider leaving NOSB in. I find that putting an edict on a scepter is often better than a scepter with chant in this matchup.

Misc. (Elves/WW/etc) – These decks, although viable, aren’t played too much. You are well set up against aggressive decks; you will usually want to bring in the scepter plan.

2. Control decks

Rock – There is a growing conception that the Rock is underpowered and unplayable. I tend to agree, the Rock is very customisable, but this strength has become a weakness as any given metagame is hard to predict due to the wide variety of decks. Last time I built the Rock, there were around 100 cards that I wanted to put in, the Rock is best when focused for a metagame, but this isn’t really possible at the moment. I was confused for a while as to why many people had stopped playing duress in the rock, then it hit me – There’s no room for it! I can’t help but feel that this is a bad change, if I was to build the rock; I would start with 4 duress/4 therapy and work from there. Anyways, Exalted Angel
Exalted Angel
Exalted AngelSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
28
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying. Whenever Exalted Angel deals damage, you gain that much life. Morph 2WW (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
is tricky for Rock to deal with, NOSB is also handy as some versions have very few creatures that aren’t toughness 1 or called Wall of Blossoms
Wall of Blossoms
Wall of BlossomsSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
75
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls cannot attack.) When Wall of Blossoms comes into play, draw a card.
. You should bring in Coffin Purge
Coffin Purge
Coffin PurgeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Remove target card in a graveyard from the game. Flashback B (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
, Haunting Echoes
Haunting Echoes
Haunting EchoesSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
142
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Text:
Remove all cards in target player's graveyard other than basic land cards from the game. Search that player's library for all cards with the same name as cards removed this way, and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
, Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
and cut 3 1offs (not exalted angel/discard!).

Tog/Scepter Control – These matchups are fine as well, they will tend to go long however so make sure you win game1. Against Tog you want to bring in echoes, angel, Seal of Cleansing
Seal of Cleansing
Seal of CleansingSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
18
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Sacrifice Seal of Cleansing: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
and Disenchant
Disenchant
DisenchantSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Target enchantment or artifact is destroyed.
as well as the chants. If they aren’t playing scepters for some reason, then don’t bring in the artifact removal. The scepters aren’t needed, the chants on their own are enough as you only need them to force spells through as well as casting in response to upheaval. Tog is very resilient and can win from nowhere with Corpse Dance
Corpse Dance
Corpse DanceSet: Tempest
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Buyback 2 (You may pay an additional 2 when you play this spell. If you do, put it into your hand instead of your graveyard as part of the spell's effect.) Put the top creature card from your graveyard into play. That creature is unaffected by summoning sickness this turn. Remove the creature from the game at end of turn.
or Fling
Fling
FlingSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
82
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Sacrifice a creature: Fling deals damage equal to the sacrificed creature's power to target creature or player.
, you should however have an edge if you play very carefully. Scepter control is a different beast, side in the same way as against tog but bring in the scepters as well (this involves bringing in most of the board, but they have few creatures so you can take out a big chunk of removal – just ensure that the removal left in the deck is diverse so that you don`t get shut down by meddling mage). Again, this is a very skill intensive matchup, the outcome will often be decided by differences in the skill level of the players rather than the differences in draws.

3. Combo decks

This section includes desire, life, Aluren
Aluren
AlurenSet: Tempest
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
April Lee
Text:
Any player may play a creature card with total casting cost 3 or less whenever he or she could play an instant and without paying its casting cost.
and Cephalid breakfast. In general, your matchups against combo decks aren’t good. Against desire, you have no realistic chance of winning. In fact, winning game1 against any of these decks will be a very rare occurrence. The scepters/chants offer hope after boarding, although you still won’t beat Minds Desire. Cephalid Breakfast is probably the best matchup of the bunch, as you have removal/haven and then the scepter plan postboard. The life matchup also gets a little better after board, you can effectively counter their chants with your own, False Cure
False Cure
False CureSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
Bradley Williams
Text:
Until end of turn, whenever a player gains life, that player loses 2 life for each 1 life he or she gained.
will force them to combo off twice on the same stack or die. The good news is that combo decks take time to perfect, so some players may misplay against you, and some people will be put off playing these decks altogether.

So, what sort of metagame is best? In a field comprised mostly of the staple decks in recent seasons, this should be in with a chance. If you feel that your metagame is going to have a lot of good combo players, then I definitely wouldn’t recommend playing this. You could certainly change the sideboard and play cranial extractions/rule of law, but those cards just don’t deal with combo decks very well, even though it looks like they should.

Finally, some general advice on sideboarding. Work out in advance what you are going to board in and out, there are only 3 minutes between each game and some players will hold you to that. In the early rounds, you are likely to play at least one random player, if you feel you can beat that person easily, then don `t use the scepters as you want them to be a surprise in future matches. If you top8, decklists will most likely be available, even if they aren’t everyone will know what you are playing by that stage. If your opponent knows your scepter plan, then shuffle your entire sideboard into your deck and then take out 15 cards so that he won’t know how many cards you have boarded. You should do this in game3 of any match you used the scepters as well.

That’s about it, thanks for reading.


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