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CardShark Content - Michael Potter (1/20/2003)

Some introductory thoughts

I have been using the Internet for over a decade now (my earliest Usenet post I can find is in 1991). Sometimes I think that Internet communities are like stereotypical high schools with cliques and favourite targets for the cliques to bash. It hasn’t changed from what I can see and the online Magic communities are the same.

It has been fashionable for quite a while to bash Jarrod Bright. The bashing is normally in two forms. They said that he sucks as a player (his rating was down around 1600 for a while and he barely had played in any DCI sanctioned tournaments). They said that his decks he posted were terrible and that he overhyped them (Llanawar Dead was a favourite target).

Jarrod just won a PTQ in his area and will be going to PT Venice, so he has taken the first step to prove himself as a player and will have the chance to play on stage with everyone being able to track his progress. Just winning the PTQ puts him far above the typical “follow-the-crowd” bashers that have never even come close to doing that.

The second reason for bashing normally revolves around his card choices in his decks. As a little history, I “met” Jarrod a few years ago via message board posts. This was when I was first starting to play in tournaments and was looking for ideas and feedback on what type of deck to play. I quickly got into debates with Jarrod on the message boards and we exchanged emails back and forth (and have continued to do so over the last couple of years).

I almost never agreed 100% with all of his card choices in his decks, but I always thought that he had a good foundation in place for the decks he did present. I noted that even some Pros admitted that Jarrod was right about Tireless Tribe
Tireless Tribe
Tireless TribeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Nomad
Rarity:
C
Number:
56
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Tireless Tribe gets +0/+4 until end of turn.
during OBC season (I used it right from the start for my WW deck and he and I exchanged emails on it – before his articles that first showed it being used in deck ideas, we both thought it was good from the get go).

This has been a long intro to say that I occasionally really like one of his decks and end up playing them. I think that it has been said plenty of times before – try the deck before you badmouth it. All too often I see people changing a deck around before even play testing it once.

The deck:

Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
er

Creatures (1)

1 Undead Gladiator
Undead Gladiator
Undead GladiatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Barbarian
Rarity:
R
Number:
178
Artist:
Jeff Easley
Power:
3
Toughness:
1
Text:
1B, Discard a card from your hand: Return Undead Gladiator from your graveyard to your hand. Play this ability only during your upkeep.. Cycling 1B (1B, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)


Spells (33)

4 x 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.

3 x 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.

2 x Smother
Smother
SmotherSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
170
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. It can't be regenerated.

4 x Chainer's Edict
Chainer's Edict
Chainer's EdictSet: Torment
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Text:
Target player sacrifices a creature. Flashback 5BB

3 x Mutilate
Mutilate
MutilateSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
73
Text:
All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn for each swamp you control.

1 x Engineered Plague
Engineered Plague
Engineered PlagueSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
51
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
When Engineered Plague comes into play, choose a creature type.All creatures of the chosen type get -1/-1.

4 x Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic TutorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
129
Artist:
Rick Farrell
Text:
Search your library for a card, and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

3 x Skeletal Scrying
Skeletal Scrying
Skeletal ScryingSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
161
Artist:
Bob Petillo
Text:
As an additional cost to play Skeletal Scrying, remove X cards in your graveyard from the game. You draw X cards and you lose X life.

1 x Mind Sludge
Mind Sludge
Mind SludgeSet: Torment
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
70
Text:
Target player discards a card from his or her hand for each swamp you control.

1 x 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 x Riptide Replicator
Riptide Replicator
Riptide ReplicatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
309
Artist:
Doug Chaffee
Text:
As Riptide Replicator comes into play, choose a color and a creature type. Riptide Replicator comes into play with X charge counters on it. 4, T: Put an X/X creature token of the chosen color and type into play, where X is the number of charge counters on Riptide Replicator.

4 x Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.

2 x Mirari
Mirari
MirariSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
303
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, you may pay 3. If you do, put a copy of that spell onto the stack. You may choose new targets for the copy.


4 x Cabal Coffers
Cabal Coffers
Cabal CoffersSet: Torment
Color:
Land
Type:
land
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Text:
2, T: Add B to your mana pool for each swamp you control.

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


Sideboard

4 Nantuko Shade
Nantuko Shade
Nantuko ShadeSet: Torment
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Insect Shade
Rarity:
R
Number:
74
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
B: Nantuko Shade gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

3 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.

1 Persecute
Persecute
PersecuteSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Choose a color. Look at target player's hand. That player discards all cards of the chosen color.

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 Skeletal Scrying
Skeletal Scrying
Skeletal ScryingSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
161
Artist:
Bob Petillo
Text:
As an additional cost to play Skeletal Scrying, remove X cards in your graveyard from the game. You draw X cards and you lose X life.

1 Riptide Replicator
Riptide Replicator
Riptide ReplicatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
309
Artist:
Doug Chaffee
Text:
As Riptide Replicator comes into play, choose a color and a creature type. Riptide Replicator comes into play with X charge counters on it. 4, T: Put an X/X creature token of the chosen color and type into play, where X is the number of charge counters on Riptide Replicator.

1 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.

1 Smother
Smother
SmotherSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
170
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. It can't be regenerated.

1 Mutilate
Mutilate
MutilateSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
73
Text:
All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn for each swamp you control.

1 Engineered Plague
Engineered Plague
Engineered PlagueSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
51
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
When Engineered Plague comes into play, choose a creature type.All creatures of the chosen type get -1/-1.


So off to Pleasanton Sports Cards I go to play in the weekly FNM tournament. It was a slightly below average turnout with 16 players. There seems to be a fair number of new faces showing up. I’ve heard that Magic is “catching on” at a few of the local high schools and that is bringing new people into the store. From my talks with various storeowners, this has been the story of Magic for a while. Some years are leaner than others in terms of new players. The younger crowd all seems to be playing Yu-gi-oh (the store is full of Yu-Gi-Oh players on Saturday) and the older crowd plays Magic. I’m guessing that the heavier creature theme is attracting more of the high school players. I know that Onslaught
Onslaught
OnslaughtSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
92
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Whenever you successfully cast a creature spell, tap target creature.
has been a very good seller in the local store with maybe twice as many boxes being sold compared to Odyssey. I had heard that Invasion’s return of Gold cards caused a similar spike two years ago.

What the influx of newer players means is that the judge and the more experienced players need to be sure to explain tournament rules more closely. I have had a few matches over the last few weeks where I have had players try to look at my deck before the match began, not understand the beginning of match sequence to determine who is playing/drawing, ask to take back their plays when they realized they were bad when I responded to them (I had revealed my response at that time), trying to keep track of their life totals in their heads, etc. That is one of the “joys” of playing in FNM – teaching new players the rules better and how to play in tournaments.

I’ll give one hint about playing against new players – they tend to play those huge, over-costed creatures and effects that the experienced Constructed player dismissed long ago. Since they’re new and inexperienced, the temptation is to get cute with them and let the game go longer so you can pull off your super splashy effect in your deck. Then they play one of those huge, over-costed spells and you realize that you just lost the game.

Round 1 – Patrick Trinh playing UG

One guarantee for the store – you will play against UG Madness. Sure enough, round 1 I played against it. Patrick won the die roll and chose to go first. Looking at my life totals from the game, it is easy to see that I killed every creature that he played and kept making land drops. A few big Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
s and the game ended in my favour. Game 2, he did have somewhat of a beatdown on me, getting me to eight. However, I Mirari
Mirari
MirariSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
303
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, you may pay 3. If you do, put a copy of that spell onto the stack. You may choose new targets for the copy.
ed a large Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
after he had taken damage from a Deep Analysis
Deep Analysis
Deep AnalysisSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Text:
Target player draws two cards. Flashback - 1U, Pay 3 life.
earlier in the game and I won game 2 as well. I managed to get some pretty large Birds out this game via Riptide Replicator
Riptide Replicator
Riptide ReplicatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
309
Artist:
Doug Chaffee
Text:
As Riptide Replicator comes into play, choose a color and a creature type. Riptide Replicator comes into play with X charge counters on it. 4, T: Put an X/X creature token of the chosen color and type into play, where X is the number of charge counters on Riptide Replicator.
.

Rounds 1-0, Games 2-0

Round 2 – Jeff Lin playing UG

Two rounds in a row facing this deck. Jeff always plays decks with counter magic and I knew that he would be careful about tapping out against me. I won the die and kept a steady stream of creature destruction going at as many of the creatures he played as I could. I had to use a Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
on a creature at one point as my life total was at 10 with lots of damage on the table. I forced through a Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
for 12 targeting Jeff and that swung the game far too far in my favour. He flashed back a Deep Analysis
Deep Analysis
Deep AnalysisSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Text:
Target player draws two cards. Flashback - 1U, Pay 3 life.
to look for an answer but he couldn’t stop the next Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
.

Rounds 2-0, Games 4-0

Round 3 Dana Koerlin playing UG

I seemed to like drawing the UG players this day. Dana won the die roll and then started to pound me. I tried to use creature control but he put me under so much pressure that I had to burn life and go look for answers via Skeletal Scrying
Skeletal Scrying
Skeletal ScryingSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
161
Artist:
Bob Petillo
Text:
As an additional cost to play Skeletal Scrying, remove X cards in your graveyard from the game. You draw X cards and you lose X life.
. I did manage to kill an Arrogant Wurm
Arrogant Wurm
Arrogant WurmSet: Torment
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
U
Number:
120
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Trample. Madness 2G
with a Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
to move me from 3 life to 8, but the threats kept coming at me and a Phantom Centaur
Phantom Centaur
Phantom CentaurSet: Judgment
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Centaur Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
127
Artist:
Carl Critchlow

Power:
2
Toughness:
0
Text:
Protection from Black. Phantom Centaur comes into play with three +1/+1 counters on it. If damage would be dealt to Phantom Centaur, prevent that damage. Remove a +1/+1 counter from Phantom Centaur.
took me down to 3. I Scried for 2 taking me to 1 life, managed to deal with the Centaur, and then hit Dana for 12 with Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
. A Riptide Replicator
Riptide Replicator
Riptide ReplicatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
309
Artist:
Doug Chaffee
Text:
As Riptide Replicator comes into play, choose a color and a creature type. Riptide Replicator comes into play with X charge counters on it. 4, T: Put an X/X creature token of the chosen color and type into play, where X is the number of charge counters on Riptide Replicator.
that could make 20/20 Hounds sealed the game for me.

Rounds 3-0, games 6-0

Round 4 Patrick Mellen playing Mono-Black

I finally had a break from playing against UG decks. I knew that Patrick was playing a mono-Black deck, but I didn’t know what was in it. I know that game 1 can leave you with lots of dead cards if there are no creatures to remove. Patrick actually was playing a variety of large Black creatures, so my removal wasn’t dead and his was. I killed a Silent Specter
Silent Specter
Silent SpecterSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Specter
Rarity:
R
Number:
169
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying. Whenever Silent Specter deals combat damage to a player, that player discards two cards from his or her hand.. Morph 3BB (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
with a 5 point Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
and then aimed another one for 6 points at Patrick. I was feeling pretty good about how the game was going and then he used 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.
and most of my deck went up in smoke. I still had a fairly full hand and some creature removal left in my deck so I decided to keep playing. I quickly drew a Riptide Replicator
Riptide Replicator
Riptide ReplicatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
309
Artist:
Doug Chaffee
Text:
As Riptide Replicator comes into play, choose a color and a creature type. Riptide Replicator comes into play with X charge counters on it. 4, T: Put an X/X creature token of the chosen color and type into play, where X is the number of charge counters on Riptide Replicator.
and made very large, Black Zombies to seal the win.

Game 2 was anti-climatic. Patrick stalled out with the dreaded 2 swamps and a Coffer draw. My sideboarded Persecute
Persecute
PersecuteSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Choose a color. Look at target player's hand. That player discards all cards of the chosen color.
wrecked his hand just when he started to find land and then Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
s quickly ended the game.

Rounds 4-0, Games 8-0

Some notes on playing this deck

I played a similar deck about a month before (going 3-1) and have since been play testing against a few friends who are coming back into playing Magic after a break for watching Football (the store probably lost 4-5 of the regulars to the NFL season, these tended to be the older and more experienced players).

Undead Gladiator
Undead Gladiator
Undead GladiatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Barbarian
Rarity:
R
Number:
178
Artist:
Jeff Easley
Power:
3
Toughness:
1
Text:
1B, Discard a card from your hand: Return Undead Gladiator from your graveyard to your hand. Play this ability only during your upkeep.. Cycling 1B (1B, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)
proved its worth in quite a few games. It did its job of allowing me to browse through my deck and it even acted as a blocker a few times.

Riptide Replicator
Riptide Replicator
Riptide ReplicatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
309
Artist:
Doug Chaffee
Text:
As Riptide Replicator comes into play, choose a color and a creature type. Riptide Replicator comes into play with X charge counters on it. 4, T: Put an X/X creature token of the chosen color and type into play, where X is the number of charge counters on Riptide Replicator.
was good in just about every round. Once the mana production went over 10, I was able to make tokens that trumped my opponents’ creatures (except they didn’t fly so the tokens are not as useful as blockers against UG). At worst, they operated as another form of removal as my opponents blocked large tokens in an effort to maintain their life totals.

VS. UG Madness

The way to win this game is to keep them from putting you on too much of a clock before you get enough of a mana jump on them that you can power out your biggest spells. The main deck is well suited to this with a fair amount of removal. If you can keep them from having a Madness outlet on the table, you’ll win the game almost for sure. Game 2 can be a little tricky if they get a Compost
Compost
CompostSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
102
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Whenever a black card is put into one of your opponents' graveyards, you may draw a card.
into play, but you should be able to overcome even that. Sideboarding usually is a matter of brining in Smother
Smother
SmotherSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
170
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. It can't be regenerated.
and taking out Mind Sludge
Mind Sludge
Mind SludgeSet: Torment
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
70
Text:
Target player discards a card from his or her hand for each swamp you control.
. You can try and work in the extra Mutilate
Mutilate
MutilateSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
73
Text:
All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn for each swamp you control.
as well. If you’re really worried about the Compost
Compost
CompostSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
102
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Whenever a black card is put into one of your opponents' graveyards, you may draw a card.
, bring in the Cabal Therapies and hope that you get it before it is played. Mirari
Mirari
MirariSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
303
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, you may pay 3. If you do, put a copy of that spell onto the stack. You may choose new targets for the copy.
and Riptide Replicator
Riptide Replicator
Riptide ReplicatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
309
Artist:
Doug Chaffee
Text:
As Riptide Replicator comes into play, choose a color and a creature type. Riptide Replicator comes into play with X charge counters on it. 4, T: Put an X/X creature token of the chosen color and type into play, where X is the number of charge counters on Riptide Replicator.
may be the target of Naturalize
Naturalize
NaturalizeSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
275
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
after sideboarding, so you may also want to consider siding in a few extras.

Another thought for this match up is using the Nantaku Shades. Chances are pretty good that the GU player has sided out Aether Burst
Aether Burst
Aether BurstSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Return up to X target creatures to their owners' hands, where X is one plus the number of Aether Burst cards in all graveyards as you play Aether Burst.
(or not sided it in) for game 2. With a decent mana draw and a Chainer’s Edict and Smother
Smother
SmotherSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
170
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. It can't be regenerated.
, the Shades can win you a damage race very quickly. I only tried this once and lost the damage race to flying Wurms, but it was close. It might catch your opponent by surprise and, if you win and the match is still going on, you can side them back out in the hope of stranding bounce.

If you get into the mid-game, Riptide Replicator
Riptide Replicator
Riptide ReplicatorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
309
Artist:
Doug Chaffee
Text:
As Riptide Replicator comes into play, choose a color and a creature type. Riptide Replicator comes into play with X charge counters on it. 4, T: Put an X/X creature token of the chosen color and type into play, where X is the number of charge counters on Riptide Replicator.
can make a huge difference. You can generate very large tokens that can put UG on a very fast clock. As Naturalize
Naturalize
NaturalizeSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
275
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
is a threat (especially in games 2 and 3), you may want to making smaller tokens with 4 mana ready to get at least one out. 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.
can also outright win the game for you if you get enough of their different creatures in their graveyard before casting the spell.

This is the match-up that needs to be tested the most for my store’s metagame as it is very popular. There are very few rares in the typical UG deck and this makes it easy to build. The combination of UG being cheap to build, being fairly easy to play, and being powerful means that it will get played.

VS. Sligh

This is a very tough deck to beat. You need to keep up with their creature drops and you have no easy answer to Blistering Firecat
Blistering Firecat
Blistering FirecatSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
R
Number:
189
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
7
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample, haste. At end of turn, sacrifice Blistering Firecat.. Morph RR (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face. up any time for its morph cost.)
. If you can keep stomping on the Goblins that come out to play, name Cat with Engineered Plague
Engineered Plague
Engineered PlagueSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
51
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
When Engineered Plague comes into play, choose a creature type.All creatures of the chosen type get -1/-1.
. Games (especially game 1) come down to how much damage you take before you start sending Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
s at their head. Make sure that they can’t remove their own creature if you decide to fire off a Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
as creature kill as it will fizzle and gain you no life if the creature goes away. You don’t only have to worry about burn here as most of the Sligh decks play Goblins that can sacrifice themselves.

I play tested it against a more Ponza version of Sligh (not really Sligh but it was a mono-Red deck). Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
er requires a lot of mana by mid game, and the LD kept my mana development down to the point where I could not flashback Chainer’s Edict. At times, I had trouble even getting to Mutilate
Mutilate
MutilateSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
73
Text:
All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn for each swamp you control.
/Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic TutorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
129
Artist:
Rick Farrell
Text:
Search your library for a card, and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
mana.

Overall, I would slightly tilt the matches to Sligh. From what I could tell, the main difference seemed to be the threat density caused by the use of Search/Sac lands. Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
er does not punish other decks early for taking a few pints of damage looking for lands. Once the Sligh player had thinned their deck by a couple of Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.
s, I found it hard to prevent them from getting an extra point or two of damage in and winning the game.

VS. AstroGlide (from play testing)

Discard is your friend early in this match-up. It takes a little while for the deck to get going, and you can stall it out if you can knock a few of the pieces it is looking for into the graveyard. Since AstroGlide cycles like crazy, it fills the graveyard fast with targets for 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.
.

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 the clock that will beat you. It is about the only real pressure they’ll put on you earlier in the game. Without AstroSlide to back it up, it is very vulnerable to your removal.

Side in the extra discard in the form of 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.
. Worry a little about CoP:Black and Aegis of Honor
Aegis of Honor
Aegis of HonorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
1
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
1: The next time an instant or sorcery spell would deal damage to you this turn, that spell deals that damage to its controller instead.
.

Vs. Psychotog

I have not tested this match-up yet. If I look at the results of the recent Chicago Masters, I would have to assume that Tog is the stronger deck. We’re adding a Tog deck to our testing so I’ll have a better idea of how Tog does against other decks in the format.

State of Type 2 after Chicago Masters

9/16 of the last 16 decks in the Gateway tournament were Psychotog-based decks and 6/8 of the finalists in the Gateway were Tog decks. All 4 decks that qualified someone were Tog decks.

In the Masters itself, Opposition
Opposition
OppositionSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
40
Artist:
Todd Lockwood
Text:
Tap an untapped creature you control: Tap target artifact, creature, or land.
beat UG Madness (a different version with no maindeck or sideboard enchantment destruction). 15 of the 32 decks were Tog decks and the numbers held to the finals where 2/4 were Tog decks.

The sheer numbers of Tog decks may show more of the control-bias for Pro-players than it being a sign of the pure power of the deck, but the fact that so many trusted Tog’s big toothy grin when so much money was on the line must mean something. I’m expecting Tog decks to return in force in my local environment. With another month and a half until Legions becomes legal (and Legions being all creatures), I don’t see any changes happening until March.

Travel plans

I’ll be in NYC a couple of days before 2/11 as I’m presenting at a CSFB bond conference. Depending on how packed my schedule is (I have friends and family in the area that I only get to see once or twice a year and they have priority over Magic), I’m going to try and make it over to Neutral Ground to enter a draft. I’m probably going to Asia right afterwards and will go to a FNM or two while I’m there.


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