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CardShark Content - Samuel Stafford (8/24/2005)

Taking a look back at it I would have to say the top two decks in block are Black Hand and Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts UngivenSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
. Each being the most powerful of their type, Black Hand is simply the most explosive beatdown deck and Gifts is the most versatile control deck I’ve seen in recent memory. Of course with this being common knowledge they will be in the crosshairs of opposing deck designers. I wouldn’t forget White Weenie or a couple of the rogue decks such as Mono Blue Control, Sachi Freed or Enduring Ideal
Enduring Ideal
Enduring IdealSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
7
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Text:
Search your library for an enchantment card and put it into play. Then shuffle your library. Epic (For the rest of the game, you can't play spells. At the beginning of each of your upkeeps, copy this spell except for its epic ability.)
as they are relatively new and need tuning. As far as new decks go, there are so many possibilities out there. In time the metagame will shift and I guarantee new decks will emerge. I bring this point up because the perfect example popped up in Grand Prix Taipei:

“Deck X”
by Osamu Fujita

Lands: 23
15x Plains
Plains
PlainsSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add W to your mana pool.

2x Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.

4x Cloudcrest Lake
Cloudcrest Lake
Cloudcrest LakeSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
274
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
T: Add 1 to your mana pool. T: Add W or U to your mana pool. Cloudcrest Lake doesn't untap during your next untap step.

1x Minamo
Minamo
MinamoSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Kamigawa
Rarity:
C
Number:
24
Artist:
Charles Urbach
Text:
Whenever a player casts a spell, that player may draw a card. Whenever you roll {C}, each player may return a blue card from his or her graveyard to his or her hand.
, School at Water’s Edge
1x Eiganjo Castle
Eiganjo Castle
Eiganjo CastleSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Color:
Land
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
275
Artist:
Wayne England
Text:
T: Add W to your mana pool. W, T: Prevent the next 2 damage that would be dealt to target legendary creature this turn.


Creatures: 23

4x Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Isamaru, Hound of KondaSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Hound
Rarity:
R
Number:
19
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Power:
2
Toughness:
2

4x Eight-and-a-Half Tails
4x Hokori, Dust Drinker
Hokori, Dust Drinker
Hokori, Dust DrinkerSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
7
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Lands don't untap during their controllers' untap steps. At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player untaps a land he or she controls.

4x Meloku, The Clouded Mirror
3x Yosei, the Morning Star
Yosei, the Morning Star
Yosei, the Morning StarSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
6
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
50
Artist:
Hiro Izawa
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying When Yosei, the Morning Star is put into a graveyard from play, target player skips his or her next untap step. Tap up to five target permanents that player controls.

2x Kentaro, The Smiling Cat
2x Sensei, Golden Tail

Other Spells: 14

4x Honor-Worn Shaku
4x Umezawa’s Jitte
2x Pithing Needle
Pithing Needle
Pithing NeedleSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Color:
Colorless
Rarity:
R

2x Konda’s Banner
2x Blessed Breath
Blessed Breath
Blessed BreathSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Number:
1
Artist:
Tsutomu Kawade
Text:
Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn. Splice onto Arcane W (As you play an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card's effects to that spell.)


Sideboard: 15

4x Ghostly Prison
Ghostly Prison
Ghostly PrisonSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
10
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Text:
Creatures can't attack you unless their controller pays 2 for each creature attacking you. (This cost is paid as attackers are declared.)

4x Hisoka’s Defiance
4x Hand of Honor
Hand of Honor
Hand of HonorSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Samurai
Rarity:
U
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from black Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)

2x Pithing Needle
Pithing Needle
Pithing NeedleSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Color:
Colorless
Rarity:
R

1x Yosei, the Morning Star
Yosei, the Morning Star
Yosei, the Morning StarSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
6
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
50
Artist:
Hiro Izawa
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying When Yosei, the Morning Star is put into a graveyard from play, target player skips his or her next untap step. Tap up to five target permanents that player controls.


Brief Description of how it plays:

Looks underpowered doesn’t it? However, if you take a closer look you’ll realize the complete house this against the top deck in block; Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts UngivenSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
. This is a product of the Metagame and brilliant deck Design. The cards aren’t supposed to be spectacular but rather they are the “Answer” to the best decks in the metagame. Not only does it have maindeck answers to it like 4x Hokori, 2x Needle and 3x Yosei, but almost all of these cards are legendary allowing for Honor-Worn Shaku to be broken and give this deck its amazing speed. What is a typical start for this deck? Turn 1 Hound, Turn 2 Jitte are already a good sign for any deck. But with the help of the “Paddle” not only can it be played on Turn 3 you can also tap it along with a Jitte to Equip the Jitte onto the Hound. That also sets you up for turn 4 Yosei. Still not sold on this deck? Lay down Hokori and your opponent is scrambling for mana. Your lands are tapped as well but with Shaku you can just tap those legends and keep the pressure on. Now of course this deck will have problems with Black Hand and White Weenie that will be lower in numbers due to all the Gifts decks that will be played. This is where your Sideboard comes in providing lifesavers like Ghostly Prison
Ghostly Prison
Ghostly PrisonSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
10
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Text:
Creatures can't attack you unless their controller pays 2 for each creature attacking you. (This cost is paid as attackers are declared.)
and Hand of Honor
Hand of Honor
Hand of HonorSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Samurai
Rarity:
U
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from black Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
.

Card-by-Card Breakdown:

4x Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Isamaru, Hound of KondaSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Hound
Rarity:
R
Number:
19
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
: Turn 2 he attacks for 2. After that he becomes a 2/2 Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar ElvesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elves
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
combined with Shaku powering out Yosei and Meloku.

4x Eight-and-a-Half Tails: He offers a 2/2 body for 2 mana and is your answer to all the spot removal as well as a form of evasion for your creatures. Again, his legendary status works with Shaku.

4x Hokori, Dust Drinker
Hokori, Dust Drinker
Hokori, Dust DrinkerSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
7
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Lands don't untap during their controllers' untap steps. At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player untaps a land he or she controls.
: He is the closest to Armageddon
Armageddon
ArmageddonSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Text:
All lands in play are destroyed.
you’re going to see. If your opponent was busy developing their board and didn’t take the time to lay down a creature all of a sudden they are scrambling to find some mana while you beatdown with your early drops. On top of that this is a nightmare for Gifts, as it will have to pray for a Sicken
Sicken
SickenSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
156
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Enchanted creature gets -1/-1.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
aW5nIFNob2Fs. Even with that you have 8.5 Tails as well as Blessed Breath
Blessed Breath
Blessed BreathSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Number:
1
Artist:
Tsutomu Kawade
Text:
Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn. Splice onto Arcane W (As you play an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card's effects to that spell.)
to protect your “soft lock.”

4x Meloku, The Clouded Mirror: Here’s you're way to deal with beatdown decks in Game 1. Survive long enough to untap with him and beatdown decks will have all kinds of trouble getting damage through. Not only can he prevent you from losing he can win as well especially when equipped with Konda’s Banner which makes him and his tokens bigger!

3x Yosei, the Morning Star
Yosei, the Morning Star
Yosei, the Morning StarSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
6
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
50
Artist:
Hiro Izawa
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying When Yosei, the Morning Star is put into a graveyard from play, target player skips his or her next untap step. Tap up to five target permanents that player controls.
: Here’s your finisher. He’s basically used for his fat 5/5 flying body. He really shines against Gifts when killing him is the equivalent of playing a Time Walk
Time Walk
Time WalkSet: Alpha
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Take an extra turn after this one.
. With Shaku on board he comes out as fast as Turn 4.

2x Kentaro, The Smiling Cat: He is in here not just for a 2/1 body but his awesome synergy. Along with Shaku he can convert that colorless mana into “colored” mana allowing for you to play all the samurai you want much easier. He is also Legendary and can be equipped by Konda’s Banner.

2x Sensei Golden Tail
Sensei Golden Tail
Sensei Golden TailSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Fox Samurai
Rarity:
R
Number:
44
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.) 1W, T: Put a training counter on target creature. That creature gains bushido 1 and becomes a Samurai in addition to its other creature types. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
: Same idea as with Kentaro, he provides creatures with bushido but less notably makes them samurais making the Banner’s bonus much more attainable. Like Kentaro he also fights like a 3/2 for 2 mana.

4x Honor-Worn Shaku: Lot of odd choices in this deck. This card makes it all make sense. Allowing you to power out creatures much fast due to all the legendary permanents. It also combos with Hokori. Bottom line this card MAKES this deck a contender.

4x Umezawa’s Jitte: A deck that requires Legendary stuff and weenies. Jitte fits so well as it destroys the other Jittes and helps so much in the red zone.

2x Pithing Needle
Pithing Needle
Pithing NeedleSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Color:
Colorless
Rarity:
R
: Maindeck it has plenty of uses as it stops annoying Tops, Kagemaro activations, Hana Kami
Hana Kami
Hana KamiSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
211
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
1G, Sacrifice Hana Kami: Return target Arcane card from your graveyard to your hand.
, Equipment, even wrecks a combo with Freed from the Real
Freed from the Real
Freed from the RealSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Text:
Enchant creature U: Tap enchanted creature. U: Untap enchanted creature.
. This card is almost never dead.

2x Konda’s Banner: As I mentioned before it has excellent synergy with your creatures and is insane with Meloku giving your illusions a Glorious Anthem
Glorious Anthem
Glorious AnthemSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
15
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
All creatures you control get +1/+1.
effect.

2x Blessed Breath
Blessed Breath
Blessed BreathSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Number:
1
Artist:
Tsutomu Kawade
Text:
Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn. Splice onto Arcane W (As you play an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card's effects to that spell.)
: 2 copies may seem a little random but often it will save important creatures like Meloku or Hokori.

Brief Matchup Description and Sideboarding Tips:

Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts UngivenSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
/ 3 Color Legends: This is your best Matchup, the one this deck was designed to win. Get down and early Hokori or Yosei while holding back mana for a blessed breath or 8.5 tails activation and you should win without much trouble. More Needles and 4x Hisoka’s Defiance sure this one up from the board:

-2x Kentaro, The Smiling Cat, -2x Sensei Golden Tail
Sensei Golden Tail
Sensei Golden TailSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Fox Samurai
Rarity:
R
Number:
44
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.) 1W, T: Put a training counter on target creature. That creature gains bushido 1 and becomes a Samurai in addition to its other creature types. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
, -2 Konda’s Banner, +4 Hisoka’s Defiance, +2 Pithing Needle
Pithing Needle
Pithing NeedleSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Color:
Colorless
Rarity:
R


White Weenie: They got the slight edge Game 1 but don’t count yourself out as you have efficient weenies of your own and a lot of the legendary stuff cancels itself out such as Isamaru, and 8.5 Tails. This will breakdown to if you survive long enough until you can get a Meloku or Jitte operational. Games 2 and 3 it gets a little better with Ghostly Prison
Ghostly Prison
Ghostly PrisonSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
10
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Text:
Creatures can't attack you unless their controller pays 2 for each creature attacking you. (This cost is paid as attackers are declared.)
combining with Hokori to keep their men at bay.

-2x Pithing Needle
Pithing Needle
Pithing NeedleSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Color:
Colorless
Rarity:
R
, -2 Konda’s banner, +4 Ghostly Prison
Ghostly Prison
Ghostly PrisonSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
10
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Text:
Creatures can't attack you unless their controller pays 2 for each creature attacking you. (This cost is paid as attackers are declared.)


Black Hand: This one’s tough, you don’t have the legendary creatures killing each other in this one and you’ve got Sicken
Sicken
SickenSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
156
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Enchanted creature gets -1/-1.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
aW5nIFNob2Fs removing your blockers without your opponent missing a beat. This is probably your worst matchup. Out of the board you stand a great chance as Hand of Honor
Hand of Honor
Hand of HonorSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Samurai
Rarity:
U
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from black Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
as well as Prison hold off the Hand until you can Beatdown with Yosei or Meloku.

-2x Pithing Needle
Pithing Needle
Pithing NeedleSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Color:
Colorless
Rarity:
R
, -2x Konda’s Banner,-2x Kentaro, the Smiling Cat
Kentaro, the Smiling Cat
Kentaro, the Smiling CatSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Human Samurai
Rarity:
R
Number:
13
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.) You may pay X rather than pay the mana cost for Samurai spells you play, where X is that spell's converted mana cost.
, -2x Sensei Golden Tail
Sensei Golden Tail
Sensei Golden TailSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Fox Samurai
Rarity:
R
Number:
44
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.) 1W, T: Put a training counter on target creature. That creature gains bushido 1 and becomes a Samurai in addition to its other creature types. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
,
+4x Ghostly Prison
Ghostly Prison
Ghostly PrisonSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
10
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Text:
Creatures can't attack you unless their controller pays 2 for each creature attacking you. (This cost is paid as attackers are declared.)
, +4x Hand of Honor
Hand of Honor
Hand of HonorSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Samurai
Rarity:
U
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from black Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)


Final Thoughts: This deck is VERY metagame dependent as it was designed to take on all the powerful control decks that have block in a chokehold at the moment. However, if you’re going to play in a heavy Beatdown metagame don’t play this deck, as it won’t give you the results you want. This deck is a “Temporary Solution” to the current metagame. Whatever new forms it might take on are up to you as this deck has plenty of territory that begs to be explored. Again as always I thank you for reading and exhale as I am done with Kamigawa Block. For my next article I plan to take a look at some possible Post Rotation Standard, and some decks that use the those juicy 9th Edition reprints.


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