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CardShark Content - Vincent Lovaglio (1/22/2004)

Yes, the title of my article does make a bold statement. However, this statement is true. Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
is the best deck in Standard. Although it might not show in the States results, after numerous games of testing against the so-called ´´best decks´´ I have come to this conclusion.

First, let's examine the Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
deck that won Wisconsin States.


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.)

3 Eternal Dragon
Eternal Dragon
Eternal DragonSet: Scourge
Cost:
7
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
12
Artist:
Justin Sweet
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying.
3WW: Return Eternal Dragon from your graveyard to your hand. Play this ability only during your upkeep.
Plainscycling 2

3 QWtyb21hJ3MgVengeance
Vengeance
VengeanceSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Keith Parkinson
Text:
Destroy any one tapped creature.

3 Starstorm
Starstorm
StarstormSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
238
Artist:
David Martin
Text:
Starstorm deals X damage to each creature. Cycling 3 (3, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)

3 Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.

4 Spark Spray
Spark Spray
Spark SpraySet: Scourge
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
105
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Spark Spray deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
Cycling R

4 Lightning Rift
Lightning Rift
Lightning RiftSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
217
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may pay 1. If you do, Lightning Rift deals 2 damage to target creature or player.

4 Wrath of God
Wrath of God
Wrath of GodSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Text:
All creatures in play are buried.

3 Renewed Faith
Renewed Faith
Renewed FaithSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
50
Artist:
Dave Dorman
Text:
You gain 6 life. Cycling 1W (1W, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.) When you cycle Renewed Faith, you may gain 2 life.

2 Decree of Justice
Decree of Justice
Decree of JusticeSet: Scourge
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
8
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Put X 4/4 white Angel creature tokens with flying into play.
Cycling 2W
When you cycle Decree of Justice, you may pay X. If you do, put X 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens into play.

3 Temple of the False God
Temple of the False God
Temple of the False GodSet: Scourge
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
143
Text:
T : Add 2 to your mana pool. Play this ability only if you control five or more lands.

8 Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.

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

4 Forgotten Cave
Forgotten Cave
Forgotten CaveSet: Onslaught
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
317
Artist:
Tony Szczudlo
Text:
Forgotten Cave comes into play tapped. T: Add R to your mana pool. Cycling R (R, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)

4 Secluded Steppe
Secluded Steppe
Secluded SteppeSet: Onslaught
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
324
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Secluded Steppe comes into play tapped. T: Add W to your mana pool. Cycling W (W, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)



Before reviewing this list, let me tell you some important facts about Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
. The deck must run between 26 and 28 lands. The list above ran 27 but I feel that 26 is perfect. You must run at least 3 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.)
s and 3 Eternal Dragon
Eternal Dragon
Eternal DragonSet: Scourge
Cost:
7
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
12
Artist:
Justin Sweet
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying.
3WW: Return Eternal Dragon from your graveyard to your hand. Play this ability only during your upkeep.
Plainscycling 2
s. With Affinity running rampant, you need 3 QWtyb21hJ3MgVengeance
Vengeance
VengeanceSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Keith Parkinson
Text:
Destroy any one tapped creature.
and 4 Wrath of God
Wrath of God
Wrath of GodSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Text:
All creatures in play are buried.
. Also, the deck must run at least 25 cyclers. If it doesn't, the deck simply doesn't function.


The main differences between my list and the one above is my inclusion of Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn SimulacrumSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a graveyard from play, you may draw a card.
. I find it to be just to powerful not to include. It just dominates the control matchup. I also run 2 Slice and Dice
Slice and Dice
Slice and DiceSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
232
Artist:
Mark Brill
Text:
Slice and Dice deals 4 damage to each creature. Cycling 2R (2R, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Slice and Dice you may have it deal 1 damage to each creature.
for an uncounterable way to deal with cycled Decree of Justice
Decree of Justice
Decree of JusticeSet: Scourge
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
8
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Put X 4/4 white Angel creature tokens with flying into play.
Cycling 2W
When you cycle Decree of Justice, you may pay X. If you do, put X 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens into play.
.


There are also major differences in our sideboards. Mine looks like this.
4 Shatter
Shatter
ShatterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Shatter destroys target artifact.
and 1 QWtyb21hJ3MgVengeance
Vengeance
VengeanceSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Keith Parkinson
Text:
Destroy any one tapped creature.
-for Affinity
3 Circle of Protection: Red-for the mirror and Goblin Bidding
3 Sacred Ground
Sacred Ground
Sacred GroundSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Whenever an effect controlled by any opponent puts a land into your graveyard from play, put that land into play.
-for R/G Land Destruction
2 Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn SimulacrumSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a graveyard from play, you may draw a card.
, 2 Slice and Dice
Slice and Dice
Slice and DiceSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
232
Artist:
Mark Brill
Text:
Slice and Dice deals 4 damage to each creature. Cycling 2R (2R, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Slice and Dice you may have it deal 1 damage to each creature.
-for W/x Control


And here are the matchup analyses against the top-tier decks.

vs. Goblin Bidding (65-35) sideboarded (60-40)
The matchup against Goblin Bidding is heavily in your favor. With all of your card drawing you should have a Starstorm
Starstorm
StarstormSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
238
Artist:
David Martin
Text:
Starstorm deals X damage to each creature. Cycling 3 (3, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)
for their big Bidding and if not, an Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
removing a hasty Goblin Warchief
Goblin Warchief
Goblin WarchiefSet: Scourge
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Sub Type:
Goblin
Rarity:
U
Number:
97
Artist:
Tim Hildebrandt
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Goblin spells you play cost 1 less to play.
Goblins you control have haste.
can also do the job.
In the second game, the Bidding player can wreck you with a Flashfires
Flashfires
FlashfiresSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All plains in play are destroyed.
. However, you have Circle of Protection that wrecks them so the matchup remains in your favor.
As a side note, if you know that the Bidding player is bringing in Flashfires
Flashfires
FlashfiresSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All plains in play are destroyed.
, I would recommend boarding in a couple of Sacred Ground
Sacred Ground
Sacred GroundSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Whenever an effect controlled by any opponent puts a land into your graveyard from play, put that land into play.
s.

vs. U/W Control (70-30) sideboarded (75-25)
Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
loves to face U/W Control. You have superior card drawing in this match. Also, a second turn Lightning Rift
Lightning Rift
Lightning RiftSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
217
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may pay 1. If you do, Lightning Rift deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
on your side is devastating. You have answers to all of their threats. A big Decree of Justice
Decree of Justice
Decree of JusticeSet: Scourge
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
8
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Put X 4/4 white Angel creature tokens with flying into play.
Cycling 2W
When you cycle Decree of Justice, you may pay X. If you do, put X 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens into play.
is met with a cycled Slice and Dice
Slice and Dice
Slice and DiceSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
232
Artist:
Mark Brill
Text:
Slice and Dice deals 4 damage to each creature. Cycling 2R (2R, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Slice and Dice you may have it deal 1 damage to each creature.
and your board clearers take care of their big creatures.
Sideboarding makes this match even better for you. Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn SimulacrumSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a graveyard from play, you may draw a card.
is amazing in combination with Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
and Slice and Dice
Slice and Dice
Slice and DiceSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
232
Artist:
Mark Brill
Text:
Slice and Dice deals 4 damage to each creature. Cycling 2R (2R, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Slice and Dice you may have it deal 1 damage to each creature.
is there to handle their Decrees.

vs. Affinity (55-45) sideboarded (50-50)
The Affinity matchup is slightly in your favor. You can occasionally wreck them with an QWtyb21hJ3MgVengeance
Vengeance
VengeanceSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Keith Parkinson
Text:
Destroy any one tapped creature.
but they are usually prepared with counters. Wrath of God
Wrath of God
Wrath of GodSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Text:
All creatures in play are buried.
is also very good as well as Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
.
After sideboarding, the game is about even. They will bring in a combination of Flashfires
Flashfires
FlashfiresSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All plains in play are destroyed.
, Second Sunrise
Second Sunrise
Second SunriseSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
20
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Each player returns to play all artifact, creature, enchantment, and land cards that were put into his or her graveyard from play this turn.
, 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.
, and Cabal Interrogator
Cabal Interrogator
Cabal InterrogatorSet: Scourge
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Tony Szczudlo
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
XB , T : Target player reveals X cards from his or her hand and you choose one of them. That player discards that card. Play this ability only when you could play a sorcery.
and they all spell pretty bad news for you. However, an early Shatter
Shatter
ShatterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Shatter destroys target artifact.
can be game if followed by an accelerated QWtyb21hJ3MgVengeance
Vengeance
VengeanceSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Keith Parkinson
Text:
Destroy any one tapped creature.
.

vs. Land Destruction (50-50) (50-50)
Both of these matchups are even. If they are able to get second turn LD, it is game. However, that doesn't always happen because Spark Spray
Spark Spray
Spark SpraySet: Scourge
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
105
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Spark Spray deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
Cycling R
can deal with their first turn Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
.
An early Sacred Ground
Sacred Ground
Sacred GroundSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Whenever an effect controlled by any opponent puts a land into your graveyard from play, put that land into play.
in the second game can be game for the opponent. However, if they bring in Naturalize
Naturalize
NaturalizeSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
275
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
s as well as Boil
Boil
BoilSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
169
Artist:
Jason Alexander Behnke
Text:
Destroy all islands.
and Flashfires
Flashfires
FlashfiresSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All plains in play are destroyed.
, the game is theirs.

In conclusion, the Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
is the deck to beat in the new Standard format. Why? Because it beats Affinity and U/W Control, the two most popular decks in the format.


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