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CardShark Content - Will Price (8/13/2006)

If you are like me, you probably read the articles written by Mike Flores and the rest of the excellent staff that Wizards has writing for their website. After Regionals, Flores wrote an article about the decks that did well and/or he found interesting. You may recall one, the “masterpiece” that he mentioned because it did so well at the Regionals that he (and I) attended. I have been using a variation of this deck recently at the tournaments in my area and have found the deck to be incredibly powerful. Perhaps the only fault with this deck is that it would be quite expensive for the casual player to build given its pricey land base and expensive finishing creatures. Here is the deck list that I have been running.

Lands: 22
3: Temple Garden
Temple Garden
Temple GardenSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Forest Plains
Rarity:
R
Number:
284
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add G or W to your mana pool.) As Temple Garden comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Temple Garden comes into play tapped instead.

4: Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown TombSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Swamp Forest
Rarity:
R
Number:
279
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add B or G to your mana pool.) As Overgrown Tomb comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Overgrown Tomb comes into play tapped instead.

1: Watery Grave
Watery Grave
Watery GraveSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Island Swamp
Rarity:
R
Number:
286
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add U or B to your mana pool.) As Watery Grave comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Watery Grave comes into play tapped instead.

3: Godless Shrine
Godless Shrine
Godless ShrineSet: Guildpact
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Plains Swamp
Rarity:
R
Number:
157
Text:
(T: Add W or B to your mana pool.) As Godless Shrine comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Godless Shrine comes into play tapped instead.

1: Hallow
Hallow
HallowSet: Darksteel
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Alex Horley-Orlandelli
Text:
Prevent all damage target spell would deal this turn. You gain life equal to the damage prevented this way.
ZWQgRm91bnRhaW4=
1: Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.

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

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

1: Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

1: Shizo, Death’s Store House
1: Miren, The Moaning Well
2: Vitu-Ghazi, The City Tree

Creatures: 13
1: Meloku, The Clouded Mirror
4: Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon HierarchSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elephant Cleric
Rarity:
R
Number:
214
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Loxodon Hierarch comes into play, you gain 4 life. GW, Sacrifice Loxodon Hierarch: Regenerate each creature you control.

1: Keiga, The Tide Star
1:Kokusho, The Evening Star
2: Angel of Despair
Angel of Despair
Angel of DespairSet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
101
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying When Angel of Despair comes into play, destroy target permanent.

3: Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe ElderSet: Commander
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Snake Shaman
Rarity:
C
Number:
169
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder: Search your library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.

4: Birds Of Paradise

Enchantments: 5
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.

1: Debtors’ Knell

Instants/Sorceries: 19
3: Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.

3: Mortify
Mortify
MortifySet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
122
Text:
Destroy target creature or enchantment.

4: Faith’s Fetters
3: 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.

2: 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.

2: Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.


The deck is almost exactly the same as the famed “Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon HierarchSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elephant Cleric
Rarity:
R
Number:
214
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Loxodon Hierarch comes into play, you gain 4 life. GW, Sacrifice Loxodon Hierarch: Regenerate each creature you control.
y” decks that emerged after PT Honolulu. However there are a few distinct differences that make this deck much better from its 3-colored predecessor. Most obvious is the inclusion of a fourth color, blue. The fourth color gives this deck two incredibly valuable assets: Meloku and Keiga. Meloku is single best finishing creature in Standard right now, and Keiga is not too far behind. The second difference is the addition of 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.
to the main deck. 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.
can be absolutely devastating if it is resolves and can lock up a game win for you by turn 3. The last difference, and this is a change that I have personally made to the deck, is putting in a Debtor’s Knell and a couple Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree. Both of these cards make the deck much more powerful in the long game; Debtor’s Knell completely destroys any kind of mirror match while Vitu-Ghazi can be extremely useful against blue permission decks.

So the deck looks good on paper, but how does it play out? As a change I am going to devote the rest of the article to a match up analysis instead of particular card choices, the reason being that a lot of the cards in this deck are pretty flexible and subject to change based on your metagame. Here is how the deck performs against some of the more popular archetypes.

Creature-Based Aggro: Zoo/Gruul/Wwx builds that are very creature heavy are this deck’s best matchup. With all the point removal, life gain and board sweep that we have it is quite easy to stabilize from their early weenies by turn 4 or 5. After that it is simply a matter of clearing away any potential blockers and swinging in with our superior creatures.

Burn-Heavy Aggro: Not nearly as easy the creature based decks because the burn heavy aggro decks can force through that last 6-10 damage if you are not careful. Pay special attention to try and avoid having a Flames of the Blood Hand
Flames of the Blood Hand
Flames of the Blood HandSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
101
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Text:
Flames of the Blood Hand deals 4 damage to target player. The damage can't be prevented. If that player would gain life this turn, that player gains no life instead.
cancel out the life-gain trigger of a Fetters or Hierarch. If this type of deck is giving you trouble than sideboard appropriately, I would suggest Ivory Mask
Ivory Mask
Ivory MaskSet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
24
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
You can't be the target of spells or abilities.
s to make their burn irrelevant.

Orzhov Aggro-Control/Hand-in-Hand: Initially this seems like a difficult match because some builds can pack heavy hand control. However, this deck just has so many game breaking cards that even after 2 or 3 Castigate
Castigate
CastigateSet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
106
Text:
Target opponent reveals his or her hand. Choose a nonland card from it. Remove that card from the game.
s you will most likely still have some kind of answer in your hand. And if not, you will just draw one off of your 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.
next turn anyways. The biggest threat really is Jitte so make neutralizing it a priority, either with Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
or Faith’s Fetters. A turn 3 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.
for black can really shut these decks down.

Heartbeat Combo: Nobody really plays this in my area and given that Heartbeat is going to rotate out in about 2 months I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Try to resolve 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.
if you can. After sideboarding you can bring in Ivory Mask
Ivory Mask
Ivory MaskSet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
24
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
You can't be the target of spells or abilities.
and Cranial Extraction
Cranial Extraction
Cranial ExtractionSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
R
Number:
105
Artist:
Dave Allsop
Text:
Name a nonland card. Search target player's graveyard, hand, and library for all cards with that name and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
to really mess them up. Shadow of Doubt
Shadow of Doubt
Shadow of DoubtSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
10
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
253
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
(U/B can be paid with either U or B.) Players can’t search libraries this turn. Draw a card.
might even be worth it if a lot of people play this in your area.

URzatron/Wildfire
Wildfire
WildfireSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
You destroy four of your lands and your opponent destroys four of his or her lands. Then Wildfire deals 4 damage to each creature. (This includes your creatures.)
: Not a great match because they can save their permission to counter your 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.
s and you have no way to stop them from casting a Wildfire
Wildfire
WildfireSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
You destroy four of your lands and your opponent destroys four of his or her lands. Then Wildfire deals 4 damage to each creature. (This includes your creatures.)
. If you get a hand with a lot of acceleration you should be OK but if you start missing land drops it’s probably game over. If you can get back up to 6 mana after the first Wildfire
Wildfire
WildfireSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
You destroy four of your lands and your opponent destroys four of his or her lands. Then Wildfire deals 4 damage to each creature. (This includes your creatures.)
you should be fine. Don’t forget that Hierarch can save your other creatures from a Wildfire
Wildfire
WildfireSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
You destroy four of your lands and your opponent destroys four of his or her lands. Then Wildfire deals 4 damage to each creature. (This includes your creatures.)
. This is probably your worst matchup

Vore: Another LD/tempo deck but much faster than Tron. I do not have much experience against this deck but I can say that if you have a BoP in your starting hand your odds of winning are greatly improved. Lucky for us we have lots of point removal so as long as you can tap for a Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
/Mortify
Mortify
MortifySet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
122
Text:
Destroy target creature or enchantment.
when they are ready to drop Magnivore
Magnivore
MagnivoreSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lhurgoyf
Rarity:
R
Number:
204
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Haste Magnivore's power and toughness are each equal to the number of sorcery cards in all graveyards.
on you then you can easily dispatch with their win condition. 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.
is a big help in this match.

UWG control/Mono-Blue control: Not so much a hard match up as a long and boring match up. Decks with lots of counters are particularly annoying for us to play against because everything we play is going to get countered if the opponent has one available. The good news is that there are literally so many threats in this deck that your opponent must counter that he will not be able to keep them all from hitting the table. Try to resolve an 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.
early on as it will be a huge help in keeping your hand full. If you can’t, just keep trying to force through spells and eventually your opponent will run out of counters. Prepare yourself for a long game.

Rock/Solar Flare
Flare
FlareSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Andrew Robinson
Text:
Flare deals 1 damage to target creature or player.Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn.
(Mirror Match): I have been playing against the new Solar Flare
Flare
FlareSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Andrew Robinson
Text:
Flare deals 1 damage to target creature or player.Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn.
deck that won Nationals lately and I have to say that it is not a tough matchup at all. For our purposes 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.
is better than Compulsive Research
Compulsive Research
Compulsive ResearchSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
40
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
Target player draws three cards. Then that player discards two cards unless he or she discards a land card.
and we quickly outdraw our opponent in this match. I also like to put Crime//Punishment in my sideboard which is an absolute all-star against Solar Flare
Flare
FlareSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Andrew Robinson
Text:
Flare deals 1 damage to target creature or player.Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn.
since you can Punishment away all their signets or Crime back one of their bomb creatures. Against other similar BG-based control decks it is pretty much a race to try to resolve a 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.
as quickly as you can.

That’s a pretty good description of how this deck holds up against some of the more popular archetypes right now. If you have the cards give this deck a try and enjoy the prize packs.


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