Tag Archives: MTG Brewer

MTG Brewer: Little Tribal Zoo in Modern

For the record, I am a fan of the latest bannings and unbannings by Wizards for the Modern format. It should make way for new decks to emerge as top tier. Maybe something like…

Little Tribal Zoo:
4 Wild Nacatl
4 Kird Ape
4 Goblin Guide
4 Steppe Lynx
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Path to Exile
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Tribal Flames
3 Lightning Helix

4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Marsh Flats
2 Arid Mesa
2 Stomping Ground
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Temple Gardens
1 Watery Grave
1 Forest
1 Mountain

Tribal Zoo

I was anticipating Wild Nacatl to be unbanned so I was actually brewing a list and gathering the cards I needed. The one card I don’t own is Tarmogoyf so I went with a little zoo deck focused on one drops to negate its absence. This deck is pretty simple. Swarm the board with one drops and finish off the game with burn. The mana base of this deck costs an arm and a leg and there really isn’t a substitute. But if you have the fetches and shocks already this pretty much a budget deck. Only non land rare is Grim Lavamancer.

I honestly don’t play Modern much so I don’t really know how to build the sideboard. I think Pod, Splintertwin and graveyard base decks are some of the harder matchups so I think I will start with something like this.

3x Skullcrack
3x Combust
3x Pillar of Flame
3x Qasali Pridemage
2x Rest in Peace
1x Illness in the Ranks

Combust is for Splintertwin and Pillars are for Pod. Qasali Pridemage should be good against Affinity and Pod and I will probably sub in them in for BTE’s for any Pyroclasm based deck. Scavenging Ooze is probably the popular choice for graveyard hate but it does die to removal and it is a little mana intensive. Instead, Rest in Peace should a nice surprise factor. Skullcrack is probably the weakest sideboard card but I see it going in against Soul Sisters and Tron just for Wurmcoil Engine. Finally Illness in the Ranks is a cute one of that I want to test against Lingering Souls and the Bitterblossom.

The deck may be a little rough around the edges but I am going to give it a test run at a GPT this weekend. That is if there isn’t a yet another ridiculous blizzard on its way…

Update: Played the Zoo deck at the GPT and I would probably make these changes -4 Steppe Lynx for +4 Experiment One and maybe -1 Temple Garden for +1 Stomping Grounds. This deck doesn’t really need the variance of Steppe Lynx. When it is good it is insane and when it is bad it is really bad. It also leaves you open to cards like Electrolyze and Pyroclasm. I want to try Experiment One in its place to make the mana a bit better and make crazy Burning Tree Emissary chains more insane.

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MTG Brewer: Jund Burn Designed to Beat Mono Black, Mono Blue and Esper Control

First off word of warning this is a very raw brew that I haven’t gotten around to testing yet. A lot of it is theory but I expect to iron out the kinks and refine the deck list over the next coming weeks.

Anyways if your meta for FNM’s is anything like mines, it is infested with mono black devotion, mono blue devotion and Esper control. All three decks attack the Standard meta at different angles so most decks are often good against one of the three and horrible against the others. Thus it seems to be the smart choice to play one the big 3 and that is perfect for a brewer.

I have been noticing decks are trying to play more flexible spells so no one deck beats them. Flexible spells are often weaker spells. Such spells include Devour Flesh and Last Breath. Also because the meta is becoming more predictable there are more and more main deck and sideboard slots for mirror matches. So cards like Gainsay are seeing a lot of play.

So when I was brewing this deck I decide I want to have great matchups against the Big 3 decks at whatever cost. So I am choosing to play more narrow, powerful cards rather than flexible, weaker cards. Here is the decklist

Jund Burn:
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
2 Voyaging Satyr
1 Rakdos Keyrune
4 Doom Blade
2 Lightning Strike
1 Gaze of Granite
2 Clan Defiance
2 Rakdos’s Return
4 Toil // Trouble
4 Read the Bones
2 Skylasher
2 Mistcutter Hydra
2 Slaughter Games
4 Blood Crypt
4 Stomping Ground
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Temple of Abandon
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Golgari Guildgate
5 Forest
3 Swamp
1 Mountain

4 Dark Betrayal
2 Mistcutter Hydra
2 Slaughter Games
2 Vraska the Unseen
2 Golgari Charms
3 Other Sideboard Cards

The Standard format is very creature and removal heavy so this deck attacks it at an awkward angle by being mostly a burn deck. It blanks a lot of cards Game 1. But it doesn’t play weak spells like Shock like in Boros Burn deck. It plays cards that pack a punch like Clan Defiance, Rakdos’s Return and Toil // Trouble. I know Rakdos’s Return and Toil // Trouble is kind of nombo but both cards are backbreaking in different situations.

The Plan Against Mono Black Devotion:
One of the best answer to Thoughtseize is Divination type effects and this deck plays 8. My list is still a little soft to Pack Rat Game 1 so that is probably your first Slaughter Games target and the Gray Merchant of Asphodel is probably the other. I don’t want to play bad removal cards so Doom Blade is in the main but after sideboard it sides out nicely for Dark Betrayals. Game 2 it may be tempting for the Mono Black player to side out their removal since this deck only mana dorks for creatures so I am thinking about siding in creatures for this matchup. Other cards I consider is Ratchet Bomb, Pack Rat, Havoc Festival and more Gaze of Granites.

The Plan Against Mono Blue Devotion:
Basically it is three cards, Skylasher, Mistcutter Hydra and Doom Blades. After sideboard 4 Doom Blades and 4 Mistcutter Hydra should be tough to beat for any mono blue deck. If testing doesn’t go well, I may try 4 Skylashers after sideboard and Fade into Antiquity.

The Plan Against Esper Control:
Two words. Slaughter Games. There is no way Esper Control can beat this card other than Thoughtseize especially when they play so little win cons. Toil // Trouble, Rakdos’s Return, Vraska the Unseen, Mistcutter Hydra are all also pretty good in this matchup. So sure you Sphinx’s Revelation all you want. There is nothing you can draw that can stop me!

I wanted to throw out this decklist are see how it evolves. Can it beat devotion and green based aggro decks? Maybe. Can it beat mono red and white weenie decks? Probably not. Can it beat the big three mono black devotion, mono blue devotion and Esper control? It should. It is basically a sniper for the format.

Update: So I did some testing and here a couple of changes I would make -2 Doom Blades & +2 Ultimate Price, -2 Skylashers & +2 Mistcutter Hydras and I also thinking about -2 Voyaging Satyr for +2 Lightning Strikes.


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MTG Brewer: Possibility Storm, A Budget Legacy Deck

Legacy has a reputation of being inaccessible by the majority of Magic players because you need to invest a lot to have a competitive deck. Sure if you are only planning to net deck then the cost of playing in a major Legacy tournament will be prohibitive. There are a lot of money cards like the dual lands, Karakas, Wastelands, Force of Wills etc that have no cheap substitutes. So if you really want to have a competitive budget Legacy deck you have to brew. A mono black devotion deck with Gray Merchant of Asphodel recently day 2 a legacy Grand Prix, Grand Prix: DC so it is definitely possible. You just have to think outside of the box.

I have tried to make a budget version of an established Legacy archetype with High Tide but to be honest the power level is way down without the Force of Wills and at least Time Spiral. I went back to the drawing board and here is a dirt cheap Legacy deck that can have explosive turns on the second or third turn of the game. It is a glass cannon (which if you know me are my favorite type of decks).

First off you are going to need some rituals.

4x Rite of Flame
4x Desperate Ritual
2x Pyretic Ritual
4x Seething Song

and some cantrips to iron out your draws.

4x Faithless Looting
4x Gitaxian Probe
1x Overmaster

Finally the win cons and lands
4x Possibility Storm
1x Lotus Petal
1x Wild Cantor
1x Blightsteel Colossus
1x Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded
1x Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

4x Empty the Warrens
3x Past in Flames
2x Blood Moon

15x Mountain
4x Sandstone Needle

Possibility Storm Combo

Here is the deck along with the sideboard on Tappedout.net

So there are two main lines of play. Turbo out a Possibility Storm and cast either Lotus Petal, Wild Cantor and Tibalt to cheat in a Blightsteel Colossus or a Nicol Bolas. The other line is to storm out with Empty the Warrens and storm out again later with Past in Flames since many decks are well equipped with beat the initial rush of goblins.

The beauty of the deck is the synergies between the two lines. For example if you storm off with Empty the Warrens and have Past in Flames in your graveyard, you can bypass the Possibility Storm trigger (because it is only triggers with spells cast from the hands) and if you opponent tries to stop you with say a Force of Will he or she has to take a chance and get lucky with his or her Possibility Storm triggers. It works the other way around too if you start with a Possibility Storm buy don’t have Lotus Petal, Wild Cantor and Tibalt, you can cast your spells like your rituals so they sort of count twice for the storm count and hope to hit a Empty the Warrens. You do have to get a bit lucky with this line but you can quickly do the math. There are 20 sorceries and 4 of them are Empty the Warrens and all the instants are rituals before sideboard.

This deck is dirt cheap and probably cheaper than most Standard decks. The most expensive cards are Blightsteel Colossus which can be replaced with Inkwell Leviathan and Blood Moon which can be replace with another meta sniper like say Pyroclasm. Blood Moon is nice though because it can be win conditions 9 and 10 because certain decks just can’t beat it. I haven’t really refine the deck so feel free to tinker with it. Some ideas I have is maybe more Blood Moons and possibly cutting two Past in Flames for Gambles. The only thing if you tinker with the list is that you must have one artifact, one creature and one Planewalkers in addition to your fatties or else you may chain a Lotus Petal into another Lotus Petal.

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MTG Brewer: B/W Heroic Auras

Here is another all in deck that I have been tinkering with.

B/W Heroic Auras
4x Favored Hoplite
4x Hopeful Eidolon
4x Phalanx Leader
3x Fencing Ace

4x Ethereal Armor
4x Deviant Glee
3x Scourgemark
3x Dark Favor
3x Gift of Orzhova
2x Ajani, Caller of the Pride

4x Boon of Erebos
2x Gods Willing

4x Godless Shrine
4x Temple of Silence
2x Sacred Foundry
8x Plains
2x Swamp

BW Heroic Aura

Funny story. This deck actually started with me trying to brew up a way to break Archangel of Thune. After throwing all sorts of different cards around with all sorts of different lists I ended up with something totally different and a deck without Archangel of Thunes. So as the story goes, one list I brew up with Archangel of Thune is a G/W auras list. But the problem is green is lacking in cheap auras. Unflinching Courage is very good but Trollhide, Alpha Authority and the Ordeals are lackluster. I am not going to play with Forced Adaptation. Looking at the Gatherer, I see that black has the best cheap auras after white and Gift of Orzhova is good enough to replace Unflinching Courage. That is the beauty of brewing. If you do it right and keep your mind open, you never know where you end up.

So this list is pretty brutal but it has its flaws. I have tinkered with the creature base. I started off with the hard hitters like Fabled Hero and Fiendslayer Paladin but I decided to lower the curve and focused on cheap heroics creatures. This deck ends games quickly but I needed way to protect my creatures since they don’t have hexproof. I started with Brave the Elements since all the creatures are white and later went with Gods Willing since it targets. Unfortunately black removal spells are rampant in the current Standard format and if you give your creatures pro black, the black auras will fall off. Not good but they aren’t a lot of good options. One is Boon of Erebos which regenerates creatures. It started as a 4 Brave the Elements/ Gods Willing to 2 Boon of Erebos split but after testing I flip the numbers around.

One advantage you have is your opponent will be kept guessing. Like really, who plays Boon of Erebos? So you can set up blowouts with the right sequencing. You can also play into your opponents greed, with them hoping for a 2 or 3 for 1. Everyone knows no one plays a fair deck with Fencing Ace. The correct play is to kill it right away but if you have a Boon of Erebos and if the Fencing Ace is tapped and attacking it may already be too late.

Finally I have thought about a Boros aura deck with Dragon Mantle, Mad Cap Skills, Boros Charm and maybe Lightning Strike over Deviant Glee, Scourgemark, Dark Favor and Boon of Erebos but I feel it makes the deck less explosive.

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MTG Brewer: Izzet Blitz with Akroan Crusader & Young Pyromancer

I love storm like decks with a lot complicated lines of play, low chance of interaction from your opponent, explosive draws and quick kills. Basically I love to go all in with glass cannons. So some of my favorite decks have been Belcher, ANT and Oops all spells. For standard most recently I was tinkering with a Burn at the Stake + Tokens deck. Since the rotation I have been playing Esper Control, U/W Trading Post Control, Mono Red devotion and The Rock deck with Whip of Erebos. I honestly have grown kind of bored with them. I was looking at all sort of devotion decks with Nythos, Shrine to Nyx but they still felt too mid- rangey for my style of play so I brew up this.

Izzet Blitz:
4 Akroan Crusader
4 Nivmagus Elemental
2 Rakdos Cackler
4 Young Pyromancer

4 Hidden Strings
4 Ordeal of Thassa
4 Shock
1 Magma Jet
4 Mizzium Skin
2 Syncopate
4 Dynacharge
3 Titan’s Strength

7 Island
8 Mountain
4 Steam Vents
1 Izzet Guildgate

Izzet Blitz

I was inspired by this Starcity deck tech. I simplify the lines of play for a better manabase and a quicker kill. So there are two lines to victory. The primary plan is a Akroan Crusader or Young Pyromancer which can create a bunch of tokens early so you can Dynacharge for the win turns 3 or 4. The other line is a Rakdos Cackler or Nivmagus Elemental plus a Ordeal of Thassa or two. You draw your cards earlier because the Cackler and Elemental can add +1/+1 counters themselves from there you can go to with the token plan or tempo them out for the rest of the game with a large Voltron.

The card that really ties this deck together is Hidden Strings. Who would have thought it is such a good combo enabler? It can target the Crusader multiple times, it can be a free spell when you untap your lands, when ciphered it can be a good spell to eat with the Elemental and finally it can tap blockers when you have to.

Other cards I considered were Nivix Cyclops, Guttersnipe and the new flying Chimera. All cost three mana and are way too slow to stand a chance in the meta. I also really wanted to add Quicken as a cheap cantrip. It works wells with Pyromancer but not much else so it really doesn’t do enough. Mana is important in the first three turns so I went with Titan’s Strength instead.

One of the trickier parts of the deck is what order to play your spells in. It is a bit too complicated to put in writing but practice makes perfect.

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MTG Brewer: Esper Control with Trading Post

Looking to play Esper Control but don’t have Elspeth or Jace? Here is a brew I have been working on.

1x Azorius Cluestone
1x Codex Shredder
1x Dimir Keyrune
1x Elixir of Immortality
1x Haunted Plate Mail
1x Pithing Needle
4x Prophetic Prism
2x Ratchet Bomb
3x Trading Post

2x Dissolve
2x Doom Blade
3x Far // Away
2x Essence Scatter
3x Supreme Verdict
1x Ultimate Price
1x Warped Physique

1x Aetherling
1x Read the Bones
2x Sphinx’s Revelation

1x Azorius Guildgate
2x Dimir Guildgate
1x Encroaching Wastes
2x Godless Shrine
4x Hallowed Fountain
4x Island
2x Maze’s End
2x Mutavault
1x Orzhov Guildgate
4x Swamp
4x Watery Grave

Trading Post Esper

1x Aetherling
3x Detention Sphere
1x Doom Blade
1x Merciless Eviction
2x Negate
3x Omenspeaker
1x Pithing Needle
1x Ratchet Bomb
1x Underworld Connections
1x Warped Physique

(The deck on Tappedout.net)

I am still tinkering with the sideboard. Here are some of the pros of Trading Post Esper Control. One it uses Trading Post and artifacts instead of planeswalkers for value so it is sort of a budget version of Esper. One of the weakness of Esper control is the mana base and it lacks a cheap cantrip. Trading Post Esper solves that problem nicely with Prophetic Prism. It is sort of a sorcey speed Think Twice that fixes your mana in the early game. Also it is personal preference but I like Guildgates + Maze’s End rather than the new scry lands.

This deck started off as U/W. But I was tired of Azorius Charm and Detention Sphere not permanently dealing with problems and I will often have to spend two or more cards to deal with threats. So I shifted to U/B for cards like Doom Blade, Far // Away and Warped Physique which was good but the deck really needed a sweeper. It is tough to splash a card like Supreme Verdict but I think it is a necessary evil (Merciless Eviction is too slow and Sphinx’s Revelation and Detention Spheres in the sideboard are no brainer afters that.

Finally you may have noticed the lack of discards spells like Thoughseize and/ or Duress. This deck is super slow and plays a lot of lands so I think the risk of missing with a discard spell is too great. I much rather play a 2 for 1 card like Far // Away, good removal like Doom Blade and/ or counterspells like Dissolve.

A word of warning this control deck is very grindy and there are a lot of decisions to make. It wants to take games to the late, late game. When you get enough mana, you can make plays like recurring a Sphinx’s Revelation or Supreme Verdict every turn with Codex Shredder. This deck can be fun but it is definitely not for everyone.

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A Theros Brew with Whip of Erebos

The Theros prerelease was last Saturday and the release is only a couple of days away. The set is full of flavor and as a Johnny there is one card I immediately wanted to brew it, Whip of Erebos.

Conley Woods wrote an article about Whip of Erebos and it is good start. Brian Braun-Duin‘s list is interesting. One thing I notice is that a lot of the creatures that are supposedly “broken” with the whip like Aethering, Obzedat, Armanda Wurm etc are uncastable especially now that there are far fewer dual lands to choose from. I think Conley’s list is a bit underpowered and a lot of the lists I see are trying to do too much. I want a few things in my deck with the whip.

1) – Commune with the Gods and Grisly Salvage are really good with the whip so I want to stick with B/G as much as possible. I don’t think a 3+ color “combo” deck is going to work with only shock lands and tapped lands and with no farseeks.

2) – I want the deck to be able to do things with or without the whip so I am thinking of a deck kind of like the value Junk Rites deck that was somewhat popular just before the rotation.

3) – The deck has to be good against control and be able to survive the fast mono red maybe mono white decks I expect to see.

So after much brewing here is a list I came up with. It is very raw and I haven’t gotten to test it much.

4 Commune with the Gods
3 Grisly Salvage
3 Whip of Erebos

Theros Brew with Whip of Erebos

This is the heart of the deck. Commune with the Gods and Grisly Salvage work great with the Whip. It puts creatures in your graveyard while searching for the Whip and lands.

4 Sylvan Caryatid
3 Elvish Mystic

So the Plan B is some ramp to be able to cast everything in the deck. There are going to be a lot of 2/1 for one so the Sylvan Caryatid is going to be a surprisingly good blocker.

3 Lotleth Troll
4 Shadowborn Demon
4 Kalonian Hydra
4 Sire of Insanity

Here is my creature package. Again I want to stick to black and green creatures that are fairly easy to cast and there really aren’t many good ones to reanimate after rotation. I played with these slots a lot but I think a mix of impactful midrange creature are the way to go. Lotleth Troll can hold the fort against aggro decks while also allowing to pitch your creatures for the whip later on. Shadowborn Demon is the easiest addition. Sire of Insanity requires a splash of red but it is way easier to cast than say Angel of Serenity and it is good against control decks. Finally I wanted a creature that packs a punch and I like Kalonian Hydra.

2 Putrefy
1 Hero’s Downfall
1 Doom Blade

Finally I just wanted a mix of flexible removal spells.

4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Blood Crypt
4 Stomping Ground
4 Golgari Guildgate
2 Swamp
6 Forest

The deck hasn’t really left the brainstorming phase but I imagine the mana base to be similar like what is above. Here is the deck on tapped out. I am going to need to pick up a couple of cards but I am very excited to test it out for FNMs.

On a side note I also brewed a similar budget version of this deck. It is heavier on black and instead of Kalonian Hydra which is the most expensive card of the deck you can use a mix of Desecration Demons and Abhorrent Overlord.

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