Welcome to Participation Award Magic : Vol 2. It’s good to see people exciting about (probably losing) games of Magic!
Last time we were trying to control the game with our Esper deck, for a change of place, this time we’re taking a trip to beat down central with a healthy splash of combo burn in a Temur deck featuring all-stars like
Emrakul, The Aeons Torn
Commit / Memory (wait… what?)
Riddle of Lightning (oh here we go…),
Blast of Genius (and the train is officially off the rails…)
Alright, alright, only one of these is really an all-star (and only in degenerate decks), one is broken in commander and shows up in like one modern deck currently, the rest, well I think we all know those are the spice that makes us sweat while we shuffle up our deck. So, now that we’ve established our players, lets see how this all gets glued together.
Temur Riddle Blast – Jeff Roberts
3 Azusa, Lost but Seeking
2 Wayward Swordtooth
4 Primeval Titan
2 Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Riddle of Lightning
3 Blast of Genius
4 Commit // Memory
4 Amulet of Vigor
2 Inspiring Statuary
4 Blood Sun
1 Botanical Sanctum
4 Copperline Gorge
4 Gruul Turf
4 Izzet Boilerworks
3 Simic Growth Chamber
2 Spirebluff Canal
4 Destructive Revelry
2 Hour of Devastation
2 Carnage Tyrant
1 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
The Game Plan
Modern decks have a nasty habit of dealing themselves ample amounts of damage from their mana base. Fetch lands, 1 life, shock lands, 2 life, often by the time you’re on the 3rd turn, many modern decks have dealt themselves between 3 and 5 damage from their mana base in order to aggressively attempt to execute their plan. This makes modern decks explosive, but it also makes things easier for a burn deck or aggressive deck to steal games.
We don’t want our lands dealing us damage, we would much prefer our lands tap for 2 mana each and ramp us into burn spells capable of taking out our opponents in one shot…. more on that later.
First, lets take a look at our lands.
With our mana base, we’re concerned about two things.
1. We need to ramp into our higher than normal win conditions.
2. Picking lands that allow us to break away from the normal 1, 2, 3 of most decks mana curves.
From there, the best lands to generate powerful colored mana are the original Ravnica block bounce lands. These work perfectly to give us great colour fixing, and of course who can complain about 12 of your lands generating 2 mana each.
Now, there’s a downside, these lands bounce either themselves or other lands you control back to your hand, so lets take a look at the best ways to mitigate or eliminate that downside entirely.
When your lands have text on them that doesn’t work in your favour, why not look to what’s previously allowed them to work in Modern, and for any new toys that have been recently released. To that end we found one of our answers to those concerns in a previously successful Modern deck, Bloom Titan / Summer Bloom.
The core of these decks showed everyone the power of Amulet of Vigor when used in combination with lands that tap for 2 mana can be incredibly broken (and lead to bannings), so we’re going to start there. Recently Rival of Ixalan gave Blood Sun, a super powerful, if under-used, tool. Our “Not Blood Moon” has the interesting effect of turning off popular land destruction options like Ghost Quarter and Field of Ruin. It turns off creature lands, and utility lands such as Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin. Beyond that, it is an important key to permanently removing all the bad text from our lands and turning them into colour fixing sol lands.
Now that we have our broken lands figured out, lets take advantage of another piece of Bloom tech in Azusa, Lost but Seeking. Giving us extra land drops as early as turn 2 is pretty amazing, and helps us ramp into our end game way ahead of the curve. Azusa may be the most powerful card in a deck full of lands that generate 2 mana, as a way to dump these lands into play and ramp naturally (sortof) even in situations where we can’t break our lands using our powerful enchantment and artifact noted above.
Although it will certainly play second fiddle to our garden queen, Wayward Swordtooth is a great way to keep ramping with our amazing 2 mana lands, and later in the game is very likely to be a 5/5 beater that can help us end things quickly. A very reasonable addition at the 3 mana slot. Capable of arriving on T2 just like Azusa.
Blast of Genius and the back side of Commit/Memory help with all of the expensive cards we’ll end up drawing. We don’t want to be stuck with expensive cards in hand and no way to capitalize on them, so we have Blast of Genius to let us either discard those cards for likely game winning damage, or Memory to shuffle away bad hands once we’ve gotten our mana in line through or ramp with things like Azusa and Blood Sun.
Inspiring Statuary improves our ability to curve into these high cost spells, and plays double duty of fixing our early game amulets into mana rocks once Blood Sun comes down and turns the amulet ability off. This additional ramp should help us get our expensive cards out of our hands and aimed at our opponents heads.
Decks that run Leyline of Sanctity in their board can stop us from being able to target them with burn spells, and Ensnaring Bridge can stop us from attacking with our large creatures, so we’re running a full set of Destructive Revelry. The 2 damage can be relevant in ending the game, and revelry gives us the side bonus of being an excellet answer to Boggles, which has been gaining popularity lately.
Because we could get run over by aggressive decks, or decks that go wide, we had to take a few slots up with powerful sweepers and a few to gain us some life. Hour of Devastation cleans up nearly everything in the format while leaving our Titan’s completely intact, and Aetherize is another hedge against Boggles, or threats our sweepers can’t handle. Thragtusk is a natural fit to slot in against decks trying to burn you down quicker than you can finish them. He gains us life on the way in, can come down as early as turn 3, and is a very reasonable body for chump blocking, while leaving a second creature behind to keep opponents at bay.
We need to prepare for control decks who can easily sit on counter magic to hold back our very expensive spells. Our game plan is to cut down some of our more counterspell weak elements, and try to land a dangerous board presence. To this end, we add in 2 Carnage Tyrants who are an absolute beating against counter spell decks that generally try to go for the long game, we have a single Ruric Thar that is quite good against combo, but also pressures control decks life totals if he resolves. A side benefit to the main deck construction is that Blood Sun is actually very effective in pinching control decks fetch lands, and turning off their creature lands, which are often the way control decks want to turn the corner.
Please come back after Tuesday April 17th for an update on how our matches went and any changes we might look at making to our deck moving forward