Monday, June 30, 2008

Deck Evolution: Morningtide Warrior's Code

Last week we began what will continue to be a series of article centered around the concept of pre-con decks, and evolving them through out the block. For the basic concepts, and the beginning of the Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Super block, please read last weeks post. Last week we took our $20 budget and attended the Lorwyn Prerelease event, and ended up with a very playable mono-green deck with a serious Elf centered play, and a splash-able black option. I really don't think we could have asked for a better group of cards from what we started with, since we have only six cards which were unplayable in our collection (93% playable). This week we will attend the Morningtide Prerelease, and see if we can improve our collection.

We will add the following Warrior's Code pre-con, the foil promo Door of Destinies from the event, and a random booster pack. The Deck and booster contents are listed below. We very lucky with this addition, because it ties in nicely with our existing elf theme, and practically gifts us a third playable color in the red warriors.

2 Ambassador Oak
Axegrinder Giant
Boldwyr Heavyweights
Boldwyr Intimidator
2 Bramblewood Paragon
3 Brighthearth Banneret
2 Changeling Berserker
2 Cloudcrown Oak
2 Elvish Warrior
2 Lunk Errant
2 Mudbutton Clanger
Unstoppable Ash
2 Winnower Patrol
Fistful of Force
Heal the Scars
Incremental Growth
2 Kindled Fury
3 Obsidian Battle-Axe
2 Recross the Paths
2 Release the Ants
Roar of the Crowd
14 Forest
10 Mountain
Morsel Theft 2BB
Merrow Witsniper U
Hostel Realm 2R
Moonglove Changeling 2B
Mosquito Guard W
Negate 1U
Everbark Shaman 4G
Lunk Errant 5R
Latchkey Faerie 3U
Dewdrop Spy 1UU
Fertilid 2G
Walker of the Grove 6GG
Obsidian Battle Axe 3
Oona's Blackguard 1B
Rhy's the Exiled 2G

So what to keep, and what to trade away. The MVP of this new card pool is far and away Obsidian Battleaxe. If the three copies in the pre-con left any question as to adopting the Warriors theme for our main deck, the fourth copy in the booster pack answered it with a definitive "yes". These four cards alone represent a significant return on our investment, and allow our trade pool to go towards expanding our deck options. The promo Door of Destinies, Boldwyr Heavyweights, Unstoppable Ash, Immaculate Magistrate, and Oona's Blackguard will be added to our trade pool giving a comfortable value of $13 to work with.

We really have enough playable cards to build one or possibly even two playable decks, so rather then quantity I will focus on adding utility to our collection. Our first issue is the addition of a second color to our deck. We have two solidly playable color in black and red. While we are planning on using the red, having the option to use or splash the black would be ideal. This points us to the Vivids of Lorwyn for color fixing options. Since we are going to be heavily green for the immediate future, a play set Vivid Grove for $3 makes a splash in either color an easy proposition. Next I turn to the core set for options, and I come away with a set of Overruns, and Incinerates for my remaining $10 of trade pool, bringing me back to zero.

We still have $5 in cash with which to buy standard singles. We need to address color fixing, and support our Elf, Warrior, Giant sub themes. Changelings also become an important sub-theme, since they are both elves to be boosted by our Perfects, and are giants to pump up our Elvish Handservants, and are Warriors to come in swinging with the Obsidian Battleaxe. By this time we have realized that board sweeping anti-creature tactics are tough on any tribal based deck. To protect our forces from this tactic, and give us options in the post sweep turn, I will pick up champion Changelings very heavily. They can come in on any creature, and fit all out tribal themes at the same time. I really like to use Civic Wayfinder as my champion target, because if they remove it, I get to fetch a second land when the Wayfinder comes out from under the Champion.

4 Civic Wayfinder- Elf Warrior color fixer, mana acceleration
2 Changeling Berserker
Changeling Titan
4 Firebelly Changeling
4 Warspike Changeling
4 Gametrail Changeling
4 Boggart Sprite-Chaser
4 Hurley Burly
4 Mudbutton Torchrunner
4 Shock

This leaves me with $1.90 in cash and two unplayable color in White and Blue. In looking at my unplayable cards, I conclude that White is the stronger option, and would combine more readily with my existing green base then blue would. My white is all creatures, and one is a changeling, blue has 2 non-creature, 2 Faeries, and a Merfolk.


Kithkin Healer
Goldmeadow Dodger
Avian Changeling
Mosquito Guard


Acquitect's Will
Merrow Wetsniper
Latchkey Faerie
Dewdrop Spy

With this is mind I will apply my final $1.90 to White, and see if I can bring it up to at least a marginal color. The review of the White Uncommons doesn't reveal anything of lasting impact for my collection, but the commons creates the following list. This brings White clearly into a playable color either as a splash for green, using the Vivid Groves, and Civic Wayfinders as color fixing, or can serve as a second deck option with a white Kithkin Soldier base, and splashing red for spot removal to support your troops. Either way I would pick up a complement of Plains from the land box.

4 Cenn's Heir
4 Coordinated Barrage
4 Kinsbaile Ballonist
4 Stoneybrook Schoolmaster
3 Avian Changeling
3 Goldmeadow Dodger
3 Mosquito Guard
3 Pacifism

These additions bring our card collection to 206 cards, not including basic lands, which will easily support 2-4 decks in a variety of configurations across four colors. Even more importantly we have only 5 unplayable blue cards, making our collection nearly 98% playable. With so many deck options, you could play a variety with mixed success. I think your strongest deck option would include the Battleaxes, and Perfects, and a focused pool of elves with the Handservant. This can be complemented with a mix of changelings to support the themes. Red gives you access to Hurley Burly, Incinerate, and Shock to keep the road clear for your ground pounding army. Overrun is a clear finisher for any horde deck. I would be willing to bet that there are player out there, maybe even in our play group, who have invested far more than this, and have far less playable card collection then this. Even I am surprised at just how much we have accomplished with a total of $40.00. Next week we will take our $20 and attend the Shadowmoor Prerelease in an effort to have fun, and further improve our collection.

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