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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Life in the Zoo: Making the Switch

One of the primary reason I choose Zoo as my entry point into Legacy, is the fact that it is an ever present deck in every format, and converts easily back and forth. I've recently been giving some thought to Standard, and seeing what it would take to make this deck viable for Standard. I found a very interesting deck list, which puts me nearly there. The fetchland selection really don't make much sense here, unless you are simply that afraid of Pithing Needle? I think Arid Mesa makes a lot more sense then most in the list. From this revised list I would need only the following;


Knight of the Reliquary
Ranger of Eos x2

Honestly $20 for three cards is a lot, but getting back into Standard is a worth wild goal, and I expect I'd be able to pick these up in trade, so no cash outlay would be required. This deck would be viable in Standard for roughly another 10 months, so I should be able to get some good use out of it. These cards also convert nicely into Extended, although Ranger is not used in Extended Zoo at the moment.

In review of Extended Zoo decks, I'm happy to see that most decks are not running more then one or in some cases two of any given shockland. I may begin to foil out my shocklands, as my second. I really can't see ever needing more then 2 each of these, unless damaging yourself comes back into vogue.

Just looking at the foil shocklands which would be my priorities, I find that I would need five; the RGW aligned pair, the R/W, and the GBW enemy pair. This would give me a second set for my Zoo deck, and allow me to foil out my EDH deck, at a cost of roughly $90. Now this really got me thinking. What if my priorities for all my decks fell into line, focusing on RGW? In this case alone, it would allow me to drop about 40% off the shopping list. This could be just the ticket, to allow my budget to be more focused over the next year, after all it allows me to all but ignore 40% of the game.

The biggest issue is making this focus adjustment would be my EDH deck, which now has Teneb the Harvester as it's general. I also run 13 other black cards in the deck, plus several black mana lands. My biggest problem will be to choose a new general that would encompass RGW, and there are several options available.


Hazezon Tamar is an incredible token creator, with wonderful art,  but it simply has to much down side.
-I don't own the card,
-it costs $10 and would be tough to trade for,
-it's mana cost is very high for it's power and toughness.
A 2/X general has to get in there 11 times to win that way. It would combine well with a card like Knight of New Alara, but the odds of getting them both out would be poor at best.

What can you say about Jacques le Vert? It's 3/2 for 4 mana, and gives all your green creatures +0/+2. It's 3/X body does drop the general damage down to getting there in 7, but it's till way too high for my taste. Really not a heck of a lot going for it. Combined with the fact that I don't (to my knowledge) own a copy of the card, even it's $2 price may be beyond my current reach.

In addition to being an evil tyrant, Johan 5/x body gets there in 5 swings, and gets gives the team vigilance. Wait, what? It gets there in 5 swings or gives the rest of the team vigilance? Fail!

Now comes Mayael the Anima, which has a very interesting puts into play ability. Just doing some rough thinking about what would end up in the EDH portion, only about 30% is creatures and probably only about 6 of those would meet the trigger. Just don't think this Napoleon General (get it? 2/3, little General!) is gonna get there.

Palladia-Mors on the other hand is not a Napoleon general, but he is mana intensive with a cmc of 8, and an upkeep cost of of RGW. Having this guy out, means doing almost nothing else. He is a 7/7 flying beat stick, but really doesn't bring anything else to the table.



Uril, the Miststalker is a real contender here. Not only is he fat at 5/5, but he has troll shroud, and gets fatter by leaps and bounds when enchanted. On the down side, I don't own a copy of this card, and while $3 is very reasonable for this card, it's budget I just don't have right now. This also has the problem of being reserved by another player in our play group, plus it's been done, and I just don't think creature enchantments are a good may to draw an advantage.


I think when it's all said and done, I have to go with Rith, the Awakener. Not only do I own this card, but I have the very pimped out foil version from the Dragon Vault set. His cmc of 6 is really good for a 6/6 flyer that gets there in four swings. The on board ability to create saprolings is interesting, and may be worth building a deck around. I've always wanted to build a deck with Doubling Season, and I think this is just the thing.

Next step is to strip out the black cards in the deck, and replace them with Red. Red is already minimized in DoMT, and I think this is a good time to strip down Black and Blue also, to make room for more Green and White cards which better support the new theme.

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