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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grim Tidings #30 - 5C Proliferate Decklist

No more waiting. Here’s my decklist at last:

91 Creature/Equivalents
1 Academy Rector
1 Avenger en-Dal
1 Kazandu Blademaster
1 Meadowboon
1 Mother of Runes
1 Phantom Flock
1 Shinewend
1 Sun Titan
1 Transcendent Master
1 Wall of Omens

4 Enclave Cryptologist
4 Sphinx of the Magosi
4 Thrumming Bird
1 Bribery
1 Bringer of the Blue Dawn
1 Helium Squirter
1 Lighthouse Chronologist
1 Master Transmuter
1 Mulldrifter
1 Myojin of the Seeing Wind
1 Sage of Fables
1 Sphinx of Lost Truths

1 Animate Dead
1 Carnifex Demon
1 Dusk Urchins
1 Guul Draz Assassin
1 Mirri, the Cursed
1 Necroskitter
1 Skeleton Ship
1 Skinrender
1 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
1 Spirit Monger
1 Vorosh the Hunter
1 Vulturous Zombie
1 Witch Maw Nephilim

1 Apocalypse Hydra
1 Kulrath Knight
1 Lightning Reaver
1 Lord of Shatterskull Pass
1 Rakavolver
1 Spitting Hydra
1 Stigma Lasher
1 Taurean Mauler

1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Bloom Tender
1 Cytoplast Root-kin
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fangren Firstborn
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Fertilid
1 Forgotten Ancient
1 Gemhide Sliver
1 Harabaz Druid
1 Joraga Treespeaker
1 Noble Heirarch
1 Ohran Viper
1 Phantom Centaur
1 Protean Hydra
1 Quirion Dryad
1 Spike Weaver
1 Sylvok Explorer
1 Troll Ascetic
1 Utopia Tree
1 Vigor
1 Wall of Blossoms
1 Wall of Roots
1 Wickerbough Elder

1 Cold-Eyed Selkie
1 Experimental Kraj
1 Gilder Bairn
1 Jenara, Asura of War
1 Juniper Order Ranger
1 Phantom Nishoba
1 Plaxcaster Frogling

4 Etched Oracle
1 Pentavus
1 Scuttlemutt
1 Triskelion

99 Spells
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Wrath of God
1 Ajani Goldmane
1 Balance
1 Elspeth, Knight Errant
1 Enlightented Tutor
1 Idyllic Tutor
1 Luminarch Ascension
1 Pursuit of Knowledge
1 Serra's Liturgy

4 Jace Berelan
4 Inexorable Tide
1 Ancestral Visions
1 Brainstorm
1 Future Sight
1 Ponder
1 Steady Progress
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Tinker
1 Transmute Artifact

3 Damnation
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Bloodchief Ascension
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Grim Reminder
1 Liliana Vess
1 Night Dealings
1 Sorin Markhov
1 Vile Requiem

4 Lightning Bolt
4 Terminate
1 Ajani Vengeant
1 Chandra Nalaar
1 Everlasting Torment
1 Jund Charm
1 Naya Charm
1 Pure/Simple
1 Sarkan Vol
1 Sarkhan the Mad
1 Shattering Pulse

3 Krosan Grip
1 Beastmaster Ascension
1 Doubling Season
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Regrowth
1 Rite of Passage

1 Mirari's Wake
1 Sterling Grove

4 Contagion Clasp
4 Contagion Engine

1 Crystal Ball
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Eveflowing Chalice
1 Evolution Vat
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Forcefield
1 Lux Cannon
1 Magistrate's Scepter
1 Maze of Ith
1 Orochi Hatchery
1 Pentad Prism
1 Rings of Brighthearth
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Trigon of Corruption
1 Trigon of Thought

110 Lands
14 Lorwyn Vivid Lands

10 Ravnica Shock Lands
10 Original Dual Lands
10 Shadow/Even Filter Lands
10 Onslaught/Zend. Fetch lands
5 M-11 Dual Lands

4 Mirrodin's Core
4 Gemstone Mine

1 Evolving Wilds
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Llanowar Reborn
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Rupture Spire
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
1 Terramorphic Expanse

1 Academy Ruins
1 City of Shadows
1 Dustbowl
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Mystifying Maze
1 Novigen, the Heart of Progress
1 Strip Mine
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Wasteland

7 Island
7 Forest
5 Plains
5 Swamp
3 Mountain

Holy hell, that’s a long list. Like I said before, I tried to keep it as much highlander as possible, so that my games would hopefully be varied and exciting. I think I’ve achieved that for the most part - other than the (absolutely critical) bolded cards above, everything is singleton. There’s lots and lots to look at here…

Primary Theme: Counters
Obviously with Proliferate, the goal is to have as many permanents in play as possible with counters. I dug deep in my research to find as many variations on counters to flesh this out. Some themes were edited out as I needed to make room for the removal and card draw elements, but here’s what endured:

Sub-theme: Planeswalkers
Obviously, planeswalkers by their nature are counter driven. They enter play with loyalty counters, and gain and use them naturally over the course of your turns. I’m running a wide selection (14 total), including 4x of the ever-critical Jace Berelan. I suppose there is room for more, such as Jace the Mind Sculptor, but since my only one is in another deck, I’m happy with what I have.

Not every planeswalker is represented, but I considered it. I think Ajani Goldmane synergizes with Proliferate quite well, as he places additional +1/+1 counters on all of your creatures to maximize the proliferation. Ajani combos well with Sage of Fables too.

Sub-theme: Level up
Level-up creatures were streamlined in the tuning process, but its still prevelant (9). It would be a shame not to include an assortment of Level-up creatures, even if they are generally too slow to avoid that immediate Lightning Bolt. I tried to keep at least one level-upper from each color, with the most “bomb-tastic” ability. Lighthouse Chronologist poses a severe problem in multiplayer games if you get him to his ultimate ability. Where else other than a deck like this could you reasonably play janky cards like this anyways?

Sub-theme: Graft
Its not a major presence, but its in there 4 times. At one point I featured it quite a bit more, but something had to go, and Graft is somewhat conditional. I do really like Plaxcaster Frogling as a silver bullet type creature. Instant speed shroud is always good.

Sub-theme: Ascensions
At one pint I ran all five, but after study, only the three best remain. In all honesty, its quicker to just get you counters normally for Luminarch and Bloodchief, but proliferate helps you ascend to Beastmaster status.

Sub-theme: Hydras
One thing I found difficult was representing the color Red in the Proliferate concept. Red just doesn’t seem to have a lot of impressive counter-oriented cards. Except for the Hydra creature type, that is. I found quite a few Hydras, including Spitting Hydra that made the final cut. Protean is still my favorite though, even if it is just “win-more.”

Sub-theme: Phantoms
The other creature theme I
am quite proud to have discovered for this deck are the Judgment “Phantoms”. I run the three best Phantoms (Centaur, Nishoba, and Flock). I find their ability to be very clever, and quite a defensive deterrent in group game play.

Other Cards I am Fond Of
There is so many weird one-ofs in this 300-card deck, you may have to reference Oracle to see what the do. I am quite happy with a few clever ones though: Necroskitter, Orochi Hatchery, Gilder Bairn, Witch Maw Nephilim, Vigor, and Novigen, just to name a few.

So there it is. I’m happy to conclude this series for now, until I find a new interest in deckbuilding in 2011. Have a Happy New Year, and I’ll be back soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fetchlands: From a Budget Tool Perspective

Most everyone understands that when it comes to eternal formats the original Dual Lands are about the best investment you can make. Which ones you get first, and how many repeaters you want really is a function of what decks you want to play. I really feel that you can't go wrong with having at least one copy of each. The Ravnica Shocklands play an acceptable role as cheap substitutes, while you are filling in your collection of originals.

At some point in your collecting days, you will need to turn your attention to the power of fetchlands, and here is why. Lets say you luck up and find a Bayou on the street, so you decide to begin turning your Legacy Mono Black Control list into Eva Green. That Bayou is a great start, but is only going to show up in your opening hand about 12% of the time. Not Bad, but not very consistent to say the least, so you want more. Naturally you decide to bust your hump on you paper route and in no time you have saved up the $50 needed to get a Bayou at this time. But wait, is putting all of those resources into a single card really your best option?

Turns out, it may not be. If you get the second Bayou, your odds of having one in your opening hand expectantly double to roughly 24%. On the other hand, if you take those same funds, and buy say the four least expensive fetchlands for which Bayou is a valid target, you end up with five cards options, rather then two. That's right, now you can expect to have/or be able to get your Bayou about 61% of the time from your opening hand. Wow, that is a huge difference! Okay, sure in the end you are still only running one copy of Bayou, and in a world of wasteland, there is some risk in that, but I think you see my point. We are talking about a budget solution here, and we can all agree if money was no object more then one Bayou would be great for a deck like this.

So fetchlands can be better in any given deck, then a second copy of a dual, but what about a world where you play multiple decks? Bayou, and in fact most dual lands, are most often played as one of copies in decks which have fetchland support. Outside of Eva Green, I can't think of a single Tier1 deck that runs more then one. Your fetchlands on the other hand, can be run in nearly every deck in which the color is used. I really believe that in most cases fetchlands are a better investment then multiple copies of duals. Of course that is after you have at least one copy of the dual in question.

So now that we have established what a great choice fetchlands can be, the question becomes what else can they do for you? They aren't just ways to get at expensive dual lands, and reduce the number of basics are they? Nope, turns out fetches can get a small group of cards no one ever thinks about.

Dryad Arbor- it's a forest, it's a creature. It turns into Progenitus with alarming regularity.
Leechridden Swamp- Die bitches!
Madblind Mountain- oh yeah, shuffle that library.
Mistveil Plains- Need something from the yard, they will never see this coming.
Moonring Island- Peek? Don't mind if I do.
Murmuring Bosk- that's right three colors of mana!
Sapseep Forest- gain some life.

So it's not a a huge list, but there just may be some tech in there to allow your next budget deck monstrosity to steal some wins from those "better" decks, all thanks to a little added push from a fetchland.