Sometimes when I look at a picture of a deck I drafted from days—or weeks—ago, I feel like I’m waking up with a hangover, looking at the picture of the deck, asking myself “what happened?!” Part of it is because sometimes, at the end of a Winston draft, you are left with a pile of shhh and you have to make the most out of that pile of sh… But another part of that is I’m an extremely greedy player who has no problem justifying terrible 5 color decks if they could possibly work and they look fun.
This is one of those cases where I looked at Chandra, some of my choices, and my eyes lit up. Chandra-Bramblecrush? Cool, cool. Chandra-Bribery? Hey, two creatures. Chandra-Time Walk? CHA-CHING! With decent fixing, I was locked in, strapped up, and thrown into the fire, and the deck did pretty good, if I remember correctly. There weren’t a lot of synergies—and Upheaval, as always, won its fair share of games—but stupid spells of all colors is always a good time. This deck is a bit of a headache, a bit of a mess, but at the end of the day it was 100% awesome.
1x Mox Sapphire
1x Lotus Bloom
1x Avacyn’s Pilgrim
1x Vampiric Tutor
1x Journey to Nowhere
1x Fog Bank
1x Rampant Growth
1x Dimir Signet
1x Time Walk
1x Darksteel Ingot
1x Palladium Myr
1x Krosan Tusker
1x Lingering Souls
1x Phyrexian Metamorph
1x Chandra, the Firebrand
1x Ajani Vengeant
1x Phantom Centaur
1x Indrik Stomphowler
1x Increasing Devotion
1x Thopter Assembly
1x Frost Titan
1x Marsh Flats
1x Polluted Delta
1x Wooded Foothills
1x Sunpetal Grove
Darksteel Ingot: This is the reason I was able to go this deck. While a Chromatic Lantern or Coalition Relic would have been a good amount better, I’m happy to have an indestructible Manalith. The indestructibility was also relevant at times, as there was a game where I was trying to finish off an opponent and had an Indrik in hand with 5 mana and it was the only artifact out there, and by getting the Indrik on the board and ready to attack I won a game I otherwise would’ve had trouble with.
Don’t mistake my praise as recommendation, though—this is definitely still in the lower tier of 3 mana artifact spells. It is, without a doubt, worse than Lantern and Relic, probably worse than Basalt Monolith (especially if you run Wake Thrasher in your deck for infinite untaps) and if you run Palladium Myr it’s probably worse than that a majority of the time. 3 mana artifact ramp needs to be outstanding, as there are so many options, and while Ingot is good, it’s not the best, but it’s nice in a pinch with a deck like this.
Increasing Devotion: I used to have no respect for this card. Then I got beaten by it again. And again. And again! What it comes down to is 5 tokens is a lot for most decks to handle, and getting to 9 mana and casting it for the flashback is usually game. Whether you’re chump blocking with the tokens to save some life and earn some time, or you’re on the offensive getting in for a decent amount of damage, or using the tokens for something else like a pox or smokestack style of deck, the card is really sweet.
In this deck, double Increasing devotion is a possibility, and Chandra into Devotion is a back breaking play. 10 tokens for 9 is tough to beat; 10 tokens for 5 is even tougher! While the mana was pretty loose to support a double white card, my Pilgrim, 2 basic searchers, and the previously mentioned ingot helped assuage that problem. I had no real equipment or any way to abuse these tokens, but with Time Walk I could potentially get two swings in for the kill.
Upheaval: I don’t know if I’ve written about this card before, but Upheaval is one of the best non-power cards in blue; it’s probably one of the best non-power cards, and easily my favorite build-around card. In a well-built Upheaval deck, it’s a pretty easy GG. Even in a poorly constructed Upheaval deck—like, say, this one—it’s still going to win you the game a lot of the time, especially if you can float some mana with it. With 4 mana stones and a Lotus Bloom (which I hate as an upheaval card, as you need to blow the mana right away) it wasn’t the worst by any means, but one of my stones was a creature, so depending on that is a little more volatile.
For those who look at Upheaval and don’t understand why it’s good, consider what we’re doing with the floating mana. Say we cast upheaval for 8, and we have a signet and haven’t played a land. Once all the cards are returned to our hand, we have 2 mana to float for that signet and a land still left to drop. It’s like starting the game over with 2 more mana than your opponent, and often you’re getting ride of a lot of their cards. (This can be an issue for you as well, but depending on how much mana you’re able to float you can keep bombier, bigger spells that the opponent might not be able to keep because he’s so far behind in mana.) Upheaval works as a fail-safe, too, resetting the board if you’re in the red zone. While this isn’t the best usage, it’s one I’ve used before and one I’m sure I’ll use again.
Also, bigup did that alter, and he really is incredible. Check out his work!: http://www.facebook.com/bigupbigup
Phantom Centaur: This guy is one of my favorite green creatures, as he is really tough to kill. Right off the bat he has protection from black, which is one of the more prominent removal colors in cube and a color that the people I play with enjoy splashing. Even in combat or with burn spells, you need to smack him at least 3 times to get him off the board. Against the aggressive decks he’s an incredible roadblock, against the control decks he only gets taken out on the first shot by white removal or a circumstantial edict.
The Centaur starts to get really nuts when you can add equipment to the mix. Any sword keeps Phantom alive as long as he remains equipped. You prevent the damage, remaining counters be damned, and if it’s a pro white sword then there is very little other than wraths your opponent can do to stop him. I feel like Centaur is a bit underrated, but that’s ok—keep passing him!
Thopter Assembly: This guy is OK, though extremely slow. 5/5 flier for 6 colorless is very nice, and getting the 1/1s into play to attack is nice too, but it takes so long to get it going that wraths and what not can Time Walk you, especially if you play him again after he returns to your hand. I’ll often throw it in decks anyways, as when he does get going it’s tough to get back ahead, but it’s really a poor option against more aggressive decks or decks that want to slow you down to go over the top. With Moat he’s nice, and the evasion is cool, and Skullclamping your Myrs is neat, but overall Thopter is pretty boring.
Vampiric Tutor: As the only true black card (Lingering Souls doesn’t card) this could be a questionable inclusion, but with the number of black sources I potentially had, and also the utility VT provided me, I had no problem including it. There were enough cards in the deck that I could want at a moment’s notice that it was worth, whether it was Chandra to double spells in my hand, spells to double chandra, Ajani to start locking out my opponent, or Upheaval to go for the win.
In addition to the one swamp in the deck, I had Ingot and Signet to generate black mana. Also two of the fetches found black, and in a pinch Lotus could be cracked. If none of those methods worked, both Rampant Growth and Krosan Tusker—an awesome, awesome card—could both fetch me the swamp when I needed it. Finding the black mana was never an issue, and having the tutor was really nice.
Like bigup, Bristol is awesome. (Bristol did the vamp tutor above.) Check out his stuff!: www.flickr.com/photos/bristol_/sets/72157603505154873/
Prophetic Bolt: This card is really nice. Impulse plus 4 damage can be insane, and with Chandra I would’ve been able to copy it to get crazy value and dig 8 cards deep into my deck. 4 damage also deals with a lot of problem creatures and planeswalkers, and sometimes is enough to get the win. There is a lot of utility with this card.
That being said, I was not too willing to run it since I was only running 3 true red sources with the fetch, mountain, and Ingot. Having 2 red symbols for the 3 lands was OK in my eyes, as the impact of the planeswalkers seems longer and more long-standing than a Prophetic Bolt. Also, opening up with all three in my hand at any point without a way to get red would be killer; not like opening with the two PWs and no red sources is a lot better, but I was willing to take that risk.
Overall, the deck was pretty fun. This isn’t something to aspire to, though—understand that I consider this deck, through and through, a train wreck. But that’s the thing about train wrecks: sometimes you need to watch and see what happens…and, erm, sometimes they get you wins? Need to work on my analogies. Until next time, thanks for reading!