I love playing big, splashy games of magic. Any time you can cast giant creatures or spells while either denying your opponent the chance to play theirs or getting so far ahead on the curve that it doesn’t matter is one of the coolest feelings. In my eyes, big and splashy also includes things like drawing through your entire deck, or locking the game down. Being in control of a match is so sweet, and with some archetypes you don’t really have that feeling all the time, or you don’t really feel like you’re in control until you’re clinching that last bit of damage in.
It’s not exactly like the deck below is a pure control deck, either, but a lot of the cards synergize well together to either rocket ahead in card advantage or dominate the board with huge spells, all the while containing enough early resistance to survive any onslaughts that may be receive. Fortunately, we played a 3 man winston for this deck, so the chance was low that I would be facing a dedicated aggro deck since they’re much harder to draft in winston and a lot more inconsistent in power. You can draft a few sweet bombs and hodge-podge the rest of your deck, since all you need is the early filler that’s fairly abundant and the strong spells that do a good job of turning the game in your favor after. With aggressive decks, it’s a lot more difficult to find all the 1 and 2 drops that you’ll need, since they’ll be taken as scraps in packs that other players value, or you could just not see them since there is only a limited selection of cards. Not that it’s impossible—and I’ve seen a good amount of great aggressive decks from 2-3 player winston—but it’s a lot easier to build the midrange-to-slow decks.
But I digress; the decklist:
Venser, Shaper Savant
Meloku, the Clouded Mirror
1 Glacial Something
1 Polluted Delta
1 Flooded Strand
1 Scalding Tarn
Land Tax and Scroll Rack: This is the best engine of the deck, one I frankly stumbled into. Recently when Land Tax became unbanned in Legacy, Scroll Rack shot up in price. At the time, I didn’t fully understand the power of the two together; it seemed kind of cute that you could get some extra cards and pitch them back, but I didn’t think further into it. Putting them into play together, and using the both of them to draw close to my entire deck multiple times, put into perspective how strong the two are.
In case you can’t see why they are so good, let me explain. With Land Tax, you’re drawing lots of basics. You then take those basics and switch them with the top cards of your library, hopefully guaranteeing you more spells than not. The three basics turn Land Tax into an actual draw 3 when you combine it with Scroll Rack. The nutty part about the two is that, as long as you continue to pitch basics back, you are always going to be able to grab those extra lands to go and draw extra cards off the top. There have been times with Land Tax where you get to the end of your basics and end up just pitching them off into the graveyard, not the worst but at that point it seems like wasted card advantage to a point. (Of course not really, since you’re thinning your deck out incredibly, but still.) Now, they recycle into your deck and allow you to grab spell after spell after spell, constantly keeping your hand full with gas.
Another cool play I discovered with Land Tax—if you’re lucky enough to be on the play and with a Mox Pearl in hand— is to go Mox Pearl, Land Tax, go. Unless your opponent has their own crazy powered start, which is highly unlikely that they’ll be able to go mox-no land-go, you’re guaranteeing yourself three lands right off the stop. Your opponent will have likely mentally committed to allowing the tax to be stamped, and it should be an easy game of hitting all your land drops over and over again. With Sun Titan in the deck, it’s not the worst to pitch the extra lands either, since if I had no other targets I could easily go and get those.
I’d like to take this moment to say that Land Tax is one of the more underrated cards while playing online. “My group never underrates it!” you say, and I agree, the people I play with in real life understand how sick it is as well. But while playing on cockatrice it’s sickening how often Land Tax tables, flying on the merry go around to come back again and again. Not sickening so much, since it means that you’ll be able to play it, but it makes me sad how little it is appreciated or understood. Whatever though; keep on passing it.
Mirran Crusader: This card seems like a bit of an odd choice in this deck. Normally an aggressive creature, I used it as a wall of sorts. The reason is I was able to play matches 2 and 3, so I was able to see my opponent’s decks while I was still finishing mine. Once I saw that the both of them were either half way or fully in the Crusader’s protection colors, he seemed really incredible. Even if they dealt with it, I had the Sun Titan to bring him back. He was outstanding in every game he hit the table.
Building your deck around what you’ve seen your opponents play may seem a little cheap, but in a casually competitive environment such as the one we play in, it’s standard and to be expected. Ignoring given information to be “fair” is moot when not only is it not actually that cheap, but it’s a fairly common practice in our play group. I understand on programs like MTGO or in competitive matches you have to submit a deck, but when we’re playing at home and have the ability to be as secretive as possible, why not? Surprises should be a thing in limited, and I’ll allow my opponents to sideboard as they will, since I’ll do the same.
Skullclamp: This seems like a weak deck for the clamp, and you’d be right in saying that. However, I feel that adding insurance to any of my bombs, bringing it back with Sun Titan, or attaching it to one of my few early creatures is enough to warrant inclusion. On Crusader or Spellskite, it’s pretty sweet. Clamp allows Crusader to block and trade with creatures with up to 6 toughness, which is bonafide nutty out of a three drop. On Spellskit, it makes attacking with those x/1s a riskier proposition, and you can pay 2 life or U to draw two cards off of it if your opponent plays a kill spell. I could also trade Meloku tokens and the land drop for 2 cards, which seems really nice, or take their X/1s with my Shackles and go to card town, USA. If anything, this should be evidence of how highly I value Skullclamp, and how many decks I’ll try to jam it in.
Powder Keg: Even though I had a decent amount of 1 and 2 drops permanents that Keg hit, it was necessary. I only had a few other pieces of removal, so any early drops or problematic artifacts, like weapons and what not, had minimal ways to be dealt with. The first game of the night I had it in the sideboard, but quickly figured out that I needed it for at least a back up plan. The Keg didn’t come into my hand often, or wasn’t needed in some games since I was drawing so many cards, but against the green decks that both existed in this draft I killed some valuable elves while also hitting some other problematic artifacts. With Sun Titan the card was sweet as well, knocking off the cards it was set at and then coming back in to kill a bunch of tokens from an Increasing Devotion one game.
My favorite deck to play Powder Keg in is the Planeswalker deck. The concept of the deck is simple: go 3+ colors, prioritize Planeswalker and fixing, and grab whatever removal you can otherwise. Powder Keg is sweet in that decks since it’s a specified multi-faceted wrath that doesn’t hit the most important part of your deck, clearing the board. Your planeswalkers are gaining incremental value while Powder Keg either dissuades them from playing certain spells or just blows them out of the water. Powder Keg is slightly underrated in my eyes; I don’t think it should go in the smallest of cubes, but it should find space in the midrange-to-larger cubes, even with cards such as Oblivion Stone, Ratchet Bomb, and Engineered Explosives being things.
Overall, I was super pleased with this deck. Blue is always awesome, white is a great match, and it laid a good amount of beatings. Thanks for reading!
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