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"The dream does not end until I say so." -- Lord of the Unreal
NOTE: Because Leafs_suck's Grand Illusion exists, and this deck contains the same Grand Architect + aggressive blue creatures engine, alllll credit for the combo is due to him. I mean, it's the highest rated deck on this site, and I'm not exactly reinventing the wheel here (though I am tinkering a little). However, because this is my Scars of Mirrodin/M12 last hurrah, and I have some blue M13 cards I'm itching to use, here's a deck list!
Also: Phyrexian Metamorph and Phantasmal Image copy wurmcoils, blue lords, enemy Sun Titan s and things, whatever you want, and kill opposing legends. The image even gets added synergy with Lord of the Unreal !
Personal touches: Solemn Simulacrum , which helps with the mana ramp when your Architect is not available (while also working well with him), and Staff of Nin , which is stupidly awesome when you can cheat it out on turn 3, and can actually kill many of the problem creatures of the format.
3-1, grabbing third place after tiebreakers.
This week's results were much less ridiculous and overpowered than last week's (see below), playing closer to what I would normally expect from this deck. Rather than bore with the details, here's a brief summary of my results:
Round 2 - Nichol Bolas, Planeswalker (2-0)
Round 3 - Rancor Infect (1-2) - opponent went on to win the tournament
4-0, with zero game losses for first place!
Disclaimer: have you ever had one of those lucky days where everything involving probability just happens to go your way? I won every die roll to see who played first, mulligan'd into perfect 6-card hands, drew everything I needed at the right moments, and survived multiple kill-or-be-killed situations, while never suffering anything worse than a mild mana flood, and never losing a game. So, important: don't take this as an average performance for this deck. THIS is an average performance of a deck on felix felicis.
Round 1 - Boros Midrange (2-0)
This deck used a ton of early burn to clear the way for its turn 4 threats, including Hero of Bladehold and Koth of the Hammer , the latter of which he actually managed to to go ultimate with. That ended up not mattering too much, though, as I managed to consistently play 1-2 Wurmcoil Engine s by turn 4-5 in both games, which he simply could not outrace.
Round 2 - Mulch Reanimator (2-0)
My opponent was just getting back into Magic, and was running a deck with very little removal, so I was able to do some pretty degenerate things. Big, dumb, smashy play of the match: attacking with a Lord of the Unreal , an illusory Lord of the Unreal, an illusory artifact Lord of the Unreal, and a 7/7 hexproof phantasmal Geist-Honored Monk and its spirit tokens. Over-extending never felt so good.
Round 3 - Griselbrand Frites (2-0)
Big, dumb, lucky play(s) of the game: Opponent casts Unburial Rites on Griselbrand. I cast Phyrexian Metamorph , copy-killing the demon, and swing with Wurmcoil Engine. Opponent again reanimates Griselbrand. I Phantasmal Image him, cast a second wurm, and swing for six. Opponent reanimates Griselbrand yet again. I sacrifice Buried Ruin , retrieve my dead metamorph, and recast it, killing Griselbrand and swinging for the win. Final life total: 52.
Round 4 - U/W Delver (2-0)
Game 1 was actually pretty fun and skill-intensive, developing in such a way that we both presented lethal damage on the battlefield, and it was all an issue of who would get to attack first, and whether their opponent held any Vapor Snag s. I got to attack first. My opponent did not have Vapor Snag. Game 2 was much less fun. My opponent started out sorely in need for land, and could never quite catch up to the tremendous Grand Architect artifact clone army I was busy constructing.
Conclusion: play this deck on a day when you are feeling particularly fortunate, and the Fates may grant you a boon. This is super useful information.
Win record: 3-1 matches, 7-3 games
Round 1: G/W Humans (2-0) - pure blue aggro game 1, wurmcoil combo game 2, never lost speed
Round 2: R/G Aggro (1-2) - destroyed me game 1, got him back game 2, and then I never drew a land again (womp womp)
Round 3: B/R Zombies (2-0) - Grafdigger's Cage . Graaaaafdigger's Caaaaaaaage!
Round 4: RED DECK (2-1) - bad matchup for me, considering the strength of Gut Shot , Arc Trail , and Slagstorm against this deck, but if you can get hexproof and a couple of lords/architects established, you're good.
The list I ran last night used Phantasmal Dragon s instead of the Jace's Phantasm s I've just added to the deck, and it definitely shows in some of the mana issues I experienced. Having a 4-drop flying 5/5 that can be killed by Rancor (three green mana = kill three illusions. Even on the receiving end of a beating like that, that was a pretty cool moment), is just a little too slow for what the deck wants/needs. Replacing the dragon with a flying 1-drop should give me more to do on turns 1 and 2, and give me the same potential for a large flying threat, whether through +1/+1 bonuses from fall the lords, or from the more unlikely scenario of a fully stocked graveyard on the opponent's side of the table. It also works much better with Grand Architect in powering out Wurmcoil Engine s, etc., so there's that.
Aaaaanyway, 3-1 wooo.
What are everyone's thoughts on card:Jace's Phantasm for a deck like this? Is it good enough as a 1/1 flyer that can get +1/+1 and hexproof boosts? My inclusion of Jace, Memory Adept might be a baaaad idea here, if his only real use is going to be pumping up my phantasms. Hm, hmm, etc.
i think the phantasm is good enough for this deck with all the +1/+1 support...plus its another cheap creature to tap into grand architect for mana. I think jace is unnecessary though, and the extra ability of the phantasm should just be there as an added bonus instead of a goal. LIke the deck alot though
@autigers001 Thanks! I playtested it a bit with a couple of Jace, Memory Adept in there in addition to the two Tamiyo, the Moon Sage , but that definitely felt like a bad idea. Even with 24 lands, it's taking me a while to get to five mana in some games, and Jace is feeling a bit superfluous anyway. I think we are in agreement!
One thing I love doing is tapping all my creature for mana to put out a Wurmcoil Engine or a Steel Hellkite , and then using Tamiyo's -2 on myself to draw anywhere between 3-6 cards. Then if you draw any more artifacts or creatures you can use your land base to then cast those cards. That a lone has won me a few games.
I love to see people using this deck. Makes me happy inside =D
@Leafs_suck Thanks! I appreciate the +1, especially from the archetype's innovator!
Thought Scour would probably be better suited to milling your opponent, if the intent is to make card:Jace's Phantasm bigger. I had to read the card a few times to make sure, but it does say that it only gets "+4/+4 as long as an opponent has ten or more cards in his or her graveyard." So, not as great with self-mill. I will consider it's inclusion though, as a cantrip is a cantrip is a cantrip.
Sideboarding guide posted in the Updates. I'll try to keep this up to date with any changes I make in the list.
Sands of Delirium is a bit of an experiment right now. It's cheaper than Jace, Memory Adept , works well with Grand Architect , and easily enables card:Jace's Phantasms with 5+ power/toughness. It'll be hiding in the sideboard until I get some data on its usefulness here; there are just too many decks in standard right now that want cards in the graveyard to warrant it's inclusion in the main deck.
card:Jace's Phantasm forrr what, exactly? I know it's a 1-drop Blue dude, but your mill = 0, and Sands of Delirium is janky at best. I would think that any of the other 1-drop Blue Creatures in Standard would all be better than the Phantasm, which does nothing offensively or defensively until at least turn 6 or 7.
@zandl In this particular deck, card:Jace's Phantasm is more aggressive than those other options, because it benefits from Lord of the Unreal , Phantasmal Image s copying Lord of the Unreal , Phyrexian Metamorph s copying Lord of the Unreal images etc., in addition to the +1/+1 boosts they all enjoy from Grand Architect . It is not at all uncommon for these plucky little Flying Men to get up to 3/3 or 4/4, with hexproof, deceptively quickly and quite often. If nothing else, they block and sometimes trade with Insectile Aberration Flip Flips, and are otherwise evasive attackers. I don't even need the mill. That ability is just magical christmasland gravy. I know the +4/+4 is hardly ever going to trigger. I just use other means to make them strong.
Plus they fit thematically! <-- Not a serious point.
I basically play them like Spined Thopter s, only faster and usually less fragile.
There aren't enough instants and sorceries for Delver of Secrets Flip , Nephalia Smuggler doesn't really do anything with this deck (it doesn't tend to keep a lot of mana open for ability use), and Kraken Hatchling , while useful agaisnt red, is not really going to do much otherwise. Wingcrafter seems okay, especially attached to a wurmcoil, but I'd rather he were a little more useful on his own. Vedalken Certarch seems pretty cool though, if highly situational. I like Vedalken Certarch . He's a nice fella.
Thank you for the suggestions! I prefer card:Jace's Phantasm to Wingcrafter , Vedalken Certarch , or Spined Thopter , but I certainly see the arguments for using them instead. The phantasm just fits in with the deck's bells and whistles a bit better.
I used a code for embedding images that can be found here: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/basics
Scroll down to the section labeled "IMAGES" and copy the last line that has
img src="/path/to/img.jpg" alt="alt text" title="Title"
in angle brackets. Replace /path/to/img.jpg with a path or url to the specific image you want to use, and voila presto abracadabra, you have an image. I use an image hosting site like tinypic.com to upload things, and get my direct link for layouts from there. http://i47.tinypic.com/343lm4j.jpg , for example, results in:
Hope that helps!
END TANGENT (thunders)
Any thoughts on Staff of Nin ? I'm correct that this card is awesome in this deck, right? Am I completely missing some egregious error in including it?
I think it looks spiffy, personally.
Normally, I'd say Staff of Nin is a poor include, but I think it actually fits in this deck. The card draw is just good, and pinging stuff is never a bad thing.
The only bad thing about it is its mana cost, and this deck can get around that pretty well.
@landgrafb Mostly lulz, but I have used it to explode Shrine of Burning Rage in its owner's face before. It would also be nice to bring in against planeswalkers, though I think a more serious/better sideboard choice would be Volition Reins . It's even more fun against Birthing Pod ; think of all the ETB shenanigans, and sacrificing all the wrong creatures!
It is really, really good against a tapped out burn player, but if you can make this much mana you should probably be winning at that point anyway.
It's also good for tilting control players, especially if you can empty their hand in the worst way possible (killing their permanents with their own spells, countering their own stuff, sending miracles the wrong way, missing land drops) and leave them tapped out before attacking with the team.
I'm including it in the hopes of causing so. much. mischief. It's a fun card. It's probably more efficient to just attack for infinity "phantasmal" damage, but I like that I have the option.
I don't know! It's been playing very smoothly for me lately. I might cut to 23 if anything, but honestly my Ponder s and Staff of Nin (new favorite card!) have kept my hand pretty well stocked with gas. By the same token, they also keep my hand pretty stocked with land, so I do see what you're saying. More action would probably be preferable.
One thing I will say though: I've moved away from the illusion aggro side of things a little, replacing the Phantasmal Bear s entirely with card:Jace's Phantasms (flying is pretty crucial where I play), and my biggest reason for keeping Lord of the Unreal in is for drawing out removal spells so I have a better chance of getting Grand Architect to stick. People who are less familiar with my deck jump to thinking I'm straight illusion aggro and kill my lord accordingly. So it's pretty important for me to have three land as soon as possible, because the architect is pretty much the crux of my strategy these days. Until I land him, I reeeeally don't want to miss a land drop.
If I can't get an architect into play, or if he dies before I can really abuse his abilities, then it's nice to be able to hardcast one of my four 6-drops before, you know, turn 10.
I don't strongly disagree about cutting to 23, but 22 scares me with the way I've been playing it. So far, so good, by the way. I came in third last Friday, and the week before that I didn't lose a single game, let alone match. I am now colloquially referred to as "wurmcoil guy" (also Jake, strangely enough).
Oh! I should also probably mention: I abuse the hell out of Buried Ruin . I love that card so much. So really it feels more like 20 land + 4 artifact recursion spells, you know? Especially since I need so much blue mana specifically for painting artifact creatures into Grand Architect 's +1/+1 effect.
And because my staff dies a lot.