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Magic: The Gathering!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

Set Sail for Adventure!

Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone, coming to you with the next Dual Color deck in my series for your viewing delight.  This week I have to be honest.  After last week when Black walked out on me, I was so grief stricken that I didn’t even notice… Black owed me another deck!  We did Black with White, Red and Green, then it left me here with Blue!  So I went to my local Prerelease, because where there’s Magic players playing Limited, there’s Black bringing the removal.  When I got there, it was hiding inside the Innistrad packs, where it though it could blend in with the Vampires, Zombies, and Demons.  Long story short, I found Black and we had a long “talk” and it came back with me to my place to finish what we started.

When I got home, I found Blue playing Duels of the Planeswalkers and the three of us sat down to start working on this week’s deck.  So this week, 3TF brings to you a Blue/Black deck ready to hit the high seas. This week we theme it up Pirate style. So hoist the anchor and set the sails as we head out into open waters!


This deck starts with two problems.  First, the amount of pirates in these two colors is good, but falls a little short of where I would want the creature count to be.  The other issue is picking a Commander for this deck.  The Creature thing is easy enough to fix, so let’s start with the Commander issue.  On the one hand we have.

Ramirez is a legendary pirate. In fact I believe he is the only one… that isn’t an Illusion.

Yeah yeah, we get it.

As the only REAL pirate Ramirez seems like the best choose for this deck, but on the other hand we have…

A legendary Ship also makes for great pick for a commander.  How can you have a pirate deck without
ship for them to raise the jolly roger? I was so split between the two that I left the deck as a 98 card deck. This way you can pick one as the Commander and put the other one in the last card spot. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which to use as the Commander here. Let me know which you think is the best.  With that, let’s start filling up the rest of this deck with high seas goodness.

Rishadan Footpad, Rishadan Cutpurse, Rishadan Brigand, Steam Frigate, Kukemssa Pirates, Cloud Pirates, Armored Galleon, Talas Air Ship, Pirate Ship, Rishadan Airship, and Predator, Flagship: What self respecting pirate would be caught dead without a crew of sea dogs to man his ship?  Here we have a starting crew ready to board.  This is not enough to make a deck so lets grab a few Rogues to help with the day to day activities.

Cutthroat il-Dal, Grave Robbers, Hada Spy Patrol, Lore Broker, Lurking Informant, Master Thief, Neurok Spy, Rag Dealer, Looter il-Kor, Trespasser il-Vec, Highway Robber, and Vectis Agents: Human rogues will help fill out the rest of our crew members.  Cutthroat il-Dal, Hada Spy Patrol, Vectis Agents,Looter il-Kor, Trespasser il-Vec, and Neurok Spy are little, but they are very sneaky with abilities that make them unblockable. Grave Robbers and Rag Dealer bring their shovels for treasure digging and exile cards you would have no use for.  Lore Broker can help draw cards with his looter effect, but may help your opponents with a little looting of their own.  Lurking Informant can help deal with Sensei’s Divining Tops or just put the top card in the grave for Grave Robbers and Rag Dealer to remove. Master Thief can be very useful by taking artifacts that range from all forms of play.

Circu, Dimir Lobotomist: When you’re out on to sea for a long time, it’s a good idea to bring along a doctor of some kind. Circu here may have lie a little bit about what he specializes in, but hey it not like we have much of a choice left.

Dream Thrush, Tideshaper Mystic, Reef Shaman, Shimmering Mirage, Jinx, Lingering Mirage, Sea's Claim, Spreading Seas, and Aquitect's Will: We have a few guys here that can’t attack unless there is water on the other side of the board.  While Blue is a popular color, there is no guarantee that Islands will be on your opponents’ side of the board.  Here we have a package of cards that will help make sure that all the world is open to our crew.  Dream Thrush is not only here because it can turn any land into what we want at instant speed, but also what pirate ship is complete without a parrot?  Tideshaper Mystic and Reef Shaman are here to fit in as mermaids… Really ugly mermaids. Shimmering Mirage, Jinx, Lingering Mirage, Sea's Claim, Spreading Seas, and Aquitect's Will round out the rest of our package with instant and permanent ways to spread the seas.

Oh and FYI when this...

starts to look this...

it’s time to go back to the main land.

And while we’re going to the main land, let’s pick up some supplies.  All good ships need supplies, so let’s start with…

Expedition Map, Star Compass, Mystic Compass, Explorer's Scope, and Trailblazer's Boots: A map to know where we’re going, two compasses to know how to get there, a scope to spot land from afar, and some boots for the long walk.  That sounds like a good start on what we may need.  Now let’s arm ourselves.

Sword of the Meek, Sword of Light and Shadow, Sword of Feast and Famine, Banshee's Blade, Deathrender, Leonin Scimitar, and Trusty Machete: Let’s face it, our crew is kind of lacking in the power department.  But that’s what Swords are for, and matey do we have a selection here.  I left out three of the Mirrodin swords because those three see enough play as is.  The rest are here more for favor and when their played usually have a smaller target on them.

Fodder Cannon, Lux Cannon, Mogg Cannon, and Myr Turbine: You can’t have a good ship without a few cannons.  Just to let you know ahead of time, we’re a little short on cannon balls. But that’s ok because on my voyage to pick up the two swords from Mirrodin I found a Myr Trubine laying around.  I think we may need more tokens later.  Hey!  If anyone on our crew starts lacking in their duties, there will be no walking the plank here.  On our ship we stuff the cannon!

Do What You Want Cause A Pirate Is Free!

Treasure Trove, Treasure Hunt, Greed, and AEther Vial: Treasure’s abound and we’re going to get us some.  Treasure Hunt, Treasure Trove, and Greed are all about finding the trinkets we need.  AEther Vail is good with about three counters on it here.  You can always take it up another knot if you need to, but I say hold it at three until you need it.

Piracy Charm, Treachery, and Treacherous Urge: If your crew knows that their on a do or die ship, you will have at least a few planning to stab you in the back.  Those treacherous dogs!  Be ready for them by recruiting others to stand in the way.  At least long enough for you to turn the tables with your Charm.

Now it’s time to make a few picks that are a little less theme based, but still really good ideas to kick around.

Tezzeret the Seeker, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, and Liquimetal Coating: When it comes to finding value in junk, no one in all of Magic is better than Tezzeret.  As the Seeker, he can work the cannons and Myr Turbine while digging deep into the deck to find swords, maps, and any other artifacts we may need.  As the Agent of Bolas , with Liquimetal Coating, he can make anything of ours into a 5/5 beater.  This sounds like a strong combination because it can pump up smaller creatures, give us man-lands out of basics, and can be used on other peoples cards.  Grave Pact getting out of control?  Now it’s an artifact creature ready to die in the next board sweep.

Alluring Siren, Wrexial, the Risen Deep and Stormtide Leviathan: What high sea adventure doesn’t have a battle with giant creatures of the deep?  A boring one, that’s what.  Remember, we’re not hunting Moby Dick here. Think of these as some of the beast you get to see on the open waters.

You Are A Pirate!

With 18 Swamps and 18 Island we can start to honor that restraining order I received from Black.  Like I’m going to let a piece of paper stop me.  As always, my mana base here is just a starting point.  At the bottom, you can check out the deck list.  Next week we get to finally build without Swamps, I Promise!  As always, thanks for the read and I will see you next week for another article!

Hope you had fun and please leave any comments or suggestions.  Until next time,

This is your Captain speaking… We’re heading into the Red Zone!!!

1 Ramirez DePietro
1 Circu, Dimir Lobotomist
1 Skeleton Ship
1 Talas Air Ship
1 Steam Frigate
1 Rishadan Footpad
1 Rishadan Cutpurse
1 Rishadan Brigand
1 Rishadan Airship
1 Pirate Ship
1 Kukemssa Pirates
1 Cloud Pirates
1 Armored Galleon
1 Cutthroat il-Dal
1 Grave Robbers
1 Hada Spy Patrol
1 Lore Broker
1 Lurking Informant
1 Master Thief
1 Neurok Spy
1 Rag Dealer
1 Trespasser il-Vec
1 Vectis Agents
1 Dream Thrush
1 Tideshaper Mystic
1 Reef Shaman
1 Shimmering Mirage
1 Jinx
1 Lingering Mirage
1 Sea's Claim
1 Spreading Seas
1 High Tide
1 Aquitect's Will
18 Island
18 Swamp
1 Predator, Flagship
1 Sword of the Meek
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Banshee's Blade
1 Deathrender
1 Trailblazer's Boots
1 Leonin Scimitar
1 Trusty Machete
1 Treasure Trove
1 Treasure Hunt
1 Treachery
1 Treacherous Urge
1 Greed
1 Fodder Cannon
1 Lux Cannon
1 Mogg Cannon
1 Expedition Map
1 Explorer's Scope
1 Wrexial, the Risen Deep
1 Stormtide Leviathan
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 Liquimetal Coating
1 Looter il-Kor
1 Alluring Siren
1 Piracy Charm
1 Mystic Compass
1 Star Compass
1 Myr Turbine
1 AEther Vial

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

Brain Salad!

Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone, coming to you with the next Dual Color deck in my series for your viewing delight.  This week we’re wrapping up Black with our Black/Green deck, but before we go too far in, I want to take a moment to let you all know something… I got a letter today and it… it… just read for yourself.

Dear Captain,

We have been spending a lot of time together in recent weeks.  I have been having a blast with you, but I have to say this.  I am tired.  I know I know, I was talking about how we don’t see each other nearly as much but let’s face the facts.  You’re getting old.  You can’t give as much to me as you were able to once.  I still love you, and we still have some really good times ahead of us, but I figured I should let you know I’m leaving you for a while.  It’s not me, it’s you.  You’re just not able to handle all of this the way you used to. Maybe we’ll see each other at the Prerelease this weekend, depending on how I’m feeling.  Don’t worry, I’m not going away forever.  Just for a while.  I need to spread out for awhile, and I can’t do that sitting here, waiting for you to finish your little series.  When you have some free time, or when your get your energy back, call me.  You know the number.

Your Soul’s Keeper (Because you signed that contract),


I found this letter on my stairs today…  

No... literally ON my stairs...

I didn’t even get to say good bye…  And I think my bank account is a few hundred short…

But  before I was left broke, in heart and in pocket, Black did one last deck, and I have to say I like this one. This week’s deck is a theme that was inspired by two things - one is a card I saw in Innistrad that I had to laugh at, and the other is a game that came out in recently.  So what is it based on?

For those of you that don’t know, Plants vs. Zombies is a game where your house is under attack by hordes of brain hungry zombies.  The only way they can get to you is by crossing your yard.  Your only line of defense?  Your Garden of Plants!  But these aren’t just any plants, these things are full of anti-zombie effects.  Some spit peas that kill zombies, some explode, some freeze zombies making them move slower so the “Pea-Shooters” can have more time to kill larger groups, etc.  

If you have a computer, PS3, or even an X-Box 360, you should get this game.  It’s so fun and I can’t say enough good things about it.So today we’re going to build a Green/Black Plant vs. Zombies theme deck.

Garden of Evil!

If we’re going to do this we need some ground rules.

1.       This deck will have as many plants and zombies as we can get.
2.       We will try to keep the non-theme things to a minimum.
3.       We will use the graveyard as well, but not so much that this turns into just another graveyard deck.

First things first, I want to point out that most plants are walls and in this case, boring.  I’m expanding the “plants” by including : Plants, Fungus, and Elements that are plants, make plants, or pumps plants.  Saproling tokens are cool here but we’re not going Treefolk.

So with that I think the only Commander we could use has to be…

Sure he’s an Elf Druid, but his ability buffs up our Fungus creatures for every spore counter  they get. Since most fungus creature gains a spore counter at the beginning of the turn, this could get out of hand quick for the other players.  So let’s get to the veggies of this deck.

Sporoloth Ancient, Vitaspore Thallid, Utopia Mycon, Sporesower Thallid, Thallid Shell-Dweller, Mycoloth, Thallid Germinator, and Thallid: The fungus in this group were picked because they all have an ability to pump out Saproling tokens.  They also have the usual fungus ability of “At the beginning of your upkeep, put a spore counter on _____”.  The bad news is it takes forever to get the three counters on them to make the tokens.  That’s where Thelon comes in, by making those spore counters into pump counters… in a way. This Commander turns this negative into all up side.

Mold Adder, Mold Shambler, Fungusaur, Fungus Elemental, and Fungal Behemoth: Here we have some fungus creatures that don’t make tokens, but are still really good.  Mold Shambler does its thing by making non-creature problems go Boom. The main thing here is, other then Mold Shambler and Fungal Elemental, all of these guys get a +1/+1 counter for fighting off of a smaller creature.

Plant Elemental, Avenger of Zendikar, Carnivorous Plant, and Wall of Blossoms: Here are our plant lovers. Wall of Blossoms replaces itself with a draw and makes for a good blocker and it also goes our plant/pick section later, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Carnivorous Plant is a nice wall that will keep the smaller creatures from attacking you. Plant Elemental is a 3/4 for 1G. Yes it cost us a land but we can deal with that.  Avenger of Zendikar is a bomb - it’s worth playing in any format.

They’re Coming!

With the plants section out the way, we now need to start building our hordes.

Cackling Fiend, Famished Ghoul, Gravedigger, Shepherd of Rot, Withered Wretch, Phyrexian Crusader, Grave Titan, Skirk Ridge Exhumer, Cemetery Reaper,  Lord of the Undead, Plaguebearer, Zombie Master, and Zombie Trailblazer: Nothing too fancy here.  Just a stock list of my favorite brain eaters.  Cemetery Reaper, Lord of the Undead, Zombie Master, and Zombie Trailblazer are here for their lord abilities, and certain ones like Reaper and Lord of the Undead have a way to keep zombies coming back.  Plaguebearer, Famished Ghoul, and Withered Wretch are here for their removal abilities.  Grave Titan and Skirk Ridge Exhumer can flood the field with zombies, but you’re going to need two different tokens for these guys. The Shepherd of Rot is great for group games while Phyrexian Crusader is a card I like to keep in as an alternate win condition.  You never know when poisoning a player is going to be your only chance to win. Cackling Ghoul has as great comes into play ability that we’ll get to abuse.  How?  We’ll get there soon.

Creakwood Ghoul, Putrid Leech, Vulturous Zombie, Woodwraith Strangler, and Deathspore Thallid: These are our cross breeders.  It just doesn’t feel right to not use plant zombies in a Plant vs Zombies theme. Creakwood Ghoul (combined with Famished Ghoul and Withered Wretch) gives this deck a easy small sub theme of graveyard hate. This is becoming a huge thing to include in recent days due to The Mimeoplasm being printed.  Vulturous Zombie gets bigger with every death, while Woodwraith Strangler and Deathspore Thallid are here because they’re plants and zombies.  Putrid Leech may not be a plant, but I like the idea of a zombie slug in a garden where zombies and plants do battle.

Where the Line is Drawn!

So far, so good.  Everything here is Plant/Zombie related.  Now, we will go into one of the things Green and Black has in common.  Their love to plant seeds and watch them grow.  Sure, with Green it’s usually plant seeds and Black it’s usually human seeds, but hey, it’s all the same right?  So let’s get to planting.

Regrowth, Recollect, Elven Cache, Tortured Existence, Phyrexian Reclamation, Necromantic Thirst, Reaping the Graves, Cruel Revival, Recover, Raise Dead, Rofellos's Gift, Nature's Spiral, and Grim Discovery: Here is the way we use this package.  First, we play creatures and let them die in battle - to removal, board sweeps, etc.  Then, we use our Regrowth effects to select the best cards for the time, and pick them out of the grave to be used again.  Just like Gardeners… or Necromancers.

Soul Exchange, Diabolic Servitude, Dawn of the Dead, Makeshift Mannequin, Betrayal of Flesh, Zombify, Unearth, and Vigor Mortis: This package is here to be used like our Regrowth one, but the key difference here is that this will bring back your creatures straight to the field.  This is for the early game when mana is low, and we can’t cast a Regrowth and a dude on the same turn.  But they can be great late game as well, because your graveyard options only get better the longer the game goes.

Now, with most of the deck on theme, I’m going to use this time to put in the the last few cards that may not be on theme, but are good for this deck.

Eternal Witness, Life from the Loam, Reins of the Vinesteed, Life // Death, Strength of Night, and Khalni Garden: Witness is not a plant or a zombie but she is a Regrowth on a stick so she gets a buy.  Life from the Loam is great because it can return lands that you have discarded with your other creatures.  It also has Dredge, so you can use it to fill your grave with more creatures, then use it to pick out any land you need. Reins is one of the better Auras I’ve seen for a deck full of creatures that share a type. Life//Death can return a creature from your grave to the field, but it’s really here for a last chance to kill players out of nowhere when you turn you lands into 1/1’s and attack with a surprise army.  Strength of Night and a good pump for all of our creatures and in the late game can make our zombies even more scary at instant speed no less! Khalni Garden is here because…. It makes a plant token, and that’s good enough for me.

Vhati il-Dal: This guy has nothing to do with this deck.  He’s not a plant, a zombie, and he has nothing to do with the grave.  But I like him.  He can shrink bigger guys, say like a Darksteel Colossus, attacks  and  make it easy to block, or he can turn the defense of a Titan to one and make a Saproling token/Titan trade possible... and funny.  I like him and I say he gets a pass here for coolness.

Time to go Cry!

With 18 Swamps and 18 Forests, we can put Black behind us for awhile.  As always, my mana base here is just a starting point.  At the bottom, you can check out the deck list.  Next week, we get to start the grieving process and go to a deck without Swamps.  As always, thanks for the read, and I will see you next week for another article!

Hope you had fun and please leave any comments or suggestions.  Until next time,

This is your Captain speaking… We’re heading into the Red Zone!!!

1 Sprouting Phytohydra
1 Carnivorous Plant
1 Wall of Blossoms
1 Creakwood Ghoul
1 Vulturous Zombie
1 Woodwraith Strangler
1 Cackling Fiend
1 Famished Ghoul
1 Gravedigger
1 Shepherd of Rot
1 Withered Wretch
1 Deathspore Thallid
1 Phyrexian Crusader
1 Putrid Leech
1 Regrowth
1 Eternal Witness
1 Recollect
1 Elven Cache
1 Tortured Existence
1 Phyrexian Reclamation
1 Necromantic Thirst
1 Reaping the Graves
1 Cruel Revival
1 Recover
1 Raise Dead
1 Rofellos's Gift
1 Nature's Spiral
1 Life from the Loam
1 Grim Discovery
1 Diabolic Servitude
1 Dawn of the Dead
1 Reins of the Vinesteed
1 Makeshift Mannequin
1 Betrayal of Flesh
1 Zombify
1 Soul Exchange
1 Life // Death
1 Vigor Mortis
1 Unearth
18 Forest
18 Swamp
1 Thelon of Havenwood
1 Vhati il-Dal
1 Sporoloth Ancient
1 Vitaspore Thallid
1 Utopia Mycon
1 Fungal Behemoth
1 Sporesower Thallid
1 Thallid Shell-Dweller
1 Mycoloth
1 Thallid Germinator
1 Thallid
1 Mold Shambler
1 Fungus Elemental
1 Fungusaur
1 Mold Adder
1 Plant Elemental
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Khalni Garden
1 Grave Titan
1 Cemetery Reaper
1 Lord of the Undead
1 Plaguebearer
1 Zombie Master
1 Zombie Trailblazer
1 Skirk Ridge Exhumer