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Magic: The Gathering!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

 Something Sphinx Around Here!
Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone coming to you  from the deep forests of New Jersey. I'm visiting family for Thanksgiving. But just because I'm away from home is no reason to keep you away from a new article! This week kicks off with the first part of my new deck series for Tri-Colors for your viewing delight. This week we go into the winner of the poll, which is Esper. With these three colors I can’t help but to think back to Alara block. That was my first real attempt at Constructed with Standard. While I didn’t play Esper, that doesn’t mean I can’t slap something together. So let’s go!

A Blue House Is Made Of Blue Bricks…

Let’s start with our theme. I’m looking at this combination and I’m seeing the colors that have the least problems with artifacts. In fact there was a set where these three colors made colored artifacts a thing! So, using that, I’m going to use artifact creatures as one of the key themes. Also, one of the things about the Tri colors is that each one has what I like to think of as a central color. With the Shard colors it’s the color that connects the two enemy colors that’s the central color. With the Wedge colors it’s the enemy color that connects the two ally colors. Here the central color is Blue because it connects White and Black. So w can now use Blue creatures to help give this deck some more curves. With artifact creature I think the creature that have to be here are Sphinxes.

These riddle asking, winged beasts of the blue mage have only one in their ranks that falls into the Legendary space and that Sphinx is…

Sure this master of the enigma is a little over used but here it’s full of flavor and not just some excuse to play on color good stuff. It, like all Sphinxes, loves a good puzzle. So much so that it likes to take artifacts that have been put into your graveyard, let’s say the artifacts you trashed, and rebuild them like a killer jigsaw puzzle. I like that idea so I’m going to start with the creature base.

A  White House is Made of White Bricks…

So if we’re going to do this we need a few more puzzle crackers. So let’s start this with..

Enigma Sphinx, Magister Sphinx, Sphinx of theSteel Wind, Sphinx Summoner, and Sharding Sphinx: Here we have a few of Sharuum’s Esper plane brethren. Enigma Sphinx is a great card to hard cast just for the Cascade effect but he also has a built in anti-grave effect that just tucks its third from the top. Magister Sphinx can make things hard for any play by dropping them to 10 life and with Sharuum you can do it to multiple players. Sphinx of the Steel Wind, aka the Grinch, is what Baneslayer Angel would be if it was made of metal and could protect itself from more than Demons and Dragons. Sphinx Summoner works great with Sharuum because it can find the other Sphinx/Golem/etc you need from you deck if it hasn’t died yet. Sharding Sphinx brings a nice touch to this deck by allowing you to attack with your Sphinx and still have a few blockers for the swing back.

Cerulean Sphinx, Consecrated Sphinx, ConundrumSphinx, Sphinx of Lost Truths, Sphinx of Magosi, and Sphinx of Uthuun: Not all Sphinxes are into Heavy Metal but we won’t hold that against them. These are some of the top Sphinxes you can find. Card draw, looking at the top card, and a little built in protection with shroud and that weird self tuck Cerulean Sphinx has pretty much rounds out this set.

Blightsteel Colossus, Brass Herald, DarksteelColossus, Lodestone Golem, Dromar's Attendant, Golem Artisan, SolemnSimulacrum, and Mycosynth Golem: Blightsteel and Darksteel Colossus may never see a Sharuum trigger with their name on it but If you’re using Golems I think these are the first two on every list.  Brass Herald is a personal favorite from my early years of magic. I remember building a Golem themed 60 card casual deck and playing four of these. Granted it’s not as good as I would like it here but I still say it’s worth a spot. This deck will have a few nonartifact spells but Lodestone Golem should not affect your creature cost for the most part. Dromar's Attendant and Solemn Simulacrum are great targets for Sharuum and Dromar’s Attendant can even be used to pay for Sharuum’s mana cost late in the game. Mycosynth Golem may say it cost 11 but lets be honest here, it will almost always cost less and it’s ability to lower the cost of our other creatures, including Sharuum and her extra Commander cost, is well worth the spot. Golem Artisan Is great if you have the extra mana to put into it.

Tidehollow Strix, Sanctum Gargoyle, EtherswornCanonist, Ethersworn Shieldmage, Cathedral Membrane, Tidehollow Sculler, JunkDiver, Ethersworn Adjudicator, and Master Transmuter: Tidehollow Strix, Tidehollow Sculler, Ethersworn Canonist, and Cathedral Membrane are your early turn plays that can give you some control especially with Ethersworn Canonist who can slow the game down for everyone else so you can build your bases. Sanctum Gargoyle and Junk Diver prove to be great ways to reclaim you lost artifacts while Ethersworn Shieldmage helps to keep them from going to the grave in the first place. Ethersworn Adjudicator is an interesting creature because I find it rare that a creature has this combination of abilities with creature or enchantment destruction. Master Transmuter will always have one of the biggest targets on its head when you play it. It’s ability to save your artifacts from removal, trade up smaller artifact creatures for things like a Darksteel Colossus, and its ability to save itself in a pinch all while making your come into play creature effects instant speed makes it one of the most dangerous pieces in this deck. Play it with caution and always be ready for it to get killed with a Krosan Grip.

Riddlesmith, Riddlekeeper, and Mask ofRiddles:  What deck with Sphinxes in it doesn’t make room for a few riddle based cards? Not this one but hey I’m sure there’s one out there somewhere.

Tek: This is my secret Tek... What?...DON'T JUDGE ME!!! It’s a 2/2 for five but depending on the basic  lands you control it gains a different ability for each.I like this card in a deck with more than two colors because the combination of abilities it has make it an interesting card to say the less. Here its top end is a 4/4 flyer for five. This is a card I’m sure I’ll be talking about more in the future decks so keep an eye out for it.

A Black House Is Made Of Black Bricks…

Diabolic Tutor, Grim Tutor, Fabricate, Praetor's Grasp, Beseech the Queen, Idyllic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Cruel Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Tezzeret the Seeker, and Liliana Vess: With all of these tutors you should have no problems getting any card you need. Not much to see here… Moving on to something a little more interesting…

Thopter Foundry, Sword of the Meek, Krark-ClanIronworks, Sludge Strider, and Glassdust Hulk: This is one of my favorite combos these colors have. For those of you that don’t know, you pay one mana and sacrifice Sword of the Meek to Thopter Foundry. Thopter Foundry gives you one 1/1 flying blue artifact creature Thopter token and gains you one life. Your Sword of the Meek sees your Thopter token and come back from your graveyard attached to your token. Now if you sac that token to Krark-Clan Ironworks you will now have two colorless mana. You can now use one of these mana to repeat the above combo and make as much colorless mana you want, gain as much life as you want via the Foundry, and then you can dump all that mana back into the Foundry to make as many Thopter tokens as you want. The only thing this combo doesn’t do is kill opposing creatures and draw cards! Combine this combo with Sludge Strider and you can drain all your opponents. If you combine it with Glassdust Hulk and you have an unblockable Golem that gets +1/+1 for every token you made and every time Sword of the Meek came back. That should be more than enough to one shot someone out of the game.

The Abyss, Choice of Damnations, Faith'sFetters, Path to Exile, and Cleansing: A light removal package for this one. The Abyss will pick off guys all day for you and with this deck being mostly artifact creatures you will rarely need to sacrifice something. Choice of Damnations is a great card for playing head games with an opponent that had a good early start. Faith’s Fetters and Path to Exile is basic stuff so I’m going to move on to Cleansing. This is a very interesting card because it ask the question of “Is your land worth your Life?” Now remember, anyone can pay the one life to save any land, so if you’re in an alliance with another player, owe another player a favor, trying to get into the good graces of someone, or just feeling like being nice to the mana screwed guy with the low life, you can pay the life for them to keep their land.  

Rhystic Study, Painful Quandary, Season of theWitch, Ghostly Prison, Propaganda, Esper Charm, Dromar's Charm and KoskunFalls: This is our hard decisions section. Here we have a few cards where you give your opponents chooses, none of which are good. If I cast this creature, should I loss the five life or discard a card? Now that I casted a spell, should I pay the one extra mana or just let him draw an extra card? If I don’t attack with this guy it will die but who should I attack? Should I attack him and pay the two mana for each creature or just attack someone else? These are not for you to set and forget cards. These are not “may” cards so you’ve got to be able to keep track of these when their out and remember to point out when your opponents need to make one of these choices.

What Is A Green House Made Of?

With 13 Islands, 13 Plains, and 12 Swamps we should have a deck ready to go. As always, my mana base here is just a starting point. At the bottom, you can check out the deck list. Next week we hit up the set color tri-color pair when we see what happens when Green, White, and Black get mixed up. Feel free to leav any comments you have and you can always hit me up at CaptainRedZone@gmail.com. If you happen to be in the U.S.A. have a safe and 
food full Thanksgiving! 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 Sharuum the Hegemon

1 Tidehollow Strix

1 Sanctum Gargoyle

1 Glassdust Hulk

1 Ethersworn Canonist

1 Sludge Strider

1 Enigma Sphinx

1 Magister Sphinx

1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind

1 Sphinx Summoner

1 Ethersworn Shieldmage

1 Cathedral Membrane

1 Tidehollow Sculler

1 Thopter Foundry

1 Sword of the Meek

1 Krark-Clan Ironworks

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Junk Diver

1 Lodestone Golem

1 Tek

1 Esper Charm

1 Dromar's Charm

13 Island

13 Plains

12 Swamp

1 Blightsteel Colossus

1 Brass Herald

1 Darksteel Colossus

1 Dromar's Attendant

1 Golem Artisan

1 Mycosynth Golem

1 Cerulean Sphinx

1 Consecrated Sphinx

1 Conundrum Sphinx

1 Sphinx of Lost Truths

1 Sphinx of Magosi

1 Sphinx of Uthuun

1 Koskun Falls

1 The Abyss

1 Choice of Damnations

1 Cleansing

1 Rhystic Study

1 Painful Quandary

1 Season of the Witch

1 Ghostly Prison

1 Propaganda

1 Faith's Fetters

1 Diabolic Tutor

1 Grim Tutor

1 Fabricate

1 Praetor's Grasp

1 Beseech the Queen

1 Idyllic Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Cruel Tutor

1 Enlightened Tutor

1 Tezzeret the Seeker

1 Liliana Vess

1 Path to Exile

1 Sharding Sphinx

1 Ethersworn Adjudicator

1 Master Transmuter

1 Riddlesmith

1 Riddlekeeper

1 Mask of Riddles


  1. I am honestly jealous of your ability to come up with such sweet theme deck ideas. I can never come up with something creative when I go to the well for a theme like this.

  2. No Sphinx Ambassador? It's thematic, and fun!

  3. @CCast I'm Flattered :)

    @DarkT The Ambassador was there for awhile, but in the end I had to make a 117 card deck into 100 and sorry to say it was one of the last to go. I only dropped it because of the idea of hitting someone more than once and going thru that effect two or more times.