Blue/Green In Extended
By Jake Sticka on March 7th, 2005 · Filed in Extended (Type 1.x) · Comments not available just now
A look at Blue Green in Extended
By: Jake Sticka
Look over there! There it is! An Odyssey block with a force that's obvious. Anyone who plays Extended at all has experienced this feeling, I am sure. Blue/Green in its many forms is very popular and powerful and needs to be looked at whenever one is considering playing Extended. This is a look inside an Odyssey Block deck which has been Extended (hence the name Extended). This article will explain the two versions of the deck, the different card selections and the matchup analysis.
Welcome welcome my soon to be loyal readers. As you may or may not know by now this is extended week and I will be writing a few more articles this week! Enjoy yourself and please argue with me on the forums!
Blue/Green can be divided into two separate and distinct decks. The first is Madness which is based around discarding and playing as many cards as possible with Flashback and Madness. This is usually considered the better build as it gets more consistent draws and is more likely to get a God draw. The other build is Blue/Green Threshold. It is also based around Wild Mongrel and other cards which Madness uses as outlets and attempts to use them to get Threshold as quickly as possible and then win the game with Werebear and Nimble Mongoose. What follows will be a breakdown and card for card analysis. Under each category I will list all the cards which each build might use and then explain which archetype would use them.
Once again there is no doubt about this one!
This is a must in both builds. It does a lot to stabilize your mana and prevents mana screw.
City of Brass:
These are not always played but are always considered. If you find that you are getting color screwed then you might consider this. Otherwise, I would leave it in the rare binder.
This card is good in the U/G deck. It allows for a turn 1 Wild Mongrel or Aquameba, which can be a huge tempo swing. These should never be run in excess of two, however, as it will slow you down far too much.
In a Threshold deck, this allows you find your green mana or your white mana for the mini-splash that some Threshold decks use. Also, this will allow you to get to Threshold much faster!
Flooded Strand serves the same purpose as Windswept Heath. It fixes your mana base and speeds up Threshold.
I know all you budget players cringed just now, but Intuition has to be included in any U/G build. It makes the deck! Intuition for Roar, Roar, and Wonder means game over. This is a must in both Madness and Threshold builds!
Here is another must in both decks. For Madness it says: "Draw two cards, put a one drop into play, and put a card you would love in your graveyard into your graveyard.” Obviously it is not that good, but it is good. It draws you cards, throws cards into the graveyard and into play.
I will avoid all immature jokes as possible here…Anal….Ha-ha…..Anal……Ok back to the article. Deep Analysis is very good. I suggest playing it in both Threshold and Madness builds, although it is obviously better in Madness. In Madness you do not mind flashing it back as you do not care about your graveyard count. However, in Threshold you really dislike having to flash it back as your graveyard might not reach 7 cards. Regardless, this card belongs in both decks.
This is purely for Threshold; do not consider it for Madness. For Threshold, this is similar to a first turn Careful Study. You get some cards in your graveyard fast and get to draw a card. It is a handy first turn play.
In my opinion this is the reason U/G even exists. This guy is what drives the deck. He is what allows you to discard your Madness cards, fill your graveyard, and smash face for lots of damage. Mongrel is almost impossible to remove with burn or black removal, which is a huge advantage against RDW and Black Jank. Against RDW your opponent will have to throw at least two spells at him. Even then they often will end up on the losing end of the deal. Against black you can avoid all "non-black" removal with a simple color change. Wild Mongrel is what facilitates your early game, helps you come back from a bad situation, and finalizes the win when the time comes. This is the deck.
This is Wild Mongrel's blue brother. As a solid two drop Aquamoeba is a team player. It blocks those annoying 2/2s when necessary, and jumps back on offense to swing for three when needed. This is a great guy to throw Circular Logics to in the midgame.
In Madness, the Walla is insane. Play a first turn Careful Study and this guy comes down. He is great way to pump his best friend, Wild Mongrel. In Threshold, the playability of this guy is debatable. He is good, but are there enough ways to get him into play? I am leaning towards no. In Threshold, you would rather be playing Mental Note first turn anyway!
It is hard to be humble when the world is bite-size. Besides being one of my favorite pieces of flavor text, this is a great way to describe Arrogant Wurm. He comes down on the third turn with the help of Mongrel or Aquamoeba, and is almost impossible for anyone to deal with at that stage of the game. I recommend three for Madness. Threshold has no business even looking at this.
Board-wide evasion is always good. This is the card that lets you beat Life and allows you to fly over Affinity. This is great for both decks, but is probably better in Madness.
Now that we have seen the creatures that are good in Madness, let us look at those who specialize in the Threshold deck. This is the creature that Threshold wins with. In the early game it accelerates into Intuition and Roar. In the late game it lets you win the game when it teams up with Roar and Nimble to smash face.
Here is another one of Threshold's kids. This guy can control the early game in some matchups (like RDW) and then smash face in the late game when your opponent is helpless. This is a win condition for Threshold.
Genesis presents the great debate that no one is debating about. Is there room in the main deck of either U/G build for Genesis? I am inclined to say no, especially in Madness. However, I am unsure about its use in Threshold. Threshold has far fewer creatures than Madness and therefore makes Genesis more relevant. It is also a little more likely to find its way into a graveyard in Threshold. If run, it should only be run at 1 copy.
Merfolk Looter/Thought Courier:
End of turn Loot and put a Rootwalla down. Sadly, my friends, I believe these days have long passed. Merfolk Looter is no longer fast enough or useful enough to occupy a space in our decks. With much better discard options in the form of Mongrel and Aquamoeba and much better search engines in the form of Intuition, Looter does not seem to serve a purpose anymore. If you decide to run these, do so in moderation (2 or less).
This is one of the reasons that U/G is what it is today. This is what protects you from a big spell that can ruin your day, or it can get rid of a blocker in the early game when you are going for a quick kill. This is a obvious inclusion into Madness although many feel it is not right for Threshold. I disagree. I feel that Threshold needs the protection this grants as much as Madness does. Also, with Threshold you usually get a bigger effect out of it than with Madness. I might get chewed out for this on the forums, but I feel Threshold needs this in order to step up to the next level!
Roar of the Wurm:
Hey, look! A 6/6 flying wurm token… Yeah, good game! This is so good in the deck. It allows you to get a Mongrel pump or a 'Moeba switch and then play a 6/6 on your fourth turn. This is another key to both decks and you will be hard pressed to find winning build that does not include this card.
Daze is potentially devastating and game winning. Sometimes you will be tapped out and your opponent will go for the kill card and you will simply return a island to your hand and win. However, sometimes Daze just sits there without much to do. Is Daze worth it? In Threshold the answer is no; in Madness maybe. It is worth a few spots usually, but some metas do not allow for Daze.
This is not a Madness card. If you are looking for Madness bounce, look below. Now for you Thresholders out there, this is playable for you. It allows Threshold to catch up as it can sometimes fall behind. This has the ability to get you right back in the game with Kicker. Kicker is the reason that this card is mentioned. Many times you will want to get the land in your graveyard so that you will finally have 7. I do not recommend these in multiples. Basically this card has really good matchups versus Affinity and Reanimator, but really bad ones against just about everything else. There are many better options than this card.
Unsummon is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated cards in Extended. I first tried it after reading This. I recommend this article if you want more U/G information, and let me tell you the author is dead on about Unsummon. It is just what this deck needs. Against Life, or any other deck really, it allows for much easier alpha striking! U/G will Unsummon the opposing blocker and swing for the win. Also, it is horrible for Reanimator. They put all this effort into reanimating their win condition, and you just send it back and make them do it all over. Some say that Seal of Removal is always better than this. They are just plain wrong. In many decks the Seals will allow you to save mana by using your first turn play on a card that can sit until needed. So when people look at U/G they automatically assume the same is true, and that Seal should be played over Unsummon. However, on further examination you will find that you almost always have a first turn play with this deck. Whether it is Mental Note, Careful Study, Nimble Mongoose, or Basking Rootwalla, you'll often not have first turn mana available. While Unsummon allows a chance to catch your opponent off guard, Seal of Removal does not give you the advantage of surprise. Your opponent knows that the Seal is sitting there and they can take account for it.
Ray of Revelation:
This card is more of a sideboard card, but can be run maindeck if you fear Aluren. This is more of a Threshold card as they like getting it into the graveyard more than Madness does. They can also hardcast it because of Flooded Strand.
The sideboards which have been played with U/G are numerous with many different cards being played in different combinations. I will list what I consider to be the serious cards, and then I will tell you what my sideboard consists of.
Sub-Section 1: RDW Hate
I have a feeling some of you may have been expecting this. This is how you beat RDW in a one card book. Chill makes the early game impossible for RDW and in the late game makes catch-up also impossible. Of course if they try and get back in the game you will have a nice Circular Logic sitting in your hand to take care of it.
Chalice of the Void:
This is very similiar to Chill, although personally I prefer to run the latter. This also does a nice job of hosing RDW, but it can also be good in the mirror. However, unlike Chill, this will on ocassion lose you the game.
If you are playing around Goblins and RDW this is the guy for you. The drawback is non-existent in your deck, and you can fire down their entire squad before they know what hit them. A must if there is alot of RDW around.
Sub-Section 2: Reanimator Hate
I have a feeling that in the last few days this has gone up in price even more with all the Reanimator decks running around. This is your board against those decks, although I still believe that Unsummon in the maindeck is sufficient enough to handle the matchup. Then again, it never hurts to get a 6/6 Flying/Haste/Protection/Trample/Vigilance that used to be on the other side of the board on your turn two.
I have heard of maindecking Bouncer but I do not suggest it. If you are running Unsummon maindeck you might not even need these in board. Regardless, they are very good in your deck and can come in against basically any deck which runs creatures.
Seal of Removal:
This is another card for Reanimator. Let it hit the board and wait for them to reanimate their win condition and then just ship it back to their hand. Obviously this is said to be the best answer to the deck. I will concede that against Reanimator this is better than Unsummon since it is less likely to fall victim to Cabal Therapy.
This is really the only answer against the new Welder Reanimator. If you expect to run into this deck you might want to pack these in!
Sub-Section 3: Affinity Hate:
As the most popular Affinity hate around, this gets the job done. You get them tapped out and you basically Wrath/Geddon their board on turn three; maybe leaving them with a Disciple. I am sure you can deal with that.
Can one-for-one artifact removal beat Affinity? I am told not. But if there is a spell that can, it is this! There's not much I can say about Oxidize. There are much stronger options out there against Affinity, but none so cheap.
This can allow you to strike against Affinity as well as Cycle away when you do not need it. Cycling is great.
Sub-Section 4: The Mirror Match
Submerge- This one is pretty obvious. You are going to have a island and they are going to have a forest. Free removal. What could be better?
Sub-Section 5: Other
This can handle an Isochron Scepter's Imprint trigger, as well as the numerous Mind's Desire builds that are running around today. If you are playing versus a slow control deck, sometimes just Stifling one Fetchland can be enough of a tempo swing to win the game.
This is for any aggressive deck you plan on playing against. In the mirror it is good. It also has strengths against Affinity and Rock.
So what is my sideboard? I am a Madness player and my sideboard looks like this:
4 Energy Flux
3 Glided Drake
Here in San Diego, we get a fair amount of RDW so Chill is an obvious inclusion in my sideboard. Energy Flux is in there for the Affinity match-up. Although most U/G decks have trouble with Reanimator, I run three Unsummon maindeck so the match-up game one is alright, but in game two and three it is really favorable as you have the Drakes as well. Masticore is in there for more back-up against RDW and is also very good against Elves and Goblins. Finally, you have Oxidize for more hate in the Affinity matchup.
Ok before we begin with the decklists I would like to thank Starcity's Mike Flores and Cedric Phillips as well as Magicthegathering.com for their great PTQ Top 8 feature. So on to the decklists!
Here is a list featured in Mike's Threshold article with a few minor tweaks:
That is a pretty average list for Threshold with lots of ways to throw cards into graveyards and lots of ways to smash face in the late game.
Next is a decklist which took home the crown in PTQ-Philly in Wheat Ridge. It was played by Steve Chapman:
This is a pretty average Madness list with the one obvious exception being Stifle. This is almost never run in the maindeck. This may have been a metagame decision.
Next up we have a list which came in 6th at the PTQ in San Antonio. I mention it as it has some new innovation/tech in it. It was played by Kaz Szydlo:
The card which I obviously speak of is Rancor, an old favorite of many. I have never thought of running it and will have to test. Again this may have been a metagame related decision.
I could throw stupid numbers at you, but why bother? If you are a U/G player you will say your decks is better, and if you are a player of one of the other decks you will say that U/G doesn't have such good numbers. Therefore, I have decided to skip numbers. Also I would tell you how to sideboard, but I believe you all know how because of what is above so I will also skip that. I only have a few words to say. I will say that your match-ups against Combo are not all that good, and that after sideboarding you should win the Reanimator matchup.
What can I say? U/G will come out at your PTQ and you might even be one of the players playing it. If you are, then I wish you luck. If you are not then you'd better prepare. This is a versatile deck that can play agressive one game and control the next. There is nothing else I can tell you. Test. Test. Test some more. It is the only way to become great; ask the greats! I wish you all luck and we are now done with the formalities!
Well I had a lot of cool notes here but you see this was going to go up a few weeks ago but then we decided to do Extended week. So instead I will talk about the bannings. I am so happy for Type 2. I am sure you are happy about Type 2. I will not waste your time with that. However I would like to discuss the royal screw-up that was Vintage changes.
They restricted Trinisphere, as you know. Now you would have thought that Wizards would have learned by now. You would have thought that after the days of Combo Winter they would know by now to ban the problem not the pieces. You would have thought that they would know to ban Mishra's Workshop instead of what they did. But as they say there is no point in crying over spilt milk so I will not.
Now for even less serious matters, Jake's High Five at whatever time you read this:
5. Home, Three Days Grace
4. Mira Mira
3. Califorina, Phantom Planet
2. Blvd. Of Broken Dreams, Green Day
1. Mockingbird, Eminem
Goodnight and may your dreams be as sweet as mine!
By Jake Sticka on March 7th, 2005 · Filed in Extended (Type 1.x) · Comments not available just now
About Jake Sticka
Achievments: Two JSS Challenges Top 8.
Expertise: Look above. What do you think? I know about Magic in general and have some knowledge about Extended and Limited. If you want to talk any other constructed format, go find HKKID.
Favorite Article: Aimless Wanderings: The Poster that Changed it All
Closing Comments: More? More? It was hard enough for me to formulate the above!