Hi, my name is Marc, I’m a 32-year-old biology teacher and no, I don’t live in my parents’ attic.
Can you hear it? That’s the sound of the color wheel rolling out of control!!! So long, color wheel! Welcome back Disenchant! Go to hell Naturalize! You know what, I’m so happy that even Haakon isn’t frightening me anymore. Today we have the privilege to receive Haakon himself in our MTG Salvation studio for a little interview.
Marc: Hi Haakon I’m glad to meet you
Marc: Haakon what do you think of the new color pie?
Marc: All right… can you elaborate a bit…
Haakon: It was about time! For God sake green was having everything!!! And I’m not the only one who thinks that. This morning I phoned The Infiltrator and he was saying that a pesky green viper has taken his job when he was on holiday… Have you heard that…? A GREEN SNAKE!!!
Marc: Ok ok… let’s move to another topic. Where have you purchased your “bench saw” armour?
Haakon: It’s tailor-made from Home Hardwa…Wait a minute, are you making fun of me?
Marc: Not at all I mean errrr… we don’t see that kind of armour often around here… Back to topic Haakon, what do you fear the most?
Haakon: I hate to be remanded other than that I don’t give a ****!!!!
Marc: Do you have any friends or family?
Haakon: Friends…. Let’s see… Other than my pal Crusader…. I don’t think… no…but I like to hang around with any kind of Knights… Yeah Knights are cool, Zombie Knights are better of course but well, we are not a bunch out there.
Marc: Ok any hobby for you Haak?
Haakon: Well, I don’t know if we can say it’s a hobby but I really like to be thrown in a Graveyard, you know the kind of graveyard we find in Stromgald… I like the feeling, don’t know exactly why… Oh yeah, yesterday I took a ride from a Sphinx and that stupid animal dumped me in a grave. Wow! that was a hell of a thrill. Have you ever tried that Marc?
Marc: Sorry no sphinx ride for me. I heard you dislike crypt. Tell us more about that phobia.
Haakon: Don’t talk to me a bout crypt, crypts are for sissies!!! Real zombies like graveyards!!!
Marc: Thank you for your time Scourgy. I would like to introduce you to our new guest… Tormod!
Haakon: Go to hell! I’m out of here!
Everybody who likes to build decks with new ideas has tried to break Haakon… so here’s my humble version of notanotherhaakon.dec! I have tried different approaches and the one that works the best for me is a BUw version. The built has passed through different stages; here’s one of the latest.
|Black-Blue-White Haakon Sphinx Jitte-free aggro dredge of doom or why can’t anybody give good titles to their decks?!!!Magic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards|
4 Drowned Rusalka|
4 Vexing Sphinx
4 Haakon, Stromgald Scourge
4 Court Hussar
4 Stromgald Crusader
4 Dark Confidant
4 Stinkweed Imp
2 Nightmare Void
|4 Watery Grave|
4 Underground River
4 Godless Shrine
2 Hallowed Fountain
2 Caves of Koilos
The discard outlet:
Drowned Rusalka is really good in this deck for some reasons. First of all, I know the guy well because I have tried it in reanimator too. It is a discard-draw machine and also a sac outlet so you can avoid opposing jitte counters and it can do nasty tricks with the next card…
Mindslicer! In this deck, it will never hurt you as much as it is going to hurt your opponent. It can rip apart the whole hand of your opponent at the end of the draw step with Rusalka (plus netting you a card) something that can seal the deal all by itself. Its size always matters when you play the beatdown that’s something to consider. And finally, a home for Mindslicer! What else can you ask for? What? Good deck?! Ok let’s move to the new beasts from Coldsnap.Vexing Sphinxis
Dumping Knights since 2006
the best way to discard knights (preferably Haakon) but don’t be sorry to discard the other knights too because you can finish the game in 3 turns when this beast is equipped with a certain artifact (swing for 4 swing for 8 and… you got it). That’s why you have to think about a strategy when you look at your opening hand: do you rush with everything or do you hold some cards to feed the beast… Don’t forget to put age counter before you sacrifice it, that’s the way to use it correctly. For example, you add the third counter, if you don’t have anything to discard then sacrifice it (draw 3 having discard 3), so you don’t normally lose a lot of cards with the sphinx. In fact, when Haakon is on, if you discard a knight it’s virtually not a lost card and that leads us to another thing you would like to discard or something else to do with the draw the Sphinx provides when it dies.
Stinkweed Imp?!? Yes, I know, for the same amount of mana you can have Hypnotic Specter but guess what this particular hippie doesn’t want to face… So imp can act as a blocker, can hold jitte but more importantly, it dredges for 5! At one point of the game, you don’t want to draw anymore; you only want to dredge to reveal more and more knights. Basically, you have an enormous hand to use and I can’t wait to try those fresh flashback cards from Time Spiral. (Think Twice...) Anyway, imp, because of its dredge ability, is good in this deck. At one time, I even used more Darkblast and Nightmare Void to increase the dredge count; I will come to those cards later. And like I said, you can dredge from the dying Sphinx… a lot.
The Knights Suite:
I use with the Scourge his fellow from Stromgald a.k.a jump knight and the now so widely acclaimed good blockers Court Hussar.
I can’t say how good Hussar is, oh and yes, I used it with Gifts Ungiven at one moment in my life but that’s a totally different built. And as good as gift for Haakon and court hussar is, I wanted a deck that I can play with for more than a month and to be honest, I wasn’t fast enough to claim the paternity of the combo… but just ask my mother, she can tell you! Hussar will normally find you what you need, allowing you to play fewer lands and jitte. It replaces itself enabling you to keep cards to discard for the sphinx. Most importantly with Haakon, you can just cycle them without paying the white mana, netting you a card for 3 mana, and this for a couple of turns is almost always too much for your opponent. Stromgald Crusader can strangely act as a finisher with his pumping ability and protection from white, pro white is quite handy right now. Haakon is the center piece of the deck but you don’t have to rely only on it to win games. Without it, you have basically a poor aggro deck… with broken equipment! So you can still win (read steal) some games.
Knights are cool!
Knights are cool!
The average casting cost of the deck is 1.58. That’s a bit high when you think about the life loss Haakon comes with, anyway you know how good it is, don’t you? Well, let’s say Sphinx survives longer (often long enough). You can draw a card each turn AND dredge a card each turn, you can also fill your hand enough that you discard Haakon without any help during the discard / clean up phase. And you have a jitte to gain life or kill him. You can sacrifice it (with no remorse but some respect) to a Rusalka when it becomes too greedy.
The (expensive) mana base:
Zombie Knights are cooler!!!
I know that’s a lot of fancy dual but pain lands can be used. Coldsnap’s lands are OK but slower and you can even use karoos (with karoos you can also pitch Haakon on the draw ala solar flare) but with so many land destructions lying around, karoos are risky business right now… The white sources are only here for Hussar so it’s always possible to higher the count if you plan to use white cards from the sideboard. At least keep one of each basic to avoid Ghost Quarter humiliation.
Nightmare Void and Darkblast are far from good cards and they are only here to increase the dredge count, of course 2 or 3 Voids in a row are never bad against control. Darkblasting some Birds or a dryad with a cloak on the stack is always nice. You can blast bigger guys too with only one but you know that one, don’t you?
I have tried so hard to build my deck without Jitte you could not believe how hard I TRIED! But in the end, after having been TRASHED by opposing Jitte, I succumbed to the dark side of the fork of doom. Don’t get me wrong I hate it, but with so many critters, Jitte is sadly a “must have” (5/5 Rusalka anyone). By the way, I have my version of the Jitte “incident”. Like a bunch of people, I thought Wizard should have banned it and the only reason why they haven’t is to brag around that they have finally made a standard environment for 2 years without banning anything. Oh yeah, don’t forget to remove every instant speed card drawing spell from T2 MaRo… wait! Why not giving them to green instead?!? (Tearing foil Ohran Viper apart alone crying in my parents’ attic… Why MaRo why!!!!)
On a more serious note, I think Loxodon Warhammer could be a fine (read not broken) ersatz after the rotation because it can help with the life factor.
Why no Delirium Skeins? Sphinxes don’t like it and Haakon has no problem finding his beloved graveyard without it. Why no Peace of Mind? It doesn’t fit my built neither but I could see it in a BW version. Rakdos Guildmage could be an interesting option too, and especially if the new madness cards are good.
White gives you a lot of answers for popular T2 archetypes. Sacred Ground against ld, Ivory Mask for slight and of course Wrath of God and Faith's Fetters for various aggro decks. More Void could help the match up against control. Night of Souls' Betrayal is huge against Snakes deck (but I dont want to test a lot against deck who will rotate out of T2). Last Gasp and Deathmark can fit the sideboard too.
So the only thing I need now is a good name for my deck so without further delay (few) ladies and (mainly) gentlemen, here’s the new title: Force et structure… no wait! Isn’t it already used? Ok, How about… Haattic!
Gruul, Zoo aggro at large
Out of my testing on Magic-league I can say that this is a fair match-up. Sphinx and Imp are good blockers and you can trade every knight you want cause anyway they will come back for more. Jitte is.... Jitte and the only thing you have to fear is burn. 50-50
Sideboard: -4 Bob -1 Darkblast -1 Nightmare Void +3 Deathmark +3 Faith's Fetters
After board, aggro becomes a good match-up. Just watch for Flames of the Blood Hand. 55-45
Vore is everything except a good match-up (see sideboard) the only good advice I can say is to try as hard as you can to... win the dice roll! Let's just say that your chances are...abyssimal. Imp can at least keep a big Vore in check... 25-75
Sideboard: -1 Darkblast -2 Rusalka -3 Bob +3 Sacred Ground +3 Spell Snare
Resolve a Sacred Ground with the help of Spell Snare or keep your snare for bounce spell and you have a good chance. This becomes an ok match-up. Sacred Ground is good against 8 stone rain build also and they are becoming more and more popular. 60-40
Control and associates
This is where your Mindslicer shines. And If your opponent want to counter your knights you don't care! Remember, as Haakon told us in the interview, keep an eye on Remand... 50-50
Sideboard: If Dark Confidant is here, you keep your Darkblast and bring Last Gasp and Spell Snare
I haven't tested a lot against top-balance variant cause the deck is just about to disappear (and I heard that's a good thing for this deck). 50-50
This is your best match-up: Jump Knight, Mindslicer and Imp are good. They don't have too many counters (the worst but at least only 4) and Persecute does not mean end of game against you. 55-45
Sideboard: No need!
So here’s what you got: a lot of card advantages, some beatdowns, a bunch of angry zombie knights who don’t know how to rest (as long as no one tries to cremate them) and a different and fun deck to play with. As we all know now, some knights are coming in Time Spiral... maybe Haakon is about to make some new friends! As long as Tormod the Purple stay away from us!
Thanks for reading.
Marc aka Duff2005 on Magic-League