Hey guys! It's me again, back for some more casual fun. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I did a Casual article a couple of weeks ago on breaking Halcyon Glaze (if you want to read it, click here). It featured four decks that tried to abuse the card. I actually owned one of the decks (Dark Glaze) so I could vouch for how good it was (at least to the casual world). I actually created another one recently, the one featuring Cloudstone Curio. It's not a bad deck, but don't build it on MTGO (which is what I did), because once Cloudstone Curio hits the floor, the game gets annoying. Every time you play a land, it triggers. Every time you play Fists of Ironwood, it triggers 3 times (once for the enchantment and two more for the Saprolings). If you build the deck in real life though, is good because you can take shortcuts since you and your opponent know what you are trying to do.
Anyways, I thought I would get that off my chest because I didn't have the time/money to make all the decks and test them (especially since Dissension hasn't come out on MTGO). By the way, anyone else getting tired of me using parentheses? I'll try and stop for the rest of the article (no promises).
That Green and Blue freak of nature
There are different types of casual cards. You have your Samuel L. Jackson cards that just bust up on the scene, start dropping f-bombs and shooting up the place. Those would be your Warp Worlds and your Tooth and Nail-type cards. But then you have your unsung hero casual cards: guys that hang behind the scene and do the little things that win you the game.
Simic Guildmage is one of those cards. At first glance you think "Its a 2/2 for 2, its not going to really do much other than move a +1/+1 counter or enchantment here and there. But the more you start playing with it, the more you realize how much of an effect it can have on the game. If you are playing any type of enchantment in your deck, Simic Guildmage basically turns it into an equipment with an equip cost of 1U (as long as you have a creature in play to "equip" it to at all times).
What about the other ability? The Simic have a knack for coming into play with +1/+1 counters on them. With enough mana out, you can do a lot of cool things during combat. You could block something, pump it up using counters from other creatures, and then put the counters back next turn if you want. As an added bonus, some creatures with Graft actually have abilities that are usable with any creature with a +1/+1 counter. Plaxcaster Frogling makes things untargetable, so with Simic Guildmage out and 4 mana open you are immune to spot removal (mass removal is another story, but you don't see as much of that in casual circles). The fact of the matter is, Simic Guildmage is house with the right cards around it. It's a card that noobs like us love to build decks around.
Quick Aside/Rant/Philisophical Advice
Ya, I called myself a noob, what of it? Funny story related to that actually. To understand it, you have to know where I'm coming from. I started playing magic when Odyssey block came out. I played the regular noob decks that everyone played back in the day. Slowly and slowly I got better and I actually won a couple of constructed tournaments here and there. Then Mirrodin block happened and, long story short, I quit Magic. I sold all my cards (made a good $200) and that was that. Then right after Betrayers of Kamigawa came out I came back because one of my other friends had just gotten into Magic and needed someone to teach him to play. So we are at the card shop playing with pre-cons, and some of the regulars that didn't know me because I hadn't been playing for a year came over, noticed we were playing with pre-cons and called us both noobs. I had to laugh, because I had been playing for 5-6 years so I wasn't a noob in the sense that I was new to the game. But then I realized that people use the word just as much as an insult when talking to people that play casually as they do of people that are actually new to the game.
So should you be offended? I wouldn't be. If they mean it in the sense that you like to play casually instead of competitively, so what? If anything, I would consider it to be better to play casually. It costs less money and usually is more fun (but thats an argument for another day). If they mean it in the sense that you are new to the game, so what? Everyone was new to the game at some point in time. And in reality, the competitive players should encourage "noobs" to play because they would have the experience edge if any of these "noobs" enter a tournament, meaning you have a better chance of winning. So whats my point? My point is that being called a noob isn't bad. I used to let words like that get to me, but not anymore after coming back to casual Magic after these years, so you shouldn't let them get to you either.
Back to the point
So what was I talking about? Simic Guildmage, right... anyways, lets just cut to the chase. I made a deck that Simic Guildmage can be abused in. Here's the list:
There are a couple of things at work here. First you have the enchantments and Auratouched Mage. Notice the one-ofs in the deck? Throw down Auratouched Mage and you can fetch high-cost enchantments that you would hate to hard-cast to put on him. Breath of Fire is just random because of cards like Infiltrator's Magemark that make Creatures unblockable, so being able to attack more than once can make for lethal damage if you have enough creatures out. Moldervine Cloak is always good, as it turns anything into at least a 4/4 and makes it a threat. Flight of Fancy could easily be something else (Fists of Ironwood perhaps) if you don't care much for flying creatures and two extra cards. I like him in the deck because in a deck that can move counters and enchantments around with one card, having something with evasion is always nice.
Now for the creatures. Plaxcaster Frogling is pretty interesting. He's a 3/3 for 3, which is always nice, but with Simic Guildmage out and 4 mana untapped, any creature can instantly become untargetable. Cytoplast Root-Kin could easily be replaced with something else that has Graft on it, but he's probably the best Graft creature in the set, which is why I put him in the deck. Azorius Herald also has evasion. So having him out combined with something like Moldervine Cloak can sometimes singlehandedly win the game if they can't kill it. Everything else is obvious. Keep in mind that you can easily win the game without Simic Guildmage. You have other strategies that will also hit your opponent for plenty of damage.
When Simic Guildmage just doesn't do it for you
Don't like Simic Guildmage but still like beating your opponents down with random enchantments and creatures? I have the remedy for that! I also created an aggro version of the deck that uses Red and Black enchantments instead of Blue and Green ones:
|RBW Enchantment deck (Rav Block legal)Magic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards|
4 Crypt Champion|
4 Skynight Legionnaire
4 Boros Guildmage
4 Boros Swiftblade
4 Dark Confidant
|4 Galvanic Arc|
4 Riot Spikes
4 Fencer's Magemark
4 Shadow Lance
There isn't really that much to talk about. Of course, Dark Confidant is always thrown in any deck that I make thats black and where everything costs less than 5. Most of the other creatures you can interchange. Don't like Skyknight Legionnaire? Throw in something like Blind Hunter in its place. Hate Boros Guildmage? Play something else; it doesn't really matter.
You can do the same with some of the enchantments. Galvanic Arc and Shadow Lance are the only ones I would keep. Riot Spikes is fun, but there are some creatures that you can't put it on unless Fencer's Magemark is out (remember he grants +1/+1 to all creatures with enchantments on them, even ones that JUST got enchanted). Fencer's Magemark is also good, but perhaps something like Necromancer's Magemark would fit better as most of the creatures have flying or double strike already. Then again, it all depends on the creatures you pick for your version of the deck.
Let's get crazy
Ok, up till now (even including my first article) I've been doing block decks and in general I try to keep the rare count of the decks to a minimum unless its a low-cost rare. But a couple of nights ago I got wasted (Spring Semester just ended) and I woke up with a hangover. Then I went to my computer and found a notepad file opened with a decklist that wasn't there before (don't drink and deckbuild kids!!). Anyways, I figured I would include it because it was built around Dovescape. Many people are trying to fit Dovescape into Enduring Ideal decks in competitive Standard, but Dovescape is really a casual card. It's so obvious its not even funny. But anyways, here is my version of the deck
|Fun with Dovescape (Extended Legal)Magic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards|
4 Goblin Sharpshooter
4 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
4 Explosive Vegetation
4 Invoke the Firemind
4 Ghitu Fire
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Moment's Peace
4 Trophy Hunter
The main strategy here is to accelerate Dovescape out. You have Sakura-Tribe Elder and Explosive Vegetation to bring your mana total to 6 as fast as possible. Moment's Peace will let you stall a couple of turns while you try and get set up. Once Dovescape hits the table, all bets are off. Ghitu Fire and Invoke the Firemind become instant birdies. You can still play Moment's Peace, Explosive Vegetation and your other Dovescapes for birdies as well. Kamahl, Fist of Krosa will make them bigger and Goblin Sharpshooter will hit your opponents birds. Trophy Hunter is an obvious inclusion as he helps kill your opponents birds also.
You don't even really need Dovescape to win the game. Sharpshooter and Kamahl will combine to pretty much destroy all of your opponents lands (turn his lands into 1/1s and shoot them), which generally will mean game over. You can also just use Kamahl's two abilities to keep hitting your opponent with a bunch of 4/4 trampling land-creatures, and then finish him off with Ghitu Fire or Invoke the Firemind.
Now, I know most of you don't have the money to spend on all these rares (I don't), so you can take out some or the rares and put in replacement cards. You can replace Ghitu Fire and Invoke the Firemind with any two spells that have an X in the casting cost. Goblin Sharpshooter would be hard to replace, because there aren't that many creatures that can untap at will and ping, but I suppose you could get a regular pinger like Prodigal Sorcerer to fit the bill. Kamahl could in theory be replaced with Overrun or Overwhelm, but I wouldn't recommend it because it takes out another win condition. Really, there are multiple ways to abuse Dovescape. You can play a deck with nothing but spells and then play Boseiju, Who Shelters All and make your spells uncounterable. I could go on, but that would take the fun out of figuring out these ideas for yourself.
Anyways, thats the end of me abusing enchantments (for now at least). Thank you for sticking through till the end. I'm not going to promise that any of these decks you build will flatten all Opposition at your card store (hey, another abusable enchantment...), but you will have fun trying.