Wednesday, 8 May 2013
This is a deck that at a glance looks a lot like RDW and could also be confused as a Ponza style deck. Sligh probably isn't the best name for it but at least if differentiates it from the other two very similar decks in which this sits somewhere neatly between the two in styles. RDW wins with either tempo or inevatibility as all its cards deal damage in some way yet do little else. Ponza is a little more midrange and has far fewer threats than either RDW or Sligh, instead aiming to disrupt mana bases heavily. Ponza is a tier two deck at best and has some very one sided matchups. This listing of Sligh does disrupt mana but not in an attempt to lock them out of the game as Ponza loves to do, it is more a case of drawing out the game and making it all awkward and slow for your opponent. The mana denial and retarding of the game scale very well with several of the threats in the deck, those being the growing creatures and the cards like Ankh and Sulphuric Vortex. It also helps give you an additional edge against top heavy or colour heavy decks. The trade off for this is that you will be far weaker against decks like white weenie who will have too many threats to cope with and more card advantage while really not worrying to much about the mana disruption. Sligh has far more balanced and generally better matchups than Ponza and unless you want to go big and cast Wildfire etc is probably the only viable way to go in the cube with mono red for land destruction.
Sligh is a more challenging deck to play than RDW as you are frequently faced with the choice of applying more pressure or reducing the mana options for your opponent. You have few ways of generating card advantage and also your threats have low power as well as there being a low number of them. If you apply no pressure you will not be able to hold your opponent off getting to do stuff eventually and in all likelihood it will be better than what you can do. Sligh is far more tempo focused than RDW even though it is a couple of turns slower. With cards like Chrome Mox and Tanglewire you have less redundancy in your damage output and therefore need to make your cards like Goblin Guide and Stromkirk Noble do that bit more. You need to carefully assess what cards most wreak you and make your threats in windows where they can't make them and then use your disruption to hold off the problem cards until it is too late.
Ankh of Mishra
Zo-Zu, the Punisher
Wheel of Fortune
I need to do an updated RDW list as my first version is a pretty bad one in hindsight, in part because of the Reckless Waif in it which has not been played since that deck until this one. The Waif is still a terrible card in cube even if it is at its best in this list. It is too easy to flip it back and quite hard to flip in in the first place even with things like Wastelands and Rishidan Port to spend your mana early potentially without casting spells and making it less likely things will be cast against you. This deck wants cheap threats that can be fairly powerful on their own. Stromkirk Noble and Slith Firewalker are in the deck to offer this cheap yet powerful single threat feel. Neither need any further mana investment once played like a Kargan Dragonlord does to become serious and can easily put the game out of reach on their own if backed up with mana denial. Reckless Waif is not in the same league as the growing dorks but as red has so few options for cheap hefty threats we make do. Slith Firewalker is pretty awful too to be honest and is not really cube quality any more but like the Waif is perfectly suited to this kind of deck and has the added perk of being nostalgic!
The deck utilizes a lot of artifacts and as such can run both Galvanic and Shrapnel Blasts which are two of the highest output cheap burn spells going. Galvanic Blast is rarely hitting for four in this deck but is still better than Burst Lightning would be, you are always happy with it just being a Shock. The Shrapnel Blast however is a real bonus to this kind of deck giving you vast reach and security against things like Elspth, Knight-Errant and Baneslayer Angels. Red deck wins would love to be able to play Shrapnel Blast but this list only just has enough artifacts to make it work, a RDW list can't get close to enough and still look sensible.
The Ankh of Mishra and Zo-Zu make up the core aspect of the deck supplemented by Sulphuric Vortex and Black Vice to offer ongoing damage output. This makes the deck brutal against any deck with a high curve or that is slow or that has loads of colours. Decks like Zoo which are one of the most effective at taking tempo leads are so reliant on sac and dual lands that they don't have a great matchup against Sligh while they do against red deck wins. It also makes Sligh far more effective against various UG style combo decks that try to take lots of turns and go off in some way. Again, RDW doesn't have much disruption against those decks and is too slow to goldfish to kill them. RDW is the more consistent deck and has more even matchups across the board. Sligh should be used as a meta choice as it is much more capable against the right field but struggles with the other common top tier mono decks like white weenie.