Wednesday, 18 April 2012

BGu Gifts

Gifts UngivenIf you want to bore your opponents to death this is a great way to go about it. This deck wins very slowly using lands as a card advantage mechanism. It is a very hard deck to play correctly and is probably the most complicated control deck alongside other multi-colour gifts style decks. While you get  much more powerful cards by going four or five colours and with access to any dual land you wish you don't have mana base issues you do lose some of the extra value you can get from your lands by going fewer colours. It also allows you to be more streamlined as a five colour deck will have so many auto include cards like Vindicate and Fire/Ice that it has less room for specific cards.

This particular list is tweaked to be able to deal with other control decks and aggressive decks. A dedicated combo deck would be way to fast for this and be able win before this deck could get set up. Adding in two or so cheap counters or targetted discard would sure up the build against combo.

Eternal Witness22 Spells

Mox Diamond

Bird of Paradise
Sensei's Divining Top
Raven's Crime

Sakura-Tribe Elder
Life from the Loam
Doom Blade

Snapcaster Mage

Pernicious Deed
Liliana of the Veil
Eternal Witness
Beast Within

Gifts Ungiven
Sensei's Divining TopGarruk Wildspeaker

Worm Harvest
Primal Command

Death Cloud

18 Lands

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Golgari Rot Farm
Twilight Mire
Treetop Village
Creeping Tar Pit

Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Tranquil Thicket

Lonely Sandbar
Tranquil ThicketBarren Moor
Breeding Pool
Overgrown Tomb
Misty Rainforest
Verdant Catacombs

Other good cards for the deck

Arcane Denial
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Inquisition of Kozilek
Demonic Tutor
Zuran Orb
Trinket Mage

Life from the LoamThe deck has two main engines both of which require Life from the Loam to carry on working. The first is the cycling lands which allow you to draw lots of extra cards at your convenience and is the main card advantage engine in the deck. The other is using retrace cards repeatedly fuelled by Life from the Loam. The deck is most vulnerable to graveyard removal such as Scavenging Ooze and exile cards like Extract. The latter is somewhat hoser cheese and rarely sees play however cards like Ooze are more commonplace and must be greatly feared.

The rest of the deck is mostly answer cards and acceleration so as to be able to survive long enough to get your engines powered up. Gifts is a huge card in the deck that tutors up all of one of the engines or the remaining parts for both. It also allows you to find any card you need with the help of the recursion cards and enough mana. Correctly choosing your Gifts targets is one of the hardest parts in playing this deck. If you get the chance to cast it you should usually be able to win from that position.

Primal Command
Liliana is removal, has good synergy with the Loam engines, particularly the retrace cards and is a real pain for control decks and is basically a threat that needs to be dealt with even if she doesn't actually kill people. Garruk is quite effective late game ramp and is also a win condition. His inclusion was a little luxurious but the deck lacked 4 drops which is a bit wasteful with good ramp cards. Planeswalkers are most awkward for control decks and have good synergy with the mass removal the deck has.

Primal Command is a bit clumsy but gets the job done. At 40 cards and with dredge this deck can run very the risk of decking itself before getting round to winning. Having the Command gives you the security to be able to play safe as the deck demands. It also allows you to cut Zuran Orb as it gives you life gain which can be very important for long games. Although quite poor at removing permanents it will suffice if you have nothing else and is reasonable backup for Beast Within. Getting a creature is more like getting a recursion spell or a chump in this deck but is still often the best thing you don't need to do.

Worm HarvestDeath Cloud is outstanding in this deck which can easily get a quick land advantage on the opponent and does not need to have a hand to have action. It gives you the power to definitively take control of a game and while rarely winning the game for you does tend to make losing near impossible. Worm Harvest is supposedly the main win condition and it is fairly reliable and robust in that role however lacks much in the way of other applications. It can be a useful defensive card but at five mana it is a touch slow, especially as there are fewest land in the graveyard early on. As such it is probably the first card I would cut but it does make the deck more challenging to play and winning  more lengthy without the reliable kill card.

Snapcaster Mage is not at his strongest in this deck with many cards having built in recursion and a strong desire not to be exiled. The deck also has few cheap instants and sorceries making him weaker still. The card is so good that this doesn't really matter and the extra recursion really helps with finding what you need with Gifts.

Describing how to actually win with this deck is rather difficult as it is very specific for each match up. Generally the aim is to not lose rather than worry about winning. Once you have reached some sort of stalemate you can generally get on and kill your opponent in some laborious way. Just make lands and stay alive. The deck is designed to be able to deal with almost anything the cube can throw at it which means you only have a few key cards in each match up which will make all the difference. Working out which cards these are is important as you need to always be setting yourself up to do things with this deck. Verses a burn deck Primal Command is your main card, against a combo deck it might be Beast Within or Negate. If you get to have a  deck like this and also get to sideboard with it and a useful selection of cards to bring in you have a tremendous advantage. Changing a few cards in decks like this have much more impact on games than most other deck types as you will cast them and draw them much more often. One of two extra removal spells, discard spells, speed bumps or counters will sure up almost all match ups in your favour.

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