Thursday, 27 June 2013

RG Survival Beats

VengevineRed-green beats is one of my favourite archetypes, it is simple, elegant, direct and pure. It seems as if it is always close to viable in every format but in cube it is a healthy tier one deck. It is far easier to draft than Zoo archetypes, which are the most similar to it in cube, and it is more consistent as well. Zoo many have slightly more potential synergy and higher card power level but with the abundance of superb monsters about the power level difference is ever declining. This particular build was an attempt to see if I could retain the immense tempo and consistency found in the red green beats archetype while including some late game effects and utility into the list. Much of the core of the deck is the same as any other red green beats deck I do, you want the best tempo dorks on curve with a smattering of ramp and burn.

Faithless Looting23 Spells

Llanowar Elves
Orcish Lumberjack
Kird Ape
Faithless Looting

Lightning Bolt
Basking Rootwalla
Birds of Paradise

Fauna Shaman
Lotus Cobra
Kavu Predator
Tin-Street Hooligan

Burning-Tree EmissarySurvival of the Fittest
Punishing Fire
Flinthoof Boar
Burning-Tree Emissary

Chandra's Phoenix
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Pyrewild Shaman

Bloodbraid Elf
Ghor-Clan Rampager

Thundermaw Hellkite

17 Lands
Chandra's Phoenix
Stomping Ground
Wooded Foothills
Mountain Valley

Grove of the Burnwillows
Rootbound Crag
Karplusan Forest
Raging Ravine

Kessig Wolfrun
Treetop Village
4 Mountains
3 Forests

Ghor-Clan RampagerOften I play Rancor in these kinds of deck however Vengevine is one of the most important cards in the deck meaning every non creature card you can trim is a huge perk to a key part of your plan. Bloodbraid also works poorly with Rancor and makes it less likely to recur a Vengevine solo. Red green is usually fairly removal light as it relies on having better dorks in play and this list is light even by red green standards. While this makes the Survival style cards better it can cause you issues. The bloodthirst creatures have been a huge help in resolving the problem as they are often as good or better than removal when you have a tempo lead yet still provide synergy with the engine cards. They are also fair better than removal or a combat trick when you are a little flooded or threat light (which is basically the same thing in red green beats) as you can get something on the go. Sadly Pyrewild Shaman is just not good enough for the cube, his bloodthirst is nice but not even close to Rampager. His body is a pretty pathetic threat and the recursion is just too expensive, by the time you have the spare mana to do it you will still be losing despite the card advantage it can offer. I would definitely replace it future versions of this build. In creature heavy formats a Flametongue Kavu would be another way of increasing your removal output and not diminishing your creature count, it would also be fairly easy to dispose of if not appropriate in the game with all the discard in the deck however it is very slow and not wildly impressive on the board. Scavenging Ooze, Boggart Ram-Gang and Tarmogoyf are all very powerful common red green beats contenders and work nicely off the back of a Burning Tree Emissary however I found myself almost exclusively wanting either Legion Loyalist or Strangleroot Geist when drawing or searching. Lightning Mauler is also a very interesting card for both this build and the archetype in general although I didn't consider it at the time of playing.

Orcish Lumberjack
Low burn counts also make Chanrda's Phoenix worse and with no way of tutoring up any part of the Punishing Fire Burnwillows combo and a high chance you will need to aim burn at dorks not faces it is far from at its best in the deck although still worth playing unlike the Pyrewild. With Vengevine being my most abusive monster to quickly recur this seems like one of the best decks for Burning-Tree Emissary as it allows some of the most convenient and fast free Vengevine off a turn one Faithless Looting. Emissary is one of those cards that when optimal is really quite effective yet when picked up late in the game is highly disappointing much like Steppe Lynx. I am much happier playing it in this deck than I would be in decks without the discard options this has as I can easily get shot of it when it is a weak bear. Orcish Lumberjacks is a card I always ram into red green beats decks and sometimes even into Zoo decks even when the mana base is not optimally suited for it. Despite only really having seven things to sacrifice I am happy running the Lumberjack for much the same reasons as the Emissary, in fact it is so abusive when you get a good draw for it that it is worth it any way. It means more I can make the most suitable mana base and not worry about making my Lumberjack unplayable.

Kessig Wolf Run
With this deck potentially going a bit later into the game due to Survival of the Fittest gimmickery I decided to risk the Kessig Wolfrun, a card I often lose to but can never seem to get working well for me. Normally I favour early game consistency that late game reach and value in decks where I plan to win most of my games with early game tempo. I was however worried that the slight reduction in threats and tempo to accommodate the Survival would mean I needed that little bit more to force through wins. Many of my red green builds have two or three five drops that really help end games like Overrun, Wolfir Silverheart and Thragtusk and this list simply didn't have the room for them making Wolfrun more appealing, certainly far more worthwhile than Pyrewild Shaman!

Overall the deck worked very well, I easily found my Vengevine, put it in the bin and recurred it by turn four, usually along with another beefy four drop haste dork. Although you do lose a small bit of tempo the turn you spend mana making Survival or tutoring for guys however you seems to regain it the following turn with even more power than other builds usually output. When you don't draw the engine bits the deck is simply a very consistent and powerful beatdown deck. Squee is perhaps the most cuttable card after Pyrewild as it really does very little without some of your engine cards. After the Vengevine (complete with Freewalla for half teh trigger) you don't really need to abuse the Survival effects that much.

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