Monday 2 July 2018

8 Whack .dec

Goblin BushwhackerFirstly no, this is a two "Whack" deck being cube based and thus having a quarter as many Bushwhacker cards it can run as the modern versions. I called it 8 Whack so as to link it to the deck that inspired it. That being said, this list was built by my friend who in turn is updating an older list he also did that predates the 8 Whack archetype. I did a post on his deck (although failed to give him the credit!) which can be found here;

That list is somewhere between a traditional aggressive leaning mono red tribal goblins crossed with this deck. It is a bit old now and could be easily improved upon with some nice new tools but it was very impressive at the time. While a good number of the cards in the newer list are older than the 2015 (which is when I posted the other older version) it is the few new cards that have enabled you to go that bit deeper and tap into some of those more all in older cards.

Another friend (Swanker) also did a similar build of this deck in white based Mardu shell in the second online rotisserie I put up. The decklists for that event can be found here;

Reckless BushwhackerWhile it uses the Bushwhacker elements I consider it to be more of a conventional deck aiming to be able to win a slower grindy game. It is more midrange than the original mono red goblin build and vastly more so than the list for this 8 Whack deck. Obviously there are pros and cons to all the different directions. This Mardu tokens deck is more robust with each card individually carrying more weight. It is however more vulnerable by virtue of still being an aggro deck that is just slower giving decks with counters or their own fast clocks a chance to steal the games. The Mardu list is also pretty gross on mana with RR and WWW cards on top of other cheap colour heavy spells. The colourless land is a luxury this list cannot afford.

Ultimately the Mardu and the goblins ways of building a Bushwhacker style of deck in cube are probably the most powerful ways of doing so even if the lists shown for those direction have shown their cracks with age. The reason I have done this article is because this build of 8 Whack is the purest, it defines what you can do with the deck and how you can extrapolate that when moving towards other archetypes. Essentially in some sort of visual representation of all the possible decks in a cube meta that also showed the transition paths between those decks this list would be the farthest point in the direction of 8 Whack theming. If we consider a metagame to be a multidimensional shape then we are best placed to describe it when we have the "coordinates" of the points. This list represents a point as it were and it is why I do so many hyper focused all in lists. They might not be the absolute best way to make a particular synergy work in cube but they are the best way to demonstrate and frame that synergy.

This new version loses the tribal theme from the first list and all the colours and anthems from the second. It contains mostly goblin generators just because that is what you have in red. It also transitions rather heavily towards a combo deck. It is pretty much the wide version of one shot infect or Kiln Fiend styles of deck. I actually think this direction is way way better than those as it is so much more resilient to removal and doesn't need to waste so much deck space in protecting their one lethal threat. This list can kill on turn two and it can kill with no board from a mere 3 mana (all be it with rather a lot of cards in hand!), more reasonably a four mana kill from nothing is a thing. This is part of what makes the deck so resilient, spot removal is highly ineffective against tokens and sorcery speed mass removal does nothing to stop hasted one shot kills.

Here is the focused streamlined mono red, all in 8 Whack aggro/combo list;

Foundry Street Denizen25 Spells

Chrome Mox

Foundry Street Denizen
Kuldotha Rebirth
Legion Loyalist
Mass Hysteria

Signal Pest
Devastating Summons
Faithless Looting

Rites of Initiation
Galvanic Blast

Dragon Fodder
Legion LoyalistKrenko's Command
Goblin Bushwhacker
Reckless Bushwhacker

Goblin Instigator
Mogg War Marshall
Young Pyromancer
Hangarback Walker

Goblin Rabblemaster
Hordeling Outburst
Pia Nalaar
Mogg Alarm

Pia and Kiran Nalar
Purphoros, God of the Forge

15 Lands

Great Furnace
Darksteel Citadel
13 Mountains

Kuldotha RebirthThe game plan is fairly simple but you have a lot of paths to executing that depending on what you are up against. You can play slowly and conservatively or race to the finish, you can curve out maximizing power or you can hold back for a one shot and reduce your risk exposure.

One of the big choices on this deck is Kuldotha Rebirth or not. Having enough things to sac to it, let alone things you actively want to sac, is relatively hard to do while staying on theme. With a couple more token generators seeing print you can probably forgo the Rebirth and have a more consistent deck but as it stands I think this is only just viable in mono and only because we cheated and used an M19 card before it was released! The consistency with the Rebirth in this list isn't awful and I tried to compensate with a nice Faithless Looting. When your Rebirth is active it is absolutely one of the most powerful cards in the deck.

Playing Rebirth or not obviously has a lot of knock on effects. The various thopter making legends are all great cards but they are on the slow side for this deck and might well not make the cut if it were not for the desperate need of artifacts your Rebirth has. Equally Skullclamp got the nod for being a powerful cheap artifact more than anything else. It is certainly quite efficient draw but it directly consumes the resource you are trying to win with and it absolutely slows you down rather than speeding you up. In any ideal situation you wouldn't draw it let alone use it. It does add a whole extra dimension to the deck and feels like a worthy inclusion as a cube deck, in a more refined format this kind of tangential backup strategy is less ideal. I wanted to run a Brood Birthing but it is just bad, unlike Rebirth there just isn't enough support.

Devastating SummonsThe Rebirth, Mogg Alarm, Mass Hysteria, Devastating Summons and Rites of Initiation are what make this deck so all in but they are also what makes the deck so lethal. The Rites was originally a Trumpet Blast, I have tried to show a refined list from what my friend ran based on what we learned. We shall look at some of his choices. Impact Tremors was one of those and he concluded it was rubbish. Comically it turns out this conclusion was also reached for his previous build but he had forgotten that. Any way, you could lose these all in cards and go either a bit more RDW or a bit more tribal, or perhaps later down the line there will just be enough token producers that are viable. I quite like this more all in combo build. I love an excuse to run Mox. I probably should have found room for a Gitaxian Probe further pushing that combo feel.

My friend ran Hellrider, I wanted to run Krenko (but would need more haste support to feel like I could). Both are powerful cards but I had to make cuts somewhere and the top end in a combo deck is usually a good place to start! My friend also ran a bit more burn and a few more one drops. The extra interaction he gained from that was nice. He was able to apply a good bit of early pressure with Goblin Guide so as to ease the pressure on hitting big with a combo kill which in turn further empowered his extra burn. He packed Vexing Devil which I was mocking as I let it live only to instantly and obviously regret that choice as he hasted it up and put it in my face. I still don't love the Devil but my friends build was certainly one of the best places you can play it.

Mass HysteriaOne of the further perks of having these early pressure cards is that they make Mass Hysteria pretty close to one sided. Knowing the burst of the deck you simply cannot risk all that much in terms of getting damage in. Despite having all my dorks gain haste I just could not attack with them sensibly in the majority of cases. I would have far better creatures and often would be able to make up the overlap of dorks he had on my turn but I still didn't feel able to sensibly attack until I basically had enough damage to force blocks. Hysteria may just be that little bit too risky to run without the higher count of burn and one drops but I was sufficiently impressed with it to give it the benefit of the doubt!

Aether Chaser, Ghirapur Gearcrafter, Myr Sire, Servo Schematic, and Thopter Engineer were all considered in case of needing to empower the Rebirth side of the deck more. They feed into a number of the other cards in the deck already rolling with that synergy and perhaps you could get it to the point where Mox Opal was viable. That feels like it might start to morph its way into a Ghirapur Aether Grid deck which might be quite good. This element of the build was just fudged with the Looting, rather than fine tune it all I just lowered the risk of the dead cards and increased the consistency on the synergies by ramming in the Looting. It is fast becoming one of my favourite cards in the cube, there is not I red deck I can think of that I have build in a very long time in which I didn't play a Looting I had access to nor wished I did when not.

Mogg AlarmLastly a few powerful but slightly off theme cards and a straight up bad card simply to show what the remaining token generators in red look like! Comically the synergies in this list are not far of making Thatchers Revolt playable! The others not making it despite actually being fairly powerful are Kari Zev, Pact of the Titan, and Goblin Bombardment. Pact feels like a worse Summons and the more I think on it the more I feel like a Memnite is actaully just the better call. The added size of the Pact titan means it is always the card getting blocked and so might as well have one power. It is certainly more in the direction of a one turn kill plan but I think to go that deep all in we would need more Bushwhacker cards the balance the other side of the scales on the combo. Goblin Bombardment however probably is just incorrect not to run, it isn't directly on theme in that you don't need the sac outlet but it is still just so powerful and versatile and well fueled by all the tokens that it is worth playing.

Devastating Summons is an impressively powerful card in the right shell and this is that shell. Not only does it do a good amount of tokens very cheaply which is pretty much the main thing this list is after but it also makes meaty tokens. You can legitimately go all in on them without having fatal. Swinging in for ten on turn three and having at least a pair of 3/3 dorks to follow with is going to get the job done a lot of the time. Foundry Street Denizen is another card that works wonders in this list. It is easy to kill, most blockers will do so, however it is very cheap and very dangerous. Unopposed it represents a silly amount of damage for a one drop. It is like a Swiftspear (which my friend also played and is a fine inclusion) in a hardcore prowess deck but even more so. Both of these cards as well as a couple more in the list can hit very hard which in turn makes trample quite appealing. Legion Loyalist is wonderful for that but perhaps a Crash Through would be a reasonable addition as well. That might be enough to empower Pact of the Titan, so yeah, turns out Gitaxian Probe, Crash Through, Memnite and Pact of the Titan would make this deck more pure and more all in combo although they probably wouldn't wildly effect the power of the deck overall, just tweak a few matchup win percentages. Mostly all I have done is shown how many different ways to build in cube with Bushwhackers, all these lists are pretty good and will do very well in the right meta. There are certainly a number of tier one Bushwhacker decks you can make and I imagine the archetype will only get more powerful as creatures continue to get the majority of the power creep.

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