Extended: The Hippie Commune

Written by Weedmonkey on October 18, 2009


Extended: The Hippie Commune

So, we're in the middle of Pro Tour - Austin and we've finally seen the pros' input into the metagame. Decks such as Martyr and Hexmage Depths in various hues have popped up, as well as the predicted stalwarts Zoo and Hypergen doing well.

The article I want to share with you guys today stems from an idea many months back...long before Zendikar was spoiled and we were still contemplating the idea of a metagame without fetchlands. It's an archetype that I've developed continuously over the months and has since evolved into what I feel is a very solid deck.

The Idea

Back when I first began work on this deck, the fetchlandless metagame being predicted had a few major archetypes: Zoo, Dredge, NLU/Faeries, Death Cloud, other Rock variants and Storm. Zoo and Dredge quickly presented themselves as the forerunners, since NLU and Faeries both lost fetchlands as a way to present good board sweepers.

What both decks had in common was they often banked on a weenie rush to close the doors on their opponent (Zoo has an absurd number of one-drops, while Dredge has Bridge from Below with Flame-Kin Zealot to force through a large number of hasty Zombie tokens).

Going through the extended card list, what stuck out to me was Reveillark. At this point in time I was playing Mannequin in Standard, a Rhys Gould creation that Nicastri piloted to the top 8 of Australian Nationals. If it could stabilize through an early creature rush, it could win through an attrition war. After toying around with various creature packages, Eternal Witness popped up as a stupid Reveillark target. After discovering Ghostly Prison in playing around with spell suites, the deck began to take a form I really liked. Testing and tweaking in the months since has brought me to my current list, which looks like this:

The Hippie Commune
Main Deck Sideboard
2 Horizon Canopy
4 Temple Garden
3 Wooded Bastion
5 Plains
3 Forest
2 Ghost Quarter
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Treetop Village
4 Wall of Roots
4 Eternal Witness
4 Reveillark
4 Loxodon Hierarch
3 Gaddock Teeg
1 Qasali Pridemage
3 Kitchen Finks
4 Path to Exile
3 Ghostly Prison
2 Crucible of Worlds
2 Umezawa's Jitte
3 Day of Judgment
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Ghostly Prison
2 Ethersworn Canonist
3 Silence
2 Viridian Shaman
4 Troll Ascetic
2 Baneslayer Angel

The deck itself is very much an attrition deck. It can shut down creature-based strategies before putting the squeeze on, as well as waiting out control decks before making its move.

The Free Love Brigade

The creature package here explains itself fairly well. Wall of Roots and Kitchen Finks both hold down the fort quite well against aggro decks, while Hierarch is both life gain and a beatstick. Eternal Witness and Reveillark make for a great tandem late-game, where Reveillark + Witness (or better yet, two :D) provide gas where the opponent can easily be running low. Gaddock Teeg simply shuts down a lot of scary cards (Command, Repeal, Worm Harvest, Death Cloud, Planeswalkers...the list goes on), and the lone Pridemage serves as your miser's utility card.

First thing you're probably laughing at when looking at the spells is seeing Day of Judgment maindecked alongside Teeg. Although quite counter-synergistic (and potentially shooting yourself in the foot), it's somewhat of a blessing in disguise. For example, if an unknowing Zoo player sees Teeg in play, chances are they're not going to be afraid of overextending because there's not really much way of you getting to clear the board. The benefits to this are twofold: 1) you're free to get a few extra points of damage in if they think you're trying to get Teeg into the 'yard so you can sweep. 2) You can always Path or use Jitte counters to get rid of Mr Teeg and pop a surprise Day of Judgment on them which they may not see coming.

Rolling alongside Day is the MVP of the deck: Ghostly Prison. It's a real sleeper card in Extended that just does so much. For Zoo, it slows them down enough for you to get your bigger spells online. For Dredge, it shuts down the zombie swarm win option. For Faeries and NLU, it can potentially force them into either halting their clock and going long game, or attacking at the wrong opportunity and giving you a window. It's incredibly versatile. You also have Crucible of Worlds to work with, which does some silly things with your lands late-game. Other than that, you have your standard clock generator (Jitte) and stock scary creature removal (Path).

The lands are balanced to best incorporate a variety of strategies as well as multiple tactics changing with Crucible. Ghost Quarter is in to provide late-game grunt against decks splashing colors and Affinity (and has this weekend has shown us, Hexmage Depths too), while Treetop Village is a good anti-control card that gets around a lot of removal. Two fetches allow for late-game deck thinning as well as mana fixing. Finally, Horizon Canopy allows you to draw an extra card at the cost of a land drop, which also allows for late-game gas that other decks just don't have.

The Matchups

In my opinion, the deck has a fairly decent spread of matchups. While it certainly isn't the silver bullet of the format, it does have strong matchups against the most popular decks (at least if Pro Tour - Austin is anything to go by :P)

Zoo

Zoo is an absurdly strong matchup for this deck. You have Ghostly Prison to stop them getting around any defense you set up, and post-Day you can just out-gas them. Post-board you have Trolls, Baneslayers and the fourth Ghostly Prison to present a better clock. The big bogeyman is Umezawa's Jitte - if you don't have any way to dispose of it (either your own, Pridemage or Viridian Shaman), you could find yourself on the back foot quickly. Trolls in particular help with this though.

Dredge

If the Dredge build isn't running Iona, this matchup is effectively a bye. They can't swarm you, and their backup plan is absurdly slow. Usually you can just sit back and watch them deck themselves since they won't be able to punch through for damage. Post-board provides more of a squeeze, as you can Silence any Dread Return targets (a good plan for Iona).

Affinity

If you've got the removal, you shouldn't have any issues winning this. With their low land count Ghostly Prison just halts their attack in their tracks. Post-board you've got additional ways to blow up Plating and/or Thopters, at which point the only thing you need to worry about is making sure you haven't left yourself open to Fatal Frenzy or something similar. Oh yes, and late-game Crucible + Ghost Quarter is simply unfair.

Bant

This is about as close as you get to a mirror-match in this format. The trick here is to get out to the late game. Bant's removal tends to put creatures everywhere except the graveyard, so if you can shut the door on them you can generally use a Crucible engine to out-gas them.

Hexmage Depths

The matchup intrinsically isn't that bad (which I like considering the deck was built months ago). Again, the key to this matchup is making sure you have the removal. Crucible can potentially guarantee they never get Marit Lage online, so as long as you cover your bases this is an okay matchup.Hypergenesis

This match is pretty much a coin flip. It's dependent on two things: what your hand consists of and what creatures your opponent's decided to go with. If they're going for the throat and running things like Magister Sphinx, Bogardan Hellkite and Wound Reflection, you're generally pretty safe if you can live through the turn and then sweep with Day of Judgement (Eternal Witness is GOLD here). For the trickier packages like Woodfall Primus and Angel of Despair, Ghostly Prisons can point their attention at your enchantments and not your lands, again allowing you to sweep and get some breathing room. Post-board Canonist and Silence can help to stymie the Hypergen plan until you've got a hand you can better use.

Death Cloud

This matchup can be quite hilarious. Multiple Ghostly Prisons can make Death Cloud a headache for them if they can't find a way to deal with them. Worm Harvest no longer becomes a path of inevitability unless they also have a way to remove the Prisons.

Martyr

These games go...rather long. Crucible and Ghost Quarter goes a long way to depriving them of second or third colors (if applicable) as well as shutting off Emeria. If they're not packing Iona as a win condition, you usually can win via decking them. They either fish out more lands with Ghost Quarter, or they're going to risk being slowgeddoned while you get something online.

That's All She Wrote

And that's it! I'm not trying to tout this deck as the next big thing, or some magical silver bullet for the format - just a deck that's positioned well in the metagame and is a blast to play. I'll probably be back some time in the future with something wacky and fun. Until then, mise well :)

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Comments:
by Duodax on 2009-10-18 09:20 CET

You managed to disfokus Haterator. Gratz.


by Weedmonkey on 2009-10-18 09:25 CET

Congratulations, it's not haterator. Learn your archetypes before making an ass of yourself and trolling.


by Balthazar88 on 2009-10-18 09:53 CET

This seems like a "haterator" deck to me...


by Duodax on 2009-10-18 10:15 CET

Still I don´t see how a 5-Mana creature can be taken into consideration in a format where your ass is being raped by Angels of Despair, Blood/Magi Moons and Marit Lages with counterbackup.

I hope you play vs. Deathcloud Noobs (it the deck is still viable) who still play Putrefy over Pulse so your Prison actually saves you. xD


by Lynolf on 2009-10-18 10:22 CET

I honestly don't see how this deck beats Dredge. Cascagenesis also seems to tear this deck in pieces. Day of Judgement, which I don't understand why it isn't Wrath of God anyway, makes a fine synergy with Gaddock Teeg (sarcasm). It could be a good idea if Zoo and other aggro decks dominate the current metagame, but I don't see it going very far.


by dv8r on 2009-10-18 15:17 CET

gogo magic league with the constructive criticism:

Lynolf: day of judgement >>>> wrath in a deck with both hierarch and troll (post sb) and teeg and wrath are good vs very separate decks. You aim to use prison and teeg to beat dredge.

Duodax: Kibler plays baneslayer in his t8 deck from the Pro Tour

I'm not saying I like the deck, but Jesus, if you're going to criticise it at least do it logically and by understanding what the author is trying to achieve


by Frozen_Fire on 2009-10-18 15:39 CET

Well, I quite like the deck, even if it's not a new thing at all. Remember the "Noob Stax" deck? It ran Chalice, 3Sphere, Prison and Suppression Field (I'd play 4 of those in the deck). However, as majority of magic players, you quite exaggerated the MUs. Don't trust so much Crucible-quarter plan against control, since artifact hate and GY hate exists.
Also, I'm not a fan of eternal witness in decks that don't have many consumable spells.


by Duodax on 2009-10-18 16:38 CET

"Duodax: Kibler plays baneslayer in his t8 deck from the Pro Tour"

Stupidity und inability of so-called "semipros just has reached a new dimension... wow I knew here are many fish but I didn´t expect this.


by Manipul8r on 2009-10-18 16:58 CET

Pretty neat! Although, I think you can probably find a couple more useful 1-of's to MD or SB other than Pridemage for that Reveil/Witness business.


by Lynolf on 2009-10-18 17:04 CET

Wow... you really kicked me in the nuts there. Didn't realize about Day of Judgement tech, sorry 'bout that. :P

But about Gaddock Teeg and Day of Judgement I stand my opinion, specially when he has 3 of each. Also dv8r, if Gaddock's only purpose is to beat Dredge, surely there are better cards for that, no? And not that many control decks play 4-mana spells or higher. I would trade them for those boarded Ethersworn Canonists.


by styx^ on 2009-10-18 22:01 CET

Where's the goofys? :o

Also i gotta agree with Lynolf i think :o I'd play Canonist main over Gaddock atm...


by rentintin3 on 2009-10-19 17:53 CET

EE has X in the cost? duh? chalice I guess also


by Fridolin on 2009-10-19 19:56 CET

First off, I don't like the deck.

The deck has Crucible but only 6 sac lands. It has some utility lands but no Knight of the Reliquary. Half of the time the Witness is going to return a land because there are just 7 instants and sorceries and 1 Pridemage.

The matchup against Hypergenesis seems pretty poor. Ghostly Prison is really bad here, as their deck powers out few but large creatures, which is exactly the opposite of what Ghostly Prison is good against.

:The matchup intrinsically isn't that bad (which I like considering the deck was built months ago). Again, the key to this matchup is making sure you have the removal. Crucible can potentially guarantee they never get Marit Lage online, so as long as you cover your bases this is an okay matchup.

How is the matchup not that bad? It really is, because they got the 4 Thoughtseize, 4 Clique, 4 Muddle the Mixture and 4 Chalice. Everything in the deck can be tutored up. You got 2 Ghost Quarter, 4 Path and 3 Teeg (to shut down Beseech and Chalice). But even if you have the Teeg on turn 2, they can still land Chalice on turn 1. After boarding, it gets even worse as they can tutor up Slaughter Pact and Doom Blade. I don't know how the deck wants to win 2 of 3 games considering that most of the cards in the deck are just irrelevant.

If playing Judgement every turn was a good strategy in the current metagame, this deck might be viable. But the recursion engine is slow and can be hated out easily. Additionally, the deck has no clock. It doesn't do the broken stuff. It has no tutoring. I think it is just bad.



by Weedmonkey on 2009-10-19 23:28 CET

Fridolin:

1. If Crucible was an integral engine that needed to be online consistently early every game, then I could see Knight of the Reliquary being in. Witness isn't something you're going to be dropping turn 3 because there's nothing else to play.

2. Look at the number of land Hypergen usually has when they resolve it. Either they're stuck devoting resources to swinging, or you've got what you need to deal with said large creatures and as such Ghostly Prison becomes another large line of defense. Additionally, Prison comes in handy for the Angel of Despair/Woodfall Primus packages, drawing destruction away from land giving you a better chance of sticking DoJ or some removal. I haven't dropped a match against the archetype to date, and it's fine as long as you know how to play it.

3. It is far from an autoloss. You're taking the matchups here based on paper instead of actual testing. Yes, they do have a lot of answers for the deck, and yes, they can tutor it up. It isn't an easy matchup, and i freely admit that. However, smart play and dealing with the correct cards can give you enough time to grind them out.

4. It's an attrition deck - it doesn't need a clock until it's in a position to guarantee a win. Yes, the recursion engine is slow, but isn't integral which is why i like the deck - it doesn't fall apart if you remove some pieces.

The bottom line: actually playtest the deck instead of dismissing it based on your thoughts and some lists on paper. I'm not trying to tout the next big thing based on nothing but a bunch of cards thrown together - I've tested and tuned the deck thoroughly, and it's definitely not as bad as you're making it out to be.


by Dr_Nico on 2009-10-20 06:02 CET

So it has a bad matchup versus the best combo deck available in extended... That's pretty much all the logical argument anyone needs to not test this at all.


by Fridolin on 2009-10-20 11:01 CET

Changes I'd make to the deck:

- 1 Horizon Canopy
- 2 Forest
- 1 Plains
- 1 Marsh Flats
+ 5 Fetches (RW & UG)

- 4 Wall of Roots
+ 4 Knight of the Reliquary (mana accel, big creature, Reveillark target, tutor, thinning)

- 1 Reveillark
- 2 Loxodon Hierarch
+ 3 Tarmogoyf
(Knight upps the curve, now lowering it again. Tarmogoyf does a better job as a blocker than Wall of Roots.)

SB:
- 4 Troll Ascetic
- 2 Viridian Shaman
+ 1 Stomping Ground
+ 4 Ancient Grudge
+ 1 Blood Moon (Red hate might be bad if there are not enough fetches. Need to test the numbers or drop the idea completely.)

- 1 Pridemage
- 1 Ghostly Prison
+ 1 Ghostquarter
+ Tormod's Crypt


by Malakai97 on 2009-10-21 01:49 CET

Hurray for suggesting changes without testing. You should be playing at least 10 games mainboarded and twenty sideboarded before making a change to any deck.


by TehDudeAbide on 2009-10-21 12:51 CET

How does the deck survive disruption?


by Fridolin on 2009-10-21 14:55 CET

Malakai97, you are absolutely right, I didn't test Wall of Roots in 1.x since Survival. Maybe I should. :)


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