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MTGO Semi-Budget T1.5 Deck: BW Pox



 
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Miqo



Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:38 pm    Post subject: MTGO Semi-Budget T1.5 Deck: BW Pox Reply with quote

I was playing around with the concept of a Legacy control deck in MODO. As Force of Will and Daze are out of question because of their price, I decided I'd build Pox over MUC.

Originally I played around with Mono-B Pox also known as Day of Disease, which plays a moderately high amount of creatures to be able to put the opponent to a clock, an essential part of the gameplan of the deck. Discouraged by the horrible matchup vs. ANT/TES and Burn with a slightly unfavoring MU vs. high-tier swarm decks (namely Merfolk and Goblins) I however decided the deck needs upgrading in the form of a color splash.

Around this time Master's Edition 4 pre-release events became available in MTGO and the price of dual lands collapsed, varying from about $7 to $15 dollars each which is about half of their previous price. It was then safe to say that dual lands were suitable for a budget deck, it was always a fact that a multicolored deck would out-perform the cheaper choice.

Of the alternatives W, U, G and R, only W and U would significantly help against the Burn and Combo matchups while offering some help against swarm-type decks in the form of Ghostly Prison and Propaganda, which synergize very well with the mana denial plan the rest of the deck follows. G is for Goyf, in MTGO solely since Pernicious Deed is way overpriced, therefore not worth it. R would definitely be useful against Merfolk and Goblins, but as the all-around balanced choice I decided I'd splash W like the majority before me. Island wouldn't get to its full efficiency in the deck, only the mana-free counterspells would be viable choices for this deck and as stated before they're way out of the budget, Force of Will being too restricting to be used in a color splash anyway.

Having gone through the obvious, here is the early prototype & sideboard followed by a brief explanation:

// NAME: BW Pox

// Lands
4 [ZEN] Marsh Flats
1 [7E] Plains (4)
2 [TSP] Flagstones of Trokair
4 [R] Scrubland
7 [7E] Swamp (3)

// Creatures
4 [ZEN] Bloodghast
3 [FUT] Tombstalker

// Spells
4 [MR] Chrome Mox
3 [CHK] Sensei's Divining Top
4 [R] Swords to Plowshares
4 [TSP] Smallpox
4 [FE] Hymn to Tourach (3)
4 [A] Sinkhole
4 [AP] Gerrard's Verdict
4 [CHK] Ghostly Prison
4 [IA] Pox

// Sideboard
SB: 4 [SHM] Faerie Macabre
SB: 4 [7E] Engineered Plague
SB: 4 [M11] Leyline of Sanctity
SB: 3 [SOK] Pithing Needle

I'll assume you're familiar with how Pox plays and why cards like Armageddon are unnecessary here (and out of the deck's curve).

Regarding all cards that might be sub-optimal to draw multiples of in a starting hand:
The deck has 8 self-discarding effects that let you get rid of a second Chrome Mox that you don't want to cast because of the card disadvantage. In the end it's far more useful to draw two Sensei's Divining Tops than to draw none. In my personal opinion playing only 2 or 3 copies of Pox is a horrible mistake in Legacy MBC especially if you play Chrome Moxes that the unwanted Poxes can be imprinted on. For a deck built strongly around it, there simply is no other alternative that's as effective.

Why is there no Duress and/or Inquisition of Kozilek?
One-for-one trades that don't win you tempo aren't effective in a control deck that aims to lock the opponent down and plays cards specifically to get ahead of the opponent. This deck is all about forcing your opponent to spend mana, cards and turns into something that you can solve with less effort and resources. Selective one-for-one hand disruption is only useful against combo decks, a decktype that I don't expect to see in the MODO meta apart from the top players' decks due to the price of Lion's Eye Diamond ($64 each).

Regarding Wasteland, Vindicate and other money cards:
Although autoincludes they're simply too expensive for a budget deck. With the price of one of these you can get close to getting a playset of Scrublands. If the deck plays well in tournament enviroment (outside of mwsplay.net) as well I can with time consider getting some of the staples. It should be mentioned it's very unlikely I will as the value of the expensive MODO cards is always at the mercy of WOTC's next whim. Rolling Eyes

I hope everyone who comments bothers reading the entire post. Please give constructive criticism rather than just stating dumb remarks no-one wants here f.e. "don't play if you can't afford it".

Thanks for the help! =3

EDIT: I decided to upset my manabase and threw in 2 Flagstones of Trokair (that turn into Scrublands) in the expense of 2 Swamps for the tempo gain. Need to see how that works.

EDIT #2: I added Pithing Needles to the SB since they support the deck's gameplan against various Vial decks while helping against some other MUs. Took out 2x Spinning Darkness and 1x Duress which only let me win harder against already favorable MUs or help against MUs that don't really exist in the field.
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Miqo



Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject: BR Pox Reply with quote

The deck was reworked with the people on #TheManaDrain at irc.efnet.net, and because of the budget they decided the splash of white is ineffective as there will be no Vindicates. Generally speaking it's more consistent to go for a plan of hand disruption OR mana denial, not try to do both regardless of the key cards helping in doing both simultaneously.

The new list is BR in which R is for reach and versatility given by Burning Wish, to be able to tutor up a Firespout against swarm-type decks which does half of what the splash of white was supposed to do. It enables a cute little toolbox which is something most Pox lists don't have.

// Lands
2 [R] Bayou
3 [7E] Swamp (3)
3 [ON] Barren Moor
1 [MOR] Mutavault
1 [7E] Mountain (2)
4 [ON] Bloodstained Mire
4 [R] Badlands

// Creatures
4 [ZEN] Bloodghast
4 [FUT] Tombstalker

// Spells
4 [MR] Chrome Mox
3 [TE] Cursed Scroll
2 [CHK] Sensei's Divining Top
4 [JU] Cabal Therapy
4 [M10] Lightning Bolt
4 [JU] Burning Wish
3 [TSP] Smallpox
4 [FE] Hymn to Tourach (3)
3 [ALA] Blightning
3 [IA] Pox

// Sideboard
SB: 1 [LG] Chain Lightning
SB: 1 [RAV] Life from the Loam
SB: 1 [SHM] Gleeful Sabotage
SB: 4 [SHM] Faerie Macabre
SB: 2 [SHM] Firespout
SB: 4 [7E] Engineered Plague
SB: 1 [IA] Pox
SB: 1 [NE] Massacre

The questions are:
Which list do you think is better and why?
How would you improve the lists?
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Weedmonkey



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 324

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, having played Pox for many years now, I definitely think you're on the right track in some ways Smile

However...

Quote:
Generally speaking it's more consistent to go for a plan of hand disruption OR mana denial, not try to do both regardless of the key cards helping in doing both simultaneously.


I think you're looking at this from the wrong angle. Why Pox works is because it first creates a point where your opponent can't explode in your face, and then it starts to take a dominating position. Hand disruption rarely comes in to the plan early game, unless you're finding yourself in a weak position and/or are positioned against combo. Your plan first and foremost is to stave off their early assault while chipping at your opponent's mana sources.

Quote:
The new list is BR in which R is for reach and versatility given by Burning Wish, to be able to tutor up a Firespout against swarm-type decks which does half of what the splash of white was supposed to do. It enables a cute little toolbox which is something most Pox lists don't have.


It's a cute list, but it's exactly that - cute. You've significantly altered the game plan of the deck (and in my opinion, made it far weaker), and taken out a lot of the mana denial in favor of cute tricks and cards which shouldn't ever be used (Chrome Mox, Cursed Scroll - i'm looking at you guys).

Quote:
Why is there no Duress and/or Inquisition of Kozilek?
One-for-one trades that don't win you tempo aren't effective in a control deck that aims to lock the opponent down and plays cards specifically to get ahead of the opponent. This deck is all about forcing your opponent to spend mana, cards and turns into something that you can solve with less effort and resources. Selective one-for-one hand disruption is only useful against combo decks, a decktype that I don't expect to see in the MODO meta apart from the top players' decks due to the price of Lion's Eye Diamond ($64 each).


What you've missed in here is that they can take out key spells that would otherwise put a serious damper on your plans (read: counterspells and discard). Additionally, the information it provides is invaluable in determining when and where to point your spells so you aren't left blind.

In my experiences with Pox, you really need to resolve key spells in order not to lose the dominant board position. As you're tapping out frequently and don't have the game-swinging effects other control decks have, you need to think ahead much more regarding your plays.

Quote:
Regarding Wasteland, Vindicate and other money cards:
Although autoincludes they're simply too expensive for a budget deck. With the price of one of these you can get close to getting a playset of Scrublands. If the deck plays well in tournament enviroment (outside of mwsplay.net) as well I can with time consider getting some of the staples. It should be mentioned it's very unlikely I will as the value of the expensive MODO cards is always at the mercy of WOTC's next whim.


Wasteland you can get away with not running at the moment (I'm not running any at present, although I'm thinking of modifying things so I can run one or two), but it is quite good when you're trying to lock them out of lands.

As for Vindicate...if you're going for the white splash, then you really really do need them. They are utility that the deck craves, and it performs so many roles it's not funny.

Now, I'm running currently:

// Deck file for Magic Workstation (http://www.magicworkstation.com)

// Lands
4 [AQ] Mishra's Factory (4)
2 [PLC] Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 [B] Scrubland
3 [ZEN] Marsh Flats
2 [GP] Godless Shrine
8 [ZEN] Swamp (4)

// Creatures
3 [ZEN] Bloodghast
3 [FUT] Tombstalker

// Spells
3 [ROE] Inquisition of Kozilek
3 [LRW] Thoughtseize
4 [TSP] Smallpox
4 [JGC] Vindicate
4 [FE] Hymn to Tourach (1)
4 [U] Sinkhole
2 [10E] Crucible of Worlds
3 [A] Swords to Plowshares
2 [CHK] Sensei's Divining Top
2 [5E] Pox

// Sideboard
SB: 3 [CHK] Ghostly Prison
SB: 3 [M10] Silence
SB: 3 [M11] Leyline of the Void
SB: 2 [AP] Gerrard's Verdict
SB: 4 [SOM] Ratchet Bomb

Some notes that are different to your list:

- 4 Pox is overkill. I've varied between 2 and 3 depending on what the metagame looks like at the time, but 4 is far far too much. Although it doesn't look like it, when you're detonating your own lands regularly you'll find that at times you need utility over something flashy. If you're finding yourself in dire need of ways to handle creatures, I'd suggest taking new routes in the sideboard.

- You shouldn't need Ghostly Prisons main. Apart from being deadweight in some matchups (detrimental in Legacy), you have more than enough board disruption that you don't have to worry about creature swarms except in a few matchups (read: Goblins, Merfolk and Zoo).

I only run 3 Bloodghast and Tombstalker because Bloodghast gives you a LOT of resilience. I'm not running 4 because I don't like 4 Ghast 2 Stalker, and I'm not comfortable cutting anything main just yet.

- Ratchet Bomb SB is excellent for dealing with creature swarms.

And...that's about it Smile
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Miqo



Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:49 pm    Post subject: @Roo: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply. I somewhat share your view of the list that the #TheManaDrain guys help me put together. Of course they weren't in mutual agreement about the card / play strategy choices.

The modifications I did to the BW (main) list:

[Maindeck]
-4 Gerrard's Verdict (Making room, doesn't disrupt selectively)
-2 Ghostly Prison (Dead weight vs. some matchups)
+4 Inquisition of Kozilek (Selective disruption and a turn one play)
+2 Ratchet Bomb (The #TheManaDrain guys told me to MD them because I'll side them in most of the time anyway)
[Sideboard]
-1 Pithing Needle (Making room)
+1 Ratchet Bomb (Compensating reducing the amount of creature management [Ghostly Prison])

Two Ghostly Prisons remain since I can see them helping against most of the MUs (the majority of decks has at least Goyfs if not more beaters) and as a two-of it shouldn't be much of a burden to yourself in other MUs considering the amount of self-discard and imprint.

You may think that 4 Poxes is overkill, but this is clearly the most consistent way for the deck. Maximizing your chances of drawing your key spell while being able to dispose of the second copy in case it's unwanted weights more as an upside than drawing and/or having to resolve two does as a downside. To be honest in most games I'm not at all mispleased to topdeck a second Pox lategame. "Play no less than four"!

I'll be waiting for the day Vindicate is in a Master's Edition set and its value goes down to half of what it is now. Until then, no matter how much of a must-have it is, I don't think it's worth it.
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