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Mono-R Control/Mid-Range (Sick-o-Tron)



 
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Kytep



Joined: 21 May 2006
Posts: 187

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:10 pm    Post subject: Mono-R Control/Mid-Range (Sick-o-Tron) Reply with quote

Sick-o-Tron.

OK, hopefully those first words screened out many of the haters whose basis for deck critique is a quick glance at the list and/or checking to see if it has T8d a major WoTC event (i.e., if it hasn't, then it of course must suck). Work and a new baby have been keeping me pretty busy lately, so I haven't had much time for testing, league play or trials. So, since I can't enjoy playing Sick-o-Tron very often anymore, I'm posting it here so that others can enjoy it if they so choose.

I originally created Sick-o-Tron just over 5 years ago, when Tron was dominating T2. After some tweaking, I quickly found out that, while the deck thrashed Tron as designed, it was also surprisingly strong vs. creature-based decks (e.g., Zoo). Unfortunately, I didn't play in many Trials, and my creation came a bit late in the season, so the deck was only exposed to two major M-L events: a T2 Trial (I placed 2nd) and a T2 Master (Malhavoc - a T1 master but T2 novice - went 4-2 with a very sub-optimal version). Based on what I've seen so far, including some informal testing, I think Modern could be a very ripe environment for the latest version of Sick-o-Tron.

Links:
Earler thread (Extended): http://www.magic-league.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=8272
Original article (very early, sub-optimal build): http://www.magic-league.com/article/242/standard_sick-o-tron.html
Top 2 in T2 Trial: http://www.magic-league.com/phpBB/about3941.html

Here is the decklist, updated for Modern:

4 Genju of the Spires
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Hearth Kami
4 Phyrexian Ironfoot
4 Skred
4 Burst Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Blood Moon
2 Shard Phoenix
2 Banefire
3 Scrying Sheets
21 Snow-Covered Mountain

Sideboard (work in progress)
4 Ratchet Bomb (vs. Chalices, Lotus Blooms, pro-red, etc.)
3 Volcanic Fallout (vs. Faeries, other weenie decks)
3 Relic of Progenitus
1 Everlasting Torment (probably replace)
4 Magus of the Moon (really, REALLY need Moon effect vs. ANC)


Believe it or not, Sick-o-Tron does very well against a wide variety of decks. It can struggle against combo decks, but on the other hand, the fact that it can kill on Turn 4 (with some luck) or, more commonly, Turn 5 or 6, helps it race combo. With 4 Blood Moons in the main, it can shock a lot of decks which rely on non-basics (which seems to be most of the Modern decks). With all of the burn at its disposal, it does very well against most creature-based decks. In fact, I'm not sure which is the more favorable match-up: Tron (which this was originally designed to beat, which it does *quite* well) or Zoo.

Don't let the mono-Red fool you: You are usually The Control (as opposed to The Beatdown - see ancient article by Flores, Michael J.) when playing Sick-o-Tron, although watch for opportunities to swing with Genjus and finish an opponent with burn quickly. The Genjus mean you theoretically have up to 21 6/1s in the deck; the Sheets keep those 6/1s coming (as well as help dig for answers), and you have enough creature burn (and Ironfoots) to keep creatures at bay long enough to let Sheets or Blood Moon hit and give you the advantage.

In anticipation of some of the questions/comments I'm sure will be posted:

1) Scrying Sheets and Blood Moon: Yes, the Moon shuts off the Sheets, but you get to choose when (or if) you drop the Moon. And if Moon is good against your opponent, it's usually GREAT against your opponent, often nearly shutting them out of the game. The virtual Card Advantage Blood Moon creates is almost always worth much more than the direct CA that Sheets would have given you. As for Sheets, they are often critical in this deck in the longer match-ups, if for no other reason than they keep feeding me Mountains for my Genju's. With 28 snow cards in the deck, the sheets work great - and all of this of course works great with Skred.

2) Genju: Do NOT underestimate this guy. Genju is AMAZING. A Turn 1 or Turn 2 Genju can often mean GG vs. control decks, and can often lead to a Turn 5 or 6 (or even 4, with Kami and Shock) kill. He's also great on defense, able to kill most Tarmogoyfs (and you have Skred/Shock/Bolt to help, if needed) or other ground-pounders. They can't be Wrathed, Damned, 'clasmed, etc. And they keep coming back when killed, especially with the help of Sheets (see above).

As you can see in the original article (see link above), a LOT of people poo-poohed this deck when I originally posted it. But, as mentioned, the deck has been very successful. I don't know of many decks which have only had a single player using them in 2 major events and went so far in both of them. And that's not counting a pretty nice non-Trial league play win streak I enjoyed, as well as a very good record in my non-league games.

I encourage you to try it; once you get the feel of it, it feels very powerful indeed!

Good luck,
Kytep

Edit: Correction (Demonfires should have been Banefires), replaced Mogg Fanatics with Grim Lavamancers, per Cloysterd's suggestion.


Last edited by Kytep on Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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cloysterd



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have enough Modern experience to comment on the strategy, but... Mogg Fanatic? Wouldn't Lavamancer do better there?
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Kytep



Joined: 21 May 2006
Posts: 187

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cloysterd wrote:
I don't have enough Modern experience to comment on the strategy, but... Mogg Fanatic? Wouldn't Lavamancer do better there?


Probably, and thanks for the suggestion. I haven't had much time to go through all of the possibilities that Modern brings, so I've probably missed some good upgrades like this. Mogg Fanatic can definitely help quickly vs. things like Lotus Cobra, Dark Confidant, etc., but you're probably right - Lavamancer is probably better in many more situations, and would make the deck stronger overall.

Thanks for the great idea!

Kytep
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feamar



Joined: 07 Nov 2009
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:29 pm    Post subject: Questions Reply with quote

What would you do against creature or enchantment exiling such as path to exile, condemn, revoke existence? These are pretty common cards for decks that have white (CAW). It should be able to handle that.
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darkwizard42
Level 2 Judge


Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 260

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

feamar: If they path to exile his Genju, he just gets his mountain back. Sure he loses his card, but I agree with Kytep in saying that the advantage of Genju over any standard creature is that if the mountain does die, he gets back the Genju. Exiling is generally not profitable for any deck against the Genju.

One concern is the weakness of Genju of the Spires to a card like Punishing Fire. With PFire they can hurt you pretty bad, and it seems difficult to play around it even with Blood Moon.

I would also argue that a better replacement could be found for Demonfire (Banefire/Red Sun's Zenith come to mind). I also think that Hearth Kami could be replaced with a better creature as artifacts are not the most dominating card in this format and at 2/1 his body seems a bit unstable. Manic Vandal might be worth considering, but the curve would change and Hearth is definitely more aggressive. I would also consider changing Shard Phoenix, but thats something that could only be told through more testing.

I like the deck so far!
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Kytep



Joined: 21 May 2006
Posts: 187

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

darkwizard42 wrote:
feamar: If they path to exile his Genju, he just gets his mountain back. Sure he loses his card, but I agree with Kytep in saying that the advantage of Genju over any standard creature is that if the mountain does die, he gets back the Genju. Exiling is generally not profitable for any deck against the Genju.


You're right - I've had several Genjus exiled; it's certainly not the end of the world, and usually not even much of a problem. Just a single Genju can ride "all" of the Mountains. And even Genjus are not absolutely necessary to win; Ironfoots and Kamis do a pretty good job with a board that's been cleared with burn, Phoenixes can keep coming back (they only have so many exile effects), and Banefires can finish the job rather well.

darkwizard42 wrote:
One concern is the weakness of Genju of the Spires to a card like Punishing Fire. With PFire they can hurt you pretty bad, and it seems difficult to play around it even with Blood Moon.


So far (in just a few games), I've found Blood Moon to be pretty effective vs. PFire. And, again, Genjus are not needed to win; Ironfoots require multiple PFires to kill, and targeting me with PFire takes a while if they're also providing me with offsetting lifegain. In the meantime, I can Banefire them out (after digging for it - and the lands to power it - with Sheets, if I don't have Blood Moon out. If I do have Blood Moon out, they can't recur PFires anyway).

darkwizard42 wrote:
I would also argue that a better replacement could be found for Demonfire (Banefire/Red Sun's Zenith come to mind).


Yes, Demonfires should be Banefires; thanks for the catch (I had copied/pasted from my Extended post and missed this change).

darkwizard42 wrote:
I also think that Hearth Kami could be replaced with a better creature as artifacts are not the most dominating card in this format and at 2/1 his body seems a bit unstable. Manic Vandal might be worth considering, but the curve would change and Hearth is definitely more aggressive.


I dunno; it looks to me like there are quite a few Swords, Birthing Pods, and Lotus Blooms in the environment (not to mention the potential for Chalice of the Void, etc., especially post-SB). All of these are pretty problematic for this deck, especially over the long term (and remember: This deck tends towards control, so it often goes to "the long term"). Kami is nice in that it only costs 2, but more importantly, it can be played *before* the artifact hits, so I can get some damage in, then destroy the troublesome artifact when it does hit, rather than requiring me to hold back the Vandal or whatever until after their artifact hits (and note that Vandal does nothing vs. Lotus Bloom).

Plus,the 3-spot isn't as open as it may seem; sure, Ironfoots are the only 3-CC item in the deck, but I'm often using 3 mana for Genju attacks and/or Sheets activations. This deck does a pretty good job of using all of its mana each turn (which is often a hallmark of good decks).

darkwizard42 wrote:
I would also consider changing Shard Phoenix, but thats something that could only be told through more testing.


Shard Phoenix is one of my MVPs and often makes the difference vs. weenie strategies (e.g., Elves, RDW, Affinity, Zoo, etc.). I can only Bolt/Skred so many creatures before they start to overwhelm me. Then a Phoenix hits and returns control to me (especially with recursion). Against more controlling decks, the fact that the Phoenix can keep coming back as a 2/2 flying threat is great as well. I think I'll be hard-pressed to find a better replacement for Phoenix.

darkwizard42 wrote:
I like the deck so far!


Thanks so much! I hope you have as much fun playing it as I do!

Kytep
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