Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Unbender's Big Score Part 1: Construction

First Magic post, woohoo. (Don't worry, Caine's coming soon.)

Anywho, when Alara Reborn came out a little over a month ago, one card that caught my eye was Unbender Tine. I saw combo with this card from the get-go. Having two Unbender Tines in play at the same time meant infinite tapping and untapping; something definitely worth looking into. I did a quick search on Gatherer, and only one card caught my eye as far as combo possibility: Wake Thrasher.

Two Tines plus Wake Thrasher means an infinitely huge Wake Thrasher. This means that it has to get through, though. It has no evasion built in, so this is somewhat difficult. After doing some looking, I came down to three options:

1. Use Stormcaller's Boon to give it flying. Not very effective when the opponent has fliers, but that's what removal is for. Boon also has the bonus of having Cascade, which if it hits Wake Thrasher it kills two birds with one stone.

2. Have Rite of Consumption sacrifice it, causing MASSIVE DAMAGE to my opponent. This requires a third color, but results in an instant win as opposed to requiring an attack.

3. Run a merfolk theme using Merrow Harbinger to fetch. I dismissed this one immediately as this required too much of a shift in theme. And as an avid reader of Ben Bleiweiss's version of Building on a Budget, I didn't want to throw myself into a subtheme when I have a different goal in mind. it's Rule #3, of course.

I ended up going with Stormcaller's Boon to start. This requires much less mana fixing. I might change a bit as I play the deck, but that's for another post.

Once I had my method of comboing out, I had to pick how I wanted to do it. While I love trying to set off a lightning-fast combo, it's very difficult to do in Standard. Therefore I elected to go the control-combo route. This meant that some more defensive cards (Wall of Denial, Wrath of God, etc.) were going to be used over the aggressive turn the merfolk version would've had.

Other rough cuts I made with this version included Tezzeret the Seeker (Unbender Tine is the only artifact in the deck), Oblivion Ring (only room for so much removal), and Negate/Remove Soul (situational).

Outside of the combo pieces (Unbender Tine, Wake Thrasher, Stormcaller's Boon), defensive blockers/removal (Path to Exile, Wrath of God, Wall of Denial), and countermagic (Cryptic Command, Broken Ambitions), I still wanted a bit of utility in order to get the combo. Mulldrifter is perfect for this sort of thing (and is always better than Counsel of the Soratami because of its attachment to a 2/2 flier). Another one that I added is Ponder. Not only does it fish through deck and net you a card, but this one-mana instant can also set up your Stormcaller's Boon cascade. Cascading into Wake Thrasher is obviously preferred, but a free Wall of Denial, sideboard Plumeveil (which I'll talk about in Part 2), or Path to Exile never hurts. (Even another Ponder doesn't hurt, because you can do it again.) These kinds of interactions between Ponder and Cascade could, in theory, make the deck that much better.

Next time I'll be testing this deck online over MWS, but I'll leave you with the final decklist.

Lands (24):
4x Wanderwine Hub (Lorwyn)
4x Adarkar Wastes (10th Edition)
4x Mystic Gate (Shadowmoor)
5x Plains
7x Island

Creatures (11):
4x Wake Thrasher (Eventide)
4x Wall of Denial (Alara Reborn)
3x Mulldrifter (Lorwyn)

Other Spells (25):
4x Unbender Tine (Alara Reborn)
4x Stormcaller's Boon (Alara Reborn)
3x Path to Exile (Conflux)
3x Wrath of God (10th Edition)
4x Cryptic Command (Lorwyn)
3x Broken Ambitions (Lorwyn)
4x Ponder (Lorwyn)

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