Mad Mantel


I’m back!

I have to admit that the fire has been tempered somewhat. This is largely due to a lack of tournaments in the foreseeable future. The one Magic the Gathering PTQ in the area for the next couple months was rescheduled for a time when I will be out of town.

I may not be attending anything relevant, but the brews continue. There is a certain freedom to not worrying about the “W.” I will admit that some of these decks are quite a bit off the deep end, but each of them has at least one interaction that I feel should find a home somewhere.

In my last article I shared a Not Really Elves list that I thought would be glossed over by the majority of readers. To my chagrin, it turned out to be the one most commenters enjoyed. This brings me to the first brew.

Beck // Call has been getting quite a bit of hype in Modern, but where is the love in Standard?

I can’t wait for my Beck // Call to get here so I can rock this at FNM. There is so much going on that I don’t even know where to start.

The surprising all-star is Faerie Impostor. This allows you to untap by recurring a Bell Ringer, make tons of mana with Archdruids (once everything has haste), and draw cards with Visionary.

Hellraiser Goblin gets the nod over other ways to give creatures haste (Akroma’s Memorial and Fervor) because it is also a creature, which gives another draw step off of Beck.

Signal the Clans has underperformed and will likely change into something else, but I’m not sure what exactly I want yet. It might be the best tutor option we have in Standard, in which case it will just have to make do. It also presents some unique options. Getting an Imposter, a Bell Ringer, and something else is almost always a good thing. The problem I have with it might be that I am getting the wrong creatures or that I need another silver bullet or two. Then again… these might be better as more creatures.

Zameck Guildmage is another card in the experiment stage. I wanted a mana sink, but the Guildmage needs blue mana to truly shine, and we are already choked on blue quite a bit.

I have been thinking of trying out a singleton Deadeye Navigator. It is admittedly high on the curve, but it creates some situations where you can draw your whole deck or produce infinite mana or both (pair a Bell Ringer with him while having an Arbor Elf + Breeding Pool and any other mana producer). It might fall on the too-cute side of the scale, but it’s worth trying out, especially if it is just a target for Signal. (Edit: I took these out because I realized that I had forgotten that Somberwald Sage was a card.)

Voice of Resurgence means that Pillar of Flame will likely see an upswing in play, which is not good for this deck, but it should be able to come back from only one or two.

Soul of the Harvest was another late addition as I just wanted more Glimpse of Nature effects. It’s sub-par, but being a fatty helps.

Up next is a list I came up with based on one card: Trait Doctoring

I built this because Trait Doctoring can mana screw your opponent…

Did you see it?

I missed it the first time I looked—that damned “until end of turn” on the card. Needless to say, the idea falls apart without being able to lock down the opponent. Wizards was very careful with cipher. Could they finally be getting the hang of the whole “free spell” thing?

Speaking of free spells, my next idea gives me plenty of them.

Before I get into it, I just have to pause and admire this list.

It is so ridiculous that I just… just… I need a minute.

Shorts have been changed, and I’m ready to go.

This is actually my second build. My first build had fewer creatures and a LOT more dig. The problem was that it was too slow for this current metagame. Without blockers or life gain, I would just die.

Sphinx’s Revelation helped me to gain life and dig me to my combo pieces.

Combo, combo, combo… I guess I should explain the combo.

Power out a Possibility Storm. Cast Faithless Looting. There are only six sorceries in the deck, so a Looting will only hit an Enter the Infinite or another Looting. Hitting a Looting will dig you deeper to find another Looting.

Once you hit Enter the Infinite it is simple enough to set up Omniscience (put Omniscience back as the last card in your deck and cast an enchantment). From there you have your whole deck in hand and an Omniscience on the field. How do I win? The current iteration gets a Laboratory Maniac into play and draws more cards than are in the library.

There are several ways to go about doing this, but the one I employ, just for giggles, is to cast a Possibility Storm, which puts a Verdant Haven (this is because I, more than likely, cast a Verdant Haven to get Omniscience, which makes the Haven the only card in the library for the Possibility Storm trigger to find) on the field. Then cast another Possibility Storm (remember that with Omniscience on the field everything is free) which puts a second Possibility Storm (the one I just added to the library) on the field. This leaves one Possibility Storm in the library and two Possibility Storm on the battlefield. Once there are two Storms on the field I cast the Laboratory Maniac which will trigger both Storms. The first one will not reveal another creature. This will shuffle the Maniac back into the library. The second Storm triggers and looks for a creature, which will find the Maniac. Once the maniac is on the field then I cast the Thoughtflare which cycles through the Storm triggers like the Maniac did, and I draw four when only one card is in my library.

As I said, this is the current iteration. A previous version used Borborygmos Enraged to just shoot my opponent in the face, but I was concerned about opponents having more life than I had damage in lands. Laboratory Maniac wins on the spot and doesn’t care about my opponent.

The only way for my opponent to stop this is with a removal spell. The beautiful thing about it is that they have to hit the removal spell through Possibility Storm.

If they do manage to hit, I am able to cycle enough cards back into my library via Memory’s Journey to not lose to drawing on an empty library. I can then do everything again and my opponent would have to hit through the Storm again.

That is my favorite part of this complicated mess. Once the Possibility Storm hits, it is very disruptive. This can, of course, backfire. The key to it all is that this deck is set up to take advantage of the Storm, and everyone else has to get lucky to stop it.

Moving on:

I am also smitten with Plasm Capture

This was the first place I put it, as an update to a ridiculous combo deck that I saw on the mothership. The idea was that it was a bit too slow and the Capture would ramp you into it earlier. It didn’t really matter what you countered as long as it was two or three mana.

This led me to my next thought. If I was using Plasm Capture to ramp then why not really go for it and ramp into the ridiculous.

All right, so I snuck in Deadbridge Chant as well. Capture ramps us into it as well as Griselbrand. This lets me cast spells during the main phase while leaving up counter magic. Chant recycles counterspells, as well as providing the possibility for a free Griselbrand.

Chant also speeds along the plan of a Psychic Spiral ending the game for us.

You caught me! I slipped in another spicy one: Gaze of Granite

As I looked at this deck, I realized that it could go even harder into the control land. Why keep a fatty at all?

Why try to kill someone with a 7/7 when you can kill them with a 2/1 or a 3/1? This one is a bit more ridiculous. There isn’t really a reason to go this direction unless the number of control decks shoots up. If that happens, then I’m sure things would have to evolve away from this, but it does give a framework.

These decks have all been a little off the wall, but the next one is probably the worst… I mean…

This next one goes deep:

What in the world led me to this? It started with Maze’s End. It is a win condition on a land. It can’t be countered. There isn’t much land destruction going around. What does it need? It really needs an Amulet of Vigor.

There isn’t one right now, so what is second best? A ramp spell that can get any land or even a random land. If it only got one land, then I would run out of ramp spells long before I got all ten Gates, but what if that ramp spell stuck around?

What about Unexpected Results? It isn’t really a ramp spell… or is it? Once you can start casting it, the high density of lands means you will get your Results back more often than not. If you start being able to cast the same Results more than once a turn then things are going your way.

The Elixirs are there because if I do run into a certain Slimy creature, I wanted to be able to get my Gates back. Spiral also shuffles while giving a possibility of an accidental win. Yes, the Spiral might be too cute.

Verdant Haven is just another way to ramp that also color fixes. Gaining a little bit of life from it is not bad either.

Anything else that doesn’t ramp is just good stuff to hit with Results. I’m not going to complain about getting a Bolas or a Griselbrand on the field.

The high land count does make thing awkward though: mulligans are awful, and in a top-deck war… well, let’s just say that it will not go well for you.

That does it for this trip down into the rabbit hole. Hopefully something here struck a chord, if not a deck then at least one or two interactions.

Until next time,

Good Luck and Have Fun.