Simic Stompy Deck Tech with Smi77y

[deck title=Simic Stompy – Smi77y]
4 Breeding Pool
10 Forest
4 Hinterland Harbor
4 Simic Guildgate
2 Unclaimed Territory
4 Departed Deckhand
4 Frilled Mystic
4 Ghalta, Primal Hunger
2 Jadelight Ranger
2 Kraul Harpooner
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
4 Nullhide Ferox
4 Pelt Collector
4 Steel Leaf Champion
1 Spell Pierce
3 Negate
1 Kraul Harpooner
2 Naturalize
2 Titanic Brawl
1 Exclusion Mage
3 Sleep
2 Vivien Reid

Smi77y’s Angels- Dark Ascension

It’s that time of the year again where I gather my angels (underrated/quality cards) and make my bold predictions as to what will be a constructed player in the coming months or even years. There have already been quite a few set reviews posted by various well-respected community members and pro tour members, however I assure you this is solely based off of my own growing card evaluation skills. These choices reflect not only playability and hidden power I see in a card, it also is heavily influenced by how excited I am by the card. One of my predictions in the past was [card]Spellskite[/card], which to most seems like an obvious choice, although at the time I was very much partial to the card as you can tell from the many Eh Team episodes I screamed “skeet skeet.”

These choices often ignore the most obvious of inclusions. For instance – we all know Sorin is amazing and powerful, but he doesn’t belong on this list for a couple of reasons. The first being, I try to avoid obvious playability for the sake of relevance. Second, he’s just a good card, nothing that really excites me at all. Not even his gimp eyed art.
Enough of the history lesson, especially one that relates to nerdy old me. Here are my angels for Dark Ascension in no particular order – and some runner ups near the end.

Perhaps the most powerful card in the set, and yes I remember Sorin is in the set when I say this! Vault of the Archangel is incredibly powerful to say the least. As long as [card]Primeval Titan[/card] is around this card will be that much better. I’ve already began my brewing around [card]Primeval Titan[/card] and Vault of the Archangel – you can find that list over on this page. What’s amazing is I’ve only seen this card in straight BW tokens and it will be in so many more decks than that, I’m very confident about this.

Vault of the Archangel is not only a powerhouse rare, it’s also just a sexy card in general. From the art to the flavor this is a must have from Dark Ascension. I could even see it making its way to the modern format before too long. I know I’ll be trying!
Up next I’m very partial to Increasing Devotion

Some of you may know how much I loved [card]Conqueror’s Pledge[/card] and this card is so much better than [card]Conqueror’s Pledge[/card]. It’s better mostly because of having a flashback option. It’s not only built in card advantage its additional card advantage by using flashback. This makes the card much better than Pledge ever was vs counter spells. This is by far the best “Increasing” rare cycle. It’s no coincidence this is also in my Titan Tokens deck list. It interacts very well with [card]Mulch[/card], [card]Gavony Township[/card], and Vault of the Archangel!

Increasing Devotion isn’t a card that will see as much play as Vault of the Archangel as it is much more specialized in terms of the decks it can be used in. In a simple tokens list 5cc is the very top of the curve if you even make it that far. So its flashback ability won’t often become useful. I see this being abused in ramp strategies or control strategies where games either involve fast mana or a strategy involving late game shenanigans. In fact I could see control decks really opting for something like this similar to what [card]White Sun’s Zenith[/card] has been doing lately.

My last pick is extremely difficult. Originally I’m sure I would have put [card]Strangleroot Geist[/card] here as the card is simply awesome (despite the awful art), but the double green casting cost really limits where it will end up. And currently there isn’t much room for this relentless fellow. My last pick is actually going to be quite bold, but bear with me.

For three mana, and at sorcery speed this card seems very underwhelming to say the least. Sometimes you simply can’t or don’t want to cast this. I see this card falling into some sort of combo deck, most likely one that involves graveyard explosions (maybe some [card]Zombie Apocalypse[/card]?). But we are in a graveyard themed set, and this card is highly splashable which ups its playability. Don’t even get me started on the art either! The art is one of the cooler pieces in the set.

Red is already a color of artifact hate, which helps with [card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/card] in the set. So setting up some combo with this card despite the hate inside the block is doable. Let’s not forget this card even has flashback on its own.

I’m sure you aren’t quite convinced, and that’s fine, but take a look at this scenario. Let’s say your back is against the ropes and your hand consists of two lands and Shattered Perception, that’s not going to do you any good. Much like [card]Desperate Ravings[/card] you are completely “ok” with dumping what you have to possibly find an answer to a grim situation. I think Shattered Perception will find its way into Modern before it does Standard at this point. I haven’t found the right deck yet, but I bet one is out there to explore! This card has a unique effect that you can use twice, you will see this at some point and it will be a very fun deck to play.

It’s always the worst that I restrict myself to three choices. I have so many more cards I love to death from this set. Will it shake up Standard all that much? Maybe, maybe not. But I know I already enjoy trying. Here are some of my picks for the better cards of the set.

[card]Dawntreader Elk[/card]
[card]Lingering Souls[/card]
[card]Tragic Slip[/card]
[card]Undying Evil[/card] (for reals!)
[card]Geralf’s Messenger[/card]
[card]Gather the Townsfolk[/card]
[card]Loyal Cathar[/card]
[card]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/card]
[card]Faithless Looting[/card]
[card]Strangleroot Geist[/card]
All the new lords
[card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/card]
[card]Sorin, Lord of Innistrad[/card]
[card]Huntmaster of the Fells[/card]
[card]Falkenrath Aristocrat[/card]

And I’m sure I’m missing some! But until next time, I’m out!

Smi77y’s Angels-Innistrad

My last Smi77y’s Angels was back in New Phyrexia when I had picked [card]Chancellor of the Tangle[/card], [card]Phyrexian Metamorph[/card], and [card]Spellskite[/card] as my early cards to be a part of the meta. I’ll take 2/3 all day. Smi77y’s Angels returns with Innistrad and after testing quite a bit already, I’m extremely excited to see how Standard shapes up.

There is most definitely a power level drop when we go from [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] to [card]Viridian Emissary[/card]. The plus side to this is we lose obnoxious combos, mainly the oppressive Valakut. Another reason a power level drop is exciting is that we will have longer, more interactive games. This isn’t to say there aren’t some very powerful cards in this set…

Well at least one is on the level of cards like [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] and [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] to give recent examples:

[card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] is obvious. Maybe not as obvious as it should be. I’m over 50+ matches in the new standard, and every deck has started with 4x [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]. Let me preface this by stating [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] is UNDERRATED. Yes, despite all its hype, it’s still not enough to justify the power level of this card. I’m not into the financial aspect of Magic so much, however in the long run; this card will be one of the most expensive rares in recent times. Its preorder prices will most definitely drop due to high supply, but make no mistake – the price of this card has about 0 relation to its power level. It’s by far the best card in the set and it’s not even close. The amount of ridiculous lines of play this card provides will also be hard to master, which makes this a very spiky card that most people will either love or hate. Be prepared to play against decks that play similarly to Exarch/Twin without the insta-win.

I generally don’t want to be picking my angels as obvious picks, but when there is a card this awesome, this fun, and this powerful it must be included. If WOTC produces any instant that is too powerful in the next 2 sets, get ready for a huge outcry on how annoying this card will be to play against. (I personally enjoy the instant speed counter battles).

Now that we got the obvious out of the way, let’s look at a sleeper pick as one of the standout standard cards of the set. By the way, when I’m speaking about sleepers I’m really trying to dig deep on at least one of these choices. There are plenty of power cards that deserve a slot in these picks. The idea isn’t to pick the best 3 cards per se, just some of my favorite choices that will be standard breakouts. Most set reviews are actually too objective, and I aim to show off the fun and competitive by being slightly less objective in my choices for these picks.

Anyways, back to the sleeper Smi77y’s Angel pick:

One of the weaknesses of old white weenie was not surviving wraths. I think that changes now with some of the combat tricks white has received. There are lots of interactions with the new cards, and even some powerful underrated lords like Mikaeus. One of the better cards that make a deck like white weenie work may be [card]Midnight Haunting[/card]. It wouldn’t be Smi77y’s Angels without a Smi77yish card. With [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card], [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card], and [card]Moorland Haunt[/card], there are quite a few ideas I think will become viable.

My last choice is in between the super obvious and the unseen. It’s a rare and there are few ways to deal with it. I also believe people are looking to pop this into aggro decks. That’s fine. It will work that way too. I think even more, this card will thrive in a midrange/control deck as a finishing card alongside a titan or [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]. Notice how every card can tie back to Snapcaster being in a deck? Get your set now!

I’ve already slapped this into a RUG Control deck and it shined. Your measly 2/1 [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] can easily finish an opponent in a turn or two. Trample is even more relevant than usual with so many small creatures in the last couple of sets. The fact that these lands don’t come into play tapped is a huge bonus. Additionally, with [card]Tectonic Edge[/card] gone, adding some to three color decks isn’t impossible.

I’ll wrap up by giving some honorable mentions that I won’t be overlooking anytime soon. Brews will ensue!

[card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card] (truly one of the spiky-est cards in the set)
[card]Mentor of the Meek[/card]
[card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] (too obvious!)
[card]Unburial Rites[/card]
[card]Garruk Relentless[/card] (too obvious!)
[card]Past in Flames[/card]
[card]Invisible Stalker[/card]
[card]Think Twice[/card]
[card]Mikaeus, the Lunarch[/card]

Happy brewing!

NPH: Smi77y’s Angels

A few episodes back on “The Eh Team” – a podcast I’m a part of, we had a spoof intro about “Smi77y’s Angels” who of course were my three other co-hosts. As a deck builder I tend to find pet cards in a set that I really enjoy, but are also capable of seeing tournament play. In the past it’s been [card]Kuldotha Phoenix[/card], [card]Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas[/card] and [card]Vengevine[/card]. Sometimes the cards are under the radar, sometimes they aren’t. This set was pretty special as a couple episodes back on “The Eh Team” I mentioned Spellskite as my favorite card and sleeper of the set, well now the card is going for $10 and saw tournament play on its first time out being a legal card. (And although this article is about sleepers and I may be late to the game, I’d like to include Spellskite as it is definitely my favorite card of the set). What I’d like to share with you today is Smi77y’s Angels, my top three favorite, tournament ready cards of the set.

These are my angels, my name… is Smi77y.

Chancellor of the Tangle: This is a card that a lot of people will disagree with me on. It’s not necessarily a very good card if it’s not in your opening hand, however it is a card that fits in so many decks and makes certain opening hands highly favorable against the field. And I feel that payoff is worth the downside of being a fairly vanilla creature.

I’ve already began brewing with this guy and you can find those brews HERE. Ideally this guy fits best in a deck where you can actually cast him because you don’t want to be sitting on a card that is completely dead. With [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] casting this Chancellor is very reasonable. His best fit through testing so far has been in Eldrazi Green due to the fact that he is the easiest to cast in a dedicated ramp deck. And it’s opening starts in that deck are out of control. The deck did however need some additional tweaks to maximize this guys versatility, therefore I definitely feel this creature is a build around creature.

One other relevant fact is that its toughness is 7. In a world of Titans I don’t believe a 6/6 would work right now and honestly it would make his relevant upsides more even with his downsides. Luckily he is a 6/7 that matches up very well with [card]Sun Titan[/card], trades with [card]Inferno Titan[/card], and is a great blocker against [card]Grave Titan[/card]. [card]Frost Titan[/card], which is seeing the least play right now is the only titan that is highly favorable against Chancellor. [card]Primeval Titan[/card] is still a much better card, but at least Chancellor can block and make your opponent use 3 Valakut Triggers.

So why am I truly stoked on this guy’s capabilities as the best Chancellor? The fast starts aren’t just fast, they are insane and extremely difficult to stop. As you can see with the link above to my GW aggro deck, maximizing the incredible two drops we have in standard is why this guy is so bonkers. A turn two [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card], fetching Batterskull, followed by sitting on the mana and playing Batterskull, followed by a Phyrexian Metamorph (a card you will see talked about shortly) = 2 Batterskulls in play by turn 3. And your Stoneforge on turn 1 is incredibly difficult to deal with.

Or how about a turn one [card]Squadron Hawk[/card], filling up your hand and discarding [card]Vengevine[/card]s. Or a turn one [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] followed by turn two [card]Vengevine[/card], or even Jace! The upsides swing a match into your favor by such large numbers that I would be surprised if this guy doesn’t see some top 8’s by October. Once we lose [card]Fauna Shaman[/card], Cobra, Mystic, etc., I’m not so sure he will be good enough anymore. So enjoy the insanely fun lightning quick starts Chancellor of the Tangle has to offer!

Phyrexian Metamorph: Perhaps the most under the radar card in the set, there’s no doubt in my mind that this card is VERY good and will see tournament play. Probably sooner than later, and probably more-so post rotation. It’s not just a 3 casting cost clone, it’s FAR more than that for many reasons. The main being the fact that it’s an artifact in itself, let me remind you – we are in an artifact block where the amount of artifacts you have matters. We have cards like [card]Grand Architect[/card] which are incredible cards that work well with artifacts and are just waiting to bust onto the scene.

The fact that it’s an artifact really gives us some powerful synergies, but to boot we know the fact that it can copy artifacts and doesn’t even have to become a creature. Therefore it makes its versatility FAR greater than just a clone. Let’s look at a couple of examples as to what we’d be copying in a tier 1 meta-game.

Batterskull: As I listed above, in certain decks copying your own Batterskull early can be insane. A point I didn’t mention was the fact that once Batterskull is copied Phyrexian Metamorph can bounce himself to your hand to recopy anything else you need! That’s beyond incredible, especially when the top decks (Caw-Blade) are running Batterskulls maindeck.

Titans: This should be obvious, but this isn’t even close to my favorite targets as they come into play too late generally.

Vengevine: This is another one of my favorite targets. Larry Swasey recently piloted a UG deck to top 8 against 7 Caw-Blade decks in the SCG Open series, and this card fits beautifully in there. But even mono green or GW Vengevine decks can support this guy. [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] and Birds produce blue mana (which you don’t even have to have) to make the small blue splash very real. Having additional pseudo haste creatures in an aggro deck is priceless. As someone who thinks haste is the best ability on a creature, this card was truly needed for standard.

Tumble Magnet: Extra [card]Tumble Magnet[/card]s for the same cost if your back is against the wall or you need to get in with that final point of damage? Yes please.

Any relevant creature/Equipment: [card]Acidic Slime[/card], [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card], [card]Elvish Archdruid[/card], Lashwrithe, Swords,Tezzeret artifacts that were turned into creatures, [card]Merfolk Sovereign[/card]… Wait wtf….?

As a bonus to this article I’d like to share a new decklist I’ve been working on, and it’s a merfolk deck. Yes, in type 2.

[deck title=Swordfish]
*4 Corsi Trickster
*4 Stoneforge Mystic
*4 Coralhelm Commander
*4 Merfolk Sovereign
*4 Grand Architect
*4 Phyrexian Metamorph
*2 Spellskite
*4 Spell Pierce
*4 Mana Leak
*1 Sword of War and Peace
*1 Batterskull
*2 Jace Beleren
*4 Seachrome Coast
*4 Glacial Fortress
*2 Celestial Colonnade
*1 Plains
*3 Tectonic Edge
*8 Island
*4 Leyline of Sanctity
*1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor
*1 Sword of Feast and Famine
*2 Jace Beleren
*3 Phyrexian Revoker
*2 Scroll Thief
*2 Into the Roil

I’ve only shared a fraction of the ideas I have for Phyrexian Metamorph. It’s time to get excited.

Spellskite: I won’t cover this card in too much depth as we all know its capabilities. But the fact this card saw tournament play right out of the gate is saying a lot about its power level in all sorts of decks. I’ve listed over five different decklists here on with this little guy featured in the 75. He is clearly the nuts for standard and so many more formats. He even won me games in my first NPH draft. I think it’s safe to say that any card drawn by Chippy is going to see play at this point (even if he is a dirty dirty man with the art).

Spellskite is an answer to so many problems for so many decks. He’s fantastic in creature decks that lack removal for the new [card]Splinter Twin[/card] combo, and he’s perfect for Tezzeret decks to protect your planeswalker and still be able to attack when/if you need to. If you missed the window to pick this guy up for $1.50 a piece I’m sorry, I guess you should have been listening to “The Eh Team”.

As an additional bonus, because apparently that’s what incorporating decklists into articles is called now. Here is the updated Tezzeret, the Mindhammer aka The Mind Hammer decklist sporting not one, but two of Smi77y’s angels!

[deck title=Tezzeret, the Mind Hammer]
3 Wurmcoil Engine
3 Spellskite
3 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Galvanic Blast
1 Despise
1 Sword of War and Peace
1 Go for the Throat
3 Everflowing Chalice
4 Sphere of the Suns
4 Tumble Magnet
4 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Koth of the Hammer
8 Mountain
4 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Island
1 Dragonskull Summit
2 Despise
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Flashfreeze
3 Go for the Throat
3 Pyroclasm
3 Crush