Budget Brewing: Friday Night Fun Part 1 of 5, Lead Some Wars
Hello, all! My name is Jeremy Denmon, and this new weekly column will be focusing on being competitive at Friday Night Magic while saving a buck or two. Friday nights are excellent times to experiment with new decks, discover what deck fits your play style and have a few laughs in the process. But, at the same time, spending hundreds of dollars on a deck you aren’t even sure you like, isn’t affordable to all people. That’s where these articles will come in. Little risk, huge reward. Each article in this column will feature a deck that you can battle with for under fifty bucks.
[Editor’s note – click any of blue card names or featured card images to view and purchase the card from Jupiter Games!]
Standard is expensive. It’s quite easy to drop a paycheck on shock lands so the mana base for a five color monstrosity can live in magical fairy tale land (I love those mana bases the most). Greed can be good, but there is something to be said for consistency. With that in mind, for the first five weeks of this column, I will be composing a deck for each guild of Gatecrash. Boros is at the top of the list, and here’s the deck!
Boros < $50
Total cost from Jupiter Games as of 02/11/13: $44.35
The deck’s overall plan is to Kill. Them. Dead. As quickly as possible. This deck is slightly off the beaten path of the popular Boros aggressive decks, but I think this deck is very competitive. To be more specific, this deck wants to force through as much damage as possible without giving your opponent the chance to block. The one drops like Stonewright and Rakdos Cackler will attack your opponent early, and Court Street Denizen prevents blockers when you play a hasty four drop.
I really like Wojek Halberdiers for several reasons. Augur of Bolas exists. Three toughness is an awful lot to get through in the traditional red strategies, and it has the upside of being able to profitably block opposing three toughness creatures should you ever have to. Gore-house Chainwalker was played in post Return to Ravnica mono red, but it was under the can’t block won’t block mentality with the same power and toughness. Occasional first strike paired with Stonewright firebreathing makes Halberdiers practically unblockable.
Hellraiser Goblin is another unpopular addition. With every conditional upside, there will be a conditional downside. Sometimes, you will be forced to attack when you don’t really feel like it, but that is where Court Street Denizen comes into play. Court Street Denizen gives you the ability to tap your opponent’s creatures to make your attacks all the more profitable. She does seem underwhelming at first, but making sure your creatures won’t be blocked is something I can get on board with.
Untapping with Denizen out then passing turn with Midnight Haunting in hand is quite good. You can flash in a couple of 1/1 white spirits on your opponent’s Begin Combat phase, tap up to two of their creatures (if they still have any), and let fun begin when it’s your turn again. You don’t take any damage, and there are most likely no blockers for a Spark Trooper or a hasted Avenger.
Midnight Haunting also brought me to another unusual inclusion in Wrecking Ogre. The ability to hit your opponent for 8 damage through spirit tokens seemed just too good to pass up. That’s just the beginning. Your opponents will be on their heels an awful lot against you, and Wrecking Ogre gets the final punch through that you need for a large amount of damage if they don’t block a Halberdiers. No blocks? Take 12. Dead yet?
Obviously, Wrecking Ogre sets up the possibility of getting 2 for 1’ed by opposing bounce effects such as Azorious Charm, Simic Charm, and Unsummon. Proceed with caution against decks that play such cards. Unfortunately, many of the creatures in this deck don’t take kindly to various forms of removal. Take solace in knowing you are the red mage, and that you will be aggressive no matter the cost.
On to the sideboard and why I have included the cards that I did. Reckless Waif is practically the nuts against opposing Flash and Esper decks while on the play. They either play a spell on their first turn or are going to take a lot of damage. I’m a guilty of it myself, but I don’t see many players around Jupiter resideboarding when going to game three. Many players are quick to side in 5 or 6 cards against their bad matchup, but don’t change their boarding habits after they have won the post boarded game. Reckless Waif on the draw is not anywhere close to as good as on the play. Almost every opponent will have found something to do by turn 2.
Skullcrack,Thragtusk’s and Sphinx’s Revelations worst nightmare. Decks that rely on this life gain against you will almost always be devastated when they cannot rely on these cards to save them. I would bring in three copies of this card against any deck I think is playing those two cards.
Thunderbolt, this card is pretty narrow, but if you have one while an opponent gets cute with a Restoration Angel, they will probably regret it. I also think Duskmantle Seer could be a potential problem if that card ever takes off. I want to be ready if someone comes wielding some.
Elite Inquisitor is for zombies and zombies alone. WW is pretty hard to cast in this deck, but this card is the too good to not bring in for that matchup.
War Priest of Thune saves your guys from Detention Sphere and blows up Blind Obedience!
Oblivion Ring, many decks aren’t prepared to deal with Liliana, Jace, or Tamiyo. Opponents will most likely tap out to play one of these planeswalkers, and wasting attack phases to get them off of the table is what our opponents want. Problem solved!
For most FNM’s, I’ll be writing about my experiences with the deck I conjure each week to give details on the strengths and weaknesses of each.
1st Round: My opponent was Thomas Keefer. He was on a pretty sweet Mono Black brew himself. Game 1 I led off with Rakdos Cackler into Wojek Halberdiers while he played several Devour Fleshs to slow me down. He played a pair of Sign in Bloods digging for lands and I kept playing hasted creatures off of a Hellraiser Goblin and they were too much for him to deal with.
Sideboarding: -2 Pillar of Flame -1 Hellraiser Goblin -1 Wrecking Ogre +2 Oblivion Ring +2 Elite Inquisitor
Thomas showed me zero win conditions, so I wasn’t sure exactly how to proceed, but I figured something gigantic would come in that I couldn’t deal with besides an Oblivion Ring. I also knew I would be seeing some Vampire Nighthawks because it’s a staple of Mono Black Control against aggressive decks.
Game 2 was a fun one. I led with Rakdos Cackler into Lightning Mauler without much gas left in my hand. Both of my creatures died pretty quickly, and I was facing a Turn 3 Vampire Nighthawk. I stared at a Hellraiser Goblin off the top and passed back. He played a Crypt Ghast on his fourth turn, and I made the mistake of letting him untap with it, despite having my lone Pillar of Flame left in my hand. He then played Army of the Damned on his fifth turn, I desired a Rolling Temblor as I picked my cards up.
Sideboarding: -3 Court Street Denizen -2 Elite Inquisitor -2 Oblivion Ring +4 Reckless Waif +2 Pillar +1 Wrecking Ogr
Reckless Waifs are insane on the play and Oblivion Ring seemed useless. Pillars had a marvelous target in the most key working part of Thomas’ deck, so those came back in as well.
My turn 1 Waif flipped and I never looked back. I followed with a Wojek Halberdiers, and I still attacked for 3 on my third turn after a Dead Weight killed my Halberdiers. Spark Trooper got him pretty low, and I burned him out with Pillar of Flame and Searing Spear to finish the match.
2nd Round: Ray Darrow. Ray explained that he was on a home brew before the match and I was confident about my chances. I lost the die roll, and Ray pinged me with Lingering Souls and Chandra, the Firebrand. I was stuck on lands, and wouldn’t have cared about Chandra in any other match. I was then killed by Boros Reckoner being struck for 13 damage from Blasphemous Act.
Sideboarding: -3 Pillar of Flame -3 Court Street Denizen +2 Oblivion Ring +4 Reckless Waif
Sticking to my guns on Waif on the play, I wanted to throw some Reckoners into Oblivion. Denizens and Pillars are quite poor against tokens.
The second game was much like the first. I kept two lands on the play and never got to three until it was far too late. I felt like this was an extremely winnable matchup, so it was quite unfortunate to suffer from a land screw.
3rd Round: Ed Demicco. To my advantage I had some inside information on what Ed was running: Turbo Fog. I knew his plan was to kill me with one of his four main deck Jace, Memory Adept, and I knew I was going to get fogged fairly often. I was on the play and started my fourth turn with a hasty Firemane Avenger. Fog doesn’t stop Lightning Helix, and Ed was dead quickly.
Sideboarding -2 Wrecking Ogre – 3 Court Street Denizen -2 Midnight Haunting +3 Skullcrack +2 Oblivion Ring +2 Thunderbolt
I wanted to get around Fog as much as I could, so I tried to transform into a burn deck. 4 Jaces were Ed’s lone win condition, and I knew O-Ring was necessary.
Game 2 started off with Ed casting Farseek on his second turn and I was behind the eight ball on a slow draw full of lands. My few creatures were put under my library via a Terminus, and then Jace went to town on my remaining forty.
Sideboarding: -1 Midnight Haunting -2 Oblivion Ring – 1 Spark Trooper +4 Reckless Waif. I didn’t feel that I needed the Oblivion Rings on the play because I knew I could kill him before his sixth turn if I was aggressive enough.
A flipped Waif started things off for me, and Ed was at 10 before he knew it. He did cast a fog or two before casting Supreme Verdict to stabilize at 10 and then cast Urban Evolution, moving to discard after doing so. Holding Searing Spear and Thunderbolt as the last two cards in my hand, I decided to go for it. I got pretty lucky and revealed Skullcrack from the top of my deck.
4th Round: Mario Ramos. Mario complained about how terrible his deck was the entire duration of shuffling, and I knew I was in trouble. I led with a Rakdos Cackler that paired with Lightning Mauler on my second turn, and Mario was at 16. I then stared down an Augur of Bolas that revealed Azorious Charm, and I knew I was in more trouble. I attacked with my Cackler, bluffing Pillar of Flame, and Mario was at 14. I played a Midnight Haunting on his end step, and he was at 12. This happened for a couple turns until Mario flashed in an Angel, equipped a pike, and cast Sphinx’s Revelation. I then entered the Scoop Phase.
Sideboarding: -3 Court Street Denizen -2 Wrecking Ogre -1 Plains -1 Pillar of Flame +4 Reckless Waif +3 Skullcrack
I felt that taking out a land and the Wrecking Ogres to an opponent playing Azorious Charm seemed best, and Denizens did absolutely nothing.
Game two wasn’t much of a game. I kept a hand with four lands and three one drops in it, and I knew that was probably a mistake. A plains was in my sideboard, so I felt slightly better about it, but I didn’t cast anything besides my three one drops the entire game. Mario then complained about his deck still being terrible after the game, but I still love playing Magic with him in any case.
5th and last round: Anupam Hridoi. It turns out that Anupam and Mario switched decks before the tournament started, and I knew this deck well. I lost the roll and played a Stonewright before Anupam’s Farseek. I hit him down to 7 after a Hellraiser Goblin and Midnight Haunting. I then proceeded to throw the game away. Facing down Master Biomancer and a large Arbor Elf, I Bloodrushed a token with an Ogre even though Anupam had open lands, instead of just playing it. My token was then sent back to my hand by a Simic Charm. After some profitable blocks, I lost the match because of it. It was a bad mistake, and I know Anupam well enough to not play like that.
Sideboarding: -3 Court Street Denizen -2 Pillar -2 Midnight Haunting +3Skullcrack +4 Reckless Waif
Denizens were never getting through anything and were too slow, so the Midnight Hauntings came out as well. I knew there were Thragtusks in the list, so Skullcrack found a home.
I led with a Waif, and Anupam didn’t have a spell. I hit him for three, and stared at a Waif, Waif, Cackler, Stonewright, land. I thought for a long time, deciding what to play. I evaluated the risks and rewards of playing both Waifs from my hand because my first Waif would flip back for doing so. I decided to go for it, and got lucky with Anupam not having a spell on turn 2. I attacked for 11 the following turn, and Anupam conceded.
Mario comes up with fun ideas for decks, and I definitely appreciate that about any Magic player. He has access to Elderscale Wurm in his sideboard, and I have zero outs to that card if I don’t bring in Oblivion Rings. Just this situation happened in my third game with Anupam, on turn 5, and I conceded the game, kicking myself for not being able to deal with the creature I knew I couldn’t beat.
I really would have liked access to Boros Charm, and Court Street Denizen underperformed. I actually felt confident with the rest of the deck, and my mistakes were through poor decisions. The smaller creatures were just as potent as the more expensive versions, and I like the interactions in it. I’d be interested to take in critiques on the 75 in the comments or around Jupiter.
I’ll be back again next week with another guild-themed deck, but, in the meantime, whether it’s the kitchen table or the feature match, have fun and keep brewing.