Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Phoenix Force GO!!!

"Use the Force Luke!" - Obi Wan Kenobi, Star Wars

Type 2 yet again...

Since I didn't have a chance to mess with my decks that much prior to last Friday's FNM I figure I'll give it the old college try once more.

Here is what I think could do pretty decent...

Phoenix Force Go!!!

Creatures: 5
Kuldotha Phoenix x 4
Wurmcoil Engine x 1

Artifacts: 15
Chimeric Mass x 4
Everflowing Chalice x 4
Ratchet Bomb x 2
Brittle Effigy x 1
Crystal Ball x 3
Culling Dias x 1

Sorceries: 17
Destructive Force x 4
All is Dust x 3
Cultivate x 4
Explore x 4
Growth Spasm x 2

Lands: 23
Raging Ravine x 4
Rootbound Crag x 4
Terramorphic Expanse x 3
Forests x 6
Mountains x 6

Sideboard: 15
Acidic Slime x 2
Slice in Twain x 3
Pyroclasm x 4
Comet Storm x 3
Manic Vandal x 3

A few blogs ago I mentioned how much I love Kuldotha Phoenix. Since I never had a chance to build that previous Metalcraft RDW, I figure to shift that idea over to this deck.

This deck is obviously a Destructive Force Ramp deck that uses a different win condition other then Titans and Avenger of Zenidikars since I have none of either.

The basic strategy:

Phase One: Ramp early lands and accelerate.
Phase Two: Develop and Protect your board. Stick a Chimeric Mass
Phase Three: Destructive Force and beat face with Chimeric Mass

Sounds easy but I don't think it will be.

After checking States lists, Valakut Ramp is still the Top Deck with UWx Control Decks and some UB Control decks rearing their ugly heads.

So why is Phoenix Force better then Valakut Ramp? Valakut is money because you are basically killing your opponent with irrelevant spells for the most part. I mean, who really wants to Mana Leak a Cultivate when you can counter a Primeveal Titan? Every game I've played against Valakut I've lost to the namesake card but off the back of a Cultivate or Explore. Never an actual threat.

Back to the question. Why is Phoenix Force better then Valakut Ramp? It kills Valakut. If you can out ramp them early and get a Destructive Force off before Titan drops, you win that game. Before dropping the Force, you want to be able to stick early artifacts and ramp into a 5/5 or 6/6 Mass. Post-Force you can begin the beatings only needing one available mana, which probably comes off of Everflowing Chalice. If you don't stick the Mass, your ramp spells become more relevant because you are racing to hit metal craft or stick a Mass. Metalcraft here is key because you can start beating with Phoenix out of the grave. Those are the main keys to victory.

I'll explain the card choices.

Destructive Force is the closest thing in the new Scars Standard to Cruel Ultimatum. Automatically it's a 5-for-1 and if they have dudes, you gain even more value. Played in this deck, you get extra value off of cards that are normally sub-par.

Obviously Phoenix and Chimeric Mass are your roads to victory. I can't say enough how much I think this Phoenix is one of the better Phoenix's printed. Metalcraft isn't that difficult to hit. Renewable threats are amazing. Haste and evasion are no joke either. My only concern is the during upkeep only of the resurrection. Chimeric Mass, for some reason to me, is an amazing artifact. I just feel it is so flexible, can drop early and block, start early beats as a 2/2 or 3/3 or fight later on as a 6/6 or 7/7. The biggest thing for me is that Mass survives DoJs, All is Dust and the name sake card, Destructive Force. Combo'd with Force, Mass becomes a house. Wurmcoil Engine x 1 if just funny to me. Wurmcoil should probably a 3-of but I need to get more. This creature is money yet beatable. It eats most creatures and gives you insane value when it fights Titans. I think I need 2 more.

Ramp spells are also obvious. I'm normally opposed to Ramp decks after reading an amazing article by PVDR on Channelfireball.com. He basically says that Ramp decks pose the issue of bad draws. You put yourself in bad positions a lot of the time because you can draw all your ramp and no action spells or all your business spells and no ramp. But I digress. Even if I draw all action spells, the curve is nice enough to not need the ramp and I can go midrange either being the beatdown by playing early Masses or being the control. If things get hectic I just toss Phoenix in the grave during discard so he can fight again.

Everflowing Chalice is key because you can stick a 2 or 3 counter Chalice and be in better shape to a faster Force and amazing shape post Force. Plus it helps reach Metalcraft.

Ratchet Bomb also helps achieve Metalcraft. It's main function is to fight aggro decks. It creates a situation for the beatdown player to over commit to the board and walk right into a Destructive Force. When that happens, I just 8-for-1'd my opponent.

Brittle Effigy is a 1-of for Metalcraft and to prevent my opponent from trying to hit that Titan. If I turn 1 an Effigy it changes how they play their game. They need at least two Titans, one to draw the Effigy and another after the Effigy is used.

Crystal Ball is key to the deck for a few reasons. First, obviously it activates Metalcraft and is unlikely to be targeted for hate. Second, it helps reach a Force faster by hitting lands and ramp as well as getting yourself out of trouble post-Force. At first glance Crystal Ball isn't really that good compared to say, Jace the Mind Sculptor, that's obvious. But in a deck that can't run a third color, let alone double blue, the Ball fits in just perfectly. Back in the day when I played Type 2, us older dudes know Standard as Type 2, Ernageddon and Ernham Burn'em decks were amazing. A key card to both of those decks was Sylvan Library. For you youngsters, Sylvan Library was a 2cc green enchantment that let you draw two additional cards and put them back on top of your library in any order. You could pay 4 life a card to draw any of the extra cards. In the two aforementioned decks, each had a lock out strategy, GW Ernageddon used Armageddon and Ernham Burn'em used Jokulhaups (sp?), to lock their opponents out and to get ahead. Post blowing up the board, Sylvan Library would help to dig out of the hole and get better board position. Crystal Ball plays the similar role. If I can ramp, stick a Ball and then Force, hopefully killing all their dudes and land, I can get ahead and win the race.

The last artifact, that is a 1-of, is Culling Dias. I think this card can be the tits with a renewable creature like say, Kuldotha Phoenix, to keep sacrificing and bringing back. Say I stick a Dias and ramp to a hasty Phoenix. They have a Plains up and I make them for Condemn. I attack anyways. They go to Condemn my Firebird and I sack to the Dias. I gain a counter and I bring Firebird back next turn. Maybe next time they have a Journey to Nowhere on their turn. I sack to the Dias and bring back the 4/4. Let's say they stick a Baneslayer and swing. I block with my Bird and sac. They gain no life. I Force and then bring back my 4/4. At some point, post-Force, I need cards. I sack the Dias and Ancestral Recall. Not bad if it comes to that.

The last card to discuss maindeck is All is Dust. This is basically a reset button if things get out of hand with creatures and planeswalkers and I'm not ready to use the Force. If my opponent over commits then All is Dust is amazing. Only issue is it doesn't hit Artifact dudes or Eldrazi so that may be an issue as a 3-of, especially if I hit a big casting cost hand and no ramp.

Sideboard is thrown together right now and think it out better another time.

But I'd love to get testing as soon as I can, well, as soon as I get back from Chicago and if I have time. Until next time.


  1. From the looks of things I wouldn't worry about being down on mana being four up on Chalice is effectively 27 land. The only thing I wonder is if the early game is able to defend against against a swarm of weenies since the earliest I see a creature hitting the board is turn four. Should shenanigans not be going down by then you should be able to turn it around.

  2. I only tested against Goblins RDWs with a very fast clock and lost all 5 games in short order. But I never hit any Ratchet Bombs in ANY of the games. I think Pyroclasm would come out of the board and All is Dust and Effigy come out. The one game the deck worked well, I got a turn 4 Destructive Force, my opponent stuck Koth and hit runner runner mountains. Any other card other then Koth and that game would have been mine.