OK, so this is a little off the wall, but my brother Ben is going to be visiting for New Year’s and will be staying through the weekend (we’re going to the Texans-Patriots game that Sunday). Ben is a long-time Magic player (he’s played longer than me, in fact), but has always been a casual player. Small card pools, multiplayer at the kitchen table, that kind of thing. He’s never played a sanctioned tournament (or probably ever with a really tuned deck) before, but he wants to come with me to FNM while he’s here after we’ve gorged ourselves on bowl games on Jan 1st. I’ll obviously need to prep him a little on tournament play, but it’s FNM so nothing too serious there.
The real issue is with decks. What should we play? I don’t have cards for any two arbitrary Standard decks. Here are the decks I can build with the cards I have around:
I might fiddle with the mana base a bit (dump the Scalding Tarn and the Terramorphic in favor of a pair of Naya Panorama), but it’d be basically this list. The advantages of this deck are that it’s pretty easy to play and that it’s actually a pretty good matchup against Jund.
There’s also a version based on blue as the splash instead of red:
Only slightly harder to play, but there’s almost nothing out there to handle pro-red guys and again, it’s straightforward in concept.
I’m sure the Austrians playtested this more than I have, but I really like a 4th Wall of Denial over the third Jace. Err, and I only own two Jace’s. (Note that today’s LSV column is based on this deck. He agrees that there should be 4 Wall of Denial; now I have to think about some of his other changes. I will not play Spreading Seas main deck, though.) Now, this is obviously harder to play, but there will be almost zero sideboard hate for it, I think, as I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this around FNM at our store.
Now, for something completely different:
I don’t think in the main deck that it’s quite as good against Jund as the earlier options, but the sideboard is helps a great deal and the deck has the advantage of being a total blast to play… this deck is just fun.
Now, there are two other decks that have some appeal. I don’t quite have the cards for but I’m pretty close and I’d be willing to get the rest of what’s needed to get there:
This should be pretty easy to play, I’d think. I could also generate a mono-Red RDW-style deck fairly easily.
Another mono-colored option would be something like this:
Again, this shouldn’t be too hard to play.
I know, it’s a goofy build, but in mono-black I just have to play one Hyppie just for nostaligia and I only have 3 Bloodghasts and 3 Bloodwitches. (I only have one Vampire Nocturnus, but I’d suck up the other three if my brother really wants to play this.) Now, the main deck Marsh Casualties may be a little odd but I think is actually the right thing; that’s a really good card.
Now, I could build some form of Boros Bushwhacker, too, except that I don’t have any Ranger of Eos. I guess those are cheaper than Vampire Nocturni, so that’s a viable option as well. No Jund, I have basically none of those cards. (Seriously, I just came back to the game right after Zendikar came out, and I hate playing what everyone else is playing so I haven’t been motivated to get any.) No G/W since I lack many of those cards (no Knight of the Reliquary or Noble Hierarch or Lotus Cobra.) No Grixis, I don’t have any Ultimatums.
The other consideration is that I only have one playset of Arid Mesa, Scalding Tarn, and only 3 Marsh Flats, plus only 2 Baneslayers and only 4 Paths. So we couldn’t both really play decks that are heavy white, but one of us could, and then the other could play the Valakut deck or Vampires, or something like that.
So, my question for anyone who can provide informed input: which pair of decks should we play? (Ben, your input is, of course, paramount. Anything look particularly appealing to you?)