Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Terra-ble Esper Deck

So, I got this idea from reading Noel DeCordova's "From The Lab" article, but it's not stolen directly so I consider it fair.

During the Worldwake Prerelease, I opened a Terra Eternal and considered it a junk rare. I figured it would never go in a limited deck, it may be sideboarded in some formats against heavy land destruction but that's about it. I just remembered today that the whole theme of WWK was that whole lands thing, meaning that Terra Eternal in fact says "2W: Your creatures are indestructible". This makes this card significantly more playable in the right deck (I would imagine drafting this, then pulling every zendikon and manland aftwerwards. Probably impossible in ZZW, but eh it's still a synergy).

I started trying to build a deck around it, like I always do. At first I felt like I needed to go five color, to use all the manlands and zendikons. I threw in an Awakener Druid and the deck ended up looking like a typical ramp deck but missing all the ramp cards. It was a super awkward deck. I did not like. Sure, I had Amulet of Vigor to make my mana base feel less awkward, but still.

I realized that Awakener Druid says Forest, so he got cut. Also, my 12 manlands were useless since their activation cost means that I'll rarely be able to activate more than one at a time. Overall though the deck was still very weak, so I scrapped it.

This time I decided to just rank all the manlands and zendikons to see what would work best. Immediately the U/B manland jumped out at me, as did the U and B Zendikons, them being the fastest out and so the most aggressive, as well as the most useful with a Terra Eternal on the board. Awkwardly the white Zendikon is Terrable (not in a good way), especially in this deck. So I decided that this would be an Esper deck, awkwardly locking me out of Green and the Explores and other Land-lubbing cards. Oh well.

So what is fun with those? I still like Amulet of Vigor a lot, and it really helps with manlands and the Arcanes, as well as all the Enter the Thunderdome Tapped lands that trigger something (like Halimar Depths, for example) [Note: remember that 2 Amulet of Vigor do in fact stack triggers, so playing a land gives you 2 mana with 2 Amulets out].

Board wipe is also great in a manland centric deck, since I'm not killing anything I care about. If I have Terra Eternal out the Day of Judgments get even better, but even without that the Zendikons at least rebounce a Halimar Depths to my hand.

I decided also to toy around with Treasure Hunt, which meant the usual Ponders (I've gotten used to the fact that I can't actually build a blue deck without them). Then just for fun I put in a single Jace, the Mind Sculptor, since I haven't gotten to play him yet.

I briefly toyed with running some sort of way to protect Terra Eternal from being removed, but decided I'd just leave it and hope that I can Ponder another one if they remove it. Though Naturalize-ing it mid-combat might be a super blowout.

So I ended up with a deck that looks playable, though I haven't gotten to test it out yet. I threw in the Spreading Seas mainly for a pseudo-land destruction effect. And I guess it's ok against Jund, I guess. After playing it I'll be able to see how consistently I hit an early Amulet of Vigor, meaning how able I am to play all these ETTT lands.

Here's a rough list, again before playtesting:

Spells x32
4 Terra Eternal
4 Wind Zendikon
4 Corrupted Zendikon
1 Martial Coup
4 Day of Judgment
4 Amulet of Vigor
2 Spreading Seas
4 Treasure Hunt
4 Ponder
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Lands x 28 [Is this too land-heavy? Maybe. I'll see how I feel after playing it a bit. I don't think it is since most of the lands are basically 0 mana sorceries or just uncounterable creatures]
2 Celestial Colonnade
1 Bojuka Bog
4 Halimar Depths
4 Creeping Tar Pit
2 Dread Statuary
1 Kabira Crossroads
1 Magosi, the Waterveil
4 Arcane Sanctum
3 Swamp
3 Island
3 Plains

Sideboard: [I have no idea what decks this will be weak to. I think it's a little too mid-rangy to be able to deal with a fast aggro deck, and I think the presence of manlands gives it a huge edge on control. Point is, this sideboard is a rough idea, though it should probably be more geared against faster decks and worry less about planeswalkers and Sphinx of Jwar Isles]
2 Spreading Seas
4 Baneslayer Angel
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Path to Exile
2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Martial Coup

[Note: I did totally steal that pun. Whatever man. Whatever]