Deep Analysis – Out of the Shadows


With a full spoiler to look at, we can begin to evaluate cards and their potential in various formats.

Today I will be evaluating cards for the Standard environment and next week’s article will cover the eternal formats use of SOI.

The first card that sticks out in my mind for the Standard environment is Thalia’s Lieutenant.

The lieutenant is helps you go wide and go big but he is most productive in human centric build.  I have a couple of builds that seem to utilize his abilities the both are Abzan and Bant.

Cocoa Puffs ShellCocoa Puffs logo

4 Servant of the Scale
4 Deathcap Cultivator
4 Hanweir Militia Captain
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
4 Zulaport Cutthroat
2 Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
4 Den Protector
3 Liliana, Heretical Healer
2 Evolutionary Leap
4 Collected Company

Collected Company is still a powerhouse in standard and the Lieutenant lets you take even more advantage of the 4 mana instant from Dragons of Tarkir.  Every creature in the deck will come into play off CoCo.  While this new shell doesn’t have the endgame of the old Rally deck, it still has a very good long game strategy.  Besides the human synergy of the deck, there is also a synergy with +1/+1 counters.  Besides Thalia’s Lieutenant, we took a couple of cards from the G/w Hardened Scales deck in Servant of the Scale and Den Protector.  Den Protector can end a game rather quickly with its pseudo-unblockable trait.   Also new cards to this strategy are Deathcap Cultivator, a human mana fixer on an aggressive body, and Hanwier Militia Captain, a human that gets big for our go wide plan.

The Bant Shell of this deck uses Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (yep he is human) and the power of the Oath of the Gatewatch Human, Reflector Mage.

Thalia's Lieutenant by Johannes Voss

Thalia’s Lieutenant by Johannes Voss

4 Servant of the Scale
4 Avatar of the Resolute
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
4 Hanweir Militia Captain
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
4 Reflector Mage
4 Den Protector
4 Collected Company
3 Eerie Interlude

You will notice another new card in Eerie Interlude.  This card has some fantastic applications against board sweepers, chump blocking, and the reuse of enter the battlefield triggers (like Avatar, the Lieutenant, and Reflector Mage).

Welcome to the Fold
Welcome to the Fold by David Palumbo

Welcome to the Fold by David Palumbo

Hello Dominate.  I’ve missed you old friend.

Stealing creatures on a permanent or semi-permanent basis has been something that get touched on occasionally by R&D.  In blue, these typically are creatures or enchantments that do the stealing of permanents (Treachery, Control Magic, Sower of Temptation).  Welcome to the Fold is in more of the vein of Dominate from Nemesis.  This card also pairs well with Jace, Vry’s Prodigy as you can trigger the madness off his looting ability then recast the spell with Jace’s -3 ability.

Speaking of cards being good with Jace:

From Underneath the Floorboards

Three 2/2 Zombies and 3 life for 3BB is not bad at all.  X 2/2 zombies and X life is not bad at all at instant speed but they do come into play tapped.  This card is certainly not Sphinx’s Revelations but it is still good enough to see some play.  I can see UBx decks playing around with this card.

Another card that is very interesting to build around is Westvale Abbey.  I think there are a number of builds to look at here but I started with a BG CoCo build:

Dark Souls

Who dare disturbs my slumber?

Who dare disturbs my slumber?

4 Servant of the Scale
4 Blisterpod
4 Hangarback Walker
4 Bearer of Silence
4 Zulaport Cutthroat
4 Carrier Thrall
4 Catacomb Sifter
4 Matter Reshaper

4 Collected Company

Westvale Abbey
4 Llanowar Wastes
Foundry of the Consuls
4 Hissing Quagmire
4 Corrupted Crossroads
4 Forest
1 Swamp

Almost every creature in the deck gives you a 2-for-1, making it easier to go for the flip ability on Westvale Abbey.  In the meantime, you have a lot of cards that gum up the board and give you a long term advantage.  A 9/7 flying, lifelink, haste, indestructible creature will be hard to deal with.

Goldnight Castigatorgoldnightcastigator

I have a feeling that this card has some massive applications.  Granted, this is a card I’d want to side out in a burn matchup (double damage to me?  Toasty!) but a 4/9 flyer is hard to deal with.  Still not sure if this is a main deck card or a sideboard card but you don’t see a lot of 4 power evasive haste creatures for 4 mana.

The last card I want to talk about is actually a group of cards: Madness Vampires.

So who remembers a deck with a crazy name, Frog in a Blender? For Reference:

Frog in a Blender by Jay Schneider

4 Karplusan Forest
7 Mountain
6 Forest
4 Barbarian Ring

4 Raging Goblin
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Yavimaya Barbarian
4 Wild Mongrel

4 Reckless Charge
4 Firebolt
4 Sonic Seizure
4 Fiery Temper
4 Violent Eruption


4 Elvish Lyrist
3 Flametongue Kavu
2 Jade Leech
3 Mages’ Contest
2 Engulfing Flames
1 Keldon Necropolis

This was one of the decks to beat going in to Regionals… 2002. The deck was predicated on a very low curve to power out cheap threats and attempted to abuse cards with Flashback / Madness.
Also, if you never got a chance to discard a Fiery Temper to a Wild Mongrel to surprise kill and opponent, you might get a chance with similar cards.  This deck lead to another version of the deck that dominated the World Championships in 2003:

Wild Mongrel by Anthony Waters

Wild Mongrel by Anthony Waters

U/G Madness
Dave Humpherys
4th place – Worlds 2003

11 Island
8 Forest
1 Centaur Garden
2 City of Brass

4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Wild Mongrel
3 Arrogant Wurm
3 Wonder

3 Roar of the Wurm
4 Careful Study
4 Circular Logic
2 Deep Analysis
1 Krosan Reclamation
2 Quiet Speculation
1 Ray of Revelation
3 Unsummon

SB: 1 Deep Analysis
SB: 2 Envelop
SB: 1 Krosan Reclamation
SB: 2 Mana Leak
SB: 2 Nantuko Vigilante
SB: 2 Phantom Centaur
SB: 1 Ray of Revelation
SB: 1 Unsummon
SB: 1 Wonder

Hall of Famer Dave Humpherys brought this list to Worlds 2003 in Berlin to a 4th place finish.

This list has a number of cards that remind me of the Black Red Vampires that have been spoiled so far.  So what do I call this deck:

I Got Two Words For Ya…

Suck It!

Suck It!

4 Alms of the Vein
4 Fiery Temper
3 Murderous Compulsion

4 Falkenrath Gorger
3 Ravenous Bloodseeker
4 Heir of Falkenrath
4 Asylum Visitor
4 Olivia, Mobilized for War
4 Incorrigible Youths
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

4 Foreboding Ruins
4 Smoldering Marsh
7 Swamp
9 Mountain

The aggro curve of a 2/1 into a 3/1 or 3/2 flyer into a 4/3 haste creature backed up by Fiery Temper and Murderous Complusion with Alms of the Vein for the finish leaves your opponent feeling a bit run down and rather drained.  Stensia Masquerade is also a card I’ve looked at as it is a combat trick leaves your opponent getting blown out if they block or gives your whole team a permanent boost.  The bonus from Olivia often matter as well with her giving creatures haste, +1/+1 and the Vampire keyword for the ‘cost’ of discarding a card.  Kalitas finishes off this mostly aggressive curve with a 3/4 lifelink body that spawns Zombies when opponents creatures ‘die’.  Also, you could run Drana, Liberator of Malakir which would push more into the +1/+1 counter arena.

Until next time,

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