Out of the Box – Counter Blitz


     Hello and welcome fair readers. My name is Joe and I’ve been playing Magic the Gathering for nine years now. When I was first introduced to the game, I aspired to achieve victory as quickly as possible. Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to the color red, and during Lorwyn block I piloted a particular nasty elemental tribal deck. There was no finesse involved, at its finest and truest it was an incarnation of unbridled rage. As I continued to play, interact with my peers, and most importantly make friends, I learned that there was much more to the game than having the creature with the biggest stick. One day, I was sitting around a table with some buddies and a piece of wisdom was bestowed upon me.

“The rules to magic are simple and uniform. Follow the rules, until the cards break the rules. Then follow the cards.”

     That nugget of truth has stuck with me. Since that day, I have played every color and combination, and made many friends and enemies around the table. Those words refined me, a person who played primarily aggro and burn into a one who excelled at playing control and combo decks. In honesty, I sometimes find the aspect of deck design and fusion of mechanics  even more enthralling than the actual game itself. I was given a drive, to see how far could I push the boundaries. How much could I break the game. So I’d like to welcome you to to the first installment in a series I will be calling Out of the Box, where we take concepts from outside of the meta and run with them.

     Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a brew of my own design I call:

Counter Blitz

Creatures (19)
3x Chronozoa
3x Coiling Oracle
2x Chasm Skulker
4x Leech Bonder
2x Necrotic Ooze
3x Protean Hydra
2x Walking Archive
Land (21)
2x Breeding Pool
3x Forest
2x Hinterland Harbor
1x Island
4x Misty Rainforest
4x Opulent Palace
2x Overgrown Tomb
1x Swamp
2x Woodland Cemetery
2x Lightning Greaves
4x Paradise Mantle
2x Teferi’s Puzzle Box
Enchantment (5)
2x Hardened Scales
3x Utopia Vow
Instant (2)
3x Perplex

3x Abrupt Decay
2x Hurkyl’s Recall
2x Leyline of the Void
2x Ground Seal
2x Maelstrom Pulse
2x Notion Thief
2x Spreading Seas



      In the not so distant past, I stared down the barrel of a quickly multiplying Chronozoa and was awestruck. There is so much threat on this card! “I have to build a deck with this”, I thought to myself, but how do I take it a step further. My mind instinctively went to Doubling Season, but alas this would be counter intuitive. Parallel Lives would suit it better, but even still I wasn’t fond of the casting cost, too slow and clunky. I went digging deeper in the Gatherer for a means to remove the fade counters from a creature. The fruits of my efforts were sweet. What I found was something that could very easily be abused and familiar; In fact I’d seen it sorting through my bulk commons and uncommons.


      For a measly blue mana, Leech Bonder can untap itself and move a counter from a creature on to another creature. You heard that right: Untap itself, any counter, any creature. Want to sweeten the pot a little bit more? It’s a 3/3 for 3 mana and it comes loaded already with two -1/-1 counters. Opponent playing some pesky mana dorks? Handled. Facing down some Kitchen Finks? Gotcha covered. This D list merfolk is definitely a force to be trifled with, so how do I do I convert this outright menace. If you give it the ability to tap for a blue mana you can distribute counters amongst creatures on the board however you like indefinitely. If your opponent is playing bolster you can siphon of their efforts and buff your own creatures. This means you can move fade counters from your Chronozoas until the cows come home, but I think I can do better.


      Hardened scales costs a single mana, if its in play and there’s at least a single +1/+1 counter, you can make your creatures as big as you want. Have you ever aspired to take your opponent from twenty to zero by hitting them in the face with a single Birds of Paradise? I’ve done it and it is glorious. Protean Hydra works in a similar fashion to hardened scales, by moving a counter back and forth from the hydra you get as many counters as you want. So we can hit an opponent with a big stick or overrun them with tokens, but what happens if we get thwarted by some form of pillow fort.


       Plan C: Draw them out with Walking Archive. With the powers of manipulation at your beck and call you can stop your opponent from drawing extra cards during each of their turns, and then net an extra on yours. When the time is right you can channel all the counters to this handy defender and make them draw out their entire deck plus one.


        I know what you’re thinking. This idea seems flimsy. What if your opponent decides to fry your chicken  or your important Leech Bonder. If all else fails and you can’t get Lightning Greaves equipped to your vulnerable targets and you end up with both Leech Bonder and Birds of Paradise in your graveyard you can play Necrotic Ooze and get everything back online. In order to quickly establish combo pieces, I’ve included Perplex(Counterspell by day, tutor for any of your three drops by night) and Coiling Oracle to expedite your journey through your library.


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