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Thread: [Deck] The Rock

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    [Deck] The Rock

    The Rock


    Thanks to Xenoninja from Mtgsalvation for the awesome banner!


    The old thread can be found at: http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ead.php?11737-[Deck]-The-Rock

    1. Origins
    2. Playstyle
    3. Evolution
    4. Card choices
    5. Basic Strategy
    6. Aggro vs. Control
    7. Decklists
    8. Sideboard choices
    9. Matchup analysis
    10. Records
    11. Additional information



    1. Origins

    The origin of this name is a G/B deck featuring Phyrexian Plaguelord and Deranged Hermit, originally made by Jelger Wiegersma many, many years ago for Urza Block Constructed PTQs. It was plucked from the internet by Sol Malka, who tuned and popularized it and named the deck “The Rock and its Millions”. Jeroen Remie (the world’s most renowned Rock expert) explained that this name came from a WWE wrestler named The Rock (he later became an actor). His special gimmick was that he channeled the power of all of his fans, so that was The Rock and his Millions. In terms of the Magic deck that borrowed the name, The Rock refers to Phyrexian Plaguelord and his Millions, which refers to Deranged Hermit. People then played this “The Rock and its Millions” deck for a long time, and the “Rock” part of that name stuck even after the namesake cards were removed. People started associating “Rock” with any mid-range Green/Black deck, not just the Phyrexian Plaguelord version. And over the course of the years, “Rock” has become a synonym for any Green/Black mid-range deck.


    2. Playstyle

    The Rock refers to the control ability of the deck. It is what you fall back on, your “Rock.” When I first started playing in late 90’s early 2000’s, I remember first hearing of the “Rock” deck and wondered what it meant. I received various responses, but many replied with, “Answers to everything.” The Rock plays varying amounts of threats, coupled with both proactive and reactive spells to control the game to the point where we can win. This sounds like most decks, but it really isn’t. Rock is typically played in some combination of Black, White, and Green. Rock rarely plays vanilla creatures, opting instead for Evasion, comes into play effects, or creatures that are just plain devastating and must be answered when they hit the table. Rock also plays efficient trumps to other threats, commonly known as “answers.” Most of these include spell based answers to permanents, and discard for hand-based threats. Rock is very much a reactive deck, foiling your Plan A with its regular style of play, called “Plan A” by the Rock player. Should your Plan B happen to come online, Rock usually has some sort of answer for that too, also commonly called “Plan A” by the Rock player. What Rock lacks in specified answers it makes up for in cards that are generally good in most situations, rather than pinpoint reactions against pinpoint cards. Most choices cover an archetype of a strategy, such as Aggro or say, Control trumps. This is quite the opposite of many inclusions in many decks, in which X is an answer for Y, whereas in Rock, X is an answer for M through Z.

    Rock typically goes one of a few ways: either heavy control, disruption based aggro, or mid-range beats with a good amount of answers. Typically the middle-road is taken, as it takes on the very essence of Rock: being good against many things, but not overwhelmingly amazing against any particular archetype.

    3. Evolution

    Rock has changed as each passing block adds more card to the deck. As time passed from Urza’s block onward, changes didn’t occur rapidly to many lists. Many played the standby list of big fatties with discard and removal, all of which had very limited option until Invasion block hit. Invasion is probably the premiere influence in the evolution of modern Rock-based decks, and started turning Rock into the deck it’s known for post-2000. Invasion block focused on multicolour concoctions, and had been in production for years to showcase the similarities, strengths, and differences of the different colour schemes. This led to a very important evolution of the deck: the start, or the increase in the number of Rock decks running three colours. Pre-Apocalypse, Rock was primarily in Green-Black, with some people splashing for Swords to Plowshares. Apocalypse brought Pernicious Deed, Phyrexian Arena, Vindicate, Spiritmonger, and loads of other good stuff. The true Rock deck of the modern age was born.

    Since then, sets have added cards here and there. Onslaught added Fetchlands for improved consistency, Fifth Dawn added Engineered Explosives and Eternal Witness (although EE was not used to its full potential until much later), Champions of Kamigawa added Top (again, not used until much later). Then came Ravnica, which added Loxodon Hierarch, and more importantly, Dark Confidant. Dark Confidant, and card draw in particular, gave the deck its ultimate strategy: use efficient answers, in combination with massive card advantage to overwhelm your opponent. Having more answers to fewer threats was paramount for the Rock deck. Later sets brought Tarmogoyf, Kitchen Finks, Maelstrom Pulse, Knight of the Reliquary and the use of utility lands, Thoughtseize, and other cards to name a few. The combination of powerful creatures at the cost of multiple colours/high cost, efficient removal and card advantage was finally hatched, creating Legacy Rock.

    4. Card Choices

    In Rock decks of modern day, many of the builds share similar cards. I’ll refer to the core cards used in a large percentage of Rock decks, followed by those used in some decks, but not all.

    Creatures:

    Tarmogoyf: The new staple creature of Legacy, Tarmogoyf provides a formidable beater early in the game and gets larger as Rock blows more crap up. An efficient creature is an auto-include in most aggro to midrange Rock decks.

    Knight of the Reliquary: The new kid on the block, KotR is soon becoming a staple in Rock builds of all types, due to his ability to get bigger than most other creatures previously used in Rock, and for his land fetching capability. He prevents colour screw by tutoring for the lands you need and gets bigger by doing it. He can also find fetchlands, which can crack to find other lands, pumping himself up by 2. Some combat tricks used with him are: blocking, and before damage searching for lands to increase his P/T ratio; attacking then untapping after damage but before end of combat using Maze of Ith, which can also be tutored for by Knight; searching for specialty lands to hose the graveyard (Bojuka Bog), provide blockers (Nantucko Monastery), and provide recursion (Volrath’s Stronghold). All in all, Knight is proving his worth as a 5/5 to 10/10 and up creature for 3 mana.

    Eternal Witness: Usually played in more controlling builds, Eternal Witness allows you to replay backbreaking spells over and over again. Most people running Aggro builds have dropped Witness in favour of faster answers. Coupled with Pernicious Deed blowing up for more than 3, Witness and Pernicious Deed can combo in loops, with Witness fetching Deed, playing Deed and blowing up for more than 3, and returning Witness with Volrath’s Stronghold.

    Dark Confidant: Used in Rock builds with lower mana curves, Confidant provides serious card advantage that is used to crush your opponent. Although very fragile, he can also attack when you don’t have any other pressure on board. Coupled with Sensei’s Divining Top, Confidant can draw you cards while manipulating your library for minimal loss of life. Coupled with fetchlands, you rarely take huge damage from Confidant. He’s pretty much an auto-include in most builds today.

    Stoneforge Mystic: Used in some Aggro builds, it allows you to fetch weapons tech to flesh out creature on creature battles. A very useful tool, but does have to be built around. The main pieces of equipment to use with Stoneforge Mystic are Umezawa’s Jitte, Sword of Light and Shadow, and Sword of Fire and Ice. In this deck, I think Jitte and SoLS are best, because Jitte is VERY good and can destroy opposing Jittes if need be, and SoLS allows recursion.

    Loxodon Hierarch: Another creature used in slower builds, Hierach is a 4/4 beater than nets you life as a CiTP ability. Being able to regenerate your team can very, very crucial in certain times during certain games. Although deemed slow, he’s still an inclusion in many control builds to stay online late enough in the game to win.

    Kitchen Finks: The quicker replacement for Loxodon is a 3/2 Persist that nets you 4 life total over its lifetime. It is used against other Aggro based strategies, as it provides you with two blockers and 4 life. It also combines very well with Deed, and gives you creatures after a Deed on 3 or more, and you get some life out of him too. Many rock builds play him in either the main or board, or both.

    Tombstalker: Not as common as the other creatures listed, but a worthy inclusion in many builds needing a large beater with evasion. In some builds, he can come down very early to seal the game. In others, he beats for five when there’s nothing left to stop him after you’ve ground out your opponent. He’s not played very often due to the popularity of Dark confidant, and the possibility of blind revealing a Tombstalker and getting hit for 8 isn’t appealing to most players. When he is played, he’s played usually in control based builds, or those without Dark Confidant.

    Qasali Pridemage: Used in tempo builds to combat the rising use of powerful artifacts and enchantments. It also gives all your singular attacks an extra boost, making your Goyf bigger than theirs. All in all, a very solid utility creatures, especially with recursion.

    Doran, the Siege Tower: Although the mana cost isn’t the easiest to get on turn 3, Doran is a 5/5 beater for 3, which is great. He turns any walls you play (in Control builds) into 4/4 and 5/5’s, and lets your Birds attack for damage, and makes Goyf bigger. Many lists have dropped him for Knight of the Reliquary, as Doran’s 5/5 isn’t as good as a 10/10 down the road.

    Nantuko Shade: Again, not another common choice now, but more relevant in the past. Nantucko swings for 5 on turn 3 if played on turn 2, and is a very efficient beater. As of late, he’s been outclassed by other creatures, and he does hog your mana base as you usually want to pump him up. Not a terrible choice in the slightest, but not as common as other creatures.

    Shriekmaw: Again, not very common, but used in control builds usually coupled with recursion. It’s usually played for its Evoke cost and returned later in the game.

    Lord of Extinction: Some play this in control builds. If this card had trample, it’d be epic. Unfortunately, it’s just a big dumb beater with no evasion. But, it’s very good after Deeding away the board, and then swinging in with impunity.

    Spiritmonger: One of the main fatties used when Rock burst into its new era post-Apocalypse. Since then, cheaper creatures have made Spiritmonger largely irrelevant, but he still sees some play in older lists.

    Spells:

    Thoughtseize: Most Rock decks like to use hand disruption as card advantage, and Thoughtseize is the best of them all, allowing you to take any non-land card you want at a cost of two life. If a Rock deck is playing hand disruption, this is an auto-include.

    Hymn to Tourach: Another piece of hand disruption that is too good not to play if you’re in hand disruption mode.
    Gerrard’s Verdict: Usually played a supplement to Thoughtseize and Hymn, or played in place of Hymn if the deck has trouble getting double black on turn 2. It is somewhat worse because it allows your opponent to choose what they discard.

    Duress: Usually played in conjunction with Thoughtseize to combat combo and control based strategies.

    Inquisition of Kozilek: Played along with Thoughtseize, or as a replacement for Thoughtseize. As you have an upside for not losing life, you lose the ability to nab anything that costs 3 or more. Usually used as Thoughtseizes 5-6, or when on a budget.

    Swords to Plowshares: One of the main reasons to splash white, removing any creature for an exchange of life for one white makes this an auto-include in every Rock deck I know. There’s no reason you can’t play 4.

    Path to Exile: Usually played as Swords 5-8 in the main or board, Path exchanges creature removal for tempo advantage. It’s used in more agro builds where you don’t want to give your opponent life.

    Vindicate: Permanent removal at its finest. For 1BW, kill any single permanent on the board. At 3 CMC, it usually dodges Counterbalance and can kill Jace, a land, any creature…anything. Most Rock decks play at least 2, if not 4.

    Maelstrom Pulse: A Vindicate that doesn’t hit lands, but hits multiple non-land permanents. It’s very useful in all of Vindicate’s non-land destruction applications, with the added bonus of being able to kill one to however many things are on the board. Useful for killing tokens, planeswalkers, creatures, multiple enchantments and artifacts (Ghostly Prisons, Mox Diamonds). Also, it’s not usually the colour named against Rock by Iona (White), so it deals with Iona, too. Be careful of friendly fire, though. Usually used as Vindicate #5-6, or as a split.

    Pernicious Deed: Blowing up the world X and under for X is good. Really good. Problem being is it kills your own stuff. It’s typically used in more control builds, as it kills your own stuff and is better with long game recursion engines. But, it clears away tokens, and kills everything, A very solid board control card used in many builds.

    Engineered Explosives: Allows you to pinpoint Deed the board on the CMC that’s giving you trouble. It’s usually a turn faster than Deed, but doesn’t blow up everything on the board. Usually used in more Aggro builds. Remember you can dodge Counterbalance by paying more in one colour (ex. Pay 2 Green and 1 Black for Sunburst 2, but CMC 3 against Counterbalance/Spell Snare).

    Phyrexian Arena: Card draw engine used in Rock builds with higher mana curves. Not as fast as Dark Confidant, but the life loss can be much less, and harder to remove. Use extensively before Dark Confidant, it’s now much less common due to sheer speed.

    Sensei’s Divining Top: Over the past couple of years, Top has been used to abuse Dark Confidant, and to make the deck more consistent when in topdeck mode. It allows you to dig 3 per turn, or 4 with Confidant, allowing you to find the cards you need when you need them. Usually an auto-include in most builds for consistency purposes.

    Elspeth, Knight-Errant: Played in control builds or in Aggro builds as a 1-2 of, it allows you to create blockers and get attackers flying in the air against either Planeswalkers or the opposing player. It’s a bit slow, but doesn’t get hit by Deed and is hard to Explosives away. Once you go ultimate, you needn’t worry about opposing land destruction or Maelstrom Pulse friendly fire. Also helps against Moat, in case you needed any, but usually puts 10/10 KotR’s into flying mode.

    Enlightened Tutor: E. Tutor allows you to run a toolbox sideboard of enchantments, with a little bit of everything for the matchup you need. Most run 1 Enlightened in the main, along with 3 in the board, along with 6-10 tutor targets. It allows some versatility in your answers to certain threats, and makes your opponent constantly guess at what other tricks you have up your sleeve. Some notable inclusions to be used in the tutorboard are: Dueling Grounds, Pernicious Deed, Oblivion Ring, Ghostly Prison, Engineered Plague, Engineered Explosives, Choke, Rule of Law, and others.

    Ghastly Demise: Another option in addition to Swords/Path. Most of the time, this will be just as good, but it doesn’t target black creatures, on the other hand, the opponent doesn’t a get a cookie for their creature.

    Mana sources/accelerants:

    Noble Hierarch: Doesn’t tap for black, but pumps your creatures, provides a blocker, and overall puts you ahead by one in mana. Basically, the best mana accelerant in most midrange builds.

    Mox Diamond: Used in many tempo rock Builds, Mox Diamond pitches a land to pump Knight and gives you some mana. Some don’t like it due to mana instability (it’s easily killed, plus you have to pitch lands you can’t get back). In decks concerned about tempo, this isn’t an issue, and allows for many turn 2 plays on turn 1. Tied with Noble in terms of mana acceleration and overall usefulness.

    Birds of Paradise: Used in control builds, usually alongside Doran. Produces all colours and blocks, but doesn’t do much else. Easily dies to Deed and EE’s like all mana acceleration.

    Wall of Roots: Usually played with Doran, proves a good block against Aggro until you can get up and running.

    Wall of Blossoms: Not really a mana producer, more of an accelerant. Played commonly with Doran, and help you fight Aggro and gives you some card advantage.

    Sakura Tribe Elder: Another control Element, it allows you to block and sacrifice before damage, allowing you to search out basic lands and chump a dude for a turn.

    Veteran Explorer: Gives both you and your opponent an advantage, but many Legacy decks play few or no basics. Used in Control Rock builds with many basics, and where you benefit from the acceleration more than they do. Not terribly common.

    Land choices/Numbers:

    This will really depend on whether or not you play mana accelerants, which ones you play, and if you play Knight of the Reliquary.

    If playing Knight of the Reliquary, as you probably should be, it gives you access to many specialty lands as well as a large creature. You should be playing 7-9 Fetchlands with Knight of the Reliquary. They allow you to fetch for basics is you need to more often, and allow you to get the land you want. They also pump Knight. Total land number is usually in the neighbourhood of 20-23, with most people opting for about 22 with mana sources (either Noble Hierarch or Mox Diamond).

    For number of dual lands, it depends how consistent vs. how susceptible to Wasteland you want to be. Truffle Shuffle plays 0 Basic lands and all Duals, but is consistent as it gets in terms of lands. Most Rock decks now play between 3-8 basics, with the average being 3-5. I personally like 4 or 5, since it makes me less vulnerable to colour screw by opposing Wastelands. Most people playing Wasteland in their Rock deck tend to play fewer basics themselves, however. This is really just a personal choice, and what you feel comfortable playing with. In terms of number of Duals, it can range from between 6 to 10, on average. Usually, 4 Scrublands, 4 Bayou, and 1 Savannah are played (depending on the colour ratios, as well), or 4 Bayou, 3 Scrubland, 1 Savannah, etc. I think it’s necessary to play the 1-of Savannah if your main focus isn’t GW because many times you’ll need an extra green to put down more Goyfs, and the extra white to Plow more. Many times however you’ll be going for the black duals, but at times, Savannah is a real life-saver.

    Specialty

    So we’ve got approximately 8 fetches, 4 Basics, and 8 duals. We’ve got two slots left! If you’re playing Wasteland, you’ll probably have 2-3 Basics with 1-2 slots leftover. This allows us to get to the goodies that the searching ability of Knight grants us access to.

    Volrath’s Stronghold: Useful in the fact it allows for long game recursion, and lets you play dead creature over and over. Very useful with Evoke or Sacrifice effect creatures, such as Qasali Pridemage, Shriekmaw, Kitchen Finks recursion, allows Deed loops with Eternal Witness and blowing Deed on 3+, etc. A very useful utility land that should be considered for all decks running KotR that aren’t straight up aggro.

    Horizon Canopy: A painland Savannah with the ability to sac to draw cards. Used in New Horizons fame, Canopy gives you card advantage and Knight gets pumped. A decent card to say the least, but many lists have dropped the numbers to 1-2, or none at all.

    Nantuko Monastery: In most games, you’ll have Threshold after a few turns. The point? You can have a tutorable 4/4 first striker that can be searched out with knight. 4/4 is nothing to sneeze at, nevermind first strike. A very good offensive and defensive card, many mid-range builds play it as a one of.

    Wasteland: I’m assuming you haven’t included it in your 22 lands, so if you have, nevermind. Adding even two Wastelands just for tutoring can be excellent. Mainly, the 4-of Wasteland plan is designed for screwing your opponent over, but can also be done more efficiently by searching them out every turn with Knight, thereby pumping him as well. A very good card, but can lead to some colour screw on your behalf.

    Bojuka Bog: With all the graveyards running around, it’s good to get rid of them. Nothing’s more fun than an opposing Knight running into yours, but you block and search for Bog. Win! Also helps against Dredge, Vengevine, Loam, Lands, etc. A very useful card to have around.

    Karakas: The tutorable answer to Emrakul or Iona. Allows you to bounce them back to their hand, and lets you keep chugging away. It deserves a slot in either the side or main, unless you expect to see zero Reanimator/Dredge/Retainer Survival/Sneak Attack.

    Maze of Ith: Maze is great because it untaps large creatures (ex. Iona) attack you, but you can also untap your own attackers to save them as blockers after they’re dealt damage. Its use significantly improves with the use of Dueling Grounds in the board. All in all, very solid.

    Knight of the Reliquary Combat Tricks

    Remember your Knight combat tricks: Block, then search for a land (usually a fetch, crack it for another land to pump by 2) before damage is dealt, so you can pump your Knight. Also, if you have Maze of Ith in play, you can attack, and then untap it during the “End of Combat” phase, after damage has been dealt, leaving you with a nice blocker. As well, if you don’t need to crack fetchlands, leave them in play uncracked when you attack. Most opponents may not see the fact you’ve got the ability to pump on demand as they’re too busy making decisions. Then, when he blocks with a slightly larger creature or multiple creatures, crack fetchlands to pump and possibly keep Knight alive.

    Overall, you should have 22-23 Lands, and possibly 3-4 Mana accelerants. Mana acceleration is good because you want to play your backbreaking spells and your answers as early as you can. You might stall for a turn playing an accelerant, but it puts you ahead the next turn. Turn 1 Hymn is good, as is a turn 2 Vindicate. Which mana source depends on your play style. Mox Diamond is more aggro and pumps your Knight, but you lose actual lands for more explosive turn 1 plays. Noble Hierarch gives your creatures exalted, and you don’t lose actual lands. Problem is it doesn’t produce black. There are benefits and shortcomings of each choice: Weight them against your particular build to see which is right for you.

    5. Basic Strategy

    Rock has a few main strategies it uses to win and to interact (or not) with opponents.


    Discard:

    Discard provides card advantage by getting rid of stuff before it hits the table. It’s very useful for getting a peek at what your opponent it actually playing, and allows you to map out their plays for the next couple of turns. Most aggro builds run a suite of discard, as it allows you to get an early up on your opponent, and gives you game against combo. As the game progresses into the late game, discard can becomes less relevant. For that reason, many Control-Rock lists don’t run discard at all.

    Removal/board control:

    If and when something does hit the board, Rock packs a powerful removal suite in either pinpointed destruction or mass sweepers. This allows Rock to handle most things that the opponent can throw at us, from Enchantments to Planeswalkers to creatures. Rock is particularly good out either outclassing or straight up destroying opposing creatures. When the number of creatures becomes too great, this is where Rock can have some trouble.

    Card Advantage:

    Most Rock decks play some form of card advantage or manipulation to allow them to play more responses than you have threats. This is usually in the form of Dark Confidant, sweeper effects (virtual card advantage) or Phyrexian Arena. Clearing away multiple threats allows you to get the most out of your spells, and can put you ahead of your opponent very quickly. Most, if not all, Rock decks play some form of card advantage, either through drawing extra cards or blowing crap up. You can gain huge card advantage with little recourse using Dark Confidant and Sensei’s Divining Top to manipulate your draws to lose the least amount of life possible, while still maintaining an advantage over your opponent.

    Fatties:

    Rock plays a suite of beefy creatures that usually roll over your opponent’s creatures, or are hard to remove, or have an ability attached. Your creatures outclass your opponents most of the time, making your opponent go on the defensive against a player who has big attackers and answers to any creatures used to counter your creatures.

    -------------

    In most games, with the basic strategies of removal, tempo advantage (discard and destruction), along with large creatures, you should be able to take out most other strategies. Use discard to plow through their hand, while using Vindicate to deny them their mana. Mana acceleration will allow you to do this early on, and by turn 5-6, you should have a good grasp of the game. You’ll probably disrupted them enough and have creatures on board so you can start ending the game. Play tight against decks with sweepers (Landstill, heavy control) as you have very few threats and less recursion to deal with it.
    Post board, shore up the strategy that works best against the deck you’re facing. If you need to go aggro to beat them, add in some discard to disrupt them early on. If you’re trying to go control, slow the game down to a crawl and play it your way. Use board control elements such as Rule of Law, Choke, and Pernicious Deed. There’s a little something for everybody with Rock: you get to remove creatures, cause people to discard their favourite cards, play with Tarmogoyf, and blow up more expensive cards than yours.


    6. Aggro vs. Control

    There is a large divide in the Rock community about which is better: Aggro builds of the Rock or Control builds? The answer is neither; both decks have advantages to their strategies and disadvantages.

    Aggro will usually run a large suite of discard with less removal and more creatures to put your opponent on the defensive early. This strategy is very good against most decks, which can’t compete with some removal and discard backed up by creatures early on. Most games played with Aggro Rock don’t run out the clock as much as Control matches do, but are worse against decks that do just that. Aggro-Rock does very well even into the mid to late game, but after that, it has no real recursion engines to keep fighting once the initial onslaught has been fended off.

    Control usually scraps the Discard plan and some creatures for more removal. Discard is deader late in the game, so Control focuses on staying alive in the early game using removal, then plays board control pieces and large creatures to seal the deal. Control usually plays a recursion engine for its dead creatures to bring them back for further use later on. Control Rock has a tough time winning against super-aggro, as it plays little early game disruption. If the game can go past turn 4-6, then Rock does usually grind out a win. The problem with playing a deck that goes to time in a large tournament is the stress of reporting, de-sideboarding, and the possibility of tying a game from an opponent purposefully running out the clock. Be wary of the stress and play mistakes that come with going to time in an 8-hour tournament. Four rounds aren’t bad, doing eight is horrendous.

    Mid-range is a mix of the two: usually playing more board control than Aggro, but more creatures and discard than Control. Most competitive Rock decks nowadays are midrange, and do well over the course of the entire game, but do suffer slightly in the early and very late games. It’s best to weight the advantages and disadvantages of playing any one of the major types in your particular metagame.

    7. Decklists


    Dark Horizons, 4th Place at SCG Open: Charlotte:

    3 Mox Diamond
    3 Sensei’s Divining Top
    4 Dark Confidant
    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Knight of the Reliquary
    1 Pernicious Deed
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Gerrard’s Verdict
    4 Hymn to Tourach
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Vindicate
    1 Plains
    2 Swamp
    2 Bayou
    1 Horizon Canopy
    4 Marsh Flats
    1 Maze of Ith
    3 Scrubland
    4 Verdant Catacombs
    4 Wasteland
    1 Karakas
    Board:
    4 Engineered Plague
    2 Pernicious Deed
    3 Diabolic Edict
    3 Extirpate
    3 Kataki, War’s Wage

    (Still have to add more)

    8. Sideboard choices

    Sideboard choices really depend on your build, as it’s really just a BGW removal + fatties deck. It’s highly customizable, as you can see from the decklists. I’ll go over the major archetypes, and what cards we can use to deal with broad strategies. I’ll cover some narrow use cards as well, but ideally cards in your sideboard cover multiple matchups so you have as much coverage of the metagame as possible.

    Creature based Aggro: Tribal, Zoo, Burn, Dredge

    Most of the above listed decks play large amounts of creatures that swing many at a time. Mass removal is always a good choice, but with aggro, you don’t always have the time. So, you can shut off their ground attacks, destroy all their creatures, or allow fewer creatures to attack at once. With burn, you need to stop them from burning you, or gain enough life to withstand their direct damage.

    Ghostly Prison: Makes all their creatures cost more to attack you. A very solid card against decks with mana creatures and light manabases. After ripping apart their hand and popping some of their lands, Ghostly Prison becomes an effective counter to tokens of any kind, Elf swarms, Goblins, and Merfolk. Doesn’t apply for attacking Elspeth, so be wary.

    Engineered Plague: Makes tribal decks cry. This isn’t good against Merfolk anymore, they play 16 Lords. Unless you have 4 in play at the same time, it isn’t doing any good here. But, it’s VERY good against Goblins, Elves, Thopter tokens, Goblin tokens, Horror or Illusion against Dredge, etc.

    Moat: You could play this as a sideboard card if you were running Elspeth, since you could boost creatures over your Moat. Goblins can’t deal with it, Dredge can’t deal with it, and Merfolk barely deals with it. Good, but you have to build around it.

    Sphere of Law: Makes red decks cry, as most of their Burn now only does 1 or no damage to you. Siege Gang Commander is useless, Lackey doesn’t do damage, etc. Very solid, but at 4 CMC, it’s hard to pull off.

    Rule of Law: Stops the flow of constant creatures and spells that usually smack you in the face.

    Leyline of Sanctity: Shuts off Burn and Discard, period. A must-include nowadays.

    Path to Exile: Targeted removal is good against decks with many lords. Allows you to also pinpoint your removal, allowing your creatures to block less intimidating targets, or gives you time to get creatures out.

    Kitchen Finks: Blocks, persists, gives you life. Very good in creature on creature based matchups, especially Zoo.

    Peacekeeper: Stops an opposing army, and your own, from attacking at the cost of tying up two mana. Allows you to stabilize and ready your troops before they can slaughter you with theirs. Although fragile, if you can keep it alive you’re usually set.

    Dueling Grounds: Last but not least, the Grounds. Takes all decks that attack with multiple creatures and puts them at a standstill. Allows you to block with large fatties, and they can only block with one guy. Pretty rough beats against Dredge, Zoo, Goblins, Merfolk, Vengevine, Elves, Thopters, etc. I see this as a must-include nowadays. Side at least 2, if not 3-4.

    Combo: ANT, TEPS, Dredge,etc.

    To properly deal with combo based decks, you need to limit the spells they play in a turn to stop them from building a storm count, counter key spells, or use discard. Since we can’t counter anything, discard and spell-limitation is basically the only way to go.

    Leyline of Sanctity: Prevents you from being targeted with the Combo player’s discard and their Storm Spells. Very useful as it buys you time to play your own discard and threats before they find answers. To me, this card is an absolute must. Gives you a turn 0 answer before they can combo off.

    Extirpate: Allows you to break Ill-Gotten Gains loops if key pieces are in the graveyard already.

    Engineered Explosives: Destroys tokens created from Empty the Warrens.

    Ethersworn Cannonist: Limits the number of spells they can play, limiting their storm count. A very popular choice as of late.

    Thorn of Amethyst: Thorn makes every non-creature spell cost one more. Most effective if played turn 1 or 2, so here, having Mox Diamond is advantageous. Watch out for your own stuff costing more, though. This throws off the Storm player because it can mix up their counting, causing a failed combo loop (resulting in wasted cards and time), or in just them taking longer to combo off to get enough mana to do so. A very popular choice of creature based decks to fight Storm based combo.

    Aven Mindcensor: Prevents them from using their tutors and fetchlands effectively. Another popular choice against Survival based decks. Fragile, but also has flash.

    Pithing Needle: Prevents the use of Goblin Charbelcher, and other activated abilities many combo decks play.

    Rule of Law: Same thing as Cannonist, limit their spells to slow their search of answers and to prevent them from building Storm.

    Duress: Another key card in this matchup. Taking away their search abilities for answers allows you to keep other answers online, and stalls them from pulling off their combo. I suggest running at approximately 12 pieces of discard, along with another piece of hate (Leyline of Sanctity) to give yourself a better chance.

    Runed Halo: Usually naming Tendrils is the way to go, or goblin Charbelcher. It’s an easily castable spell so long as you can actually get it down before they combo.

    Chalice of the Void: Allows the countering of key bounce spells, mana acceleration, tutors, etc. Chalice on 2 shuts off their tutors (Infernal tutor and Burning Wish) and Cabal Ritual; 1 shuts off Brainstorm, Ponder, Chain of Vapour, Duress, Orim’s Chant, Silence, Xantid Swarm, Dark Ritual, etc. ; Chalice at 0 shuts off Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye diamond and Chrome Mox. Remember though: Storm counts spells cast, not resolved. They can still run 0 drops through a Chalice at 0, having them all get countered but still building up Storm. If on the play, Chalice at 0 followed by Duress/Thoughtseize is good, but Chalice at 1 stops a lot of their spells. I prefer to Chalice at 1, as it stops their search and bounce, and really slows them down.

    Gaddock Teeg: Stops them from playing Ad Nauseum and Tendrils of Agony and Empty the Warren, key components in getting the combo off. Mind you, he’s easily killed.

    Leyline of the Void: Nullifies the possibility of Ill-Gotten Gains Loop while on the board, and decimates Dredge decks so long as it stays on board. More relevant in the grave-based matchups (Lands, Aggro Loam, Dredge, etc.)

    Graveyard Based Strategies: Dredge, Lands, Life from the Loam, Vengevine, Reanimator, New Horizons

    These strategies utilize the graveyard to their advantage, so get rid of it.

    Leyline of the Void: Stops them from having a graveyard, and comes into play on turn 0. Try not to keep a crap hand containing only Leyline as its good card. All in all, a very solid card and if played, play 4 in the board to increase your chances of opening with one on turn 0. Susceptible to counterhate via Grip, Trygon Predator, Nature’s Claim, etc.

    Extirpate: Targeted graveyard removal. Get rid of their Life from the Loam, Vengevine, Iona, Wasteland, or whatever you feel like. It’s uncounterable except for a Counterbalance reveal trigger, so be wary. I think this is the best removal right now due to its ability to get rid of Vengevine and not be countered. Always do so in response to the return trigger.

    Planar Void: A turn 1 answer to graveyard strategies, but basically means your Tarmogoyfs amd KotRs are useless. I’m not a huge fan, but if you need more cheap answers to totally shut out their strategy in a grave-based meta, it’s VERY good.

    Wheel of Sun and Moon: Doesn’t let stuff get put in their graveyard for them to use. Somewhat useful for Dredge and the like, and also good against opposing Knight of the Reliquary. Be careful though, it allows them to reuse everything, though. If they run a tutor-based deck, this might not be the best idea.

    Tormod's Crypt: Not as good as it used to be before Vengevine. Most of the time you’ll be forced to crack it for the bare minimum just to keep yourself alive. Again, another solid card against Dredge, but not so much against Veggies.

    Relic of Progenitus: Better against slower graveyard strategies, but the same problems as Crypt, with a cantrip attached.

    Morningtide: Removes all graveyards, including yours. A kick in the pants to you, but a possible choice if it’s all you have.

    Bojuka Bog: Easily fetched with Knight of the Reliquary, Bog becomes an instant speed Crypt out of nowhere. Can be done in response to cycling trigger on a fetchland, Vengevine return to play trigger, or on a Dread Return so they can’t get Iona out.

    Control Strategies: The Rock, Landstill, Stax, Thopters, Counterbalance, Enchantress

    The key here is to either out aggro the control deck, and put them in a bad position and make them make bad decisions (ie. Using sweepers on one creature) or do better than them at control. Early discard hurts them very much, as does targeted removal.

    Maelstrom Pulse: If you’re not packing Pulse in the main and need more targeted removal, Pulse is right for you. Takes out multiple Thopters, Planeswalkers, Stax pieces, and Enchantress pieces when not under the shroud umbrella.

    Choke: Many control builds have blue in them, and being able to slow them down to a crawl is very good. Coupled with Land Destruction, Choke is a solid card against Merfolk (somewhat), Thopters, and Landstill. It makes it hard for Landstill to Deed you out or cast huge spells, and when they do, they’re tapped down. Thopters can’t make more than one round of tokens, and it doesn’t allow them to do anything else. Choke is particularly good when combined with Suppression Field, Ghostly Prison, or any other tax on their manabase (Magus of the Tabernacle, Tabernacle itself, etc.)

    Diabolic edict: Allows you to get rid of a resolved Progenitus or Emrakul, and usually Iona, as most players name White against Rock. A useful card in many matchups.

    Perish: Even though it kills your stuff, it helps you deal with Vengevine decks and can kill a resolved Progenitus.

    Pernicious Deed: The end-all-be-all against control. It’s devastating against Enchantress, Stax, Thopters and many control variants. It’s hard to Counterbalance against, and blows up everything. You might lose a few creatures, but Stax loses Crucibles, Smokestacks, Ghostly Prisons, Trinisphere, Chalices, etc. Thopters loses Thopter combo and Counterbalance lock, along with Ensnaring Bridges, Crucible, Back to Basics, etc. It’s a hard counter to Enchantress, but be wary of Replenish bringing it all back. Try to also remove their graveyard with Bog or Relic as well, or makes them discard Replenish.

    Duress: Comes up again as it’s very good against a Control matchup. If you can mash up their hand before they can lay big threats or hard counters, you can have the game in your grasp by playing threats soon afterwards. You can take out a Trinisphere before it gets played, the shroud giving Enchantress enchantment, and other discard on the part of the Rock player.

    Krosan Grip: Uncounterable artifact/enchantment removal that ends the stack. Seems good.

    Sacred Ground: Against decks that pound your manabase. If there’s a lot of Stax, New Horizons, Team America and their ilk, Sacred Ground is a very good counter.

    Leyline of Sanctity: Protects you against many control decks counter cards, such as other discard, Wheel of Sun and Moon, and Words of War. It’s a hard threat for many decks to answer early on, so it buys you time, and possibly even permanents to sacrifice to Smokestack.

    Leyline of the Void: Even though these are control matchups, many do so well because of playing out of the graveyard. Stax loses its edge with no land recursion, Enchantress can’t replenish, Thopters can’t Academy Ruins + EE lock you or bring back broken combo pieces/combo off at all, and most Rock decks like their graveyard for either recursion or pump.

    Vampire Hexmage: If you had a meta with a large amount of Planeswalkers floating around, this is a good card. Kills Jace and Elspeth, the two main planeswalkers you’ll see in Legacy, and is a decent creature at a 2/1 First strike for BB.

    Kitchen Finks: Creatures with recursion use up the control elements control decks have to play. Recurring creatures of any kind, be it Kitchen Finks, Nether Spirit, Bloodghast, etc. all have game against these types of decks unless they’re RFG’d by Swords. Multiple sacrifices to Smokestack makes Stax players (including myself) cry, and it gives you breathing space against their eventual threats.

    Gaddock Teeg: Takes Control to town. They can’t play many Stax pieces, EE, relevant Planeswalker, Replenish, hard core Enchantments (Humility/Moat), and even Leyline not on Turn 0 (which does tend to happen). Especially good since most decks run EE as removal for your threats, and this really makes this disadvantageous to them.

    Kataki, War's Wage: Absolutely trounces Stax, but most people are playing it against Affinity. Against those decks, it's an absolute bomb. Other prefer Pernicious Deed against those decks, but this comes out a turn earlier.
    Last edited by sdematt; 04-14-2012 at 12:55 AM.
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    9. Matchup Analysis

    Goblins

    Goblins can be a bit of a tough matchup. Goblins is a fast, aggressive deck that gets off the line quickly. Answering a Turn 1 Lackey is key, either with removal or a blocker. You’re basically trying to stabilize and either rip apart their hard and put them into topdeck mode or blow up the stuff they play. Not letting Lackey/Instigator hit you is key here if you can; try to save your removal for dangerous creatures such as this. If you can get enough fat on board, swing in conservatively if you’re outnumbered. Watch for them screwing your manabase: fetch basics so you don’t get Wastelanded out. Goblin Ringleader and Siege Gang Commander are their primary card advantage engines, and allow them to recover from sweepers very easily. When possible, take Ringleader/Siege Gang with Thoughtseize. It saves you a lot of hassle down the road. Doran is very good in this matchup if you play him, Piledriver suddenly doesn’t look so good. There are many builds: R, RB, RG, RBG, etc. They all function the same way in a basic sense: Play lots of Goblins, turn them sideways.

    In against Goblins: More sweepers and creature removal, dueling Grounds/E. Plague, possibly Leyline of Sanctity as it prevents them from Siege-Ganging you out under a Dueling Grounds.

    In against you: Most likely gravehate and artifact/Enchantment removal.

    Out against Goblins: Keep your discard in, but side out Duress if you’re playing it main. Side out more expensive removal as you may be cut off of mana due to their denial plan.

    Overall: Slightly unfavourable preboard, even to slightly favourable postboard.

    Zoo

    Like Goblins in that they play a bunch of creature that turn sideways, but they also play some removal along with a bunch of burn. The key here is killing their threats and putting out bigger ones before they kill you. Thoughtseize isn’t a bad card here; just make sure you’re taking something that will cost you more than 2 life over the course of the game (which is pretty such everything). Lay out fatties when they’re out of Burn range. Don’t be afraid of playing Dark Confidant here. Try and squeeze as much card advantage out of him as you can before he dies. Zoo is also a land light deck: focusing on killing lands can do you some good. Long story short: Take the burn out of their hand, blow up their lands, play bigger creatures and swing in. Kitchen Finks is EXCELLENT in this matchup, as is fetching for basics against Price of Progess.

    In against Zoo: Leyline of Sanctity, Pulse of the Fields, Kitchen Finks, Circle of Protection: Red, Dueling Grounds, Pernicious Deed.

    In against you: Grave hate, enchanment/artifact hate.

    Out against Zoo: Maelstrom Pulse, Vindicate, Dark Confidant (if you’re really feeling the hurt).

    Overall: Slightly unfavourable preboard, even to slightly favourable postboard.


    Merfolk

    Oh look, another aggro based matchup: with counters! Basically very similar to Goblins matchup, except they’re running less mana denial and counterspells! Hooray! Just kidding. This is a hard matchup depending on what they’re running. The black version is bad because it runs Perish in the board. They also run so many Lords, everything gets so big. Don’t get caught offguard by Cursecatchers, and save your Plows for relevant Lords (Coralhelm, Reejerey) or Mutavaults. Try to stabilize by blowing crap up and swinging in big. Resolving Confidant, especially with Top, is key here. You need card advantage to help you get there against so many threats. Don’t play around Counterspells: they’re inevitable. Mind you, don’t make a backbreaking play with no Daze mana open unless absolutely necessary. Don’t walk into easy counters, but don’t hold back to the point where you lose tempo by just sitting there to get to 5 mana so you can Vindicate even if he has Spell Pierce. Your creatures outclass his most of the time, so take out their Lords and hopefully swing in. Post board, Dueling Grounds is key. You can block everything except Coralhelm Commander, and you’re bigger than he is. If Dueling Grounds sticks, you should be good.

    In against Merfolk: Dueling Grounds, Pernicious Deed, Path to Exile, Pithing Needle, etc.

    In against you: Hibernation, Perish, Grave-hate.

    Out against Merfolk: Hymn to Tourach/Gerrard’s Verdict, or Vindicate effects.

    Overall: Slightly unfavourable to even preboard, slightly favourable postboard.

    Mono Red Burn

    In game 1, rip apart his hand as best you can. Don’t be afraid to drop Dark Confidant for some card advantage. Lay out beats as early as possibly, it’s a race. Don’t be afraid to Swords your own creatures to stay in the game. Most of your stuff is useless here, which makes for a bad game 1. Game 2, bring in life-gain and Leylines. If you can drop Leyline, they basically have no answer except Sulphuric Vortex and their few creatures, which you can easily blow up/remove.

    In against Burn: Life gain of any kind, Leyline of Sanctity.

    In against you: Grave-hate.

    Out against Burn: Path to Exile, a few Confidants (if you need room), Thoughtseize (replace with Duress), Maelstrom Pulse, a few Vindicates, Pernicious Deed.

    Overall: Very unfavourable preboard, favourable to very favourable postboard.

    Dredge

    Dredge is a very difficult matchup, but can be won game 1. Keep early pressure on, and use targeted discard. Random discard is good for Dredge, so try not to use it. Maelstrom Pulse is good at blowing up tokens, as are Deed and EE. Try to keep the Dredge player off 3 creatures for the Dread Return; Swords/Remove Narcomoebas and other creatures when possibly. Use Knight to tutor Bojuka Bog or Karakas for an impending Iona. Lay beats down, and hope they don’t go off too quickly.

    In against Dredge: Extirpate, Leyline of the Void, Grave-hate, Karakas, Bojuka Bog, Duress (if on the play), Pernicious Deed/EE, Engineered Plague, Dueling Grounds, Diabolic Edict, etc.

    In against you: Grave hate of some kind, or not much at all.

    Out against Dredge: Swords to Plowshares, Hymn to Tourach/Gerrard’s Verdict, some Vindicates (keep a few), Discard (if on the draw).

    Overall: Unfavourable to very unfavourable preboard, favourable to very favourable postboard.

    ANT, TEPS, and other Tendrils based combo

    Depending on the build, most of these decks basically build a storm count by playing mana artifacts for free, then casting Ad Nauseum to draw a ton of card to kill you with either an Ill-Gotten gains Loop, Empty the Warrens for tokens, or Tendrils of Agony. I suggest reading an article by Max McCall on Starcitygames.com called “So you want to kill your opponent on Turn 1?” It’s an enlightening article about how much mana is need to do certain things, when to do things etc. I’m not going to explain it all here, but always makes sure their mana count is correct, and always call their bluff. Make them fully go through the combo, as many times it can fail due to poor counting. I’m not saying stall the clock and be an idiot, just make sure they’re got the mana and storm they say they do. Try to hit them in the early game with discard backed with threats early on. Sometimes you’ll get them, othertimes not. Focus using Vindicates and such on their lands, as their actual manabase is quite unstable, playing mana non-basics and playing fewer lands in general. In game 2, side in Leyline of Sanctity with maximal discard. Make them discard, then back it up with threats to put them on a clock. It’s a race between who has answers and who doesn’t. If he can’t find his answer to your answer, he loses. If not, you lose. Try to keep a singular white open if you have large creatures in play: He may combo off, but in response you can Swords your creature to gain enough life to possibly survive the ordeal. It doesn’t always work, but at times it can be worth a shot. Make sure all the Storm copies are on the stack before you play your spell, you don’t want to add to the Storm.

    In against ANT: Leyline of Sanctity, Duress, Runed Halo, Leyline of the Void, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, EE (for ETW tokens).

    In against you: Usually a Burning Wish board.

    Out against ANT: Path to Exile, Pernicious Deed, some StP, a few Vindicate, etc.

    Overall: Very unfavourable preboard, slightly unfavourable to even postboard.

    Dreadstill

    Dreadstill usually packs an impressive array of Standstill, Stifles, Dreadnought, Factories and heavy countermagic. As of late, Spell Pierce is now Spell snare with all the Survival running around, and that helps you greatly. Phyrexian Dreadnought relies on 4-7 Soft counters (Daze, Spell Pierce/Spell Snare) and 4-8 Hard Counters (Force of Will and Spell Snare) to counter key spells, as well as its counterbalance-Top engine. Luckily for us, we’re playing a few more three drops than they’d like. The key here is blow up their Counterbalance if you ever want to get a Swords/Path through. It’s never getting through a good Dreadstill player. Play aggressively in this matchup, as they’re trying to lay down a fast Dreadnought: they can’t play the late-game as well as we can. Drop down an EE or a Deed when possibly. Keep your Vindicates and such for Dreadnought. Once he runs out one or two and you deal with them, he’s basically done. Stay on your toes, hit them early with discard, and blow their crap up. Don’t be afraid to crack Standstill as soon as possible and hopefully at the end of their turn before they discard. This will force them to discard back down to 7 after having drawn three wonderful cards. This shouldn’t be a terrible matchup so long as you keep Counterbalance off the table and keep the pressure on.

    In against Dreadstill: Path to Exile, Deed, EE, Diabolic Edict, Maze of Ith.

    In against you: Perish, grave-hate, possibly Peacekeeper.

    Out against Dreadstill: Bits and pieces here and there to fit in as much removal as possible.

    Overall: Slightly favourable preboard, slightly favourable to even postboard.

    Enchantress

    Enchantress relies on early mana acceleration to play many enchantments, that eventually end up having shroud. It stalls the game using Elephant Grass and other creature control elements. It amasses huge card advantage through the use of Enchantresses Presence and Argothian Enchantress. It wins by using either Sigil of the Empty Throne or Words of War. It plays an enchantment with multiple Enchantress effects on board, and decides to skip the drawing to burn you for each card not drawn, which usually kills you. The key to this matchup is attacking their early manabase, and their hand early. Get around their shroud by laying down Deed and EE. Try to attack as much as possibly before Elephant Grass starts to lock you out. Continually pick at their hand and get rid of Replenish and Sterling Grove, and swing in as much as you can. Eventually you’ll get there. Karmic Justice can be a beating: make sure you destroy it before blowing Deed or something.

    In against Enchantress: EE, Deed, Leyline of Sanctity, Duress, Leyline of the Void, Extirpate, etc.

    In against you: More creature control, Karmic Justice, some gravehate as well.

    Out against Enchantress: Targeted creature removal.

    Overall: Even to slightly unfavourable preboard, even to slightly favourable postboard.

    Reanimator

    With the unbanning of Mystical Tutor a possibility, I better talk about Reanimator. With or without Mystical tutor, it’s still a good deck. Reanimator plays Entomb with Reanimation effects (Reanimate, Exhume) backed with discard and counterspells. Usually, they’ll either rawdog the early Entomb and try to go for a fast win, or they’ll go off whilst protected with discard and/or counterspells. Either way, at end of turn they’ll Entomb Iona/Inkwell Leviathan/Terastodon/Sphinx of the Steel Win and reanimate next turn. Be wary if they use Exhume: you choose to bring back something of your own as well. They key here is disrupting them early enough in the first game to take control. They play very few lands, and few if any basics, so discard backed with Wasteland/Vindicate is key. If you can put them off their lands they’ll have a bunch of trouble getting back online. If Iona does comes out, pray to hit Pulse or Diabolic Edict or Karakas, or have an online KotR. Iona is usually named on white and second most on black. I always suggest to my Reanimator opponent that Black is paramount, but they usually pick White just the same. After you side, bring in discard and massive amounts of gravehate.

    In against Reanimator: Bojuka Bog, Maze of Ith, Diabolic Edict, Leyline of the Void, Extirpate, Planar Void, etc.

    In against you: Again, everyone thinks grave-hate is the bomb against us. Newsflash: not so much.

    Out against Reanimator: Deed, Path (Keep some Swords in case they don’t go Iona), EE, non-targeted discard.

    Overall: Unfavourable preboard, even to slightly favourable postboard.

    Thopters

    Thopters is a Counterbalance-based control deck utilizing the Sword of the Meek/Thopter foundry Combo with various white and blue control cards including Humility, Moat, Jace the Mind Sculptor, Back to Basics, Crucible of Worlds, etc. It’s very much like old-style Landstill crossed with Counterbalance. Thopters plays 7-8 hard counters (Force of Will and Counterspell) along with Counterbalance, Enlightened Tutor, and Moat (it looks more and more like Vintage Keeper circa 1996). The main problem when playing against Thopters is they usually have a small tutor arsenal with Ensnaring Bridge, Crucible of Worlds, Moat, Humility backed by the infamous Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Having that guy behind an Ensnaring Bridge or Moat, continually sculpting your draws while your creatures can’t attack him is quite annoying. The good thing? You play board destruction, and usually 4-6 anti-Planeswalker spells, not counting the fact you have creatures that attack. Thopters plays anywhere from 6-10 basic lands, so the Land denial plan is probably pretty bad. Early on, Thopters is susceptible to discard, so take Counterbalance, Jace, and Back to Basics when you can. Once Counterbalance lands, they’ll be looking to either fulfill Thopter combo or use Jace to lock you out. Here, blow up Counterbalance and go for Deed as much as possible. Deed levels their field almost as bad as Stax, but leaves Jace. When possible, either attack of Vindicate/Pulse Jace. With enough removal, hand disruption, and board sweep, you should end up victorious.

    In against Thopters: Pithing Needle, EE, Deed, Engineered Plague (naming Thopters), Dueling Grounds, Choke, Leyline of Sanctity, Suppression Field, some Gravehate if you suspect Wastelock plan/recurring EE.

    In against you: More Moats/Humility/Swords/Path, Graveyard hate, Back to Basics (if not in the main).

    Out against Thopters: Swords/Path.

    Overall: Favourable preboard, slightly favourable to favourable postboard.

    Goblin Charbelcher

    Goblin Charbelcher is an explosive combo deck that wins on turn 1 or 2 a good portion of the time. It uses mana accelerants and usually 1-2 lands to run out a Goblin Charbelcher, and activate it to kill you. Another way to combo out for them is by building a Storm count and using Empty the Warrens. Warrens is easier to pull off because you don’t have to bring in 20 tokens, even 8-12 are enough that early in the game. As a non-blue based deck, this makes your job very difficult. Game 1 unless you get extremely lucky with your discard and you back it up with early pressure and he draws nothing, you lose. The key here is games 2 and 3, where you side in defenses against tokens and Charbelcher. If you can deal with Belcher, and have ways to deal with token, you’re good.

    In against Belcher: EE, Leyline of Sanctity, Duress, Engineered Plague (on Goblins), Pithing Needle.

    In against you: I don’t think they side in anything terribly relevant.

    Out against Belcher: Swords/Path, a few creatures.

    Overall: Unfavourable pre-board, slightly unfavourable postboard.

    Team America

    Team America is a tempo deck utilizing Wasteland, Stifle, Sinkhole, Tarmogoyf and Tombstalker. It plays very early manabase disruption by Stifling fetchlands and Wastelanding non-basics. Some versions still play Sinkhole, which is devastating against most decks. In this match, fetch for basics and play out your mana accelerants as soon as possible. You’re going to lose many lands in this matchup: this is where having 23 lands comes in handy. Mind you, Team America is a threat-light deck with usually 8-9 threats. Here, you have to play control. You have a much better long game than they do, as you have much better removal and possible recursion. Wasteland away their black sources (if possible) and keep them on their toes. Lay out as many threats as you can, as they don’t have a ton of answers except creatures to resolved threats. Their counterspell base is alright, with 4 Force of Will, Dazes and Spell Pierces. Don’t play too heavily around soft-counters; this isn’t a matchup where you can lollygag around waiting to see if they have the counter. This deck is good against Rock because of the fact it disrupts our manabase early on, which is the key. If you can draw the game out to the late game, however, you should win.

    In against Team America: Path, EE, Leyline of Sanctity (not necessary, but helpful), Pithing Needle.

    In against you: Grave hate, not sure what else.

    Out against them: Maelstrom Pulse, some Vindicates, Deed.

    Overall: Slightly unfavourable preboard, slightly unfavourable to even postboard.

    White Stax

    White Stax will try to use its multiple lockpieces to slowly turn the gamestate into a quagmire of upkeep effects and cost alterations/negations. White Stax is Prison at its finest: Good, but highly inconsistent. Stax loads up the board with permanents to drag you down to a point where you can’t play anything, then slowly kills you. You easily defend against this by heavily disrupting them in the early game when they’re most vulnerable. Stax can’t function to its full potential without Crucible of Worlds: it sacs lands to Crucible to outrace you on Smokestack, it uses Armageddon to the point of being absurdly lopsided, and it used Wastelock to take you out of the game. But, Stax itself is vulnerable to early Wastelands. Stax’s lowest CMC is 3, not considering Chalice of the Void. Wastelanding their first turn Ancient Tomb is brutal, as they usually can’t follow it up immediately. As well, the fact you have targeted permanent removal means even if they play an awesome lockpiece, like Smokestack or Crucible of Worlds, you can easily remove it without hesitation. Pernicious Deed is the bane of their existence here. An active Deed onboard with mana open literally spells the end of the game for Stax unless they already have no permanents on board. Remember to pay Tabernacle upkeep effects, or to be sneaky with an active Smokestack on board, stack the triggers to sac to Smokestack first, then pay for Tabernacle effects. All in all, blow stuff up; disrupt early, swing in often. Remember: Ghostly Prison doesn’t apply to Planeswalkers.

    In against Stax: Deed, Maelstrom Pulse, Pithing Needle, Duress (if on the play), Gaddock Teeg.

    In against you: Karmic Justice, Leyline of Sanctity.

    Out against Stax: Path to Exile/Swords.

    Overall: Slightly favourable for you preboard, slightly favourable to favourable postboard, depending on how many Deeds you play.

    CounterTop Bant/ NO Bant

    Counter-Top Bant uses the Counter-Top engine combined with efficient creatures to kill you with big creatures, with the option of adding in Natural Order/Progenitus package. I’m considering these decks one of and the same, as they are pretty much the same: Most play White, Green, and Blue, most play Natural Order and Progenitus. Some play Dark Confidant and Engineered Explosives, some don’t. I’m going to assume we’re facing Bant colours with Countertop and Natural Order, playing some creature base of Rhox War Monk, Tarmogoyf, Knight of the Reliquary, Noble Hierarch, etc. Their game plan is to hopefully lock you out with Counter-Top, and then unleash hell by bringing in a Progenitus to quickly end the game, using Natural Order on one of their small dudes (Noble or Dryad Arbor). They lack a huge amount of actual counterpower, usually playing 4 Force of Will, some Dazes, and possibly Spell Snares/Pierces, but not as likely. You don’t have a huge counterwall to go through, but you have CounterTop backed with Swords and Counters, which against is tricky. Here, disrupt early on as much as possible. Attack their hand and manabase. If they can get up to 4 mana with a creature online, they can end the game two turns afterwards. Be aggressive, and blow up Counterbalance when you can. Try to keep their creatures off the tablet to prevent them from casting Natural Order. They have limited card draw (Top and Brainstorm), so once you get the initial few plays out of the way, you should be home free. It’s not an easy matchup, as it has a wide variety of answers, but play aggressively and you should be fine. If you see Jace, attack him or Vindicate him as soon as possible.

    In against NO Bant: Path, Deathmark (if many creatures), Diabolic Edict, Gaddock Teeg, Choke, Perish, Pithing Needle. All in all, there’s not much you should put in here: All of you stuff is good against them. A few tweaks for Perish/Edict against Progenitus is the main thing here.

    In against you: Tormod’s Crypt, Path, Relic of Progenitus, Wheel of Sun and Moon, Krosan Grip, Trygon Predator.

    Out against Bant: Deed, EE, (If fewer creatures) Swords/Path.

    Overall: Even preboard, even to slightly favourable postboard.

    Landstill

    Landstill is the premiere control deck in Legacy. It plays zero creatures with the exception of Manlands, and uses Pernicious Deed and Jace, The Mind Sculptor backed with a heavy counter package to wipe the board and ride Jace to victory. Landstill is literally removal, counters, and bombs. Landstill also absolutely dies to very fast aggro. Against Landstill, you can’t play the control game: they’re too good at it. Here, you need to disrupt them early on using Hymn and Thoughtseize, and lay down early threats. Don’t overextend into Deed, but don’t lay back and wait for them to remove their stuff. They have lots of Counters, so try to bait what you can and just throw it out there when you can’t. Because you have so much early disruption, it can be hard for them to get a handle on the game if you’ve got an online confidant and have dealt heavy blows to their hand on turn 1-3. Cards to take with targeted discard are removal and Jace. Let them have their counters unless you really need stuff to go through. Landstill doesn’t have a draw engine like it used to with Fact or Fiction, it relies on Jace and Brainstorm to get there, which isn’t enough past the initial opening hand. You should be able to play the Aggro plan and win against Landstill. Landstill comes in a few flavours: UWBG for Deed and Swords, UBGR for Deed and Firespout; they can play a Wishboard with Cunning Wish, or have no Wishboard at all.

    In against Landstill: Hand disruption, Extirpate, Leyline of the Void, Choke, Pithing Needle.

    In against you: Path, Swords, Firespout, Extirpate, Leyline of the Void, the Abyss (possibly), Deed, EE.

    Out against Landstill: Deed/EE, Swords to Plowshares/Path.

    Overall: Slightly favourable to favourable preboard, slightly favourable to favourable postboard.

    New Horizons

    New Horizons is one of the most manabase destructive decks next to Team America. It has Wastelands, Stifles, and Crucible of Worlds for late game Waste-lock. Some lists have dropped Crucible to the board or have dropped it entirely, but it still can be a scary deck to face: Knights of the Reliquary, Terravore, and Tarmogoyf are their only threats. They play roughly 10-12 threats like you do, but they only play 6 cards of removal (2 EE, 4 Swords). This is bad for them since the common number they’ll want to EE on against Rock, 3, is bad for them. So, essentially they have 4 Swords and 2 cards of friendly fire. Fetch for basics and disrupt them early on. They only play Force and Daze ass counters, as their a tempo build. So, in reality, they have only 4 actual Counterspells, and 4 conditional kind-of counters. Doesn’t seem so hot considering everything we play blows their crap up. Rip apart their hand early on. Take Crucible if they play it, or their creatures. They have no recursion, so taking any of their creatures can be devastating to their plan. Be careful of Terravore. Even as a two-of, he can get way too large for you to handle. Keep some removal back for the eventual Terravore, or search for Maze of Ith. Don’t rely on your non-basics, however. Against it, fetch basics early and stabilize your manabase while trying to pick on them. Don’t worry if some stuff get countered early on; their low threat density means killing one gives you time to draw more removal. Lay out Confidant and try to ride him to victory with sheer card advantage. Don’t forget your Knight searching for Bog; Bog is a great addition against them. Hang in there, and you should be victorious.

    In against New Horizons: Pernicious Deed, Path, Sacred Ground, Tormod’s Crypt, Relic of Progenitus, Leyline of the Void, Extirpate, etc.

    In against you: Firespout (some splash red), Tormod’s Crypt, Spell Pierce, maybe Krosan Grip.

    Out against New Horizons: One of those matchups where all your stuff is good, take out as little as possible to pack the most removal and disruption you can.

    Overall: Even preboard, even to slightly favoured postboard.

    Painter’s Servant-Grindstone

    Painter-Grindstone can be played in many different shells: Mono Black Painter, Black White Painter (like Helm of the Void), Imperial Painter, and Control Painter/Next Level Painter to name a few. Many of these fall into other categories of play, but with the added combo. Control Painter usually plays Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf, Counterbalance, Force, etc. It plays very much like a Counterbalance based control deck, and you should treat it as such. Get rid of Counterbalance, destroy their combo pieces when you can. Be wary that once they activate with both pieces online, even if you Path or Swords Painter, the activation still occurs. Your best bet here is to keep Deed on board until they get one piece online. If they play Painter first, Swords it. In total, they need 6 mana to pull off the combo: 3 to play the pieces, 3 to activate the Grindstone. Your best bet here is Krosan Grip, Pithing Needle, and Deed. Imperial Painter used Imperial Recruiter to fetch up Painter’s Servant, Magus of the Moon, or other red annoyances. It usually plays it as mono Red or Red/Blue, with mana Pyroblast/Hydroblast/REB/BEB in the main and board. With this, they have a lot of permanent destruction, possible counterpower, and Blood Moon effects to shut off your non-basics. Here, attack their hand as possibly and take away either combo pieces, enablers (Recruiter), or Moon effects. Fetch basics as early as possible, and lay out threats of any kind before they can combo. Put the pressure on and they’ll have to go defensive, putting them at a disadvantage. This matchup is a little harder due to the nature of the beat on this one.

    In against Painter Combo: Deed, Krosan Grip, Pithing Needle, Choke (if blue).

    In against you: Krosan Grip, Relic of Progenitus, Tormod’s Crypt, Pithing Needle, Perish.

    Out against Painter Combo: 1-2 Vindicate effects, 1-2 Swords.

    Overall: Slightly unfavourable preboard, even postboard.

    Aluren (with Imperial Recruiter)

    Aluren is actually a matchup that exists, believe it or not. It’s rather slow though. It takes a 4-mana enchantment to combo off. Basically, they make you lose a bunch of life off of Cavern Harpy or Parasitic Strix, and keep bouncing each other and playing them for free at instant speed. They play 3 Cabal Therapy and 4 Force of Will as their forms of disruption. Here, attack their manabase and their hand. They don’t have much to take you apart with, and the combo can be fragile. If Aluren does get online, make sure they can actually combo that turn, as sometimes they cannot. If not, blow up Aluren as soon as possible. You should be able to out-disrupt them enough to swing the game in your favour and put them on the defense, making it a choice between playing Aluren or finding cards as blockers/creature kill. They can only side in a NO-Progenitus package against you and 1-2 additional pieces of discard. Volrath’s Stronghold is very strong if they can hold you off, so Waste it if you need to. You should be able to win this one.

    In against Aluren: Duress, Leyline of Sanctity (their kill condition doesn’t target you, nor their discard), Pithing Needle (on Cavern Harpy), Krosan Grip (very strong here), Rule of Law, Thorn of Amethyst, etc.

    In against you: Natural Order + Progenitus, Faerie Macabre, Krosan Grip, Thoughtseize.

    Out against Aluren: Pernicious Deed, Maelstrom Pulse, some Vindicate effects, Path (keep some Swords in: if timed well, you can break the combo), very slow cards (Elspeth, most anything 4+ CMC).

    Overall: Even to slightly favourable for you preboard, even to slightly favourable for you postboard.

    43 Lands

    43 Lands is going to be a bit of a bad matchup for you. The fact they play little to discard effectively, coupled with recurring land destruction makes this a bit of an uphill climb. If going first, Thoughtseize away Exploration or Manabond. If given the choice, Manabond. Life from the Loam is their engine, but don’t make them discard it, that’s disadvantageous. If you can put up threats early and they stall out, all the better. As weird as it sounds, try to cut off their blue. They need blue for Intuition and to transmute Tolaria West. Deed is good here if you can get it online, but it can be very difficult. Vindicate away Ports and Tabernacles if you have the mana. If not, keep Dark Confidant and beater alive. Keeping Dark Confidant is key here: he can net you enough cards, and with those cards, lands, to keep you in the game. Fetch for basic lands, but it may not be enough, as they run Ghost Quarter as well. Mind you, Lands can also go nuts and puke out 10 lands on turn 2 against you, hopelessly locking you out. Know when a match is unwinnable. Post board, side in as much grave hate as you can, and hope for the best.

    In against Lands: Graveyard hate of any and all description, Sacred Ground, Pithing Needle, Duress.

    In against you: Mindslaver, the Tabernacle, Krosan Grip.

    Out against Lands: Pernicious Deed, Swords to Plowshares/Path, Hymn to Tourach/Gerrard’s Verdict.

    Overall: Unfavourable for you preboard, slightly unfavourable postboard.

    Aggro-Loam

    Aggro-Loam is pretty much on the same gameplan as you are: play disruption, kill some creatures, then grind the opponent out using big fatties. The problem is they have recurring Wasteland and card draw from Life from the Loam, as well as Seismic Assault. In this matchup, try to make them discard away Chalice of the Void, as it hurts much of your removal. Get rid of their Dark Confidant, and don’t let Countryside Crusher get too big. Attacking their manabase isn’t a good plan here. Stick to blowing their crap up. Life from the Loam isn’t as useful when Seismic Assault isn’t in play, so take advantage of that when you have the chance. An active Assault in the late game can kill you the turn it lands, so be wary. Hit early and often, and remove their creature as often as possibly. Your Knight wont be as big as their full-size Crushers and Terravores, and gravehate (except Leyline) can’t fight Crusher’s ability. Remove him as often as possible. Post board, hate out Life from the Loam and pack more discard.

    In against Aggro-Loam: Leyline of the Void, Planar Void, Pithing Needle, Path to Exile, Pernicious Deed.

    In against you: Leyline of the Void, Krosan Grip.

    Out against Aggro-Loam: Maelstrom Pulse, bits and pieces to pack in more removal.

    Overall: Even preboard, slightly favourable postboard.

    Rock – The Mirror Match

    The Rock mirror match is more likely to happen now than any other time. I’ve never played a Rock mirror before a few weeks ago, but it very much comes down to who’s playing what style. An Aggro Rock build can sometimes trump Control, or sometimes the other way around. It comes down to who plays more disruption the fastest, and who can keep an attacking creature online the longest. Control builds running 4 Deeds and multiple Elspeths packed with recursion may stand more chance against those that explode on turns 2-4. The die roll is key in this game. Save your removal for their creatures, and try to rip them apart with your discard. It comes down to keeping your draw engine online, or removing theirs.

    In against Rock: Leyline of Sanctity (stops the opposing Discard), Path, Deed, Bojuka Bog, Pithing Needle.

    In against you: Leyline of the Void, Krosan Grip, Pithing Needle, Path, Deed, etc.

    Out against Rock: Not much to take out here, it’s going to be tight.

    Overall: Even.

    Vengevine Survival

    Who knows how long this will actually be relevant, considering the B/R update is tomorrow. But, in any case, onto the Elephant in the room. For months, Survival has been running rampant due to several reasons that aren’t going to be repeated here. Case in point: Survival is hard to hate out, is versatile with its builds and answers, but they all have a common weakness: Survival itself. You’re playing Rock. If they decide to spring Vengevines, Swords them. If they land Survival, blow it up. Use your discard early on to take key creatures or spells, such as Survival itself or Knight of the Reliquary/relevant creatures (NOT Vengevine). You have enough disruption and permanent removal early on to allow you to get a foot in the door. Build up a solid manabase including some basics, and play out threats. Dark Confidant is key in this matchup, as are Swords and Path preboard. Keep removing their creatures and removing their graveyard (Bojuka Bog). Remember to bog using Knight only after the last Vengevine trigger for returning them to play goes on the stack, otherwise they can play around you. Generally, your creatures are bigger than theirs, so remember to block as well. Deed is a very good card at removing all their regular creatures and other permanents; put it to good use. The key here is to disrupt early, remove from game often. It won’t be an easy match, believe me. Sometimes they get very good draws and can out aggro you. Remember: vary your hate, remove as you can, disrupt early.

    In against Vengevine Survival: Extirpate, Leyline of the Void, Duress, Path, Krosan Grip, Faerie Macabre, Perish.

    In against you: Faerie Macabre, Umezawa’s Jitte (not a TON else…)

    Out against Vengevival: Deed, odds and ends, Gerrard’s Verdict.

    Overall: Even to slightly unfavourable preboard, even to slightly favourable postboard.

    Overall, Rock doesn’t have a 140% win ratio against any deck in the format; it’s actually quite the opposite. Rock has decent matchups or at least decent chances of winning against most decks in the format. With a good sideboard, you should be able to take Rock to most metagames and do reasonably well with it.

    10. Records

    Results can be found for the following tournaments. Most of the time, Rock is named: Junk, BWG Rock, Dark Horizons, or something like that.
    If you happen to have any records I should know about, I’ll post them here.

    SCG Open Boston: 8th, 13th, 15th places:
    http://sales.starcitygames.com//deck...eckshow.php?&t[C1]=leg&start_date=2010-11-07&end_date=2010-11-07&event_type=SCLO

    SCG Open Charlotte: 4th, 5th, 12th, 23rd places:
    http://sales.starcitygames.com//deck...eckshow.php?&t[C1]=leg&start_date=2010-10-31&end_date=2010-10-31&event_type=SCLO

    SCG Open Nashville: 6th, 13th places:
    http://sales.starcitygames.com//deck...eckshow.php?&t[C1]=leg&start_date=2010-10-17&end_date=2010-10-17&event_type=SCLO

    SCG Open: Denver: 16th place:
    http://sales.starcitygames.com//deck...eckshow.php?&t[C1]=leg&start_date=2010-08-22&end_date=2010-08-22&event_type=SCLO&city=Denver

    SCG Open Atlanta: 20th Place:
    http://sales.starcitygames.com//deck...eckshow.php?&t[C1]=leg&start_date=2010-05-02&end_date=2010-05-02&event_type=SCLO[/url]

    *The links are a bit finicky, but if you copy and paste the whole thing into your browser, you're good to go*
    "I only drink whiskey older than my girlfriends. It's an expensive hobby at either end of the scale, no matter which way you work it. Do you go with an expensive lady, or a smooth drink? It's a real dilemma."

    "I'm your Huckleberry."

    "If it takes more than a day to decide, you'll never decide"

    Apparently John Cox, LordofthePit, Einherjer, Mr. Safety, Imnotbrown, Treefolk Master, and Parax love what I have to say.

  3. #3
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    saved
    "I only drink whiskey older than my girlfriends. It's an expensive hobby at either end of the scale, no matter which way you work it. Do you go with an expensive lady, or a smooth drink? It's a real dilemma."

    "I'm your Huckleberry."

    "If it takes more than a day to decide, you'll never decide"

    Apparently John Cox, LordofthePit, Einherjer, Mr. Safety, Imnotbrown, Treefolk Master, and Parax love what I have to say.

  4. #4
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    @ZeinVoncy: Post the list!

    @ ZeinVoncy, regarding the inclusion of Doran, the Siege Tower:


    You got your fingers slapped because of the fact you weren't running Knight of the Reliquary, and Doran was replacing Knight. I'm saying run both.

    I agree with the fact that you could build around Doran: Wall of Omens/Blossoms/Roots would be excellent inclusions in that deck. I think we should brainstorm on that tangent. I agree 100% with Pridemage: he is another tool in the toolbox. But, at times, you don't need tools, you need brute force. We've got a crap ton of removal already, and again, Pridemage would be excellent here. You're 100% correct, I'm just trying the fat in place of Pridemage just to see where we can go with it.

    I think Doran could be used in a Walls/Birds control setup with recursion, possibly even with Stoneforge Mystic. But, running him in a mid-range to aggro match doesn't seem terrible if coupled with the usual suspects: Tarmogoyf, KotR, and Dark Confidant. Plus, I love how he makes Goblin Pildedriver infinitely worse.

    4 Knight of the Reliquary
    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Dark Confidant
    3 Doran, the Siege Tower

    4 Hymn to Tourach
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Swords
    3 Vindicate
    2 Ghastly Demise
    1 Path
    3 Mox Diamond
    3 Top

    8 Fetchlands
    3 Bayou
    4 Scrubland
    1 Savannah
    1 Karakas
    1 Bojuka Bog
    1 Maze of Ith
    3 Basic Lands (1 of each, probably)

    -Matt
    "I only drink whiskey older than my girlfriends. It's an expensive hobby at either end of the scale, no matter which way you work it. Do you go with an expensive lady, or a smooth drink? It's a real dilemma."

    "I'm your Huckleberry."

    "If it takes more than a day to decide, you'll never decide"

    Apparently John Cox, LordofthePit, Einherjer, Mr. Safety, Imnotbrown, Treefolk Master, and Parax love what I have to say.

  5. #5

    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Original Decklist:

    Junk Rock: 60
    Creatures: 18
    4x Noble Hierarch
    3x Dark Confidant
    2x Qasali Pridemage
    2x Eternal Witness
    2x Doran, the Siege Tower
    3x Knight of the Reliquary
    2x Desolation Angel

    Sorcery: 12
    4x Inquisition of Kozilek
    2x Gerrard's Verdict
    2x Vindicate
    3x Maelstrom Pulse
    1x Identity Crisis

    Instant: 4
    2x Swords to Plowshares
    2x Extirpate

    Artifact: 5
    2x Sensei's Divining Top
    2x Umezawa's Jitte
    1x Sword of Light and Shadow

    Enchantment: 1
    1x Pernicious Deed

    Land: 20
    3xBayou
    2x Savannah
    4x Verdant Catacombs
    4x Wasteland
    2x Forest
    2x Swamp
    1x Plains
    1x Volrath's Stronghold
    1x Stirring Wildwood

    S/B:
    3x Chalice of the Void
    2x Leyline of the Void
    1x Extirpate
    2x Diabolic Edict
    2x Pernicious Deed
    2x Gaddock Teeg
    3xPithing Needle

    So I did have KotR, just not 4x of them. :-P Moving on, I ditched the equipment even after getting a Sword of Fire and Ice b/c I felt that they are just junk (no pun intended) in this version of Rock. I have better spells in place of the equipment, maybe if I was running an aggro version for Rock and had Stoneforge Mystic to put, it'd be pimping, but alas, that's not my style.

    After consulting with the old thread for a few months, the list now looks like this:

    The Rock: Junk Style: 60 (proper title?)

    Creatures: 13
    4x Dark Confidant
    4x Knight of the Reliquary
    2x Qasali Pridemage
    2x Desolation Angel
    1x Eternal Witness

    Sorcery: 13
    4x Thoughtseize
    4x Hymn to Tourach
    3x Vindicate
    2x Maelstrom Pulse

    Instant: 6
    3xSwords to Plowshares
    3xExtirpate

    Artifact: 6
    3x Sensei's Divining Top
    3x Mox Diamond

    Enchantment: 1
    1x Pernicious Deed

    Land: 21
    3x Bayou
    2x Savannah
    4x Verdant Catacombs
    4x Wasteland
    2x Forest
    2x Swamp
    1x Plains
    1x Volrath's Stronghold
    1x Nantuko Monastery
    1x Bojuka Bog

    S/B: 12/15
    2x Chalice of the Void
    2x Diabolic Edict
    2x Pernicious Deed
    3x Pithing Needle
    3x Dueling Grounds


    Two changes I'm working are obtaining 1x Maze of Ith and 4x Tarmogoyf.
    *Currently borrowing a friends playset of goyfs to playtest.+ 4x Tarmogoyf; -1x Eternal Witness, -1x Extripatel to S/B, -2x Qasali Pridemage to S/B.
    More play testing will be done before and after to see what I like better.
    Another change I'd like: +2x Marsh Flats, 1x Scrubland; - 2 basics. Maybe go to 61 though it's frowned upon.

    My biggest concern is S/B.
    I don't very much like Chalice of the Void or Pithing Needle (Needle more so b/c it comes down to me naming cards of value and I'm not so good at that.) I still have 3 open slots, which I was considering using for Krosan Grip, but then, my meta is unknown due to the lack of popularity.

    Rule of Law sounds nice I feel that our weakest m/u is Tendrils based decks and there are not as many targets for RoL as they are for Ethersworn Canonist, and even though I like Aven Mindcensor, I think that leaving 3 mana open for him is a waste of a turn. Chalice of the Void does not stop storm counts,Ethersworn Canonist can still let them build storm as long as they play artifacts (so it just limits their options), Aven Mindcensor requires 3 mana open, turn 2-3 are perhaps the most dangerous turns for Tendrils based decks.

    Leyline of Sanctity looks like a great card, trying to acquire 3x of these as well.

    So my S/B needs the most work while I try to acquire the cards I mentioned earlier.

    As to discussing the out of place card:Desolation Angel.
    I try to focus on keeping my opponent off required mana, between my wastelands and vindicates (which will most likely be upped to 4), by the time my opponent starts recovering, I'm able to use her to seal the game. She's proved to be worth her while even though costing so much. I'd encourage testing it out to see what others think in including her.

    Here's something that I found insightful concerning The Rock and its performance in large events:
    http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/l...s_of_Data.html

    We are strong contenders, yet our deck type is played more often than originally thought. Granted Survival and Merfolk out number us, but according to those stats, only Survival out classes us. We have the potential to becoming a Deck to Beat.
    Last edited by ZeinVoncy; 12-02-2010 at 04:59 PM.

  6. #6

    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Actually, while thinking about Doran, I can't stop thinking about Walls, bonus to Overgrown Battlement and big beefy critters, LoL. I know, totally off subject.

  7. #7

  8. #8
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    There's already a thread on this deck:
    http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ead.php?11737-[Deck]-The-Rock

    Stop trying to be cool and start your own thread about the exact same deck, we need information to be compiled together so it's organized, and not be going back and forth in two threads. If you want to start a new thread about a deck, make a new deck.

  9. #9
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Quote Originally Posted by Team America View Post
    There's already a thread on this deck:
    http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ead.php?11737-[Deck]-The-Rock

    Stop trying to be cool and start your own thread about the exact same deck, we need information to be compiled together so it's organized, and not be going back and forth in two threads. If you want to start a new thread about a deck, make a new deck.
    I'm pretty sure the OP (sdematt) has been following the thread more closely than you. Because if you did, you'd notice that there was a request for a new primer--which he volunteered to write--and that the old thread was already locked by Bardo, with a link to this one, before you made your post.

  10. #10

    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Quote Originally Posted by Team America View Post
    There's already a thread on this deck:
    http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ead.php?11737-[Deck]-The-Rock

    Stop trying to be cool and start your own thread about the exact same deck, we need information to be compiled together so it's organized, and not be going back and forth in two threads. If you want to start a new thread about a deck, make a new deck.
    @Team America
    Insert your foot into your mouth and bite. Or better yet, delete your thread b/c pointless and completely wrong information is not wanted here.

    @ lordofthepit
    Thank you for helping pointing that out.

    @dzra
    Would you consider dropping some card to add another Elspeth? Been considering her for a bit, she seems good. How has she been working out w/ you? Does she last long enough for her ultimate or does she give you killing factor?

  11. #11
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Hey guys,

    I recently lost interest in playing my Ichorid, and want to make a new Rock deck. After reading up on mtgsalvation, the old thread and this one I tried to make my own list already, but got some problems with chosing the right cards. I'll post the list here, but at the moment there are 64 cards in the deck and I'm not sure which cards to drop.

    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Dark Confidant
    4 Knight of the Reliquary

    2 Extirpate
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Hymn to Tourach
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    3 Vindicate
    2 Maelstrom Pulse

    3 Pernicious Deed
    2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
    3 Sensei's Diving Top

    3 Mox Diamond

    4 Verdant Catacombs
    4 Marsh Flats
    4 Wasteland
    1 Karakas
    2 Swamp
    1 Plains
    1 Forest
    3 Bayou
    2 Scrubland
    1 Maze of Ith

    I was thinking about dropping Extirpate, but I think it's useful against every deck just to remove some of the key cards of it. Or maybe 1-2 basics.

    If you have any suggestions, please tell me and also why ofcourse ;)

  12. #12

    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Matt, Thank you very much for the new Rock primer. It is outstanding and was badly needed.

    I'd like to note a few other card options, although they are probably not ideal for today's modern Rock. One is Cabal Therapy. It can be played in the maindeck as additional discard. It is more effective with thoughtseize, and can be easily flashed back by saccing a Noble Hierarch, Birds, Wall, etc. that you don't need anymore. I am not necessarily recommending it, but it has been a solid option in Rock going back to its days in Extended.

    Another option for a big beater is Progenitus, which of course, is played via Natural Order. A Rock build that plays green creatures that accelerate mana has a good shot about bringing him out on turn three. You would need a good number of green creatures, acceleration, and Top to maximize your chances. Personally, I prefer a "Dark Horrizons" version with Goyf, Confidant, and Knight. But I still think that Progenitus is worth mentioning as an option for other Rock builds.
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  13. #13
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Thanks Team America for your concern, but we've got it covered. It looks so familiar...it's the same...my word!

    With your list Martijn, I think you should either choose whether you want to go for more control or more aggro/midrange. Usually, running more Deed/Elspeth means running a more control build, and changing the creature base slightly, but this isn't necessary. You could leave it as is and play 0 Mox Diamond and turn those Wastelands into Duals, for the sake of mana stability in a slower build.

    Extirpate in the main is definitely a great card, so you may want to leave it in if your metagame is infested with Vangevine. Otherwise, just put 4 in the board. I'd also say cut 1 Deed, and now you're at 61, which is totally fine for Rock.

    If you didn't want to do that, I'd say cut 1 Hymn, 1 Pulse, 1 Deed.

    -Matt
    "I only drink whiskey older than my girlfriends. It's an expensive hobby at either end of the scale, no matter which way you work it. Do you go with an expensive lady, or a smooth drink? It's a real dilemma."

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  14. #14

    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Quote Originally Posted by Justin View Post
    Matt, Thank you very much for the new Rock primer. It is outstanding and was badly needed.

    I'd like to note a few other card options, although they are probably not ideal for today's modern Rock. One is Cabal Therapy. It can be played in the maindeck as additional discard. It is more effective with thoughtseize, and can be easily flashed back by saccing a Noble Hierarch, Birds, Wall, etc. that you don't need anymore. I am not necessarily recommending it, but it has been a solid option in Rock going back to its days in Extended.

    Another option for a big beater is Progenitus, which of course, is played via Natural Order. A Rock build that plays green creatures that accelerate mana has a good shot about bringing him out on turn three. You would need a good number of green creatures, acceleration, and Top to maximize your chances. Personally, I prefer a "Dark Horrizons" version with Goyf, Confidant, and Knight. But I still think that Progenitus is worth mentioning as an option for other Rock builds.
    Post decklists using these cards. What would you drop for Progenitus and a few copies of Natural Order? I do not think it fits the Rock playstyle.
    Last edited by ZeinVoncy; 12-03-2010 at 08:28 PM.

  15. #15
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Problem with NOPro is we have no we to dump Prog out of hand. At least GW Sur can pitch him to Sur/Shaman and Bant NOPro has Brainstorm. If we draw him, he's dead and so are the 3 NO's.
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  16. #16
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    If you play NOPro, you really have to take Bob out of the build as well. I for one am too big of a fan of Dark Confidant. There are many times where I win games simply because Dark Confidant hits the board and isn't answered immediately. If you take out Dark Confidant, this also means you can now play TOMBSTALKER. If you've ever played eva green you know that Tombstalker steals games all the time.

    If there were to be another creature put into the decklist I am for the inclusion of Quasali Pridemage. Sometimes it can be used in place of the Gerrard Verdict spot from the "Dark Horizons" decklist posted from the 4th place starcity open. I would include 2x Quasali before considering any number of Doran. Though Doran is a beast I could realistically only see playing him as a 2x at most. The reason is this deck has a lot of 3CC drops. That makes the deck top heavy and also does not help with Dark Confidant. He is also legendary. With the amount of card draw that you get a lot of times I would hate to have one Doran out and two sitting in my hand with an opposing field of goblins staring at me with nothing to do.

    These are my thoughts, and I'm happy to see that some people are starting to agree with Ghastly Demise, it surprisingly works quite well.

  17. #17
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    // Lands
    2 [UG] Swamp
    1 [SH] Volrath's Stronghold
    1 [5E] Forest (2)
    1 [US] Plains (3)
    4 [TE] Wasteland
    2 [ZEN] Marsh Flats
    4 [ZEN] Verdant Catacombs
    1 [B] Savannah
    2 [B] Scrubland
    4 [B] Bayou

    // Creatures
    4 [FD] Eternal Witness
    4 [FUT] Tarmogoyf
    3 [FUT] Tombstalker

    // Spells
    4 [U] Sinkhole
    4 [AP] Vindicate
    4 [AP] Pernicious Deed
    4 [LRW] Thoughtseize
    4 [AT] Hymn to Tourach
    3 [CHK] Sensei's Divining Top
    4 [4E] Swords to Plowshares

    // Sideboard
    SB: 3 [SHM] Faerie Macabre
    SB: 4 [7E] Engineered Plague
    SB: 2 [PLC] Extirpate
    SB: 3 [SHM] Kitchen Finks
    SB: 3 [PT] Virtue's Ruin

    A build I tool around with when I get bored. Very LD dedicated which is why I play Witness to recur Sinkhole and such. Plays like a slower Deadguy Ale but with the bonus of having a super solid late game thanks to Witness and Deed. I should probably fit a Loam in the MB though. That or another Stronghold since the card is straight bonkers.

  18. #18
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    That build looks very fun to play. For me, I'd run some mana dorks and an Elspeth just for extra oomph. Overall, looks hella fun. Have you thought about Phyrexian Arena for the extra card draw since you're lacking Dark Confidant?

    @Justin

    I can't believe I forgot Cabal Therapy, but you understand what slaving over a hot computer can do to your brain. I'll add them in tomorrow with a possibly discussion of said option of No+Pro. Thanks for bringing it up!

    With regards to the discussion about NO Rock, I'll just say this: You absolutely have to build the deck around it, you can't just stick NO-Pro into a Rock list and go to town. Blind revealing Progenitus will probably turn into one of those Magic stories that everyone will remind you about until the end of time (Remember that time when you killed yourself drawing Progenitus off Dark Confidant?). I have a similar story with 2 Dark Confidants on board, and drawing double Tombstalker off the top, with lethal on board against him that turn. Yeah.

    I think you would most definitely need to construct the deck like NO Bant, but just NO Rock. Something like:

    Manabase:
    1 Dryad Arbour (yes, I said Dryad Arbour in Rock. Even Knight fetches him :D)
    1 Volrath's Stronghold
    1 Karakas
    ~20 more lands

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Knight of the Reliquary
    1 Progenitus
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Pridemage
    2 Doran
    X Wall of Blossoms/Eternal Witness/Green creatures/Dark Confidant? (Cringe..)

    3 Natural Order
    4 Swords
    3 Thoughtseize
    3 Cabal Therapy
    4 Vindicate
    3 Top

    Numbers definitely aren't correct, but I'm saying you have to design it like NO Bant: Answers, green creatures, and NO-Pro. Problem being, it'd be a control-ish build probably without heavy discard in terms of Hymn/Verdict.

    -Matt
    "I only drink whiskey older than my girlfriends. It's an expensive hobby at either end of the scale, no matter which way you work it. Do you go with an expensive lady, or a smooth drink? It's a real dilemma."

    "I'm your Huckleberry."

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  19. #19
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    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    Quote Originally Posted by sdematt View Post
    That build looks very fun to play. For me, I'd run some mana dorks and an Elspeth just for extra oomph. Overall, looks hella fun. Have you thought about Phyrexian Arena for the extra card draw since you're lacking Dark Confidant?
    Its hella fun to be sure and as is beats the pants off of just about any deck that wants to go to the late game. And yeah it really does need some sort of mana dork but only Sakura and Veteran fit since I have deed. And yeah I'll def have to get arena in somewhere, probably in place of Tops or Hymns.

  20. #20

    Re: [Deck] The Rock

    @Jeff

    Off the top of my head: -2 Deed S/B, -3 Sensei's Divining Top +2 Extirpate M/D, +3 Phyrexian Arena.

    Maybe Dark Rituals for a jump start?

    How do feel playing with no draw power? Don't you run out of steam even if your taking out there land? I feel including some sort of draw power would be positive.

    Wouldn't Knight of the Reliquary be a great consideration?

    @ NO Rock

    I think having Noble Hierarch and Mox Diamond would be worth considering. Or even 4x Lotus Cobra, with 8x Fetchlands.

    It's possible, I'd consider "No Rock" a potential deck-type like "Dark Horizons".

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