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Thread: [Deck] UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

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    [Deck] UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Hi all. It's been a while since I updated the Intuition-Thresh thread with the promised new primer, but I'm happy to announce that it's finally here! Yay!

    What follows over the next several posts is the entirety of the primer's contents (please note that due to various updates, what is below may no longer be up to date--please click on the PDF for the most recent version) (Note: I'm currently updating the primer, which is also out of date). Because of its sheer size (55 pages single-spaced), I have not taken the time to reproduce the UBB coding in these posts (the PDF still has it all). Accordingly, if you want a more easily legible version of the primer, I encourage you to access or download the PDF from the following link: http://freepdfhosting.com/612dd90a55.pdf

    Anyone at all is welcome to use my primer, in part or in whole, for whatever purposes they might like--so long as I am credited where appropriate. This has taken me a monumental amount of work over the last few months (not to mention years), especially since I've been working entirely alone, and I deserve that much at least. So, let's get down to it!



    UGB River Rock

    © Goaswerfraiejen


    First things first: A great many thanks are in order for everyone who helped to make this deck into what it is today. I wonít name you all, but you know who you are, and without people like you to pick this deck up and run with it, thereís not much a guy like me can do.

    Finally, thank you for your patience: the many incarnations of this deck and its many primers have all taken a great deal of time to complete, despite the necessity of updates. I can say with certainty, however, that the quality of the primer that follows and the deck that it describes were only improved by the wait.

    Also, itís very long. For your ctrl+f convenience, here are the main headings:

    1.) Deck History
    2.) Decklist
    3.) Deck Description
    4.) Card Choices & Notable Exclusions
    -The Manabase
    -The Creatures
    -The Spells
    -The Sideboard
    -Notable Exclusions
    5.) Playing the Deck
    -The Basics
    -Using Intuition
    -Post-Intuition
    -The Element of Surprise
    -Opening Hands
    -Sample Hands and Analysis
    -What to take away from these sample hands
    -Dealing with Hate
    6.) Matchup Analysis
    7.) Results
    -Goaswerfraiejen
    -Breathweapon
    -Alex Mack
    -Michael Redford
    -Anonymous
    8.) Developmental Opportunities/Customizability
    9.) Conclusion


    1.) Deck History
    We should begin by noting that Hanni has been working on a very similar deck concept since 2006 under the name of Aggro Dredge-A-Tog (DAT). Back then, he ran Wild Mongrel rather than Tarmogoyf (since it hadnít yet been printed); it acted as a solid deterrent (trumping Werebears, particularly if you pitched Genesis/Wonder), and worked well with the excess lands generated by Loam. Obviously, by todayís standards, Mongrel is far less interesting, although my own early attempts made adequate use of the card. Since then, however, the deck has undertaken a fundamentally different direction that makes Mongrel a little less desirable.

    Hanniís deck also contained cantrips, countermagic/discard, and, most importantly, Intuition. Loam/Coliseum and Genesis/Wonder were also present, as well as Pernicious Deed. The basic concept was an aggro-control shell like Thresholdís combined with a strong element of (board) control like Landstill. Hanni has always been a huge fan of that sort of hybridization, and he and I both agreed that, at the time, it represented the obvious evolution of the format. The deck was shelved for quite some time due to rocky piloting, lack of a following, and the development of UWb Fish. And then, all of a sudden, Tarmogoyf was printed.
    Fast-forward to 2009, and the strong preponderance of decks like Natural Order Rock, Hexmage Depths, and Dreadstill--not to mention the current evolution of Threshold into counter-top control--largely validate that hypothesis. This deck was originally built to take advantage of that hybridization by internalizing many of the same principles in an attempt to exploit the weaknesses that hybridization generated in other decks, notably Threshold.

    When Tarmogoyf was printed in April 2007, I quickly thought to make use of him in UGb Threshold [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=5534] (which was virtually nonexistent at the time), and began working on developing that concept. It quickly became apparent, however, that I was opting for a rather different direction from everyone else who was trying to develop UGb Threshold, so I created a new thread for the deck. If you want to trace the evolution of the deck, the links are available in this same section in the last thread [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=11638]. From there, youíll also be pointed to the thread before [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=11638], and the one before that [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=6230]. I anticipate keeping the current thread for some time, and will update the decklist in the original post when time permits.

    Anyway, at that point, Hanni thought to revive Aggro DAT and so he started plugging into the new thread. From there, I eventually took up sole responsibility for evolving the deck as new cards (viz. Noble Hierarch, Maelstrom Pulse, etc.) were printed, and then again following the post-Mystical Tutor-ban format shift. Once again, the deck has gone through significant developmental changes since the start of even that last thread, and so the need for a new primer has once more become pressing.

    You will find, at the end of this primer, a short list of T8 performances by this deck, its previous incarnations, or decks that sufficiently resemble it or its previous incarnations. Youíll notice that these T8s are largely out of date, and that there arenít many of them. Thereís a good reason for this: the deck is expensive to build, tricky to play, and still (despite our best efforts) unknown. As far as I am aware, I am currently pretty much the only person playing it regularly, and unfortunately I have spent the last several years in cities without regular Legacy tournaments. As I begin my PhD, Iím moving to Montrťal, which has a regular scene: the hope is that I will be able to start racking up more tournament experience for the deck, work permitting.

    Since I myself am completely unknown in the Magic world, in the past we relied on Hanniís ďstar powerĒ to attract a few players. Unfortunately, that strategy appears to have failed: after all, both he and I lack the credibility of players like players like the Hatfields, David Gearhart, and so on. Accordingly, it has proven difficult to garner the kind of attention that I feel the deck deserves. This deck has never really taken off in serious numbers, which is upsetting. The last few years have seen a number of Intuition/Loam decks pop up, but they have tended to lack focus and development. This thread, then, hopes to prove a comprehensive resource for just such development.

    Some time ago, David Gearhart designed a deck called ďItís the FearĒ (ITF) [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=9724]), an excellent control deck that once shared a number of similarities with (former versions of) UGB River Rock. ITF is built further down the spectrum towards control, acting more like Landstill, but still incorporates a few Threshold elements. Today, however, River Rock differs from ITF in a number of significant respects. Indeed, while ITFís popularity seems to have waned in the face of increased metagame hybridization, River Rock seems well-placed to snatch up its mantle as the mid-range deck of choice.

    Regardless, it is difficult to understand why this deck hasnít been given much attention at all over the last few years. As a precursor to ITF, the two decks were so similar that they could have been siblings. Today, while radically different from just about anything else that might hop around the format, the deck remains lost and lonely, relegated to the sidelines: a puzzling situation. Hopefully this primer can change that a little.



    2.) Decklist

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    3 Bayou
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    1 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland


    Creatures (15)

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Scavenging Ooze
    1 Shriekmaw or Fleshbag Marauder
    1 Progenitus


    Spells (29)

    4 Abrupt Decay
    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Spell Pierce
    3 Intuition
    3 Natural Order
    3 Maelstrom Pulse
    2 Daze
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    4 Chalice of the Void
    3 Pernicious Deed
    3 Pithing Needle
    3 Grafdigger's Cage
    2 Faerie Macabre


    Yes, thatís 61 cards. Tough luck. The disadvantages are minimal, given the amount of manipulation available, and the advantages are tremendous. Feel free to cut something, but I donít think the deck will be any better off for it.

    Here is a link to the deckstats.net entry, which also has a handy MWS/other tool to export the decklist: [http://deckstats.net/deck-1457755-65...fb28735e.html] (note: Abrupt Decay is not yet included in their database. I'll update this link once it is.)


    3.) Deck Description

    Originally, this deck tended to play itself out much like UGb Threshold did, what with its creature and cantrip bases and its counter suite. Since that time, however, UGb Threshold has evolved significantly, and now thrives primarily by denying resources to its opponents thanks to early tempo generated by cards like Stifle, Wasteland, Dark Confidant, Counterbalance, Daze, etc. The result has been an aggro-control deck that hopes to control the very first steps of the game, in an effort to render its threats unstoppable. As you can tell from the decklist above, UGB River Rock can no longer realistically masquerade as straight-up Threshold, although many similarities remain. At present, the deck looks and operates much more like a Counterspell-enabled Rock deck.

    Thinking of it as The Rock is a good way to start, and helps a great deal to familiarize yourself with the deck. There are just three main areas of divergence that need to be kept in mind: 1.) A (admittedly limited) counterspell suite, 2.) The presence of Intuition as an important engine, and 3.) The Natural Order/Progenitus combo (which a few Rock decks still favour). Hence the name: River Rock (i.e. The Rock with a blue splash). Alternately, you could think of it as a (partly) tempo-based Rock deck.

    When Hanni and I were developing earlier versions of the deck, we shared a common gripe against counter-top (and by no means are we saying that the counter-top lock isnít extremely good): it usually canít bring you back when youíre behind. As such, it leaves the deck in a reactive limbo, with minimal options against resolved threats (Swords to Plowshares, other creatures) and a deep reliance on a reactive (counterspell-based) engine. Accordingly, we opted to move towards a more pro-active solution that can bring you back from a bad position: Pernicious Deed.

    Since then, however, the Legacy metagame has changed a great deal. It has become necessary, in my opinion, to go on the offensive with the Natural Order combo, while making full use of the freedom afforded by Abrupt Decay, Daze, and a critical mass of recursion.

    So thatís what I have done: in a nutshell, this deck strives for versatility and redundancy: Eternal Witness, Unearth, and Volrathís Stronghold provide a solid mid-to-late-game base of recursion that can be exploited to throw out Progenitus, or simply to overrun the opponent. Similarly, with eight sources of removal and nine counterspells (along with ways to recur them all), removal doesnít get much more redundant in Legacy: this is a lesson that I learned from The Rock, and it has served me well so far. The idea is that with efficient threats on the board, the threat of a devastating combo, and a critical mass of removal, the deck should be able to overpower the creature-based strategies that dominate Legacy and present a significant threat to control. This was especially true for aggro-control decks like New Horizons or CounterTop, which minimized their real threat count in order to maximize their control elements. Today, the same might be said of Blade and Miracle Control decks. The downside, of course, is that against decks that donít rely on creatures to win (e.g. combo), you have six cards that wonít do much except perhaps (if youíre lucky) slow their artifact-based mana development.

    Before I say any more about the intricacies of this deck, Iíd like to mention that it is possible to run Pernicious Deed rather than the Natural Order combo. This is a particularly effective strategy against Zoo, but I think that many of the same advantages can be derived from the Natural Order combo simply by reducing the need for non-Progenitus creatures to attack, thereby allowing us to focus on developing a defensive wall and setting up the combo.

    With Intuition, Loam, recursion, and Natural Order, the deck can easily shift from playing an aggro/control gameplan to a control gameplan, and vice-versa. While our aggro element wonít compete with tribal decks, our ability to control the game is roughly comparable to (if not as extensive as) straight-up control decks. We have the ability keep the board clean fairly early on thanks to free removal, counterspells, and recursion. For pesky Planeswalkers, creatures (especially Tombstalker), or anything else, we have easy access to Maelstrom Pulse and Abrupt Decay or to our own bomb, Progenitus. We also have the ability to recur powerful tools to gain control over the game, which is set up (most of the time) by Intuition. Life from the Loam ensures that the deck can make land drops every turn in the mid- and late-games, and usually does so by providing card-advantage thanks to Dredge (cards in the graveyard are, in fact, recursion targets), and our ability to capitalize on the graveyard. Loam/Wasteland/Witness locks can occasionally end games (though they tend to function more as pinpoint utility tools), and Eternal Witness and Unearth are a great source of card advantage, giving the deck recurring beaters and removal (with Shriekmaw or Fleshbag Marauder). Gigapede is an alternate win condition that can recur itself and is almost impossible to answer, although it hasn't made the cut these last couple years.

    The most common Intuition pile is usually based around Life from the Loam or Eternal Witness, or acquiring a necessary element to affect the game-state (e.g. 3x of a creature, removal spell, or Natural Order, etc.). Usually, my first piles look something like Witness/Witness/Unearth, Loam/Wasteland/Fetchland, Loam/Wasteland/Stronghold, or Loam/Stronghold/Shriekmaw (or Marauder), unless Iím going for a 3x-pile. These piles set you up for the later stages of the game by increasing your mana pile, stocking your graveyard, and getting you in position to start your recursion engines. Iíll discuss Intuition piles later, but theyíre obviously going to be extremely dependent on the current game state. The second Intuition that you cast, should you have the opportunity to do so (or need to), should either grab remaining toolbox cards that can be used in conjunction with recursion, such as Shriekmaw (in other words, whatever is not currently available), or the Natural Order combo.

    Playing so many spells with a casting cost of three or more generally pushes this deck out of consistent Counterbalance range, at least until the late-game. Handily, Abrupt Decay destroys Counterbalance every time if it's looking dangerous. As far as Threshold variants are concerned, our removal represents a serious threat to their already meagre resources, which will already be sorely taxed dealing with our combo element.

    This deck has an insane amount of internal synergy. It can mould itself to almost any situation and has the tools, between the main deck and the sideboard, to answer just about any situation. Its fast Rock-esque gameplan gives it the speed to keep up with (and disrupt) fast decks. Its slow and controlling gameplan gives it the ability to box-in and out-advantage slower aggro decks, other aggro/control decks, and even other control decks, and allows the deck to transition very smoothly from the early to the late game. This hybridization allows it to switch roles when necessary to unbalance the opponent and dominate the game.

    Finally, unlike ITF, I have chosen not to splash white as a fourth colour for Swords to Plowshares because I donít feel that bastardizing the manabase is worth it at all, especially considering that Shriekmaw (or Marauder) and Abrupt Decay are the superior (and entirely adequate) removal options for this deck.


    NOTE:

    Originally posted in a rulings article on MTGSalvation:
    Q: There are currently lands, creatures, and sorceries in both players' graveyards, so my Tarmogoyf is 3/4. What happens when it gets targeted by Sudden Death?

    A: You will have one fairly lethargic, but living, Tarmogoyf.

    State-based effectsóthose wonderful bits of rules that do things like cause you to lose the game, clean up Auras that are no longer attached to anything, and destroy creatures with lethal damageóalso whisk away creatures with 0 toughness to the appropriate graveyard. However, SBEs aren't checked during the resolution of a spell or ability, but instead wait until after they've completely finished resolving and a player would gain priority again.

    The last part of a spell's resolution is putting it into its owner's graveyard. Tarmogoyf is constantly rummaging around in people's graveyards trying to figure out how powerful it is (good thing it has eight fingers, otherwise it might have trouble with that). So by the time state-based effects are checked, the Sudden Death is already in its owner's graveyard and the Tarmogoyf has already gotten the go-ahead to pump itself up. The end result will be a 0/1 Tarmogoyf until the cleanup step, at which time it becomes a 4/5 again.

    I can guarantee that such situations will come up, and they can really decide the game. Even though Tarmogoyf has been in print for years, not everyone is entirely familiar with it yet.



    4.) Card Choices & Notable Exclusions


    The Manabase

    With the advent of Zendikar, the fetchland options appropriate for this deck have expanded greatly. I used to run 4x Polluted Delta and 2x Windswept Heath (because Hierarch nets basic green and blue mana, and black is essential for our removal, but harder to obtain), and that configuration is excellent. The enemy fetches open up slightly more stable options, however, and so at the very least I recommend switching from Heath to Misty Rainforest. The choice between Polluted Delta and Verdant Catacombs, on the other hand, is pretty much a moot point since either option grants access to the same number of lands. Personally, I prefer guaranteed access to green (basic Forests!), and so opt for Verdant Catacombs.

    Eighteen lands seems like the perfect number in testing for this deckís curve: Loam enables the deck to consistently hit land drops after the third turn once the engines are online, and Noble Hierarch goes a long way towards providing speed and stability.

    Wasteland is in here for two purposes alone: targeted assaults on recursion engines (Academy Ruins, Volrathís Stronghold, etc.) and manlands (Mishraís Factory, Mutavault, etc.), and for the occasional game-breaking Waste-lock. Waste-locks are (obviously) especially strong against multi-coloured decks or bad starts, but theyíre hard to set up if you canít cast Intuition early in the game.

    Volrathís Stronghold: In older versions of the deck, Stronghold complemented Genesis (the superior recursion engine, since it didnít eat a draw). For the present deck, however, the relative safety from graveyard hate is a little more important, especially since most of the setup required for Genesis has been eliminated. Stronghold at least provides a measure of redundancy for our aggression and removal, and a measure of immunity from graveyard hate (along with ease of fetching with Intuition and Life from the Loam).


    The Creatures

    Tarmogoyf: This is the core aggro package and it functions the same as it would in a normal Threshold or Rock deck. It improves the early game by allowing the deck to be aggressive against some decks (like combo) and defensive against other decks (like fast aggro). Since so many other decks run Tarmogoyf, removal is an essential complement. Later on, Tarmogoyfís low casting cost works very well with Genesis recursion.

    Noble Hierarch: This little guy is your primary mana fixer, and it generates an important amount of speed for the deck, allowing you to capitalize upon your tempo boosters. Exalted makes Goyf much more threatening, especially versus other Goyfs, and its effect is not lost upon Kitchen Finks, Gigapede, or Shriekmaw. Finally, in a pinch, it can power out Natural Order on its own. Although itís not a great beater, this drawback is miniscule given the amount of work that it does for the deck. Hierarch is truly part of the deckís backbone.

    Eternal Witness: Along with Kitchen Finks, Witness has essentially become the deckís secondary beater. This is an odd situation, to say the least, but it makes sense given the broader context of the deckís aims. After all, Witness provides us with important recursion, either of threats (like Tarmogoyf) or lost Natural Orders. Itís easy to pitch to Natural Order (no big loss), a half-decent threat with Exalted, and creates a nasty chain of recursion with Unearth (making it a desirable Intuition target, since you can fetch it out and recur your way to a Natural Order with Life from the Loam and cantrips). The main reason to run Witness is to increase redundancy. Speaking of which, recurring cantrips is one of the best uses to which you can put Witness, so donít be shy to do it.

    Scavenging Ooze: These slots used to be reserved for Kitchen Finks, but since its printing Ooze has simply proven far too powerful in the Legacy metagame not to include a copy. While the Finks are better overall when it comes to lifegain (given the inclusion of Natural Order and Unearth), the Ooze is a more significant threat and has more utility. I haven not tried splitting the slot with Finks, however, which might be an option. Or, you know... cutting something else for the lovely Ouphe. In any case, the Ooze is just amazing.

    Progenitus: Fetchable with Natural Order, or pitchable to Force of Will. That leaves it relatively dead outside those contexts, but its raw power makes it an ideal finisher that vastly improves our win percentages.

    Shriekmaw: Phenomenal removal. 2cc is the same as other typical black removal: it removes Goyfs (which is the biggest target for the removal), and (like Snuff Out) almost always powers through an opposing Counterbalance. The main reason to run at least one Shriekmaw is the ability to recur it with Stronghold, wiping out an opponentís army step by step. This is, in fact, the main reason to run Shriekmaw. In this way, Shriekmaw can be a source of card-advantage similar to Flametongue Kavu in its heyday: for five mana, you destroy an opponentís creature and (perhaps) get a 3/2 with evasion. The only creatures that Shriekmaw cannot answer are black and artifact creatures, and this deck seldom needs to worry much about those because it also has Maelstrom Pulse, Snuff Out (for artifacts), and Natural Order (as a proactive threat). For those made squeamish by a metagame in which Shriekmaw is less effective (e.g. one filled with Tombstalker, Progenitus, Phyrexian Dreadnought, Ichorid, and Reanimator), the best replacement is Fleshbag Marauder (bonus: Unearth recursion target). Triple black is too much to ask from the deck, so give up on Gatekeeper of Malakir. Against an aggro-heavy metagame, however, Shriekmawís targeting is more useful than Marauderís sacrifice effect.


    The Spells

    Brainstorm: Cantrips give the deck increased consistency, whether it be early mana stabilization, digging for relevant cards (like Intuition), or fuelling the Threshold gameplan (cards in the graveyard, filtering useless cards for useful ones). They also allow us to shuffle away Progenitus if need be. There is absolutely no reason not to run them in here. Additional cantrips are unnecessary because Intuition + engines + Eternal Witness take their place. Brainstorm is worth keeping until later in the game, when you either need the draw power or need to put a Natural Order target back into your library. On that topic, it might be worth reading (if you havenít already) A.J. Sacherís article on using Brainstorm, ďPondering BrainstormĒ [http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/l...ainstorm.html]. Opening hands without Noble Hierarch are safest when they cast Ponder to find land-drops. If you must choose between Brainstorm and Ponder to feed a Force of Will, save the Ponder.

    Intuition: The core of the deck outside of the Rock gameplan, Intuition enables the deckís engines to come online, allowing the player to either pursue a more aggressive gameplan or shift into control mode. It enables consistent land drops via Loam, card-advantage via Eternal Witness and Unearth, fetches our combo finish, and so on. Essentially, it provides a quick response to just about any situation. For more on Intuition piles, please refer to the appropriate section below.

    Natural Order: Sets up a combo finish for the deck that is extremely difficult to deal with (Progenitus). Very often, Natural Order acts in much the same way that Deed did (only more pro-actively, and thus better), allowing us to pull out a surprise win or to overpower a rogue deck. I'm not above using Order to fetch a Witness, which can be an extremely powerful move. ĎNuff said, I think.

    Life from the Loam: Another of the deckís engines, albeit a secondary one. It enables consistent land drops every turn whilst creating card-advantage (since the deck uses the graveyard as a toolbox as much as anything else). The ability to recur Wasteland is nasty against some decks. There is no reason to not run Loam (as a 1-of) in a deck running Intuition. It is only needed as a 1-of in this deck because spare slots are hard to come by, and because itís really more of a control/control-enabling option, rather than a manafixing necessity.

    Force of Will: Obvious. No further comments necessary.

    Daze: Since this is an aggro/control deck rather than slower control, Daze is a lot better for us than Counterspell. The deck needs the nine counterspells in order to dominate the early game, and to have a chance of competing against storm combo. With Hierarchís inclusion in the deck, Daze becomes a true tempo card, rather than an iffy potential loss of momentum. If you win your first game, however, itís often worth considering whether Pernicious Deed might not ultimately be more helpful in the coming game than Daze. After all, your opponent will be playing around Daze, so youíd do well to keep him/her baited and off-kilter. At the moment we're down to two Daze to enable us to run four Abrupt Decay.

    Abrupt Decay: This new card is incredibly useful in the context of this deck. We no longer need to be hostage to Snuff Out's life loss, which makes an important difference. There is no colour restriction, which is great, and the casting-cost restriction is not such a big deal since we also have access to Maelstrom Pulse. Most importantly, uncounterability means that it's absolutely consistent removal, and it's not limited to creatures! With Eternal Witness and our other recursion elements, Abrupt Decay is insanely powerful for us.

    Maelstrom Pulse: Maelstrom Pulse fulfills a necessary niche in this deck. While essentially a (creature-) removal option, it gives us a powerful, targeted answer to Planeswalkers, enchantments, artifacts, and tokens. This makes Pulse a truly versatile spell: it can act as extra removal if you need it, or as a targeted Deed. Of equal importance, however, is the fact that its versatility largely replaces Krosan Grip, and so frees up a number of slots in the sideboard.

    Unearth: An important source of card advantage, especially when coupled with Eternal Witness or fetched with Intuition. Unearth complements most aspects of the deck, warranting its inclusion as a one-of. And if it should be rendered useless (e.g. by a Chalice set at one), it can just be cycled. While it might look out of place at first glance, itís a real all-star and should not be dismissed. Remember that you can use it to reanimate a Witness and then return it to your hand with that same Witness; rinse and repeat, and youíve just severely frustrated your opponent. Alternately, use it in conjunction with Witness to ensure that you can cast Natural Order at some point. Donít leave home without it, but donít go over one copy: we need the slots for other things, and donít want to become overly reliant on the graveyard. The more ineffective our opponentsí sideboarding choices, the better.

    Spell Pierce: I use this primarily to help foil combo, although itís obviously useful elsewhere as well (Burn is a common target, as are enemy Planeswalkers).


    The Sideboard

    Before I begin with the sideboard, Iíd like to say that this is my own personal sideboard and that ideal sideboards are going to differ based on the player and the metagame. There are no fixed slots here.

    One option that I have not yet explored, but which may well be of interest, is a transformational sideboard that would allow us to swap out the Natural Order combo in favour of something else. Just what that would be, however, Iím not sure. Any and all suggestions would be welcome.

    Faerie Macabre: Faerie's instant speed makes it a powerful resource. Relic of Progenitus would be a better overall control element, but it also messes with our own strategy and is more vulnerable to our own Chalices of the Void, opposing Chalices (especially versus Aggro-Loam and Lands), and to Counterbalance (in ITF, Threshold, CounterTop, and other Counterbalance-based randomness). These cards do everything that you might expect them to do, and play well with Eternal Witness and Volrath's Stronghold (and thus also with Intuition). Coupled with Grafdigger's Cage, it's plenty.

    Grafdigger's Cage: Another excellent tool against graveyard-based decks that has a minimal effect on our own deck (obviously, it doesn't complement Natural Order, but that's it). If you don't have the card or don't want to run it, I'd recommend more Faerie Macabre and perhaps Tormod's Crypt.

    Chalice of the Void: I decided to dedicate this slot to hating out combo, and Chalice is a multi-purpose tool that cleaves tight to the tempo theme and hurts combo, all while shoring up the Burn and Zoo matchups. Tension with the Hydroblast/BEB slots in these matchups have left me favouring Chalice over them simply due to a wider range of application. It also shuts down red-splash Tempo-Thresh.

    Pernicious Deed: In this deck, Deedís power level is increased with the inclusion of Volrathís Stronghold, Eternal Witness, and Unearth, which grant you sickening inevitability. Pernicious Deed itself is easily one of the strongest cards in the format: that much goes without saying. As mentioned before, it can easily bring the game back from behind, particularly in conjunction with recursion. The ability to answer basically everything after itís already resolved (proactively rather than reactivelyócounterspells are great, but you have to have them in your hand at the appropriate time, making them much more conditional) is nutty, and the ability to come back from behind by wiping the board clear is very powerful. The fact that this deck can wipe the board clean with Deed and then recur creatures immediately makes for amazing synergy, and terrifying inevitability.


    Notable Exclusions:

    Academy Ruins: Too cutesy and win-more. Mana issues also make it a prohibitive choice.

    Lonely Sandbar/cycling lands: Not useful enough. Besides which, they create mana problems. If you were to run Terravore, you might want a fewóbut again, they create havoc with the mana in your opening hand(s). If I wanted to mimic their use, Iíd rather go with Cephalid Coliseum.

    Counterbalance: Different gameplan altogether.

    Dark Confidant: Itís a virtually useless beater, and we already have good sources of card advantage. Plus, with mana costs ranging from three to ten, on top of Snuff Out, Force of Will, Mental Misstep, and given fetchlands, the life loss would just be too significant.

    Darkblast: A fantastic card that preys on NO RUGís weenie base (as well as Memnite/Pest Affinity and many others). For my local meta, I sometimes sideboard two of these puppies, and theyíre fantastic. One day I might find room for a singleton in the main deck.

    Diabolic Edict: I once dedicated three sideboard slots to another form of combo-hate: hating out the Progenitus and Hexmage combos, which can be difficult to deal with. There was an added advantage in that Edict could come in to replace Snuff Out against decks with primarily black threats. Accordingly, Edictís wide range of application warranted its inclusion, the only hiccup being that it has a harder time dodging Counterbalance and Spell Snare. Now that I run the Progenitus combo myself, however, I think that these slots are best used for other cards.

    Dryad Arbor: Iím not against having a singleton maindeck, but the trouble Iíve had with it in the past is that it screws up my mana development more often than I wish I could fetch it with a fetchland.

    Empyrial Archangel: Metagame considerations might warrant its inclusion in the sideboard, but at the moment I don't see the need for it.

    Engineered Explosives: Complements Deed and can be used to destroy Planeswalkers (with Hierarch) if need be. Itís also slightly faster than Deed, especially against Zoo, which is helpful. And hey, Tarmogoyfs are bigger because of it. Currently, Iím sticking to Deed (in the SB) because its value against Affinity is just so hard to overstate.

    Engineered Plague: A year ago, with the growing popularity of tribal decks (Goblins, Merfolk, Elves, Combo-Elves, Progenitus-Elves, Survival-Elves), Plague was a good sideboard card. We could cast it on turn two thanks to Noble Hierarch, and that was a huge boon. A single Plague wonít solve all of your tribal problems, however, since all of the above decks still play a large number of lords, but it makes your removal that much more effective. Target lords with Snuff Out and Pulse, and the opponent is left with a large number of dead cards in his or her hand, as well as in the deck, waiting to be drawn. I no longer run it simply because the shifting format seems to favour Deed and EE at the moment, and because the Natural Order combo helps to give me a little less to worry about.

    Gatekeeper of Malakir: Triple-black makes this too difficult to play in this deck. Also, the fact that it doesnít sacrifice itself makes it very difficult to recur. If youíre looking for a sacrificing-type of recurrable removal, use Fleshbag Marauder instead.

    Genesis: The core recursion card used by former versions of the deck. Once in the graveyard, it provides card-advantage every turn and allows the deck to do nasty things. It makes Deed that much stronger and the board advantage that it creates after just several turns is huge. Genesis recursion is extremely hard for many decks to answer game one. In this deck, I feel that the card advantage (and ability to hardcast it past a Counterbalance) combine to make Genesis a superior option (for us) to Volrathís Stronghold. I no longer run it because Iíve dismantled its enablers in order to run the Natural Order combo, which has a bigger impact in most contemporary matchups.

    Gigapede: This guy acts as a finisher in the same way that Mystic Enforcer (or Tombstalker) did in Threshold, but is only needed as a one-of because of Intuition. Gigapede is nearly impossible to answer, and therein lies its value: it recurs itself, can be used to discard Genesis or Wonder, is untargetable, cannot be blown up by EE (unless the opponent has access to all 5 colours), is really high up for Deed and Counterbalance range, and is large at 6/1 (usually trades with Goyfs). Yes, it can be chump-blocked by Mogg Fanatic--that criticism has been made before, but is, in fact, irrelevant. Fanatic is, at best, a one-turn solution, not really any better than throwing another body in front of Gigapede. With exalted or Wonder, the point becomes even less relevant. Barring a large number of chump blockers, Gigapedeís recursion means that it will eventually punch through. Gigapede almost always powers through Counterbalance (Force of Will and Shriekmaw are the only 5cc cards that I can think of that might see play in decks with Counterbalance), and these characteristics combine to make it strong against other control decks as well. Gigapede is an all-star, and there is truly no good reason not to run itóexcept that thereís no longer any room, and Natural Order is a more useful toolset now than Gigapede. *sniff*

    Hydroblast/Blue Elemental Blast significantly improves the Goblins, Dragon Stompy, Burn, and Zoo matchups, and that is a bonus that canít be ignored. The fact that it doubles as removal means that you can load up on creature removal post-board, and yet still have the ability to consistently counter non-creature threats. The ability to also hit decks like TES and Belcher is just an additional bonus. I split the three slots between the two just to avoid traps generated by cards like Meddling Mage and Cabal Therapy. I no longer run it because it conflicts directly with Chalice of the Void (i.e. it comes in for most of the same matches), and Chalice is simply more useful and more versatile.

    Kitchen Finks: After a great deal of testing, I have decided that Finks is one of the best options for the secondary beaterís slot, and a fantastic replacement for Scavenging Ooze if necessary. Itís an excellent threat--especially when exalted--and its persistence makes it difficult to deal with and an excellent complement to Natural Order. The life-gain is likewise of importance since it helps to negate the reach of burn spells. I am actually happier dropping Kitchen Finks on turn two (with Hierarch) than I am with playing Tarmogoyf on turn two, since Finks swings for more initially, regenerates itself once, and generates a significant early gap in life totals. In this way, the Finks usually eat a removal spell that would otherwise be directed at Tarmogoyf. Indeed, the primary reason to run Finks is precisely the significant impact that it has on the board if you can pop it out in the early game. Should you lack Kitchen Finks or prefer not to run them, I believe that the best replacements would be River Boa or Golgari Brownscale, although both have their downsides.

    Krosan Grip: Like Thrun, this is very helpful in some metagames. While it didnít make the cut for the more generic sideboard above, thatís not a reason not to run it in your own metagame. At the moment, however, Abrupt Decay's presence makes it much less necessary.

    Psychatog: Great card in older versions of the deck, but the other creatures in here are already threatening enough on their own. Besides which, Psychatog requires a large commitment to swing for the win: swinging for a piddly one doesnít cut it. This would set us up for a truly devastating 2 (or more)-for-1. Besides, it lacks synergy with Tarmogoyf, [Gigapede, Genesis,] and Stronghold, and creates a vulnerability with respect to graveyard hate that doesnít currently exist.

    Ravenís Crime: Ravenís Crime was once in the deck largely because it makes for a strong Intuition pile against control (Loam/Wasteland/Ravenís Crime), and because itís a stronger disruption option than Thoughtseize in the late game (in large part due to its recursion). Unfortunately, Loam/Crime locks are too slow and useless against todayís control decks, which feature Jace, The Mind Sculptor and other Planeswalkers all too prominently.

    Snuff Out: Easily blackís best removal spell, Snuff Out deals handily with almost anything and is as close to Counterbalance-proof as you will ever get. Its alternate cost, while steep, is worth it, since it guarantees a gigantic tempo boost for the deck. There is nothing quite like tapping out to cast your beaters, and then springing a nasty surprise on your opponent. The printing of Abrupt Decay renders Snuff Out obsolete in this context, however.

    Terravore: A great card, Iíve often thought that it could find a home as the deckís secondary threat. Indeed, itís quite good in that role--except that itís extremely vulnerable to graveyard hate (which is currently largely ineffective against the deck), and the other creatures are too important to cut. It's still very tempting to include a singleton.

    Thoughtseize: Thoughtseize is extremely strong at what it does. 1cc proactive spot removal for any non-land card is obviously extremely efficient: it answers anything problematic from Tarmogoyf to Humility. The ability to see the opponentís hand is invaluable, especially in a large tournament setting. The -2 life loss, however, was sufficient to deter me from its use in earlier versions, which already lost a lot of life to fetches, FoW, and Snuff Out. Today, I think that Thoughtseize doesn't quite complement the way the deck strives to spend its first few turns (namely, ramping into Natural Order), although it would certainly offer added protection. I may well return to it in the sideboard, however, given how hard a time I have with Show and Tell. There, proactive disruption would probably be more useful than our reactive disruption. On that note, Cabal Therapy is also worth remembering.

    , and to opt instead for a strong beater with more synergy with the rest of the deck (Kitchen Finks, which then became Scavenging Ooze). When coupled with the life lost from fetches, FoW, and Snuff Out, Thoughtseize leaves you very little room to manoeuvre. If youíre planning on running it, run a maximum of three and use Ravenís Crime to fill out the fourth, since Thoughtseize is more or less useless in the late-game. Better yet, run Cabal Therapy and Ravenís Crime.

    Thrun, the Last Troll: Thereís no room for it in the deckís current configuration.

    Tombstalker: This is one of the most controversial absences in my deck, especially given Breathweaponís recent(ish) success with a list that included it. It might be worth running a few of these, but the creatures are threatening enough as is. Casting Tombstalker is going to be relatively difficult, considering that we donít run nearly as much tempo or as many cantrips as Team America [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=11605]. For the moment and from my (admittedly minimal) testing, Team America puts Tombstalker to better use: it gets it out faster, allowing it to have a much greater impact on the board, and its shell makes it much more difficult to neutralise. Besides, now we have Progenitus and Empyrial Archangel.

    Wonder: Gives the deck flying, which can be invaluable in many matchups (notably against control). Wonder easily breaks things like Goyf stalemates, and gets Gigapede over chump-blockers like Mogg Fanatic. Better yet, it gives you a means of playing around Humility and Moat, a means of answering decks that play a large number of flying creatures (which are otherwise unblockable). Without any free slots, however, I canít find a way to include it any longer. Poopsicles!

    Worm Harvest: This card is primarily a foil against Humility, which can otherwise prove slightly troublesome. Metagame considerations might warrant its inclusion in the sideboard, especially against Miracle control decks.
    Last edited by Goaswerfraiejen; 06-25-2013 at 02:34 PM.
    "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me." -T.S. Eliot

    RIP Ari

    Legacy UGB River Rock primer Click here to comment

  2. #2

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    5.) Playing the deck:

    The Basics

    The deck is not a difficult one to pick up if youíre familiar with the format, especially with The Rock or Threshold. Generally, the early game should be devoted to developing your board position and mana situation, using cantrips to set yourself up (but try to delay Brainstorm if possibleósee above). If your hand is more controlling, however, there is no problem going that route early on before switching gears. But letís begin at the beginning.

    The deckís main difference from traditional Threshold variants stems from its late-game plan, and its use of the graveyard; it differs from The Rock because it opts to base its control package around Force of Will and Intuition, while relying on cantrips, Intuition, and Loam for its draw engine rather than relying on disruption and Senseiís Divining Top. Current builds of Threshold attempt to control the late-game through permission-tactics (the Counterbalance-lock) and card-advantage from Senseiís Divining Top. This element is noticeably lacking in River Rock: instead, we attempt to use faster card-advantage engines (Iím referring here to Loam and Intuition) in order to better manipulate our resources (particularly the graveyard) and force a win through sheer inevitability.

    Countering everything your opponent casts is conceivable (in Legacy, not this deck), and clearly it works well (see Thresholdís success, as well as ITFís); this is a reactive control plan, however. River Rock, on the other hand, attempts to force the opponent into the reactive role by applying unrelenting pressure through recursion and a pro-active combo (i.e. Natural Order + creature). Due to a relatively high curve, the deck succeeds in evading opposing Counterbalances, and thus can use the same gameplan in such situations. Why sit back and look for threats that are few and far between when you could just keep casting threats over and over again each turn? Such is the deckís attitude towards the game.



    Using Intuition

    Once you have the ability to cast Intuition, the game changes tone fundamentally. Until you get an Intuition, you can be content to play Threshold- or Rock-style and run your more frequent threats into your opponent aggro-style. Once you can cast Intuition, however, it becomes necessary for you to address the game-state past, present, and future: what deck is your opponent playing, how are his or her next few turns likely to play out, and what can you grab to overwhelm him or her now while setting yourself up for a strong control position should something go wrong/death not come as quickly as itís desired? These are the sorts of assessments that need to be made. This means that your Intuition piles are going to be very fluid, and thereís no formulaic pile that I can give you that you can apply without regard for the game state.

    My first pile will often be 3x Natural Order, if I think that I can pull off the combo. If thatís not possible, however, my first pile will often involve Life from the Loam. For example, it might look like Loam/Witness/Stronghold. This is a strong first pile, since itís useful at almost any stage of the game, and because it guarantees that I will get what I want eventually. What should be noted so that you can tailor your own Intuition piles is how it fulfills a number of different roles:

    1.) It sets up your mid- and late-games by giving Stronghold-based recursion and card-advantage, as well as the ability to (essentially) draw three a turn when necessary (because dredging feeds Stronghold and Witness, and increases your likelihood of running into Wastelandósee point 4).
    2.) Defensively, it helps to protect you from attacks on your manabase (thanks to Loam, obviously).
    3.) You can immediately begin recurring your creatures (the Eternal Witness that didnít go to your hand or a dead Hierarch, for example, or a countered Tarmogoyf, oróeven betteróKitchen Finks, netting you 2-4 more life), thus forcing your opponent into a reactive backpedal in an attempt to deal with the renewed onslaught.
    4.) You gain the ability to dredge Loam early on, thus filling your graveyard with the toolbox answers and threats youíll be needing.
    5.) You get what you need to get no matter which card your opponent selects. This is even more evident with other Intuition piles, such as Witness/Witness/Unearth.

    The most important thing about this kind of pileóobviouslyóis that you get what you want and need regardless of what the opponent chooses. Other such piles might include Witness/Witness/Card X, Witness/Witness/Unearth (one of my favourite and most frequently used piles), Witness/Shriekmaw/Stronghold, Loam/Stronghold/Shriekmaw, Witness/Wasteland/Unearth, three of a card, etc. You generally want to grab piles with (at worst) a next-turn return of some sort, preferably one whose effect will prove cumulatively beneficial over the course of the game.

    With one Unearth, our Intuition options become still more diversified, allowing us to fetch creatures without reducing our chances of drawing them later by too much. With Eternal Witness, Unearth guarantees you access to what you need even if your library is starting to look quite thin. Indeed, one of the best Intuition piles is, surprisingly, Witness/Witness/Unearth for the simple reason that itís very hard to compete with a deck that gets two creatures (wimpy as they are) and another card (perhaps Unearth again, or Natural Order) in a single turn. If you return Unearth, then youíve essentially got an infinite supply of blockers with which to stall, until such a time as you need to recur a card other than Unearth.

    Finally, thereís the brute force approach (often my initial choice, as mentioned earlier): fetch out three copies of Natural Order, and cast it for Progenitus on the next turn. This approach obviously works best if you arenít facing a deck with counterspells, and will usually win you the game, even if you had no business winning it otherwise. The beauty of it all is that you can reliably cast Natural Order by your third turn, thanks to Noble Hierarch.

    In any case, the point here is that your Intuition piles are a function of whatís in the deck, what you need right away, and what youíre going to need in the longer run. The reality is that there can be no standard pile that we can tell you to grab, because whatís in your hand and the game state are going to generate too many unique situations to account for. Generally, however, itís safe to say that your first pile will (usually) want to set up either an Eternal Witness chain, Life from the Loam recursion, or simply fetch out Natural Order. The path to victory is entirely up to you, and the peculiarities of the situation in which you find yourself. On the plus-side, this is where your play skill will shine through. On the downside, this is where your play skill comes into play.


    Post-Intuition

    From there on in, playing the deck should be fairly self-evident; clear the board with recurring removal, beat down with large and quasi-invincible critters, etc. In the late-game you gain graveyard card-advantage (that is to say, you gain recursion options, both creature and other) by dredging Loam, all while maintaining your draws or filtering your deck. This generates massive card-advantage, and is usually more than enough to get what you need.


    The Element of Surprise

    One of the biggest advantages of playing a hybrid deck is that you can masquerade as one of the hybridized decks until it suits you to do otherwise. A couple years ago, the deck could easily masquerade as Threshold, which was a huge advantage, since it committed the opponent to bad blocks since he or she would assume that you had no recursion. Today, itís easiest to masquerade as a Rock deck or Bant, especially if you open with Noble Hierarch. The idea is the same as in the Threshold scenario of yore: trick your opponent into wasting reactive resources. Because your resources are essentially unlimited, you can afford to bait counterspells or removal. You can generate massive card-advantage in this way, since it will take some time for your opponent to catch on. The downside, of course, is that many Rock lists are close enough in concept that your opponent will be wary of Progenitus (even though Progenitus-Rock decks have not been a huge success): consequently, use your blue splash to its full effect, and cantrip and counter your way to tempo advantage and victory.

    Usually, this element of surprise will wear off in time to allow your opponent to plan properly for the second game. Keep this in mind, and try to keep your opponent off-balance; donít go for win-more options. For example, if you can, keep Natural Order back in game one (if itís just a win-more card) so that it can come out as a panic-inducing surprise in the second. You probably canít keep FoW or Daze back in game one, but you can definitely hold on to them until you can maximise its effect on your opponentóbetter yet, you can side Daze out for the second game, since your opponent will now be playing around it (thus effectively giving you a 63-card deck with none of the disadvantages). Use the element of surprise to your advantage!


    Opening Hands

    This deck is fairly mana-hungry, and so you will generally want to keep hands with at least two lands. Whatever else ends up in your hand isnít all that important, since you have a number of different strategies to choose from and all the tools necessary to find what you need. Slow hands are perfectly workable, although I personally prefer a hand with some early pressure (an Eternal Witness, a Tarmogoyf or two, or a hand that can work up to a quick Natural Order). One-land hands can be kept when accompanied by Hierarch (but itís not ideal). Although you could keep a one-land hand with Brainstorm, I generally opt to mulligan unless I know what Iím playing against, and know that frequent land destruction is unlikely. I just wouldnít advise risking it unless youíve already mulliganed a few times. Speaking of which, the deck has enough gas that bad mulligans are not necessarily crippling. Thanks to Brainstorm and Intuition, a mulligan to four can be overcome if need be. To be fair, however, mulliganing to four is always just a question of luck. While itís still possible to win, itís markedly more difficult.

    Land-light hands should aim to keep a fetchland ready to crack after Brainstorm, so that you can (hopefully) shuffle into lands, which can be crucial to prevent mana difficulties. Likewise, if playing against an unknown deck, itís often safer to just fetch a basic land first, and then nab some sort of dual land to complement it (e.x. fetch a Forest, then an Underground Sea). Forests are obviously most important early on; Islands lose their importance as the game goes on, while Swamps gain in value since your control elements are primarily based upon them. Always cast Noble Hierarch before a cantrip (as an opening move, that is) since Hierarch grants you a measure of manabase stability and safety, and powers out back-breakingly early bombs.


    Sample Hands and Analysis

    Before I start with the sample hands, a quick note on the process used to obtain them is necessary. First, although I test with Magic Workstation (which brings with it the attending problems surrounding algorithm-based shuffling), Iíve used physical cards to generate these hands (although I shuffle poorly, at least itís properly random). To minimize any advantage I might get, Iíve assumed that Iím playing second but do so without drawing that first cardósort of a mashup of the two possibilities that leaves me at a small disadvantage, and forces me to play a little more cautiously (i.e. slowly).

    Nevertheless, these hands are pretty representative (Iíve not selected specific hands, but rather just written down everything I got each time I drew a hand) and certainly suffice for this exercise, whose sole point is to demonstrate how certain opening situations play out, when to mulligan, etc. I am using my (Goaswerfraiejenís) last version of the deck; that means that Kitchen Finks and Snuff Out were still part of the list (rather than Scavenging Ooze and Abrupt Decay); the change is not significant enough to warrant me re-writing this whole section. Also, please note that this section is meant primarily to help to familiarize players currently unfamiliar with the deck, format, Magic in general, etc. with this particular deckís early workings. That means that I probably wonít be saying anything particularly insightful for the rest of you.


    Hand 1: Tarmogoyf, Noble Hierarch, Wasteland, Verdant Catacombs, Snuff Out, Brainstorm, Tarmogoyf

    Verdict: Fantastic. Iíd keep the hand: it has everything you need to start with, even if I might like an extra land.

    Turn 1: Assuming that I play second, I crack the Catacombs for a basic Forest (Hierarch gives me access to blue for later, and I donít yet know the odds that my opponent will have Wasteland) and play Noble Hierarch.

    Turn 2: Draw Life from the Loam. You have a choice here. Depending on whatís in play, the best move is likely to be to play Wasteland, crack it, and then cast Life from the Loam to get it and the Catacombs back. Alternately, of course, you could just Loam back the Catacombs and attack, or cast Tarmogoyf. Letís go with the first option, since itís the safest and more likely to screw the opponent.

    Turn 3: Draw Eternal Witness. The best play here probably still involves playing Wasteland, casting Tarmogoyf, and then cracking the Wasteland if you can. Otherwise, replace Wasteland with Verdant Catacombs and crack it for a basic Swamp (to enable Snuff Out). If the former play was possible, congratulationsóyouíve set up a Waste-lock. Otherwise, congratulationsóyouíre in control of the gameís pace and development for the time being. At this point, you have all the resources you need to keep it that way. Save Brainstorm for when you need it (i.e. when Tarmogoyf is gone, and possibly Witness tooóalternately, Witness can recur it), and you should be home-free.


    Hand 2: Misty Rainforest, Verdant Catacombs, Forest, Swamp, Intuition, Force of Will, Kitchen Finks

    Verdict: A slow hand, but the safe mana development makes it a keeper unless you know it wonít cut it against whatever your opponent is piloting (e.g. combo).

    Turn 1: Rainforest fetches an Island to bluff Stifle and Daze. A Tropical Island would be ideal, but against an unknown deck Iíd rather be cautious with my mana development.

    Turn 2: Draw Verdant Catacombs. At this point, the mana situation is a tad excessive. Play the Forest.

    Turn 3: Draw Intuition. At this point, you should know what youíre up against. If itís not a slow-rolling deck, youíre probably grasping at straws to stay alive. No doubt youíll have used Force of Will already. In that case, the choice is easy: crack a fetch (probably grabbing Tropical Island) to cast Kitchen Finks and pray for a decent draw. Otherwise, youíll be faced with a neat dilemma: what to grab with Intuition. If now seems like a good time to cast Intuition, then youíll probably want to grab something with immediate returns, like Life from the Loam/Volrathís Stronghold/Eternal Witness or Wasteland, or Witness/Witness/Unearth, or a Natural Order pile. Letís assume thereís time to pick the latter, and go for one more turn.

    Turn 4: Draw Force of Will. Not the greatest draw for a slow hand, but fantastic for casting Natural Order: we can make the most of it. We still have an Intuition left, and it will probably want to grab removal like Snuff Out, or set up a better draw next turn (with a Witness-based pile), but saving Natural Order would be more important if it was necessary. Cast Natural Order, and grab something useful. Unfortunately, if we were facing something fairly fast, then this game doesnít look very favourable, although Empyrial Archangel might still suffice to save us. Such is luck.


    Hand 3: Bayou, Swamp, Daze, Daze, Maelstrom Pulse, Natural Order, Eternal Witness

    Verdict: Not great, but good enough for me since I donít usually feel very lucky.

    Turn 1: Play the Swamp.

    Turn 2: Draw Brainstorm. Blah. Play Bayou.

    Turn 3: Draw Wasteland. Still not good, but you can either Waste an opponentís land, or cast Maelstrom Pulse. Odds are, itíll be the latter. So, letís say we did that and bought ourselves some time.

    Turn 4: Draw Verdant Catacombs. Now weíre in business! Fetch a Tropical Island, and cast Eternal Witness (grabbing the Catacombs back: now, we can cast Daze and still fetch a basic Forest). Leave Wasteland untapped to deal with the opponent if necessary (letís say assume it wasnít).

    Turn 5: Draw Force of Will. Play Verdant Catacombs (crack for Forest), and cast Natural Order (for whateverís more important; perhaps Archangel is necessary) with impunity. Use your Tropical Island to cast Brainstorm, revealing Tropical Island, Volrathís Stronghold, and Tarmogoyf. At this point, youíre full of win unless you lost earlier on.


    Hand 4: Misty Rainforest, Verdant Catacombs, Underground Sea, Force of Will, Brainstorm, Maelstrom Pulse, Natural Order

    Verdict: Good enough. Letís go!

    Turn 1: Play Underground Sea. Now, you could either cast Brainstorm at the end of your opponentís turn, or wait a turn. Assuming thereís no pressing need (like Wasteland on your Sea), keep it for now.

    Turn 2: Draw Verdant Catacombs. Play Brainstorm, drawing Mental Misstep, Island, Tarmogoyf. Put back the Island and a Catacombs. Play Misty Rainforest (so long as youíre not facing land destruction, crack it for a forest at the end of your opponentís turn; otherwise, arrange it so that you draw the Island).

    Turn 3: Draw Progenitus. Mr. Pooperís scoopers! Play the Catacombs and then Tarmogoyf (itís at least 2/3). At the end of your opponentís turn, crack the Catacombs for either a Bayou or a Swamp, depending on your mana situation. Letís assume itís OK and grab the Bayou.

    Turn 4: Draw Natural Order. If you havenít used it yet, itís probably a good time for the Pulse, bringing Goyf to at least 3/4. Attack with Tarmogoyf.

    Turn 5: Draw Daze. If you havenít used them yet, then your hand is chock full of counterspells: the downside is that shuffling away the lands earlier left us stuck with Natural Order (Ďcourse, drawing Progenitus didnít help). FWIW, the next draw is a Tropical Island; you could then Order into Witness for Brainstorm and pitch back Progenitus. Oh well. The good news is that it wasnít an awful first five turns, so youíre probably still in the runningóand your opponent might just concede after Natural Order, so long as he or she doesnít know youíre holding Progenitus.


    Hand 5: Misty Rainforest, Unearth, Life from the Loam, Tarmogoyf, Force of Will, Intuition, Snuff Out

    Verdict: Fantastic hand, but the single land with nothing else makes it dangerous. Mull to 6 (incidentally, youíd have drawn the Bayou you need to make it a keeper):

    Hand 5b: Misty Rainforest, Tropical Island, Noble Hierarch, Mental Misstep, Maelstrom Pulse, Natural Order.

    Verdict: Good enough: early acceleration, Misstep protection, and a mid-game bomb. Keep it.

    Turn 1: Play Tropical Island, cast Noble Hierarch (protect it with Misstep if necessary).

    Turn 2: Draw Bayou. Play Bayou. Use Pulse if necessary, although itís unlikely this early (especially with Misstep to negate your opponentís first play). Letís assume you havenít used it quite yet. Attack for 1 with the Hierarch.

    Turn 3: Draw Snuff Out. At this point, if youíre not facing counterspells, go all-in and cast Natural Order (after playing and cracking the Misty Rainforest, probably for a Forest). From there on in, itís straightforward: Pulse and Snuff Out likely destroy your opponentís board in a single turn and you swing for the win. But letís assume itís less straightforward, and you want to guard against a possible counterspell (Daze at the very least). In that case, donít cast the Order yet. Play Misty Rainforest and crack it for a Forest, then clear the way with removal instead (letís assume Pulse), and swing for 1 with Hierarch.

    Turn 4: Draw Tarmogoyf. Weíre in business! Snuff Out can be used now (bringing you to 13 life), in part to bait a counterspell, and in part to ensure that you wonít be in too bad a place as a result of a lost Natural Order or Tarmogoyf. And then you have to decide between Tarmogoyf and Natural Order. If things arenít pressing, opt for Goyf (it should be 4/5) and weíll go through one last turn. Otherwise, at least you can recover from a countered Order next turn: cast it and grab Progenitus. As I said, letís assume the former for one last turn. Attack for 1 with Hierarch.

    Turn 5: Draw Maelstrom Pulse. Well, it doesnít protect Natural Order, but it does continue to clear the way. Whether you continue with Goyf or opt for Natural Order depends on the state of the game at this point, but your opponent should have a largely empty board. I would cast the Maelstrom Pulse to clear the board once more, probably baiting some form of counterspell. At any rate, we should have the upper hand (an exalted Tarmogoyf will batter down just about any creature except a huge Knight of the Reliquaryówhich is why we have and used our removal!), so Order isnít quite necessary yet. Keep chipping away at the opponentís life total and youíll soon be in a position to cast the Order (sacrificing Hierarch, of course). If your opponent manages to remove you Goyf at any point here or above, then it becomes much more desirable to cast the Natural Order (you donít want to be stuck with it in your hand, three mana on the board, and no green creatures, after all).


    Hand 6: Island, Swamp, Tropical Island, Brainstorm, Intuition, Force of Will, Tarmogoyf

    Verdict: Great. Keep it.

    Turn 1: Play Island, cast Brainstorm, revealing Verdant Catacombs, Shriekmaw, Force of Will. Put back Catacombs and Shriekmaw. If you need to use Force at some point in the next few turns, pitch the other Force to it so as to keep hold of Intuition.

    Turn 2: Draw Shriekmaw. Play Tropical Island. Cast Tarmogoyf (1/2 at least).

    Turn 3: Draw Verdant Catacombs. Crack it for a Forest and cast Intuition (protect it with FoW if necessary) for whatever is best (either an NO pile, or a Witness/Unearth pile). Alternately, if you want to remove a creature, find a Bayou and cast Shriekmaw. Swing for at least 3.

    Turn 4: Draw Bayou. Play Swamp, swing for at least 3. Cast Natural Order and protect it with FoW if you need toóor cast Witness/Unearth, whatever your Intuition pile netted you last turn.


    Hand 7: Noble Hierarch, Eternal Witness, Kitchen Finks, Kitchen Finks, Shriekmaw, Mental Misstep, Force of Will

    Verdict: Pitch it back. I might try to run it if I had at least one land and it was (or I had won) G1, but thatís not the case here. Mull to

    Hand 7b: Forest, Noble Hierarch, Eternal Witness, Daze, Force of Will, Intuition

    Verdict: Sure, good enough.

    Turn 1: Play the Forest, cast Noble Hierarch. If you have to protect it, do so (pitch Daze). Ah, what the hell: letís assume your opponent used Misstep on you (since thatís the worst case scenario): Force it with Daze.

    Turn 2: Draw Volrathís Stronghold. Several options are now before you: you could cast Intuition (probably for Life from the Loam, a land with access to black, and Shriekmaw), or cast Eternal Witness and bring back the Force of Will. Letís go the latter route, since we want Intuition to resolve and Witness can bait a counterspell. Assuming it resolves, grab Force of Will (if it doesnít, no big deal).

    Turn 3: Draw Life from the Loam. Attack for 3 with Witness. Cast Intuition, probably for Swamp, Shriekmaw, Brainstorm (or Witness, or Wasteland depending on the lands sitting across from you; for our purposes, letís grab Brainstorm). My guess is youíll get back the Shriekmaw, since we have no black-producing lands in play. If itís Swamp, play it immediately; if itís Brainstorm, donít shy away from using Force of Will. Letís assume itís the Shriekmaw and play one last turn together.

    Turn 4: Draw Tarmogoyf. Cast Life from the Loam, grabbing Swamp, and play it. Either play your Tarmogoyf or use the Shriekmaw on something across from you to clear the way for Witness. Letís assume the latter, since itís the worst case scenario for us (i.e. it makes for a slower game), and swing for 3 with Witness. Youíll obviously want to cast Tarmogoyf next turn; Iíd also advise dredging Life from the Loam to build up the mana to start using Stronghold regularly. Oh, what the hell: one last turn together.

    Turn 5: Dredge away Snuff Out, Wasteland, Unearth. Woohoo! Cast Lifef rom the Loam, grab Wasteland. Play Wasteland. Cast Tarmogoyf (keeping Wasteland untapped). Assuming it goes un-Dazed, you must now choose whether to pop Wasteland or keep it in play. If you canít force your opponent to rely on topdecking lands after another turn with Wasteland, then you may as well keep it so that you can start using Stronghold. Attack for 3 with Witness (next turn, you can put Shriekmaw on top of your library during your upkeep if youíd like to use it; otherwise, try waiting a bit in the hopes of having some means of casting Force of Will).


    What to take away from these sample hands

    The sample hands above certainly have their limitations. Still, there are a few things that can be taken away from these scenarios. First of all, hands with only one land are seldom worth keeping, unless youíve mulliganed into them or are capable of casting at least one Hierarch (preferably two!), or Ponder (Brainstorm can work, but itís way riskier unless youíve mulliganed to four or so, and thus have no choice). Two-land hands are usually perfectly workable, and three-land hands (or two lands and a Hierarch) tend to be ideal since those first three land drops are the most important for the deck.

    Often, chance will give you hands that are perfectly decent, but rather lacking as far as aggression (or control) goes. This is perfectly fine, and entirely workable: you just have to realise which role youíve been forced into and play accordingly, using Intuition and your other tools to balance out whichever role is deficient.

    Your first two or three turns will generally all play out very similarly; itís really only once Intuition comes into play that things open up for you. This is especially useful for tricking the opponent into thinking youíre playing a bad or slow version of The Rock or Bant, forcing him or her into bad plays. Itís always best to lead with Hierarch. Everyone in this format is accustomed to seeing Tarmogoyf come out on turn two, and so their method of playing usually anticipates that: they keep blue open for Spell Snare, white for Swords to Plowshares, etc. Consequently, it's frequently beneficial to lead with a non-Goyf creature or spell once Hierarch is online (e.g. Witness or Ooze, or Natural Order).

    On that note, I want to point out one more thing. Although this is not a situation that happens frequently (it didnít happen at all in the sample hands above, for example), it does occur often enough to be worth highlighting: a hand with access to Tropical Island, a Noble Hierarch, and a Daze is just like holding a Time Walk. If youíre also holding a Tarmogoyf or Eternal Witness, itís very close to holding two Time Walks. After all, you begin by playing Hierarch (which should be mostly immune to removal, thanks to Daze--who is going to waste a Force of Will AND a precious removal spell on a mere Hierarch?), and can then counter your opponentís first play. Usually, thatís not worth it, so you save the Daze, cast your beater, and counter what comes next (Tarmogoyf, probably). If your opponent is playing a blue deck, this will usually prompt him or her to use his or her own Force of Willóor worse, Dazeóin riposte. This eats away at the opponentís hand and/or mana development, while leaving yours untouched. Slowed down by a turn and a card or three, your opponent suddenly has a hell of a time finding answers to your own threats and control elements. While obvious, I just wanted to highlight the importance of hands like these: never let them go to waste!


    Dealing with Hate

    The most common form of hate that you will see boarded in against you is graveyard hate (Usually Tormodís Crypt or Relic of Progenitus, sometimes Extirpate, Jotun Grunt, or Leyline of the Void). This is good news because graveyard hate does not really do anything to hate out River Rock: it didnít do much to previous versions of the deck, and it does even less now. Although graveyard hate means losing access to some few resources once theyíre removed (Witness and Unearth are slightly less effective), this sort of ďhateĒ does nothing to affect our regular gameplay, because it doesnít affect either our aggro package or our control suite. All it does is remove a late-game toolbox, and even then, it doesnít do it all that well.

    Letís be frank: losing sources of card advantage is never desirable. Nevertheless, the deck possesses a number of alternatives. The most obvious of these is the presence of Volrathís Stronghold: Stronghold is virtually unaffected by graveyard hate. Likewise, Eternal Witness only needs to return a single creature (or other card) to be worth its weight in gold (well, more than that). Scavenging Ooze can work around graveyard hate and still has access to your opponent's graveyard. Losing Life from the Loam is largely irrelevant, since itís only a minor component of the deck--unless youíre facing consistent attacks on your manabase, in which case you were probably in for a rough ride to begin with.

    Because of these synergies, you never really have to worry about losing your graveyard to hate. Husband your resources, and make use of alternatives: donít overcommit unless you need to just to stay in the game. If youíre going to lose resources to hate, try to work around it by forcing your opponent either to waste his/her hate at inopportune times, or to let you recur something.

    Of the cards mentioned above, Relic of Progenitus is the most annoying simply because it removes both graveyards, thereby neutering Tarmogoyf a tad. The easiest way around problems that this might cause is to keep Tarmogoyf back as a defender and keep either an Intuition or a Abrupt Decay in hand, since these two cards can grow Tarmogoyf quickly after a Relic activation. This, in turn, sets you up to change the course of the game with your block(s). This is especially potent against Merfolk: your opponent thinks youíre locked down after the Relic activation, because Tarmogoyf is so small now. Accordingly, he or she attacks, often with at least one lord. In this sort of scenario, Abrupt Decay usually allows you to take out two lords: the one that hung back (often Lord of Atlantis, which grants Islandwalk), and the one thatís attacking. All of a sudden, what seemed like a devastating attack has backfired royally: the merfolk can all be blocked now, and theyíve all shrunk by two points.
    .
    Much more significant is the hate that aims to dismantle your manabase. Sure, you have Life from the Loam to help with that, but letís be realistic: itís just one card, and not nearly enough to save you from sustained attacks unless you can bring it online relatively early on. ITF players claim that a single Loam, backed by Intuition, is sufficient protection for a four-colour manabase; accordingly, we might think it an ample safety measure for a three-colour manabase backed by Noble Hierarch. I will be honest, however: I have played (literally) thousands of games with this deck over last few years, and I donít think that argument treads water. Loam helps a great deal, and you can often use it to recover from a bad situation. You cannot, however, count on that happening with any real consistency. The fact is that decks that can maintain a sustained assault on your manabase are usually capable of blocking your attempts to use Loam to recover (by countering Intuition, using graveyard hate to remove it, forcing land sacrifices every turn, etc.). The real solution to manabase hate is Noble Hierarch: thatís a large part of why itís such a crucial first-turn play. Usually, itís not worth it for your opponent to waste a counterspell or removal spell on Hierarch, but that Hierarch makes a world of difference for us.

    The solution to this problem, then, is fairly simple: caution. We need to fetch basics early on, and protect our early mana development, since itís most vulnerable in the early game. Use counterspells to stop Stifle from affecting your land drops, and play around Wasteland. Make use of Noble Hierarchís mana-fixing, especially when deciding what to fetch. Iíll repeat it once more: green is your most important colour, followed by black and then blue. The deck can survive on three mana sources for quite some time, so focus on developing your board position. If your opponent is spending time on your mana sources (but two or three are relatively safe), then go for the jugular and hit for as many points of damage as you can. If your opponentís development wasnít stalled by the attack on your manabase, then invest heavily in your tempo cards. The deckís manabase is considerably stronger than it was in past incarnations (largely thanks to Hierarch), and this means that we have a good chance of surviving these types of attacks. Pox-based MBC is the toughest to deal with, simply because it complements that sustained assault on your lands with enough removal to neuter Hierarch.
    Last edited by Goaswerfraiejen; 09-17-2012 at 02:01 PM. Reason: More Primer!
    "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me." -T.S. Eliot

    RIP Ari

    Legacy UGB River Rock primer Click here to comment

  3. #3

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    6.) Matchup Analysis

    Goblins [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=5557]:
    As always, this is a difficult matchup simply because it takes very little for Goblins to get going, and because so much depends on your opening hand. Ideally, you want to keep a hand that has a castable Hierarch and removal or FoW/Daze (if youíre on the draw). Everything in the first game hinges upon whether or not your opponent casts a first-turn Lackey, and whether or not you can stop it if he or she can. If Lackey connects, you can still survive with Tarmogoyf/Ooze and Abrupt Decay, but that becomes markedly more difficult. Ideally, you want to cast early Witnesses (the Unearth chain is particularly useful in this matchup). Thatís almost always the case regardless of the matchup, but itís especially important against Goblins, where an early but underpowered Tarmogoyf can easily bite the dust thanks to Mogg Fanatic, Gempalm Incinerator, and Warren Weirding.

    Conventional wisdom holds that we should counter Aether Vial, but Iíve found it just as effective to save counterspells for hardcast creatures: you have four to five turns before Vial ramps up enough counters to become worrisome, and in that time youíre likely to draw into Maelstrom Pulse or Abrupt Decay. In the mid-game, you can turtle long enough to get a recursion engine in place or Natural Order your way into either Progenitus (if you can handle the board): this is what will win the game for you the most often. Also, remember that you must play defensively: I have a tendency to try to swing for a few extra points of damage, but doing so here will lose you the matchup without fail. Remember that Goblinsí strength lies in playing a hasty horde all at once when youíre not ready to deal with it. Accordingly, you must turtle behind Goyf (and Deed in G2) as much as possible. Be wary of Siege-Gang Commander: this matchup will eat at your life total, and SGC (and, to a lesser extent, Goblin Sharpshooter) might well do you in. Note that the Witness/Unearth combo can really shine in this matchup by recycling blockers until you can power through with Progenitus.

    Post-board, take out Spell Pierce for Pernicious Deed and aim to use Deed like a turtleís shell. With Deed, youíre sitting on roughtly 11 pieces of removal (17 with counterspells) with the possibility of recurring them, which is a ton and a halfóand necessary. If youíve got anything else that might help in your sideboard (e.g. BEB and Hydroblast, or Engineered Plague), make those substitutions as well. As I said earlier, Goblins is a difficult matchupóbut thatís true for just about any deck, including Goblins itself. In testing, I tend to fare pretty well against Goblins overall (largely thanks to an early Progenitus), but that doesnít mean that you can go into the game thinking youíll win.


    Ad Nauseam Tendrils/TES/Iggy Pop
    [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=11184 /
    http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s....php?t=15028]:
    With the advent of Ad Nauseam, these decks arenít quite what they used to be. My testing against the older versions of these decks was much more extensive, but I think that in general the same sorts of considerations apply. Itís worth remembering that matchups against combo are usually just a toss-up: either you get lucky, or they do (and itís easier for them to get lucky, since youíre always on the defensive). Avoid taking too much damage from Fetchlands, and try to have Scavenging Ooze reduce their graveyards (to block Cabal Ritual and any recurrence).

    Empty the Warrens is not something that you need to worry about, given your maindeck and SB token-sweepers. Grapeshot and Tendrils of Agony are the cards to watch out for, and theyíre more likely to be what your opponent reaches for anyway. A number of the principles applicable to earlier versions of these decks are still viable: for example, counter the tutor that reaches for a kill or tries to create a chain (Infernal Tutor is the main culprit, but also Burning Wish). Similarly, counter Ad Nauseam as much as possible. If it resolves, you donít have much of a shot, barring massive luck. Try to lull your opponent into going off later in the game: the later, the better, since their life total becomes low for Ad Nauseam and yours increases from Ooze, not to mention the fact that your hand gets exponentially better as the game goes on. If you can fend off an early attack, then Loam and Wasteland can help to carry you the rest of the way on a Tarmogoyfís back. Just donít bet on it.

    Be prepared to lose the first game: youíll seldom win it. Your chances are better for subsequent games, but itís really still entirely up to the hand that chance deals you. As with all combo decks, however, thatís the challenge: fending off the initial combo. Post-board, then, take out Abrupt Decay for Chalice of the Void (set at zero early on, and then situationally at one or twoóone is the best setting, but you canít always rely on having the time to cast Chalice at one). You can also bring in your graveyard hate to hamper Cabal Ritual and Ill-Gotten Gains. Try as hard as you can to counter Orimís Chant, and cross your fingers. Youíve got all the tools to win, you just need to recognize that youíre Arnold, not the Predator.


    Omniscience/Sneak & Show/Hive Mind combo
    [*http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ck-Omniscience /
    *http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...-%97-Hive-Mind /
    *http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...Sneak-Attack]:
    I donít have any consistent ways of beating these decks yet. Our best hope currently seems to be a combination of speed and luck. Depending on the prevalence of these decks, it may just be time to re-think the sideboard in terms of a heavy disruption suite (e.g., Cabal Therapy, Thoughtseize, Raven's Crime). Perhaps BEB or Hydroblast is of some use against previous incarnations, but Omniscience has me stumped at the moment. Guess I need to test more.


    Counter-Top [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s....php?t=13716]:
    This is generally a pretty good matchup for the deck, since so many of our cards are difficult for Counterbalance to lock onto. The real stars in this matchup, however, are Noble Hierarch and Abrupt Decay. Noble Hierarch, because it speeds you up early enough in the game that you can sneak a beater under Counterbalance; Abrupt Decay because Counter-Top can't stop it, and because these decks run so few win conditions. You want to assign as much early damage as you can: your opponent will eventually be able to deal with that Tarmogoyf (or Ooze), but the aim is to have done so much damage by then that s/he cannot recover. To that end, use your counterspells as removal spells: counter creatures and planeswalkers (especially Jace!). Use Pulse to kill creatures/planeswalkers. Apply Abrupt Decay liberally. Countering an early Top can usually be well worth the investment, since the CB player will spend more time trying to patch the combo together, and wonít realize you can play around a chunk of it. Beware of a late Sower of Temptation. Intuition can grab a number of tools in this matchup: go for Wasteland if you can start locking them out of a colour. Otherwise, recursion tends to be the way to go. Their limited resources generally canít deal with yours, once these become unlimited.

    For sideboarding, I donít generally bring anything in or out unless my opponent runs Nimble Mongoose. If thatís the case, then Pernicious Deed can be worth switching in Spell Pierce, which will be locked out by CB. You could bring in the graveyard hate but more removal is simply better, since it stresses their resources (creature-wise), which are already stressed to the max. Every once in a while, Counterbalance will manage to lock you out. The good news is that generally, youíll still be allowed to live for a few turns--long enough to try to find a workaround. Often, I just ignore Counterbalance and keep up the pressure. Keeping Natural Order back until the second game is a fantastic strategy, if you can manage it.


    Bant Aggro and NO/PRO-Bant [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...and-Pro-Bant]:
    These are generally pretty fun games. Iíve found that we can usually get Progenitus out before Bant can, so thatís a plus (for more on beating NO/PRO Bant, see the entry for ĎNatural Order Rockí, since the principles are the sameóessentially, kill all the early creatures). The big threat here is Knight of the Reliquary, which is both BIG and can fetch Maze of Ith, Wasteland, and other problem cards. Counter or destroy it at all costs.

    Post-board, Spell Pierce can be traded in for Pernicious Deed.


    Tempo-Thresh [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s....php?t=13715]:
    Whether or not this is a favourable matchup depends a great deal upon the build that youíre squaring up against. If youíre facing the red splash with Submerge rather than Clique, then our deck tends to lose more than it wins. Otherwise, itís pretty close to even. The main problem is that Tempo-Thresh can wreak havoc with our early mana development, which really slows down our response-time. This problem is compounded when Nimble Mongoose comes down, since we donít run it any more. Mongoose is impossible to deal with outside of blocking or Deed--our blockers are negated by burn (or, worse, bounce) spells which take them out of the picture, and Deed has trouble making it past Stifle, Wipe Away, and the counter suite.

    Our removal is also a tad lacklustre (due to Mongoose), but it will power through everything else, which is awesome. Tarmogoyf wonít stick, so thatís not a solution to the problem. Scavenging Ooze helps to mitigate any spells aimed at your head but, again, those arenít the ones to be concerned about. Ooze is great for blocking Mongoose, but vulnerable to all of the deckís burn. I find that Intuition is often best used to lock out my opponentís manabase, since he or she seldom has double red or double green until much later in the game. One last note: stop Submerge at all costs. It screws everything up. That also goes for Rushing River, Snapback, and Wipe Away. These are cards that really mess with our gameplan.

    The upside is that your sideboard presents a serious challenge for the deck in the form of Chalice of the Void. In the past, I would just board in BEB/Hydroblast. Now, I replace Spell Pierce and Shriekmaw with Chalice of the Void, which shuts down most of your opponentís gameplan if you can stick it early enough. It neutralizes Lightning Bolt, Spell Snare, Brainstorm, Ponder, Nimble Mongoose, Stifle, and perhaps some other odds and ends (like Red Elemental Blastóit will also force your opponent to bring in Krosan Grip or the like for the third game, so just be careful with Deed). As such, Chalice is the most important card you could board in. Best of all, a resolved Chalice means that theyíll have real trouble finding their threats, since they have so few and rely so heavily on Brainstorm and Ponder to find them. In the face of your removal, this should prove fatal. With Chalice, your chances of winning become very, very, very good; the trick is to land one early enough. Deed should come in for Maelstrom Pulse.


    NO RUG [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...al-Order-RUG]:
    This is a matchup in which weíre quite well favoured: we have more creatures, more (and better) removal, and more redundancy. Obviously we want to prevent the opponent from casting Natural Order, which means destroying any kind of green creature we come across, and using Intuition to grab Life from the Loam and Wasteland. Daze and Force of Will should be kept to help our own Natural Orders to resolve, if possible. Eternal Witness and Unearth are real houses in this matchup. Post-board we can bring in Pernicious Deed and Darkblast, depending on the composition of the sideboard. Darkblast is a house.


    UWx Stoneblade [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...lade-Control]: Thereís a fair bit of variation between these decks, but generally all we need to worry about is Jace, The Mind Sculptor and Wasteland recursion (fetch basics, leave fetches uncracked). Batterskull can be annoying, but a resolved Goyf should be bigger. The fact is that our aggro package is better, our control package is better, and our combo package is better too. I have generally won by either forcing a Progenitus through the cracks, or by attacking the manabase when luck permitted. None of this is to say that this is a rollover of a matchup, however: Stoneblade has plenty of the tools necessary to beat us. The trick is to make sure they canít all be assembled at once: apply pressure, and keep it up.


    Zoo [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s....php?t=12624]:
    Previously, this matchup tended more towards the unfavourable side of close. For this incarnation of the deck, however, Zoo is no longer such a problem: we can now beat Zoo consistently, though certainly not every time. One of the main reasons for this turnaround is the inclusion of Scavenging Ooze, which is a mid-game house (since it can evade Bolts), and the ability to buy time with Spell Pierce. Not only does Ooze help to negate some of the damage done to us by burn, itís also more difficult to get rid of. This is a huge factor, because it means that burn spells are spent removing it instead of dealing damage to us. Plus, we no longer lose four life for Snuff Out since we now have Abrupt Decay. Maelstrom Pulse and Deed are obviously very strong spells in this matchup, and Shriekmaw recursion will seal the late game. Eternal Witness and Unearth also shine in this matchup, for obvious reasons.

    For sideboarding, the strategy that I prefer is to side in Pernicious Deed for Spell Perce, and Force of Will for Chalice of the Void (set at one, itís more effective anyway). This strategy works great because it shuts down the Zoo playerís entire deck, more or less, and you only really need to watch out for Price of Progress.


    Solidarity (High Tide) [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...t=solidarity]:
    If youíre facing the cheaper version of the deck (sans Candelabra of Tawnos and Time Spiral), then you can expect to beat it with nary a whimper: itís its own worst enemy, after all. If, however, itís the modernized and vastly improved (and more expensive!) version, then expect to lose unless you get lucky. Your counterspells can be pretty effective, so aim to stop the leadup to the combo, forcing your opponent to stall while you beat face as quickly as possible.

    Post-board, you at least gain Chalice of the Void (take out Abrupt Decay), and so have a better chance (set Chalice at 1 to stop High Tide and the cantrips that sets Solidarity up). Unfortunately, itís very hard to stop the new Solidarity unless your opponent screws up. Fortunately, the deckís cost (and the rarity of the required cards) means that youíre not likely to face it often, save perhaps on MWS.


    Merfolk [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=8158]:
    This is just one of those decks thatís always going to be a challenge. As with the Goblins matchup, we have all the tools to win, and do so fairly often (thanks again, in large part, to early appearances by Progenitus). But, like Goblins, Merfolk is quite capable of powering out far too much for us to deal with all at once. If you can get your opponent to play just one creature a turn, you will win. Otherwise, it becomes more difficult. Donít fetch out Islands if you can help it, since that just negates your blockers. Use Abrupt Decay strategically on lords, preferably when creatures are already attacking (and preferably LoA or MotPT). That way, you set up your blockers and can completely turn the game around. Use Daze to return played Islands to your hand, even if it wonít actually counter anything. Merfolk doesnít have much by way of counterspells, so donít worry about them: just be wary of Cursecatcher, which will aim to slow your early game. If you let it slow you down, then itíll tap for three or more damage later; like Standstill, break it early. Use your own counterspells against lords. Your opponent might be able to attack your manabase depending on his or her build, but itís a limited attack so just plan accordingly. If Standstill is cast, break it ASAP.

    Post-board, forget about Spell Pierce and bring in Pernicious Deed. Since Merfolk is built to crush blue decks, donít feel too bad when you lose. The matchup is perfectly winnable (usually through Progenitus, despite Cursecatcher's curse), but not favourable.


    Dragon Stompy [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=7622]:
    Much like combo matchups, this can go either way depending entirely on what hands you and your opponent open. If your opponent leads with a Blood Moon or Magus of the Moon and you have no basics in hand, youíre in trouble. Otherwise, she or he is in trouble. Lead with a basic Forest if possible (unless youíre holding Daze or Force) and cast Noble Hierarch. These two cards will be your base for the rest of the game. As soon as you can, get black mana online so that you can use Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse. Your priority here is to apply the beatdown.

    Post-board, substitute 2x Natural Order and Progenitus for Pernicious Deed.


    Countersliver: [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.php?5500-[Deck]-Countersliver-(MeatHooks)&highlight=sliver]
    A fair matchup pre-board, keeping Crystalline Sliver away is the deciding factor here. Being able to use removal makes it a more than fair fight, and Natural Order breaks it.

    Post-board, Pernicious Deed becomes the key to the matchup: protect it. Bring it in for Maelstrom Pulse. Stall until you can blow up a chunk of the opposing army (play defensively). Then come back and crush the opponent, probably with Natural Order.


    Faerie Stompy [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=5467]:
    Iíd say weíre favoured to win, but this can be a pretty exciting match. A timely Abrupt Decay easily deals with a broken start on Faerie Stompyís part. Similarly, a Chalice set at one will do virtually nothing to impede us. Just keep early beaters off the table, and you should be fine. Concentrate on countering and destroying creatures rather than equipment--the equipment is useless without creatures, and you can easily force FS into topdeck mode. Use recursion to bring Shriekmaw back as often as possible, and try to fetch out Loam/Wasteland early on to hate out your opponentís manabase. FSí biggest asset in this fight is its explosive speed early on; its greatest weakness is its tenuous creature base; Natural Order helps you in both respects, either by giving you a monstrous clock or by allowing you to fetch Witness/Ooze and recur removal or gain life.

    Post-board, there are no big changes. Maybe some cantrips for a couple Deeds. Frankly, you shouldnít be losing this round except to rotten luck.


    Reanimator [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=8639]:
    Big, flying pro-black (and black) things are NOT good. Daze and FoW, however, areóbut our opponent often uses them too. If you can put something in the graveyard (with Intuition) to feed Exhume, so much the better. Scavenging Ooze can go an enormous way here, so it's worth protecting. Resolving Progenitus in the mid-game is usually feasible (since you've used up your and their counterspells earlier in the game) and game-breaking (since they can't deal with it).

    Post-board, the matchup gets much better. You want to side out Abrupt Decay (it won't hit anything except Putrid Imp) and Maelstrom Pulse (Iona will shut it down) and bring in Faerie Macabre and Grafdigger's Cage. The outcome of this game now depends on you drawing into your hate (which you should, what with having so much). If you have a Faerie in hand, thatís the best scenario: you can discard it in response to Exhume to both get a beater and remove your opponentís. If you draw into Progenitus early on, it can be worth keeping just in case your opponent uses Show and Tell.


    Ichorid [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ead.php?13767-[DTB]-Ichorid
    / http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s....php?t=11920]:
    This is another one of those difficult matchups, although the inclusion of Scavenging Ooze helps us tremendously. If youíre playing against a particularly good player, you should have no real business winning. Against merely competent (or incompetent) players, however, you have a decent chance. The thing with this matchup is that we have a few tricks up our sleeves (Abrupt Decay, Natural Order, Shriekmaw) that can make a real difference (by removing Bridges) if theyíre employed at the right time. On the other hand, the Ichorid player can opt just to beat down with Ichorid, and thatís much more difficult to deal with.

    Watch out for an early Iona reanimation. Iona on green will pretty much neuter you. Other than that, save up Abrupt Decay and cast it on your own creature to remove as many Bridges from Below as you can (in response to their triggers). Save Force of Will, Spell pierce, and Daze for Dread Return or use one on a first-turn discard engine. Our aim here is to slow Ichorid down long enough to win, or to force them to draw their deck. Natural Order is great if you have time to cast it, since it removes Bridges (fetching Progenitus can work if you think you have time to win with it; usually, however, I use it to fetch Witness or Ooze). Pulse is great in this matchup, obviously. Again, watch out for Ichoridsóa good player will recognize his/her vulnerability on the token front fairly early on and proceed to hit you with wave after wave of Ichorids (with its concommitant one-Bridge activation). Hopefully youíll have a defensive screen of Tarmogoyfs kicking around in time. The fast-roll is easier for us to disrupt than the slow-roll, oddly enough.

    Post-board, you want to sub out Daze, Spell Pierce, and 2x Force of Will for your graveyard hate, and Pernicious Deed. You want to keep Abrupt Decay because it can remove Bridge from Below. Between your MD hate, Faerie Macabre, and Grafdigger's Cage, you should be winning this matchup most of the time.


    Burn [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=7811]:
    This used to be another difficult matchup, but the replacement of SNuff Out and the addition of Scaveging Ooze and Natural Order makes it a lot easier. This matchup is really easy to play, but winning depends on your draws. Waste no time attacking with creatures, and save your Forces for 3+ damage spells. Daze and Spell Pierce whatever you can, and fetch mostly basics to stave off Price of Progress (especially post-board). Your goal is to force your opponent into topdeck mode ASAP, and with as little damage to your dome as possible.

    Post-board, bring in Chalice of the Void (set at one) for Maelstrom Pulse and Shriekmaw. Set your first Chalice at 1 to nerf most of your opponentís deck (and a chunk of yours). Set a second Chalice at 2 ASAP, and youíve probably won the game right there.


    Goyf Sligh [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=7458]:
    A difficult but fair matchup, itís decided either by our Natural Order or their burn. Your creatures easily outclass your opponentís, but burn gives him/her the reach he/she needs to win. Counterspells should be aimed at the burn (particularly Fireblast and Price of Progress); try to fetch basics to nullify Price of Progress. Blow things up regularly. If you have the opportunity it can be worth attacking the manabase, although fetching Progenitus is far more consistent. Remember that Daze can save you two life in response to PoP.

    Post-board, you want those Chalices of the Void (set at one) to nullify both their burn and creature drops, and you can probably forego Maelstrom Pulse and Shriekmaw for them. Deed can be useful, but I generally don't make use of it here.

    Various Stax Builds [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=6044]:
    I tend to win this matchup more often than I lose it, but a great deal obviously depends upon your start. You want to start the game with a secure manabase: that means basic lands (Forest and Swamp first) and Noble Hierarch. Youíll want to counter Smokestack and Crucible of Worlds first and foremost. Countering Trinisphere is more conditional: early on, itís often worth it if you have access to Daze and Force. If you have early access to Wasteland, however, you can often lock out the Stax player for a few turns under his or her own Trinisphere. A single safe fatty will win you the game, but youíll need to hold its hand the whole way through. (Kitchen Finks truly shone here, since you could sacrifice it to Smokestack multiple times.) Similarly, if you can force through a Progenitus, it can often carry you all the way. Your ideal Intuition pile is for Witness/Witness/Unearth, since the Witnesses will protect you from Smokestack and its ilk.

    Post-board, thereís not much that we can bring in. The good news is that neither can they.


    Affinity [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s....php?t=12604]:
    This matchup is very definitely in your favour, thanks in large part Natural Order and Pernicious Deed. The most difficult game is the first, because you donít have access to a MD Deed any more; on the other hand, Natural Order makes a real difference. The only potential stumbling block is Disciple of the Vault; accordingly, counter it as often as you can. To complement this strategy, use Wasteland almost exclusively against black-producing lands. Remove Ornithopter so that it canít carry Cranial Plating. Donít hold back your counterspells unless you absolutely know youíll need them next turn. Try to save Force of Will for Cranial Plating. Since Affinityís opening hands tend to be land-light (and dependent on Springleaf Drum), sustained attacks on their manabase (including preventing Drums from entering play) can also ensure victory. You can hasten this along by tempting your opponent to pump Ravager before using Abrupt Decay. Skilled opponents will sac Ravager to itself and pump up Ornithopter a bit, so be ready to destroy a Thopter (if you havenít already; Thopter can actually be a real threat). Alternately, use removal on the Thopters and the Witness/Unearth combo to block Ravagers until you can get Progenitus.

    Post board, expect graveyard hate. Itís useless against you, so forget about it. Bring in Deed and take out Spell Pierce. If youíre running Darkblast or Krosan Grip, those are worth bringing in too: just overload on removal. Cast Deed as early as possible, and use it to wipe your opponentís entire board. Proceed to win.


    Dreadstill [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=8964]:
    The longer the game runs, the more favourable it becomes for you. The faster Dreadnought hits the table, the worse it is. Stifle and Trickbind are a real pain in the butt, but at least you have a few outs against Dreadnought (Abrupt Decay, Maelstrom Pulse, and Progenitus, on top of counterspells). Force your opponent to waste counterspells protecting the initial casting of Dreadnought, and then cast your removal with impunity the next turn. Dreadstill is likely to beat you if they focus on hating out your manabase with Stifle, Trickbind, and Wasteland; adjust accordingly. Luckily, they probably won't realize that's what they should be doing. If you can play around these initial threats, you have good odds. You absolutely need to have access to black mana when Dreadnought hits, so that you can cast Abrupt Decay. This may mean holding a black land back in your hand until you need to cast Decay. If you can smash through that Dreadnouht, you will probably win: you have far more resources (not to mention threats) than your opponent.

    Post-board, all you can really bring in is Deed, but it's vulnerable to Stifle. The call is yours, really. It may be worth bringing one or two in for Shriekmaw and something else, just to increase your removal density.


    Landstill [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=9413]:
    Planeswalkers and Humility make this a very difficult matchup to win. The Witness/Witness/Unearth pile really shines here, so try to get it into play as soon as possible. Your early aggression puts you in a good position, since it will force the Landstill player to quickly use up his or her reactive resources (counterspells, Deed, etc.). As usual, you want to break Standstill as soon as possible and just get it over with. Landstill decks will usually give you a chance to cultivate your board position, so take advantage of that fact; rack up the lands and force them to commit resources to paltry threats. If youíre playing against a white splash variant, be wary of Humility--it can be a real doozie, and often turns the tide. Unless Humility hits the table, Natural Order should ultimately carry this for you. Other versions of Landstill will use Planeswalkers (Elspeth and Jace TMS, mostly). Unless you have Progenitus out and ready, they will probably do you in. Unfortunately, your best chance is still to attack the playerís life total directly and hope to resolve a Pulse. Luckily, Abrupt Decay will always resolve.

    Post-board, you may as well bring in those Pernicious Deeds. Usually, while I hope to beat Landstill, I canít expect it. Worm Harvest or Thrunn, the Last Troll would be nice tools here, depending on the metagame. Theyíd make a huge difference. Personally, I think Iíd opt for Worm Harvest, since the game usually stabilizes with the Landstill player quite close to death (and Humility in play). Worm Harvest also helps against UGB Landstill and its many sacrifice effects, and gives us a measure of control over Miracles.

    Aggro-Loam [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=6793]:
    Favourable. Game one, you really want to keep Devastating Dreams and Seismic Assault off the table. That used to leave the matchup a pretty even one; with Abrupt Decay, maindeck access to instant-speed enchantment hate leaves it quite favourable for us. The creatures can be matched or dealt with (priority of removal goes to those that you canít match, like Countryside Crusher, Terravore, or Knight of the Reliquary). These games will be challenging, but itís entirely possible to win. A good start is very important here: Aggro-Loam will spend a great deal of time dredging Life from the Loam, so use this time to develop a secure manabase with a strong threat or two, and get ready to cast Natural Order (Progenitus will win, as usual). Intuition should aim to set up recursion as soon as possible: this means either fetching out a Loam/Shriekmaw/Stronghold pile, or going for Witness/Unearth (very handy against everything; Witnesses block the fatties and recur Abrupt Decay for Terravore). Shriekmaw recursion is a valuable tool, since Aggro-Loam usually canít cast more than one creature per turn.

    Post-board, Faerie Macabre is a house (and you should aim to recur it with Witnesses). You may as well bring it in for Daze (Spell Pierce is more useful in this matchup). Pernicious Deed can also be useful, but with Decay it's not necessary.


    Painter Decks [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=10090
    / http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s....php?t=13263]:
    You have all the tools necessary to win here, but your success will depend a great deal on how fast your opponent can break out the combo. You obviously want to counter or destroy Grindstone or, in the worst case scenario, destroy Painter with an activation on the stack. That's easy enough with Abrupt Decay, which is unaffected by Painter's colour-shifting shenanigans. I donít think thereís very much that should be brought in for subsequent games. If you have an early Volrathís Stronghold, you obviously have a better chance of survival. Progenitus buys you a turn, at least.


    Itís the Fear [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=9724]:
    Progenitus is the path to victory here, since it evades Shackles and everything else. Most of the games that Iíve lost to ITF have been to miscalculations and underestimations of Shacklesí power: it basically means that your opponent has access to eight Tarmogoyfs, and you have none. With that said, you can counter or destroy Shackles, and dealing with opposing Tarmogoyfs alone is easy. Accordingly, you should husband your resources. Play your creatures carefully, and save Abrupt Decay for Shackles if you can. Your opponent will at first prioritize setting up a CB-Top lock; take advantage of that misplay. Your primary Intuition target here is the Loam/Wasteland/X lock, since you can easily cut your opponent off from his or her colours (Green is the priority, followed by white and possibly black).

    For subsequent games, I like to play much more carefully (i.e. around Shackles/Sower of Temptation): I take out Tarmogoyf altogether in favour of a combination of graveyard hate and sweepers. To win, I rely on Witness and Ooze (usually unpumped), as well as the usual Natural Order combo.


    Mono-Blue Control [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s....php?t=10052]:
    The trick to this matchup is to force some kind of creature through the wall of counterspells. You generally have five or so turns to do this, before MUC gets its act together and starts crushing you inexorably. Fetch out basics and cast as many Hierarchs as possible, in anticipation of Back to Basics.

    Post-board, thereís not usually much to do except maybe trade out Daze for Deed, since youíre not likely to be able to target their attackers, and since they have too many counterspells to make Daze particularly useful. This is a very difficult matchup, especially if you get suckered into a Back to Basics game one. Luckily, there's an Abrupt Decay for that!


    Pox [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=4300]:
    The trouble with Pox is its dedication to wiping out all of your mana resources. The trick to this matchup is to get a creature to stick, since it can go all the way. Ideally, you want Tarmogoyf to stick so that it can make it around Tombstalker. All the sacrifice effects should leave you wary of fetching out Progenitus; it can be far more beneficial to fetch out an Ooze or Witness or even a Goyf instead. Iíd say that this is a difficult but fair matchup. Unearth is quite useful, so aim to set up the Witness/Unearth combo.

    Post-board, you should trade out Shriekmaw, Natural Order, and Progenitus which are essentially useless, and hope to make a Chalice stick (at 2) instead. I also bring in Faerie Macabre to stop the opponent's recursion and to stymie their ability to cast Tombstalker.


    The Rock [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s....php?t=11737]:
    There are so many variants of The Rock (including, to a certain extent, this deck) that itís difficult to outline how to play against each of them. In general, you just have to go for the jugular. You both have very similar resources, so you have to take advantage of what you have that they donít: counterspells and speedy engines. If you can counter Senseiís Divining Top, so much the better. Otherwise, make ample use of Intuition and your cantrips: theyíll speed up our deck by allowing us to access our resources earlier than the Rock deck can. Intuition piles should aim either to set up recursion (Loam/Stronghold/X or Witness/Witness/Unearth) or to attack their resources (Loam/Wasteland/Stronghold).

    Post-board, thereís not usually very much to bring in unless they use a measure of graveyard recursion. Deed is sometimes helpful. You both have Abrupt Decay, so your counterspells are less useful; trade Spell Pierce for Deed.


    Natural Order Rock [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...l+order+rock]:
    As with Enchantress, thereís an obvious trick to winning this matchup, and it took me forever to learn it. As with Enchantress, failure to use that trick generally results in a game loss for us. The trick: spend all your resources getting rid of those creatures, especially the accelerators (Birds of Paradise, Llanowar Elves, Noble Hierarch, etc.). Donít be shy about using Abrupt Decay on them: without them, Natural Order will never resolve, and thatís your goal. As a bonus, this also means that the deck wonít have enough blockers to stop your attackers. If you can spare an Intuition, grab Life from the Loam, Wasteland, and another card, and lock them out of the combo for good. On the plus side, we run the combo too!

    Post-board, I donít have any real suggestions except to say that Deed might be more useful than Spell Pierce (as above), simply because it helps you to sweep the weenies away.


    43 Lands [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=4020]:
    When we ran Mongoose and Wonder, this ended up being favourable. Gigapede made it tolerable. Now, itís all comes down to Progenitus. If you can last long enough to get it out, youíve probably won the game. Focus exclusively on casting Natural Order.

    Post-board, your counterspells may as well be traded out, since theyíre useless. Bring in graveyard hate and Deed instead. If you have any empty slots, take a Chalice to fill it (set it at 2 to disrupt Loam). Maelstrom Pulse and Abrupt Decay are sub-par in this matchup because they can't hit lands. At least they can hit the enchantments and artifacts, though.


    Enchantress [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=5302]:
    This is a difficult matchup, but I recently discovered the secret to crushing Enchantress (yes, it took forever, but at least I got there in the end). Itís actually pretty obvious: donít let Enchantress-spells (the Enchantresses and their Presence) stick. Counter or destroy them at all costs, and you have enough time to plow through and win. Deed is stellar in this matchup, but be wary of Replenish. Progenitus wins.

    Post-board: Shriekmaw and two Pulses come out for Deed.


    Random decks: You should crush most of these, thanks in large part to the Natural Order combo and, post-board, Pernicious Deed. There's not much to say except to focus on the basics.



    7.) Results:

    In the last few years, I have unfortunately been living in areas without any Legacy scenes, and so only had the opportunity to bring a version of this deck to one Legacy event. Although I made the top 8 (I was fifth or sixth, I donít recall), itís not worth mentioning because there were only ten players to begin with. Now that I have a regular Legacy scene, however, Iíve been piloting the deck with a great deal of success.

    When Iím notified of a success, Iíll amend this post to reflect that. Itís also worth noting that a number of the deckís previous incarnations have met with success (e.g. Psychatog, Intuition-Thresh); thatís unavoidable, given the deckís long history. Also note that there are dozens of decks on deckcheck.net that closely resemble UGB River Rock, but that are classified under UGB Threshold or ITF thanks to important differences (usually Dark Confidant and Counterbalance, and a different creature package).

    Although previous incarnations have had three major successes in the last three years, the lists are now sufficiently different from my current list (and those successes are so few and far between) that I donít feel entirely comfortable placing this primer in the Established Decks section any more. Better, I think, to start back in the New & Developmental section, and hope to build a little more momentum. Should the current incarnation start placing in a few tournaments, Iíll gladly place the primer back in the Established section where it belongs (IMO!). With three T8 victories in tournaments of about 30 people, weíre getting very close to the point when Iíll be comfortable moving the thread back.


    UGB River Rock
    Goaswerfraiejen
    Valet díCoeur Weekly Legacy October 20, 2011 (9/19)

    Main Deck:

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    1 Overgrown Tomb (I only have 1 Bayou)
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    2 Forest (Lacking a Bayou)
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Scavenging Ooze
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Progenitus

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Spell Pierce
    3 Daze
    3 Intuition
    3 Natural Order
    3 Snuff Out
    3 Pernicious Deed
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    4 Chalice of the Void
    3 Maelstrom Pulse
    2 Krosan Grip
    2 Faerie Macabre
    2Tormodís Crypt
    1 Empyrial Archangel
    1 Darkblast


    UGB River Rock
    Goaswerfraiejen
    Valet díCoeur Weekly Legacy September 15, 2011 (11/25)

    Main Deck:

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    1 Overgrown Tomb (I only have 1 Bayou)
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    2 Forest (Lacking a Bayou)
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Kitchen Finks
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Progenitus

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Intuition
    3 Daze
    3 Natural Order
    3 Snuff Out
    2 Pernicious Deed
    1 Crime/Punishment (I'm missing 1 Pulse)
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    3 Chalice of the Void
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    2 Darkblast
    2 Krosan Grip
    2 Faerie Macabre
    1Tormodís Crypt
    1 Pernicious Deed
    1 Wipe Away
    1 Empyrial Archangel



    UGB River Rock
    Goaswerfraiejen
    Valet díCoeur Weekly Legacy September 1, 2011 (3/22)

    Main Deck:

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    1 Overgrown Tomb
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    2 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Kitchen Finks
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Progenitus

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Intuition
    3 Daze
    3 Natural Order
    3 Snuff Out
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Crime/Punishment
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    3 Chalice of the Void
    3 Pernicious Deed
    2 Darkblast
    2 Krosan Grip
    2 Faerie Macabre
    1Tormodís Crypt
    1 Wipe Away
    1 Empyrial Archangel



    UGB River Rock
    Goaswerfraiejen
    Valet díCoeur Weekly Legacy August 25, 2011 (3/22)

    Main Deck:

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    1 Overgrown Tomb
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    2 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Kitchen Finks
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Progenitus

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Intuition
    3 Daze
    3 Natural Order
    3 Snuff Out
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Crime/Punishment
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    3 Chalice of the Void
    3 Pernicious Deed
    2 Darkblast
    2 Krosan Grip
    2 Faerie Macabre
    1Tormodís Crypt
    1 Wipe Away
    1 Empyrial Archangel



    UGB River Rock
    Goaswerfraiejen
    Valet díCoeur Weekly Legacy August 11, 2011 (8th/32)

    Main Deck:

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    1 Overgrown Tomb
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    2 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Kitchen Finks
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Progenitus

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Intuition
    3 Daze
    3 Natural Order
    3 Snuff Out
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Crime/Punishment
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    3 Chalice of the Void
    3 Pernicious Deed
    3 Pithing Needle
    2 Krosan Grip
    2 Faerie Macabre
    1Tormodís Crypt
    1 Wipe Away
    1 Empyrial Archangel




    UGB River Rock
    Goaswerfraiejen
    Valet díCoeur Weekly Legacy June 23, 2011 (6th/30)

    Main Deck:

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    1 Overgrown Tomb
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    2 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Kitchen Finks
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Progenitus

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Intuition
    3 Daze
    3 Natural Order
    3 Snuff Out
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Crime/Punishment
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    3 Chalice of the Void
    3 Pernicious Deed
    3 Pithing Needle
    2 Faerie Macabre
    1Tormodís Crypt
    1 Wipe Away
    1 Empyrial Archangel



    UGB River Rock
    Goaswerfraiejen
    Valet díCoeur Weekly Legacy June 16, 2011 (5th/28)

    Main Deck:

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    1 Overgrown Tomb
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    2 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Kitchen Finks
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Progenitus

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Intuition
    3 Daze
    3 Natural Order
    3 Snuff Out
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Crime/Punishment
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    3 Chalice of the Void
    3 Pernicious Deed
    3 Pithing Needle
    2 Faerie Macabre
    1Tormodís Crypt
    1 Wipe Away
    1 Empyrial Archangel


    UGB River Rock
    Goaswerfraiejen
    Valet díCoeur Weekly Legacy June 09, 2011 (2nd/32)

    Main Deck:

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    1 Overgrown Tomb
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    2 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Kitchen Finks
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Progenitus

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Intuition
    3 Daze
    3 Natural Order
    3 Snuff Out
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Crime/Punishment
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    3 Chalice of the Void
    2 Hydroblast
    1 Blue Elemental Blast
    3 Pernicious Deed
    1 Damnation
    1 Thorn of Amethyst
    2 Faerie Macabre
    1Tormodís Crypt
    1 Empyrial Archangel


    UGB River Rock
    Goaswerfraiejen
    Valet díCoeur Weekly Legacy May 26, 2011 (6th/29)

    Main Deck:

    Lands (18)

    3 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    1 Overgrown Tomb
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    2 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Volrathís Stronghold
    1 Wasteland

    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Kitchen Finks
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Progenitus

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Intuition
    3 Daze
    3 Natural Order
    3 Snuff Out
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Crime/Punishment
    1 Unearth
    1 Life from the Loam


    Sideboard (15)

    3 Chalice of the Void
    3 Spell Snare
    3 Pernicious Deed
    1 Thorn of Amethyst
    2 Faerie Macabre
    2 Tormodís Crypt
    1 Empyrial Archangel



    UGB Intuition-Loam
    Szymon Mueller
    Poznan Legacy League Dec. 2009 (6th/31)

    Main Deck:

    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Counterspell
    4 Diabolic Edict
    4 Force of Will
    3 Intuition
    1 Life from the Loam
    4 Ponder
    1 Ravenís Crime
    3 Thoughtseize
    1 Worm Harvest
    3 Pernicious Deed
    1 Engineered Explosives
    1 Senseiís Divining Top

    1 Academy Ruins
    1 Bayou
    1 Flooded Strand
    1 Forest
    2 Island
    2 Lonely Sandbar
    3 Mishraís Factory
    2 Misty Rainforest
    3 Polluted Delta
    1 Swamp
    2 Tropical Island
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    1 Wasteland

    Sideboard:
    3 Kitchen Finks
    3 Extirpate
    2 Hydroblast
    2 Krosan Grip
    1 Life from the Loam
    1 Pernicious Deed
    1 Crucible of Worlds
    1 Tormodís Crypt



    UGB Intuition-Thresh
    Breathweapon
    Moscow 2009 (3rd)

    Main Deck:

    4 Force of Will
    4 Daze
    4 Thought Seize
    1 Raven's Crime

    4 Intuition
    1 Life from the Loam
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder

    3 Pernicious Deed
    4 Shriekmaw

    3 Tombstalker
    4 Tarmogoyf
    1 Genesis

    4 Misty Rainforest
    4 Polluted Delta
    3 Tropical Island
    3 Underground Sea
    1 Island

    1 Forest
    1 Swamp
    1 Cephalid Coliseum
    1 Wasteland


    Sideboard:

    4 Leyline of the Void
    4 Spell Pierce
    3 Krosan Grip
    3 Blue Elemental Blast
    1 Gigapede



    UGB Intuition-Thresh
    Alex Mack (Mackaber)
    2008 German Legacy Championship (3rd)

    Main Deck:

    4 Polluted Delta
    1 Flooded Strand
    1 Windswept Heath
    2 Wooded Foothills
    2 Tropical Island
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Bayou
    1 Island
    1 Forest
    1 Swamp
    1 Cephalid Coliseum
    1 Wasteland

    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Nimble Mongoose
    2 Werebear
    1 Wonder
    1 Genesis
    2 Shriekmaw

    3 Pernicious Deeds
    4 Force of Will
    3 Daze
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Intuition
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    1 Raven's Crime
    1 Life from the Loam

    Sideboard:
    3 Cabal Therapy
    3 Extirpate
    4 Blue Elemental Blast
    1 Gigapede
    3 Krosan Grip
    1 Engineered Explosives



    Psychatog
    Michael Redford
    2007 Worlds New York, NY
    Legacy

    Main Deck:

    1 Golgari Grave-Troll
    4 Psychatog
    1 Stinkweed Imp
    4 Tarmogoyf
    1 Wonder
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Daze
    3 Deep Analysis
    4 Force of Will
    3 Intuition
    4 Pernicious Deed
    4 Ponder
    4 Spell Snare

    3 Flooded Strand
    3 Island
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 Swamp
    4 Tropical Island
    4 Underground River

    Sideboard:
    3 Echoing Truth
    4 Engineered Explosives
    2 Hail Storm
    4 Leyline of the Void
    2 Stifle


    Gifts-TarmoTog
    Japan, 2007 (9th)

    Main Deck:

    4 Tropical Island
    4 Underground Sea
    4 Mishra's Factory
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 Flooded Strand
    1 Barren Moor
    1 Lonely Sandbar
    1 Tranquil Thicket
    1 Wasteland
    1 Volrath's Stronghold
    1 Cephalid Coliseum

    4 Brainstorm
    3 Gifts Ungiven
    1 Life from the Loam
    1 Smother
    1 Diabolic Edict
    1 Chainer's Edict
    1 Engineered Explosives
    1 Damnation
    4 Pernicious Deed
    4 Force of Will
    4 Counterspell
    3 Cunning Wish

    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Eternal Witness
    2 Psychatog
    4 Tarmogoyf

    Sideboard
    1 Seedtime
    1 Plagiarize
    1 Diabolic Edict
    1 Hideous Laughter
    1 Fact or Fiction
    1 Constant Mists
    1 Teferi's Response
    1 Stifle
    1 Forbid
    1 Misdirection
    1 Krosan Grip
    4 Extirpate
    Last edited by Goaswerfraiejen; 09-17-2012 at 02:03 PM. Reason: Moar primerzzs!
    "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me." -T.S. Eliot

    RIP Ari

    Legacy UGB River Rock primer Click here to comment

  4. #4

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    8.) Developmental Opportunities/Customizability:

    As with most decks, thereís a fair bit of room in River Rock for customization. Your removal package, for example, can be pretty much anything in-colour: Iíve had some success with builds running (always with at least one lone Shriekmaw) Sudden Death, Damnation, Smother, more Shriekmaws, etc. You can choose to run Werebear or Veteran Explorer for added manabase stability (the Explorers are particularly good, by the way), you could go the Dredge-A-Tog route (add some Psychatogs, maybe another Loam, possibly Deep Analysis, etc.), you could increase either your counter or disruption packages.

    With that said, I feel that the version that Iíve developed is close to optimal for a blind or internet metagame. As far as customizing slots goes, then, Iíd only advise metagame alterations or budgetary considerations. One possibility, for example is to run Diabolic Edict rather than Maelstrom Pulse, and to have two or three Krosan Grips in the sideboard. If you donít have Intuition but have a few copies of Gifts Ungiven, you could certainly use that, although itís strictly inferior to Intuition for our purposes. Or, if youíre particularly concerned about the preponderance of Progenitus-type decks in your area, you should opt for Fleshbag Marauder rather than Shriekmaw. Likewise, you could find room to include Wonder somewhere in your 75 if you think it will come in handy (which it certainly does). In other words, the idea is to keep this section as a place to highlight interesting new lists that crop up/developmental possibilities.

    Since there arenít too many of us working on this deck right now (at the time of writing, just one person, in fact: moi), this section of the primer is still a little scant. A few similar lists have cropped up worldwide now and then, but most arenít really worth mentioning. It would also be possible to discuss a number of similar offshoots that are hanging around, such as Solpugidís River Rock
    [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...ht=river+rock], dontbiteitolmesí Plymouth Rock
    [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...plymouth+rock], or nitewolf9ís more recent Team America
    [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...d.php?t=11605] (Top4 finish at the Source Anniversary Tournament), but those are probably best left to their own threads. Likewise, Demigod lists should probably be left to their own threads. A few people have recently picked up bruizar's UGB version [http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...=1#post667371] of a deck called "Nic Fit". This deck closely resembles previous incarnations of and suggestions for our deck. It's fun to play, although I do think (as a result of my experiences over the course of this deck's history) that ours is the better and more streamlined deck.

    Most recenty, Hanni has suggested a UGW version of the deck that, I think, shows some promise, athough it eschews pretty much every principle that guides the deckís current incarnation.

    Hanniís UGw Bant Loam


    U/G/w Bant Loam

    Lands (21)
    4 Misty Rainforest
    2 Flooded Strand
    2 Windswept Heath
    3 Tropical Island
    2 Tundra
    1 Savannah
    1 Island
    1 Forest
    1 Academy Ruins
    4 Wasteland

    Creatures (8)
    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Knight of the Reliquary

    Spells (31)
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Worm Harvest
    1 Life from the Loam
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Intuition
    4 Mental Misstep
    4 Spell Pierce
    4 Force of Will
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    3 Engineered Explosives

    Sideboard (15)
    4 Peacekeeper
    4 Meddling Mage
    2 Krosan Grip
    1 Ray of Revelation
    1 Bojuka Bog
    1 Maze of Ith
    1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    1 Karakas

    While the deck is creature-light and notable for the absence of the Natural Order combo, it makes up for it with a stronger suite of countermagic and potent control elements, aided in no small part by Jace TMS and KotR. Worm Harvest is supposed to do the harder, aggro-oriented grunt work that Tarmogoyf and KotR are unable to do. All in all, the list looks very promising.

    Slightly less recently, Breathweapon posted a version of the deck adapted to support Bloodghast. Although I have not had the time to test it extensively (Iíve been working on this primer solo, among other things), it does look like it has some potential.

    UGB River Rock

    4 Force of Will
    4 Daze
    4 Thought Seize
    1 Raven's Crime
    4 Intuition
    1 Life from the Loam
    1 Genesis
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    3 Pernicious Deed
    4 Shriekmaw
    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Bloodghast

    4 Misty Rainforest
    4 Polluted Delta
    3 Tropical Island
    3 Underground Sea
    1 Island
    1 Cephalid Coliseum
    1 Wasteland
    1 Cabal Pit

    Here, Bloodghast acts as a secondary beater that is incredibly easy to fetch out with Intuition. It also acts much like Gigapede does post-Crypt, as an independently-recurrable creature. Cephalid Coliseum makes a triumphant return to enable Bloodghast plays, and Cabal Pit attempts to fill Snuff Outís role by complementing Shriekmaw. Thoughtseize hopes to achieve much the same. Given that the list runs four Thoughtseize, thatís the safer choice. Although the manabase could stand some tweaking, the list looks quite promising, and extremely resilient. From testing, I can say that although the principle is sound, as it stands itís a tad too slow: Intuition, after all, only puts two Bloodghasts in the graveyard, and thereís no guarantee that they can attack next turn (turn 4 at best) even if you get a land.


    Hanni and georgjorge also once brought up the possibility of a Red splash of (an older version of) the deck. Adding burn for added reach and speed is an interesting approach. Obviously, itís going to differ from the UGB version significantly, but it certainly has potential. Here are their suggested lists:


    Hanniís U/G/r River Rock

    Lands (19)
    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Wooded Foothills
    2 Tropical Island
    2 Volcanic Island
    1 Taiga
    2 Island
    1 Forest
    1 Mountain
    1 Barbarian Ring
    1 Wasteland

    Creatures (13)
    4 Nimble Mongoose
    4 Tarmogoyf
    3 Wild Mongrel
    1 Gigapede
    1 Anger

    Spells (28)
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Intuition
    1 Life from the Loam
    4 Force of Will
    4 Daze
    4 Lightning Bolt
    3 Chain Lightning

    Whether or not Mongrel is better than Werebear or Quirion Dryad is a question thatís up for grabs. Itís worth noting that your fundamental Intuition piles remain largely unchanged, except that Anger now replaces Wonder and Barbarian Ring takes Cephalid Coliseumís place. Instead of disruption, the deck now packs a scary burn package, speeding it up a few turns.


    georgjorgeís UGR Late-Thresh:

    8 Fetches
    8 Duals (of three different styles)
    1 Island
    1 Forest
    1 Barbarian Ring

    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Mongrel
    3 Mongoose
    1 Gigapede
    1 Roar of the Wurm
    1 Wonder
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Intuition
    1 Life from the Loam
    4 Bolt
    3 Fire/Ice
    4 Force of Will
    3 Spell Snare


    It should be clear, at first glance, that this list closely resembles some versions of UGR Threshold, but with late-game elements substituting the Counterbalance lock. Burn acts as removal and reach. The control element here is much weaker than in the UGB version, obviously, but the sacrifice was for a little more speed. Intuition also plays a reduced role, generally complementary to Wild Mongrel (fetching Loam, Wonder, and Barbarian Ring or Roar of the Wurm in order to pitch them).

    This opens up the possibility of a white splash for Swords to Plowshares, Jotun Grunt, Meddling Mage, etc. Thereís also space for returning to Psychatog (or Tombstalker) with more dredgers, as evidenced by the Worlds list above. These are all interesting avenues to explore, but they require
    much more testing to determine their viability. And itís also still unclear whether these options would benefit from the Natural Order combo, thus bringing them more in line with the deck that I have currently suggested.


    Similarly, Hanni recently proposed a list with Terravore as an alternate beater, a choice which also has promise:

    U/G/b Aggro/Control Loam

    Lands
    4 Misty Rainforest
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 Tropical Island
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Bayou
    2 Island
    1 Forest
    1 Swamp
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    1 Wasteland
    3 Lonely Sandbar

    Creatures
    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Terravore
    3 Shriekmaw
    1 Gigapede
    1 Genesis

    Spells
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Intuition
    1 Life from the Loam
    4 Daze
    4 Force of Will
    1 Raven's Crime
    3 Pernicious Deed

    Sideboard
    1 Pernicious Deed
    4 Maelstrom Pulse
    2 Krosan Grip
    4 Blue Elemental Blast
    4 Duress

    Although Iím still very much in favour of Snuff Out over extra copies of Shriekmaw, thereís no reason why this version couldnít adapt to that requirement. Similarly, the addition of cycling lands could be used to take some pressure off of the cantrips, giving us a few extra slots.


    Finally, although Demigod lists should really have their own thread, Benie Bederios recently suggested a list that would be sufficiently similar to our basic deck of old:

    Lands
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    2 Tropical Island
    4 Polluted Delta
    1 Volrath's Stronghold
    1 Bayou
    4 Misty Rainforest
    4 Underground Sea
    1 Wasteland
    1 Cephalid Coliseum
    1 Academy Ruins

    Creatures
    3 Demigod of Revenge
    4 Tarmogoyf
    1 Shriekmaw

    Spells
    4 Intuition
    4 Force of Will
    4 Daze
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Brainstorm
    1 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Life from the Loam
    1 Raven's Crime
    3 Dark Ritual
    3 Ponder
    2 Smother
    1 Engineered Explosives

    Sideboard
    4 Stifle
    4 Tormod's Crypt
    4 Blue Elemental Blast
    3 Krosan Grip


    Again, Benie raised some questions about his removal package and the Intuition-pile with Academy Ruins, but this is nonetheless a list that does the same sorts of things that our basic list does, and it closely resembles Breathweaponís Bloodghast list, but with a combo finish.



    Conclusion

    In sum, I can only say that I hope that the deck (or some version of it) interests you and that some of you decide to pick it up. It has its problems, but it also has distinct advantages, and is a blast to play (after all, you get to see and play a chunk of your library most games). The deck has come very far since 2006, but it can go much further (faster) if more people come together and give it a whirl. I encourage you all to do just that, and post your thoughts for a sustained discussion. It is my hope that this new primer will re-invigorate interest in the deck.


    Take care and good luck,

    -Goaswerfraiejen
    Last edited by Goaswerfraiejen; 09-17-2012 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Final chunk of primer
    "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me." -T.S. Eliot

    RIP Ari

    Legacy UGB River Rock primer Click here to comment

  5. #5
    Etherium is limited. Innovation is not.
    Hanni's Avatar
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    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Wow, you must have spent forever on this thing. That's quite a bit of content.

    Oh by the way, you don't need to name drop me in every primer you write :P
    The credit for this is all yours, nice work.
    Sligh
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    /r Miracle Intuition
    Yorion's Intuition
    5c Hollow Vine

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    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  6. #6
    Bald. Bearded. Moderator.
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    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Wow, nice primer. The deck has so many solid answers, giving it a great game 1 vs. the majority of the field. Some folks say that white is the neccessary splash color for rock, but you've made a great deck utilizing blue. Love the deck! It's fundamentally a control deck, but with incredible aggro elements and a really great toolbox. I particularly like how you play 6 cantrips...you don't need MORE control elements, just the ability to dig out the right ones. Solid. I know you said 61 cards isn't an issue (I agree) I'm just curious how you came about getting to 61 cards? Was there a specific reason for it, or was it just a 'gut feeling' that it would work?

    Just one more curious question for you: if Gifts Ungiven were available to you (it's banned, right?) would you play it in this deck to augment Intuition?
    Brainstorm Realist

    I close my eyes and sink within myself, relive the gift of precious memories, in need of a fix called innocence. - Chuck Shuldiner

  7. #7
    MerkwŁrdigeliebe
    jazzykat's Avatar
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    913

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    This sir is an epic primer. I will attempt to play this, in a tournament, in honor of your effort.

  8. #8
    Plays Magic:TG with Yu-Gi-Oh! cards
    Mana Drain's Avatar
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    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Great primer. Extremely inclusive, with the bonus sample hands and the detailed deck history. Solid work my good man.

    The only thing I'm going to nitpick about is 1) 3x Brainstorm, and 2) Empyrial Archangel MD, possibly as the 61st card. On BS, really? I mean, boosting overall hand-quality, gaining massive card-advantage with Loam online, and being an Instant are the reasons why it's one of the best blue spells in the format. Ponder does none of these, but gives you a shuffle effect in return. Why don't you just run more fetches, and go with 4xBS 2xPonder? On Archangel, I just think Prog gets the job done any time Archangel would get it done too, with exception against Merfolk, where Archangel is indeed a saving grace. With 4 BS, drawing your only NO target is slightly lessened, in additon to the fact that you're not likely to draw it.

    Other than those two minor nit-picks, very cool deck and good luck with it!
    "Bingo, man, bingo. 7-Minute Abs. And we guarantee just as good a workout as the 8-minute folk."
    "You guarantee it? That's - how do you do that?"
    "If you're not happy with the first 7 minutes, we're gonna send you the extra minute free. You see? That's it. That's our motto. That's where we're comin' from. That's from A to B."

  9. #9

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Hmm, looks like I forgot the matchup sections for Sneak Attack/Show and Tell (essentially an auto-loss) and Solidarity (not a real concern; still fizzles a lot more than it should). I'll edit those in later today/early tonight.


    Now, to answer your questions (thanks for all the compliments and the interest, by the way).


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    I know you said 61 cards isn't an issue (I agree) I'm just curious how you came about getting to 61 cards? Was there a specific reason for it, or was it just a 'gut feeling' that it would work?
    I'm a very cautious person by nature, and unfortunately it sometimes makes me less than ruthless when designing MTG decks. In this case, I just couldn't see anything that I wanted to cut (except perhaps Empyrial Archangel, but more on that a little later), and the deck was performing perfectly smoothly with 61 cards. Consequently, I decided that keeping the 61st card was doing the deck more good than harm.

    As always, please remember that even if I've written a 47-page primer, I'm still just as prone to error as anyone else. The fact that I dismissed the Natural Order combo in UGB Intuition-Thresh for so long is good evidence of that (I was so very, very wrong). Had anyone pushed back on that point, maybe we would have arrived at this point months ago instead of now.

    Just one more curious question for you: if Gifts Ungiven were available to you (it's banned, right?) would you play it in this deck to augment Intuition?
    Gifts Ungiven is not actually banned in Legacy (list here). In any case, it would certainly not be worth replacing Intuition with Gifts, since the two cards do fundamentally different things, and Gifts forces me to start running too many suboptimal cards in order to make sure that I can get what I want. Intuition often works because it grabs multiples of one card, rather than several different cards (although it can be used to do that too). Similarly, I don't think that Gifts Ungiven would really complement Intuition enough to warrant its inclusion alongside Intuition. At the moment, I just run three Intuition--if I need more of the same effect, the natural place to go for it is the fourth Intuition. Going to five or six tutoring effects, however, is just too much IMO (especially since cantrips can do the same thing for a smaller mana investment), and ends up diluting the deck's power and response time.




    Quote Originally Posted by Mana Drain View Post

    The only thing I'm going to nitpick about is 1) 3x Brainstorm, and 2) Empyrial Archangel MD, possibly as the 61st card.
    Fair enough. All I can do on those points is give you my reasoning, and leave the evaluation to you. Often, as I noted above, I have trouble stepping back enough to see the light. Also, of course, nothing I say on these points should be taken as a reason for you (or someone else who picks up the deck) not to make that change for yourself. These are not, after all, central elements of the deck.

    On BS, really? I mean, boosting overall hand-quality, gaining massive card-advantage with Loam online, and being an Instant are the reasons why it's one of the best blue spells in the format. Ponder does none of these, but gives you a shuffle effect in return. Why don't you just run more fetches, and go with 4xBS 2xPonder?
    There's a lot here, so please forgive me for using the number-system. I want to address each point clearly, which the numbers help me to do; on the other hand, they look more like an official list of reasons for rejecting your argument, which they are most certainly not.

    1.) The first thing to say is that I'm not against going 4-2 in principle. I just happen to think that the 3-3 split works very well, and in some ways better than a 4-2 split does.

    1.) Interactions between Brainstorm and Loam actually seldom come into play--mostly because Loam is essentially an ancillary option. Ponder can still yield the same number of Dredge activations (1) if necessary (it usually isn't). Brainstorm, of course, has the bonus of allowing you to dredge at any point in the three draws, giving you access to more cards overall (and helping you trade dead draws for better draws). That's definitely powerful, and perhaps I'm under-using the option (that's also very possible). But again, I seldom use that strategy anyway, largely because I spend more of my time and efforts on making Natural Order connect than fetching out Loam (and so the option to BS with Loam in the yard is less frequently available), and because blind Brainstorms don't seem worth Dredging into (particularly if I have to dredge away poor draws next turn).

    2.) As a first or second-turn play, Ponder is much better for manafixing, which is a big concern. This is particularly relevant because the number of fetches is already high enough that we're often talking about needing to crack a fetch in our opening hand (or that we've drawn) to cast the cantrip; this is a problem for BS because it leaves it with no way to shuffle back a bad hand any more. In the late-game, I prefer Ponder to BS because it does more to set up my next few turns, especially if nothing good or necessary is forthcoming. For example, if I'm desperately searching for removal, my odds of finding it are higher with Ponder than BS.

    3.) My concern with more fetches is that they will destabilize the manabase, not to mention the fact that we're already looking at a significant amount of life loss. I could see one more fitting in, but two would be a real stretch. Anything more than two would be out of the question, I think. The problem here is that the corresponding number of lands that can be fetched out is relatively low.

    4.) The biggest advantage of running one more BS is the extra ability to put Progenitus or the Archangel back on top of the library, and that's nothing to sneer at.


    Now, here's the thing. The 3-3 BS/Ponder split was arrived at in one of the deck's previous incarnations, and these incarnations were far more land-light and vulnerable. It was found to work very well here, especially in lieu of Top (which would be awesome). I am happy to do some testing with a 4-2 split, however, and I invite anyone who dislikes the 3-3 split to go 4-2 with their own decks instead. I don't think that the corresponding effect on the deck will be particularly huge--I just think that it works a little more smoothly with the 3-3 split. And perhaps I'm wrong.

    On Archangel, I just think Prog gets the job done any time Archangel would get it done too, with exception against Merfolk, where Archangel is indeed a saving grace. With 4 BS, drawing your only NO target is slightly lessened, in additon to the fact that you're not likely to draw it.
    One of the main reasons to run Archangel as well is actually that having two large tutorable fatties allows me both to draw one and not have to worry about putting it back, but also to pitch one to FoW if necessary (with the added bonus that the opponent thinks I'm out of significant NO targets). Basically, it gives me a little more flexibility. Of course, it's also sometimes a handy option to have in G1, when things aren't going as well. Archangel is definitely the 61st card, but I think that the tradeoff is fair enough. Again, of course, perhaps I'm mistaken.
    "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me." -T.S. Eliot

    RIP Ari

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  10. #10
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    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    It might be a bit harsh, but I stopped reading after your decklist showed only 3 Brainstorm's. You might want to cut something for the 4th copy.
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  11. #11
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    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Wow that is a lot of work, i haven't waded through it all yet but certain things are really interesting, great job.

    I've been thinking about running an Intuition/demigod list with goyfs and to find one here is a great jumping off point for me.

    Out of curiosity, why no discussion of Accumulated Knowledge? I know it isn't as good for selection etc as Ponder, but so few decks in legacy actually have raw card advantage and you have other cards for selection, have you tried it at all in any build or is it just to slow and clunky? Or is it more that that would be the last thing you ever want to Intuition for or do you not want your yard to be a liability?

    I'm going to give AK a go in a demigod build, having a few rituals will make the casting cost a little easier in certain situations, also i like the synergy of AK and Ravens crime.

  12. #12

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cenarius View Post
    It might be a bit harsh, but I stopped reading after your decklist showed only 3 Brainstorm's. You might want to cut something for the 4th copy.
    It might be a bit harsh, but if you stopped reading right there you aren't qualified to comment on the decision. You might also want to read the comment where I address that, which happens to be right above your own. I have no problem being wrong or admitting when I am (indeed, I am re-testing with the 4-2 split suggested to see if I was mistaken in the assessment that came out of my earlier testing).


    Quote Originally Posted by ReAnimator View Post
    Out of curiosity, why no discussion of Accumulated Knowledge? I know it isn't as good for selection etc as Ponder, but so few decks in legacy actually have raw card advantage and you have other cards for selection, have you tried it at all in any build or is it just to slow and clunky? Or is it more that that would be the last thing you ever want to Intuition for or do you not want your yard to be a liability?
    Is it not in the "rejected" cards I discussed? I'd be more than happy to insert it, then--it was tested, but quite some time ago. Essentially, the answer to your question is "yes" to pretty much all of the above: it's too slow, clunky, and gimmicky to work well here when cantrips can do the same and more for less (both in terms of a lower cmc, but also because they require no setup). I'd rather be using Intuition to set myself up or respond to an emergency than to draw some cards. Even Cephalid Coliseum would probably work better in that capacity.

    Which is not to say that AK never has a place in a deck with Intuition. It's just that I don't think it suits my own purposes. I have seen it in use in some Demigod decks, but I have no clue how well it was working for them.

    I'm going to give AK a go in a demigod build, having a few rituals will make the casting cost a little easier in certain situations, also i like the synergy of AK and Ravens crime.
    My apologies, but I'm not sure I see the synergy...?


    I should probably point out that the Demigod list there was suggested about a year ago, so whatever else it may be, it's definitely out of date. So yeah, as long as you're not jumping from too great a height... ;)
    "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me." -T.S. Eliot

    RIP Ari

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  13. #13
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    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Quote Originally Posted by Goaswerfraiejen View Post
    My apologies, but I'm not sure I see the synergy...?


    I should probably point out that the Demigod list there was suggested about a year ago, so whatever else it may be, it's definitely out of date. So yeah, as long as you're not jumping from too great a height... ;)
    Thanks for the feedback, the AK / ravens synergy is nothing more than having a lot of extra cards in had (some will be lands), retrace really doesn't work that well without a way of fueling it, and this really doesn't have a huge use for lots of extra lands.

  14. #14
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    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    I can only imagine how long it took to write up that Primer, good work. I'll add it to my testing gauntlet next time I test some Legacy.
    UR Dreadstill creator and BRx WGD Combo Pioneer
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    "Protection from player" is like a joke ability from Unglued. Ban this crap from legacy asap.

  15. #15

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    I love this deck. Specifically, your current concoction in the first post with Hierarch, Witness, Finks, and NOgenitus.

    I have a few tiny questions regarding card choices in your first decklist. First, why three Witnesses? Unearth/Loam/Stronghold all enable you to run two and still guarantee a Witness somewhere, do they not? Do you ever run into issues with timely StPs on your Witnesses?

    Have you tested other creatures in the Archangel's slot? I think it's a great choice, but I'd like to hear your results if you've tested alternatives.

    Number of lands vs. number of cantrips? You mentioned above that you were retesting the Brainstorm/Ponder numbers. Did you fiddle around with land count in conjunction with those? This is where I think Hierarch really shines, as it does let you run a small number of lands relative to more traditional Rock builds and still maintain some consistency.

    What about a second Forest ( probably in place of a dual )? Have you ever had trouble against dedicated mana disruption strategies shutting you off your only basic source of G?

    Other singleton Intuition targets that weren't mentioned on your rejected list? You have Crime, and mentioned Therapy, but it's not listed. What about singletons that you could - REALLY SLOWLY - recur with Witness/Stronghold? I was thinking along the lines of diversifying either your removal or your threats, but you seem to have the conventional targets for threats down. Have you tested bounce or perhaps a singleton Jitte or something? How often do you actually get to recur EE/Deed with recur'd Witnesses, heh?

    My apologies if some of these farfetch'd ideas are mentioned in your more lengthy primer. I hope this archetype flourishes, 'cos it's my favourite colour combination and exactly the type of deck I was looking for - proactive, strong mid - late game, and with some free disruption to boot.

  16. #16
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    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    I have not yet come to a conclusion, whether the deck is good, but it is a blast to play for sure. I like all the different engines and the way the deck can switch between aggro/control with the powerful Natural Order combo in the mix.

    Especially wiping your opponent's board with a Pernicious Deed while having a 10/10 hydra in play is a good feeling.

    Props on that primer, must have been a lot of work. Hope some people appreciate that and give the deck a whirl.

  17. #17

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncoordinated View Post

    I have a few tiny questions regarding card choices in your first decklist. First, why three Witnesses? Unearth/Loam/Stronghold all enable you to run two and still guarantee a Witness somewhere, do they not?
    Quite simply, the interaction does not work consistently with two Witnesses. Running three means that once you draw one, you can still fetch out the Witness/Unearth Intuition pile and use it more or less immediately. Loam and Stronghold can approximate the effect, but it's quite slow and much less reliable--making it fantastic for later in the game, when you've used up your resources and can't Intuition them out any more. But the Witness/Unearth pile is actually great at pretty much any point in time--especially for recycling a failed early NO.

    The downside is that the third Witness ate the slot I'd devoted to my third Finks, and Finks is a powerhouse here. But Witness is a far more versatile powerhouse.

    Do you ever run into issues with timely StPs on your Witnesses?
    I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "timely StP" (that I have to ask the question probably indicates that I haven't run into any such problems, although that does not mean that I won't ever). At any rate, losing Witness to StP or PtE is not really a concern; I'd rather see Witnesses removed than Finks, Tarmogoyf, or, indeed, Hierarch.

    Have you tested other creatures in the Archangel's slot? I think it's a great choice, but I'd like to hear your results if you've tested alternatives.
    I did flirt with a few very briefly, but the only one that I can remember at the moment was Woodfall Primus. It had the bonus of being much easier to cast and having Persist, but the downside of its effect being less useful (obviously, the situations in which you fetch it out are vastly different from the Archangel, whose evasion also makes it a good non-Prog beater) and not pitching to FoW in a pinch. If you have any other suggestions or just some creatures you'd like me to have a whirl with, however, then by all means do suggest them. I'd love to give them a try.

    Number of lands vs. number of cantrips? You mentioned above that you were retesting the Brainstorm/Ponder numbers. Did you fiddle around with land count in conjunction with those? This is where I think Hierarch really shines, as it does let you run a small number of lands relative to more traditional Rock builds and still maintain some consistency.
    Yup on all counts. The relation between Hierarch, "hard" lands, fetches, and cantrips is a fragile but extremely important one. I haven't yet made any adjustments to the manabase in light of the 4-2 BS-Ponder split, because I want to see how it behaves with the current configuration first. If I run into problems, then I'll make some adjustments; if I don't, I won't. At present, the differences appear to be fairly minimal, but I think that assessment is slightly skewed by the fact that I've been drawing my two Ponders an awful lot more than it seems I should be. A little more time should tell.

    What about a second Forest ( probably in place of a dual )? Have you ever had trouble against dedicated mana disruption strategies shutting you off your only basic source of G?
    I'm all for more basics, particularly another Forest. I've been reticent to toy with a manabase that's actually working for a change (if you look back through the threads, you'll see the manabase has consistently been my Achilles heel), but I suspect that Underground Sea or Tropical Island might be good places to look for a single extra slot.

    As far as dedicated mana disruption goes, Hierarch has actually made it very difficult to cut me off from G or U so long as I have a basic Forest in play (since that requires both land destruction and removal, effectively spreading the damage across multiple turns). With cantrips, I can guarantee a fair few land drops throughout the game. Smallpox is absolutely awful because it destroys things indiscriminately--indeed, of any deck dedicated to disrupting manabases, Pox is the most problematic. Other MB decks tend to be slow enough in their disruption that it doesn't matter too much, and decks that rely on Wasteland and even Stifle aren't super-effective any more (unless my starting hand is the pits).

    Other singleton Intuition targets that weren't mentioned on your rejected list? You have Crime, and mentioned Therapy, but it's not listed.
    I don't run Raven's Crime any more--as I said, it's become too slow, even though it was awesome at the time. Now, its inclusion would be more of a party trick that eats up slots and consistency. I prefer to cut one-ofs in favour of cards and effects that are consistently repeatable--that's where the deck's strength lies. I'm not running three NOs; I'm effectively running between seven (with Witness and Unearth) and twelve (cantrips and Intuition, which allow me to find it with far more regularity but obviously don't add to the count in a 1:1 relation). Similarly, I'm not running six pieces of removal MD; I'm running 10+. And so on. Unearth, Loam, Shriekmaw, and Stronghold are exceptions, but they're the exceptions that prove the rule because they're so versatile, are effectively extra copies of existing cards, and end up allowing me to fetch out so many different configurations to achieve the desired effect(s). Very few other one-ofs that I could include can achieve the same degree of synergy and efficiency.

    What about singletons that you could - REALLY SLOWLY - recur with Witness/Stronghold?
    Well, they'd have to be good enough to warrant cutting existing cards but not good enough to warrant multiples. I don't know that I can really think of any in this respect, but I'd love to hear more suggestions (other than Jitte, which you suggest below). The trick is that it has to be something that I don't mind getting in my hand through Intuition. So, for example, if I really need targeted removal and cast Intuition for it, I want to be able to grab 3x Snuff Out or, if mana allows, some combination of Snuff Out and Witness or Unearth or Maelstrom Pulse or Shriekmaw. If I am forced to get 2x Snuff Out and Diabolic Edict or Innocent Blood, that's not as good. Now that's just an example, but the principle is the same: whatever the new card is, I don't want it to ever be the dead wood of an Intuition pile.

    I was thinking along the lines of diversifying either your removal or your threats, but you seem to have the conventional targets for threats down. Have you tested bounce or perhaps a singleton Jitte or something?
    I did try Submerge for a time, but I couldn't make it fit properly. Jitte, I've not tried in years. If you have some ideas as to how these (or other cards) might be made to fit in the main 61, I'd be interested in hearing and trying them.

    How often do you actually get to recur EE/Deed with recur'd Witnesses, heh?
    All the time! Although NO and Snuff Out often take precedence, particularly in G1 since I don't have access to Deed or EE then. Against decks where Deed and EE and particularly effective (like Zoo), I try to always recur them with Witness since there's just no way for the opponent to cope with that much removal (Deed + EE + Snuff Out + Maelstrom Pulse + Shriekmaw = 12 pieces of removal plus recursion, and most of it destroys multiples).

    My apologies if some of these farfetch'd ideas are mentioned in your more lengthy primer. I hope this archetype flourishes, 'cos it's my favourite colour combination and exactly the type of deck I was looking for - proactive, strong mid - late game, and with some free disruption to boot.
    Not at all--I'm very happy to test just about anything, because the deck is a real blast to play and so testing is never onerous. It's even better, of course, when other people are testing things too! The problem I've run into in the past is that I tend to be the only one testing anything, which slows the process down and leaves it quite vulnerable to my own biases (such as my foolish resistance to converting earlier version to the NO/Prog combo).


    Thank you all for your interest. I hope the deck continues to pique some small amount of your interest, and that you'll continue to call me out on my foolishness.
    "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me." -T.S. Eliot

    RIP Ari

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  18. #18

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    @Goaswerfraiejen:

    I would also have swapped the third Witness for a Finks in your decklist. As it is, I prefer the consistency that it offers after some very rudimentary testing. The 3/3 cantrip split works well. Perhaps if we ran more fetches I would advocate going up to four Brainstorms. The "timely StPs" I mentioned was mostly due to the fact that I tried to run less Witnesses and undervalued the power of NOgenitus. We really don't care whether they remove bits of our Loam/Witness/Stronghold engine, as Witness as basically done her job once she hits the battlefield.

    If anyone has doubts about NOgenitus in this build, you really shouldn't. The number of green creatures, combined with recursion, make for really consistent turn 3/4 Progenitus in the matchups you want them. I would really like to bump up the number of Finks just because of the power of NO and the fact that I often stabilize at a low life total.

    As for testing alternate NO targets, I think your current ones do fine. Archangel is pretty nice, letting you stabilize where you wouldn't with Progenitus. It also ups the blue count to barely supporting Force. I've actually encountered trouble with pitch fodder, as I have to pitch Intuition/Brainstorm quite often, which makes me sad.

    The singleton Intuition targets were probably going to be sideboard to shore up bad matchups. I mentioned Jitte just because I have a bad habit of including it everywhere. How often do you alternate your sideboard Intuition piles of Deed x 3; Crypt x 2, Relic x 1; etc. when you have a Witness in hand or 'yard? Do you find yourself holding on to Witnesses if you've got Intuition to set up a more diverse pile, or do you prefer to stick her out for chump/recursion/removal bait? I asked about recurring EE/Deed 'cos that would essentially be my aim with a singleton artifact/enchantment. Honestly, I can't think of any targets that you haven't mentioned/included.

  19. #19

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    So... the obvious question for us now is whether Green Sun's Zenith will fit into the deck and, if so, how?

    My natural inclination is to want to include it, since it's fairly versatile. The ability to fetch out Dryad Arbor (even after a land drop) is also quite sexy to me. Where it might fit, however, is another question entirely. Intuition might be the obvious choice since the two cards can do similar things. On the other hand, I'm rather attached to Intuition by now because it's so versatile--it's still more versatile than GSZ, since it allows us to fetch out anything at all, and it also keeps the blue count steady for FoW. My other thought would be to cut one or more Finks, and perhaps relegate the Archangel back to the SB for 2-3 empty slots, but I'm not sure. Making room in the manabase to accomodate Dryad Arbor would also be difficult.

    I just don't know at the moment. I guess I will need to spend some time testing it. What are all of your thoughts?
    "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me." -T.S. Eliot

    RIP Ari

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  20. #20

    Re: UGB River Rock (formerly Intuition-Thresh)

    Well, I've been doing some limited testing, and I suspect GSZ is a must. It's insanely powerful, and enables some really broken plays in this deck--on both the aggro and control sides of things.

    So far, I've replaced Shriekmaw with Fleshbag Marauder. This replacement is, I think, essential now for a few reasons:

    -Other people will be toting Natural Order and Progenitus.
    -Unearth recycles it.
    -GSZ fetches it out pretty easily. [EDIT: Doh. No it doesn't. But still, the other points make it a necessary change, I think.]

    I've replaced the two Finks with GSZ, and cut a Hierarch to make some more room for a third copy. I also tinkered around with the manabase a tad to make room for two Dryad Arbor. I don't like losing the Finks, and would like to find a way to plug at least one back in eventually. I'm also wary of having too many Dryad Arbors, because losing them to removal/Wasteland/etc. will be extremely unpleasant. Even with this fairly minimalistic set of changes, however, I can already feel a power surge in the deck.

    One more general concern that I have, however, is that other decks might end up abusing GSZ even more effectively, and might prove tough opponents. GSZ will be format changing, and I can't tell if this deck will be able to compete in the new atmosphere. But I'm going to keep on trying damn hard to make it work!
    "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me." -T.S. Eliot

    RIP Ari

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