Scrubout – Preparing for the Big One, Part 1 by Ben Heath

Scrubout – Preparing for the Big One, Part 1 by Ben Heath

Hello and welcome to my debut article for mtgUK. If you’ve read my articles back on the Team Leeds Blog (you’d have to go way back) then you know what to expect. If not, I hope you find this an interesting and entertaining read.

A bit of background for you for this article. I haven’t played Standard now for close to two months. Why? Because it was a bit, well, boring.  There was no particular deck that jumped out to me as a fun deck to play, and that’s why I play magic first and foremost. To have fun. I put a reasonable amount of money into this hobby and if I’m not having fun then I stop playing. I’ve been continuing to follow it near religiously, I’ve been keeping up with all the latest tech, I’ve watched the previous two PT top 8s in full, and they’ve all been fun to watch. But then I look at the decks and I think, ‘I just don’t want to play that’.

I like decks that are resilient, aggressive and are relatively cheap to build. Boros seems interesting, but it’s currently a popular choice, and playing the mirror match is not one of strong points*. Caw-Go/CawBlade is just way too far out of my price range (I own zero Jace, the Mind Sex Weasels**, zero Gideons and a mere one Stoneforge Mystic) and I have bad experiences with Valakut (mulliganing to five, four competitive games in a row, has put me off the deck forever.)

But now I’m in a mild state of panic. I need a Standard deck because I’m going to GP Barcelona. I had been planning on going for some time, but deep down I wasn’t sure, simply because I didn’t know what I wanted to play. So I sat down for some time and I thought about it. Some questions I had been asking myself included:

  • Why was Magic fun to me?
  • What was it that got me into Magic in the first place?
  • What deck could I play that reminded me of those times when I enjoyed playing Standard Magic fully?

The answers are surprisingly simple:

  • Because I enjoyed the social atmosphere of it. Also I enjoyed burning people’s faces off quickly.
  • The interactions of the cards made me realise that Magic was much more than the game I played at secondary school. That and my first ever deck was monored burn, and I enjoyed burning people’s faces off quickly.
  • A deck that burned people’s faces off quickly. So Kuldotha Red then.

I wrote up a version of Kuldotha Red, and I used various sources to see what was good.

I have a version built up right now (it’s right in front of me in purple sleeves in fact); there is no sideboard because I don’t plan on building the sideboard until closer to the event. This tactic has served me relatively well in the past.

But I’m not going to post the decklist on here.


Because it just doesn’t feel right. The deck I mean. One turn 2 Pyroclasm or one turn three Slagstorm***, and BAM!  Game over. And if you have to play around them, you’re far too slow, and you can’t execute the ‘twenty to zero in 60 seconds’ strategy that the deck is built for. The game is over in four turns one way or the other, so when I goldfished this deck, I spent more time shuffling than I did playing the damn thing!

So I went on MWS and played it against some bad players****. It went 2-3 (proper best of 3 matches, complete with an OK sideboard). That’s just not good enough, especially on MWS. Not resilient enough as Pyroclasm, Slagstorm and any form of land desctrution killed the deck. But I’m going to keep it sleeved up, and I’ll continue to play with it and tweak it. When there’s a version of it that I’m happy to put up on the website, I’ll do so.*****

So back to trawling through decks and deck techs I went looking for an alternative for if Kuldotha Red really doesn’t work out.

I found something.

It looked really good.

It fitted my criteria.

I own most of the cards for it.

What was it?

I’ll tell you next time.


*This is a major weakness in my gameplay that I’m not afraid to admit to. I just seem to freeze and overthink things, and it often ends in my defeat. It also happened when Fae was popular in Standard. But towards the end it I just went, screw it, be really aggressive, win the game. I am currently 2-0 against Fae in Extended (sanctioned tournaments), and I won my last 5 Fae matchups in Standard sanctioned events. So I’m getting over my fear of small flying people.

**copyright TEAM LEEDS

***lol, ‘slag’

****MWS is a place full of terrible people making terrible plays, and for this reason it’s my first port of call. Why? Because if a deck does badly here, it’s not good enough to play in the real world.

*****I’m not holding back the decklist because it’s super secret tech. I’m holding it back because I want my first published decklist to be a good one that can be built on. Kuldotha Red is a bad one that can be built on, and in situations like this I turn to friends before I turn to the public. And by friends I mean Rob Wagner. Obv.

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