Yo Mama: the Gathering- Standard and Level Up by Jim Bowie

Yo Mama: the Gathering- Standard and Level Up by Jim Bowie

Hey, this is Jim Bowie, A.K.A. Mistah Boweh from over at YoMamaTheGathering.blogspot.com,  and today I’m here to bring over an article on the Level Up mechanic from Rise of the Eldrazi, and a potential way to abuse it in the current type II.  All of this came about after I stumbled upon an enchantment I had completely forgotten about while flipping through a binder- Time of Heroes.

Suck it, Glorious Anthem!  Your time is up, for now is the time of heroes!

Ah, ’tis a time for heroes indeed.  Stronger than Honor of the Pure and cheaper than Tempered Steel, this enchantment can produce some serious results in the right hands.  After all, one counter on a mere Enclave Cryptologist turns it into a 2/3, able to block and kill goblins in combat and then looting after all the slaughter is over.  Then there’s the mighty Student of Warfare, who becomes a 5/5 for three mana.  Eat that, Wooly Thoctaur.

He claims that Wooly Thoctaurs taste like chicken, but honestly, I refuse to believe it.

Now, of course, that’s not all the deck has access to.  One of the best powerhouses in the deck is a mere common, the Venerated Teacher.

“Where should I train my Kargan Dragonlord, Professor Oak?”

Since many of the stronger level creatures, like Kabira Vindicator or Hada Spy Patrol, need three mana for a single counter anyways, this card allows you to ramp up many of your creatures at once, providing excellent support.  And yes, I’m not forgetting Training Grounds, just choosing to ignore it.  The enchantment does nothing for cards like Student of Warfare, Coralhelm Commander, Lighthouse Chronologist, etc.  Personally, I prefer using the teacher.

But the question is, what’s the gameplan for a deck based on Level Up.  Like I said, it’s caught in a bit of an identity crisis.  However, I have my own theory on how the deck could run.

Against Aggro decks, Level Up is all about the counterattack.  You can go ahead and drop a Time of Heroes if you don’t have any instant speed answers, but , Journey to Nowheres,  Ratchet Bombs, or holding mana for a Mana Leak are much better choices.  The idea is to survive just long enough to drop that Day of Judgement or pop that Ratchet Bomb and stabilize, at which point you drop 2-3 creatures with level up followed by a Venerated Teacher and the Time of Heroes if you hadn’t already cast it, effectively winning the game.

Against control decks, your deck operates in the same fashion as any U/W control build with Figure of Destiny.  On the play, drop that T1 leveler and fuel it until you need mana to counter a potential JtMS.  Leveling only as a sorcery may put you at a disadvantage, but remember this- all your potential bombs start off cheap.  Once you get to seven mana, any spell in your deck can get past a mana leak, and some can even get past two.  On the other hand, your opponent needs to get up to nine to resolve a mana leaked titan.  Never completely tap out against a control deck, just keep 2-3 mana open to counter stuff, even if you don’t have a counterspell in your hand.  Only leave one creature in play at a time and force your opponent to deal with it before placing another, instead using that excess mana to make the one you have on the table even bigger.  With any luck, as long as your opponent can’t stick a Jace, you should have the win.

Against Valakut, You can do a full-on aggro rush, or you can drop Transcendent Master and level him up as quickly as possible, hoping your opponent doesn’t have the T5 Titan/win like Valakut decks often do.  Also, you do have access to Spreading Seas, and Mana Leak those traps and zeniths all day long.

I don’t get it.  I mean, he’s flying in the artwork, so why is he landlocked as far as the game is concerned?  It’s not like he stays on the ground because he’s scared of dominating an Iona.

So, now that I know what I need to do in each matchup, it’s time to flesh out a list.

Spells (18)

  • 4x Mana Leak
  • 2x Spell Pierce
  • 1x Stoic Rebuttal
  • 2x Journey to Nowhere
  • 3x Day of Judgment
  • 3x Time of heroes
  • 3x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Creatures (18)

  • 4x Student of Warfare
  • 3x Enclave Cryptologist
  • 4x Coralhelm Commander
  • 2x Hada Spy Patrol
  • 2x Transcendent master
  • 3x Venerated Teacher

Lands (24)

  • 4x Seachrome Coast
  • 4x Glacial Fortress
  • 3x Celestial Collonade
  • 3x Tectonic Edge
  • 4x Plains
  • 6x Island

Now, remember, this deck does very different things from matchup to matchup, so the sideboard is very important.  Here’s what I’m thinking:

Sideboard (15)

  • 1 Day of judgment
  • 2 Journey to Nowhere
  • 2 Spell Pierce
  • 2 Stoic Rebuttal
  • 4 Spreading Seas
  • 2 Ratchet Bomb
  • 2 Transcendent Master

Against control, you want to cut the Journeys and Venerated Teachers, the journeys because there’s less relevant targets and the teachers because you’re only casting one creature at a time.  I add in the four extra counterspells and one Transcendent Master.  Note how I leave the DoJs in the deck, your opponent’s only true powerhouse creature is typically Grave Titan in U/B or Avenger of Zendikar in RUG.  Against U/W, it might be a good idea to use the Journeys instead, they’re better for dealing with targets like Wurmcoil Engine and don’t reverse all the time you spent leveling whatever toon you have in play.

Against aggressive decks, cut the Spell Pierces and the Stoic Rebuttal, but leave in all four Mana Leaks.  Against goblins, it’s possible to leave in the pierces in on the play to counter their turn 1  Kutholda Rebirth.  Next up,  I cut one Enclave Cryptologist, since your T1 is either going to be Student, tapland, or holding mana open to counter that Kutholda Rebirth.  Lastly, I actually cut an extra JtMS, since you don’t need to win the Jace war to win the matchup, and with this deck, you’re probably wrathing on T4 and playing dudes on T5, winning by your T6-7 swing, and at that point casting Jace becomes less and less relevant.  Cutting these, you add in the Journeys, Ratchet Bombs, and the fourth Day of Judgment.

For Valakut, I actually cut the three Days, two Mana Leaks and the Stoic Rebuttal to throw in the playset of Spreading Seas and the two Transcendent Masters.  Remember that in this matchup, you’re usually coming in aggressively, so even though DoJ is a great tool for stopping Avengers, they’ll usually hurt you just as much.  If you really feel like Avengers are hurting just too much, you can always try throwing in Ratchet Bombs, but leave the Days out of the deck.

Note that this list is indeed untested, as are most all thinking abouts until I decide it’s worth going back to, usually because either the deck gets new stuff or I’m looking for something new to build.  Use at your own risk, but if you do use this deck, I’d love to hear how it turns out.

Again, this was Mistah Boweh from YoMamaTheGathering.blogspot.com wishing that your next topdeck be already decided and thus not epic because you brainstormed off of a Jace the turn before.

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