Announcing the mtgUK 2011 Design a Deck Competition Winners!

mtgUK Competition – Design A Deck 2011


So, here we are three weeks after the start of the Deck Building Competition and Rob, Cyrus and myself have chosen the decks that we each think are our personal favourites. We’re going to summarise each one and we will use the previous article for the early starters who are in the running rather than have people trawl back to the last article.

GR Furnace Celebration – Dan Barrett.

4 Nest invader

4 Ember Hauler

4 Kozilek’s Predator

2 Emrakul’s Hatcher

2 Sylvok Lifestaff

2 Mortarpod

4 Arc Trail

4 Furnace Celebration

3 Awakening Zone

2 Growth Spasm

3 Lightning Bolt

2 Red Sun’s Zenith

3 Raging Ravine

3 Terramorphic Expanse

3 Evolving Wilds

7 Mountain

9 Forest

Cyrus – “This deck should happily beat a lot of aggro decks and take on Caw blade due to the removal levels in it.”

“A lot going on here, with multiple sac outlets, and lots of things happening when you do sacrifice creatures. The deck is built around Eldrazi Spawn (ideally from an Awakening Zone) + Furnace Celebration = lots of Shocks, but some other things to note:

Sylvok Lifestaff + Eldrazi Spawn = 3 life for each spawn you have, for effectively zero mana, which should easily put you out of range vs aggro decks.

Red Sun’s Zenith is good for a few points of damage early on, and gives you something big to do with your inevitable excess of mana when drawn again later.

Mortarpod gives a blocker for a turn plus a point of damage, and gives you a sacrifice outlet for non-spawn creatures.

Fetches not only improve your mana, but are good for 2 damage when topdecked, in conjunction with Furnace Celebration.

Raging Ravine is another card that both improves manabase and is fine to draw later on – overall I think the deck is pretty resilient.

Sideboard options include:

Sylvok Replica as artifact/enchantment removal that sacrifices in the process, or blocks until you need him. At a later point you may want to mix this with Manic Vandal/Naturalize so you have a quicker answer to Swords.

Spawning Breath is a bit too narrow for the main, but a couple could be boarded in against certain decks.

Basilisk Collar (+ Cunning Sparkmage) gives you an answer to larger threats.

Mark of Mutiny is good versus Primeval Titan, Baneslayer Angel, or to clear a blocker.

Goblin Ruinblaster can occasionally be played turn 3 off spawn and is good against awkward manabases, potentially joining Tectonic Edges as an LD plan.

Culling Dais is probably at least worth trying versus decks that can clear the board regularly.” – Dan Barrett


Pop Idol by Freedrinkdave.

4 Perilous Myr

4 Myr Sire

2 Molten-tail Masticore

4 Kuldotha Phoenix

2 Iron Myr

4 Galvanic Blast

4 Jinxed Idol

4 Flayer Husk

3 Tumble Magnet

4 Mortarpod

2 Bonehoard

23 Mountain

Cyrus – “First glance, I didn’t like the list much, but as I started counting up it’s removal and synergies, I began to like it more, and I’ve seen first hand how savage Jinxed Idol can be, Mortopod and Masticore in the deck are rather sweet too. The manabase feels a little light, but I think it has all the right ingredients, and is an interesting list.”

“This come in way under budget since Masticore’s are at the bargain price of £7.95! I was tempted to throw in a Koth just to get my money’s worth.

This deck revolves around Jinxed Idol and recurring Kuldotha Phoenix once you have metalcraft from all the equipment. Molten-tail Masticore has the dual purpose of getting your Phoenixes into the bin and turning those dead Myr into burn.” – Freedrinkdave


Budget Forgemaster by Marty Cauchi.

4x Kuldotha Forgemaster

1x Platinum Emperion

1x Myr Battlesphere

1x Mindslaver

1x Contagion Engine

2x Trinket Mage

4x Everflowing Chalice

1x Brittle Effigy

1x Elixir of Immortality

1x Chimeric Mass

3x Tumble Magnet

4x Duress

3x Doom Blade

1x Go for the Throat

4x See Beyond

4x Preordain

10x Island

14x Swamp

Cyrus – “Obviously lacking the really expensive Planeswalkers but I think trading power for defensive capabilities looks good in this deck and should be a good deck to take to FNM.”

Wins are generally like this:

Various artifacts such as Everflowing Chalice, Tumble Magnet and Elixir of Immortality are on the battlefield alongside Kuldotha Forgemaster. Trinket Mage helps to get them there. At the end of your opponents turn after you play Forgemaster, sacrifice 3 other artifacts and play a Myr Battlesphere. End of next turn you sacrifice 3 Myrs with the Forgemaster and play Mindslaver. Cause havoc. Back to your turn and you finish them off with damage from the Battlesphere and the Forgemaster.

See Beyond is useful for putting any of the expensive artifacts back and getting replacements, Removal to slow down your opponent, I couldn’t fit in Inquisition, so Duress is disruption. Platinum Emperion can stop most decks from killing you until they deal with it.

Chimeric Mass and Everflowing Chalice can be played for 0 and sacrificed to the forgemaster if needed. Forgemaster can find a Contagion Engine to take out pesky Hawks or aggro decks.

This deck is fun to play because of all the answers you can search up with Trinket Mage and Forgemaster.

Sideboard suggestions:

More Go for the Throat, Spell Pierce, Memoricide, Vampire Hexmage” – Marty Cauchi

Emeria Titans by Ben Downton.

4x Emeria Sky Ruin

18x Plains

2x Tectonic Edge

4x Wall of Omens

3x Lone Missionary

3x Pilgrim’s Eye

3x Kor Cartographer

4x Sun Titan

3x Kor Skyfisher

2x Expedition map

3x Day of Judgement

4x Journey to Nowhre

2x Ratchet Bomb

2x Mimic Vat

“The premise with this is fairly straightforward – survive until turn 5/6. Making unfavourable trades and even hitting Day of Judgement into your own men to buy a turn or two mean you have time to set up the Titan/Emeria combo. Having a Sun Titan and Emeria out at the same time requires an opponent to be able to deal with ‘both’ simultaneously or one can simply recur the other.

There is reusable card draw in the Wall of Omens, reusable lifegain in the Missionary, and Expedition Maps can be used to search for more Emerias, recurring Tectonic Edges to shutdown lands, or most things in the deck with an ETB trigger. Top tip: Use Emeria to bring back a Sun Titan and then trigger the Sun Titan to bring back something else ;)

I played this a lot pre-scars and had reasonable success with it. Post Scars the only thing that concerns me matchup wise is maybe Valakut (Leyline for game 2) and Infect decks. With Infect not ‘quite’ breaking in yet I plan to bust this out at FNMs again.

Sideboard options allow stronger matchups with Devout Lightcasters, Kor Firewalkers, Leyline of Sanctity, and Luminarch Ascension” – Ben Downton


Proelferate – Laura Dawes.

3 x Oran-Rief, the Vastwood

16 x Forest

4 x Llanowar Elves

4 x Arbor Elf

4 x Joraga Warcaller

4 x Copperhorn Scout

3 x Joraga Treespeaker

4 x Viridian Emissary

3 x Ezuri, Renegade Leader

2 x Viridian Corrupter

4 x Lead the Stampede

4 x Contagion Clasp

4 x Tumble Magnet

1 x Contagion Engine

Cyrus – “Pretty basic idea, but looks a lot like normal elves and comes in on budget, with a few neat tricks. Seems more competitive than most of the other entries.”

Rob – “Looks like a very competitive deck actually. Coupled with a punned name and an underpants gnome reference this looks like a winner.”

Mark – “You just gotta love the cheesy name pun and then you see a lovely deck.”

“The deck’s main plan is….

1. Put +1/+1 counters on elves

2. Proliferate

3. Profit!

This aggressive deck has several plans to help it recover from the enemy’s board sweepers with Ezuri, Renegade Leader providing regeneration for your other elves, and Lead the Stampede as a way to refill your hand.

The deck is 47% creatures, so you should expect to draw 2 – 3 creatures when you cast Lead the Stampede.

There are several fun interactions available in this deck. Ezuri, Copperhorn Scout and mana elves all play well together – when you attack with your creatures, the Copperhorn Scout untaps all of your elves, and with mana elves you can activate Ezuri’s overrun ability.

Oran-Rief, the Vastwood gives out +1/+1 counters which can then be proliferated with Contagion Clasp or Congagion Engine. Joraga Warcaller especially enjoys having some +1/+1 counters added to him, boosting all the rest of your little green men.

Tumble Magnet goes along with Contagion Clasp to provide some board control, killing off opposing Lotus Cobras and tapping down Titans.

The 2 Viridian Corrupters are an elf-based removal spell for pesky artifacts such as equipments that grant protection from green. And who knows, perhaps once in a while you will get poison counters onto your opponent and proliferate for the win!

The sideboard recommendations would include:

Plummet – allows you to kill Linvala, Keeper of Silence and Baneslayer Angel who could otherwise ruin your day.

Naturalize and/or more Viridian Corrupters – board these in when facing the Swords as they both grant protection from green, and against decks with lots of artifacts such as the Grand Architect blue deck.

Leyline of Vitality – this is essential when playing against mono red burn decks to help you survive later into the game. This can help along with +1/+1 counters to make your elves tough enough to survive Lightning Bolts. The leyline is also a great card when the opponent has burn-based sweepers like Pyroclasm.

Leatherback Baloth – this man is not an elf, but he is huge and easily castable in this deck, so also very good against decks with lots of burn spells.” – Laura Dawes


Look Sac by Michael Radford.

2x Mimic Vat

4x Ember Hauler

1x Mortarpod

1x Mark of Mutiny

4x Mortician Beetle

3x Fling

4x Gatekeeper of Malakir

2x Go for the Throat

4x Doom Blade

1x Consuming Vapors

4x Bloodthrone Vampire

4x Flesh Allergy

2x Teramorphic Expanse

13x Swamp

10x Mountain

“There are a couple of different ways to win with this deck, but my favourite (also the most unlikely) is to have a huge Mortician Beetle and then flinging it in response to removal. Repeatable pinging from an Ember Hauler under Mimic Vat is slow but offers inevitability. Alternatively, the myriad removal available to this deck means that you might just get your opponent’s best creature under the Mimic Vat. Consuming Vapors can give you reach against control decks with big creatures while gaining you minimal life against aggro and getting you something under your Vat. However, it should probably be sided out against aggro for something like Slagstorm or Black Sun’s Zenith.

My current sideboard plan would probably look something like this. Corpsehatch may look janky but it’s good fuel for the Demon plan. It can also create chump blockers against an all-in aggro deck like K-Red. Jinxed Idol has shown its use against creature-light control decks, while Manic Vandle obviously has a ton of applications in the current meta game. Arc Trail is another useful addition but don’t really fit the A Game in the maindeck and I couldn’t really find a place for them in the board. If Corpsehatch is too crappy it can easily be replaced by Trail. I wasn’t sure about the budget for the sideboard, so Viscera Seer is me erring on the side of cost saving. Obviously there are far superior options for a deck like this, although it obviously has sweet synergy with Bloodghasts (again, omitted due to budget constraints).

2x Demon of Death’s Gate

2x Corpsehatch

2x Jinxed Idol

4x Viscera Seer

2x Mark of Mutiny

3x Manic Vandal” – Michael Radford

“Love Life and Live” by Daniel Matthews.

2 x Ajani Goldmane

4 x Ajani’s Pridemate

2 x Lightkeeper of Emeria

2 x Felidar Sovereign

2 x Kor Skyfisher

3 x Serra Ascendant

4 x Kemba’s Skyguard

4 x Leonin Relic-Warder

4 x Soul’s Attendant

2 x Narrow Escape

3 x Journey to Nowhere

4 x Survival Cache

4 x Kabira Crossroads

2 x Dread Statuary

2 x Sejiri Steppe

16 x Plains

Mark – “Okay, I like life gain, what can I say.”

“This entry is based on life gain to buff Ajani’s Pridemates and Serra Ascendants. It includes some equipments which assist with this goal.

All the cards besides Ajani Goldmane cost 3 mana or less so it should play fairly quickly, but effectiveness on lifegain has been maximised while keeping these play costs low.

Suggested Sideboard.

Kor Firewalker

Safe Passage

Elixir of Immortality

Brave the Elements

Solemn Offering

Serra Ascendant” – Daniel Matthews


We also have a few decks from the first time round which have stood the test of time and are in contention for First Prize.

Wall-E by Andy Edwards.

4 Perimeter Captain

4 Wall of Omens

4 Rage Nimbus

4 Overgrown Battlement

4 Wall of Tanglecord

4 Vent Sentinel

2 Warmonger’s Chariot

4 Burst lightning

4 Red Sun’s Zenith

3 Stirring Wildwood

3 Raving Ravine

4 Evolving Wilds

5 Mountain

5 Plains

5 Forest


2 Warmongers Chariot
3 Arrest
4 Sylvok Replica
4 Kor Sanctifiers
2 Grindclock

Rob – “A great deck name and synergy. Probably not competitive enough but I would have a lot of fun playing it.”

Cyrus – “A great design, a lot of potential, a little light win con wise, but it looks to be getting there.”

Mark –  “There was a Wall deck at the Nottingham NQ and it made the qualification slots, lots of creatures with Defender and then whoosh tap a Battlement for a Genesis Wave for lots and then out can Admonition Angel and friends. I still like this build though but the recent Hero of Oxid Ridge tech may make it more fragile.”

Mark – “I hadn’t really noticed this deck before I started doing my review of the Forum and when both Rob and Cyrus emailed me I was intrigued. Okay, I don’t think I will be running it next week in Sheffield at the National’s Qualifier but I could see myself working on this to be an FNM deck. This deck is so cool with all the Wall synergies.”


UB Poison – Grant Hislop.

4 Phyrexian Crusader

4 Plague Stinger

4 Ichorclaw Myr

4 Plague Myr

4 Necropede

3 Livewire Lash

4 Distortion Strike

4 Mana Leak

4 Vampire’s Bite

1 Inkmoth Nexus

4 Evolving Wilds

10 Swamp

10 Island

Cyrus – “A pretty solid deck, Ichorclaw Myr is the only thing I’d suggest changing in the list, and possibly mana leak swapped with spell pierce, but it looks like it could win quite effectively since crusader alone wins games, and the rest of the deck is pretty well sculpted.”

Mark – “I love this deck, I built up a  black blue aggro deck for Mirrodin Besieged Gameday using a very similar engine going 3-0. I disagree with Cyrus on the Ichorclaw Myr, I think they are great as if someone blocks them they become bigger being able to take out most things and a wall of omens in two shots.”

And one final mention…


Infectious Piss by Jim Bowie.

4 Necropede

4 Ichorclaw Myr

4 Flensermite

4 Phyrexian Crusader

4 Duress

4 Inquisition of Kozilek

4 Contagion Clasp

4 Go for the Throat

4 Piston Sledge

2 Vampire’s Bite

22 Swamps

This is what Jim had to say about his deck:

“Gonna keep this short and sweet, it’s a straight black infect deck that wins by dropping inq/Duress on T1, an infect dude on T2, and a Piston Sledge on T3. Sledge puts on an amazing amount of pressure, and also lets you take advantage of your Necropedes to pay the equip cost and kill/weaken a blocker, possibly finishing it off thanks to Contagion Clasp. The deck runs Flensermite over Plague Stinger just because of the dominant role that Squadron Hawks are playing right now. The life gain can actually be more relevant than the semi-but-not-really evasion that Plague Stinger should have had.

Changes to the deck for me would be the addition of Inkmoth Nexus, and I’d use two copies of Hand of the Praetors over the two Vampire’s Bites. Sideboard options include Doom Blade, Marsh Casualties, the Plague Stingers, Disfigure, Vampire Hexmage, and Memoricide.” – Jim Bowie

And as Judge’s we liked the deck, should have made our short lists and maybe even have won the whole thing. Such a shame then that this deck missed the deadline by an hour but really good effort Jim.


Okay Top Three’s from us all:

Cyrus Bale

1) Gr Furnace Celebration

2) UB Poison

3) Proelferate

Rob Wagner

1) Proelferate

2) Budget Forgemaster

3) Emeria Titans

Mark Pinder

1) UB Poison

2) Proelferate

3) Love Life and Live

and our winners are…


wait for it…


Notable Entries.

Most Fun Look-Sac by Micahel Radford.

Looks pretty fun, flinging a massive guy at their head. And there weren’t too many really janky cards in here.


Most Innovative – Wall-E By Andy Edwards.

Commented on this before, nice tribal synergy and something no-one else looked at (I’ve seen 100 Myr decks -_-).



3rd Place – GR Furnace Celebration by Dan Barrett.

We had a lot of choices for third place as many decks in contention but as Cyrus had decided this was his number one choice it deserved a place in the top three like the choice of Rob and myself.


2nd Place – UB Poison by Grant Hislop.

Had my top place vote and Cyrus had in second place so a worthy runner up from one of the countries more outrageous deck builders.




1st Place – The mtgUK 2011 Design a Deck Competition Winner – Proelferate by Laura Dawes!

All three of the Judges had you in our Top Three’s and we also believe that this deck could be a nightmare to face at FNM.



Thank you for everyone who took part as this has been a blast looking at the decks, the advice and the community spirit from the competition. May we ask at this point that all winners please contact Manaleak ( as soon as possible with your full name, postal address and from the email address that you had used to register your mtgUK account. This is so we can confirm your identity and ship your prizes to you.

And remember to keep visiting mtgUK guys and girls, we look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions on the next mtgUK competition.

Mark PinderRob Wagner, Cyrus Bale and everyone at mtgUK!


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Mark Pinder
I have competed twice at GB nationals in 2010/2008, was Runner Up at Senior Nationals 2010, Won a Grand Prix Trial which took me to Paris 2009. My love of the game was such that I did previously win a writing competition on MTG Twincast which led to me being a Feature Writer for around a year until the Sponsor sold up but still did the occasional article. There is also a verb "To Pinder"colloquially used in northern magic communities which means "to gain life", I was a solid fan of Martyr of Sands/Proclamation of Rebirth combo and many players have heard those fateful words, Sacrifice Martyr of Sands, gain 21 life against me to see the game go out of their reach with lethal damage available to them next turn.