Playing Magic: The Gathering Bad Decks, For Good Reasons, By Luke McCarthy

After playing control decks for most of Return to Ravnica through to Dragons of Tarkir (I still miss Desecration Demon and Sphinx's Revelation) I went into the new standard wanting to not play the dull cycle of Land-Go-No, and with the abundance of (now) modern legal cards in my folder it seemed be a great time to branch out into new formats.

Shake it back
Bring it back..

Playing Magic: The Gathering Bad Decks, For Good Reasons

Disclaimer: I like playing bad decks and rambling on.

After playing control decks for most of Return to Ravnica through to Dragons of Tarkir (I still miss Desecration Demon  and Sphinx’s Revelation) I went into the new standard wanting to not play the dull cycle of Land-Go-No, and with the abundance of (now) Modern legal cards in my folder it seemed be a great time to branch out into new formats. So with the want to try new and different decks I put standard to one side and tried my hand at Modern.

Cut to a few months back, trying to get into a format considerably higher in tentacles and temples than it had been previously a new deck it appeared had to be able to handle 20 damage by turn 3/4 , as well as hand disruption, in-built creature protection and big bodies. I tried to run a B/W 8-Rack deck running Path to exile, Runed Halo and Ghostly Prison along side a suit of discard (Appetite for Brains looked like a good card). As expected, I got quite simply crushed: I didn’t play the Eldrazi match-up once and just lost to creatures. I possibly should of kept going with the deck, tweaked it further and played it more but not wanting/ being able to shell out for the big money cards seemed to make that a non-starter.

So I went again on the great and wonderful web, and after deck trawling and youtube channel hopping watched this happy man combo off, and from there was sold on the deck I wanted to play. Look at this face how can seeing it not make you laugh?

Eggs makes me happy, watching Cifka with Second Breakfast made me happy, and with the quite understandable banning of Second Sunrise, the deck today looks very different and is far more temperamental. Despite all this I sleeved up my 75 and went to deck-bash at a modern FNM night. I loved every moment of it.

I got to pull all kinds of silly.  A match against Boggles, and on turn 4, I went off on the play with an [card]Altar of the Brood[/card], Another match against a Jund deck  my opponent opened with a turn 1 [card]Thoughtseize[/card], saw 3 land and 4 cantrip artifact’s and didn’t have a clue as to what to take. I think all in all I went 2-3, but for a first outing, I was happy. (0)

Compared to some of the lists I’ve seen online for the current egg’s incarnation using [card] Krark-Clan Ironworks[/card] the kill condition has been [card]Blue Suns Zenith[/card]. This just made me boggle, as even though the deck is a combo deck, I still wanted to be able to actually win in 20 minutes, enter [card]Banefire[/card] as my primary win con. The other main change that I haven’t seen in other decks is the use of [card]Altar of the Brood[/card]. The card has in some way’s worked over time in the games I have played it, especially playing against a deck that isn’t running permission I’ve been able to mill at least 10/15 cards on average through playing lands and artifacts, before going off. Also it see’s a fair bit of use post-board against deck’s I think that bring in [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card] as a way around. (0)

So what is playing the deck teaching me? (0)

Outside of my own dumb-luck backfiring on me (going off turn 4 and drawing 6 land in a row) I’m enjoying the amount of work, mentally the deck takes. The main deck is a constant work in progress, trying out new cards and ideas to improve the consistency of the deck. I’m looking at including one more land into the deck to slightly increase the chance I have in not being stuck on a 1 or no land hand (over 1/3 of my games I end up on a mulligan to 6 or 5). Another card I want to try is [card]Semblance Anvil[/card], in place of the [card]Mind Stone[/card] to try and increase my mana efficiency during the combo turn. With the limited selection of cards I have to brew with, and the amount of gold-fishing I have done with the deck it has led to me improving my over-all knowledge of both my own cards; for example when I cast a [card]Faiths Reward[/card] I now know the land count, I know if i’m going to hit lands when I [card]Ghost Quarter[/card] myself. (0)

One big thing I am learning is how to play in the format through the deck. I’m learning  what typically certain colour combinations through Fetch-land / Shock-land combinations translates to into the decks I’m playing against. I’m learning about the array of counter-spells I have to deal with and what lands indicate what, and whilst I can usually play through a [card]Remand[/card] or a [card]Mana leak[/card] I usually just lose to hard counters like [card]Negate[/card]. I’m fortunate that I usually begin my combo turn before shenanigans like [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] + counter, or [card]Cryptic Command[/card] mana is available. I’m usually not to fussed if someone brings in artifact removal as I can just bring it back later in the match, and few so few “exile target artifact” spells seeing sideboard’s I’m usually quite safe. My sideboard however is a mix of confused and relevant. (0)

[deck]2 Repeal (13)
Tormods Crypt
Void Snare
Pyrite Spellbomb
Conjurers Bauble
Nyxfleece Ram
Swan Song
Alchemists Vial

I’m certain about maybe half of the side. I will admit I got a bit stuck with my own thought process when it came to my side board. After using Path to Exile as removal in the deck, giving land advantage wasn’t something that my deck could over-come, which led to Dispatch being my removal of choice, as with I almost always have metalcraft, this alongside the spellbomb and vial come in for creature matches. The crypt’s come in for the re-animator strategies and (after losing to a few of them) Pyromancers Ascendancy Storm deck. I’m unsure of the Repeals in my 75. Having never used them I know they need to come out, but unsure with what to replace them with, I have the same problem with the Nyxfleece Ram. I had a slot spare, I chose the Ram as I saw it in a list and wanted to see in what situation I would run it, I still haven’t encountered the situation and don’t think I will. My permanent fixtures to my side are the obvious, Silence,Swan Song and Void Snare, As my only way to win through things like Stony Silence is to counter or bounce it, it’s essential. Also Silence is quite solid as either a combo-turn protector or used offensively against combo decks.

The lessons of playing a bad deck

I know that egg’s isn’t a tier one deck, Its a bad deck. But I’m getting a lot of fun out of simply playing the deck anyway. What I’m enjoying though is despite this, there is a few match up’s I do just win as the opponent has little to no interaction, such as Jund and Tron and against Storm I’ve made them show me a Storm count of 20 before scooping. The deck has in a way shown me that non-competitive decks can to an extent still be competitive enough to get your opponent sitting on the edge of their seats till I hit the infinite loop.

The other thing I’m enjoying with the deck is that I’m much more relaxed about playing the game. I don’t expect to win 5-0 with my deck, or to top 8 because I saw the deck list do so at XY event. This helps immeasurably as with 0 expectation of the decks success any win, is a good thing.

The learning curve and the experience of playing Eggs is something I would advocate to anyone, maybe not Eggs combo but a similar fringe deck can just be fulfilling to play. The deck has led me to a few ideas for more original brews I want to try and whilst I don’t think that the decks will be ultra-competitive or format-breaking I’m guaranteed to have fun.

Next brew; Brain in a Jar

PS; I apologise if you saw this pre-completion, I’m learning how to blog too..

Playing Magic: The Gathering Bad Decks, For Good Reasons, By Luke McCarthy

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