Monday, February 29, 2016

The Best Standard Ever

AKA the only time I built a good deck.

Theros Block/Khans Block standard. What a time to be alive. Commons getting banned in Legacy, the printing of our Rhino overlord ends the reign of Polukranos, and the nerds who love dragons finally get to play them competitively. Some people say it's the best standard that ever happened. Well, at least one does, because I say that.

Theros/Khans was good to me. I built a Red White heroic agro deck, and it was dope. The deck, aptly named Red White Pump and Dump, was so thoroughly balling. 

Do you know how good it feels to destroy an $850 deck with a $50 pile of commons and uncommons? Because I do, and it's fucking glorious.

Titan's Strength - the bane of Coursers and Caryatids around the world.

So how did Pump and Dump function? It's quite simple. You drop some creatures - a Swiftyspear, or a Favored Hoplite, and then you pump them. Once they are pumped, you dump on your opponent. And boy, what a rich, full, hearty dump it was. Turn four wins with some Swiftys or some such weren't uncommon. And it couldn't just win against an empty board, Races went well also, as Seeker of the Way is a fantastic card.

Renders other agro decks impotent. May cause your own erection to last longer than four hours, though.

It didn't just fight other agro/beatdown decks though. This bitch had game against control, as well. A suite of extremely inexpensive protection spells kept your tiny bitches on the field for far longer than they deserved. Watching someone cast a Crux of Fate, only to have it blanked by Ajani's Presence with Strive is just porn. Hero's Downfall costs three mana, but Gods Willing only costs one. And I get to scry. So dope.

"But wait Dan, you stupid piece of shit. Even with Titan's Strength, the Swiftspear still dies to Siege Rhino. Why just trade two for one? Do you have a mental handicap?"
Well, yes, I'm not very good. But you know what's better than just killing a Rhino? Killing the Rhino, having your creature live, and trampling through eight damage.

Wait, it's a what now? How much goes through?

The finisher to finish all finishers. I'm gonna get an alter of this card where the art is just a Viagra pill because it literally makes your dick hard when you cast it. Double strike is awesome - I think we can all agree there. Do you know what pairs well with double strike? Tromple. Definitely tromple. 

Every creature in this deck has Heroic or Prowess, and we're often casting two combat tricks before damage. A Gods Willing to ensure a creature lives, or a Coordinated Assault hitting a Phalanx Leader and Favored Hoplite, and then following up with a Battle Rage is enough to extract delicious tears from your opponent. Ferocious is almost always on, thanks to leftover Heroic counters or Prowess triggers, and it isn't uncommon to have this cause 7+ power Doublestrike Trample swinging in. I've won quite a few games because a control player thought they were safe blocking my 2/2 Phalanx Leader with their Silumgar.

Silumgar, the Drifting Dead.

It had late-game staying power as well. If they couldn't answer my guys, or I kept them alive with Ajani's Presence and Gods Willing, the heroic counters kept adding up. If a Phalanx Leader stuck, and I was able to hit him once or twice, I quickly became invincible.

Sadly, dark days soon arrived in Pump and Dump city. I was living the dream for a while - consistent good FNM finishes, several undefeated nights, quite a few packs won. But it couldn't last forever. A new challenger arrived.

Literally Hitler.

Foul-Tongue Invocation got around everything in my deck. Protection couldn't save me. I sometimes had tokens to pitch to it, but it wasn't my main strategy as Bile Blight was still very common. And they typically gained four life off of it. When I had one huge Favored Hoplite on board, I try to pump it, and I got this in response, the game was typically over. Foul-Tongue Bullshit single-handedly killed the Pump and Dump dream. The card was so powerful that the Esper Dragon decks were running four of them in the mainboard; I didn't even get the luxury of a favorable game one matchup. I got a few tools in Artful Maneuver and Center Soul, which could both trigger my cards twice, but it just wasn't enough. Esper Dragons became the most played deck, and I confined myself to draft.

Origins helped, as I got Abbot of Keral Keep, which was amazing. I replaced Anax and Cymede (which was always just a lightning rod) and Satyr Hoplite with 2x Abbot, and 2x Kytheon, Hero of Akros. Another cool thing was that Kytheon unlocked a god hand for me that could give me a turn three win.

Puberty is triggered by fighting.

  1. Battlefield Forge for land, play Kytheon.
  2. Mountain, play two Swiftspears, swing to flip Kiddie Giddie.
  3. Mountain, Animate Gideon, swing with the crew, Titan's Str + Battle Rage. Go to sideboard for game two, motherfucker.
I sleeved the deck, preparing to Dump once more. It did fairly well, but the sky was still full of dragons. It was a complete crapshoot if I'd do well or not, wholly dependent on the meta that day at the LGS. Either way, that time was short lived. Rotation arrived, and my babies had to move on. Without Coordinated Assault, Favored Hoplite, Phalanx Leader, and Akroan Crusader, the deck just lost too much. Besides, not much it could really do against the 5color goodshit everyone plays now. She's preserved on my shelf, never to be taken apart, and only to be played when I've lost too many games in a row and I feel like winning on turn 4.

- Dan


Normally when I play a deck I'll go down to 6 or so life before I start to get worried about losing. When playing against this deck if you have 15 or less life and let more than one creature through, you've lost.

So how do you feel about Pump and Dump? Any cards you would have taken out? Cards to put in? Think I'm terrible still? You're probably right, but still we'd like to hear from you! Drop a comment, or use the form to the right to spew words at us.

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