19 May 2012

Token the Biscuit

Last Friday marked the end of an era in Gambit history. It bore witness to the last FNM to be held at Kid's Dreams mother-ship store in Hove.
The back draft seemed to be going well enough but Olly and I sat down and had a few friendly standard testing matches.

I've recently switched from Grixis Control to an Esper Control build.
As much as I enjoyed playing Grixis I found that it was too slow against the more aggressive decks in the meta at the moment. Plus, I'm a White-Blue player at heart but can't bring myself to play Delver.

I'd started building this deck before 'Hallelujah' won Pro Tour Avacyn Restored after opening two copies of Tamiyo, the Moon Sage in my fat pack, courtesy of Kid's Dreams.

The deck encompasses control elements with carefully constructed luck. If such a thing exists.
For this reason, and in-keeping with Gambit's Motto, I present: Token the Biscuit. 
Here's the list:

Main Deck

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage x 2
Gideon Jura x 2
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad x 1

Mana Leak  x 3
Doom Blade x 2 
Thought Scour x 4
Think Twice x 4
Entreat the Angels x 2
Day of Judgement x 2
Terminus x 2
Lingering Souls x4
Timely Reinforcements x 3
Oblivion Ring x 3

Glacial Fortress x 3
Seachrome Coast x 3
Darkslick Shores x 2
Drowned Catacomb x 3
Isolated Chapel x 1
Island x 6
Plains x 8
Swamp x 2


Under Construction

The deck performed reasonably well; apart from the final game where I acted like an obsessive rural artist and kept on drawing lands.

In one game I managed to ultimate Tamiyo after stabilising on seven life for what seemed like an eternity.
Having sent my Moonwalker ultimate I then drew an Entreat the Angels tapping out for five 4/4 Angelic Guardians. After resolving, Entreat promptly returned to my hand ready to be cast again next turn.

So, let's break this deck down. Firstly the Walkers.


Tamiyo and Gideon have great synergy in fact I must just blend the names as they work so well together.

Gideon protects you and Tamiyo by diverting attackers whilst she can keep a big threat tapped down hopefully allowing Mr. Jura to survive a little longer.

Then there is the interaction between tapping and drawing and tapping and destroying. The Moon Sage can tap down a threat then Gideon can destroy it with his - 2 ability. Put simply Tamiyo taps, Gideon guts.

Gideon's +2 forces creatures to attack. Tamiyo's -2 allows you draw answers.

It's a very rare case but both walkers have ultimates than can bring a game to an end pretty quickly.
Once control has been established, Gideon can swing for six whilst Tamiyo's is just bonkers. Unlimited counter-spells and removal. Or, in my case, unlimited angel generation.

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad was thrown in as a space filler. Nothing personal but the conclusion was that it provides a stalling token whilst building up towards a powerful ultimate.
His Emblem can also be useful if your side of the table is covered with Angel tokens making them attack for a quarter of the starting life total.

Plans have been formed in my mind to swap Sorin for Venser as his ultimate combos particularly well with Tamiyos.   

The downside is that Gideyo/Tameon costs five mana which isn't great. However, I didn't find this a big problem when running 26 lands. Being able to play a land every turn is important, especially so for control decks, where the last thing you want is to be selling your soul for that 4th bit of cardboard that says land on it.

This brings me on promptly to the rest of the deck. Thought Scour and Think Twice as card advantage mechanisms.   

Both act as instant speed card drawing but the problem arises in when to play them. This is due to the miracles present in the deck. You have to try and calculate when you could draw a miracle and accommodate for the amount of mana you'll have available to do it. 

Thought Scour serves an alternate win condition if Tamiyo can go ultimate. You can target yourself to essentially draw four cards and find an answer or you can target your opponent to painfully mill them two cards at a time. 

I've mentioned Think Twice before (so I suppose I am thinking about it twice now). Paying five mana to draw two cards isn't great but it's the ability to chose when to play it that makes it stand out.

If I were to alter anything I would try swapping Thought Scour for Ponder. An ability to manipulate the library of miracles could prove more beneficial than drawing a random card. 

The rest of the deck is built around simple stalling schemes.

Mana leak, Oblivion Ring, Day of Judgement and puny blockers provided by Lingering Souls and Timely Reinforcements need no discussion. They are traditional control cards that are employed to annoy and stall your opponent.

I am loath to close but if there are any suggestions or opinions about this deck then feel free to comment. Reactions to said contributions may vary and are subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. 

Seriously though, regards and Happy Gaming,


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