Happy Monday MTG Peeps,
As it is Valentines Day, why not send that special Magic the Gathering player in your life an apropos V-Day card - great collection of MTG-themed cards over nearby at 'Other Side of the Planet'.
There have been about a dozen eMails (Frank - yours three requests only count as sone sorry), well as two or three requests from guys at our local store (looking at you Austin) that we here at MTG Realm do another 'What We're Playing' segment. Since we like you the reader so very much, we will do at least two before the week is out. We'll get to some new builds with awesome Mirrodin Besieged cards latter but for today, we will re-visit an older (still standard environment) casual Alt-Win Life Gain deck. Life Gain builds did seriously drop in popular favour with players after 1/2 of the 'Soul Sisters' (Soul Warden) left standard play but we're still willing to attempt to make something work on the game table. having said that we think there may be some new answers in the next set 'Action' (New Phyrexia / Mirrodin Pure) in the form of Suture Priest.
ALT-WIN is short for alternative win. This describes any deck that utilizes specific cards or strategies that win you the game without bringing your opponent down to zero life or less. There are quite a few out there but not that many which make it to the pro-circuit. The latest popular Alt-Win decks are of course made with the slick 'Infect' tech from Scars of Mirrodin and Mirrodin Besieged. These builds do not attempt to drop your life to zero but pile 10 poison counters on you to win and are somewhat popular in our local meta-game right now.
Anywhoos - we wanted to yatter about an Alt-Win Life Gain deck which utilizes Felidar Sovereign to win the game by pushing your life total to 40. Not having a parachute with an Alt-Win build is a bit risky so one would be well served by ensuring there is provision for a beater or two. The primary goal of this particular build is complete kitchen table fun and it certainly delivered on this.
Here's the list after some serious tweaking . . .
3 x Exilir of Immortality
4 x Soul's Attendant
3 x Serra Ascendant
3 x Brave the Elements
3 x Rest for the Weary
3 x Journey to Nowhere
4 x Ajani's Pridemate
3 x Survival Cache
2 x Ajani Goldmane
3 x Day of Judgement
2 x Baneslayer Angel
2 x Elspeth Tirel
3 x Felildar Sovereign
19 x Plains
2 x Tectonic Edge
1 x Emeria, the Sky Ruin
Exilir is a neat little card providing some serious lifegain while implementing a great recycling program. Soul's Attendant is great if you can get it to go off at 30 life which has not happened very often for us but it does allow a nice fat target for our opponent to work on while ignoring latter threats. Brave the Elements and Journey to Nowhere allows some measure of protection for cards we wish to preserve or to remove opponent's threats. Day of Judgement also buys some time to reset the board - who cares if you knock some of your critters off as well - you can always get them back with Exilir of Immortality.
Rest for the Weary provides an amazing 8 life on landfall for only two mana while Survival Cache at three mana provides a rebounding total of 4 life and 2 potential card draws. Ajani Goldmane is decent to trigger life gain, provide +1/+1 counters (which is great against an infect deck) and has the possibility of creating a massive fatty in the form of an Avatar. The next Planeswalker, Elspeth Tirel is from Scars and we think is seriously underrated. Elspeth is another great life gain card, provides chump blockers as well as another board sweeper. Baneslayer Angel is a no-brainer in any build which needs lifegain. Finally, Felidar Sovereign is the card which provides that alt-win condition - we just wish it had evasion.
Our fav play to date was a combo using Elspeth Tirel to blow up everything and altough we had no tokens out we had three fatties trapped under Journey to Nowhere. After the Journey's left play, we had almost a full board to alpha strike for lethal damage next turn.
Righto - that's it for now - comments most welcome below and feel free to send in pics of your fav build you're playing with right now to copysix [at] gmail [dot] com.
In other news, we've been watching with some interest the rise and fall of Mirrodin Besieged card prices on MTG Mint Card. One big loser is Thrun, the Last Troll which was moving at around $32 but now at around $20. One big winner is Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas who was at one point going for around $35 and is now pegged at over $50 and we expect to rise a bit more. Anywhoos - it's a great time to revisit as the general metagame is starting to settle down and solidify after the set's release.