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Author Topic: Skull -the return  (Read 3343 times)
dicemanX
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« on: November 18, 2003, 10:41:56 am »

Skull.dec is an aggro-combo deck that is designed to abuse Eureka and Sneak Attack, as well as Oath of Druids to a lesser extent. Don’t let the “casual” nature of Eureka fool you - this deck is designed to be serious and competitive, while also being an absolute blast to play. It’s philosophy is simple: go for the throat, hit them as quickly and as hard as possible. You are also going on the assumption that this deck totally breaks the symmetry of Eureka, as there is nothing that any top level deck can put into play via Eureka that is of any concern to you. It’s possible to “combo-out” with this deck as early as the second or third turn. This makes it particularly terrifying against decks that don’t play or are very light on countermagic, while still retaining a decent shot of winning against control. It’s one glaring weakness is combo, but long.dec is probably going to get the axe come January 1st, and you have a chance against Dragon via the SB, so all is not lost.  


Skull v3.0:

4x Sneak Attack
4x Eureka
4x Oath of Druids
3x Survival of the Fittest

4x Symbiotic Wurm
4x Penumbra Wurm
3x Verdant Force
2x Crater Hellion
3x RavenousBaloth
1x Woodripper
1x Gigapede
1x Squee

4x Eladamri’sVineyard
1x Black Lotus
1x Mox Emerald
1x Mox Ruby
1x Sol Ring
1x Mana Crypt
1x Mana Vault
4x Taiga
4x Wooded Foothills
7x Forest
1x Mountain


SB:

4x Carpet of  Flowers

Then any of the following, depending on the meta:
4x Blood Moon
4x Null Rod
4x Chalice of the Void
4x Woodripper/Viashino Heretic/Artifact Mutation/Naturalize


Skull is set apart from more casual Sneak Attack decks and Eureka decks due to a number of factors:

A. The deck plays 12 relatively cheap spells that can get fat creatures into play- Eureka, Sneak Attack, and Oath of Druids. This diminishes the need to rely on any one of these cards, which is a major problem of some of the more casual builds. As a consequence you can go very light on disruption, as it is less crucial to force through your key spell by playing out your disruption first. This speeds up the “combo” aspect of the deck considerably while giving the deck maximum redundancy. Apart from Sneak and Eureka, Oath is quite effective in most metas, as you would be hard pressed to find any T1 decks not playing creatures outside of combo and Keeper.

B. Skull’s creature base is carefully chosen to maximize the synergies in the deck. The fat creatures are selected based on three criteria:  

1.   High power
2.   Synergy with Sneak Attack
3.   Castability

The last criteria  is particularly important. It gives Skull a decent long game and allows you to not have to totally rely on Eureka and Sneak. As you build your mana, you will eventually be able to cast nearly everything in the deck,which means that every non-mana card that you draw is a threat. This factor is most important against counterspell-based control, which is why it’s so crucial to have 4x Carpet of Flowers in the SB.Criteria #2 is met by creatures such as Penumbra and Symbiotic Wurm, as well as Crater Hellions. Other creatures such as the recurring Weatherseed Treefolk and Shivan Phoenix are considerations, but have not been selected because they are not powerful enough outside of Sneak Attack. Here is a list of other potential candidates for inclusion in the deck:

Genesis (for it’s recursion ability, although it’s pretty slow)
Triskelion (creature removal similar to Crater Hellion, with its own advantages and disadvantages)
Endless Wurm (very risky, but both very castable and it has trample, making it a very fast clock)
Woodripper (extra  Rippers are good for artifact heavy decks)
Silvos (evasion and trample, while just 6-cc makes him quite attractive)
Plated Slagwurm (cannot be killed with pin-point removal)

C. While the deck has a single minded strategy, it still concerns itself with card quality and card advantage. This is why it uses Survival of the Fittest as a card drawing engine. Survival can also be used to either fetch out low casting-cost creatures that you can cast early, or fetch creatures that work best with Sneak Attack or Eureka. If I could somehow make room, I’d squeeze in the last Survival, along with another card similar in function – Sylvan Library.

D. The SB is designed with the philosophy of the deck in mind. It contains spells that are proactive in nature, and come very close to saying “I win”against many decks. This includes such hosers as Chalice of theVoid, Null Rod, and Blood Moon. You can even Eureka out these hosers, which makes them very nice additions. Even something as simple as Viashino Heretic is pretty much game over against Stax/wMUD - that is if you don’t drop a quick Eureka with a Verdant and Symbiotic in your hand first.

E. This deck tries to be immune to many forms of hate. It is difficult to SB against, as stuff like Null Rod, Blood Moon, and Chalice doesn't hurt you at all. This is why I've cut down on the number of Moxes in the deck and only included the on-color ones, while upping the basic land count. However, if the environment is light on hate, it's certainly possible to play this deck with full power.

My experiences with this deck have been positive. While it’s quite difficult for this deck to be consistent at times, I always expect to do well with it when I play it in tournaments. I have managed to beat just about every type of deck under the sun with this thing, including most aggro/aggro-control, and decks like Keeper, Trenches, GAT (in its prime), Artifact Prison, TnT (in its prime) and Landstill.

Any comments, criticisms, suggestions etc appreciated.\n\n

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Shock Wave
Guest
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2003, 11:11:36 am »

I really like this deck, however I'm not sure why you cut a SotF, or did you? I'm too lazy to check to see if there were 4 in the original build, but if there weren't, why not? It is your biggest weapon against control, and I don't think there would ever be a time when you would not want one in your opening hand. I think the creature base is really nicely configured, and I can't think of anything else outside of your noted possibilities that might be worthy. I'm trying to think of something Devout Witness-ish, but I don't think anything like that exists within your colour limitations.
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dicemanX
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2003, 11:20:15 am »

Yeah, 1 Survival was cut from the original build. I'm just hesitant to cut anything in this updated build to bring the 4th Survival back in, as cutting a mana source is out and cutting a creature is a bit risky. Perhaps:

-1 Symbiotic/Penumbra Wurm
+1 Survival of the Fittest

The other thing is, when talking about weapons against control, I think Sylvan might almost be as good if not better since it can help use that extra life to draw cards at a faster rate. Survival is slower and only nets you creature cards. I'd like to fit both cards in, but it's just so hard to find room.\n\n

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specialk
Guest
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2003, 11:40:35 am »

I like the deck it is really crazy but I wonder just how useful is Oath of druids in the main deck?  And if possible would blood moons main be a bad thing?
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dicemanX
Guest
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2003, 11:51:21 am »

I really want Oaths main. The last 401 Tourney was a bit of an abberation - I faced Long.dec, Keeper-Dragon, and Landstill, all creatureless decks which made Oaths useless. However, I expected lots of Sligh, Sui, and other creature-based decks (even artifact prison runs 8 creatures that are critical to the deck). I think the chances are much higher to be facing decks with creatures at a tournament.  

Blood Moon main would also be amazing, but not against everything. Without Oaths and with Moons main, I could be too slow against Sligh and other fast aggro.\n\n

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specialk
Guest
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2003, 12:01:26 pm »

I was just thinking of what alteration would be good for when in the top 8 since chalice and scepter have killed most aggro decks right now. Even Chalice main would be good aganist aggro
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bebe
Guest
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2003, 01:01:36 pm »

Well, having seen this deck in action a number times, I find it quite well tuned to our meta. I should mention though that I did almost as well last tournament with a totally janky deck. This was solely due to main deck and sideboarded Blood Moons and Chalices (three main of each and one sided of each). In fact I think I could have done well with any deck sporting them. But I can see how you would prefer them in the side as last Sunday was an abberation ( four dragon, two keeper, landstill, two control, long  plenty of rogue and fish - the only true aggro deck outside of Razor's rogue creation).  
Overall, i hate facing this deck. It has a very nice balance of redundacy and threats that wear you out. It is also capable of some of the most explosive starts I've seen. But how will it deal with Angry Ghoul? I'm sideboarding a PlaTINUM aNGEL JUST FOR YOU. Canadian decks will take over the world ...\n\n

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Cancerman
Guest
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2003, 02:18:10 pm »

Dammit guys, where the Hell am i supposed 4 Eurekas?
 
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BurningIce
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2003, 02:42:17 pm »

You can always borrow one from me if you need it.

I built this deck on Apprentice when you first posted it, DicemanX... And I thought it was interesting.  I'm more of a combo player myself, so I haven't built it as it stands, but it's been a blast to play online.
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PhOeNiX
Guest
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2003, 08:52:16 pm »

As if making Bazaar hit like $75 US wasn't enough...



I really like this deck and it's aggro crushing abilities!

RAAAAAWGH!!!
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MarkPharaoh
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2003, 09:25:12 pm »

I would cut the 4th Oath for the 4th SotF, it is your card advantage and you can fly by a lot of decks that don't play creatures whereas you only really use Oath against aggro which is no where near being the most popular archtype.
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dicemanX
Guest
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2003, 09:43:09 pm »

I might end up doing just that, and maybe cut a creature too for a Sylvan:

-1 Symbiotic Wurm
-1 Oath
+1 Survival
+1 Sylvan Library

Due to a high number of enchantments, maybe I can run the very castable Endless Wurm. The nice thing about the Wurm is that it can eat Vineyard to deny opponent mana during the mid-game or stop mana burn, and it can eat an Oath to deny Oathing possibilities for your opponent. These are minor points, but might be important in some games.


Quote
Quote PlaTINUM aNGEL JUST FOR YOU

Lol. Crater Hellions have Platinum Angels for breakfast .


Quote
Quote I built this deck on Apprentice when you first posted it, DicemanX... And I thought it was interesting.  I'm more of a combo player myself, so I haven't built it as it stands, but it's been a blast to play online.

That's the big thing going for it. While it lacks the consistency, the idea of playing big green monsters in T1 makes this deck very fun to play and watch . Although I don't intend to play this deck all the time, it will always be available for loan at Untouchables or 401 if anyone wants to give it a shot!
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Smmenen
Guest
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2003, 10:01:49 pm »

The more I thought about this deck today, the more I became convinced that the mana base is an antique given the present state of knowledge.

In the first place, I think you should consider running 4 Ancient Tombs.  This card is simply under-utilized in type one at the moment, and mistakenly so in my opinion - especially now that Chalice of the Void exists to secure against 1 cc burn.  

But beyond that, I think the biggest problem card beyond tinker is actually Ancient Tomb, not Metalworker or Grim Monolith in 1.x - Ancient Tomb was used more in PTNO than ALL LANDS except mountains and islands.  But even if it weren't used in 1.x at all the strength of the card in support of what I perceive as TREMENDOUS untapped decks in type one is quite evident.  

I think you should also consider running four chrome mox.  Chrome Mox can accellerate Eureka on turn two with Ancient Tomb but it will also help cast turn one Oaths and Survivals if you feel the need.

I could be wrong, but I have a good sense of these things.  And even if I'm wrong about one (say the mox), I'm probably right about the other.

Consider it.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that my suggestions are made in lieu of dropping Vineyard as I think it is too risky to play with in the current environment.

Stephen Menendian\n\n

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dicemanX
Guest
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2003, 10:40:49 pm »

This deck is an absolute mana whore when it comes to green mana. This makes it so difficult to configure the mana base properly, as there is only 26 spots available.Anythingthat accelerates this deck by producing 2 mana is an automatic inclusion:

4x Vineyard
1x Sol Ring
1x Mana Crypt
1x Black Lotus
1x Mana Vault

These accelerators enable a 2nd turn Eureka/Sneak Attack without the need for additional acceleration such as Moxes or Tombs; post SB, four more accelerators come in in the form of Carpets (the "Super-Loti") against blue-based decks.

The problem with Ancient Tomb is that the Eureka acceleration is delayed until the 3rd turn (Tomb, plus two Forests), unless you get lucky and draw a Mox Emerald or run Chrome Moxes. Without a Mox, Sneak Attack also cannot be cast until the third turn. This might be too slow to make Tombs worthwhile. Plus, Tomb is not necessary if you draw and resolve one of the 7 accelerators mentioned above. In fact, you might often wish that the Tomb was a G/R-mana producer instead, as you would have to to cut some forests to make room for Tombs.

Of course, that's just Eureka/Sneak acceleration. Tombs could work for hard-casting creatures. Still, I'd feel hesitant about cutting Forests. I'll certainly test to see if you are correct about Tombs, as I'm curious to see them in action.

The Chrome Mox, on the other hand, is a card that I just can't get a feel for just yet. They would go perfectly with Tombs (enabling a greater chance for a 2nd turn critical play), but would again be overkill if you happened to draw one of the 7 accelerators listed above. Plus, they cost you a card, which is very annoying for a deck that nearly always wants to hoard all of its permanents. I can see Chrome Mox working well when you have extra Survivals or Oaths to pitch to it, but otherwise its a risky proposition (especially with all the Null Rods being used recently).


It might all come down to this: is one willing to risk it all and sacrifice the stability of the mana base in favor of maximal acceleration? This is a tough question to answer, because surprisingly this deck does have a long game, so it might be worth it to retain the stability and try to win the long game if  you fail to accelerate out stuff early enough. Then again, perhaps a full out balls-to-the-wall approach is the right way to go. Testing will hopefully bear all of this out.


EDIT: I feel that Vineyard certainly cannot go. This deck operates under the assumption that anything the opponent is doing with the extra mana will not matter if you manage to resolve Eureka or Sneak. Combo will devestate this deck with the extra mana from Vineyard, but it would crush this deck regardless, so Vineyard doesn't matter at all in those match-ups. The only deck I can foresee doing a lot of damage with the extra mana is Stax/wMUD, but there you just have to pray that the early Vineyard helps accelerate out Eureka/Sneak. If it does, Stax/wMUD is in huge trouble. For a green-mana whore deck, plus 2nd turn Eureka/Sneak acceleration, Vineyard is a must despite the risks.\n\n

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Smmenen
Guest
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2003, 10:46:11 pm »

I've been tuning an 1.x Aluren deck for my gauntlet and Aluren sits at that GG2 cc.

I think there are even more options though.  In my edit (since I forgot to mention this originally) I sugggested cutting Vineyard in order to execute this plan.  But even then I'm not sure that Chome Mox is really balls to the walls.  I would test with 4 Elvish Spirit Guide and Lotus Petal first as well.  After all, you can Survival ESG as well as get at 2/2 into play with Eureka to complement you big fatties.

There are many options.  The point of my post was to illustrate perhaps some unexplored avenues.  These things must be looked at.

Steve
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dicemanX
Guest
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2003, 11:00:27 pm »

ESG? Interesting. Yes, there are certainly unexplored ideas that need some testing here. I even considered cutting the Oaths and beefing up the acceleration with Wall of Roots and/or BoPs. This approach has good synergy with Survival.
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Smmenen
Guest
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2003, 11:08:36 pm »

I like that too.  *sigh* there was something else I forgot to mention as well.  

http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/expandnews.php?Article=4552

Here is what I wrote in that article:



Quote
Quote Round 1:

I sat down across from a gentleman and proceed to lose the coin toss. He opened with a forest and a Fyndhorn Elf. I sighed relief. For me, the randomness is frightening... Especially in a format like type one. I could be staring down at a monstrous creature before I laid my first land. When I saw the elf, I realized this was probably either an elf deck or some very janky. His next turn he played a City of Traitors and tapped four mana to cast Eureka. Ack!

My hand included a Psychatog and a Quirion Dryad. But I was guessing that my creatures would be puny compared to the behemoths he would be dropping. Fortunately, I had a Force of Will in hand and proceeded to use it. I played the Dryad and passed the turn. He played Natural Order and moved a Verdant Force into play. The tokens began.

On my turn I played Tog, and he politely asked: "What is that?" This guy must have been living under a rock. When you get this lucky, you don't complain. On his fourth turn he attacked with the Force and I blocked with a Tog that proceeded to kill the Verdant Force. That was an obvious mistake on his part. But I guess outside of doing the math, it doesn't seem like a one-power creature would - or should - be able to survive combat with the Green Goliath, let alone kill it. In the next two turns I proceeded to Gush and Berserk over one of the tokens for the kill.

After game one, my opponent asked if you are allowed to sideboard. The tournament coordinator said that he could. I was a little worried because he moved in about nine cards. I believe that I sided in three Duress and an Edict for four Misdirections. If I had thought a moment longer I probably would have sided in Naturalizes as well.

In the first few turns he played a Sol Ring, City of Solitude, City of Traitors, and a Forest. I wasn't worried about the City of Solitude. I had a Cunning Wish in hand and I figured there was nothing that I really badly needed to counter - not even Choke would be that scary. I drew a Duress and snatched a Eureka. Shortly after, I Naturalized the City via Cunning Wish. For the relevant part of the game, he failed to draw a second green source but spent about four turns beating me down with a Factory while I let my Dryad get big enough to survive the combat. As soon as he got double green, I actively attempted to keep Counterspell mana open. This proved ineffective, because his next spell was a Scragnoth. Fortunately, my Dryads are not blue, and while he had about six cards in hand, I played Yawgmoth's Will, reusing multiple Gushes in my graveyard, going to one life with Fastbond and Time Walking into the win.

1-0; 2-0


I think I mispoke - I think he had Ancient Tombs, NOT city of Traitors.

Nonetheless, he had turn two Eureka.  I think its far easier to do without the burden of using Vineyards which Keeper, Tog, Stax, and Long will just gobble up enhancing their game against you.  In the last year there has been a change in that most decks are more heavily oriented towards doing something in the first few turns than ever before.  If you are afraid of Chrome Mox than ESG would be better, as I already suggested.

Steve
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