By: Carlos Piélago
I start this series of deck tech with a brief explanation of the reasons that have taken to do it.
Like many of those who are reading this article I started playing Magic in 1994, with the arrival of Revised Edition in Spain; at that time I did not know the existence of Unlimited, Beta, Legends, etc, I only knew of the existence of an expansion called “The Dark” because I had seen some purple booster packs in local stores (which I would have loved to open, but I only got it with those who were in Italian, from L’Oscuritá).
Recently, two years ago, when I met Old school I was fascinated with the format and I was amazed when I played all the cards I had saved in a shoe box. But I soon realized that the cards I had never seen in my time, and that I only knew through price lists and photos in old magazines, they were too powerful: Black Lotus, moxes, Time Twitter, Ancestral Recall , Time Walk, and some more, make the difference in OS.
For a moment you may think I was frustrated, but it was not like that. Thanks to the LMOS policy of full proxies and, above all, that OS is a casual format in which you can play your Thallids deck without anyone laughing in your face and in which creativity is rewarded. OS a more than friendly format.
I’ve played two leagues with proxies and I´ve tried many of the strategies with the full P9, but I soon realized that in many «big» tournaments they were not allowed, and here I started to have a dilemma, I asked myself: » Why play with cards that I know I’ll never have? «
Whenever I have gone to these tournaments that I referred to earlier, my decks have been unpowered and this has forced me to «explore» the possibilities and different strategies in those that the decks without P9 could be really competitive, and I discovered that they were not few, and they could give quite a game.
My idea when making this series of Deck techs is not to make a top, but to deepen these strategies, to discover even more feasible strategies, to make known those that are not so well known and to help those who want to play the format without having to resort to lotuses and moxes or even to anyone who wants to start and try some of them.
For me is a challenge, almost an experiment, to see if you can really play (be a bit competitive) in Old School with this type of decks, the unpowered decks that have been top in different tournaments corroborate this, but I It seems interesting that we talk and talk about this. Let’s explore this possibility together.
DECK TECH ERHNAMGEDDON UNPOWERED
Hi Old school players! Today we are going to talk about a deck that is a classic, we are not going to discover gunpowder now, it has been a competitive deck since the beginning of the game, but it is not the objective of this series of deck techs to discover new things, if not to delve into the strategies that can be played in an OS tournament without the need to use the P9, because it is a deck that sees a table frequently, but almost always full of P9.
Today we bring you Erhnamgeddon.
4X Llanowar Elves:
Essential for the strategy, we need to start the game with an accelerator, be it elves or birds, or the Sol Ring, or even a Land tax depending on the situation. They provide us with the necessary acceleration and attack the advanced game from an advanced one.
4X Birds of Paradise:
Along with the Llanowar elves are those that give us acceleration and over any color for when we need double white. They will also serve as a last resort to block large flying creatures such as Serra Angel or Serendib efreet.
4X Erhnam Djinn:
An obvious choice, since the deck bears his name. It is our biggest creature, its resistance 5 is very important in a format like OS and many times it will force the opponent to make himself a 2×1 to be able to kill this djinn, sacrificing blocking creature and spark, or spending two sparks at the same time ; In addition, if we manage to cast an Armageddon his «handicap» in the form of a forestwalk will no longer matter to us.
3X Serra Angel:
A whole classic. Necessary when our opponent plays Moat, a transatlantic that goes up and defends at the same time, the only downside is that it dies easier than the Erhnam or Jasmine, since it will be in the spotlight of the opponent’s Psionic blast.
1X Jasmine Boreal:
It is our «fifth djinn» and it works very well as such. For only one more white mana we have a creature with strength and resistance equal to that of Erhnam Djinn and above without any handicap that, at times, can mean a defeat when one of the opponent’s creatures has a forestwalk.
The white color has the two best removal of the format, and in an unpowered deck like this you have to put 4 of each. This affordable instant for all budgets will clear the table of such dangerous annoyances as The abyss, Moat, Underground dreams, or Sylvan library, etc., and a long list of artifacts and creature artifacts.
4X Swords to Plowshares:
If you ask me what is the best removal of creatures from Magic I would say without hesitation that this. For only one white mana at instantaneous speed will liquidate any creature (only the black knights are saved) no matter how big, with a handicap that will always be worth it, and more in this deck that we take the lives of 4 in 4. Only it is dispensable against decks that do not play creatures, although they are the least.
The MVP of white color, essential in any strategy that plays white. It is true that in this deck many creatures are played and sometimes it is not convenient to play it, but if you sweep the table for any reason it will be one of the cards that can help you balance the game again. Also, as a discarder it is brutal.
1X Dust to Dust:
A card that I like to put at least one copy of the main because of the huge amount of artifacts that are played in the format. But, in addition, it links very well with the strategy we want to follow, because you can use it against the mana generators, such as moxes, Sol ring or the Fellwar Stone of the opponent. It will give us a 2×1 and it will help us attack the mana base, which is very good for us when we play an Armageddon and the opponent can not rearm and get the necessary lock to smooth our way to victory.
Our star card, if it is resolved with one of our monsters in the table the game will be decided in our favor from that moment. But we must be careful that the opponent does not have a creature of equal or greater size (we will have to use our swords) or, if not, the game can be equalized. That’s why I think cards as Dust to Dust or Disenchant are so important to attack the opponent’s mana base, especially the artifact-type accelerators, since if you have many, the opponent may have the opportunity to play a Wrath of God or different removal that would equal the game.
4X Strip Mine:
I put it in the removal section because at the time of designing a deck I almost never count it as a source of mana, but rather as a resource, because that is what it is. It will take the Library of Alexandria out of the way, or the Maze of Ith, or the Mishra’s Factory that are also annoying, and it will help to delay the opponent’s game, especially if we know how to play it in the previous turn. The Abyss, or a Moat, and if we get to play the next turn an Armageddon …
2X Land Tax:
Combined with Armageddon it works very well, because if we leave the opponent without land it is very possible that we have several of our own in hand thanks to this enchantment of cost one. In addition, it becomes a draw engine combined with the Sylvan Library, as we can see each turn three new cards thanks to its ability to shuffle the library with what will give us a really good card advantage.
For only 2 manás it allows you to recycle any card from the graveyard, and we have many possible targets: Swords, Disenchant, Balance, Strip Mine, etc. Normal that is restricted: P
3X Sylvan Library:
By itself is good, the first draw you do with the Sylvan is always a luxury, and is possibly the best green card of OS, but if we combine it with Land Tax the advantage of cards is devastating, to see three new cards each turn gives a lot of advantage. We need 3 in the deck because it will always be a priority target of the Disenchants and Chaos Orb of the opponent and in this deck is the key card to have a similar advantage (which does not equal) to the best blue cards of draw.
2X Fellwar Stone:
A card used to the satiety and that is a useful resource, accessible, and necessary, for decks that don´t play the P9.
1X Sol Ring:
The second best accelerator of Magic, we always want to play in the first turn. Always useful will help us to cast an Erhnam Djinn of turn 2. It is one of the cards that everyone has in his deck because it is valid for all strategies. Little more to say.
With one we have enough, being a legendary land and not having so many targets (only the Llanowar Elves) we don´t need to include more copies. Advanced game can be a good option to play an Armageddon with an elf on the table and then play this land and kill the opponent based on inflating our little elf.
I don´t include any copy of the Mishra’s Factory because it doesn´t fit well with the philosophy of the deck, since they would be lost with an Armageddon or with the Winter orb, a card with which they do not combine anything well, especially if you do not have Relic Barrier or Icy Manipulator.
The Strip Mines go much better because with them we remove threats like LoA or Maze of Ith. I used to play with 3 but what I have seen is that the playset is necessary.
The Savannahs, which are the most expensive cards in the deck, are important to reduce the number of mulligans and to be able to start indifferently with Elves, Birds or Land Tax.
Then you have to include a sufficient amount of basic land to be able to look for them with the Land Tax and make it more effective, and to be immune to a Blood Moon.
The sideboard is always very relative and depends on your local metagame, I’m just going to talk about the reasons for my choices at the time of elaboration.
Spirit Link works very well against very aggressive decks, such as Goblins, Quicksilver or Monoblack, but if I play against Pink Weenie then I have to accompany them with a pair of Avoid Fate to counter Disenchant or Swords.
The Winter Orb are great against slow strategies and control or combo decks, like The deck, or Power artifact, etc. It slows down your game a lot. I played them before main but against fast decks they were not effective and I decided to leave them on the sideboard.
The Circle of Protection: Red alone can dismantle a strategy, against Goblins, Burn, Sligh, Power Surge, etc., they are a more serious threat and it stops them at once.
Dervishes against monoblack are great. It is always difficult to play against this deck, since the Hypnotic Specter of first turn or an early Juzam Djinn can do us a lot of damage if we do not have swords in hand and, according to what I have played, everything happens to be faster than them, and these bugs are perfect because they do not stop growing and the opponent can not stop them until to be able to activate a Disk or Chaos Orb, but for that we have Disenchant. They are also valid against strategies based on The abyss.
In my opinion you always have to take 2 Dust to Dust in the sideboard because there is always the possibility that you are against a deck based on artifacts, and this sorcery is a real machine of annihilation against them. It also goes very well against The Deck to exile the moxes or the Jayemdae Tome, and of that I am sure: you will ever find a The Deck in any metagame :
To finish a little review of other decks that I have seen before and that, in some way, inspired me to make my list and test it:
The first, the one posted by the user @oldschoolmtg in his Instagram account, which I recommend you follow because there is always post a lot of interesting information.
This was the deck that made me see that it was possible to play a deck like this in tournaments.
Then we have this deck, designed by Alejandro Martín and played in the tournament that held the Ilicitana League last year, one of the largest made so far in Spanish territory.
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