Reading Serra: Magic Fanzine nº5, february 1995 (Review)

By: Carlos Piélago

Hi, Oldschoolers! Today we are going to read and review another of the old magazines that I own: the number 5 of “Serra: Fanzine de Magic”, published in February – March 1995.
We begin with the cover: the drawing of a Lord of Atlantis, the work of Albert López, same artist that in previous issues. I like his drawings because they are very Old school and they works perfectly with the atmosphere of the magazine.


In the Editorial section, Pau Carles, director of the magazine, tells us that they are going to start a new stage, that they are only going to focus on Magic, since the other games “are not able to overshadow him and steal enough attention from him. of the players “, and seeing the high level of its” competitors “(I think it refers to the Urza magazine that published the number 1 at that time) will try to improve the contents of the magazine as much as possible.

In the News section there are interesting stuffs, the first is the announcements of the following expansions, in April 95 the Fourth Edition (the white border) and in May Ice Age and the Fourth Edition in Spanish (with black border) and, next to those dates, Chronicles. I remember a lot of these expansions because we expected them with anxiety and when they came out we bought a lot of booster packs.
A curious news is the reference to the misprints that made some common cards of the game Wyvern CCG appear with the front of Fallen Empire´s cards. Apparently it was due to a printing error, since these cards were made in the same printing house where Magic was made. At the time they were quite rare and had an exorbitant price, but they have reached us today and are some of the most rare and sought after misprints, highly valued by misprint´s lovers.

We arrived at the Dossier section, where they used to publish quite interesting articles, that of this magazine was no less and it is about a series of “golden rules for the Magic player”.

Magic has evolved a lot over the years, but there are things that never change in this game, and this article comes to prove it to us. They indicate a series of rules, or advice, that have lasted in the way of playing of any player.
It is divided into two parts: game, and design. Start with an example that we all know, if a player has a Swords to Plowshares in hand, but does not mana to use it and the opponent plays a Granite Gargole, for example, will be expected to have mana available to be able to eliminate it, but a good player would wait for the creature to attack in the turn of the opponent and would be at that time when playing the Swords, obtaining the same effect but making sure that the opponent does not lower something worse, such as a Shivan dragon, for example. This is the tone of the golden rules, but better I leave the photos so that you can read them on your own, as they have no waste.

Then there is a section entitled “Clarification of the rules”, and I will not go on to explain them, since it can be that some rules are already sufficiently known by all, or that they have been updated by WotC.

In the section “The stock market” we have one of the first price lists (not the first) that appeared in our country. As a curiosity indicate that the most valued card of Revised was the Shivan Dragon, and only below … Will-o-the-wisp! That was even more expensive than any of the duals, and within the double lands it is surprising to see that the most valued was the Plateau tied with Underground Sea. I leave you a few pictures as an example.


In the “Championships” section we can see how WotC has already officially taken charge with a series of guidelines so that the tournament you want to organize is approved by them. And they have established three types of format, which we all know: Type I, Type II and Type III.
I was struck by some of the prohibited cards of that time in Type I, which is closest to our current Old School, and we can see that in addition to the “ante” cards, which were banned almost from the at the beginning of the game, Divine Intervention, Shahrazad, and Time Vault come together. Cards that we can play today and, as we have seen, do not have a great impact on the game. But the list of restricted is even more curious, because apart from what we know as restricted to today, we have Ali from Cairo, Berserk, Candelabra of Tawnos, Copy Artifact, Falling Star, Feldon’s fits, Ivory Tower, Mirror Universe, Mishra’s Workshop, Swords of the Ages and Underworld Dreams were restricted! I found it quite curious.
The Type II of that time was made by Revised, The dark, and Fallen Empires. I would like to play this format someday, although a priori it may seem too limited.
Type III was done with a Revised starter deck to which you could add the contents of 3 booster packs of the last expansion of 8 cards, or 2 booster packs of the last expansion of 15 cards, or 2 booster packs of Revised … I would like to play this one! : P

Look carefully at the prizes XD, 10 Legends Boosters and 10 Antiquities Boosters for a less than 3€ tournament




“If you do not like it, we’ll give you your money back”

I recognize that before they had a way of naming the somewhat bizarre decks, they were other times 🙂
As Pau Carles says this deck does not think it is competitive but it can be fun, I was surprised by the use of the Fastings, a card totally disregarded in the current format.


“The deck of painful resources”

This deck, as Pau Carles tells us, did take her to some important tournament, like the Second Open in Madrid, with what seems to be more competitive. I like the combination of Power Surge with COP: Red. This deck has a very important defensive arsenal, Power Sinks have to work very well, even if you include the P9 (which at the time of the magazine is not included in these decks because I think there was a restriction in Spain on it) can go much better. The negative point that I see to the deck is that it is very vulnerable to a Blood Moon.


“The deck of the booster pack”

It has this name, according to the author, because its structure is equal to that of an envelope: 3 infrequent, 1 rare and the rest common. It’s an atypical Monoblack budget deck, which includes Drudge Skeletons, Frozen Shade, and Scathe Zombies! Creatures that, to this day, see little table. It is clear that the knights are much better in all aspects and have the same cost.


“The deck of taxes”

In this case we have a monoblack discard deck, we have some unusual cards such as Mindstab Thrulls, in my opinion the best Thrull of FE. Too many Disrupting Scepter for my taste, since the deck does not generate much mana, and this device if there is not enough mana is not so effective. But as an option I see it better than the previous deck.


Then, the magazine continues with several articles, among them I would highlight the one of “Fallen Empires: User’s Manual”.

It is a good analysis of FE, an extension that had recently been published on the dates that the article was written. The author begins by saying how discredited is being FE, many players believe that the quality of the cards is bad and the fact that the players did not include just copies of their cards in the tournaments as witnessed.

The worst of the expansion are the artifacts, of that there is no doubt, is that there is hardly one playable, followed closely by the lands, in which the author highlights the so-called “battery lands” that, in our days, do not nobody plays, I do not know if they played at that time. Those who sacrifice themselves are much better and have seen something of a game.

Then he goes on to analyze the “tribes” of FE, each color has a tribe, and perhaps that was the greatest novelty of FE, its tribal dynamic, in which many carsd were combined if they were from a specific “tribe”.

The Homarids are the worst, undoubtedly, and the Thallids are the most synergistic, and, even, they are the ones who give to make a tribal deck around them without almost having to play cards from other expansions. Also note the Thrulls, Merfolks, Goblins and Soldiers (these last three not originating in FE).

He comments that the most “tribal” of FE are the soldiers, and I do not take away the reason, I think the Thallids are the most synergistic, but the soldiers of FE are the best contribution to the competitive game when it comes to “tribe” “- creatures of the same type – and they were an important addition to the White Weenies of the moment, providing more power with cards such as the Icatian Javelineers or the Order of Leitbur, which became essential, proof of this is that they continue playing pretty much.

Then he makes an interesting review of the best cards of FE, which highlights, of course, the Goblin Grenade, which indicates that “If with any card they have gotten out of hand in this expansion is certainly with this” , although I think that (almost) the most powerful card, and over time it has been like that, it is Hymn to Tourach, a card that has proven to be the most “broken” of FE, and its abuse in OS proves it; that they play you an HtT of T1 is painful. The High Tide would be the third in discord, in terms of quality refers, a card that alone generated a deck around him, but not at this time, but later.

The article also highlights cards like Orgg (of which we have seen a deck recently with 4 copies), Night Soil, Thelonite Druid, Combat Medic or Elvish Hunter, these last two have never seen them in play.

And to finalize 3 articles:

“The other side of the Magic” is a fun chronicle of what was one day at the Mercat de Sant Antoni stand in Barcelona, ​​written in an epic way, with hordes of enemies asking if they have Terrors for sale, a funny text.

“The cursed cards” is an interesting article about some cards that the people of the time despised but that had a greater potential than they appeared. These are Armageddon Clock, Atog, Manabarbs, El-Hajjaj, Animate Dead, Warp Artifact, Hurkyl’s Recall and Living Artifact. Of these, with the passage of time, we have verified that the players finally knew how to get the best performance and see their true potential, such as Atog, Animate dead and Hurkyl’s Recall, of the rest we still have to see their true potential to make decks.

“Incredible but true” is an article dedicated to those brutal starts that we sometimes play or that we suffer in our own flesh, and narrates some of them that the author has been able to see in the gaming tables of the time, quite entertaining. Today we could do something similar with the amount of P9 that are seen per game round.

And finally the Mail section where “The Black Angel” makes a constructive criticism to the recent (at that time) opening in the tournaments to be able to play the cards of all the expansions, and how this leads to inequality instead of equality to it was a few people who possessed such cards; Do you hear the word “speculator”? Well already in these times was around in everyone’s mouth.

As always, a pleasure, if you feel like commenting something you can do it in this blog or in my Instagram account @retroplayermtg



Deck Tech: Erhnamgeddon Budget

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.



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.


4X Disenchant:

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.

1X Balance:

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.

3X Armageddon:

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.

1X Regrowth:

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.

1X Pendelhaven:

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.


That’s all for today, thank you for reading, I’ll be happy to hear your opinion, through the comments of the blog, or on the Liga Madrileña Old School or, if you want, on my Instagram account.

Carlos Piélago
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Reading Serra: Fanzine of Magic (Review)

By: Carlos Piélago

Hello there old school`s players! For the Serra´s wings here we bring you a new article.
It`s a brief review about what, perhaps, is the oldest publication about Magic in our country: Serra, the Magic fanzine. Not the first to talk about Magic, but the first that was dedicated almost exclusively to our favorite game.

It`s number 2, number 1 doesn`t have it in my possession. We are talking about a fanzine that appeared in September – October 1994. The dark was taking its first steps and Fallen empires was announced and shortly it was going to be published, the game of Richard Garfield had landed in Spain that year and was causing furor.

Let’s focus on what this fanzine tells us (with magazine consistency, since there are 4 stapled folios, it has a careful edition) that Pau Carles directed, Albert López edited and Alejo Cuervo (publisher of Gigamesh publishing house, and owner) edited from the bookstore of the same name).

We find a cover on which highlights the illustration of an angel of Serra drawn in pencil by David Garcia, that I love and has that “old school” air that we like so much.


On page 3 we have an editorial written by Pau Carles in which he tells us that other Trading card games (tcg) are coming to the market trying to follow the wake of Magic: The gathering, such as Jyhad or Spellfire. Or how they are trying to develop a national ranking and the increasing number of tournaments that are being played in Spain. It also announces that within the fanzine you can find 2 checklist, one dedicated to Legends and official, and another to The dark, unofficial, made by themselves.

We continue with the news section in which between the announcements of new magazines dedicated to Magic that are emerging on the national scene, or the odd game of cards, we read that there are already rumors that Magic will come out in Spanish, which It was our beloved fourth edition in black border.

And we come to one of the most interesting parts, Alejo Cuervo’s article entitled “Adventures and misadventures of a tourist in Gencon USA 1994”, in which, as a summary, it deals with the author’s experience in what was called the first World Magic Tournament, also tells us that moxes prices became … $ 15! And the Black lotus from $ 40 to $ 60 … In the blog Rol de los 90 you can read a summary of this article, and also see a photo of the final of that tournament between Bernard Lestreé (rival who eliminated Alejo) and Zak Dolan, final that the latter would win.

Among all the decks that he played against, there was one that caught his attention: a deck that as only creatures included Elves Llanowar and Birds of Paradise and played Land equilibrium combined with Armageddon and Black vise to close the game.

The article refers to other card games that were presented in that Gencon, among them, for example, the card game of Atlas games: On the edge, which he tried in a demo game and that seemed to him at the level of rules. promising. I liked reading this reference because this was a game I played at the time, which we called the “Magic of the Poor” because an envelope was worth less and in atmosphere and rules was very good.

But there is an image that stuck in my mind when I read this article for the first time at the age of 13, and it is that Alejo, in the end, tells us, textual words:

“I can not help remembering, just as I was leaving, a man who was sleeping on the floor of a hallway. A sign placed next to his shoes showed the legend: “MAGIC RUINED MY LIFE”.

It just seemed brutal to me this anecdote, who would that man be? How did you get to that situation? And what happened to him?

In the section entitled “Championships”, David Villanueva, he reviews 3 tournaments: the first of L`Hospitalet, which was attended by 60 people, where the organization was very successful. The color combinations in the decks that stood out were red / blue, red / green, white / blue, and in monochrome, black and blue. How can we check the monoblacks decks were ready to fight from the beginning and, how could it be otherwise, blue was the predominant color.

Apparently there was a tournament the day before that only 8 players attended and in which he won a monoblack deck “very ingenious” (hehe) based on Dark ritual, Mind twist and The rack.

At the end a trophy was given to the winners and an envelope of Legends for the first 5 … I want prizes of those!

A week later was held in Mataró another tournament with the same level of affluence, but here the reviewer criticize to the organization commenting that they did not let play more than 5 artifacts per deck without notice, which outraged, and rightly, to many players.

There is a curious fact and that, just a week later, surprised the amount of monoblack decks that were in play, it proved to be a viable strategy. Again the prize was in booster packs, this time from The dark. David Villanueva was the winner of the two tournaments, which at that time seemed to win everything. He also tells us that the first Sabadell tournament was organized, being 9 rounds, and that perhaps because of the inexperience it was a bit chaotic. So far the tournaments, in the middle of the magazine we have the checklists of Legends and The dark, note that there is still no price list, that will not appear in Spain until the Urza number 1.


Down we can read the old official rules with several differences with respect to our current B & R system: the first, and most differential, is that you could only play with Revised edition and the ante rule was allowed in tournament games, provided that there was a prior agreement between the players . The mulligan rule was also different, if in the first initial hand you did not land or all land you could teach it to your opponent and re-shuffle your cards to draw a new initial hand of 7 cards, and could only be done once by game. Here is a photo with the list of restricted and prohibited at the time:


Later there is a section dedicated to the combos, in total 5 combinations, the one of Giant Shark and Prodigal sorcerer I find it funny.


And we come to another of the cool sections of the magazine, the decks:


The first is a deck that is not a 100% Goblins but rather a Goblin sligh, with fast creatures and green splash, with the Fireball-Channel combo, with few sources of mana, although the curve is not high, and with few forests in my opinion, which makes the Kird ape not so effective (although strip mine could not be played, and that the “ponza” decks had not yet exploded as they did a short time later).


“The impious deck”, named after its creator, Alejo Cuervo, because as he says, some of the cards he used were considered “unpleasant” by some players: Karma, Conversion, etc., The deck consists to combine with the Magical Hack and Sleight of mind, and adapt your enchantments to the colors played by the opponent, note the 4 base balance that was not restricted at the time, what a wonder!

Finally, three articles, one that refers to the fashions or trends when building the decks, and in which the two archetypes faced from the beginning can be seen: the control cards against the aggressive ones. Then, a review of the game Jyhad, also designed by Garfield, and an post mail written by “The Black Angel” that contains a curious reflection on the speculation in Magic, something that has been present since the beginning of the game.

Well, that`s all for now, you can leave feedback on this blog, or on my Instagram: @retroplayermtg

Until next time!



Picture of variations in Old School rules


There are many variations in the Magic Old School, which can sometimes be confusing for players.

We have compiled the different variations in the different formats of Old School, so that at a glance you can see all the variations. Even so, we recommend that when you go to a tournament you inform yourself well of all the rules and variations.

If there is an error in the rules or the geographical areas where these rules are played, let us know as soon as possible.

Deck Tech: Monoblue Merfolks Budget


By: Luis Eguizábal

Many of you have asked us to do Decks-Techs of Budget Decks, which include some of the cards that we mentioned in the article of the best cards quality-price relation in Magic Old School.

I present my Monoblue Merfolks list which includes many of the mentioned cards:



4x Flying Men

Very affordable in its edition of Time Spiral. An efficient Turn 1, which skips Moat, and can scratch 3 or 4 life points easily that can be definitive.

4x Triton of the Pearl Trident

Another Turn 1, that may seem weak but with Lord of Atlantis and Sunken City may be a problem for the opponent.

4x River Merfolk

For two mana hits two and it can also mountainwalk. If we have the help of the Lord of Atlantis, River Merfolk will have mountainwalk and islandwalk, which makes it almost impossible to block in this format.


4x Lord of Atlantis

One of the tech-cards of the deck. It inflates our merfolks and gives them evasion. Very accessible price in its version of the Fifth Edition (€ 15 playset).

4x Serendib Efreet

The best blue creature of the format. Although it is not a merfolk, it is essential to play it in any blue aggro deck.

4x Psionic Blast

The blue bolt. In addition to being our removal against big annoying creatures can serve to kill our opponent.

2x Control Magic

Two other cards that can serve as removal, and also hit our opponent with their own creatures (always a pleasure).

2x Sunken City

Underrated card that is practically a blue Crusade. It will be the perfect complement for the Lord of Atlantis to enlarge our creatures, including those that are not merfolk like Flying Men and Serendib Efeet. It is not advisable to play more than two copies, because it’s big defect is that it demands two blue mana each turn, but it’s very worth it.


3x Phantasmal Terrain

The Phantasmal Terrain has a double function: to help us with mana-denial blocking an specific color of our opponent and, on the other hand, to make our merfolks unblockable (when they have islandwalk) turning the opponent ‘s land into an island or a mountain (to make it unblockable River Merfolk).


2x Boomerang

As we don’t play Counterspell we don’t have the possibility of fight against a Moat, or a Juzám Djinn in the first turns. We can return to its owner hand with a Boomerang at the end of the turn, that gives us the necessary time to win. Other versions can play 4x Counterspell (without boomerang) but when I play aggro I like to be 100% aggressive.

1x Braingeyser

The best option to draw cards in Old School after Ancestral Recall, LoA, Timetwister and Wheel of Fortune. In the advanced game, Braingeyser can make us recover many cards in this deck that easily use all the cards in hand.

1x Recall

It allows us to recover what we want from the graveyard. Especially useful when we draw a lot of lands, and we can change those lands of the hand for useful cards from the graveyard as creatures or Psionic Blast.

1x Maze of Ith

Another card that can work as removal, especially useful against Juzám Djinn, or opponent’s Serendib Efreet. It also allows us to attack with all our little creatures, and our opponent blocks any of them, we can untap it and prevent all of the combat damage.

1x Sol Ring

The best budget mana accelerator, allows us to play a Serendib Efreet or a Control Magic on Turn 2. Awesome!

2x Mishra’s Factory

Very good against control, it’s a land, and also a creature, this mean that we have a total of 22 creatures in the deck (24 if we count the Magic Control). We cannot take more than two, because we need the 17 blue lands to make sure that we can play in turn 2 any card that requires a double blue mana cost.

4x Strip Mine

Destroy the opponent’s Mishras and allow us to do manna-denial, as we develop our game of small creatures. Destroy LoA and Maze of Ith. It is essential to play the four.

1x Tolaria

Enter on the battlefield untapped, so it counts as one more island. The ability to eliminate bands until end of turn is not extraordinarily useful, but is important to say that it survives a Tsunami. It is also beautiful and very cheap.


16x Island


4x Psychic Purge

On tournaments where proxies aren’t allowed, the most played budget deck is usually monoblack. The psychic Purges are useful against Hymn to Tourach (doing 5 damage to the opponent), and destroy small creatures like: Order of the Hand Ebond, Order of Leighbur, Lions of Savannah, Pixies of Argoth, Elvish Archers …

4x Energy Flux

As blue is a color that has nothing to destroy the artifacts, Energy Flux is the best solution. In addition, we don’t play artifacts, and it will not affect us. We can annul the opponent’s moxen balancing the game a little against decks with P9.

3x Blue Elemental Blast

Perfect to counter the Red Elemental Blast, or opponent’s bolts that destroy virtually all of our creatures.

3x Nevinyrral’s Disk

Unfortunate, in some games, will be permanents that we cannot remove. Very big creatures like Erhnam Djinn, Juzám Djinn, or enchantments like Moat, or even worse, The Abyss. To destroy all of this and reset the game: Nevinyrral’s Disk

1x Black Vise

You can play a copy, or up to four copies on sideboard if you want. It will always be a problem for control decks, and it will help to scratch some points of damage.


Here is a summary of what is this Budget deck, which is not as competitive as a White Weenie or a Mono Black, but is very fun and perfect to start in format making a small spending because the total price of the deck is between € 120-150.

Top 10 best Old School’s MTG muscular creatures

By Luis Eguizábal

The following list tries to find out which are the best Old School’s muscular creatures, those are, among all the ones that have strength or resistance equal to or greater than 3, which are the ten most outstanding to hit our rival hard.

For this, I will use a “scientific” method to establish a score in each criterion of the creatures, which added will give us a final coefficient. Those with a higher coefficient will be the best muscular creatures. In case of a tie, subjective criteria will be those that will proceed to the tie-break. The method will be as follows:

CMC: You start with a score of 10, and you will subtract the converted mana cost of the creature (10 – CMC)
Strength: Calculated by subtracting the converted mana cost from the creature’s power (Power – CMC)
Evasion: If it’s a flying creature we will add a +1 to our creature
Die with Bolt: If creature dies with Lightning Bolt -1, if don’t die with Lightning Bolt +1
Die with Psionic Blast: If creature dies with Psionic Blast -1, if don’t die with Psionic Blast +1
Die with Swords: If creature dies with Swords to Plowshares -1, if don’t die with Swords to Plowshares +1
Die with Disenchant: If creature dies with Disenchant -1, if don’t die with Disenchant +1
Skip Abyss: If creature dies with The Abyss -1, if don’t die with The Abyss 11
Skip Moat: If creature can’t attack with Moat in play -1, if creature can attack with Moat in play +1

Finally, all the criteria will be added to calculate the final score.

(* Creatures with rare or complex abilities have been left out of the list: Triskelion, Tetravus …)

(** Creatures with excessively negative abilities have been left out of the list: Serendib Djinn, Lord of the Pit…)

(*** Creatures with a bizarre mana cost have been left out of the list: Force of Nature, Colossus of Sardia)

Top 10- Juggernaut

CMC: 10-4 = 6
Strength: 5-4 = +1
Evasion: +0
Die with Bolt: -1
Die with Psionic Blast: -1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: -1
Skip Abyss: +1
Skip Moat: -1

Final Score: 3/10



Top 9- Su-Chi

CMC: 10-4 = 6
Strength: 4-4 = +0
Evasion: +0
Die with Bolt: +1
Die with Psionic Blast: -1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: -1
Skip Abyss: +1
Skip Moat: -1

Final Score: 4/10



Top 8- Sol’kanar the Swamp King

CMC: 10-5 = 5
Strength: 5-5 = +0
Evasion: +0 (Swamp-walk is not allways evasion)
Die with Bolt: +1
Die with Psionic Blast: +1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: +1
Skip Abyss: -1
Skip Moat: -1

Final Score: 5/10



Top 7- Sengir Vampire

(It’s over Sol’kanar beacause Sol’kanar demand three dieferente color mana)

CMC: 10-5 = 5
Strength: 4-5 = -1
Evasion: +1
Die with Bolt: +1
Die with Psionic Blast: -1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: +1
Skip Abyss: -1
Skip Moat: +1

Final Score: 5/10



Top 6- Serra Angel

(It’s over Sengir, because Vigilance hability in Serra is permanent)

CMC: 10-5 = 5
Strength: 4-5 = -1
Evasion: +1
Die with Bolt: +1
Die with Psionic Blast: -1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: +1
Abyss is skipped: -1
Skip Moat: +1

Final Score: 5/10



Top 5- Mahamoti Djinn

CMC: 10-6 = 4
Strength: 5-6 = -1
Evasion: +1
Die with Bolt: +1
Die with Psionic Blast: +1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: +1
Skip Abyss: -1
Skip Moat: +1

Final Score: 6/10


Top 4- Shivan Dragon

(It’s over Mahamoti because Mahamoti dies with Red Elemental Blast, and Shivan’s power can increase)

CMC: 10-6 = 4
Strength: 5-6 = -1
Evasion: +1
Die with Bolt: +1
Die with Psionic Blast: +1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: +1
Skip Abyss: -1
Skip Moat: +1

Final Score: 6/10



Top 3- Erhnam Djinn

(Its over Shivan Dragon because his lower CMC, only 4)

CMC: 10-4 = 6
Strength: 4-4 = 0
Evasion: +0
Die with Bolt: +1
Die with Psionic Blast: +1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: +1
Skip Abyss: -1
Skip Moat: -1

Final Score: 6/10



Top 2- Juzám Djinn

CMC: 10-4 = 6
Strength: 5-4 = +1
Evasion: -0
Die with Bolt: +1
Die with Psionic Blast: +1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: +1
Skip Abyss: -1
Skip Moat: -1

Final Score: 7/10



Top 1- Serendib Efreet

CMC: 10-3 = 7
Strength: 3-3 = +0
Evasion: +1
Die with Bolt: +1
Die with Psionic Blast: -1
Die with Swords: -1
Die with Disenchant: +1
Skip Abyss: -1
Skip Moat: +1

Final Score: 8/10



As we can see, the final list is quite logical, because those are the most played Old School’s muscle creatures when it comes to hit the opponent hard. However, surely everyone has different priorities,  might be because of the card’s picture, nostalgia … What is your favorite?