Stidjen's Magic

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Princess Charming

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Ever since Shadowmoor came out I’ve been trying to find a good home for Wort. That voyage has led me to many different decks. It started out as a traditional red-green deck that slowly morphed into a more combo-oriented, though more fragile, mana-ramp build. When I decided that deck wasn’t fun to play anymore, the journey that led to today’s deck began.

The pre-proliferate days
At first, I didn’t have proliferate to try and cram into every deck you can imagine. Then Scars of Mirrodin came along and everything changed. *whispers* Everything… Anyway, I always liked Chandra the Firebrand’s -2 ability combined with proliferate. Volt Charge lets you deal six damage and you get to proliferate twice, which means Chandra hasn’t really lost any loyalty.

That idea led me to want to try and combine Wort and the aforementioned mechanic. I looked around for cards and came up with way more than ever could fit into sixty cards. I quickly concluded that what I had in my infamous Pile of Possibilities was actually more like three decks: Wort Proliferate, Wort Primal Surge, and Wort Storm. My previous incarnation was Storm and I was kinda fed up with it, so that left me with two options.

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I ended up building the Surge-deck, using quick beaters to fuel Spinerock Knoll and Mosswort Bridge to power out either Primal Surge or a Titan of the Inferno or Primeval variety. Preferably the latter, to find more hideaway-lands. That deck quickly discarded Wort as a viable option and while it was powerful, it was also so consistent that it wads boring. It turns out Primeval Titan is pretty good. Who new? (Answer: everyone and their mother.)

The days of proliferate
The deck is still together, but on the bench. It also has a few proxies in it that I’m not really wanting to trade for: the green Titans. So my thoughts went out to the last option available to me: Wort Proliferate. While all my previous builds were either mono-red or red-green, this one had to have blue. Two words: Tezzeret’s Gambit. Being my favorite card in New Phyrexia, and also in my favorite color (probably no coinkydink), it just had to be a four-of. I looked for RUGged options.

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Volt Charge was also in there, ofcourse. Some charge lands and other chargeable mana (Pentad Prism, Druids’ Repository), and a minor +1/+1 counter theme. The counter theme quickly subsided, as did proliferate. I was left with a non-deck that needed direction. I got my breakthrough from a few cards that stuck out when I was looking for repeatable counter-production: Ajani Goldmane and Travel Preparations. They are white. And that color proved to be the way to go.

The post-proliferate days
I quickly dubbed the deck Wort Bant. White had a lot of cool cards to offer. Good token production, a few catch-all utility spells, and a couple of interesting Guildmages. I started testing via my usual method: add as much different cards into the deck as possible, then tally each card’s performance with pluses and minuses to see how they did. Cards like Stonybrook Schoolmaster, Plumeveil, Rhox War Monk and Call of the Conclave quickly fell by the wayside.

207A token-subtheme was developing, and rightly so. They allowed me to conspire spells while forming a roadblock in the early game. Also, a critical mass of creatures can take a game over if need be. I was enamored with Sprout Swarm, but the love died. All those little Saprolings weren’t cutting it. All I did was making 1/1’s who conspired and convoked to make more 1/1’s. I tried many ways to help swing a race in my favor. Alas, Alive // Well and Sigil Captain were too conditional to be of any use.

The way of the Wurm
Two cards that entered the deck helped steer me towards a clear goal. Advent of the Wurm was a card that caught my eye immediately when it was spoiled and now I finally got a chance to play with it. Lemme tell ya: that card is so much fun! I have seen it in aggressive decks, but in my mind, it belongs in an instant-laden deck that can surprise opponents at the end of their turn. “Your turn.” “End of your turn, make a Wurm. Untap, draw, take 5.” As a blue Mage, I never knew bashing for 5 with a surprise attacker could be so much fun! Eating blockers is tasty, too.

51So I stuffed the deck with lots of instants. Charms turned out to be quite the treat, especially Azorius, Selesnya and Esper. Yes, Esper. That’s black in the deck. Esper Charm was not the only reason for that. Black started as a minor splash to support the flashback of Lingering Souls. From I previous deck I learned of the tremendous power of this card: it helps defend, and it helps you win. For this deck specifically, it can facilitate conspire, and can easily be conspired later on: even though the flashback is black, the card itself is still white as snow.

Advent of the Wurm and Lingering Souls helped define what this deck was about: winning the game instant speed threats (and ways to spend your mana in another player’s turn), and holding the fort while jockeying for position. Without further ado, let’s get to the decklist.

Princess Charming
Lands (24)
3 Arcane Sanctum
2 Flooded Grove
4 Forest
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Hinterland Harbor
2 Island
1 Llanowar Wastes
4 Plains
3 Seaside Citadel
1 Swamp
1 Yavimaya Coast

Creatures (10)
4 Augur of Bolas
3 Prophet of Kruphix
3 Wort, the Raidmother

Spells (26)
4 Advent of the Wurm
4 Azorius Charm
4 Esper Charm
4 Lingering Souls
4 Selesnya Charm
2 Sundering Growth
4 Think Twice

“What’s that card for?”
The deck’s mana base was not the easiest part to figure out. I still have troubles drawing the right colors sometimes. But hey, I like playing as much colors as I possibly can. The first of the listed creatures went back and forth with Omenspeaker for a while. I had various ways to fix my mana in here too, and at first my opinion was that Augur could not be in a deck without manafixing. You don’t want to ‘scry’ away that land you so desperately needed! So for a while, I went with Omenspeaker. But I haven’t had a deck with Augur yet, and that card is just made for me. Thanks, Wizards, for my Invitational card! I even cut out the manafixing and added some faux fixers: a helluva lotta card drawing spells.

43Prophet of Kruphix is another card that could very well be what my Invitational card would look like. The part of flashing in creatures is not my first reason to play it, but it’s not irrelevant: flashing in Wort EOT is pretty good. No – I play Prophet because my creatures get semi-vigilance and my lands can cast spells twice as much. Despite not playing a lot of creatures, I still get plenty of value out of Prophet.

The final creature is Wort, one of the two name-givers of the deck (she’s the Princess, in case you haven’t noticed). Although she seems super looks and unnecessary, she’s one of the main ways to gain advantage in the late game.

223The Charming-part comes from a wide variety of Charms. They are multicolored and multi-purposed, which means conspiring them can be done often and in a lot of different situations. Azorius and Esper draw, which are two of their most often used modes. I rarely use the discard of Esper, but destroying enchantments is also very effective in my metagame (Nylea’s Bow, Feed the Pack, Goblin Bombardment and Oblivion Ring, to name but a few). I have already used all three modes of Azorius Charm in duels, using the lifegain to swing an otherwise very close race in my favor (“Take 9; I’m at 17, you’re at 4”).

But the Charm that surprised me the most is the one from the Selesnya Conclave. It gave me early blockers, helped push through the final bits of damage or punish a group-block, and exiled various big creatures (take care, Nylea!). Yesterday, I made a stupid block but got spared a blowout by just bluffing Selesnya Charm.

194I already talked a bit about my love for Advent of the Wurm. The premise is something I like: a huge threat at instant speed. Although it’s not in my preferred color for such shenanigans, I managed to cram said color into the deck anyway. Once an opponent knows I have it in my deck, they despise attacking into that dreaded 1GGW I have open on their turn. Copying either the spell or the token, that’s just downright filthy. I like it.

Sundering Growth is a nice synergistic concession to various artifacts and enchantments troubling my meta. Enchantments are more prevalent, so I’m happy having 4 Esper Charms as well. Should things change, I cane easily add more Bant Charms. I tried playing more Growths, but they sit in my hand doing nothing surprisingly often. Yet I can’t bear the thought of playing something like Rootborn Defenses in its place.

223 (1)Havering said all there is to say about Lingering Souls, all that’s left to talk about is the secret superglue of the deck: Think Twice. It used to be in the deck, then it didn’t, and then it did again. There was a correlation between it being in the deck and mana acceleration not, and vice versa. In the end I decided on the subtle fixing of Think Twice, and the fact that it is never a dead draw. Yes, Rampant Growth is easier to conspire, but is that something I really want? No, it isn’t – when I have Wort out, I don’t need extra lands anymore. Six mana means Advent and a Charm, or two or three Charms, depending on the available colors.

The flashback is also really nice. You need to be able to do stuff when you don’t have to react to something with Charms, and Think Twice gives you the means to do so, and to refuel.

83ttEOThe article

So there you have it, my most recent deck, that also happens to be one of my favorite builds of recent memory. I have plenty of diversity, plenty of options, and plenty of was to defend and simultaneously close out the game.

And all of that spending my mane just the way I like it: during my opponents turn, uttering the sacred phrase: “In response…”

Thanks for reading! At the end of your read, I’ll make a Wurm token, just to be sure.

5 thoughts on “Princess Charming

  1. Pingback: New favorite cards | Stidjen's Magic

  2. Hey,

    I really like that deck! However, you can only conspire red or green instants and sorceries with Wort, so Esper and Azorius Charm are out, as well as Think Twice and, sadly, Lingering Souls. I don’t want to come across as a smart-ass, but I’m not sure if you realized that.

    Other than that: Cool stuff! I’ve always wanted to build a Wort deck but never managed to complete it… Branching out into other colors might be the way to go, although this would require multi-color spells. Hm…
    Thanks for providing me with a really interesting idea!

    Kuchisama

    • I did realize it 🙂 That’s why I added Lingering Souls (white creatures), a lot of green creatures, and Augur of Bolas and Prophet (blue creatures). I’ve since decided to drop Wort (new deckname: Wortless Bant) and remove black, and focus more on populate. New additions include Vhitu-Ghazi Guildmage, Bant Charm, Noble Hierarch (a one-drop accelerator turned out to be a really big deal), Gavony Township and Moorless Haunt. I might have to write up a new article about this deck soon again.

      Thanks for your elaborate response, I’m curious to what deck you come up with! Wort is just a bunch of fun and I would love to build another deck with her someday. I started my deck after dismissing two different Wort ideas (Primal Surge and proliferate) but it’s a card I feel like I just should have a deck with.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

      • Yeah, Wort IS kind of expensive…
        I really like the populate mechanic though. I have a deck with Armada Wurm, Advent of the Wurm. Druid’s Deliverance and Rootborn Defenses. Let me tell you: Preventing all combat damage and getting a 5/5 trampler for a measly 2 mana is absolutely bonkers!
        The deck is nothing special considering that Wizards basically built it for us when they printed populate cards, but it’s still fun!
        Btw: If you are interested, I have only recently started my own column “Multiplayer Madness” at http://www.mtgcasualplay.com. Have a look! Perhaps you might even decide to join the team? 😉

      • Yes, I know. Although I replaced Deliverance with Rootborn Defenses, which also saves Prophets from removal occasionally. And yes, I have felt the joy of making my dudes indestructible, making another 5/5, and then slaughtering all the creatures coming at me. I love it when a fair deck can feel really unfair sometimes.

        I’m gonna check out the website you sent me and might start following it via RSS! And maybe I’ll even join.

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