Do you remember building pillow forts? I do. I built forts out of card board boxes. I built forts out of Legos. I built forts out of towers and cannons. And, at the end of the night, I build a fort by locking my door and wrapping up under the blankets. We like to build forts.
But why all the fort building? Simple. Defense against invaders! Over the course of our lives, aggressive people will try to come into our lives and control us—we have to have defenses set up! We have to have boundaries set up! If we don’t, we will let people walk all over us. Building pillow forts in childhood is important preparation for security in adulthood.
Building a Pillow Fort
Of course, I have built pillow fort decks from Magic cards. I have built pillow forts out of Island Sanctuaries. I have built pillow forts out of Fortress Crabs. These pillow fort decks are very different from control decks. They aren’t about controlling the opponent at all. They are about setting up a fort so awesome that the other guy can never get in! Eventually he gives up and goes to play with someone else.
This past week on TWOO TV (twitchtv.com/traviswoo) I have been building an awesome pillow fort.
Here is a picture of us safely outlasting a Zombie invasion:
Question: So what’s the win condition?
Answer: DEATH BY OLD AGE
Our opponent starts with a creature. We put a Sensory Deprivation on it. He plays more creatures. We play Oblivion Rings and Detention Spheres. He plays more creatures, as most decks these days do. And then we play Sphere of Safety. He spends all of his mana and attacks with one guy. He’s so close to killing us!
We play more enchantments. Now he can’t attack. But maybe he will draw enough lands to keep up with our enchantments. Or maybe he will draw some burn spells to finish us off.
Touch of the Eternal hits the battlefield. Well, maybe he will be able to take out the Spheres. He really needs this win. Might as well keep playing.
The game continues. More Spheres hit the battlefield. More enchantments litter the board. Before he knows it, he looks up and he sees this.
And then he cries.
Actually, it’s not fun to play against. That’s kind of the point. Pillow forts and boundaries are meant to keep other people out. They’re about being emotionally unavailable to the outside. People will want to get in, but they won’t be able to. And if that’s what you want, that’s what you want. They might bang on the door for hours and cry, but this is YOUR pillow fort. You don’t have to let ANYONE in! So go ahead and push that Like button! Nothing wrong with it!
Alright, let’s talk Magic card strategy!
Playing with Nevermore
This card is incredibly difficult to play with. You have to imagine that the opponent is going to go through their ENTIRE deck (they will). What cards will be good in a longer game? Usually the answer is cards that destroy permanents or cards that win outside of combat. You might want to name a removal spell like Ray of Revelation. You might want to name a burn spell like Searing Spear.
Something to keep in mind is that Nevermore is a symmetrical effect. You might really want to name Detention Sphere or Sphinx's Revelation, but since we have 4 of each of those ourselves, it’s usually not advisable.
Playing vs. Control
Control is the hardest matchup. They can usually blow up enchantments. They can sometimes attack you outside of combat with planeswalkers. And they might play enough card draw and lands to actually keep up with Sphere of Safety. So how do we win?
They might get into our pillow fort, but we might as well make it tough for them. If they are going to beat us, it's going to take a VERY long time—so might as well make 'em work for it! If they aren’t careful they might get locked out or killed by Nephalia Drownyard. I don’t have any tips for you other than waste as much of the opponent’s time as possible. There, I said it!
After sideboard, our plan is to ramp into an early Jace or Vraska. Jace puts a massive clock on them. We also have access to 3 Nevermore and 3 Slaughter Games, so we can knock out a lot of their problem cards before they ever cast them.
On the whole, control is tough, but winnable. You are also bound to be the last match going, which will hold the tournament up. Bonus! (Depending on how much of a troll you feel like being, but if you are playing this deck the assumption is you feel like being a big troll).
Playing vs. Aggro
Enjoy! I mean, it’s possible to get overrun in the early turns—but once we have them locked out, they are usually locked out for good. Aggro matchups are always a good opportunity to slowly assemble the best pillow fort known to mankind.
I am drawn to Sensory Deprivation for two reasons: The first is that it costs only one mana, which makes it a great early answer for Rakdos Cackler and other early beaters in the format. The second reason is the flavor of the card. Look at the picture and the name! This is what we are slowly doing to our opponents.
Mana Bloom is necessary. It is awkward, but it's both a ramp spell and an enchantment. Both of these functions are crucial.
It's also extremely hard to play. I have played with it a ton, and I’m still making mistakes. For a single G, you can put it into play as an additional enchantment or an additional life point off of Touch of the Eternal. Also keep in mind that you can make multiple mana with it in a turn cycle—1 during your turn and 1 during the opponent’s turn.
Touch of the Eternal works fantastically with Sphere of Safety. It is slow and expensive, but over the course of a really long game it can protect us against a hole in our pillow fort developing for a turn. The card is also great at stabilizing in the mid-game—sometimes they can get a single guy through every turn but a Touch of the Eternal can usually stop that.
Ok, Jace is obvious, but why Vraska? Vraska is great for killing Detention Spheres and other planeswalkers. These can be real problem cards in control matchups, and Vraska is a great repeatable answer. It also is a win condition, although it is extremely slow.
Cards I’m Not Playing and Why
Yes, Supreme Verdict is awesome, but it works against everything this deck is doing. Sphere of Safety is meant to ignore the number of creatures they have (it could be 1 or a 1000). Sphere of Safety also requires a massive commitment to enchantments. We NEED to play more enchantments than they play lands. We just have to. If you add Supreme Verdict, you cut enchantments—at which point you need to go build another deck altogether.
Martial Law doesn’t work very well with Sphere of Safety because they can attack you with whatever other creature they have lying around. It also doesn’t go into effect immediately. It’s just worse than other options.
These cards are great, but I have liked Sensory Deprivation more. I find the single mana difference to be huge in the early game. Is it possible I’m wrong? Absolutely.
Winning is not a problem. Setting up our defenses is a problem. With the defenses set up, Drownyard will do the job. Adding an extra win condition means cutting a defensive spell that could lock up the game—for a card that ends the game faster? Why would you want to end the game faster!? The whole point is to play a long dramatic defensive game.
Also a card like Azor's Elocutors now makes their previously useless creature removal GREAT! Let’s not do that.
The Future of the Deck!
Do you feel like being alone? Do you feel like being safe? Do you feel like being secure from invaders of all kinds? Take this deck to your local tournament! Keep in mind there is a chance of making a small child cry, so be careful, and be a good sport. Although, by playing this deck it is almost impossible to be a good sport.
The deck is hilarious. It is capable of winning any matchup and is pretty good against creature decks, but overall it’s not the winningest deck. If you are looking for something to WIN your next tournament, take a look at LSV’s Omnidoor video and play that deck. Seriously. This deck is about building a Pillow Fort, and building a Pillow Fort only!
Pillow Fort Assembled
Questions! Comments! Think there’s something I missed?