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Valuable Lessons – A New Junk Tokens

I’ve spent the majority of the last week playing my BWR Humans deck. I’m continuing to enjoy success with the archetype and I would still recommend the deck to anyone that enjoys difficult to pilot, aggressive strategies. Today, I’d like to take a look at one of the more interesting decks that did well in a Magic Online Daily Event this past week. I’ve always been a fan of the Junk Token decks that have popped up from time to time, but the decks felt like they run out of gas too easily—the deck simply had no effective way to recover from a combo like [card]Supreme Verdict[/card]/[card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card]. Previous token decks haven’t been aggressive enough to force opponents to have proper hands in the early game, and they heavily rely on winning the game in the turn 5 to 9 range. The decks drew poorly off the top when compared to decks with cards like [card]Bonfire of the Damned[/card] or [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card].

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw an innovative version of the token deck. This deck is less all-in on the token strategy and more of an old-school, Rock-style deck with a token sub-theme. Let’s take a look at zman2340’s Junk Tokens:

zman2340 (4-0)
Standard Daily #5832152 on 08/21/2013

[deck]Main Deck
2 Gavony Township
4 Godless Shrine
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Woodland Cemetery
3 Disciple of Bolas
4 Scavenging Ooze
3 Thragtusk
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Call of the Conclave
2 Garruk Relentless
2 Golgari Charm
4 Intangible Virtue
4 Lingering Souls
3 Putrefy
1 Ratchet Bomb
1 Selesnya Charm
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Sideboard
1 Advent of the Wurm
2 Centaur Healer
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Golgari Charm
2 Lifebane Zombie
2 Loxodon Smiter
1 Ratchet Bomb
2 Ray of Revelation
2 Sever the Bloodline
1 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice[/deck]

I love the general idea of this deck. [card]Selesnya Charm[/card] is very well positioned in our world of [card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/card] and [card]Desecration Demon[/card], while the rest of the deck seems well positioned against the lower part of the curve played by the majority of Standard decks.

[draft]selesnya charm[/draft]

I’m sure there’s a good reason for things like [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card], but I’m not a big fan of the card even when I’m not playing a deck that’s full of token production. I feel like the card can be cut for something that’s more useful in more situations. [card]Selesnya Charm[/card] is one of my favorite cards here, and I would love another copy. This seems like an easy swap that preserves the mana curve of the original deck list.

[draft]golgari charm[/draft]

Two copies of [card]Golgari Charm[/card] in the main is also a bit ambitious. We’ve already got to be worried about draws that involve [card]Intangible Virtue[/card] and no token production, and I can’t imagine keeping most seven card hands with two copies of [card]Golgari Charm[/card]. The first copy of Golgari Charm seems quite good—it can effectively counter [card]Supreme Verdict[/card], provide a maindeck out to [card]Burning Earth[/card], and the -1/-1 to all creatures clause will come up reasonably often when an opponent has a draw with multiple Elves.

[draft]primeval bounty[/draft]

Sam Black suggested I try some number of [card]Primeval Bounty[/card]. Sam is always good for some innovative ideas, and [card]Primeval Bounty[/card] seems absurd in this spot. One of the major issues with adding [card]Primeval Bounty[/card] to the deck is the mana requirement. As is, the deck is relatively inexpensive. Dropping a few copies of a six-cost spell into the list isn’t something we can do without addressing the mana issues we might encounter.

I’m not overly attached to all four copies of [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card], and we already have a lot of good 4s and 5s we can be playing via some type of acceleration. [card]Farseek[/card] could be strong here. I like giving a deck access to turn three planeswalkers, especially cards like [card]Garruk Relentless[/card] and [card]Sorin, Lord of Innistrad[/card] that can win the game entirely on their own if they get online early enough. This also solves the mana issues we might have had with Primeval Bounty.

Here’s the list I would play:

[deck]Main Deck
2 Gavony Township
4 Godless Shrine
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Woodland Cemetery
2 Farseek
3 Disciple of Bolas
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Primeval Bounty
3 Thragtusk
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Call of the Conclave
2 Garruk Relentless
1 Golgari Charm
3 Intangible Virtue
4 Lingering Souls
3 Putrefy
2 Selesnya Charm
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Sideboard:
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Garruk Relentless
2 Lifebane Zombie
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Ray of Revelation
1 Golgari Charm
1 Intangible Virtue
3 Sin Collector
2 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice[/deck]

We should discuss the major matchups we’ll be playing against and the sideboarding strategies.

BG Mutilate

Our deck can play a long game with them thanks to [card]Primeval Bounty[/card], [card]Disciple of Bolas[/card], and planeswalkers. They will often assume we don’t apply much pressure and go for a Demon right way. It’s hard for any deck to break 50% against BG Mutilate, but this strategy certainly goes over the top of the latest Rock deck. They may have [card]Curse of Death’s Hold[/card]—but they may not. I like sideboarding in an extra [card]Intangible Virtue[/card] more than siding in enchantment removal. It’s impossible to know for sure that your opponent has Curse in their 75 without scouting knowledge, and being able to preemptively deal with the Curse, while also upgrading your damage, is a nice option to have.

In

[draft]3 Sin Collector [/draft]

Out

[draft]3 Abrupt Decay [/draft]

Unburial Rites Strategies

The [card]Unburial Rites[/card] deck has a natural weakness to token strategies. We can usually find a line to victory even if they start casting [card]Shadowborn Demon[/card]s every turn or looping [card]Angel of Serenity[/card]. [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] is less than stellar here. Sure, it might get a [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card] if they happen to have one or two of those in their board, but it’s rarely going to be a necessary ingredient to victory. They’ll also likely be bringing in some number of [card]Ray of Revelation[/card] or [card]War Priest of Thune[/card]. We probably want to be taking out our enchantments in an effort to blank their sideboard. [card]Lifebane Zombie[/card] and [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] both shine bright in this matchup.

In

[draft]2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Garruk Relentless
2 Lifebane Zombie[/draft]

Out

[draft]2 Primeval Bounty
2 Intangible Virtue
3 Abrupt Decay[/draft]

Blue Control

The decks with [card]Terminus[/card] and [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card] have the ability to cause some serious problems for us. Luckily, it’s rare for decks to have both. [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] isn’t the worst thing you could ask for, but [card]Sin Collector[/card] seems like a much better use of our mana. [card]Intangible Virtue[/card] is another nice one in this matchup, it’s important for each of our cards to matter a lot. We need to force 1-for-1s a lot so we don’t get blown out by [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card]. Sure, we can nab it from their hand, but the “miracled” Revelation off the top is still going to beat us a huge portion of the time. [card]Golgari Charm[/card] should be used to counter [card]Supreme Verdict[/card] when it’s relevant, but there are also going to be a fair number of [card]Oblivion Ring[/card]s or [card]Detention Sphere[/card]s we can blow up with it.

In

[draft]1 Golgari Charm
3 Sin Collector
1 Intangible Virtue[/draft]

Out

[draft]3 Abrupt Decay
2 Scavenging Ooze[/draft]

Hexproof

You have stuff that kills enchantments and many things to block with. This is a surprisingly easy matchup.

In

[draft]1 Abrupt Decay
1 Golgari Charm
1 Ray of Revelation[/draft]

Out

[draft]2 Primeval Bounty
1 Garruk Relentless[/draft]

Burning-Tree Emissary Decks

We need to get on the table quickly here. Once we get into the thick of the game it will become extremely difficult for them to win. [card]Garruk Relentless[/card] is stronger than [card sorin, lord of innistrad]Sorin[/card] in this matchup, and an extra copy of [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] lets us combat [card]Champion of the Parish[/card] draws.

In

[draft]1 Abrupt Decay
2 Garruk Relentless
2 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice[/draft]

Out

[draft]2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
1 Primeval Bounty
1 Golgari Charm
1 Primeval Bounty[/draft]

This deck has a lot going for it and I look forward to seeing how it affects the Standard metagame in the coming weeks. I only have a few matches under my belt with the current iteration, but I feel confident that the deck has what it takes to compete in both Daily and Premier events.

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