Playing with Extra Cards
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Big Deck Arc-Slogger Brew Off!
The purpose of this exercise is to dispel the notion that it is ALWAYS correct to play the minimum number of cards by highlighting certain exceptions. Arc-Slogger was our starting point.
I received an influx of absurd 61+ card Modern decks, all of them brilliantly innovative, some of them sharpened for competition.
If you participated I hope this opened your mind, and for those of you just casually observing, I hope this makes you think.
Again we received too many sweet brews to highlight them all, too many to confidently pick just one winner for the $25 store credit prize. But I will do my best to credit and highlight some of the brightest ideas.
Shared Fate + Arc-Slogger
There were a half-dozen brews highlighting the Shared Fate + Arc-Slogger combo.
While completing this would be hilarious, by the point we’ve safely landed Arc-Slogger and used it to empty our library into exile, haven’t we already won?
Leveler/Arc-Slogger + Laboratory Maniac
Slightly more competitive, we have Arc-Slogger to open up a Laboratory Maniac victory.
Again, once our library is totally exiled by Arc-Slogger it seems like we should have been able to beat at least one opponent, if not more. Based on that, these are creative ideas, but I cant pick them as winners.
Now let’s start off with something absurd. This 1,000+ card Relentless Rats deck is not likely to draw Arc-Slogger, but if it does and the game drags on, it’s got enough library to last through the fossil fuel era.
Alessandro Bcpc’s Relentless Slogger
125-Card Seismic Swans
Now for something just as crazy, but maybe slightly more competitive, we have a 125-card Seismic Swans deck.
Conventionally, Seismic Swans decks have struggled to get the right ratio and the right amount of fuel to finish. Adding extra cards is a not-so-obvious solution.
Rowan Clare’s 125-card Countryside Swans
Something about shuffling multiple decks into one is hilarious, and the best part is that sometimes it works and you produce something even better!
This may or may not be the case here, but Amulet, Tron, and Scapeshift share a lot in common and combining the best parts of these ideas into one is the work of a mad genius.
Nicholas Equality Bruno
Control decks are better suited to get away with playing extra cards, because for a control deck the specific cards don’t matter nearly as much as the ratios of lands to removal to counters to draw etc.
The benefit of playing extra cards comes out not only through Arc-Slogger fuel but greatly enhanced selection from superstar Mystical Teachings.
If you’ve ever struggled to cut awesome silver bullets from your deck, how about just not cutting them? Play extra!
Pascal Vieren’s 107-Card Grixis Control
90-Card Restore Balance
I’ve been pushing big deck Living End–anywhere from 61 to 90 cards with the idea of keeping all the core ratios the same except to lower the ratio of Living Ends to other cards. This is the reverse opportunity cost theory.
This theory can be applied similarly to Restore Balance–a deck very much like Living End.
Mo Holmes’ 90-card Restore Balance
Mono-Red Budget Seismic Slogger
This deck looks and feels incomplete to me but the basic premise is very exciting–enough for me to want to augment the strategy with Countryside Crusher, Ghitu Encampment, Spinerock Knoll, and so on in a mono-red control shell.
Very exciting possibilities.
Maxime Lalande’s The 115-card Mono-Red BIG Mulligan
Big Deck Arc-Slogger Winner
Finally we have our Big Deck Arc-Slogger “winner” to receive $25 ChannelFireball store credit.
I wanted to pick the most impactful idea–the idea most likely to change people’s minds about the correct number of cards to play in a deck.
This deck is not the best “Arc-Slogger Brew,” but I think it does the best job of demonstrating a clear benefit to running extra cards in a competitive shell.
This deck is not a brand new idea either, but an existing fringe deck that seems to really benefit from playing extra cards.
What I like about this list is that it’s certainly competitive, and certainly has something to gain by playing additional cards. I think understanding this list could open a lot of minds.
Jay Yoon’s 69-Card Naya Aggro Scapeshift
This is a Naya Zoo deck with some land-synergy creatures–Steppe Lynx, Plated Geopede, Vinelasher Kudzu and Knight of the Reliquary. The game plan is to have an aggressive start into Scapeshift for Sejiri Steppe + 3-4 Teetering Peaks, which should be the knockout punch. When combined with Steppe Lynx, Plated Geopede, Prophetic Flamespeaker, or Mirran Crusader, this can easily be 14+ damage through blockers.
Scapeshift for 6 Mountains + Valakut is a backup win condition in case we flood out. Arc-Slogger isn’t here to durdle with Mirror of Fate. Instead, it functions as a large attacker that can dome the opponent for the last couple points after they thought they stabilized.
Why we have more than 60 cards in the maindeck:
A normal landfall Zoo deck would have space for about 24 lands in the main deck. Unfortunately, 24 slots isn’t quite enough room to have Mountains for Valakut, fetchlands to consistently trigger landfall, basic lands, and utility lands like Teetering Peaks. Having a larger main deck makes room to have all the lands we need while maintaining the land-spell ratio. The larger main deck also minimizes the chance of drawing cards like Teetering Peaks, Valakut, or Sejiri Steppe.
Once again thanks to all the participants in this challenge. This has been my favorite Brew Off yet by far! So many absurd, head-scratching, idea-changing brews submitted. Too many decks to love and I couldn’t highlight them all here.
I want to hear from you on which of these decks you most like, and if your mind has been opened at all to building around reverse opportunity cost.
Finally, in an effort to keep up the excitement and energy of this series I’d love to hear what other kind of deck building challenges you’d like to see happen. Let me know in the comments!