The updates to my Gauntlet of History now enter the era of tournament decks that I played in the beginning of my soon-to-be career.
Tooth and Nail
Story time. I started playing Magic when Fifth Dawn came out—I was quickly drawn to the competitive scene, and that naturally meant that I wanted to play Affinity. Unfortunately, I could not afford Arcbound Ravagers. A few months later, I could finally buy my playset—and then they banned the deck.
The result? Tooth and Nail became the first competitive deck that I built.
I basically built the list myself with the knowledge I had and from the lists I scoured. Terry Soh wrote a few articles on the deck—I refreshed my memory by reading them.
The numbers of Vine Trellis, Kodama’s Reach, and Chrome Mox can go anywhere from 0 to 4, and the Tooth and Nail targets can differ as well. I went for a wider approach. The Moxes were good if you expected a fast metagame, and Kodama’s Reach was good if you expected a slow one. Viridian Shaman might be the loosest inclusion, but I thought it would be reasonable to have against the gauntlet. Boseiju, Who Shelters All could easily take its place.
My sideboard is straightforward—potentially too much so, even. We’ll see what the results say.
The coolest version of Solar Flare I played was actually called Solar Pox, and it was quite different, with cards like Peace of Mind, Smallpox, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Akroma, Angel of Wrath, and Flagstones of Trokair. But that was during Time Spiral, Solar Flare's original run was during Kamigawa and Ravnica Standard.
I was close to omitting this deck from the gauntlet because of how boring it is. This deck has removal, Signets, card draw, and fatties—it's exactly what all EDH decks do, and is the main reason why I can't stand to play that format. Obviously, those are my standards and I’m not going to play alone, so I’ll let other people enjoy that experience if they want it.
Luis-Scott Vargas and Paul Cheon played this deck at U.S. Nationals in 2006, but their list didn't inspire me. I went for the more streamlined version that Phil Samms piloted to Top 8 at the Canadian Nationals a little later. I changed just a few slots, mainly in the sideboard, to make it better against the diversified field of my gauntlet.
The ancestor of Aristocrats. There were two versions of black-white back then. The other was called Ghost Dad, and was more Spirits-based using Tallowisp and Thief of Hope alongside Shining Shoal and Sickening Shoal. From what I remember and looking at results, Ghost Husk was far more widely played than Ghost Dad, so I went with Husk.
Alex Kudlick ran this list to a Top 8 finish at U.S. Nationals in 2006—the same one in which LSV ran Solar Flare. Despite the latter not being a personal favorite, Ghost Husk, and the next deck, were—as a result, I have 3 decks from the Kamigawa-Ravnica era.
I made to minor changes to this 75. I cut the 2nd Shizo, Death’s Storehouse for a Swamp, because I'm not crazy. Then I took out the Manriki-Gusari because it was clearly there just for Umezawa’s Jitte mirrors.
To round out the Kamigawa format, I chose Heartbeat. It didn't see much play, mostly because it became a known quantity only for a few Nationals tournaments. One of them was won by Guillaume Cardin in Canada, using a list similar to the one below. The list I chose was that of Guillaume Matignon, who finished in the Top 8 in France.
I’m not surprised that this was discovered by only a few people since it is quite an intricate concept. Using Weird Harvest to get transmute creatures is not the most intuitive thing, especially when you need so much mana to do it, but hey, it works, and this deck is impressively consistent as a result.
I used Guillaume’s exact sideboard, and that’s probably a mistake, because I think Research // Development was only there to beat Cranial Extraction. I’ll probably try to combine this sideboard with the one Cardin used.
Until next week, where I’ll be covering 3 of the remaining 6 decks in the Gauntlet of History!