I was a magic player back in the days. I would call them the good old days. You know where creativity and individuality was rampant. Before the internet ruined the game of magic. See when I first started playing in PTQs, there was no internet or at least it wasn't a common place as it is today. Back then no one was really reproducing John Smith (random name) PTQ New Orleans winner. I mean the idea of using ideas have been around for a long time. The idea of you being a winner with someone elses deck was not.
Now a days, when you go to a tournament and you sit down you know what they are gonna be playing after the first two turns. Mountain and a forrest, cool I have never seen a Wolf Run deck before. Oh mage blade, neat... you make that yourself? It seems that the internet destroyed the creativity and imagination that once ran rampant when magic first hit the scene.
When I left, it was Astral Slide that was destroying the standard format. Turns out everyone wanted to be a winner. While that is understandable, the idea that you would have the same draw, the same understanding and foresight, the technical rules down as much as the winner... well that eludes me. What you have is someone's creativity and understanding watered down because it makes you think you are competitive. When really the only thing you are, is a sheep. A mindless drone who wants to be someone better, but lacks the effort to do your own thought process.
With that, I challenge you to be something better. Create your own rogue deck that you will be proud of, even if losing. Dare to break the norm of this stagnant game by being different. As of right now, lets just say there are 1,000 cards legal in standard format. Using permutation (if the order matters) or combination (order doesn't matter), figure out how many different things can happen here. Way more then the 3-5 decks that are running around now.
For me, I rejoined the community when I saw a friend on facebook talking about magic. I have a job where there is a bit of downtime. I usually ended up playing Everquest while at work, to pass the time. In my last semester of college I found myself getting my ass handed to me, from lack of study. So I ended up surrendering my accounts and focusing on school. As the semester ended, Avacyn Restored was released. The day it came out I bought a box, and went to work. I had a lot of catching up to do. Within a day of searching the internet I figured out what I was going to do. And this is how I am going to do it.
Mind Shrieker: Most people consider him a mild threat, while there are a few who completely ignore him. I can tell you that I would counter him, burn him, bounce him, exile him, what ever I had to do. Like yesterday.
Miracle: This mechanic is not really something to shrug at. It has limited functions in a normal deck. If you can utilize it for more then its face value, you will understand the beauty of it here.
That's the main idea of the deck. I will go further in detail in the reasoning I have for each card in a moment. Understand this. Mindshrieker becomes a fire-breathing monster for 2 colorless mana, understanding that you have to mill the top card of any library for +x/x , where x is the converted casting cost of the card milled down. Miracle cards can be top decked for extremely cheap cost; however, the converted casting cost to hard cast it (out of your hand, paying full cost) is unreasonable at best. Load your deck with this nature, cast them miracle when needed and activate shrieker when able. Chances are you will run into one of these rediculously large costing cards and instead of 1, now they are dealing with a 6+ flyer as soon as turn three.
Here is what I ended up going with, which has been tweeked some with limited play time.
4x Devastation Tide
4x Mana Leak
4x Thunderous Wrath
2x Reforge the Soul
2x Act of Aggression
1x Bonfire of the Damned
3x Noxious Revival
4x Sulfur Falls
2x Desolate Lighthouse
Ok, so the reason behind the cards I chose.
Mindshrieker: I saw him and instantly thought mill deck with reforge the soul. There are other cards in this format that would support it. When I play tested it, I didn't really like the feel. Obviously, he is the winner here.
Ponder: This card is monsterous. It's downfall is that it is a sorcery. It has so much early game potential. Stacking your mill and knowing what you are going to grind off your deck really helps. I feel this card really is a no brainer. I prefer it late game myself, but I have used it to manipulate my early game mana.
Devastation Tide: This card has a large hard cast. It also has a miracle cast of 1U, and resets the whole board. Since the only permanent I have is Mindshrieker, then I have no quarrels with doing this every draw phase or any draw phase if needed.
Vanishment: This card also has a large hard cast. Is an instant so has some limited utility, but its miracle cost/effect is ridiculous. More so, in this deck. Bounce target permanent to owners library? really, then mill it off with a mindshrieker or stall them out. It is really a solid card here. Every draw phase please.
Dissipate: Solid counter, remove from game (exile). It needs no explanation... let someone cast lingering souls on me.
Mana Leak: This card is crazy good in early game. It loses its shine later on in the game. I have seen it force players to tap out. Which is always good. I will usually sideboard these out to something like a Flashfreeze.
Thunderous Wrath: Absolutely broken here. Win/win for me. Its large instant hard cast is rough at time, but it does the trick. Where it works magic is at it's miracle draw. R and 5 dam to target? You know I will any time I draw it.
Reforge the Soul: I really use this late game the most. When you have at the cards in your hand. The best really is when you lighthouse a devastation tide on the end of thier turn, then reforge the next draw. It's disgusting to watch them struggle to retain thier important cards, only to watch them get heart broken when they have to release them anyway. Its large cost is perfect for the Shrieker.
Act of Aggression: This card is just red control. It offers Phyrexian 2 with three colorless to cast. Thats five total, and milling it is not a problem. The problem is when you hijack their pesky blockers, or their plainswalkers turned creatures and then fling it at them. Know that this does happen, and it's nothing short of humerous to see thier expression when it does.
Bonfire of the Damned: I have honestly never used it. I have one rotating in the deck, I usually lighthouse fodder it. There will be that one time and then I will tell you how it works. I think its an amazing card, but well... Its actual real playable value has yet to be seen.
Fling: In combination with Act of Aggression, it is creature removal. In combination with Shrieker it's player removal. For two mana, you can basically double your creatures damage to a valid target. So lets its turn 5, I cast ponder, stack the deck for Shrieker, attack and activate it from a thunderous wrath (+6/6), then fling it at you. That's a total of 14, lets hope you have not taken any wraths, or slagstorms before this point.
Slagstorm: Untargetable weenies? Not long... if anything just creature control for the time being. We will see how that works out. More then likely, I will track down more Bonfires and replace them.
Noxious Revival: You know this card is a must. I will go ahead and pay two life (who cares if you have no green mana) and stack my library with either a mill card or a thunderous wrath, to draw, maybe even a tides if I need it. The point is, this deck loves this card. Honestly, I love this card and it works magic with its utility here. It makes any card in the graveyard a miracle draw, or a beastly mill card. I may figure out a way to add more. I am not sure yet, still early in the play testing.
Desolate Lighthouse: This card is monsterous in this deck. The ability to miracle on their turn is so gross, it should be illegal. Just think, a cheap sorcery on their turn. Holy crap. This card is a must.
Pretty much that is why they are here. Silly things happen and I have found my way out of tight situations with weird ways. It takes some thought, some understanding and some faith in miracles for this deck to work. Its really only downfall from my playtests are early beat downs. I understand that with some decks they take some damage. This deck is one of those decks. Sometimes you really just have to take your licks, sit down and relax and try to keep cool. The more I play it, the more I understand or figure out ways to sneak by with silly plays that people are just baffled by. Personally, that's how I like it. It is memorable. Remember that time so and so won the pro tour? Nope, but I do remember the last time I had a mindshrieker on steroids flung at me!