A bone to pick

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Both literally (since this is a graveyard themed thing) and metaphorically (since I'm having an argument).

So recently I've been in a contest and the judge said this card is not top tier:


Spike, Game Winner
Planeswalker - Spike

Whenever a creature dies, put one loyalty counter on Spike, Game Winner.

0: Target creature you control fights another target creature.
0: Creatures you control have deathtouch until end of turn.
-X: Target player loses X life and you gain X life.

Starting loyalty: 2


So what I'm going to do is try my darndest to concoct a top tier Standard decklist that wants a playset of that guy. My self-imposed restrictions:
1. Neither black nor green should be splashes in the deck.
2. There should be nothing in standard to neatly replace Spike while at the same time making the deck better through that.
3. Obviously, Spike will be the only homebrewn card in the deck.

I'm open to suggestions, but here's what I thought about so far.

Show

Planeswalkers (4)
4 x Spike, Game Winner

Creatures (24)
4 x Geralf's Messenger
4 x Strangleroot Geist
4 x Blood Artist
4 x Gravecrawler
4 x Young Wolf
4 x Thragtusk

Enchantments (4)
4 x Rancor

Instants/Sorceries (4)
4 x Tragic Slip

Lands (24)
4 x Overgrown Tomb
4 x Woodland Cemetery
4 x Golgari Guildgate
6 x Swamp
6 x Forest


Sideboard

3 x Duress
4 x Sever the Bloodline
3 x Abrupt Decay
2 x Dawntreader elk
3 x Predator Ooze

You should go back and read his edit.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Your deck is relying too much on spike to abuse those creatures. What should be happening is playing more heavy hitters with the fight ability of him. Needs more thragtusk too.
Your deck is relying too much on spike to abuse those creatures. What should be happening is playing more heavy hitters with the fight ability of him. Needs more thragtusk too.



The creatures are good by themselves, though.

And I have Thragtusks in the sideboard. Only problem about moving them maindeck is that I should increase the mana base from 22 to likely 24. Although I can do that rather easily by cutting Caravans, Geralfs would then become harder to cast.
Not good enough. Even with your low curve 22 lands seems stupid with such high colored cards like messanger.
Not good enough. Even with your low curve 22 lands seems stupid with such high colored cards like messanger.



12 are duals and I have fetches (two of them). I could also add in farseek.
You asked for help, I'm trying. If you're trying to do some crazy tier 1 thing, you're going to need much harder hitting creatures. You do know what decks are top tier in standard now yes? Also gatecrash is legal now if you want to look at that.
You asked for help, I'm trying. If you're trying to do some crazy tier 1 thing, you're going to need much harder hitting creatures. You do know what decks are top tier in standard now yes? Also gatecrash is legal now if you want to look at that.



I saw nothing in Gatecrash that would help a BG deck, honestly. Most good cards are nayan.

Ok, I'll try to tinker the deck in such a way as to allow me to maindeck thragtusk. But can you suggest what should I do in that case to still keep messenger in? 
I feel like, you need a really efficient sac engine. In the current standard environment I don't know what that engine would be...

Edit: Killing Wave is nice... lose creatures to boost his loyalty so you lose life or lose life to save the creatures. Also Altar Reap, Bone Splinters, and everything that universal sacs... 
I feel like, you need a really efficient sac engine. In the current standard environment I don't know what that engine would be...



It's primarily beatdown, not sac (hence Rancor). The idea is I get value from my creatures dying, but them being let to live is actually better, since I can alpha all the sooner.
I appreciate a planes walker that must be appeased to gain loyalty

president obombya speaks anger prejudice and a time for US foreign air strike while the US worries about its rights

Let 'em burn [Frozen Parody]
Sorry. Missed the decklist first time. 
Ummm... Undercity Informer is a solid enough body, with a rancor it can't be scoffed at. Gives you some effecient sac to enable Spike, Bloodflow, and your undying. Oh no removal! I'll just sac the creature and mill you. Also, I might suggest Slitherhead or Dreg Mangler. Slither is just a cheap drop, but Mangler can be a beast.
Undercity informer is kinda expensive. I would've thought of him only if his sac was free, tbqh.

Scavenge is bad on undying creatures, man. Anti-synergy. 
Its only bad if they haven't died yet. Once they return extra counters makes no difference. Also Blood Artist, gravecrawler, thragtusk, and other scavenge creatures don't mind the counters. First turn Slitherskull is not bad, it gives you an early body, which while not as strong gravecrawler, it can block and enables said gravecrawler's recursion. Honestly without more zombies, gravecrawler feels out of place anyways. Either way Geralf's Messanger is very strong, but pretty color intensive. He's at best a third drop, which means you probably didn't drop Strangleroot second turn. Geist and Messanger are both decent drops, but probably to intesive for your curve. Also you probablt don't want four Spikes, since they can be a dead card. Honestly for your black undying Butcher Ghoul seems like a better fit. It less intensive, cheaper, and doesn't tap down.
Spike is a pretty neat planeswalker, if slightly OP. The deck you have listed feels like its going two ways at once. Agrro beatdown and with sac. Cards like Artist and Spike want creatures to die quickly and often in order to directly punish your opponent, Thragtusk, Rancor, and Geist want to aggressively press the attack.
It's good to have options.

My first try at the deck had butcher ghouls, but I had to remove them to make space for thragtusk.

Geist turn 2 and messenger turn 3 is a realistic scenario with 12 duals.

Slitherhead turn 1 might be a reasonable play, but young wolf is better.

Spike is never a dead drop. This deck makes it so that my board can't really be wiped of creatures.
4 of your duals drop tapped, and 4 of them have the chance to drop tapped... Its a possible scenario, but probably not super common. If you have two spikes in hand, one of them is essentially a dead card. True you can drop one and use all his counters on his final, then drop another, but it only drains, 3 maybe 4 life. At his cost, thats not super useful.... I was just saying, cutting it down to 3 frees a slot and lessens the chances you'll be stuck with too many. Having four ofs of all those creatures is probably unnecasary.