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E-League Deck Clinic

Bouncy Snaky
By Armyhead July 23 2001

Quinton wrote:
"With the recent release of APOC, I've been trying to build a tournament sound G/U/B deck. I've got the core of stuff down pretty good, and the concept is simple (counter/ control, and drop a monster on them). So if you could help me out that would be fantastic... I'm having a problem finishing the deck (I haven't messed with [the] land mix yet till I finish the deck itself). I have some possibilities that I've selected: Recoil, Gaea's Skyfolk, Ebony Treefolk, Consume Strength, Fungal Shambler, Persecute, Fact or Fiction. Also, if you could maybe suggest some good sideboard cards that would be greatly beneficial. I've been out of magic for 5 years and came back in with Invasion so I have no idea what good sideboard cards there are anymore. Well thanks for your time, and thanks for helping"

Quinton's UGB deck Version 1.0
4x Spiritmonger
4x Blastoderm
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Urborg Elf
4x Counter Spell
4x Undermine
4x Pernicious Deed
2x Mystic Snake
2x Evasive Action

Yes this is just the sort of half baked list I dont want to see in the mail. However, I felt this was more or less a complete enough idea that I am comfortable tweaking it and adding the lands myself. Dont think this is acceptable. Future lists like this will likely end up deleted. Ok Blue Green Black is an intriguing color combination. If you look at Ace__'s clinic on the UBG IBC deck you will see it looks similar to Quinton's. Thankfully in type two we have more options and strategies to consider. Discard is a principle of disruption that often works well with black splashes especially black blue. Right now you should be concerned about allowing your opponent to drop an early Dodecapod because you made him drop cards. So as much as we like them cards like Ravenous Rats and Recoil are too dangerous. We need our removal for other things. Another popular strategy is bounce. Unlike discard effects bounce wont hurt you with the pod but it doesnt necessarily solve long term problems. Bouncing The Snake however can be great fun. Lets look at a list.
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Waterfront Bouncer
4 Fact or Fiction
4 Mystic Snake
4 Undermine
4 Foil
4 Pernicious Deed
4 Acculmulated Knowledge
2 Yawgmoth's Agenda
2 Mahamoti Djinn
4 Yavimaya Coast
4 Underground River
10 Island
5 Forest
1 Swamp

3 Tsabo's Decree
4 Persecute
4 Dodecapod
4 Misdirection

As always the sideboard is not metagamed for a local area. It is meant as more of an idea of what might go into it. The concept with this deck is dominance through superior counters and board control. The key isnt necessarily to have a counter for every instance but to appear as if you do. The recursiveness of being able to play a snake and bounce it is enough to intimidate most players. Expect directed attempts to remove your bouncers. I split the last slot between two important powercards because both are late game cards and you really dont want them early and two of each should suffice to give you one when you need it.

Card by Card Analysis:
Birds of Paradise -- I see even after five years away from the game you still know the best mana producers in the game. Be a little careful not to play out your supply since it is very likely you will deed early and often.
Waterfront Bouncer -- not only does this bounce their threats. Allowing you another shot at countering them, it bounces your Snakes too. Pretty nifty eh? Well you can also provide small beats ala elves if nothing else is going on.
Fact or Fiction -- Card Advantage. Without this the ability to counter is a lot less of a threat. I like this better than most card drawing these days.
Mystic Snake -- Counterspell that doesnt go to the graveyard? Hmmm give me four please! (I really want 4.) Being able to bounce this at EOYT is very very nice.
Undermine -- Better than a straight counterspell in that it whittles away at your opponent for you.
Foil -- Nothing is sweeter than winning the counterwar because your opponent didnt see the Foil coming.
Pernicious Deed -- Well its kinda nice to make all those rebels etc go away while you smack down with your Moti. Also great against enchantments and artifacts. :)
Accumulated Knowledge -- I was debating about using Brainstorm, Opt (which I hate) or Worldly Council. AKs seemed a better choice than any of the others. (If you get lucky you may face a Wild Research Deck and get superior AK draws. Just Kidding.) The possibilty of drawing 3 or more cards off this is very good.
Yawgmoth's Agenda -- Playing this late game should win for you. Or at least make it easier to win. Recursing Undermines, Snakes, Bouncers, Etc seems pretty good.
Mahamoti Djinn -- As the man said play a big creature and protect it with counters. I like mine to have evasion. Mahamoti is basically the best flyer in the game right now. Of course he frowns at a pro blue Voice of All. Pernicious Deed is a wonderful card isn't it?
Lands: I chose to use the blue nonbasics since that is the color that you most want to see in the beginning of the game. Your mana is a bit tight because I couldnt find a way to fit in Harrow(my favorite mana fixer). This is another reason to play your Birds sparingly. The count may need tweeking as only play testing will tell for sure what numbers are good.

The Sideboard -- As I said above this is tenetive subject to changes based on your local metagame. CounterRebels just placed 3 Top8s at Canadian Nats so its a good bet to be around till Masques is Rotated out in November.
Tsabo's Decree -- This is the number one answer you have to rebels. It wrecks hand and board in one stroke but you have to play it patiently and be wary of opposing Misdirections.
Persecute --This is mainly good against mono red builds and mostly-blue decks. The likelyhood of seeing other mono-colored decks is slim to none.
Dodecapod -- Well this really doesnt want to be in here but the very threat of it keeps those Gerrard's Verdicts in the box hopefully. I am not convinced it should stay. Other possibilties include alt cost counters like Daze or Thwart. Or maybe Disrupts.
Misdirection -- What is a blue deck without these in the sideboard? Naked. Blue needs this card against the mirror.

Conclusions: Well I hope this helped a bit. Another possible strategy include using lots of walls like Jungle Barrier, Glacial Wall and Wall of Air to stop the early rush and then a big beast like Mahamoti backed with counters later. This strategy doesnt really require black mana and the deck is probably better off with two colors if you choose to go this route. BUG is a hard deck to play well because you truly need a good sense of the metagame and the decks you are facing to play it correctly. The mana mix is the most controversial trouble spot. Tweeking it will go along way to making the deck more playable. Good Luck and Enjoy!

Paul Emerson Leicht
armyhead on IRC
Director of the Deck Clinic