Trying to brew with Magic: Origins? I’m going to give some simple steps to brewing decks when a new set comes out, and show you how I used those techniques to help brew my Temur Goblins Deck
My absolute favorite thing about Magic is deckbuilding.
I love looking for new archetypes enabled by the cards, improvements to current archetypes, and format defining cards. The last category are the most exciting. Sometimes they’re obvious.
And sometimes, they’re more controversial.
But it’s these cards that really get people’s brains exercising, because they can strengthen old archetypes, create new ones, and sometimes even push pre-existing decks out of the format. Figuring out which one of these they’re going to do is impossible until you get in a lot of testing. So where should we start?
How to Brew It Yourself
Steal someone else’s hard work.
Seriously, its a great place to start. I never understood so many players aversion to utilizing deck lists. Here these pros get paid to test and test and test some more, and they hopefully produce optimized deck lists as the result of their hard work.
Chances are, if you aren’t a professional magic player, you don’t have enough free time to really test as much as you need to produce a breadth of results that you can analyze.
So when Goblin Piledriver got spoiled, being that he was an obvious inclusion into aggressive, Goblin-based red deck, it made my work a whole lot easier that I had just watched Bobby Birmingham top 8 SCG Baltimore.
Mono Red Goblins
by Bobby Birmingham
4x Foundry Street Denizen
4x Monastery Swiftspear
4x Frenzied Goblin
4x Goblin Rabblemaster
4x Dragon Fodder
4x Titan’s Strength
4x Lightning Strike
4x Obelisk of Urd
4x Eidolon of the Great Revel
4x Searing Blood
1x Hall of Triumph
2x Scouring Sands
But how do we go from this tuned deck to a brand new brew?
Step 1: What Are You Trying to Brew Around?
So I lied… I said the idea for this particular brew started with Goblin Piledriver and Bobby Birmingham’s Goblins deck.
That’s simply not true.
It all started with Day’s Undoing.
I think we’re all trying to learn our lesson from Treasure Cruise. For me, well, I thought, “if they print a card that is Power 9 with downside, I won’t underestimate it this time.”
So when Day’s Undoing showed up, I was like, “Okay, this might be broken. But that’s a pretty severe downside, so who knows? It could suck.”
But then, that night I had a dream. A long golden boat strewn with riches, but covered in giant flies floated down a narrow river, and a little red kid with goggles stood on the bow with his hands on his hips. The behemoth vessel groaned as it came to a halt in front of me.
The boy looked down at me, or at least I think he did. I couldn’t see his eyes through the goggles but I felt it. His gaze. He just looked at me like that for a while, until he shrugged his shoulders and said:
I woke up in a cold sweat, with a headache and a compulsion to brew Day’s Undoing decks.
So it wasn’t quite like that, but I knew I wanted to bring in Day’s Undoing, and then I thought back to Goblins and some rusted gear in my brain started turning.
Step 2: Renovate a List
One of the best reasons to use a pre-exisinting netdeck as the shell for your brew is that you get to utilize it’s tuned mana curve.
I thought Birmingham’s list was quite beautiful in a nice straightforward way. I think it was Cedric who called it “good, honest deckbuilding” on coverage.
But there we’re a couple things that I didn’t like about it, because what I was trying to do was far from honest deckbuilding.
Here was a deck that went in aggressively, and attacked from a wide angle, but it wasn’t taking advantage of Atarka’s Command!
Perhaps, for Bobby’s list, Obelisk of Urd just did more work… but to me, it seemed very clunky, and it didn’t even help with problem cards like Anger of the Gods. Now that Languish is legal, the last thing I’d want to do would be to would be to waste a turn pumping my creatures, only to have them wiped away.
So I knew that I probably wanted to drop Obelisk of Urd, but there we’re other cards that I didn’t like either.
Frenzied Goblin and Titan’s Strength in particular, they just seemed to be very low power cards for what was otherwise a pretty high power deck. I think there are arguments for continuing to include both of them, but I’m brewing! I want to test new cards, and see what they bring to the table. Anyway, I was feeling greedy. Really greedy.
Step 3: Bring Those New Cards In!
So first the simple stuff, I knew I wanted to test out Goblin Glory Chaser, Goblin Piledriver, and Atarka’s Command.
And that perverse thought kept hovering in the back of my mind, “maybe this is the shell for Day’s Undoing,” it suggested. “Stop talking to me!” I yelled back. Then I apologized to a few confused lookers on who seemed to think I had lost my mind.
But they were right, I had.
I looked up some Atarka Red lists for manabase inspiration.
Then I took the 16 slots that I had opened up in the last step, and I jammed in 20 new cards. In my wild fervor, I also took out Monastery Swiftspear, for the simple reason that my girl Swifty just wasn’t a goblin. This was wrong, but I didn’t figure it out until later.
I would post my list, but like many brews, in the beginning it was just a pile. It wasn’t until the next step that it started to look like something playable.
Step 4: Accommodations
This is the most interesting part of the deckbuilding process. This is where you take a step back and look at your list and thing “okay, so all these new cards are cool and all, but what accommodations do I have to make to the original list in order to bring out the most from the new cards?”
I had already attempted to do a little bit of this. By replacing Monastery Swifstspear with Goblin Glory Chaser, I was hoping to get the most out of Goblin Piledriver by maxing out on goblins.
But here’s where I’m gonna beat a dead horse a little bit. I hadn’t done enough to maximize the power of Day’s Undoing. I mean, here I was, splashing two colors into a twenty land deck, but I hadn’t even scratched the surface of what this incredible card could do. Day’s Undoing in particular is such a “build around me” card, that the accommodations required to maximize it are quite a few.
I’m going to beat a dead horse a little bit and talk about how to maximize Day’s Undoing.
The effect that Day’s Undoing brings works best in a deck that can drop it’s hand onto the field before it’s opponent, so we want cheap spells. The more cheap spells the better. In contrast, Day’s Undoing is at its best against clunky midrange decks that can usually only play one spell a turn.
However, there’s no denying the symmetry of the effect. They refill their hand, I refill mine, but they get to use their new cards first. So the whole point of a good Day’s Undoing deck is the ability to kill your opponent the second you untap with your brand new grip.
In order to maximize Day’s Undoing, the first thing I did was to change my Lightning Strikes into Wild Slashes. However, just because it makes more sense in the synergy of the deck, doesn’t mean its necessarily right. For example, if all the sudden the format becomes dominated by Fleecemane Lions and Mantis Riders, than certainly Lightning Strike is the burn spell to play in this slot.
Just to drive this point home, consider Abzan Midrange. Everyone knows that Languish seems like an incredible fit in this archetype, mainly because Siege Rhino survives. If we were following Step 3 too strictly, this would lead us to consider cutting Courser of Kruphix, because, well she dies to Languish.
You’d be right to consider this. But I’m not so sure it’s correct. In fact, I think its pretty likely that its not, and that Courser is still very much worth its slot. So being overly accommodating isn’t always right.
Step 5: Test
Test, test, and test some more.
In the early format, you’re not going to have any tournaments to look at to guide you as towards what’s doing well and what’s not, so the only way to find out is to test it yourself.
My testing of Temur Goblins yielded a whole lot of improvements. Firstly, I found that in my experience, yes, Day’s Undoing is completely worth it, and yes, for some strange reason the mana base seems to work, as dangerous as it is.
It also yielded more subtle things like: Eidolon of the Great Revel wasn’t that good in the sideboard because this deck does too much damage to itself.
Or: Goblin Glory Chaser isn’t that good. This one was important. This card was incredible every time I dropped it turn one and got in for damage to trigger Renown, so the ceiling of power level was high, but the basement was just so… so very low. Really, playing a one mana 1/1 that does nothing else after turn one just feels terrible.
Even more surprising to me: Goblin Rabblemaster is too slow. Part of the accommodations I forgot to make in my initial brewing were curve considerations. I was so caught up in being crazy about this card, I forgot that I was slotting four more three mana spells into a twenty land deck! While Goblin Rabblemaster is an incredible follow up to Goblin Piledriver, he’s just very clunky in this otherwise blisteringly fast deck.
Another thing I didn’t realize until I put in the reps, Piledriver does TONS of damage, but by golly is it hard to get that damage through. This, and Glory Chaser’s lack of performance, caused me to reconsider Frenzied Goblin. His low cost and his ability to push damage through become very relevant with Piledriver and Day’s Undoing. If we can get Piledriver damage through even once, the deck will take care of the rest.
So without further ado:
by Billy Pedlow
4x Monastery Swiftspear
4x Frenzied Goblin
4x Foundry Street Denizen
4x Goblin Piledriver
4x Wild Slash
4x Dragon Fodder
4x Atarka’s Command
4x Hordeling Outburst
4x Day’s Undoing
4x Stoke the Flames
4x Shivan Reef
4x Mana Confluence
4x Wooded Foothills
3x Molten Vortex
4x Searing Blood
4x Scouring Sands
1x Frontier Bivouac
It’s quite possible that this deck is just too greedy… But even if this is true, that just goes to show that if you follow these steps, you can end up with a deck that wins games even if your ideas are absolutely insane. Because this deck wins games… tons of them.
This is simply the most explosive standard deck I’ve ever played. The only thing that has ever even come close was Yuuya Watanabe’s Jeskai Tokens.
With Goblin Piledriver and Atarka’s Command, we have the ability to push through MASSIVE amounts of damage. This helps us close out the game with burn nice and early, and if the burn in your hand isn’t enough? Well, just draw a new hand!
This is the most conservative and linear version of the sideboard that I’ve used, it’s gone through considerable permutations. I like this particular sideboard because it focuses heavily on what I feel are the only matchups where we struggle… other decks that like Day’s Undoing! I’m talking Elves and other red decks. Four Scouring Sands, four Searing Blood may be going overboard, but I’m interested in shoring up the matchups where this deck struggles out of the board, because I feel it’s got so much power against the rest of the field.
One of the toughest considerations I’m still mulling over is whether or not its worth it to include a Frontier Bivouac in the mainboard. Yes, a tapped land sounds absolutely terrible in a deck this fast, but the mana base is absolutely insane, and it might be worth it to just make sure we can cast our powerhouse cards (Day’s Undoing and Atarka’s Command).
So there you have it, a little insight into the process that I go through when brewing decks. If you’re a struggling brewer, hopefully utilizing these steps can help make your half-baked deck ideas into concrete lists.
That way you can get to the important part, playing the new cards!