Monday, March 16, 2015

Primer Series: Modern Bogles

B  W

Last time I wrote a primer for a deck, I looked at Burn in Modern. Burn is traditionally red, but in Modern there were useful applications of White and Black, but as far a a Bogles deck goes, Green and White is it. I've explored using blue, but to be consistent, it is best to stick to two colors.


In a Bogles deck, there are four attributes: Creatures, Enchantments, Non-Enchantment Spells, and Land. Just like with the my primer on Burn decks, we're going to look at each of these categories individually.


Creatures

One Mana

When playing Bogles, your primary creatures will be hexproof creatures playable on your first turn. Secondary creatures have boosts from enchantments or contribute to the deck in one way or another. So here we are at one mana creatures. There is one obvious choice which is the namesake of the deck, Slippery Bogle. In addition to that, we have Gladecover Scout which has been printed in two core sets.

Slippery Bogle  Gladecover Scout

Slippery Bogle is from a time long ago before Hexproof came around and Shroud was still an ability. As time went along, Shroud has gone away as Hexproof is the exact same ability except that Shroud prevents even you from targeting your own creature. Ignore Slippery Bogle's blue as it's completely irrelevant. Just be sure to have a green mana on turn one to play one of these guys.

Two Mana

Kor Spiritdancer  Silhana Ledgewalker  Bassara Tower Archer

There aren't many options in the way of creatures, but something important to note is that you watn less creatures and more enchantments, so you want no more than 12 creatures in all, meaning you have four creatures left to pick after dropping in a playset of Gladecover Scout and a playset of Slippery Bogle.

Kor Spiritdancer gives you a boost by playing enchantments and gets a boost when she is enchanted. This is the traditional choice.

Silhana Ledgewalker is decent if you feel you need more creatures, but really isn't that good. There is the evasion of having to be blocked by creatures with flying, but once you get to the enchantments, evasion is no longer a problem.

Bassara Tower Archer is the cheap alternative if you don't want to pay roughly $25 for a playset of Kor Spiritdancer. Sure, there's no bonus to playing enchantments (the card draw is essential to the deck. There is hardly any green or white card draw so you run out of steam pretty quickly), but it is a 2/1 already AND has reach, something that is otherwise pretty lacking in this deck without an enchantment.

Three Mana

Witchstalker

I'm honestly not really sure why I went past two mana for the creatures. We'll just come back to this when we look at the sideboard. Anything that specifically considers colors other than those you play should always be in a sideboard.

Enchantments

One Mana

Ah, now we get to the fun part. We need some enchantments. Let's look at the all-stars of the deck:

Ethereal Armor  Hyena Umbra  Spider Umbra

Without Ethereal Armor, there probably wouldn't be much of a deck. It provides first strike and gives you a bonus for each enchantment you control. By itself, you've got +1/+1 and first strike, but if you're targeting a creature on turn two, you've probably got another one mana enchantment you can play.

Hyena Umbra and Spider Umbra are crucial to the deck. They're cheap, they give +1/+1 and an ability (first strike and reach, respectively), and they have Totem Armor which allows you to remove one of them if your creature would die. This is perfect for the deck as any Wrath of God effect or lethal damage from a blocking creature doesn't actually cause you to lose the enchanted creature.

Rancor  Keen Sense

Rancor is the first step towards not caring about evasion. You're typically going to get through once you strap one of these onto your creature...

Keen Sense is extra card draw, provided you can deal damage to an opponent. It pairs nicely with Rancor.

Two Mana

Spirit Mantle  Daybreak Coronet

Spirit Mantle is important to the deck. Not only does it boost the creature it's enchanting, but it also gives a hexproof creature (protection from opponent's spells) protection from creatures making it really hard to kill (the only way to stop a creature with this is to force the sacrifice of a creature or to win first).

Daybreak Coronet is a useful card for the deck, but also expensive. It's a two mana spell only playable after turn two because your one mana creature needs to already have an enchantment. The only way this would ever change is if we get a zero costings creature like Ornithopter or Memnite that has hexproof.

Three Mana

Gift of Orzhova  Unflinching Courage

Gift of Orzhova is one of those enchantments that you only keep one or two around. It has great boosts, but double white may be an issue occasionally. Flying, lifelink, and an extra +1/+1 isn't bad though.

Unflinching Courage is the Modern version of Armadillo Cloak. +2/+2, trample, and lifelink is great for this deck. It's a powerful boost and gains you life as well as avoiding evasion because you'll be able to punch through your opponent's blockers.

Other Spells

Path to Exile

During the past year I've spent playing Bogles, Path to Exile is important. In a deck that typically will have a single creature attacking every turn and nothing to block and kill big creatures or flying creatures, Path is the best card you could have on your side.

Lands

Temple Garden  Razorverge Thicket  Windswept Heath

The core lands, especially now that the Onslaught fetchlands are legal in Modern with their reprint in Khans of Tarkir, are Temple Garden, Razorverge Thicket, and Windswept Heath.

You want as many untapped lands as you can get and during your first couple ofturns, Razorverge Thicket meets your requirement. If you don't have one of those, Windswept Heath and/or Temple Garden can be used to remedy that by providing a dual land on turn one.

Brushland  Sunpetal Grove  Wooded Bastion

These are other options for lands, but Wooded Bastion isn't too useful based on it producing colorless mana by itself, Brushland takes life every time you tap it for colored mana, and Sunpetal Grove doesn't always enter the battlefield untapped.

City of Brass  Mana Confluence

Because this deck is only a two color deck, I wouldn't recommend City of Brass or Mana Confluence for the same reason Brushland isn't my favorite choice for a land in this deck...

Dryad Arbor  Plains  Forest

Dryad Arbor is here more as a creature you can find with a fetchland which is useful in the event of being forced to sacrifice a creature and you can quickly find one with an unused Windswept Heath.

The Plains and Forest should be self-explanatory...

Sideboard

A few months ago, I detailed the sideboard for a Bogles deck in my Bogles Revisted article, so I'm bringing that section back here for the primer, just without the Birthing Pod deck since that's no longer legal in Modern... Each of these scenarios show cards for a sideboard to aid against each type of deck.

TRON

Pithing Needle  Tectonic Edge  Ghost Quarter

When facing off with TRON decks, you have to worry about mana coming to them fast. By turn 3, they can get 7 mana, so Pithing Needle should be applied liberally to Expedition Map, Chromatic Star, Chromatic Sphere, Karn Liberated, and Oblivion Stone. You also want to stop lands. Without red, that's pretty hard, but we do have Tectonic Edge and Ghost Quarter. In this case, Ghost Quarter is actually tons better because you don't have to wait for them to get to four lands (which if their deck goes off without a hitch, they have 7 mana by turn three). Modern games can actually end by turn three or four depending on the decks involved, so Ghost Quarter is the one we want.

Short version: Pithing Needle and Ghost Quarter

Bogles

Glaring Spotlight  Silence  Nature's Claim

Got yourself a mirror match? You've got two options... Race and hope you get the better draws or... slow them down. Glaring Spotlight allows you to use Path to Exile on their creatures. A well timed Silence on their second or third upkeep locks them out of getting their enchantments on the field. Nature's Claim will help get rid of your opponent's enchantments and slow them down, like Ethereal Armor.

Short version: Glaring Spotlight, Silence, Nature's Claim

Affinity

Pithing Needle  Stony Silence

Affinity has been a pain for me since I started playing Modern. They're ridiculous decks and it makes me hate the format. However, you have options! Pithing Needle locks down Cranial Plating and Arcbound Ravager which will be your biggest problems. Stony Silence is there to be more of a global Pithing Needle. It stops everything your opponent throws at you

Short version: Pithing Needle and Stony Silence

Red Deck Wins/Storm

Leyline of Sanctity  Nature's Claim

Anything that involves dealing damage directly to you, there is only one answer: Leyline of Sanctity. A lot of decks include 4, and that's more of a metagame issue, but I don't really have to worry about it, plus between the one I pulled from a $30 M11 fat pack and the foil one I bought off my friend for $10 back in 2011, I'm not spending any more to get a third or fourth. Two is fine for me... Nature's Claim, on the other hand, deals exclusively with Blood Moon in Red Deck Wins.

Short version: Leyline of Sanctity, Nature's Claim

Living End

Rest in Peace  Nevermore

I personally love watching Living End happen. Maybe not in a tournament against me, but it just seems so much fun to play or watch. Granted it's like a Jund control deck so you're really only playing by yourself, but it's powerful. Your options are Rest in Peace which knocks out Living End from even being useful, and Nevermore is once again a possibility because you can lock down Living End. It can't be cast (which if you've never seen the deck played, it's a 0 cost spell when cascading into it, and when you cascade, you cast the next smallest spell you find, and this prevents it from happening).

Short version: Rest in Peace

Faeries

Witchstalker  Path to Exile  Nevermore

Faeries are fast and powerful. They're also Blue/Black, so there are options here. Witchstalker is hexproof and grows when spells are cast during your turn (which Faeries sometimes have Flash), but the sight will keep an opponent from casting spells during your turn. Path to Exile takes care of more Faeries and with two in the main deck, more could be useful. Nevermore prevents certain spells from being cast. So I guess it will actually make it in as a possibility.

Short version: Path to Exile, Nevermore

Splinter Twin

Nature's Claim  Suppression Field

You have two options here: Destroy Splinter Twin, or slow it down by making the copy ability cost more. I think both would work well in this case.

Short version: Nature's Claim, Suppression Field


So, what about some decks? I've got two examples, but once again, they're past versions...

G/W Bogles

Creatures

x4 Slippery Bogles
x4 Gladecover Scout
x4 Silhana Ledgewalker
x3 Kor Spiritdancer

Land

x4 Temple Garden
x1 Sunpetal Grove
x1 Temple of Plenty
x2 Razorverge Thicket
x1 Stirring Wildwood
x2 Tectonic Edge
x1 Dryad Arbor
x4 Plains
x4 Forest

Enchantments

x4 Ethereal Armor
x4 Hyena Umbra
x4 Rancor
x4 Spider Umbra
x4 Spirit Mantle
x1 Gift of Orzhova
x2 Unflinching Courage

Other Spells

x2 Path to Exile

Sideboard

x2 Pithing Needle
x2 Glaring Spotlight
x2 Silence
x1 Torpor Orb
x1 Rest in Peace
x1 Stony Silence
x2 Nevermore
x2 Dismember
x2 Leyline of Sanctity

Eric's Ideal G/W Bogles

Creatures

x4 Slippery Bogles
x4 Gladecover Scout
x4 Kor Spiritdancer

Land

x4 Temple Garden
x4 Windswept Heath
x4 Razorverge Thicket
x1 Dryad Arbor
x3 Plains
x4 Forest

Enchantments

x4 Ethereal Armor
x4 Hyena Umbra
x1 Keen Sense
x4 Rancor
x4 Spider Umbra
x3 Daybreak Coronet
x4 Spirit Mantle

Other Spells

x4 Path to Exile

Sideboard

x2 Ghost Quarter
x2 Glaring Spotlight
x2 Nature's Claim
x2 Pithing Needle
x2 Rest in Peace
x2 Stony Silence
x3 Leyline of Sanctity

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