Ertai’s Meddling: Myr of Mirrodin (Scars of Mirrodin)
Welcome back once more to the second installment of Ertai’s Meddling for the Scars of Mirrodin! In today’s column we’ll be taking apart the mono-White Myr tribal deck, and reconstructing it in an improved form. Like the previous Meddling, there will also be a twist thrown in to boot, based on the feedback from the Phyrexian Poison article. We’ll get to that later, but for now let’s review the rules of Ertai’s Meddling.
There are two fundamental rules this series has adopted, and they are as follows:
The goal of Ertai’s Meddling isn’t to make the best possible deck regardless your collection or wallet. Rather, by leaving out Rares and Mythic Rares, we look to improve upon the deck with cards most players may already have, or at least have easy access to. It’s often bemoaned- and correctly so- that to compete in Standard today you need to have fairly deep pockets to be able to build most decks. For many players who don’t have Pro Tour aspirations, however, a preconstructed deck and a little bit of tuning will yield up a deck that’s perfectly competitive for casual, table-top play. That’s our goal- take what’s been give to us in the deck, strip out its weaknesses and then build up its strengths.
A deck like Myr of Mirrodin presents a rather unique challenge. First, being a mono-coloured deck, there’s less room to operate than we’re normally accustomed to. Second, the myr are a new tribe as far as Magic 2011 is concerned. Any myr support will be found in Scars of Mirrodin alone, though there are still plenty of other things we can look at in both sets to help improve its chances of winning!
Before we begin, let’s go ahead and review what we found out about the deck when we recently reviewed and playtested it:
And to give us a proper frame of reference, here’s the decklist as it comes out of the box:
With that out of the way, let’s open up the hood, drag out the toolbox and get to work!
To improve upon the deck, we’ll want to take a look at some themes and principles that will help guide our decisions as we look to add and subtract individual cards. We’ll call these our “tenets.”
Tenet One: The Myr are the heart and soul of the deck.
Pretty obvious, right? If we decided we wanted to flush the myr package and make a White Weenie deck instead, why bother buying Myr of Mirrodin. Besides, they’re charming little fellows and don’t make a half-bad deck! That said,
Tenet Two: All Myr are equal, but some Myr are more equal than others.
With aplogies to Orwell, we do need to be a bit discriminating in what company we keep. We’re going to want to keep the solid Myr like the Battlesphere and Palladium Myr. Strong Myr like the Gold Myr, Perilous Myr, and above all the Myr Galvanizer we’ll want to boost to four-ofs. Lastly, though it pains us to give any Myr its walking papers, the Darksteel Myr just doesn’t pull its weight enough in an environment where Infect runs rampant. The poor 0/1 bloke makes a far better blocker than attacker, and the last thing we want to be doing in a swarm deck is holding back cards just to block.
Tenet Three: Removal is king.
This is always true, but all the moreso in a deck whose win condition relies on ground forces marching past defenders and bloodying your opponent repeatedly. To that end, we’re not only going to want a playset of Arrests, but let’s draft in its M11 cousin Pacifism as well. The trio of Revoke Existences we’ll leave in due to Scars being so artifact-heavy, but if your playgroup has been slow to incorporate the latest set you might want to swap them out for something more tailored to your own meta. Dispense Justice is gone, since it’s too situational to be effective for you when you need it. Ersatz removal card Seize the Initiative is similarly cut to make room for the more dependable removal already mentioned.
Tenet Four: Remove that which is not essential, and replace it with that which is.
Our final tenet, here’s where we try and firm up the deck we’re developing by tightening up a few loose ends and making room for the cards we’ve elected to add. First, in addition to the Darksteel Myr, we’re cutting pink slips for the Ghalma’s Warden (too defensive), Darksteel Sentinel (too pricey and situational), and Kemba’s Skyguard (although we like having a reasonably-costed aerial threat component, they aren’t as essential to our aims as other critters are). The Auriok Edgewright, however, not only gets to stay, but indeed gets rounded out to a four-of. At worst he’s an early bear, but this deck should have little problem triggering his Metalcraft– at which point he’s a steal.
In the end, we end up with more artifact creatures than the original deck, though they break almost even after we remove the trio of Origin Spellbombs. This may seem like a step backwards- adding another Myr and drawing a card, what’s not to like? Well, one should never get so taken with a cantrip that one overlooks a mediocre effect. It’s not that paying one for a 1/1 is bad, per se, for in this deck each Myr has a chance to shine. Rather, it’s just hard to justify the inclusion with so many other cards fighting for the slot. We’ve given the deck a very robust removal suite, and lesser options- however useful- need to be pared back. The ‘Bombs are out.
By exntesion, however, we are leaving the Inspired Charges in. We’re ordinarily not huge fans of combat tricks, as single-target tricks can get you two-for-oned by a timely removal spell on your target, but Inspired Charge affects your force across the board. In a deck with few finishers (Sunblast Angel, Myr Battlesphere, and perhaps even the Razor Hippogriff), Myr of Mirrodin needs a few instant-speed threats. Between the flood of early critters and the abundant removal, you should have little problem obtaining numerical superiority on the ground in most games against all but the most swarmy opponents. Inspired Charge can close out games by rewarding aggression.
For those keeping score at home, here are our cut and add lists:
So at it’s heart, the Meddled version of this deck is essentially a tightened-up version of the original. More Myr and less filler, with strong Weenies and lots of removal to clear a path to victory. Any one of your finishers should be more than enough to close out an opponent. Although vulnerable to sweepers as all Weenie decks tend to be, there’s sufficient ramp in the deck to get out even your most expensive cards at a reasonable clip. Enjoy!
Now, here’s the twist we promised at the beginning of the column. It’s a bit difficult to Meddle a mono-coloured deck twice in the same fashion, because you’re working ground already tended. In previous Meddlings, we’ve taken the two-coloured decks of M11 and made mono-coloured versions of them. So for this one, we’re going to go the opposite route- adding a colour.
Unlike past pieces, though, we’re going to throw the challenge out to the community! Inspired by the tremendous volume of comments and great suggestions in the last Meddling (and to give folks ample opportunity to earn chances of winning our contest), we’ll be opening up the floor to everyone to help build the second Meddled Myr of Mirrodin deck.
First, a ground rule. When looking at a Weenie/Swarm strategy that needs to avoid stalling out in the mid-game, it would seem that Red is a most natural fit in the environment. Burn to clear out defenders, and burn for reach to finish off your opponent. Within the rules of Ertai’s Meddling (no rares or mythics, and only using M11 and Scars cards), we challenge you to construct a Boros (R/W) Myr of Mirrodin variant in the comments.
You needn’t lay out all 60 cards if you’d prefer not to. But make suggestions- what would you keep? What would you add? What should be removed? Once we’ve managed to hone in on a deck, we’ll post an “official” Meddled version as an appendix to this article.
Put on your thinking caps, sharpen your pencils and pull up Gatherer… let’s see what you’ve got!