Wednesday, June 3, 2009

[Decklist] Counterpost Lives!

Previously called Jester's Control, I've been tinkering with the original decklist and I think I finally have it. But I can't take all the credit because most of the changes I made after looking back at Jon Finkel's original Counterpost decklist.

[Decklist] Counterpost Lives!

Counters (8)
4 Rune Snag
2 Mana Drain
2 Force of Will

Other (14)
3 Naturalize
3 Orim's Chant
1 Confiscate
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Wrath of God
1 Balance

Card Drawing / Tutoring (14)
4 Careful Study
4 Accumulated Knowledge
2 Trade Routes
3 Life From the Loam
1 Crop Rotation

Mana (24)
4 Mox Diamond
4 Maze of Ith
2 Dark Depths
3 Riftstone Portal
3 Flooded Strand
4 Tundra
4 Tropical Island

For comparison here's Jon Finkel's original Counterpost:

[Decklist] Counterpost

Counters (8)
4 Counterspell
2 Dissipate
2 Force of Will

Other (17)
3 Disenchant
4 Abeyance
1 Gerrard's Wisdom
1 Political Trickery
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Wrath of God

Card Drawing / Tutoring (12)
4 Impulse
4 Brainstorm
3 Browse
1 Soldevi Digger

Land (23)
4 Adarkar Wastes
9 Island
2 Kjeldoran Outpost
4 Plains
4 Thawing Glaciers

As you can see I took my original decklist, referenced Jon Finkel's Counterpost decklist, and added some key cards while adjusting the amount of each type of card to stay faithful to the Counterpost's success. Now let's go through the differences between Counterpost vs. Counterpost Lives!


4 Counterspell --> 4 Rune Snag
2 Dissipate --> 2 Mana Drain

This change mostly has to do with my shakier mana base. With only 15 sources of blue mana, the double blue quotient is too much for my deck to handle. Luckily for me Counterpost Lives! has built in graveyard abuse and Rune Snag squeezes in nicely. The change is almost unnoticeable.


3 Disenchant --> 3 Naturalize
4 Abeyance --> 3 Orim's Chant
1 Political Trickery --> 1 Confiscate
4 Wrath of God --> 3 Wrath of God and 1 Balance

Not too much is going on here, just a few upgrades. First off, the switch from Disenchant to Naturalize is here just to even out the mana base. There is an equal opportunity for white and green in the deck (even though the deck is blue heavy). Evening out white and green just makes more sense.

Next, Orim's Chant is a superior Abeyance, Balance is a superior Wrath of God, and Political Trickery becomes Confiscate.

I had to drop the life gain opportunity in Gerrard's Wisdom because I don't think it's really necessary and despite my desire to replicate Counterpost, the one crucial thing it's still missing is the cylic natures that Soldevi Digger brings to the deck. In a long drawn out game, Counterpost may have cycled through the deck 2 or 3 times, maximizing the life gain opportunities of 1 card. My deck does nothing like that.

You'll notice I'm also missing 1 Orim's Chant. Minus 2 cards from the Orim's Chant and the Gerrard's Wisdom gives me more cards to dump into land, which is crucial to Counterpost Lives!

Card Drawing / Tutoring:

4 Impulse --> 4 Careful Study
4 Brainstorm --> 4 Accumulated Knowledge
3 Browse and 1 Soldevi Digger --> 2 Trade Routes and 3 Life From the Loam

Next we're finally getting to the heart of the differences between the two decks. My deck makes regular abuse of the graveyard and land and these design choices reflect those differences. Impulse, Brainstorm, and Browse are all excellent choices, but I'm hell bent on including a full set of Mazes of Ith into the deck. Counterpost Lives! isn't just an upgraded Counterpost deck with upgraded cards. It's a Counterpost deck that's designed around graveyard and land abuse, taking full advantage of non-basic land -- probably more so than any other deck I've seen. In the late game the Trade Routes and Life from the Loam combo really shines. You'll be dropping land every turn, dredging more mazes and depths if you don't have them already, and drawing 2 cards with 1 loam, 5 cards with 2 loams, and 8 cards with 3 loams.


2 Kjeldoran Outpost --> 2 Dark Depths
4 Thawing Glaciers --> 4 Maze of Ith

There are other changes, but most of the others are obvious. Unfortunately Kjeldoran Outpost is obsolete in the Vintage format (even casual vintage) because of the "sac plains" requirement. Another popular choice I've seen in similar decks is Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree. That's fine, but how about something with a little more flare? With the deck already sporting 3 copies of Riftstone Portal, why not go all the way off the cliff and break out the Dark Depths? Either way, the principle is the same. Instead of pumping out tokens every turn in hopes of overwhelming your opponent, meticulously melt the ice and wait for your win-condition to hit the board in style.

Maze of Ith is just an all-star card. You can't go wrong. It's only drawback is that it takes up your land drop and slows your mana curve. Add in a few Riftstone Portals? Problem solved. The Thawing Glaciers would have been an interesting choice and would have still held up, but there was just no room in the mana base to squeeze in basic land. The glaciers had to go and the mazes were in.

Hope you enjoy the deck. Remember, that this deck is designed for an environment with no Power 9. Feel free to comment.

Counterpost lives!

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