Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fluctuator Cycling

The following is one of my older decks which has changed little with the previous few sets. (The latest change was swapping out Blinkmoth Nexus for Inkmoth Nexus.) Until Wizards of the Coast decides to bring back cycling another time, I think the deck list will see very few changes.



Fluctuator Cycling
(Legacy)

Creatures (7)
4 Cloud of Faeries
2 Stoic Champion
1 Rafiq of the Many

The Combo (12)
4 Fluctuator
4 Invigorating Boon
4 Life from the Loam

Cycling Cards (13)
2 Akroma's Vengeance
4 Miscalculation
2 Rescind
1 Radiant's Judgement
1 Expunge
1 Lay Waste
1 Lull
1 Rejuvenate

Land (28)
4 Mox Diamond
4 City of Brass
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Blasted Landscape
4 Drifting Meadow
4 Remote Isle
4 Slippery Karst


How does the deck work?

With a Fluctator on the battlefield and at least 3 cycling lands in the graveyard, Life from the Loam becomes a 2cc Ancestral Recall with dredge. Add in an enchantment that gives a +1/+1 counter every time a card is cycled and all you need is a creature to dump the counter on to lead you to victory.

The Cloud of Faeries are a nice bonus and Rafiq can speed up the process, but the primary target for the +1/+1 counters are the Inkmoth Nexuses (Nexi?). You'll have to activate their abilities to place the counters on them, but remember, the blinkmoths retain their counters even after they revert back to lands. They're safe from your opponents sorceries, they survive your own Akroma's Vengeance, and if they die they can be fetched again with a Life from the Loam. Also, a 1st turn Stoic Champion and 2nd turn Fluctuator has the power to end the game immediately.


How does this deck differ from similar decks out there?

There have been tournament level Fluctuator decks in the past,both in the Urza's Block and the Onslaught Block. The Urza's Block version abused High Tide and free spells to cast a huge Stroke of Genius. It was a combo deck that needed the correct pieces to "go off." You either lost because you couldn't get all the pieces together fast enough or you won instantly -- exactly the type of combo decks that I hate the most. The Onslaught Block version was a little better, but not by much. This deck abused Lightning Rift and Astral Slide to get insane card advantage by locking up the board and dealing direct damage to the face. With this deck, there was little interaction between between your creatures and your opponent's creatures. In fact, you could say that your opponent would either be able to deal with the enchantments or they wouldn't. It was okay, but death by direct damage never interested me much. Instead, for this deck I replaced Lightning Rift and Astral Slide with Invigorating Boon to help deal the killing blow.

With Invigorating Boon, the deck is instantly more interesting because of the need of creatures. It's just always a lot more fun to beat face with attacking creatures instead of dealing direct damage. On top of that, it's even more fun to kill people with poison counters.


What is your favorite thing about the deck?

I've always been a fan of decks that let you "play with your deck as your hand." There are a number of different cards that let you do this in one way or another. And with the sheer amount of free card drawing this deck has, your library might as well be your hand. It's the reason why there are there are 1 copy each of lesser cycling cards such as Rescind, Radiant's Judgement, Expunge, Lay Waste, and Rejuvenate. 9 times out of 10, you're just going to cycle these cards immediately. But there may be those few times when one of these cards is exactly what you're looking for to win the game. What's not to like?

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