Building Blocks: Geist Vengeance

After I 4-0′d last time with BW Tokens, I decided it was time to fold and finally finish out my playset of Garruk Relentless. The reasoning was that I only had a few weeks before I had to start buying Dark Ascension cards, and I wanted to finish out having all of the important Innistrad cards before I needed to buy more planeswalkers and mythics. In addition, I figured it would be a good time to showcase the last big deck from Innistrad-only Block Constructed: GW Tokens.

But then I decided that didn’t make much sense. Token decks aren’t going anywhere after all, and I just showed y’all a Token deck. I figured it was time for something a little different before we head on to different waters.

So I decided to rock this crazy little gem that recently took 3rd at a Premier Event.

Also, a quick shoutout to Royal, the user who came up with this decklist or – failing that – at least edited it to come up with the final product:

Decklist Video

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Innistrad Block Constructed Daily Event Round 1

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Innistrad Block Constructed Daily Event Round 2

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Innistrad Block Constructed Daily Event Round 3

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Innistrad Block Constructed Daily Event Round 4

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A little disappointing – I was hoping for another 4-0! Also, in the last round, I gave the 4/5-Color Control list very little credit, less than Werewolves, even! I’m not sure if that was warranted. Since then, a few 4-color lists have been 3-1′ing Dailies. As of the time I’m writing this, none have 4-0′d, but it’s not a completely hopeless deck like I thought it was. Is it better and more consistent than Jund or BUG? No, probably not – I already spend cards in those decks looking for my colors; I can’t imagine adding one or two more. Colors, that is, not 1 or 2 more cards. But who knows, maybe a 4-color list will start popping up after Dark Ascension, using Altar of the Lost and Evolving Wilds to fix its mana. However, that requires a very slow format to perform well in, and it’s yet to be seen how Dark Ascension will impact the speed of the format. So I wouldn’t go and start putting all your dual lands in one deck yet.

My next article will go up February 21st – the day before Dark Ascension releases on Magic Online! That means I won’t have any new Daily Event videos up for you guys, because any Daily I would record before the release date wouldn’t be provide valid data due to the low card availability during prerelease weekend. Instead, I’ll have something special planned – building a Dark Ascension deck and running it through a small gauntlet. So don’t miss me next time!

Gard on MTGO
@leemcleo on Twitter

Thanks for reading!
-Lee McLeod

  1. Why not lose the Geist for Delver?
    Gain: Better Mana, a Turn1 Play etc.
    With 24 non-permanents you will flip him quite often. when geist attacks the first time, a flipped Delver has already done 7-9 damage.

  2. @guy

    I suspect its mostly for the Hexproof, while not being as weak as Invisible Stalker. Although I too find the splash a bit suspicious here when Delver is a reasonable on-colour alternative.

  3. Saw that M1G1 where you missed your opportunity to clear the board, scrolled down to point out the mistake, and saw someone else already did. However, I think Rhizom was being a bit too optimistic, it definitely mattered a lot. You really shouldn’t have missed that, because you easily could have come back from the win. You would have been stabilized: the board would have been cleared and you would have plenty of mana to answer whatever he throws at you next turn.

    I feel like people are way too quick to concede in magic in general, but especially mtgo. It’s never a good idea to concede without going over all your possible actions for at least a minute or two. While you probably understand this in the abstract, it seems like you put misplaced value on fast play, evidenced by where you said “at least he understands why I’m taking longer, I don’t like to take longer than my opponents” in the second match.

    I understand and respect that you want to be a courteous opponent, since it’s annoying playing against someone that takes twice as long to make plays, but for crucial plays there’s absolutely nothing impolite about poring over your options for a couple minutes. I also feel like there’s some sort of unspoken attitude that taking a long turn is newbish, when on the contrary, it’s pretty much necessary in certain situations to maximize your chance of doing well. Who knows how different things would have gone if you had won your first game (and I think it’s likely you would have)?

  4. Also, well done for pronouncing Paraselene correctly. You’re the first person I’ve heard do so.

    For those who care about such things, Selene was the Greek goddess of the moon and Para, again Greek, means beyond or beside.

    Therefore Paraselene roughly means, beyond the moon.

    I guess it could also mean “by the moon” but that would be interchanging the two meanings of the word “by”, which seems pretty hazy.

  5. @guy & Darric: Delver vs Geist. Delver is a cheap, reasonable threat that doesn’t make me stretch my mana base. But Delver dies to Burning Vengeance, Geistflame, Silent Departure, Dead Weight, etc. Removal. Block Constructed is a heavy removal format – all of the control decks are heavy removal-spell based (BUG, Jund) or have Burning Vengeance (board control mechanism). Hexproof is really debilitating for those kinds of decks, and Geist gets the nod over Stalker because of the quicker clock with fewer slots it presents.

    @Brian: Yes, the Rolling Temblor + Devil’s Play mistake was very large. I don’t like that I missed it. :(

    As for “value on fast play”. I do not believe that fast or slow play correlates directly to game play speed. I know very good players who play slower (deliberately), and awful players who just fling cards around at breakneck speeds. What I’m referring to on Magic Online when I’m annoyed at being slow or at my opponent for the same, it’s because I absolutely hate on waiting for my opponent with nothing to do. Waiting on opponents when you can’t look at them across the table is just miserable. Are they actually thinking, or are they in the bathroom? Am I really spending 3 minutes staring at the screen when my opponent might be taking a phone call? So, when I take a long time, I try to let me opponent know why (brb, thinking, etc) because I would want the same from them. So when I referred to him knowing why I was taking longer, I meant that at least he knows I’m commenting on the match, and not just alternating between a Daily and throwing frisbee with my dog.

    I have nothing against taking your time to complete your plays – I certainly don’t rush myself when playing (the Rolling Temblor thing being just an unfortunate oversight). With Magic Online, I just have no idea if you’re actually thinking or not, so I get bugged by something that already annoys me (slow play).

    Also, Did I concede too early? I normally don’t concede without considering the possible nut sequence of draws I can have to win me the game if he draws all blanks.

    Hope that clears things up?

  6. It doesnt matter at all because you won it but just for knowing if i am missing something, in match1 game3 the time you flip your 2 wolves and he is transforming daybreaker and the 1/1 why didnt you just flashback geistflame killing both of the creatures and atacking for 10 instead of silent+ravings so you dont transform them back? (~14:50 min)

  7. M2G2 – You miscounted flashing back Blasphemous Act on turn 6. You hadn’t played your land yet and would have had enough mana if you played the Grotto. Not sure if anything would have changed after that anyway but at least you would have been playing from 12 life instead of up against it with only 4.

  8. GG man. You definitely outplayed me in that one, but those Garruks were magical. I had never played vs your deck and didn’t really know what was in it, so that’s a large reason for all the misplays.

  9. @Lee

    Thanks for clearing that up, I understand now more where you’re coming from with your annoyance with waiting. Personally, I’m usually fine with waiting so long as it’s a valid reason (which explains why you like to have an ‘excuse’). If it’s a new player, or a particularly convoluted game-state, it’s understandable to be waiting minutes for your turn. The thing that gets me is when it’s clearly someone that is playing two or more games at once. I realize that it’s not against the rules, but it’s still incredibly rude IMO because these people are essentially “maximizing EV” at the cost of their opponents enjoying the game. It also starts a vicious cycle where other players start to feel like they have to start playing multiple games so they have something to do while their opponents are playing another one. I realize we are now straying off-topic but just thought I’d bring it up ;)

    @Berb I still think it matters because that opening loss set the tone for the rest of the tournament. Everything from there on out would have gone differently, i.e. the “butterfly effect.” Particularly, if he had gone 2-0 first round he would have had a completely different opponent the next. Clearly, playing the “what-if” game gets fairly arbitrary since there’s no way to know how things would have gone, but in the case of big mistakes that alter the course of fate, I think it’s most productive to imagine that things could have turned out much better if that mistake had been avoided.

  10. Thanks for the video series, I am now getting really into block because of it. They are great. Can you share Royal’s blog address? I doubt I am going to play in a DE anytime soon to see it in person (cost of entry on every real deck is rough, and I have always geared my collection towards eternal formats….but now I just grind ISD drafts…).

  11. @TheCrippler250: He used to blog on , but he said in the last daily that he’s moving away from it and towards Warning: Royal is not known for his web development skills.

  12. Ha ha, fair enough. If it gives me headaches there is always text to speech and pretending he’s a robot. Thanks again.

  13. Round 3 G2 you devils play the wolf for 3 (He hasn’t got the mana for the activation of the Gavony Township) and do 2 to Garruk, this seems bad when reversed you would have once again cleared his board.

  14. Why would you not board in Paraselene against the UR deck match 3? You seem to scoop to +x/+2 on Invisible Stalker.

  15. Good evening, ladies. I heard mentioned and, well, I just had to drop a line. :-)

    Delver of Secrets: The original version had 4, but he eventually was cut. The format is heavy on Geistflame, Devil’s Play, Dead Weight, removal in general, and the Planeswalkers also eat up creatures. He just wasn’t worth the while.

    Thanks for the namedrop. And, the deck is by no means easy to play – there’s a lot of math going on with all the burn and Devil’s Play, and you have to know when to push your creatures, and when to sit back and play lands for the burn. The Sideboard is also precise, and if you don’t know the plans, then it’ll still run, but with some kinks in it. ;] On the plus side, as Toasty points out and is generally the case with rogue decks, your opponents were confused and misplayed.

    I didn’t watch the videos, but Kyle: Paraselene is part of the Sideboard plan against U/R Stalker. The full Sideboarding details can be found a few pages down at – everything is a bit out of date, but it ought to give you the general idea. I’ve mainly been playing BUG the past few weeks, but I think that Watchkeep is still underrated and I think that this style of deck (URx Tempo) will be much more popular with Dark Ascension.

  16. Lee, love the videos, a question:

    You were talking about buying Garruks, but in a previous video said you own a playset of Innistrad. Which is it? :p

    Also, as the resident block man on here, do you dabble in MTGO economy/finance at all?

  17. @Griff: You’re right! Man, I played terribly in these videos.

    @Anon: Both! I have a bad habit of selling cards I’ll need later in the future for cards I need immediately for bad Modern brews. These brews never work out (ESPER HEARTLESS SUMMONING, YEAH!) and I end up having to buy back the cards I sold for the full amount. I’m trying to get out of that, hence why I needed to ‘finish’ a playset of Garruks before I built up to Dark Ascension.

    I know cards are cheap during release week and that cards get significantly cheaper when they rotate out of Standard, but that’s the extent of my economy knowledge. I don’t try to speculate on anything because I’m terrible at it and am sure that I will just buy 300 of a flop. I try to watch cards prices, and if they are going down and I need them, I’ll buy them. But I don’t know what causes these trends; I just try to keep an eye on them.

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