Winning Big

Posted in Building on a Budget on October 22, 2004

By Nate Heiss

Today's deck is one that you have seen many times before…yet it isn't. I am counting the days until Kamigawa's Magic Online release, and I decided that the last deck before that time should be a twist on something that many of you already play.

This deck is about big things.

It has big mana, it has big creatures, and it's all about the big finish. Not to mention the big teeth!

Tooth and Nail

What more fantastic way to win is there in Magic than shoving an 11/11 indestructible down your opponent's throat?

Well, believe it or not, there are ways…

Back in the Block season, my housemate, John Shuler, was casually interested in Magic because I was playing in the qualifiers. Now some of the older players reading this might recognize John's name from way back as a Pro Tour player. John has long since retired from Magic, but my being in close proximity peaked his curiosity just a little.

John discovered Tooth and Nail online and enjoyed the thought of a deck that would just win once it cast this nine mana spell – it made the goal of the game very clear, and thus attainable. John took a quick look through the card list for the format to find any cool goodies to Tooth out.

Let me tell you a little bit about John. The thing that he enjoyed most about Magic was not really winning per se, but rather making his opponent lose. Back in the day, this was kind of hard – you needed to make them mess up. He was a master at getting his opponents to do the wrong things and just watching them lose. So, it was only a partial surprise when he came to me with this combo:

John: Ok, Nate, here is what you are going to do. You are going to play this card, it costs 5 mana, and you can tell your opponent that “You looooose!!”
Me: What are you talking about? You don't play Magic. Why are you holding that Door to Nothingness?
John: Have you read it? Look at what it says… “Target player LOSES THE GAME!”
Me: Um…
John: Hey, I've just cast this card. Do you destroy it?
Me: Probably not, I just assume you are terrible.
John: Ok, now I'm going to cast Tooth and Nail.
Me: Yeah…?
John: Oh, I jut got 2 Composite Golems and made you LOSE THE GAME! Yooooouuu loooooose Nate Heiss, you lose! I don't win….but you just lose.
Me: I always lose.
John: I don't need to win, Nate Heiss. I just need for you to LOSE.

This combo was extremely entertaining. Needless to say, I didn't follow up by playing with it. It was even a bit crazy for me! However, if you are looking to have a good time and just stomp on your opponents, it's a great way to enjoy Magic!

Building on a Budget: Winning Big (about 30 tickets)

Ok, now I know what you are thinking…a Tooth and Nail deck for about 30 tickets? Is this guy crazy? Well, you can get the Tooth and Nails for about 4 tickets a pop, and the Darksteel Colossus is about the same. After all is said and done, you will need to get some good deals to make it under budget, but it is possible. Try to buy the 4-of's in a batch – like 4x Tooth and Nail for 15 tickets instead of individually for 4. That will save you a ticket or two!

This deck plays out by making a lot of mana, and then using it to cast its various extravagant spells. I have decided to go with the Cloudpost engine over the Urza-tron simply because I am playing two colors, and the Urzatron eats up too many of my colored land slots. The reason I am playing two colors it to have access to Thirst for Knowledge, Thought Courier, and Fabricate. These aid greatly in getting access to the cards you want to cast – Tooth and Nail and Door to Nothingness. The Fabricate is also useful in getting a few other utility artifacts.

This is very similar to regular Tooth and Nail so I am sure most of you already know many of the cool things that can be done besides the Door combo. You can cast Tooth, getting a Colossus and a Sundering Titan, for many large beats. You can Fabricate up a Mindslaver and Tooth out a Bringer of the White Dawn - thus allowing you to use Mindslaver every turn. You can even Tooth up random Thought Couriers, if you need to find a card in your deck that isn't a creature. However, I recommend sticking with the first two suggestions.

Tips on Playing the Deck

  • Always fetch a Cloudpost with Reap and Sow unless your opponent looks really mana light or you're really desperate for another color-producing mana.
  • Fabricate can also get you the random artifact lands, which are also nice for discarding to Thirst for Knowledge.
  • Tower of Fortunes make a good Fabricate target if you have a ton of mana and no Tooth to cast – after drawing 4 extra a turn, you should find one quickly.
  • Sometimes it is right to get one Composite Golem and one Bringer of the White Dawn when you don't have the Door. The extra mana boost you will get from this every turn (not to mention the 9 points of fat) might help you cast your spells if you don't have the blue mana. You can just bring the dead Golem back each turn.
  • Sometimes you just sacrifice the Golem to cast the Bringer from your hand…how convenient!

Adding Money to the Deck

You can add a lot of money to this deck. You can use Eternal Witness, Platinum Angel, Leonin Abunas, and more. Just search up any tournament-played version of Tooth and Nail and it will be full of ideas. Oblivion Stone would be especially nice for a reset button that you could fabricate up and bring back with Bringer of the White Dawn. If you want to add more flavor to the deck, use Birds of Paradise and Solemn Simulacrum for black to play with Betrayal of Flesh and more fatties (discarded via thirst), thus giving you a slight Reanimator theme as well. Champions also adds a few great toys to the mix, but the most important one is not a fatty, it is the amazing Sakura-Tribe Elder. Once Champions is out, you'll want to throw four straight in!

Till next time, may you have creatures so large that The Unspeakable!

- Nate Heiss
BuildingOnABudget and nateheiss on Magic Online

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