Posted in Building on a Budget on January 21, 2005

By Nate Heiss

The Betrayers Prerelease is on the horizon…don't miss it! Where else are you going to have the chance to attack with cool Ninjas so soon?

Today's deck is quite a powerhouse in budget and Standard. If you are looking for a cheap and powerful FNM deck, or just want to play in some Magic Online eight person tourneys, this deck will fill your needs. The deck in question is the G/R Spiritcraft deck, a deck that utilizes a lot of the new cards from Champions in a synergistic manner to cause mass destruction (well, a lot of damage at the very least). It really all comes down to two cards in particular: Soilshaper and Kodama of the South Tree. These cards are great, especially in conjunction. Let's get right to the list so you can see all the cool interactions:

Building on a Budget: Soilcraft (about 30 tickets)

Download Arena Decklist

Hana Kami
The first thing you might notice is that every card in the deck is either a Spirit or Arcane spell besides land. This has a few implications. First, it means that you will trigger your Spiritcraft stuff a lot. Second, it means that your Hana Kami and Splice Spells like Glacial Ray and Kodama's Might will be pretty active. This deck doesn't come out of the gates super quick, but it can really pile on the damage once it starts to roll.

Follow this scenario:

Turn 2 Soilshaper.
Turn 3 Hearth Kami, attack with a land for 3.
Turn 4 Kami of the Hunt, attack with the Hearth and a Land for 5.
Turn 5 Blind with Anger their guy, attack with a land, a pumped Kami, and a Hearth for 8+the power of the stolen guy.

You can see how it just gets sick from that point. You can also do mean things like casting a Lava Spike and Splicing a Glacial Ray, and then casting the Ray afterwards for a total of 7 damage, and 2 Spiritcraft triggers.

When playing the deck, keep in mind that you don't actually play a ton of creatures. You are something of a burn deck with a few big attackers. It is perfectly ok to use your Kodama's Might to just get in a few more points of damage when the opportunity presents itself, especially if it means that you can activate your Soilshaper, Tree, or Kami of the Hunt (or all of them!). Just deal your first 7-10 points of damage with creatures, and your finishers will take you the rest of the way.

One of the coolest creatures in the deck is Hana Kami. It is so little and innocent, yet so immensely powerful. Not only can it serve as a cheap Spiritcraft trigger, it can also get back crucial finishing spells like Lava Spike, Glacial Ray, or Blind with Anger. This, and it is a great chump blocker or recipient of a bonus from the South Tree. One thing that you will quickly learn while playing this deck is that your opponent may be on 12 life, but that is no guarantee of them living through the next turn!

Tips on Playing the Deck

  • Conserve your spells. You want to play at least one spell every turn to maximize the use of your Spiritcraft triggers. Try to make sure your land lives through combat.
  • Contrary to what I just said, if you are flooded with lands, sometimes it's a good idea to trade them with other creatures.
  • Make sure to stack your Spiritcraft triggers such that your land gets the bonus from the South Tree. Sometimes you can use the stack to get multiple lands under the Tree's activation with instants that are Arcane.
  • If you play a Soilshaper on turn 2, casting a Lava Spike, Splicing Kodama's Might, and swinging for 6 is not a bad play on turn 3. People might laugh at you and talk about casting Lightning Bolt to the face on turn one…but fret not, they will be dead soon.
  • Blind with Anger gives you a lot of options. Often it is simply used to steal a blocker and swing in for more damage. However, it can sometimes be used as outright removal. If you are falling behind, you may want to explore this as an option. Also, with Hana Kami in play and 6 mana available, your opponent will always have to play around these tricks if you have one in your graveyard.

Adding Money to the Deck

Right now the deck is block legal. However, if I was going to add money cards, I would go with Birds of Paradise and City of Brass to help smooth the mana and speed the deck up. The Birds, while not a Spirit, is an evasion creature. This means that it can receive all of your Kodama's Mights and bring them straight to your opponent's dome. One of the new preview cards, Cunning Bandit, may also be a good add. Many people have pointed out that the Bandit doesn't untap the creatures it steals or give them haste…but I think those people are missing the point. In a deck like this, Cunning Bandit could easily flip the very next turn, and then steal any blockers and swing in for 5 points of damage alone. Of course, he won't be alone. Your opponent, in the meantime, will be scared to attack with any creatures, lest the other ones get stolen. Also not that you can flip it at the end of their turn, allowing you to continue to build up Ki counters until you are ready to disallow them from blocking for the remainder of the game. Oh, and don't get me started on what happens if you steal something with a sacrifice effect like Arcbound Ravager.

This deck will be a great way for players to add a new deck type to their collection while gearing up for block constructed at the same time. Have fun!

Until next time, Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni.

- Nate Heiss
BuildingOnABudget and NateHeiss on Magic Online

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