2008 Worlds Feature: Deck Tech: Wakefield Lives On!

Posted in Event Coverage on December 11, 2008

By Marc Calderaro

During Round 5, the top tables were looking stable. They were stable tables, and all the usual players were there: Blue-Black Faeries, Black-White Tokens, Mono Red, Red-White Weenie, Red-White Midrange, Green-Black Elves, and Five-Color Control made up the majority. It seemed you either play Bitterblossom, play Spectral Procession, play both, or play Five-Color. The fields were littered with Figure of Destiny, Demigod of Revenge, Ranger of Eos, Broodmate Dragon, etc. And then I saw it, not too far in the distance—a 14/14 Primalcrux. It was shining like the green light in Gatsby’s bay. Not only was there Primalcrux, but he found it via Commune with Nature. What?! After watching the deck’s commander, Australia’s Glen Shanley, handily dispatch a Mono-Red and go to 4-1, I caught up with him to get a diagnosis on this sore thumb.

Glenn Shanley's Army of Teeg (Green-White Midrange)

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I know what you’re thinking: This is either a) a tribute to Jamie Wakefield, b) a port of the green-white deck from block or c) a deck he found lying around FNM. Maybe so, but Shanley seems to have a good enough read on the metagame to have plugged a hole and put together a strong first day at Worlds so far.

Shanley forged this 35-creature behemoth based around a simple fact: If he can get a Gaddock Teeg into play, control decks are going to have a very hard time winning; so get it into play, then win. His second goal was to make Negates all but useless. With these two ideas in mind, it’s easy to see why Commune with Nature deserves a slot. And even if the opponent does find a way to deal with the Teeginator, there are still 34 other creatures to contain.

“It’s an honest way of playing,” Shanley says.

Though the deck seems straightforward, there are very conscious choices that help Shanley’s matchups. The four Pro-Black Colossi, coupled with two main-deck Cloudthreshers even the odds against the Bitterly, Blossomly Fae—while the Kitchen Finks and the Vanquishers take Mono-Red and Kithkin into the late game. And though the match against Kithkin is tough, Teeg shuts down one of white’s most potent weapons, Spectral Procession. Not to mention, Wilt-Leaf Liege does a good job of buffing the team—allowing a lowly Birds of Paradise to swing in or hold off 1/1 Flying Spirits.

The sideboard has a little bit of everything. Shanley chose Recumbent Bliss over Oblivion Ring because of the benefits in the aggro match-ups, as well as Raking Canopy over Runed Halo because he was seeing more Hell’s Thunders than he was comfortable with. The variety of threats in the board keeps opponents guessing, and Shanley said every time he’s dropped a Primalcrux, his opponents can only gasp.

Shanley has had a good day so far, but that’s nothing compared to his story getting to Memphis. He battled through Australian Regionals and Nationals with a Dragonstorm-Swath hybrid, but ended up seventh at Nats. Usually, that isn’t quite enough to make it to Worlds, but when three people ahead of Glenn couldn’t attend, he luckily became the Australian alternate.

Luck’s certainly been on his side today, and in his words, he’s going to need it the rest of the weekend. Well, it’s worked out so far.

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