Deck Tech: Take A Walk On The Sunny Side

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 2006

By Hanno Terbuyken

The Extended deck that a number of French pros are playing today has generated a lot of talk. It is hellishly difficult to play, seems to wobble like yolk, and still had spectators in a tizzy. The coverage team has dubbed it "Sunny Side Up," the French themselves call it "Omelette aux Lotus," and here is the degglist:

Sunny Side Up – 2006 Magic World Championships – Extended

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The creator of the deck, Sylvain Lauriol, is the current French National champion. He had heard about the ancestor of the deck for the first time during the Darksteel era, when a friend of his saw the deck in a PTQ and tried it. The deck already had a number of the Odyssey eggs (Darkwater Egg, Mossfire Egg, Shadowblood Egg, Skycloud Egg, Sungrass Egg) and a manabase with City of Traitors, Crystal Vein and Crop Rotation.

The Extended Rotation all but killed the deck, so Sylvain played it for fun in Legacy. But when Time Spiral came along, Sylvain said, "I read the FAQ about the new cards without a mana cost, and I realized they would fit in the deck well." The French champion got together with Jonathan Rispal, Antoine Ruel, Pierre Canali, Bastian Perez, and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa to test the deck for Worlds, and egged them on to try it - successfully, because the French champ had cooked up one tasty omelet.

Second Sunrise

The plan of the deck is to make the eggs stick on the board, sacrifice them to draw lots of cards, and then bring them back with Second Sunrise off Lotus Bloom. You start by paying two mana to sacrifice an Egg and use the remaining two to either play a new Egg or sacrifice another one. Any Lotus will also come back into play and provide the mana for Second Sunrise. You recur the Sunrises with Conjurer's Bauble and you can search for it twice with Mystical Teachings, which are in the deck as Sunrises nine to twelve. Since the Baubles come back with every Sunrise, you will never run out of them.

"Conjurer's Bauble is the best egg of them all," the inventor proclaimed, and explained the win conditions: "The normal win is the Pyrite Spellbomb in the maindeck, which is also very good against Meddling Mage. The second win is with Cephalid Coliseum, just letting your opponent draw his deck." This works because you can tap the Coliseum to let your opponent draw, then shoot it with Ghost Quarter and return both lands untapped with Second Sunrise. This second win takes a lot of time and mana, but you will never run out of cards in your library yourself because of Conjurer's Bauble.

The third kill is "for very bad situations," says Lauriol, and that is Cunning Wish for Brain Freeze out of the sideboard, which also has Wipe Away to deal with any pesky permanent.

"This is one of the most complicated decks I have ever played," Pierre Canali commented. He is also running the deck, but with one small sideboard change: Pierre has a Trinket Mage instead of one Engineered Explosion, because he wanted a chump blocker and can fetch the sideboarded Needle with it in games 2 and 3. The Explosives themselves were a late addition from yesterday evening, when the French scouted around and expected lots of Boros. They have proven themselves already, killing Grim Lavamancer and Kataki War's Wage all day.

Engineered Explosives

When asked why he played the deck, Pierre answered: "Because this deck is killing 60% or more on turn four." He described that the learning curve was steep. "First you are killing on turn five, then you learn to kill on turn four 50% of the time, and then 60%." The deck is capable of a turn-three kill. Both Pierre and Sylvain agreed: "If you need to win on turn three, you can try, but you will have only a 20-25% chance of winning."

Both of them have hundreds of testing games under their belt, unlike Jonathan Rispal, who admitted he's had only about ten matches with the deck so far. But he took the advice from the creator by heart: "If you wait longer, the deck becomes better. And you can never be a hundred percent sure to win until after the second Second Sunrise."

Waiting is also the plan against Control, where Sylvian advises to just develop the mana and wait. The key to those matchups are Second Sunrise and Ghost Quarter. "An end of turn Sunrise with Ghost Quarter in play is Tidings and Kodama's Reach together," Sylvain explained. Just make sure you do that in response to something like Fact or Fiction. Only when playing Mindslaver, you do not have the time to wait for that, "because then you lose." For that, the deck plays Trickbind or Stifle in the sideboard.

Other foils to the deck do only become a concern when there's more than one. For example, "Tormod's Crypt is not a problem unless you combine it with another hoser, like Kataki," says Pierre. Given enough time, you develop a mana base that gives you access to sideboard solutions with Cunning Wish. Once you run short on time, trying to egg off is the only solution. Against Pyrostatic Pillar, one of the most commonly played combo hosers today, Engineered Explosives help. The other trick is to play Angel's Grace, which essentially shuts the Pillar off for the one turn you need to win.

The French group tested the deck against Boros, a couple of Psychatog variants, blue-white Tron, Counterbalance, Heartbeat and Ravager-Decks, and the matchups were favorable so the group egged themselves on to play the deck. Sylvain was 2-2 with the deck at the time I found him, having fizzled twice against a Boros deck and lost to the American Goblin deck that combo'ed him out on turn two.

Finally, there is one hoser that shuts the deck off completely: "Chalice of the Void set to one kills the deck," said Sylvain. "But in all other cases, you can just go egg, egg, egg, egg and win."

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