Feature: Not Your Standard Decklist

Posted in Event Coverage on November 30, 2006

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on DailyMTG.com, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

In my Swimming With Sharks column yesterday I included a handful of decklists, including Gabriel Nassif's MartyrTron and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa's Dralnu in the Louvre but teased at a third French list dubbed Project X. It turns out that the deck is actually Belgian in origin and was designed by Geoffrey Siron and Vincent Lemoine. The highest finishing player on Wednesday who played the deck was Hall of Famer Raphael Levy.

Here is the decklist that he could conceivably be bringing to the table for the Top 8 on Sunday should he run the table on Friday (he was 8-4 after two days of play).

Raphael Levy - Project X, 4-2

Download Arena Decklist

The deck revolves around the Saffi/Crypt Champion combo which "does nothing by itself," laughed Levy.

The way the 'do-nothing' engine works is that you play an unenhanced (meaning you cast it without playing red) Crypt Champion with Saffi in play. With his come-into-play triggers on the stack, you sacrifice Saffi targeting the in-play Champion. When the Champion gets to return a creature to play, you choose the freshly binned Saffi and continue this process ad infinitum when the Crypt Champion returns thanks to Saffi's ability.

If you want the engine to actually go somewhere and not just rev noisily in the street, you need to shift it into gear with something like Soul Warden to gain infinite life, Teysa, Orzhov Scion to make infinite tokens, or - impossibly enough - Sek'Kuar Deathkeeper to make infinite hasty tokens. Sek'Kuar is not just there as a combo piece though, it also serves as a silver bullet for the Chord of Calling.

"If you are playing against a control deck and they Wrath you," explained the deck's designer Geoffrey Siron, "they just lose if you Chord for Deathkeeper."

"I think the deck can be reeeeally good," offered Levy as if saying it is currently not so. "I think it needed a couple more weeks of playtesting."

The deck came from an idea by Vincent Lemoine, which was promptly turned into a MTGO decklist by Siron. He was able to test the deck in the casual rooms but the deck was not a possibility for the 8-man queues or the PEs by any stretch of the imagination.

"You don't have enough time to play the deck in tournament," Siron explained although that was an attraction for the players who chose the deck. So many of the decks that players were testing in MTGO tournaments were weakened by exposure but almost no one had seen this monster lumber into action.

Interestingly, Levy felt that the deck had a puncher's chance at beating Boros should he run the table with a still as-of-yet-unsettled Extended deck and end up in the Top 8. The Hierarchs, Wall of Roots, and Soul Warden all give the deck time to set up its combo with Spike Feeders and Caryatids coming in from the board for good measure. If you are looking for something fun and different to combat the oncoming swarm of Boros decks, this may be something you want to tinker with for the next couple of weeks.

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