Travis Woo is the Master. I love this deck, and I have never taken it out of its sleeves.
If you have had an opportunity to read through these Kitchen Table installments on LandSayGo, then you know what we are trying to accomplish here. It's not about coming up with new and creative, even potentially bad, decks in Standard like all of our other content. It's about showcasing the decks that make your friends hate you; ultimately that's what friendship is all about! This deck is not ours, like most of the Kitchen Table series, minds greater than ours come up with ways to induce hostility and rage.
Travis Woo named this deck "Blue, Screw You." Let's dive into one of my favorite decks of all time.
You Can't Play Magic Without Lands
Initially showcased on ChannelFireball, this list is a Travis Woo creation aimed at completely locking out our opponents from playing the game of Magic, frankly, this deck has aged excellently. A number of the cards in this list have risen dramatically in price, but for the most part this list is easily accessible on popular MTG sites and even from your LGS. Choke is an interesting card in so far as "interesting" is what you call completely aggravating and demoralizing for blue mages. How do we drive benefit if our opponents aren't playing Islands? Easy, we create them - we cover our opponents mana base in salt water and choke them out. Surprisingly, there are several resources to accomplish this task. We are engaging in passive land destruction.
Make no mistake, my friends, this deck is one massive troll. We are turn by turn tightening the noose around our opponents neck by restricting access to mana, which if done effectively make playing the game of Magic: The Gathering very difficult indeed. I have a great deal of experience with this list, and continuously play it in my casual games, or when a player who has "a deck that never loses" needs to experience the more frustrating aspect of the game. So, back to the lecture at hand - how do we convert our opponents lands into Islands for the Choke to do its work?
Simple really, interestingly enough we have spells that do just that - "enchanted land is an Island." Even passively Sea's Claim can be exceptional. When our opponent is needing one of the four colors besides blue we are forcing into colorless mana usage. Of course, once Choke drops the game plan becomes clear. The mana conversion process to Islands is not enough to win us the game, and this list is all about the long game. We will need to build in other strategies for win conditions, additional layers of defense, methods for controlling and interacting with other zones, and a way for us to ensure we are not doing nothing all game. Four our purposes this will suffice, and the following cards are meant to accompany Sea's Claim.
Convincing Mirage is two mana and accomplishes the same goal - deprive your opponent of color specific resources and potentially forever lock the land down with an active Choke enchantment on the battlefield. We only run three copies of Convincing Mirage, but you can feel free to bump it to four should you feel you are not consistent with your Island conversion efforts.
Spreading Seas is gross - not only are we furthering our plan of a lockout for our opponents, but we are also replacing the card on the ETB trigger. This basically an obvious addition to this deck list; without this card this list would likely not be possible. Copy Enchantment is multifaceted here; our deck consists of mostly enchantments and being able to create multiplicative effects is paramount to our success. The uses and options with this card will become apparent as we continue with this Kitchen Table installment - just keep it in mind.
The Tax Man Cometh
The simple act of converting our opponents colored mana resources to blue may be enough for a soft lock. That is often the case for color dependent decks. We can also lock out special effects on lands by converting non-basic lands to islands, for example this deck is hell on Tron. Still, we have to have options to further lock down the board and preserve our life totals. Ghostly Prison is an excellent tax card, especially when facing aggro lists. Your opponents Sliver Deck becomes entirely ineffective when facing down multiple copies of this enchantment. Ghostly Prison does not only restrict our opponents ability to attack, but when the Islands are locked down with Choke we are restricting our opponent from being able to cast additional spells. You may attack or cast spells. One or the other. Porphyry Nodes is an incredibly powerful card. It always has been, and always will be. It systematically dismantles any creature based strategy. It forces the game plan for our opponents to move backward, until it doesn't because no valid targets remain, and then we just cast another copy when we need to. You just can't complain about staying ahead or never falling behind for one white mana.
How do you hose fetch lands? Root Maze. Clutter the board, restrict access, and generally frustrate your friends with this seemingly pointless enchantment. Let's back away from that thinking though and acknowledge that the point of Root Maze is to further restrict our opponents access to mana resources, it slows them down and gives us a better chance of executing an effective troll. We need time to set up and resolve some of our better win conditions, and this card helps. Sphere of Safety is a single copy in this list and when resolved, given our number of enchantments can completely lock out our opponent from attacking us.
I love you - but I'm not in love with you.
Let's talk about how good Detention Sphere actually is regardless of the match up. It creates a catalyst style effect within our deck list by triggering a number of the "enchantments matter" cards we run, it can essentially lock down token strategies. It has the ability to target any nonland. It is one of the primary control vehicles for this deck, and when the severity of this card is measured in terms of impact on the board state the result is obvious. We need Detention Sphere to save us from getting overrun, to disrupt combos, and to save our bacon in the face of ever-changing meta games through the formats. This deck is antiquated by today's standards, and proper revision may be due. That is just not what The Kitchen Table is about. We are looking at "ragers" that stand the test of time.
We are running three copies of Sigil of the Empty Throne. Our entire deck is comprised of enchantments, and resolving this card to the battlefield provides us with cast triggers for our enchantments that give us 4/4 flying Angel tokens. This card represents our win condition. The original author of this list claims that it was entirely unintentional that every card was an enchantment, but I tend not to believe anything I read. This card is a dynamite finisher. If the lockout strategy isn't bad enough, every nonland card we draw and play besides the lands creates 4/4 Angel tokens. Great stuff. Are there better plays given we have had 5 years of advancement since the inception of this list? Undoubtedly, but if we were trying to be competitive we wouldn't play this deck.
We are still on theme with Rest in Peace, and this single copy inclusion in the mainboard is tailored to having a competitive edge. We are looking to wax combos that play in the graveyard zone, which appears to be more and more common these days. I can see where this card may be getting dated, and then again...Arclight Phoenix is huge in several formats. Tarmogoyf. Scavenging Ooze. Snapcaster Mage. Maybe a competitive inclusion is not such a bad thing? We don't actually care what is in our graveyard, so we have to assume that restricting access to the zone is beneficial for us. There are also additional copies in the sideboard for this list. In the event you can get your buddies to agree to a best of three, you will be prepared.
A Poke in the Eye
Let's say for the sake of argument that your opponent is looking forward to a three game match with sideboarding. Okay great, what cards could pose problems for us? What deck archetypes could be problematic and what have we done to address those problems head on? The Leylines are obnoxious - nearly all of them are insanely powerful. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves hexproof. Leyline of Sanctity can do that, effectively shutting down some decks completely. Stony Silence can crush Affinity decks, and can crap on Tron. Try it, you will see.
Suppression Field hurts our man-lands, and I am not totally sold on its inclusion in the sideboard, but the card is useful. You might do some exploring and see if you can come up with a better solution. Threads of Disloyalty is aimed at disrupting early game combos. I'll take that Goyf. I'll take that Dark Confidant. Thanks.
Turn things Blue, and make your opponents poo; this deck is awesome, and I miss Travis Woo.