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Splinter Tin

Written by James Heslip on . Posted in Casual Magic

Splinter Tin

James Heslip

James is a budget Magic connoisseur who values silly strategies and rogue decks. He has been playing Magic since 1998, and competing in Legacy events since 2010. When he is not teaching high school English, he can be found brewing Casual and Legacy decks to play with his students and peers. Always appreciative of feedback, he loves it when people send suggestions and share crazy decks with him!
Get your best maniacal laugh ready boys and girls. It’s time for one of the most fiendish combo decks we will ever unveil in the series. I don’t know who the first person to combine Liquimetal Coating and Splinter was, but I do know that they had a truly sadistic mind. This week’s deck is as heartbreaking as it is backbreaking, and it even fits neatly within our meager budget. I hope you like being alone, because you may just lose some friends over this one.
The Core

The core strategy here is simple. Use Liquimetal Coating to make one of your opponent’s lands an artifact. Then, cast Splinter targeting the land. Remember that evil laugh I told you to get ready? This is about the time to unleash it. If the player across the table is playing a single-color deck, it’s likely that every single land in their deck, hand, and graveyard was just removed from the game. Most people will concede at this point. Even if they are playing multiple colors, resolving this combo is likely to cripple them. Plus, there’s nothing that says you can’t do it twice!

Myr Landshaper plays the role of Coatings five through eight, and adds to the general theme of the deck. With either in play, we can use additional artifact removal to destroy any remaining lands, completely shutting our opponent out of the game. Though he is more susceptible to removal, he is well worth the added consistency.

The Backup

Much of the effectiveness of our strategy is based on how early we can resolve the combo. If our opponent is able to spend five turns playing lands and threats Splinter will not be the game-ending spell we want it to be. Luckily, there are a few ways to fix this. Elvish Mystic and Llanowar Elves mana ramp and allow for turn two Landshapers and turn three Splinters. These early plays will make the land destruction much more effective.

Crumble and Oxidize are our one-cost removal spells. If we are able to resolve Splinter, we can use these in combination with Coating or Landshaper to get rid of whatever is left on the board. If Splinter hasn’t been found yet, they can still control the game as undercosted Vindicates. This will buy us some time to play our big bombs.

Caustic Wasps and Glissa Sunseeker are in the list as repeatable removal. They give a sense of inevitability to the deck, and allow it to make a 180. With them, we can change from a combo deck to a control deck at the drop of a hat.

Thran Forge is a worse Liquidmetal Coating, but is still relevant. With it, we can turn any creature into an artifact to destroy. When we hit the end game, and our opponent has run out of gas, we can use it to buff our own soldiers and end the game faster.

Trepanation Blade is the final piece to the combo puzzle. After Splinter has resolved, the blade makes almost any attack lethal, as it will likely send your opponent’s entire deck to the graveyard. If this doesn’t win you the game, the insane boost in damage will. No mana means no blockers, so the blade can usually be equipped to any of your creatures. If something does stick, Caustic Wasps is best for the sting.

Playing the Deck
  How the deck plays will change from game to game and is reliant on your opening hand. Some matches, you will have a crazy turn three win thanks to your mana boosts. Others, you will never see Splinter or Blade, and will need to play the role of control. Gauge the speed of your opponent’s draws, and decide for yourself what the best path to victory is.

That being said, you mana acceleration is what keeps you ahead of the game, and should be your first and second turn plays most of the time. If your opponent starts playing key threats, get rid of them as soon as possible. You don’t have many creatures to be blocking with, and your end game combo doesn’t deal with anything already in play. So, be proactive. If no threats hit the board, use your artifact destruction to hit their lands. Slow them down until you can lock them out completely. If things are going extra slow, Blinkmoth Well can keep them from gaining the upper hand by acting as a pseudo Rishadan Port.

Almost everything listed as an additional option is just another way for you to kill artifacts. Each comes with it’s own pluses and minuses, so just play around until you find what you like. For example, do you like the card sorting of Tel-Jilad Justice, or the Split Second of Krosan Grip?Vessel of Nascency allows you to more quickly find your Coatings, Landshapers, and Blades, but will throw away any Splinters you find along the way. The risk of losing our namesake card kept me from including it. However, if you like the consistency it provides, try it out.

Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury is probably the best alternative win condition we could play. She makes mana dorks, kills artifacts, and draws cards. A single copy costs more than the list we came up with today, though.  Her high casting cost is a limiting factor as well. She looks good on paper, but testing would give us a  better idea of her true strength.


Can your friends handle a little splinter? What do you think? Tell me about it in the comments, or on my facebook page. As always, send me an email at Spooky386@gmail.com with feedback on my articles and decks, and I’ll see you all next week!


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