torsdag 16 juni 2016

Suicide Blue

I can't remember how many weeks I've been thinking about posting something about Suicide Blue. Nine? Probably more. Let's go:
Suicide Blue
Back in the day someone decided that blue should have all of the color pie. Not just countering spells and drawing cards, but stuff like aggressive creatures and direct damage. The Suicide Blue deck is kinda like the Suicide Black decks of later eras in that it uses life as a resource and wield spells with significant drawbacks. The blue decks have slightly better evasion and more flexible sideboards (supporting e.g. four-of Energy Flux), but at the cost of a little less aggressive starts (no turn one Ritual into Phyrexian Negator or turn two Hatred for the win). If we have a high budget or lots of time, the Suicide Blue deck could also incorporate insanely powerful cards like Time Walk, Timetwister and Ancestral Recall. I don't play them here though. I dislike moving cards between decks, as it hinders easy switches between them and prevents me from lending out decks to friends. Also, I heard that some restriction in power breeds creativity, and it's highly amusing to beat a fully powered deck with a bunch of 1/1s.
Or at least beat powered Distress with a bunch of 1/1s.
As for the creature suite, one could argue for Dan-Dan rather than the Pearl Trident crew. But you really want to hit your 1-drops here. The Merfolks also make the deck a little more resilient to City in a Bottle. Flying Men and Serendib Djinn are important cards, so we already have a lot of dedication to Arabian summons. Serendib Efreet is really solid as well, of course. The reason I only play three is because I only own three, and buying a forth would cost me approximately all the money. Or at least more than a pair of new shoes.

I rarely talk about card prices, but let's take an aside today.
Creature suite
Sure, some things were more easy before this format started spreading from the deep underground to a slightly more shallow soil. Less rabble rousing, space for everyone at n00bcon, and a little more affordable to rebuild decks. But increased card prices don't really bother me too much, even though I wouldn't mind having another Efreet and a set of Mana Vaults at their 2014 prices.

It would be easy to whine about increasing prices as the popularity of the format has grown. It's always easy to whine. But here's the deal with buying cards: if a card's price don’t correspond to the joy I get from owning it; I just don’t buy it. Like, if Flying Men were a €20 card, I would still buy them because they are awesome. I bought my first two copies for around €7 each in 1998, and if 18 years of time would have increased the cards price with €13, I would accept that. If they would cost €100, I'd give them a pass. Few cards pass the €100+ test for me; stuff like Juzam, Power, Mirror Universe, The Abyss, Duals, and a few more. It so happens that Flying Men instead cost €1 today, which is sweet. Same with Psionic Blast, which was an €20 card in Unlimited 10 years ago, but only costs around €6 today. If Serendib Efreet had a price tag of €35 like two years ago, I'd buy them (that's why I own three of them). Hell, I'd probably be a buyer at €70. But €150 is too much. I don't need to complete my playset that bad. The deck is good enough, and sweet enough, as is.

Last Friday I travelled to Sweden to have dinner at Törnströms, a Michelin Star rated restaurant, and drank some port from 1866. The cost of that dinner was in the same ball park as a Serendib Efreet. Would I rather have a 4th Serendib than eating that dinner? Nope. I would easily sell one of my Efreets to get the chance to get drunk on 150 year old Portuguese wine. As my resources to spend on luxury are finite; I have to prioritize.

Complaining about prizes never got me anything except annoyance. It's much easier to just not be an impulse buyer at a certain point, and instead use that money for something I think is worth it. And if we look at the old school side of things, it's not like everybody had access to all the cards in 1994 anyway. Playing Clone instead of the fourth Efreet certainly has some nostalgic value.

For my own curiosity while writing this article, I checked what the price of this Suicide Blue deck would be if we use Unlimited where possible, cut the Serendib Efreets for Dan-Dans, and cut the Masks for Boomerangs (arguably a better card in the deck). TCG Mid gave a price tag of 302.88 bucks. If we cut the Djinns for Phantasmal Forces as well, we're down to 161.49 USD. That's a little boring though, and I think that the Djinns are worth almost doubling the price of the deck. Nevertheless, if we compare it with the price of the first Standard deck I found, Green-White Tokens (the deck that won the last Standard GP), that one had a price tag of 446.43. So if you'd rather buy an old school Suicide Blue than the flavor of the week deck in Standard, you still have enough left to get a played Serendib Efreet. Or you're on a good way towards a Timetwister. But I digress.

End finance rant, enter burn spells!
Burn suite
Mind Bomb is no Lightning Bolt, but it does the job well. In the early game, it's pretty much guaranteed 3 damage for 1 mana. Zero honks are given to the fact the we take three ourselves. Unstable Mutation doesn't technically have range, as you need to have a creature to assist it, but in Magical Christmas Land it deals 6 for one blue. Psionic Blast is of course insane, and one of the top burn spells in the format. It kills anything south of Juzams, from Serra Angels to opponents.

Then we have the utility cards. Four Unsummon seemed like the correct removal suite. In this deck they are basically a Time Walk against opponents playing Factories, and they are solid answers to first turn Hypnotics or early Djinns. I considered playing Boomerangs instead, but the extra mana makes a difference and there are not many non-creature permanents apart from Nevinyrral's Disk that scare us.

Sweetest card is probably the two Masks though. While arguably not a great card, they are not terrible and any lack in playability they make up in hilarity. The first time I played this deck was against Björn-Einar Bjartnes during a retro-game exibit at the Oslo Technical Museum. We had joined the exibit mostly to see John Romero's talk about DOOM 2, but took some time to swing cardboard from the era as well. I managed to win most of the games against his Red/Green concatenation and I the masks did a lot of work. Not only that they neglect the drawback of the Djinns and Efreets for a turn turn, they can make attacking a nightmare. If I spend three mana to cast a hidden creature, most players wouldn't dare to attack into it with a Kird Ape. Even though it's only a one in five chance it's a creature that could kill it, it's not a gamble many are willing to take.

I also got to use the Mask to cast Serendib Djinns under a City in a Bottle when playing against Hardy's Distress deck at a local pub (as the Djinns have no name when I mask them). They still die as soon as they would deal damage or become tapped, but you can use them to chump block or just bide your time until you draw one of the sideboarded Boomerangs.
City of Serendib
So is the deck actually good? Yeah, I guess. I would say at least a six on a one to ten scale as power level goes. It can ignore most of the common hate like Energy Flux, Blood Moon and Underworld Dreams. It's fast and beats hard, and should one have access to blue power it grows stronger. Not the least, it's amusing to play and smashing face with mutated Serendib Djinns is sweet. If you're looking for a "cheaper-than-standard" deck to get you into the format, Suicide Blue seems like a good enough gateway drug.

18 kommentarer:

  1. Finally!! A deck with the best bolt ever, Mind Bomb! :D


  2. What are the 4 cards on the top row between the Serendib Djinns and the islands? (Love the blog BTW)

    1. Thanks!
      They are Mishra's Factories (spring version).

  3. Just awesome Magnus! , earlier today i did build an Green-black reanimate deck that i will try out in Oslo tomorrow :) // Jhovalking

  4. Been thinking about a Blue deck similar to this one, seems fun :)

  5. @Jhoval: That sounds awesome! Looking forward to beating it ;)

    @David: It is! I think it has a lot of potential ways to be built, e.g. Merfolk Assassin / War Barge combo could actually be playable. I have also tinkered with Phantasmal Terrain, they shut down factories or Libraries for two mana, and they make Dan-Dan and Lord of Atlantis much stronger. Lots of ways to go here :)

    @Cof: Right now it's 4 Energy Flux, 4 Blue Elemental Blast, 3 Boomerang, 2 Old Man of the Sea and 2 Dan-Dan.

  6. Blue deck with same creatures like this deck was the first i ever did build in 93/94 :) Only had 2 Djinn and 2 Efreet, think I played Dandan in main.

    Did not own any Mind Bombs back then, still dont :/
    I used Counterspell instead on Mind Bomb.

    Felt like I needed power in that deck, could also been the matchups against like 4 or 5 WW in 6 games..
    Blue power incoming now, just need to find a nice Time Walk, then I maby try this kind of deck again

  7. I have a similar (revised-proxied)deck, but lacking the djinns. But the Phantasmal Forces do their job. And i skip the Merfolk package (missing Lords of Atlantis)instead i play Zephyr Falcon and Phantom Monster. The Falcon is really good to mutate, often end up as a last turn chump Before succumbing to an unstable death. Play Deserts as well, don´t know if it´s Worth it, but i feel like the deck can manage 6 colorless sources (play only 2 deserts).
    Have you tried Sunken city? as a sorceryspeed morale? to slow?
    I also play a couple of Psycic Purge, man i wish these were instants.

  8. why 3 tolarias instead of 1 + 2 islands? I mean, if you already got one in play, that's it

    1. They are less painful to sacrifice to the Djinns.

  9. @Jonas: Cool! Zephyr Falcon is probably better than I've been giving it credit for, never actually considered it here. I also like the idea of looking at sunken city as a Morale with lategame upside rather than a terrible Crusade/Bad Moon. Could very well be worth testing, and they are dirt cheap after all :) Desert looks like a good fit also, yeah. Probably won't cut Factories for them, but maybe one Tolaria and/or an Island. Combo well with Serendib Djinns and can help 1/1s kill opposing Factories. Thanks for all the suggestions!

    @Anonym: The deck can operate fully on 3-4 mana, so the legendary rule is usually not that bad. The fact that I can sacrifice them to Serendib Djinn without taking 3 damage is the main reason for including so many.

  10. I've been trying to put this set together before my big trip next week, but sadly I don't think my Psionic Blasts will arrive in time. :( Any recommendations on budget cards that I could slide into this deck to replace them for now?

    1. They will be missed, I think. Replacements depend a little on what you can have at hand. Phantasmal Forces might work, they deal a lot of damage and can often double as some kind of removal for cards like Serra Angel and Serendib Efreet (which is sometime the role of the blasts). Possibly, you could try out maindeck Energy Flux. Could give you a few "free wins" against artifact heavy decks, and they are rarely really dead.

      Otherwise, if the meta is high on Islands but fairly low on City in a Bottle, Dan-Dan could make the cut pretty well I think.

  11. While not a great solution, I happen to have 2 Phantasmal Terrains and 2 Dandans on hand that I'll probably throw in there for my trip. Here's hoping the right combo hits my hand. :)

  12. While not a great solution, I happen to have 2 Phantasmal Terrains and 2 Dandans on hand that I'll probably throw in there for my trip. Here's hoping the right combo hits my hand. :)

  13. Just throwing a few out there....some of them may be silly, possibly asinine (you'll know which). First, Old Man of the Sea....he is amazingly cool to play with and every time I have ever put him in play I end in victory. Coincidence? Probably. And where is Merchant Ship? Not in any decks apparentley haha. Understandable.