Playing With Fire (And Lightning)

Building On A Budget - Vaultatog

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I hope everyone had a great holiday season and a happy new year! I personally disappeared for a week, much to the chagrin of Dan Myers, but a guy's got to keep his editor on his toes, sometimes! Yep--after a busy week full of gifts, parties, and fireworks, I wake up and reminisce about...Atogs. Disciples of the Vault fill my dreams. In them I am attacking with Fireshrieker-equipped Nim Shriekers (because it only makes sense, right?).

Ever since the Mirrodin set came out I have wanted to write about a deck like this, and the time has finally come. Anyone who has played the set realizes how much fun Disciple of the Vault is and tries to come up with some deck concoction that will make use of the bugger. Hey, I even played it in the sideboard of my Affinity deck at States to help ward off Akroma's Vengence. (Wrath me? Well take 8!)

This deck was partially inspired by Aaron Brieder's Atog/Grab the Reins deck that he played at States, however, there's a lot more going on here. Aaron's deck was basically Affinity with Grab the Reins and Atog. I spiced things up a little by adding Disciple of the Vault and Myr Incubator. The obvious cool setup is activating the Incubator, getting 20 critters, and then sacking them all to Atog, dealing 20 points with your Disciple.

Ok, so maybe it's a little overdrawn and flashy, but killing your opponent in interesting and flashy ways is what sometimes makes the game fun. Personally, I wouldn't mind attacking with an Atog that has Fireshrieker on it and watch my opponent do math. Unfortunately, there's no way in the deck to give the Atog trample, but if you want to go for a stylish kill, try adding Loxodon Warhammer or Megatog to the deck.

Building on a Budget - Vaultatog

Tips On Playing The Deck

  • Don't sacrifice Fireshrieker to Atog while first strike damage is on the stack -- it won't do normal damage.

  • Sometimes it's correct to not equip a creature with Lightning Greaves if it's your only creature, since you might want to equip other things you'll draw later. However, it's always correct of you have more than one creature.

  • Be careful about throwing all your efforts into getting out the Incubator unless you think you'll be able to activate it without it getting destroyed before you untap.

  • Try to play your Greaves on turn 2 instead of a mana Myr. That way, when you play your Myr on turn 3, you can give it haste--it's much more mana efficient.

  • There are lots of great Grab targets (Atog, Enforcer, Shrieker). It's not too hard to entwine in this deck, but you'll usually only be using one part of Grab or the other.

  • This deck comes out fast and wins from left field. While this may not be as strange as they come, it's certainly my flavor of deck.

The most interesting part about this deck from a deckbuilding standpoint is the strange equipment configuration. Two Bonesplitters? Two Fireshriekers? Three Lightning Greaves? What happened to having four copies of a card in the deck for consistency?

I wanted to have four equipment cards in the deck to help make my critters bigger, and Bonesplitter and Fireshrieker are the best suited. While you might say, "Why not run four Bonesplitters for consistency?" Or, "If Fireshrieker is better than Bonesplitter, why not run four of those?"

The effect of Fireshrieker isn't cumulative; hence drawing two of them kind of sucks. If you only play two in the deck, this won't happen as much, but you'll still have access to the power of drawing one on occasion. To me, this made a having two of each a good choice. The same thing goes for Lightning Greaves as the Fireshrieker--where drawing more than one isn't stellar. I decided to play three since there isn't another card that can duplicate the Greaves effect other than Fires of Yavimaya.

If you draw a Fireshrieker, all of your creatures can go really large--like Myr Enforcer, Atog, and Nim Shrieker. The strength of Fireshrieker alone can win games for you. One of the coolest draws this deck can get involves casting a turn 3 Myr Enforcer with haste off a Lightning Greaves, a mana Myr, and three artifact lands. Then on the next turn, moving the greaves to the Myr so you can cast and equip the Enforcer with Fireshrieker, then moving the Greaves back on for added protection. Yeah, that means your opponent is on 8 life on turn 4 staring down your 4/4 untargetable double striker!

Ok, enough about Fireshrieker. While the card is cool, this deck is about Disciple of the Vault! The little critter can really pack a punch--especially with everyone playing more artifacts. This deck is Block Constructed legal, and in Mirrodin Block there should be plenty of artifacts dying to help trigger it. While in this deck the Disciple can only be triggered off of Atogs, Spellbombs, and Grab the Reins, you can modify the deck to have cards like Krark-Clan Grunt to increase the damage. In my experience, however, Atog should get the job done.

Notice the abundance of Myr in the deck. It's not only about mana acceleration (or the fact that I love them)...these critters routinely win the game by jumping in front and becoming a speed bump for your opponent's team. After chump blocking they activate the Disciple and help get in those last few crucial points of damage while you come over in the air with your Nim Shrieker or on the ground with a menacing creature.

Adding More Money To The Deck

Glimmervoids and Chrome Moxes could increase the consistency and speed of the deck. Megatog makes it pack a harder punch, but I wouldn't play more than two.

If you don't like the black, this deck can easily be converted to Affinity with blue and Broodstars. Pentavus can make for some interesting times with Disciple of the Vault, since you can spend 2 mana to chump block then sacrifice the Pentavite you just made to do a point of damage.

Beyond that, I would keep the deck pretty much the way it is. The only other card that could really go in here is Shrapnel Blast, which seems like a good add to any deck. I would swap out some Myrs for it if anything.

Until next time, Grab your Avatar.

Nate Heiss
Team CMU
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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