Some Old-School Shoot-'Em-Up Action

Building On A Budget - Gunner

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Way back in the stone age of Magic--when Erhnam Djinns battled with Swords to Plowshares--players dueled not with netdecks and finely honed skills, but rather with whatever they had in their bag and a little bit of luck. People won with style, and they had fun doing it.

Those of you who remember those days undoubtedly remember a little gunner named Orcish Artillery. Orcish Artillery is a cool card; it shoots your opponents, their creatures, you…pretty much anything it can fire at. Orcs just like shooting things I guess.

Some creative person read the card a few times and decided to use our little gunner in a deck that included Spirit Link. This didn't stop the Artillery from shooting everything in sight, but now instead of a wild child running amok in a house of glass, the Artillery resembled a ward patient bouncing around his padded cell--causing lots of chaos, but not hurting himself.

That deck was a ton of fun to play, yet I haven't seen many people using it in the past few years. Well, this deck is about crazy Orcs, Goblins, gaining life, and overkill. You might not win the Pro Tour with this, but you're going to have a blast. A "hit you for 7 and gain 7" kind of blast.

Building on a Budget - Gunner

Main Deck

60 cards

12  Mountain

20 lands

Deftblade Elite
Goblin Grappler
Goblin Striker
Lava Hounds
Orcish Artillery

24 creatures

Loxodon Warhammer
Spirit Link

16 other spells

Yep--all the platinum hits. Cards that will just make you smile when you slam them down onto the table. Goblin Grappler, Lava Hounds, Goblin Striker, Orcish Artillery--they're all here. And they're just itching to be equipped with Bonesplitters and Warhammers...and then getting Spirit Linked; taming their reckless ways.

The basic plan is to either get an Orcish Artillery or Sparksmith into play with Spirit Link or Loxodon Warhammer on it. Sometimes you'll get interesting things going with your little creatures like Deftblade Elite, Goblin Striker, and Goblin Grappler. Lava Hounds is your backup fatty when you need to get some real meat into the red zone. The joys of tapping a Sparksmith to deal 4 damage to a creature and netting 4 life is hard to convey with the written word. And, let me assure you, you'll have a smile on your face the whole time your Goblin Striker is swinging in with a Loxodon Warhammer in its fist.

You have to be careful about over-committing. Usually there aren't any problems, but sometimes your whole board will implode to a cycled Slice and Dice. Be careful--running out of creatures on the board to equip is no fun. You'll generally use your mana to equip and not to play all your creatures--doing so impacts the game while conserving cards in your hand. The worst feeling in the world is when you have equipment in play and a Spirit Link in hand but nothing to put them on. Take care this doesn't happen to you.

Tips On Playing The Deck

  • Sometimes you need to Spirit Link your Lava Hounds. That's fine; however, it's rarely correct to Spirit Link a 1/1 unless it's Sparksmith.

  • Don't be afraid to use Spirit Link creature carrying a Loxodon Warhammer--you'll just gain double the life!

  • Deftblade Elite is often best used on defense. (And, yes, its ability will keep you from gaining life off of it.)

  • Try to keep your Bonesplitters on the same creatures attacking with the Warhammer so you net more life.

  • Remember that you can pass the Warhammer around. Shooting with a Warhammered Sparksmith and then passing it to an attacker is powerful and will gain you a ton of life.

  • Don't be afraid of trading your Grapplers away for creatures unless you need them as Goblin fuel for Sparksmith.

  • Orcish Artillery is a 1/3--don't forget it makes a great blocker!

Adding Money To The Deck

The coolest card would be Exalted Angel with a Warhammer or Spirit Link for some really insane life-gaining action. If you want to go for something cheaper, try Essence Sliver and then maybe add a few Hunter Slivers to mix things up.

If you're looking for something really bizarre, try out War Elemental. You should be able to sneak it out there after shooting your opponent with Orcish Artillery, then attacking with your other creatures to start making it big.

If you're going to add Exalted Angel and/or War Elemental, I recommend adding City of Brass as well.

You could also upgrade the Lava Hounds into Siege-Gang Commanders. That should put a boost in your Sparksmith's ability. The only other real cool addition to the deck might be a Goblin Sharpshooter. Not because it's great in the deck, but rather because it makes a great gunner, and fits right in with the theme.

Until next time, sling that fire.

Nate Heiss
Team CMU
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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