Squirrel Prison

Building On A Budget - Squirrel Prison

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For those of you who have been reading all about Tribal for the past few weeks, it's time for a break. This deck is for the current Standard environment, ripe for the 8-man tourneys, and perhaps even a grinder or two at Nationals. Since Grand Prix--Memphis, when Mikey P and I showcased the original deck, Squirrel Prison has had a presence in every environment where Oppositions and squirrels where available. The big change is that the original version used the much more powerful (and not in the format) Deranged Hermit, where this one uses Squirrel Nest.

The idea behind is to slow the game down enough with Moment's Peace to cast Opposition and Squirrel Nest, then making a large amount of Icily Manipulating squirrels and tapping your opponent's offensive measures. When possible, you lock up the game by casting Static Orb, allowing you to keep all of your opponent's permanents tapped forever while you untap everything (by tapping the Static Orb during your opponent's end step). The game tends to end rather quickly when this happens.

Building on a Budget - Squirrel Prison

A good start will have you playing an elf, casting Quiet Speculation for two Deep Analysis and a Moment's Peace, then building your mana base while fogging and drawing cards until you can lock up the game.

Be careful about getting yourself fog-locked. This means that you are forced to use your mana playing Moment's Peace every turn to keep from losing the game. Fogging every turn isn't a problem if you have extra mana available to play other spelss. When you're using all your mana, all you're doing is delaying the inevitable.

Try to get a Squirrel Nest on the table early -- it will let you chump block your opponent's Wild Mongrels, Rootwallas, and Roar of the Wurm tokens. Don't play Moment's Peace unless you have to, or unless you will need to use all of your mana on the next turn and fear losing shortly afterwards.

Tips On Playing The Deck

  • It's ok to go to low life against non-burn decks. Deep Analysis away!

  • Sometimes your Merfolk Looter is better used tapping attackers rather than drawing cards.

  • You might be forced to play Static Orb on turn 3, then Opposition on turn 5. Don't be afraid to, but make sure you at least have an elf or Looter to tap the Orb so you can get a Nest down.

  • Watch out for Ray of Revelation -- it's your biggest foil.

  • Try to Concentrate as soon as possible -- you'll need the mana later for Moment's Peace.

  • Watch out for your opponent playing Cunning Wish for Ray of Revelation.

  • Sometimes it's more effective to tap all of your opponent's lands rather than his or her creatures.


Roar of the Wurm/Ray of Revelation
Adding Roar of the Wurm will help against Red-Green and Elves. Since these decks have problems dealing with fatties, it's convenient that you can fetch Roars out with your Speculations. The same goes for Ray of Revelation against Wake or Slide.

Memory Lapse
Against Control you will probably want to have more countermagic -- probably Memory Lapses. This will help you get your Opposition into play and cut your opponent's mana supply. If you can do that, it's much easier to get a Nest into play (tap your opponent's land at the end of his or her turn, and the rest during your first main phase).

Krosan Reclamation
Krosan Reclamation can help you against decks that try to proactively Quiet Speculation for Ray of Revelation (insurance against your lock). This means your opponent would have to draw them, giving you time to build up a handful of countermagic.

It may sound strange, but some sort of life gain card may be in order to help save you from burn. There are lots of options available, but I think Biorhythm would be the most fun, considering you should have a bunch of creatures and it would also let you end the game quickly so you won't lose in the long run if you can't find a Static Orb.

Adding Money To The Deck

This deck certainly wants Circular Logics -- I would have them in over Syncopate except that they shot up to an obscene price shortly after I started writing this column.

I would also consider adding a fourth Opposition to the deck. It's not essential, but it increases the odds of getting the Llanowar Elves/Squirrel Nest/Opposition draw. Obviously, adding Birds of Paradise also increases the chance of the perfect opening hand -- fixing your mana and giving you more Icy Manipulators.

Alternative Builds

Another interesting way to build this deck is going black and blue -- adding a lot of Duresses, Cabal Therapies, and Mesmeric Fiends. This gives you a stronger game versus Control, but also makes it hard to create enough creatures for your Opposition to be effective. It still doesn't really solve the Ray of Revelation issue, either.

An effective but more expensive alternative to this deck is to play it Beatdown style. Use cards like Wild Mongrel and Call of the Herd to round out your creature base. After all, you'll be hard pressed to find more lethal Icy Manipulators!


Squirrel Prison is a fun and competitive deck that will teach you a lot about the Magic game. I strongly recommend it to players who have their roots in decks that try to lock the game up. It's a powerful deck that you can squeak by for under 30 tickets, although it is hard. Consider it an investment in Circular Logics and Birds, which you will use for a long time to come.

Until next time, may X equal 20.

Nate Heiss
Team CMU
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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