Categories
Magic

Magic the Gathering: Deck Design: Persist deck

From my Last Magic article, I want to continue talking about how I build my decks.

Theme:
So, I don’t like building decks that are too powerful that win on the first turn (like my Hulk flash deck), because they aren’t fun to play against. Nor do I like to build crappy decks that always lose. I like to strive for the middle. A good combination of cards that are fun to play, and have some neat combo flavor to it (I’m a Johnny player). So every deck has a theme to it. A bunch of cards that work well together. I call this deck Persistence is Futile because it uses the mechanic Persist. Basically, any creature with Persist has the ability to come back from the graveyard after it dies with a -1/-1 counter on it. If it dies with a -1/-1 counter on it, it doesn’t come back. I’m going to exploit this mechanic to make a deck.

Lands: (20/60)
So by rule, every constructed deck I play is 60 cards, no more, no less. This is the optimal number of cards. The optimal number of lands is about 1/3, or 20 cards. So 20 cards are lands. Since a lot of hard to kill creatures with Persist reside in Green/White, I choose to use Green/White as my mana base. So what lands are good for green/white? Temple GardenRazorverge Thicket both give green white so I’ll put those in. Since persist also works well with +1/+1 counters (which cancel out -1/-1 counters), I’ll put Oran-Rief, the Vastwood in, which I can use to make my persist creatures near invincible by cancelling out -1/-1 counters. Since there are a number of nonbasic lands, I don’t want to use Sunpetal Grove, Windswept Heath or Brushland since they are suboptimal for this deck. I will put in one Yavimaya Hollow because its legendary, and it can regenerate my creatures, making them even harder to kill, and round out the rest of the mana curve with plains and forest. I have more plains because I’m going to be using more white cards. So the decklist so far looks like:

//Lands:20
4 Razorverge Thicket
4 Temple Garden
4 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
6 Plains
1 Forest
1 Yavimaya Hollow

Creatures: (20/60)
For creatures, this becomes fairly simple. Put mostly creatures with persist, along with a few additional creatures that can come back after they die. So G/W creatures with persist are Safehold EliteKitchen Finks, and Heartmender, which I will put in since they have synergy with the theme. I will not put 4 Heartmender since they are a bit costly at 4 mana. I will also put in 4 Epochrasite as they come back 3 turns after they are killed. Some Eternal Witness are also nice to bring back some non creature cards back. A single Mikaeus, the Lunarch helps distribute +1/+1 counters, and Melira, Sylvok Outcast single-handedly makes persistence creatures invincible if she isn’t killed. So the creatures:

//Creatures:20
4 Safehold Elite
Kitchen Finks
4 Epochrasite
3 Heartmender
3 Eternal Witness
1 Mikaeus, the Lunarch
1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast

There are other creatures I could’ve considered. Green/White has a lot of creatures that are generally hard to kill, but I considered all the options. Troll Ascetic and Thrun, the Last Troll are hard to kill but require 2 mana open to regenerate. Mother of Runes requires one turn to be able to tap due to summoning sickness. Glory and Genesis are doable, but requires some mana open and a way to get them to the graveyard. Forgotten Ancient requires multiplayer to really shine. Vengevine needs more creature spells to be cast. Spawnwrithe needs to hit the player at least once. Phytohydra is too costly. Darksteel Myr doesn’t have any power. Anurid Brushhopper needs 2 cards to discard. Phantom Nantuko, Cho-manno, RevolutionaryWeatherseed Treefolk and Commander Eesha while durable, still doesn’t fit well into this deck’s theme. So there’s not much room for changing cards here.

Non Creature Spells: (20/60)
The final third of the deck are non creature spells. Here, there can be lots of options. I wanted some ways to get rid of creatures and permanents. Swords to Plowshares and Oblivion Ring will do fine here. A way to protect creatures from hate is needed. Lightning Greaves is the standard way to do that. Power Conduit is the combo card I use with Persist, So I’ll put 4 of those in. Since the creatures are going to be hard to kill, it wouldn’t hurt to add Worship and Luminarch Ascension in as well. Cream of the Crop is going in as a one of, since it works better than Sensei’s Divining Top in this deck. As for the remaining 3 slots, they are really debatable, but I’ll put Umezawa’s JitteGarruk WildspeakerElspeth, Knight-Errant, just because they’re good in any deck. So the final decklist:

//Lands:20
4 Razorverge Thicket
4 Temple Garden
4 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
6 Plains
1 Forest
1 Yavimaya Hollow

//Creatures:20
4 Safehold Elite
Kitchen Finks
4 Epochrasite
3 Heartmender
3 Eternal Witness
1 Mikaeus, the Lunarch
1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast

//Non-Creatures: 20
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Oblivion Ring
2 Luminarch Ascension
2 Lightning Greaves
Worship
4 Power Conduit
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Cream of the Crop

And there you go! The construction of a fun, casual deck to play around with. Some of the more expensive cards can be swapped out. Swords can be replaced by Path to Exile. Greaves with Swiftfoot Boots. Jitte with Basilisk Collar (or Rancor, if you need a form of evasion). Temple Garden with Graypelt Refuge. Elspeth doesn’t have a good replacement, but Darksteel Plate can still make your critters indestructible, or Ajani Goldmane, which is generally easier to get than Elspeth, and fits well. If you want to make the deck legal for Modern format, you can replace Yavimaya Hollow and Genesis with something else. Add some more land in, or I would say Juniper Order Ranger if nothing else, since it fits so well :).

Edit: I decided I wasn’t using enough green in this deck, so I took them out and made the deck all white instead. I have three Mother of Runes and Glory to help protect creatures. Heliod, God of the Sun and Dawn Elemental cost 4 mana, but are very difficult to kill. Ajani Goldmane and Ajani, Caller of the Pride actually works much better in this deck too. And Story Circle makes it very hard for the opponent to get in damage. ALso, Kjeldoran Outpost is a really really good card. I have also thought about putting in Gift of Immortality or Indestructibility but haven’t figured out what to take out yet. So the final decklist is this:

All White Persist:

//Lands:20
3 Kjeldoran Outpost
3 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
13 Plains
1 Kor Haven

//Creatures:21
4 Safehold Elite
Kitchen Finks
4 Epochrasite
3 Heartmender
3 Mother of Runes
1 Glory
1 Dawn Elemental
1 Heliod, God of the Sun

//Non-Creatures: 19
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Oblivion Ring
2 Luminarch Ascension
Worship
4 Power Conduit
1 Ajani Goldmane
2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Story Circle