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Rec/Sur Primer (draft?)
By Oscar Tan aka Rakso
History is coming soon.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rec/Sur Primer by JP "Polluted" Meyer, the Archivist, www.bdominia.com

The Recurring Survival deck is by far the most versatile deck in the history of Magic. Imagine for a moment a deck that has access to nearly every card in the deck at instant speed. That is the raw power of Rec/Sur.

The name Rec/Sur is a bit of a misnomer. The original Rec/Sur decks were very dependent on Recurring Nightmare because they lacked Krovikan Horror and Squee, Goblin Nabob and were built for Type 2 play, so they could not use dual lands and had somewhat shaky mana bases. The modern decks depend almost entirely on the card advantage gained through the use of Survival of the Fittest and the Horror and Squee.

Rec/Sur has not, however been a popular deck in Type 1. It suffers from two problems, one minor and one major. The minor problem is the "Where's my toys?" syndrome. Rec/Sur players don't get the chance to play many of the Type 1 power cards. The major problem is its severe weakness to combo decks. Rec/Sur is a little slow to set up and does not play much disruption.

JP Meyer’s Wheaties

Creatures (28)
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Wall of Roots
4 Academy Rector
2 Quirion Ranger
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
1 Krovikan Horror
1 Gorilla Shaman
1 Uktabi Orangutan
1 Spike Weaver
1 Spike Feeder
1 Phyrexian Plaguelord
1 Tradewind Rider
1 Deranged Hermit
1 Thrull Surgeon
1 Wood Elves
1 Dwarven Miner
1 Monk Idealist
1 Monk Realist

Utility (10)
4 Survival of the Fittest
2 Recurring Nightmare
1 Moat
1 Opposition
1 Rising Waters
R Demonic Tutor

Fruity Pebbles Kill (3)
1 Enduring Renewal
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Shield Sphere

Land (19)
4 Savannah
4 Bayou
4 Taiga
4 Tropical Island
1 Forest
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Volrath's Stronghold

Card by card analysis:

Land mix- Green mana is extremely important to the Rec/Sur deck. Not only is it needed to power Survival of the Fittest, but most of the creatures in the deck are green. They also provide excellent synergy with Quirion Ranger. The two legendary lands are for very specific purposes. The Phyrexian Tower is used to sacrifice Academy Rectors, but can also be used in a pinch to fizzle a well-placed Swords to Plowshares, get a creature into the graveyard so Recurring Nightmare can be used, or (albeit rarely) generate BB. Volrath's Stronghold serves two purposes. It is used not only to reuse creatures such as Thrull Surgeon that need to die to be useful, but can also be used to fizzle some graveyard removal such as Planar Void or Phyrexian Furnace.

Survival of the Fittest- The key card in the deck. The primary purpose of this card to is fetch Squee, Goblin Nabob and/or Krovikan as soon as possible to gain enormous card advantage. They also can be used to fill up your graveyard to allow for Recurring Nightmare to be used. Four of these are required in any build.

Recurring Nightmare- The usefulness of this card has declined since the deck was first created, however it still plays an important role. It is used to recycle the large amounts of single creatures in this deck. It can also be used to provide another way to kill Academy Rectors. The number of these vary wildly between 1 and 4. 1's and 2's are used primarily by Survival decks using Academy Rectors. Rector-less and B/G decks tend to use 3 or 4.

Moat- This powerful enchantment can singe-handedly wins games against many prevalent Type 1 decks. Necro and most beatdown decks may very likely be unable to win when this enters play. Remember though, Moat affects you as well, so you'll need to either win through the Pebbles combo or with a Spike-enhanced Birds of Paradise or Tradewind Rider.

Opposition and Rising Waters- These two cards work together. Opposition is typically brought out against control decks and slower creature-based Necrodecks. Also, if you manage to survive long enough, Opposition can provide a win against combo decks, provided you can get it into play. The Rising Waters is used to cement the lock and often elicits a concession from control players. Opposition tends to occur as a 1-of in Rector-based Rec/Sur. Other multicolor Rec/Sur decks tend to either run 2 or 3 or none at all. Rising Waters is only played as a 1-of in Rector-based Rec/Sur, and is far from required. Although Rising Waters also affects you, between your mana critters and Quirion Rangers, you should barely feel it. A timing trick with Rising Waters allows you to potentially get a free mana during your upkeep. Here’s how:

1. For this to work, all your lands must be untapped.
2. Put the upkeep effect of Rising Waters on the stack.
3. Tap a land for mana in response
4. The land will now untap. You’ll need to spend the mana during your upkeep, which shouldn’t be too tough if you have Survival in play.

Demonic Tutor- One of the most powerful search cards in Magic, it's just too good to pass up.

The Fruity Pebbles Combo (Enduring Renewal/Goblin Bombardment/Shield Sphere)- This provides a quick way to finish off beatdown decks that have been locked down and slower non-blue based control decks. They also help the deck win in the allotted 50 minutes rounds. Shield Sphere and Goblin Bombardment are also useful by themselves in this deck, as Shield Sphere is a nice blocker and Goblin Bombardment is useful for fizzling Swords to Plowshares or to finish an opponent off. This combo is not needed at all, although it is very useful.

Birds of Paradise- Mana is the lifeblood of this deck, and these are the best card for the job. They are needed to power the spells of every color that the deck plays, and are searchable with Survival. Four are required.

Wall of Roots- These also provide a dual role. The first role is to blunt an aggressive deck's attack. The second is to supercharge your Survivalling. They have the advantage over Vine Trellis as they can be used on both your turn and your opponent's turn. Four are almost always used, and occasionally Vine Trellis is used as a 5th wall.

Academy Rector-Another extremely important card. These allow your Survival of the Fittest to fetch not only creatures, but enchantments as well. They also allow for interesting sideboarding choices, such as including single hoser cards. They can also serve as pseudo-Moats against creature decks and are needed to assemble the Fruity Pebbles combo if you wish to pursue that victory condition. The number of these vary based on the number of enchantments you wish to run in your deck. The above deck has 8 different enchantments, so the maximum of 4 are needed, although many decks run either 2 or none at all.

Quirion Ranger- One of the most flexible cards in the deck. One of the reason this deck runs 17 "Forests" is to allow for maximum synergy with this card. It also helps work around turns where you miss land drops by letting you return a tapped Dual to your hand to (usually) untap a Bird, netting you twice as much mana from each. The also stop land destruction and reduce damage from the deadly Price of Progress. In a 5 color deck, 2 or 3 work well, however in a B/G Rec/Sur deck, usually at most 1 are needed, as the color requirements are far more lenient.

Squee, Goblin MACHINE and Krovikan Horror- These are the cards that the engine work. Discard Squee and/or the Horror to Survival and get whatever creature you need. Then get them back and do it again. Also, you can use Squee well with Recurring Nightmare in a pinch if needed. The Horror also provides a nice Plow-fizzling effect and direct damage source to boot. You should have at least 2 of these cards in any combination (1 of each is preferred,) with the possibility of even going as high as 4 Squees.

Gorilla Shaman- A Type 1 staple, with all the Moxen running around, he's practically required. One is all you'll need.

Uktabi Orangutan- The Mox Monkey's complement. While Gorilla Shaman is superior for killing small stuff like Moxen and Zuran Orbs, the infamous Sex Monkey is more effective against aggressive decks for killing their Cursed Scrolls while providing a useful blocker or for dealing with large artifacts like Mirror Universe or Nevinyrral's Disk. You'll probably only need 1, although you could run a second in the board or possibly even use Devout Witness (especially if you already have Gorilla Shaman.)

Spike Weaver- Moat's complement. While Moat provides a more concrete solution to a creature rush, it takes a little longer to set up due to the Rector sacrificing involved. The Weaver provides you with three beatdown-less turns and can be Recurred when he runs out. One or two should suffice, especially if you run Moat.

Spike Feeder- Another useful anti-beatdown creature. Remember under 6th edition rules you can block an opponent's creature with the Feeder, and in response to damage being placed on the stack, you can sac him to gain 4 life. Be careful with him if you are low on life against a deck with burn. Remove a counter, let the effect resolve, then remove the last counter. If you’re not careful and just drop him into the graveyard and say “Gain 4 life,” you’re opponent may go “Bolt, Bolt, Fireblast” before your lifegain resolves and possibly kill you. He's also useful for transferring counters to the Weaver to keep the Fog going or to Birds of Paradise if you need to fly over a Moat. Either 1 or 2 should be enough, and if you're confident enough with Moat/Weaver or are running cards like Ivory Mask, you might not play with any.

Phyrexian Plaguelord- The big creature remover. In addition to making all of your creatures pseudo-Mogg Fanatics, he himself can take down x/8 creatures by himself. He combos very well with Deranged Hermit and lets you kill your Academy Rectors. He also has the added bonus that his abilities can take down the rare regenerator as well. Lastly, he can beat for 4 if necessary. 1 seems like the right number, although just using Krovikan Horror may be enough as well.

Tradewind Rider- The jack-of-all-trades. The Tradewind provides temporary solutions to almost any permanent your opponent might play. It can also be used to land-lock slower opponents and has amazing synergy with Quirion Ranger and Deranged Hermit. You can also use the Tradewind to bounce your own creatures back to your hand and recast them to reuse any comes-into-play effects they have. The Tradewind is also nice for bouncing Moat or Rising Waters to your hand in a pinch if they begin to affect you too severely. The even provide a way to protect your creatures from Swords to Plowshares. 1, possibly 2 are useful, although they are not by any means required.

Deranged Hermit- Another jack-of-all-trades. He provides beatdown. He makes Nightmare fodder. He power Opposition and Tradewind Rider. He gives you an army of block-happy dorks. He’s just an absolutely amazing card in this deck. One is probably the right number, but if you want, he can be replaced with either Sliver Queen or the Best Fatty Ever Printed, Verdant Force.

Thrull Surgeon- The hand viewing effect of this card is almost as useful as the discard effect. If he can be Recurred, a Control deck will probably not be able to recover. This card also has amazing synergy with Tradewind Rider, as you can power the Tradewind with him and then make them discard the card you just bounced. 1 will be all you'll need.

Wood Elves- This deck only runs 19 land, so it is typical for it to possibly stall at a fairly low number of lands. Wood Elves smooth this out and then provide nice Nightmare fodder or a body to throw in front of a Pup or Juzam. If you're running more than around 22-23 lands or are only 2 colors, you probably won't need him. Otherwise, just play 1.

Dwarven Miner- While the Squirrel Prison of Deranged Hermit/Opposition or the bounce lock of Tradewind/Ranger may be more powerful, Dwarven Miner has an advantage over both: cost. The Miner costs a meager 1R to cast and only 2R to keep most Type 1 decks from raising their land count for the rest of the game. 1 is nice, however if your metagame lacks many multicolored decks, these could be moved to the sideboard or replaced with Avalanche Riders.

Monk Idealist- With all the single copies of enchantments in this deck, this is needed to stop any pinpoint enchantment removal. 1 is needed in Rector-based Rec/Sur, otherwise, you can skip this guy.

Monk Realist- Necropotence, The Abyss, Oath of Druids, Aura of Silence, Blood Moon, Planar Void. All of these can wreck havoc on you. This guy gives you a searchable Disenchant. 1 should be sufficient, although you can experiment with other choices like Elvish Lyrist and Devout Witness.

Card's that didn't make the cut but you might like:

Nekrataal/Bone Shredder- One of the more surprising omissions to some. To me, this guy can't stop large creatures like Juzam Djinn, Phyrexian Negator, and Morphling. The Shredder is even worse because it is an even less effective blocker than Nekrataal. All he can whack are they little guys. However, little guys can be easily killed by Plaguelord or Hermit, or are simply nullified by Rector, Moat, or Weaver.

Duress- Simply put, the only reason I don’t have it in my deck is because I don’t have enough black sources and the mana base is somewhat shaky as it is. If you run a heavier black component or are going B/G, then 3 or 4 are a no-brainer.

Ashen Ghoul- An old-school Rec/Sur card. These were used before Opposition against decks like Necro and Forbiddian that simply could not handle them forever. These are still usually used in Rector-less Survival decks in numbers of 3 or 4.

Ghitu Slinger/Triskellion- While the Slinger is nice for killing Rectors and weenies, there aren't as many weenies played in Type 1 than there are in say, Extended. Triskellion is even more powerful, but the 6 casting cost is just too unwieldy.

Wall of Blossoms- Some players love having these around to abuse Recurring Nightmare. I feel that the card advantage from Survival of the Fittest should be enough to win the game. Also, Moat and Spike Weaver are better defensive cards and Wall of Roots has a higher toughness.

Sliver Queen/Verdant Force/Spirit of the Night- These fatties can end a game in a hurry. Unfortunately, they have extremely high casting costs and will probably need to be Recurred into play. The Hermit is just as good, if not better for creature generation as well.

Elvish Lyrist- Realist has the advantage that he kills the enchantment RIGHT NOW. The only times I like Lyrist are to hose Trix or in B/G Rec/Sur decks.

Living Death- While it combines extremely well with Survival of the Fittest and stops weenie decks cold, it is expensive (3BB) and cannot be Survivalled for.

Abyssal Horror- Forcing your opponent to discard 2 cards may seem big, but when you remember that your opponent chooses the cards and that this guy costs 4BB, it isn’t as disruptive as it seems.

Radiant’s Dragoons- Some people look at this card and go “Whoa, this is better than Spike Feeder! You get more life and it’s bigger.” Well, it might be bigger and give you more life, but if you consider the Echo cost, it really costs more like 4WW. Also, Spike Feeder is green, and this deck produces tons of green mana. White on the other hand, can only be produced by 8 different cards, and 4 of those are creatures.

Firestorm- With the emphasis taken away from Living Death and Recurring Nightmare, these are just not as useful as they have been. Besides, you beat up beatdown decks anyhow, and it's hard to Firestorm a Negator for more than 1 or 2 when Necro has been destroying your hand.

Vampiric/Enlightened Tutors- Not needed in this version due to the 4 Rectors.

Winter Orb- Some people used this before Rising Waters was printed. It has the advantage of being easily castable and can be tapped to keep it from affecting you, but you need to use a Tutor to fetch it, rather than Survival or Rector.

City of Brass/Undiscovered Paradise/Gemstone Mine- This deck is very mana hungry, needing to Survival as well as cast the critters obtained through Survival. Undiscovered Paradise and Gemstone Mine don't seem to stick around long enough and City of Brass often causes a significant amount of damage.

Sideboard Possibilities:

One thing to always keep in mind while designing a sideboard is that you have to take out 1 card for every card you bring in. Keep this in mind so you don't put more cards in your sideboard against a certain deck than you can actually put into your deck.

Emerald Charm/Pyroblast/Elvish Lyrist/Devout Witness- If you expect a few combo decks (especially Trix) these guys can help you win that impossible matchup.

Lobotomy- While not searchable, these can simply cripple slow decks.

Light of Day/Choke/CoPs/Compost/Ivory Mask- One use of Academy Rector in this deck is the fact that allows you to use single copies of certain hoser cards (a "CMU Sideboard") against various strategies.

Rootwater Thief- With all the recursion and restricted cards in Type 1, Mike Long can quickly remove your opponent's key spells before they know it. I once used him to remove another Rec/Sur deck's Squee and Horror and an Oath deck's creatures with this.

Chains of Mephistopheles- A potent control hoser, remember that Survival of the Fittest doesn’t trigger the effect, since you’re not “drawing” cards

In the Eys of Chaos- This obscure Enchant World, it stops countermagic cold if you’ve got a Rector to get it with. With all Enchant Worlds, remember that your opponent can destroy yours with one of theirs and vice versa.

Gate to Phyrexia- Betcha don’t know what this card does. Anyway, if you have artifact-heavy decks in your metagame, such as Teletubbies, a copy of this card in your sideboard (if you’re playing with Rectors) can stop them cold.

Gate to Phyrexia
BB
Enchantment
Sacrifice a creature: Destroy target artifact. Play this ability only during your upkeep.

Playing The Deck

The most important thing to do in the early game is to get out a Survival of the Fittest. Against beatdown decks, just try to get it out as quickly as possible. Against any deck with counters, try quickly but be wary of Force Spike, Annul, and Force of Will, using Duress or Thrull Surgeon if possible to get information about their hand and strip away their counters. After sideboarding you can bring in more Duresses and possibly Pyroblasts to make this job easier.

So I've got the Survival, now what?

Take the time to analyze the situation. What immediate threats does my opponent have out? What are the key cards in their deck? Can they take out my Survival? Should I be afraid of effects that might remove my creatures from the game?

At this point, I tend to go for Squee. However, watch the board. If my opponent might be able to get off a Disenchant while I'm tapped out and wax my Survival, I might go for Monk Idealist first just to be safe. Now think about the answers you got to the mental questions you should have asked yourself and asses the board position. If you have a fair amount of mana (say 4 or 5,) going for a Weaver or Rector against a burn-less beatdown deck may be enough. Against Burn or Sligh, you might want to first get a Feeder. The Feeder can ruin an entire attack (I'll block your Pup let the Ball Lightning through. Now you have no creatures, took 2 damage from your Pup, and I only took 2 damage total) and costs less mana than the previous two suggestions.

Against Control, the answer isn't so easy. How many Counterspells? A low (8-10) count, ala Keeper, or a high (15-20) count, ala Forbiddian? What are they going to stop you with? A Morphling or The Abyss? Usually, the first thing I'll do is make sure I am Survivalling as much as I can with both Squee and the Horror. Thrull Surgeon is pure gold here as well. Developing your mana base is key as well, and extra Walls and Birds will be useful.

I think I've got the advantage, where do I go from here?

Against beatdown decks, if you've got out Recurring Weaver or a Moat with Idealist backup and make sure to keep burn spells in mind, you've got the game as good as won. The most common route now will be by going to infinity and beyond with the Fruity Pebbles combo. Use your Survival to get two Rectors, the Shield Sphere and a Plaguelord or Horror to kill them. You'll probably need a couple more turns to finish the combo unless you have around 10 mana. Lay the Rector and say done. Weave if necessary and find the other Rector, the Plaguelord or Horror, and the Shield Sphere at the end of your opponent's turn. Untap, get Squee back if you want or think you need to and draw. Now drop the Plaguelord/Horror. Sac the Rector (note, using either of the choices will take 5 mana, although the Plaguelord requires 3BB and the Horror takes 4B) and get Goblin Bombardment. You're probably tapped out, so let your opponent go. Again, Weave and/or get any other parts if necessary. Finally, cast the 2nd Rector, sac it to the Bombardment and get Enduring Renewal. Now play Shield Sphere and count down to 0.

An easier way is possible if you've got Recurring Nightmare in hand. Survival for a Rector, then Survival that Rector for another one (and get Shield Sphere if you haven't already.) If you've got 7 or more mana, you can cast Rector #1, use Nightmare to sac it for Rector #2 (getting Goblin Bombardment in the process of course) and sac that one to the Bombardment for Enduring Renewal.

Against Control, you'll probably need to go into Squirrel Prison mode or some similar situation. Try to force out a Rector, Miner, or Tradewind. The next step is to get out the Horror if you want to go for Squirrel Prison. This is actually quite easy, because if they counter it you can just Survival Squee (on your turn) and get the Horror back at the end of your turn so you can try again next turn. If you can get out a Miner or Tradewind, try to follow up with a Ranger and bounce or destroy all of their lands. If you've got out Opposition, the Hermit is your best choice. Icy Manipulator might not be playable in Type 1, but 5 Icy Manipulators for almost the same cost is some good I hear. If your opponent counters the Hermit, try Survivalling for as many cheap creatures as you can (Birds, Rangers, etc.) If your opponent is being stubborn, you can cement the game with Rising Waters and then use your creatures for what they were meant for: attacking. Unlike the matchup against beatdown decks, you're not under significant pressure to win quickly, so you will in all likelihood not need the Fruity Pebbles combo, and can usually side it out.

Using Recurring Nightmare

Learning how to properly use Recurring Nightmare takes some practice. Recurring Nightmare should be a last resort and not the main strategy. You should first try to hard cast your creatures, using the Nightmare only to bring them back for another use. The only times should try to use Recurring Nightmare as your main way to bring a creature into play is if it is an expensive creature such as Spirit of the Night, Verdant Force, or Sliver Queen.

Another thing to learn is when to cast the Nightmare. Decks like White Weenie that have access to enchantment removal may be able to Disenchant Recurring Nightmare if you leave it in play. Against them you should pretend Recurring Nightmare actually reads like this:

Recurring Nightmare
2B
Sorcery
Buyback-Sacrifice a creature
Return target creature from your graveyard to play.

However, this is not the properly play against a deck like Necro. Against Necro, the Nightmare will be a sitting duck in your hand. You should keep it in play against them, as they probably have no way to get rid of it while it’s in play, but can merely Duress it out of your hand.

Oh no, a combo deck! What do I do?

You're in quite a pickle now. Rec/Sur is just plain bad against combo decks. Unlike Necro, it doesn't have the disruption to keep the combo deck at bay. Unlike Sligh, it doesn't have the explosive speed to possibly outrace it. Unlike Keeper, it can't counter the key components. That's not to say that all is hopeless; you'll just have to do some testing and metagame analysis. Is there a lot of combo in your environment? How good are those combo players? Lastly, do your modifications do enough?

If the answer to question 1 is an astounding yes, you might want to choose a different deck. However, if the answer to question two is "not very" you have a chance. If they forgo cards like Firestorm or Contagion in their Trix decks, you may be able to auto-win with some Elvish Lyrists. You also get the minor factor of luck, as they may end up Consulting their deck away or improperly Necro.

If you want to try, here are some suggestions:

3-4 Duress- Vitally important. They disrupt the combo player many times long enough to possibly give you enough time to find another threat as well as letting you know how much of a clock you're against. You may need to slightly tweak your mana base around to provide for the necessary Black mana on turns 1 or 2.

2-4 Elvish Lyrist- Many Trix decks in Type 1 don't take these guys into account, because after all, who plays creatures in Type 1? They force Trix to find a Boomerang, Firestorm, or Contagion before they can begin to go off, or you can simply kill their Illusions in response to it's lifegain effect and kill them in one fell swoop.

Emerald Charm/Pyroblast (SB)- Again, more 1 casting cost threats that may let you win the game if you draw enough of them or at good times. Charm in response to your Illusion’s lifegain effect? Uh, Force that. Pyro the Force? I guess it's time for you to enter your scoop phase. Either that or they've probably had to pitch an Illusion or Donate and may very well stall out.

Another thing to watch out for is a switcheroo sideboard. If your opponent is smart, they might very well take out their Donates and Illusions and bring in Juzam Djinn, Phyrexian Negators, or Hypnotic Specters. You'll need to just be able to anticipate this. Watch how many cards they bring in. If it seems like a lot, they may be doing this.

Other Survival Decks (all are Extended legal

"Traditional" Rec/Sur, Theron "Master T" Martin

Creatures (26)
4 Wall of Roots
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Ashen Ghoul
1 Fyndhorn Elf
1 Quirion Ranger
1 Uktabi Orangutan
1 Spike Feeder
1 Spike Weaver
1 Monk Realist
1 Radiant Dragoon
1 Spirit of the Night
1 Sliver Queen
1 Krovikan Horror
1 Squee, Goblin Machine
1 Tradewind Rider
1 Thrull Surgeon
1 Avalanche Rider
1 Ghitu Slinger

Utility (13)
4 Survival of the Fittest
3 Recurring Nightmare
2 Firestorm
1 Haunted Crossroads
1 Living Death
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Vampiric Tutor

Land (22)
4 Bayou
3 Taiga
3 Savannah
2 Tropical Island
2 Forest
2 Badland
2 City of Brass
2 Mountain Valley
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Undiscovered Paradise

This type of Rec/Sur deck is the state-of-the-art of the old school style. It is very heavy in both Black and Red components. It lacks Academy Rectors, but uses Vampiric Tutor instead. Also, the lack of Rectors/Pebbles allows the deck to run far more utility creatures, such as Radiant's Dragoons, Spirit of the Night, and Sliver Queen.

Rickety Town, Nate Heiss and Aaron Forsythe

Creatures (20)
4 Wall of Roots
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Tradewind Rider
2 Squee Goblin Machine
1 Gilded Drake
1 Morphling
1 Quirion Ranger
1 Uktabi Orangutan
1 Peacekeeper
1 Monk Realist
1 Masticore

Utility (20)
4 Survival of the Fittest
4 Force of Will
4 Counterspell
3 Forbid
3 Tithe
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Aura of Silence

Land (20)
4 Tundra
4 Savannah
4 Tropical Island
3 Flood Plains
3 City of Brass
1 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island

A Recurring Nightmare-less take on the theme, this time behind the protection of countermagic. Note the amazing synergy of the 3 Forbids with Squee. The Underground Sea and Volcanic Island are bluffs. Since this deck does not have Recurring Nightmare, it runs Peacekeeper over Spike Weaver. It also needs to use Gilded Drake (combo with Tradewind!) and Masticore for creature removal, since it lacks the Black and Red creature-removal creatures that 5 color Rec/Sur decks run.

B/G Rec/Sur, Sol Malka

Creatures (23)
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Wall of Roots
3 Elvish Lyrist
3 Spike Feeder
2 Uktabi Orangutan
2 Spike Weaver
1 Cartographer
1 Deranged Hermit
1 Krovikan Horror
1 Phyrexian Plaguelord
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob

Utility (13)
4 Survival of the Fittest
4 Duress
2 Recurring Nightmare
2 Vampiric Tutor
1 Oath of Ghouls

Land (24)
12 Forest
4 Swamp
4 Bayou
4 Wasteland

This Rec/Sur loses the flexibility of the multi-color designs, but has an important advantage; it is far more difficult to manascrew. It also is far better against beatdown decks, as it has 3 Feeders and 2 Weavers. Another possibility for B/G Survival decks is to add an infinite combo. One that works in B/G is Initiates of the Ebon Hand/Workhorse/Recurring Nightmare/Deranged Hermit. This combo creates infinite mana and Squirrels the following way:

1. Get Workhorse into the graveyard, Recurring Nightmare in hand, and the Initiates and Hermit into play.
2. Recur Hermit for Workhorse.
3. Remove all 4 counters from Workhorse, converting the mana to BBBB through the Initiates.
4. Recur a Squirrel for Workhorse (B still in pool.)
5. Remove all 4 counters from Workhorse, converting the mana to BBBB through the Initiates.
6. Recur a Squirrel for Workhorse (BB still in pool.)
7. Remove all 4 counters from Workhorse, converting the mana to BBBB through the Initiates.
8. Recur a Squirrel for Workhorse (BBB still in pool.)
9. Remove all 4 counters from Workhorse, converting the mana to BBBB through the Initiates.
10. Recur a Squirrel for Workhorse (BBBB still in pool.)
11. Remove 3 counters from Workhorse, converting the mana to BBB through the Initiates.
12. Recur Workhorse for Deranged Hermit, giving you four more Squirrels (BBBB still in pool.)

Repeat this process until you have infinite (OK, "arbitrarily large" mana.) You can then use the "arbitrarily large amount" of mana to switch the Hermit and Workhorse back and forth with Recurring Nightmare to make an "arbitrarily large" number of Squirrels, which can be sacrificed to the Krovikan Horror for an "arbitrarily large" amount of damage. Remember that under 6th edition rules, your opponent will die instantly at 0, so you won’t need to find a way to keep yourself from taking 1,000,000,000,000 points of mana burn.

SqueeBind, Mike Hron

Creatures (26)
4 Squee, Goblin Nabob
4 Wall of Roots
4 Elvish Lyrist
3 Masticore
3 Spike Feeder
2 Uktabi Orangutan
1 Mindless Automaton
1 River Boa
1 Yavimaya Elder
1 Spike Weaver
1 Deranged Hermit
1 Avalanche Rider

Utility (9)
4 Survival of the Fittest
4 Stormbind
1 Hail Storm

Land (25)
10 Forest
4 Mountain
4 Taiga
3 Treetop Village
3 Gaea's Cradle
1 Wasteland

This deck is designed purely to abuse Squee. Not only does he combo with Survival as in previous Survival decks, but he can also be discarded to Masticore and Stormbind as well, ensuring that creatures will not stay on the board. Two Squees can also be pitched to Mindless Automaton to let you draw a card. It needs, however, to run many copies of it's creatures, as it has no graveyard recursion.

Stupid Green Deck, JP Meyer

Creatures (25)
4 Fyndhorn Elves
4 Wall of Roots
4 Wall of Blossoms
3 Stampeding Wildebeests
2 Elvish Lyrist
2 Spike Feeder
1 Spike Weaver
1 Blastoderm
1 Uktabi Orangutan
1 Cartographer
1 Deranged Hermit
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob

Utility (18)
4 Survival of the Fittest
4 Eladamri's Vineyard
4 Cursed Scroll
4 Creeping Mold
2 Gaea's Blessing

Land (18)
10 Forest
4 Wasteland
4 Gaea's Cradle

This deck uses similar principles to the above Rec/Sur decks despite being mono-green. Stampeding Wildebeests perform a similar role as Recurring Nightmare does in reusing your utility creatures. The mana is supercharged and allows for recasting of multiple threats per turn, and can be dumped into Spikes if there is an excess. It also provides multiple victory conditions, whether through an army of Squirrels, an unfading Blastoderm (the Wildebeests' upkeep effect is not targeted,) Scrolling, or Vineyard mana burn.


Basically, there are no holes in this primer. It's great!

My only major comment is one of organization (as usual).

It might get unwieldy to inundate a newbie with that long card by card list at the very start.

Instead, I suggest beginning with the card text of Survival of the Fittest along with your intro of versatility. Then go for a small anecdote, to demonstrate a game with your deck.

At the end of this introduction, give a brief summary of the philosophy of your deck (which in this case is an elaboration on the word versatility) and its game plan for winning.

Then, go into the detail in a comfy pace.

Otherwise, you just might want to scan for a few omissions that stem mainly from history (or include in the History) like Fallen Angel, Gilded Drake, etc. I really also recall an old article that said Living Death was removed because they began expecting the mirror.

Hope this helps. I'd say the next draft is a shoo-in for the Primer archive.

(By the way... I found a funny infinite RecSur combo here, too. Living Death-Anarchist-Blood Vassal-Su Chi-Triskelion or Ghitu Slinger... I guess the Whaley thing will find a place in your history!)

Read More Articles by Oscar Tan aka Rakso!

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