Clearing up Peasant Magic Misconceptions

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Ephraim, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. Ephraim New Member

    I was recently delighted to learn of the Casual Players Alliance. I'm a self-proclaimed seriously casual player and I've long wanted to found (or find) a site dedicated to the discussion of casual Magic. Upon my arrival here, I first searched out the forum for mention of my favourite format, Peasant Magic. Unfortunately, I found that most of the information to be found here concerning Peasant Magic was vague or incorrect.

    Although the name is often co-opted to describe any format in which decks are constructed primarily or solely of common cards, there is actually such a format, with its own decision-making body (The Peasant Council.) An abundance of information may be found at The Official Peasant Magic Website. I will also summarize the rules here.

    Rules of Peasant Magic
    Decks may contain no fewer than 60 cards.

    Decks may contain no more than 5 Uncommon cards.

    Decks may contain ZERO Rare cards.

    Decks may contain no more than 4 copies of any card, except for basic lands.

    A card's rarity is determined by the lowest rarity it has received in any set in which it was printed. For example, Mishra's Factory, traditionally an Uncommon, had one print run in which it was Common, so is Common for the purposes of Peasant Magic. Likewise, Story Circle (printed as an Uncommon in Mercadian Masques and as a Rare in 8th Edition) is considered an Uncommon.

    Cards from any set that issued rarity ratings, including Unglued, Portal, and Starter, are legal for use in Peasant Magic.

    In the event that a deck contains cards that must be physically destroyed to be used (such as Chaos Confetti from Unglued), that deck's owner must replace the destroyed card with either another copy of the same card or a basic land following each game in which the card is used.

    Decks may have 15-card sideboards, but may have no more than 5 Uncommons in both the main deck and the sideboard combined.

    The following cards are officially considered to be Uncommon for the purposes of Peasant Magic:

    Strip Mine

    The following cards are banned from use in Peasant Magic:

    Ali from Cairo
    Bazaar of Baghdad
    Brain Freeze
    Candelabra of Tawnos
    Diamond Valley
    Juzam Djinn
    Library of Alexandria
    Mana Drain
    Mishra's Workshop
  2. Ephraim New Member


    Now that I've clarified the nature of the format, I'd like to share a few of the decks I've constructed for it.

    The first deck may look familiar to anybody who's ever studied or played Type 1. It's based on the Vintage deck called Fish, which utilizes cheap, evasive, blue creatures with Curiosity to generate immense card advantage. The immediate power level of any of the cards is fairly low, but they have high synergy and the deck is fairly uniform, so each additional card drawn will typically improve the deck by a small, but consistent amount. Beyond the card advantage engine and the win condition, both of which focus on the deck's creatures, the deck also packs a strong complement of control magic.

    Deck List

    Creatures (16)
    4 Cloud Sprite ($: Flying Men)
    4 Cloud of Faeries
    4 Spiketail Hatchling
    4 Razorfin Hunter

    Card Drawing (10)
    4 Curiosity (uncommon)
    3 Impulse
    3 Quicksilver Dagger
    1 Fact or Fiction (uncommon)

    Control (12)
    4 Power Sink
    3 Daze
    4 Jilt

    Land (22)
    4 Mishra's Factory
    7 Mountain
    11 Island

    4 Echoing Truth
    4 Echoing Ruin (maybe Smash or Shatter)
    4 Red Elemental Blast
    3 Arc Lightning

    Card Discussion

    Cloud Sprite -- A Type 1 build of this deck would probably include Grim Lavamancer or Voidmage Prodigy. Being Rare, they're both unavailable. However, Cloud Sprite provides another evasive creature at the perfect mana cost. Being able to begin drawing cards from Curiosity as early as the second turn makes Cloud Sprite an excellent choice for the Peasant port of this deck.

    Cloud of Faeries -- This card almost goes without question. Although it can't be played until turn 2, it is essentially free. It can be followed up by nearly any of the other cards in the deck.

    Spiketail Hatchling -- This card is one of the mainstays of the deck, as well. A turn 2 Spiketail Hatchling prevents your opponent from doing anything from a turn, then becomes another 1/1 flier thereafter. Multiple Spiketail Hatchlings complement Daze and Power Sink to help prevent threats from hitting the table, even late in the game.

    Razorfin Hunter -- Sometimes, the board simply gets clogged with creatures or some other form of opposition that prevents this deck from successfully attacking. The inclusion of repeatable direct damage helps the deck to overcome such obstacles. It operates in conjunction with Jilt to help keep the board clear and is also extremely strong with Curiosity.

    Curiosity -- Quite possibly the heart of the deck. Without the card advantage that Curiosity generates, this deck would constantly have an empty hand and no answers to an opponent's threats.

    Impulse -- Sometimes, despite all of the card drawing, this deck just won't find what it needs. Although Impulse doesn't really generate any card advantage, it allows for a single deep dig into the deck.

    Quicksilver Dagger -- This deck serves double duty in this deck. It can help to overcome an impenetrable defense and it yields card advantage with each use. I include this because I was so impressed with Razorfin Hunter + Curiosity that I wanted more. A standard Type 1 build would use Standstill to generate additional card advantage. Because that is not an option for a Peasant build, I resort to doing more of what the deck does already.

    Fact or Fiction -- Like Impulse, this is a digger card. However, it has the potential to yield a lot of card advantage. Because this deck thrives on drawing lots of cards, the possibility of drawing three or more cards, while digging five deep into the deck is simply intoxicating.

    Power Sink -- Although this spot could go to a hard counter, it may be better served by Power Sink. Because this deck often goes into long games, an opponent may often have the capacity to cast two or more spells in a turn. However, because it is almost certain that this deck will outdraw most other decks, it is liable to have at least as much land in play at any given time. Power Sink makes it possible with a single spell to prevent all of the spells that an opponent intended to cast.

    Daze -- This deck has a very low mana curve, so the alternative casting cost of returning an Island to your hand is not a very stiff penalty at all. Being able to knock out spells, even when tapped out (particularly when combined with Spiketail Hatchling) is very strong. After the first Daze, many opponents will tiptoe around you, expecting that you always have another one up your sleeve.

    Jilt -- This deck suffers a lot when the opponent gets a big creature on the table. Jilt can bounce any fatty at all and can burn down mid-size creatures, particularly when combined with Razorfin Hunter.

    Echoing Truth -- Echoing Truth is simply better than Boomerang, in this format. Some decks are simply going to lay down things faster than you can counter them. In those cases, Echoing Truth can help to reset the board a little, so countermagic can have a second shot. Against decks like Afinity, Echoing Truth can help to maintain equity of board position.

    Echoing Ruin -- Like Echoing Truth, Echoing Ruin is extremely useful against Afinity (especially when there are multiples of a single aritfact land in play). It also cleans up against Isochron Scepter, a favourite Uncommon in this format.

    Red Elemental Blast -- There's a mono-blue combo deck called Prosperous Tides that's quite successful in Peasant Magic. Although it hasn't been format-warping since Brain Freeze was banned, it's strong enough that it merits REB to counter Prosperity.

    Arc Lightning -- Particularly in the mirror match, the ability to sweep up multiple small creatures quickly can be a huge asset. Arc Lightning also provides some artillery for use against White Weenie and Stupid Red Men.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    A fish deck with no Merfolk...

    Anyway, it seems like black would be strong in this format, but I haven't tried the format before, so I can't be sure...
  4. Ephraim New Member

    Gods of War

    This deck is a White Weenie variant that also uses red to shore up some of white's weaknesses. In particular, red provides some direct damage, some combat strength, and a useful sideboard tool.

    Deck List

    Creatures (25)
    4 Frontline Strategist
    2 Soul Warden
    4 Aven Farseer
    4 Goblin Legionnaire
    3 Devout Witness
    4 Wingbeat Warrior
    4 Angelfire Crusader

    Spells (13)
    3 Swords to Plowshares (uncommon)
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Raise the Alarm
    2 Guided Strike

    Artifacts (2)
    2 Isochron Scepter (uncommon)

    Land (20)
    11 Plains
    9 Mountain

    3 Red Elemental Blast
    3 Hallow
    2 Circle of Protection: Red
    4 Obsidian Acolyte
    3 Seal of Cleansing

    Card Discussion

    Frontline Strategist -- Early on in the development of this deck, I began exploring the Soldier tribal theme. Many of the weenies I wanted to use were Soldiers anyhow, so choosing Frontline Strategist proved beneficial to the deck. The fact that it uses Morph also proved useful.

    Soul Warden -- Although probably worthy of inclusion as a four-of, the deck is a bit crowded for that. The speed the deck gains by splashing red makes life gain/stability a little less crucial than it might otherwise be.

    Aven Farseer -- Although there are many 1/1 fliers available, I wanted a card that was a) a Soldier and b) capable of becoming a more formidable beatstick. Aven Farseer satisfies both criteria, doubling its synergy with Frontline Strategist.

    Goblin Legionnaire -- A 2/2 creature for two mana is about as good as they get. Having a pair of useful abilities (one of which is direct damage) and being a Soldier besides makes this card an indispensible part of the deck.

    Devout Witness -- The ability to deal with artifacts and enchantments can be critical in Peasant Magic, where they comprise many of the strongest Uncommons. The fact that my reusable disenchant comes attached to a 2/2 body is just icing on the cake.

    Wingbeat Warrior -- Having already decided to included Aven Farseer and Frontline Strategist, this card was fairly easy to select. Although its ability isn't the best in the deck, it is occasionally useful to give something first strike. It pumps Aven Farseer and flies on its own, which is a plus. It isn't splashy, but it's very solid.

    Angelfire Crusader -- Prior to this creature's inclusion, this deck couldn't lay on the damage quickly. Nor could it always deal with opposition from enemy creatures. Having a back side of 3 and firebreathing makes Angelfire Crusader a very solid late-game beater. It isn't so nice to see it early in the game, although even with just four Plains on the table, a 2/3 creature is notably larger than most of the other men in the deck.

    Swords to Plowshares -- A quintessential control card, it is strong in this deck. A single, powerful creature can hold back a large army of small creatures by threatening loss by attrition. If that creature can be removed with Swords to Plowshares, the life gain can usually be nullified in just one or two turns.

    Lightning Bolt -- This is about as broken as a Common can get. The efficiency of Lightning Bolt and its massive utility (both board control and win condition) make it an extremely valuable addition to the deck.

    Raise the Alarm -- Like Swords to Plowshares, this is a tool to prevent a war of attrition. It makes possible favourable trades during combat and end-of-turn surprises that can leave an opponent sweating.

    Guided Strike -- This card is an iffy inclusion, but makes the cut because of the presence of Isochron Scepter. +1/+0 and first strike are often welcome. Like Raise the Alarm, this card can make possible favourable blocking situations. In addition, when imprinted on Isochron Scepter, it becomes a card-drawing engine.

    Isochron Scepter -- It's one of the most useful cards in the format. All of non-creature spells in the deck are imprintable, which makes it particularly versatile to this deck. Unlike its presence in IsoBurn, in which any burn spell on the Scepter is as good as another, the Isochron Scepter in this deck can be tailored to many uses.

    Red Elemental Blast -- As previously mentioned, Prosperous Tides is a powerful contender in the format. Any deck capable of packing an answer to it should consider it space well-utilized.

    Hallow -- Various incarnations of Burn and also Mono-Black Control (a deck currently strong in the format) both utilize a slew of damage-dealing spells. For a single white mana, Hallow buys the best answer available at the Common level.

    Circle of Protection: Red -- Burn can terrorize this deck's creatures, but with a Circle of Protection: Red on the table, victory is almost inevitable. All you need to do then is wait for a Lightning Bolt and an Isochron Scepter to show up together or enough direct-damage to kill your opponent outright (4x Lightning Bolt + 4x Goblin Legionnaire = 20 damage).

    Obsidian Acolyte -- Mono-Black Control uses Pestilence to control the board. However, unlike the Burn matchup, Circle of Protection: Black would be insufficient, since one must match the opponent mana-for-mana. Obsidian Acolyte can help make Pestilence slightly disadvantageous for your opponent, while Hallow, previously mentioned, can prevent Drain Life effects from tipping the balance in his favour.

    Seal of Cleansing -- This is another card that is useful against Mono-Black Control. If Pestilence becomes active before Devout Witness does, getting rid of it would be impossible. Using Seal of Cleansing, Pestilence can be shut down as soon as its drawn. I selected this over Disenchant because it need not take up mana at a later time, if it's present early in the game.
  5. Tabasco DDR Fanatic

    for the record curiousity is a common in eighth.....

    I think this format is cool...

    It inspires more creativity than building a deck that costs 500 dollars
  6. Ephraim New Member

    Curiosity is still Uncommon in 8th Edition. Trust me, that's something I double checked when I constructed the deck. If I could have cleared up four more Uncommon slots, I'd be packing at least two more Fact or Fiction and maybe two Force of Will.
  7. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Actually, I'm wondering how hard it would be to Visificate someone in this format...

    4x Black Vise would leave you with an open uncommon slot still, and some cards that would go very well with it, like Capsize, Boomerang, Stone Rain, Sinkhole are commons...
  8. train The Wildcard!!!...

    I know we had the following correct, as per the format...

    Decks may contain no fewer than 60 cards.

    Decks may contain no more than 5 Uncommon cards.

    Decks may contain ZERO Rare cards.

    Decks may contain no more than 4 copies of any card, except for basic lands.

    Thanks for the clarification on other levels...

    This is the closest I've built to a peasant deck - it is a no rares dekc, but I think I could modify it to be a peasantly strong competitor...

    Pimp of Worlds Deck!
    4x Swords to Plowshares
    3x Gaea's Blessings
    1x Tormod's crypt
    3x Diabolic edict
    3x Invulnerability
    3x Disenchant
    1x Enlightened Tutor
    3x Abyssal Gatekeeper
    3x Humble
    3x Broodhatch Nantuko
    2x Temper
    3x Waylay
    1x Anger
    1x Worldly Tutor
    2x Creeping mold
    1x Centaur glade
    1x Yavimaya Elder
    1x Pulse of Llanowar
    1x Mind Bend
    1x Mystical Tutor
    1x Fanning the Flames

    2x Rith's grove
    2x Darigaaz's caldera
    1x Diamond Valley
    1x Soldevi Excavations
    1x Nantuko Monastery
    4x Plains
    4x Forest
    2x Swamps
    1x Island
    1x Mountain

    2x Multani's Presence
    2x choke
    2x compost
    2x Splinter
    2x lifeforce
    2x roots of life
    1x Sowing Salt
    1x Boil
    1x Arcane Laboratory

  9. Reverend Love New Member

    My group has tinkered with Peasant Magic, however our rules stated only 4 uncommons.

    My favorite was a beast deck. Most of the best enablers are commons. Slow until you get your first Krosan Warchief or Krosan Drover.
  10. Ephraim New Member

    Train, I'm pretty sure that deck could never be ported to Peasant Magic with much success. Sure, it has no rares, but it has forty or more uncommons. You'd have to replace nearly the entire deck before it would be legal for the format. There's a discussion forum for Peasant Magic over in the Casual Deck Workshop at There are a few threads there that highlight the most common decks in the format.
  11. Captain Caveman New Member

    I've seem other people talk about this casual format but you
    might be the only CPA member with some experience. It seems
    like a fun format maybe we could use this thread to come up with
    a few Type 2 Peasant decklist.

    Does anyone have some ideas for type 2 Peasant?
  12. Captain Caveman New Member

    T2 PEZ Blue ?
    4 Spire Golem
    3 Isochron Scepter
    3 Annul
    4 Mana Leak
    4 Remove Soul
    4 Condescend
    4 Serum Visions
    3 Inspiration
    4 Echoing Truth
    2 Unsummon
    4 Wayfarer’s Bauble
    1 Chimeric Egg
    4 Darksteel Citadel
    16 Island
  13. Ephraim New Member

    I'm not certain why you'd want to come up with a deck that is both Peasant legal and Type 2 legal. Peasant Magic was initially conceived as a format a little bit like Type 1, in that a legal card would never rotate out, but was designed such that the format would remain affordable to all players. By creating additional restrictions, you're tampering with the intent of the format: to allow people to use the many commons they've collected throughout the entire time they've been playing Magic. It's no wonder that some of the most popular cards in the format are Lightning Bolt, Swords to Plowshares, Mishra's Factory, and other cards that are no longer legal in any sanctioned format, besides Vintage/Classic Restricted.

    On something of a side note, I have to admit that I'm a bit of a deck discussion Nazi. It is my experience that posting just a deck list is seldom productive. It is vastly preferrable that one includes ample relevant discussion about one's deck, so that readers have a clear idea of what you're trying to achieve with the deck. Consider posting a new deck to be like starting a conversation. Posting just a deck list is like saying, "How about those Mets?" Including a summary of the deck's operation and discussion of the card choices is like saying, "What do you think of the Mets, this year? In my opinion, they've got a strong bullpen and their hitting is decent, but their players can't field for beans. Their second baseman, in particular, is really poorly placed. He can't turn a double play to save his life."
  14. train The Wildcard!!!...

    ephraim - regardless of what someone is used to, players cannot be on the same level for purposes of deck options unless each has access to the same options...

    a Type 2 peasant format may exist because a tourney was being held or otherwise...

    I actually think that by adding a type or set restriction - you challenge the creativity... you now have to do more, with less...

    Isn't that what the world is coming to?

    I mean - Quash, splinter, Eradicate, etc... - get rid of 4 cards, by casting them only once...

    "Now that's doing more with less!"

    Isn't that what the format was about - creativity when "without"... and getting onto a "level" playing field, both cost, and card wise...
  15. Ephraim New Member

    Splinter could be a strong card, sure. However, it's far from broken. It has two things working against it. One, your opponent may not be playing with four copies of the artifact you destroy with it. Two, it's an Uncommon, itself. Using one of your five Uncommon slots on a situational card can be very dangerous. Even Swords to Plowshares isn't immune, since IsoBurn is creatureless, IsoBlue doesn't use many creatures, and Mono-Black control uses only Cemetery Gate (although removing it is always a good idea!)

    However, I digress.

    The problem with trying to build a more limited Peasant deck is that Type 2 is already very limited, as it is. I haven't looked at it closely since before Fifth Dawn came out, but I don't imagine there's many more than six decks that are really strong. Take away the rares and you lose several of those. In some instances, this might leave the field open for Peasant legal decks to rise to competetive status. However, in the current environment, I don't believe that's the case. As it is, Affinity is competetive in Peasant, even with the other decks having access to cards from throughout the history of Magic. If you were to restrict the field to only Type 2 cards, Affinity would almost certainly be the only deck with a chance of winning.
  16. train The Wildcard!!!...

    Not all decklists would be the same, and I don't normally play blue anyway, but looking at the decklist you submitted... the more for less cards, are definitely worth playing...

    the splinter against affinity, as well as eradicate... and black green are strong as is, so maybe a viable b/g deck would work in peasant type 2...

    as for normal peasant... I'd at least run the splinter and eradicate....:cool:
  17. Ephraim New Member

    How many copies of Splinter and/or Eradicate would you run. It's important to remember that for each such card you include in your deck, you're losing access to an Isochron Scepter, a Skullclamp, a Force of Will, a Fact or Fiction, etc. While other formats may be about breaking the rares, Peasant Magic is all about breaking the uncommons. There's only so much that can be done with Splinter or Eradicate. They're useful, but in the end, simply not powerful enough to merit occupying one of your five precious uncommon slots.
  18. Captain Caveman New Member

    I was thinking about Affinity PEZ when I posted the blue deck.
    But really what would type 2 Affinity PEZ look like. Is it the best
    deck with PEZ uncommon restrictions?

    I'm asking, it broken?

    I kind of thought the idea of Type 2 PEZ would inspire creativity

    T2-PEZ.....Just an idea.
  19. train The Wildcard!!!...

    As you're new here - you don't know - but I'll say it bluntly... Blue sucks major cajones...

    I wouldn't use clamp, and isochron is a maybe...

    If you lose isochron - you potentially lose 2 cards for your opponent's one... that's the only drawback...

    I'd probably run 2 eradicates, 1 splinter, and 2 Gaea's blessing...

    I'll work on a peasant decklist... and post it later...:cool:
  20. Ephraim New Member

    The fact that I am new here is totally irrelevant, inasmuch as it totally disregards the possibility that I have any experience beyond CPA. Perhaps the local community has a particular distaste for the way blue operates, but the rest of the world sees it as a very viable colour. For myself, I'm going to trust results, when it comes to determining whether or not a colour "sucks major cajones" or not, by which token I hold blue as a colour worth playing.

    I'm a bit offended that you think that my "newbie" status here at the Casual Players Alliance somehow taints my judgement regarding card quality. Since you are so confident that your Erradicate/Splinter tech is so reliable, I challenge you to a Peasant Magic duel. When you've completed your deck, let me know and we can duke it out over MWS.


    @ Captain Caveman:

    I don't think that Affinity is broken, per se. However, if you look at Mirrodin Block and Type 2,you'll notice that it's a top contender there. You'll also notice that among the top contenders, it is the deck that is closest to Peasant Magic form, even fully optimized. I suspect it might be a bit weaker if you were to say that the rarity of a card must be that of the Type 2 legal copy (ie: Atog and Ornithopter would be Uncommon, since that's what the appear as in Mirrodin Block). In that case, all that is possible is aggrofinity, which might fall victim to a "Rogue" deck designed to beat it.

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