Building_on_a_Budget

Throne Objects

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The letter H!ow many of you made it to Regionals this weekend? I myself drove down to Edison, New Jersey to get in a few drafts in the afternoon. One thing was obvious to me as I wandered around the top tables: aggro is the name of the game right now in Standard. Decks with thirty or more creatures (I'm counting Spectral Procession and Bitterblossom) are consistently doing well in the new Standard. This is pretty odd if you think about it, but I'm chalking it up to the natural progression of the game. I don't think there's ever been a Standard that required so much combat math.

Today I'm going to talk about a deck that beats all these pesky creatures.


Sigil of the Empty Throne is a card that hasn't been talked about as much as one might expect. Normally, a card like this gets printed and everyone goes out and buys four of them so they can build a deck around it. That hasn't happened with this card, which is quite puzzling. When Conflux was first printed I read through the spoiler and stopped on this card. I remember thinking that the effect was pretty powerful. I spoke with Zvi Mowshowitz, and he told me that it was "a real card." The proper metagame for a deck built around a five-mana enchantment is pretty narrow, but I believe we have reached that point in time.


Many of you may be scared of Quasali Pridemage from the green-white decks. It's just a hunch, but I'm pretty sure all those decks will have upgraded to Knotvine Paladin or Steward of Valeron. (My testing has shown these two cards to be much better than Pridemage against the expected metagame.)

The deck is pretty basic. You play cards like Recumbent Bliss and Pacifism to slow your opponent down, and eventually you draw a Sigil of the Empty Throne (or Idyllic Tutor). The Sigil of the Empty Throne acts as the deck's Cruel Ultimatum. Your opponent is basically counting down to the point where you untap with Sigil. You can expect to make a free 4/4 flyer every turn afterward. The most exciting thing is that every 4/4 you make will shut off another of your opponent's threats.

I'll put a list together and explain the card choices.


Sigil of the Empty Throne: The cornerstone of the deck. Drawing multiples isn't even the end of the world. You can simply double up on Sigils and make two Angels every turn. Remember to watch out for Maelstrom Pulse, though. I haven't seen many decks playing with the Pulse, but the power level of the card is high enough that it's worth mentioning that you should be careful to play around it.

Runed Halo: Runed Halo is one of the most powerful cards in Standard. It's good against everyone. It's not just sideboard tech for beating Anathemancer when you're piloting your Vivid Creek deck. No, the Halo is the realness and it's about time it starts getting some respect.

Oblivion Ring: The versatility of this card is key. It can take out important cards like Story Circle or planeswalkers or it can simply deal with a creature.

Endless Horizons: Another underplayed card that is very powerful in practice. With Endless Horizons in play you draw an actual card every turn, and you also never miss a land drop. I'm planning on running 24 Plains as my lands, so Endless Horizons is almost a one-sided Howling Mine. Think of it as a Phyrexian Arena without the drawback.


Mind Stone: Our deck has a lot of big spells that cost five mana. I want to play a spell that accelerates us into our Sigil of the Empty Throne or Hallowed Burial. If you draw it when you have Endless Horizons in play, you can simply sacrifice it for a new card.

Hallowed Burial: I like Hallowed Burial better than Wrath of God in a deck like this. Almost everyone is running Kitchen Finks or Murderous Redcap these days, and a lot of the time you will be forced to play a Pacifism or Curse of Chains on one of these creatures simply to prevent it from attacking you. If you play a Wrath of God in a situation like this you're giving your opponent a free threat. I'd rather pay one more mana and ensure the "deadness" of my opponent's team. It obviously helps that Hallowed Burial is much more budget-friendly, but I don't think Wrath is a better card in a deck like this.

Pacifism: Classic white removal. It's nice that it's an enchantment too.


Recumbent Bliss: The anti-Pillory is a pretty nice card. The extra life will help offset any attacking.

Curse of Chains: Pacifisms five through eight.

Idyllic Tutor: Where's my Sigil of the Empty Throne?


Many of you may be wondering, "Where's the Story Circle?" The truth is, I don't think Story Circle is a very strong card. I want to tap out for Sigil on turn five. I'll probably just die to an Overrun or Ajani if I've been busy pumping mana into a Story Circle instead of playing real removal.

The Mana: Nothing fancy, just twenty-four basic Plains.

Empty Throne Control
Standard

Main Deck

60 cards

24  Plains

24 lands


0 creatures

Curse of Chains
Endless Horizons
Hallowed Burial
Idyllic Tutor
Mind Stone
Oblivion Ring
Pacifism
Recumbent Bliss
Runed Halo
Sigil of the Empty Throne

36 other spells



I took the deck for a test drive in the Casual Room on Magic Online.


I win the roll and keep Plains, Plains, Mind Stone, Recumbent Bliss, Recumbent Bliss, Idyllic Tutor, and Hallowed Burial. I play a land and pass. My opponent plays a Ghitu Encampment and passes back. I draw a Plains, play Mind Stone, and pass again. My opponent plays a Figure of Destiny and makes it a 2/2. I draw another Plains, play my land and Idyllic Tutor (finding Sigil of the Empty Throne) and pass. My opponent plays another land and plays a Boggart Ram-Gang and attacks me for 5. I draw Endless Horizons, play my fourth land, and play Hallowed Burial. My opponent plays another Figure of Destiny and makes it a 2/2. I play Sigil of the Empty Throne. My opponent makes his Figure a 4/4 and attacks me down to 11. I draw a Runed Halo, play the Halo naming Flame Javelin, and play one of my Recumbent Blisses on his Figure. My opponent plays a fourth land, plays a Mogg Fanatic, and passes. I draw a Plains, play Endless Horizons, attack for 4, and pass. My opponent Flame Javelins one of my Angels. On his turn he draws a fifth land, and plays a Flame Javelin targeting my other untapped angel. He attacks for one. The next turn I draw another Runed Halo. I play it naming Incinerate, then play another Recumbent Bliss on his Figure (just for the Angel and the life). I attack for another 4, and my opponent concedes.

Sideboarding: -4 Curse of Chains, +4 Condemn


I mulligan and keep Plains, Plains, Plains, Curse of Chains, Recumbent Bliss, Recumbent Bliss. My opponent plays a land and passes. I draw another Plains, play my land, and pass. My opponent plays a Goblin Outlander and passes. I draw a Mind Stone, play it, and pass. My opponent plays Ghitu Encampment, attacks me for 2, and passes. I draw Endless Horizons and play it. My opponent plays a Boggart Ram-Gang and attacks for 5. I draw a Runed Halo, play it naming Goblin Outlander, and play Recumbent Bliss on Boggart Ram-Gang. My opponent plays a Figure, pumps it, and passes. I draw Condemn, play a Recumbent Bliss on my opponent's Figur,e and pass. My opponent plays a Boggart Ram-Gang and attacks, but I Condemn it. I draw a Sigil of the Empty Throne and play it. My opponent plays Blightning, and I discard my Curse of Chains and a land. I draw another Runed Halo and play it, naming Flame Javelin. My opponent plays another Goblin Outlander and passes. I draw another Sigil of the Empty Throne, play it, and attack with my first Angel. My opponent plays a Demigod of Revenge and passes. On my turn I draw Oblivion Ring and play it, removing the Demigod from the game. I get two more Angels and attack for 8. My opponent draws and concedes.

1-0



I win the roll and keep Plains, Plains, Plains, Plains, Mind Stone, Runed Halo, and Sigil of the Empty Throne. I play a land and pass. My opponent plays a Windbrisk Heights and passes. I draw another Mind Stone, play it, and pass. My opponent plays another Windbrisk Heights and passes. I draw a Hallowed Burial, play my second Mind Stone, and pass. My opponent plays Spectral Procession. I draw a Recumbent Bliss, play my Sigil of the Empty Throne, and pass. My opponent attacks with the three Spirits, then flips up Glorious Anthem off one Windbrisk Heights and Cloudgoat Ranger off the other. I take 6. I draw Pacifism, play my Hallowed Burial, and pass. My opponent plays a Kitchen Finks and passes. I draw Endless Horizons, play it, and play my Runed Halo, naming Kitchen Finks. My opponent plays Tidehollow Sculler and takes away Recumbent Bliss. I draw Pacifism, play it on the Tidehollow Sculler, and attack for 8. My opponent plays a Cloudgoat Ranger and passes. I draw another Recumbent Bliss, play it on my opponent's Ranger, and attack for lethal damage.

Sideboarding: -4 Curse of Chains, +4 Celestial Purge


I keep Plains, Plains, Mind Stone, Endless Horizons, Sigil of the Empty Throne, Sigil of the Empty Throne, and Hallowed Burial. My opponent plays an Arcane Sanctum. I draw Celestial Purge, play my land, and pass. My opponent plays a Knight of Meadowgrain and passes. I draw a Runed Halo, play Mind Stone, and pass. My opponent plays a Kitchen Finks and attacks for 2. I draw Pacifism and play Endless Horizons. My opponent plays a Marsh Flitter and attacks for 5. I draw Idyllic Tutor, play Hallowed Burial, and pass. My opponent plays another Marsh Flitter. I draw another Runed Halo, play Sigil of the Empty Throne, and pass. My opponent plays Ajani Goldmane and attacks for 6. I draw Pacifism, play the Pacifism on a token, play Runed Halo naming Marshflitter, and pass. My opponent plays another Kitchen Finks, attacks for 3, and passes. I sacrifice Mind Stone and draw Recumbent Bliss, then draw another Recumbent Bliss for my turn. I attack for 8 in the air and play both Recumbent Blisses on my opponent's creatures. He draws for his turn and concedes.

2-0



I lose the roll and keep Plains, Plains, Plains, Oblivion Ring, Curse of Chains, Hallowed Burial, and Idyllic Tutor. My opponent plays Murmuring Bosk tapped and passes. I draw another Plains, play my land, and pass. My opponent plays Tidehollow Sculler and takes my Oblivion Ring. I draw Runed Halo, play my land, and pass. My opponent plays another Tidehollow Sculler and takes Hallowed Burial, then attacks me for 2. I draw Sigil of the Empty Throne, play Runed Halo naming Tidehollow Sculler, and pass. My opponent plays Bloodbraid Elf and flips up a Maelstrom Pulse that destroys my Runed Halo, then attacks me for 7. I draw a Plains, play Curse of Chains on the Bloodbraid Elf, and pass. My opponent plays another Bloodbraid Elf and flips up Gaddock Teeg. He attacks for another 7. I draw for my turn and am forced to concede.

Sideboarding: -4 Curse of Chains, +4 Celestial Purge


I keep Plains, Plains, Recumbent Bliss, Celestial Purge, Sigil of the Empty Throne, Idyllic Tutor, and Pacifism. I play my Plains and pass. My opponent plays a Noble Hierarch. I draw another Idyllic Tutor, play my land, and pass. My opponent plays a Tidehollow Sculler and takes my Celestial Purge before he attacks for one. I draw another Sigil of the Empty Throne and pass. My opponent plays a Bloodbraid Elf and flips up a Dauntless Escort, then attacks for 5. I draw an Oblivion Ring, play my Pacifism on the Escort, and pass, still not hitting my third land. My opponent attacks me for 5 and plays Doran, the Siege Tower. I draw Hallowed Burial and concede.

2-1


The deck performed pretty well. I'm not sure if the matchup I lost is bad. It seems pretty good in the abstract, but being mana-light in one game and getting double Scullered in another makes matters pretty bad.

I hope everyone enjoyed this deck. Hit the forums and tell me what you think.

Happy brewing!

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