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The End

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The letter I!n honor of Gate Week, today we're looking at the best-performing Gate deck from Pro Tour Dragon's Maze. Kenny Oberg, Dennis Rachid, and Daniel Ahlberg each won at least six matches with their Block Constructed deck, and the only ways it could win the first game were by activating Maze's End, or, much less likely, by attacking with Saruli Gatekeepers and burning the opponent out with Warleader's Helix (I would guess that never happened). (Dennis Rachid also played a single copy of Ætherling to have a reliable fallback plan if something went wrong for his Gates.)

The great thing about Maze's End is that it allows a player to build a deck that doesn't need to play any dedicated threats, only answers, and it incidentally provides a card-advantage engine of sorts while it does its work.

In some ways, it is the ultimate inevitability, and while it can be trumped by land destruction, losing cards in your library (and happening to lose all of a certain Gate), or Pithing Needle, very few people can do those things in Block Constructed—except for milling. The death of most Maze's End decks was the fact that Psychic Strike and Pilfered Plans are reasonable cards to play in the format, and if you have several different cards in your deck that have to stay there, it's very easy to lose to them. This team was willing to take the necessary precaution of playing an entire two full sets of Gates to ensure that couldn't happen, and they were rewarded with the only positive records for dedicated Maze's End decks.

Because almost all of the lands in this deck come into play tapped, a high premium was placed on being able to interact as cheaply as possible, and this deck manages to squeeze in as much of the cheapest removal available in the narrow Block format as possible, starting with four Muggings—a card that few other decks could really play, even though somewhat reliably killing a creature for a single mana is an awesome unique effect in this format.

They also managed to give themselves time and make up for starting behind by including a staggering amount of lifegain in the deck, between Saruli Gatekeepers, Warleader's Helix, and Sphinx's Revelation. Once this deck starts turning the tide, its life total will rapidly increase out of the range of damage an aggressive deck can hope to deal, and most games will functionally be over long before the last activation of Maze's End.


 
Sam Black
Sam Black
@SamuelHBlack
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Sam Black is a Platinum Pro Player and longtime writer for StarCityGames.com. He is a respected deck builder and took over Daily Decks for the first half of 2013. If you have an original deck you'd like to see featured, email him with the link above.

 
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