Spekkionu's MTG Blog

Magic the Gathering Articles

Other People's Decks - Samurai

| Comments

Here I’ll be going over another forum deck. This one will focus on a few different concepts than the last.

Samurai:

I know this might not seem really good but I don’t know. It has never lost a match so far, I have probably played like 10 or so games with it (not that many people around here). There are a few cards I am going to take out as soon as I get the cards I want for this deck.

Cards I want out:
2 Solidarity
1 Steelshaper’s Gift

Cards I want in:
1 Oathkeeper, Takeno’s Daisho
2 Hold the Line

Well I guess that’s about it, please give me a rating and Ill take any suggestions you guys got.

I’ll be using a white deck this time, a tribal theme deck in fact. This Samurai deck is a bit of a step up from the last deck in terms of the power level and collection size of the player. It has a few major problems though which I’ll be going over. One difference with this deck is that I had already posted on his thread by the time I realized this deck would be a good choice to go over (I prefer to not post in decks I use for these articles).

The first problem anyone should notice with even a tiny glance is that this deck only has 16 lands. This is more than just a little land light like the last deck and moves into the realm of being ridiculous. You guys are all spoiled by the fact that you were taught roughly how many lands to put into a deck right off the bat (at least those of you I was around for). This is very far from the norm unfortunately. What seems to be the common thought is that the average deck should be 20 lands, 20 creatures, and 20 spells. While this looks like a nice round and aesthetically pleasing distribution it is unfortunately just plain wrong. Even more unfortunate is how tightly they cling to this theory even in spite of any actual facts and math you put forth. They generally just ignore any argument and make a statement like but I never have had mana problems with this deck or but my friends elf deck only has 18 lands and it is never gets manascrewed or something else equally stupid. Sometimes it just seems that they don’t even know what being manascrewed means.

With the mana curve the deck currently has it absolutely needs 24 lands. If he dropped Takeno he could probably get away with 22-23 but it would still be cutting it a bit short. If he also cut Mothrider Samurai and most of the equipment for some 1-2 mana cards he could get away with 20. As it is though anything less then 24 is just stupid.

This is also a bit creature light for a beatdown deck. In fact all of the spells even just modify creatures making only having 18 even worse. There are also a few terrible cards and a few mediocre ones in the deck. Also many of the cards in this deck are purely defensive. This isn’t exactly a good idea for a deck that can only win by going on the offensive.

The first things that need to be dropped right off the bat are Vigilance and Solidarity simply because they are worthless cards. The single Steelshaper’s Gift is also random and unneeded. It isn’t like he can find a copy of something truly nutz like Umezawa’s Jitte. Indomitable Will and Cage of Hands are both quite meh but this may be a low powered enough environment for them to be okay. In a new player environment cards that are good in limited are generally just fine and both of those are quite solid in limited. The same goes for most of the creatures with the exception of Konda’s Hatamoto which in a deck with 2 legendary Samurai that also happen to cost 6 mana is just a Squire with Bushido 1.

After some other people game some recommendations he posted a new version of the deck.

took out
2 Cage of Hands
2 Hold the Line
4 Konda’s Hatamoto
4 Vigilance

I took out 12 cards and only added 3
2 Plains and 1 Tempest of light I need some suggestions of good cards to add plz HELP!

Yes, after more than just me recommended much more land to be added he only added 2 Plains which is still about 6 lands short of what this deck needs. His addition of Tempest of Light is quite random as well. He at least did listen to some of the other recommendations that me and a few other people gave. I’d say most of the cards still in the deck are at least usable. Cards like Mothrider Samurai, Indomitable Will, and Cage of Hands certainly aren’t good cards and shouldn’t be near a deck if you expect any real competition but it passes what I call the limited test. If the card is playable in limited it should be just fine in a new player environment. These three cards aren’t really constructed worthy but will make pretty much any white deck in limited and thus should be fine against new players.

We have 12 slots to fill in the deck (counting the lands we need to add). As said before 6 are going to be Plains (assuming this guy isn’t a moron, but for this article his actual choices don’t really matter anyway) so that leaves 6 more slots. At this point we see that there are 14 creatures in the deck and most of the spells serve to enhance your own creatures. This means you need more. I’d say 20 creatures should be the minimum but would feel much more comfortable with 22. This means we need to clear out another 2 slots. The first one is easy. Just ditch the random Tempest of Light. After that I begin to look towards the equipment. I would personally pull the Oathkeeper but it is kinda cool and a bit more “in theme” with the deck so we will leave it in. Instead I’ll pull a No-Dachi. If we need the space I wouldn’t be opposed to pulling a second one either. We now have our 8 slots to bring our creature count to 22. Now we get to choose which ones to bring in.

Before you even look at specific creatures we should take a look at the mana curve. Making sure you have no holes is more important than just having the coolest creatures. If needed we can move things around.

1cc: 4
2cc: 0
3cc: 4
4cc: 4
5cc: 0
6cc: 2

That would be some holes all right. With only 4 creatures with a casting cost under 3 this deck is extremely slow. Slow enough that all 8 will need to be 1-2cc. With that in mind since this is a tribal theme deck let’s take a look at every 1-2cc Samurai:

Out of these Inner-Chamber Guard is completely unplayable. Since there really isn’t any need for the ability Kentaro, the Smiling Cat isn’t so exciting either. While I will admit it is weakest of the remaining creatures I’m going to suggest Bushi Tenderfoot for the deck. This is an aggressive deck. It consists of pretty much nothing but creatures that want to attack and spells that help those creatures attack more effectively. As such it is important to have more than 4 1-drops. Also there are already a number of cards that will make him much easier to flip. Unfortunately I had made the mistake of not realizing he wasn’t a Samurai until flipping so you can’t use Call to Glory to flip him. However You still have plenty of equipment that can make him enough of a threat to want to block as well as Indomitable Will which is an excellent way of flipping him. If you do manage to get him flipped he becomes absolutely nutz. Overall since this is a theme deck I think his mostly-fitting the Samurai theme is more important than him being the best creature and we do stand at least a semi-decent chance of getting him flipped so I think he’ll be fine. We are now down to 4 more slots. There are really 3 choices for this slot, Hand of Honor, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, and Sensei Golden-Tail. Any of these three are actually pretty decent cards. Unless you are worried about some sort of graveyard manipulation I’d say Hand of Honor is the most powerful card in the abstract but there is an advantage to Sensei Golden-Tail I want to point out. You can put a training counter on Bushi Tenderfoot. This both gives him Bushido which can help him flip as well as makes him interact better with Call to Glory. This is actually quite significant as it would probably be the more reliable way to flip him if it worked. It is much easier to see something like Indomitable Will coming than Call to Glory. For the most part people don’t expect you to be able to block when your creatures are tapped. For this reason I would put the Sensei about equal with Hand of Honor. Being legendary you might not want all 4 copies though. I will go with 2 copies of Sensei Golden-Tail but I don’t like the idea of having just 2 copies of Hand of Honor. To fix this I’m going to remove that second No-Dachi that I said might end up going as well as trimming off a Mothrider Samurai which is slightly weak anyway. Now lets take a look at the deck after changes.

As far as the creature base goes I think this is fine but I do think it would be cool to fit in 2 copies of Nagao. Were I to try and squeeze him in I would remove all 3 copies of Mothrider Samurai for 2 copies of Nagao and a 3rd Cage of Hands. In fact the more I think about this the more I like it. I also feel that 2 Cage of Hands is insufficient for creature removal. Enough that I think it would be wise to try and get up to 4 creature removal cards. I’ll first make that Nagao change I talked about. To get in the 4th copy I think the removal of either a Call to Glory or an Indomitable Will is the best choice. I’ll remove a Will but I’m not sure it is the best choice since it is going to be easier to flip Bushi Tenderfoot with. Also I’m not too attached to using Cage of Hands as the creature removal of choice. It isn’t bad and is actually one of the best Pacifism variants out there but there is something else I want to try. Ever since I saw it in the spoiler I’ve wanted to give Devouring Light a try. It’s no Swords to Plowshares but I don’t think it is fair to use that as a comparison. After all no creature removal spell in the game would pass that test regardless of color let alone other white spells. If you can use just one creature to Convoke it, it become very nicely cost and even at three it isn’t terrible. What I like most about it is that it kills creature both on offense and defense. Other options like Reciprocate, Terashi’s Verdict, Vengeance and the like all just hit attacking creatures. This deck would much prefer it to be doing the attacking so this is a nice improvement. Also with Call to Glory it wont be rare to be able to Convoke the full cost. Sounds good to me.

Here is the final version of the deck:

I think this is a fairly decent Samurai deck for a less competitive environment. It would be a little on the weak side outside a Standard legal environment but the deck is still vastly improved from the original version.

Comments