A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: Poison

A Magical Huffalump Resides Here

My name is Ed, I am a programmer. Just another dude with another blog. I like MTG, Open Source (more towards FREE software). I like sports, and eventually I hope to do business and do good for the world in general. This blog is gonna be about Magic The Gathering. Decklists and snippets will be posted here. It may lead somewhere or nowhere, as with all things arcane, that was bloody obvious =)

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Monday, January 31, 2005

Ah yes it is strange... I've always thought of a blog as a diary of sorts....

but as with all things, it has evolved and has now given the layman a means to host his very own site ;)

Very different from the standard edit "oh how cute my site is", but a full fledge in your face, this is my opinion kind of opportunity.

As always, the problem is that an opinion is like anose, everyone has one ;)

Anyone who engages (my own nose here ;)) has too much time, go do something if you really feel something.. dun write piffy articles ;)

that said everyone should play magic of course hahaha

(I'm getting too old for this, Vampire the Masquerade has evolved from RPG to comp game)


10:00 AM - add eprops - add comments - email it

oki doki,

am feelin good today, got Ayumi blasting and getting into my programming gig. Feels good to use your brain once in a while...

Anyways will be posting on magic for a while. We'll see how it goes. Haven't touched them cards for a long time. not sure how long I can sustain ;)

anyways here goes, first up! The poisoners from 2001! Ain't the internet amazing ;)


The Poisoners

I've been really bored... so I picked up my ole' poison deck
and was reminded of how much it sucked ;p

That told me a revamp was due ;p

my take on poison has always been based on getting the creatures
through using evasion such as mosquitoes and assasins...

The problem was they keep getting blowned up.

so I came to a grudging acceptance that my poisoners were too
wimpy to survive... man they can't even block straight! Even the
MIGHTY(!!) crypt cobra was a mere 3/3.

So I wanted to do a primer sorta thing that was comprehensive to
lay out the cards that sorta thing ... errr but heh that will take
a bit more time ;p so I'll just try to ramble coherently instead ;p

There are basically 2 ways to deliver poison:
1. comboish
2. normal creature based attacking

I won't go into detail on combo, but for combo, look under fire
whip or hermetic study.

Under #2 there are a few things to consider:

a. how to deliver poison and

b. staying alive ;p

"a" is granted ;p ... thats the whole point of the deck. To start
off we'll look at the poisoners available.

Poisoners that we have include the following:

Swamp Mosquitoes -- 1b 0/1
Suq'ata Assasins -- 1bb 1/1
Crypt Cobra -- 3b 3/3
Sabretooth Cobra -- 2g 2/2
Pit Scorpions -- 2b 1/1
Serpent Generator -- 6 generates 1/1 green poisoners
Marsh Viper -- 3g 1/2

as can be seen the poisoners are wimpy critters with high CCs...
they are very inefficient ... and its not because poison as a
concept is weak... rather its too good... 10 counters verses 20 life

as someone in ancient newsgroup history has said, poison is either
broken or crap.... and errmmm as usual wotc makes it crap :) but
thats what makes it interesting I guess :)

so I guess we'll just have to make do...


To get "best" mix of creatures.. it really depends on which direction
you are headed.

you want your poisoners to deal more poison per hit? Then its
Cobra and Marsh Vipers.. for more info, search for Cobrageddon... The
added advantage of green poison is there is only one coloured mana in
the casting cost, so its easily splashed.

The problem I have with green poisoners is that its 3-4cc and err its
green :) ... being green opens it up to black critter removal spells.
But you do get the advantage of a 2 toughness... (which can be
substantial in the midst of pingers)

Now, if you want to avoid black critter removal(barring diabolic edict
and death stroke)then the black poisoners are a good start, also you
the MIGHTY(!!) crypt cobra ;p But what I really like about black
is the evasion... yes, aside from the MIGHTY(!!) crypt cobra, they
are punier(if theres such a word) than the green poisoners.. ... but
in exchange, you get evasion! Built in evasion! not the fancy dwarven
wand style evasion, but REAL evasion !! ... hmmm well I'm usually
that excited about the evasion untill they get blown up but thats
another story ;p

on evasion: we have the swamp mosquito, which can fly and suq'ata
assasin which has built in fear... also they are black so you
basically get to avoid most black critter removal.

so now the poisoners can attack via flying and fear... throw in shadow
and you should be able to get past most decks.

Now, poison may be fast (in the sense that you only need 10 counters)
but the problem usually arises where your opponent can deal damage
waaay faster than you can deal counters. Add to that the fact that
they can play removal, their creatures are usually tougher.. and you
get a situation where they can hold back one critter to block while
punching through with another... and this is why I feel evasion is
important.. it enables you to side step his defenses and race with
him. But EVEN then, a poisoner that can deal 1 counter per strike
is only equivalent to a 2 power critter dealing damage. factor in
casting cost verses power/toughness (e.g. Hidden Horror 4/4 1BB vs
suq'ata assasin 1/1 1BB) and you get a major disadvantage if you wish
to race poison counters vs damage.

So one way to tackle this problem is to have good removal, like in
cobrageddon, where you have stp. But even then you only equalise in
the area of creature removal, the poisoners are still very fragile and
hmmmm.. it comes back to the damage race thingie where poisoners just
lose out horribly. This is also why combo poison is popular, as the
poison can usually be administered without having to maintain the
poisoner in the long run.

So as stated at the beginning poisoners are wimpy at 1 or 2 toughness,
and they can and will be taken out.

Now that we have swallowed the jagged little pill of truth, we look a
little closer at the problem.. and its not new... in the past people
have used the following to counter critter removal:

raise dead
animate dead
strands of night

and other reanimation cards (are there more ??).. which bring us to
another method of creature maintenance or threat (in this case the
presence of a poisoner in play) maintenance...

-- by bringing the dudes backs from the grave...

the problem with raise dead is that it is a socery and only returns it
to your hand... which means you have to cast it all over again...
which can slow you down a bit.

Animate dead is good, but can only target your graveyard... compare
this to reanimate from tempest. I feel that reanimate is the best
choice, as you can use your opponent's creatures against them.

Not only that, animate dead is a one shot, blow the animate dead and
you lose the creature permanantly... and yes they can take out your
poisonous critter again after you bring em' back...

Strands of night is VERY cool, play the effect at the end of your
opponent's turn, fetch a mosquito or 2 from the grave and serve !!
poison on haste :) Now being able to attack as soon as possible is
good, as keeping the pesky poisoners alive is a tough job at best.

Now another way to maintain poison delivery is to clear the opposing
critters while keeping yours... how to do that? either kegs or
pernicious deed, I prefer the latter.

In the past the way to clear critters is to disk (I won't treat point
removal as the same as you usually don't generate advantage as its one
for one) but that take out your poisoners as well.

The deed in a stupidly lucky way, allows you to keep the 3cc assasins
and 4cc
vipers alive while clearing the usually more efficient 2cc opposing
weenies. This was also what prompted me to write this rant ;p as ..
for the first time G/B has a mass removal spell that can be used to
its advantage, allowing it to administer a one sided mass creature
removal allowing the poison player to race the player playing
coventional weenie. Add to this the poisoner that keeps coming back
via reanimates or strands! now those mosquitoes really get pesky!!

Now that we are done with delivery, we deal with "b" -- staying alive:

Usually the problem is a creature rush... to that end I recommend the


yes the guy is a real beatstick at 3/3 !! able to survive most
weenies, he is also a black critter, giving it some protection from
black critter removal spells!! AND he is a generous dude at that!!
giving your opponent life!! but no wait.. thats the drawback ;p
Still, the main point is to induce death by poison, so life gain for
your opponent should not be a concern... protecting your life points
is the issue, and to that end the MIGHTY(!!) grollub
does it pretty well :) (Side note: I would have picked the MIGHTY(!!)
crypt cobra, but he is a full turn slower....)

Another aspect to consider is that of point removal, for that i have
chosen diabolic edict, which has its flaws.. but with deed to cover
the weenies, the edicts usually does the finishing touch.

Last but not least to the art of staying alive is the use of
disruption, and discard is my choice though I dunno... Land
Destruction might work... but discard works in tandem with
reanimate... and the usual suspects are up:

Hymn to Tourach and duress .... I've always wondered why Serra's hymn
suck real bad when compared to hymn to Tourach .... I like Serra...
ah well....

Last but not least, since we are trying to stay alive, we will need to
gain LIFE!! to that end we have Corrupt, which you can deliver to the
head of your opponent or you can use as point critter removal! (Note
that life gain is important if you decide to use reanimate)

And if you have read this far kind reader, you must either like poison
as much as me OR.. you must be as bored as me. Either way we have
something in common! ;p so I present to you my current decklist!!!

//NAME: Poison
4 Duress
4 Hymn to Tourach
1 Strands of Night
4 Grollub
2 Consume Strength
1 Marsh Viper
3 Reanimate
3 Suq'Ata Assassin
4 Swamp Mosquito
4 Dark Ritual
4 Diabolic Edict
15 Swamp
5 Forest
4 Pernicious Deed
2 Corrupt

SB: 3 Cursed Scroll
SB: 4 Diabolic Edict
SB: 4 Dread of Night
SB: 4 Perish

The side board is in the works, but the deck basically follows the
ideas above.

Grollub stalls the creature rush, while edicts and deed clean up.
Normally the vipers and assassins will survive the deed, but it they
are killed by friendly fire, you can always bring em back using
reanimate or strands.

The reanimates can be used to use an opponent's creatures against him,
after a hymn or deed or edict. Mosquitoes cost 2 life and assassins 3.
But don't be afraid to win by damage when it is possible, as there are
times when grollubs or a reanimated creature will finish the game
faster :) (and hey! the reanimate serves as an alternative win !!

The viper is there to survive deeds, the original deck had dauthi
trapper is to provide an alternate delivery of poison .... I figured
I needed more removal however, which is where the consume strength
comes in; it allows your lowly 1/1 to stand up to the 5/5 phyrexian
negator... some good... but it is 1BG ... and I'm wondering whether
consume strength, or funeral charm or god knows what else :)

Dark rituals are for a more explosive pernicious deed...

I've tried paralyse... but its no good, the high cc of poisoners means
they don't exactly rush out like suicide black, where a temporal
"removal" of a block yields a faster kill... poison games tend to be
slugfests..... and thats if you are winning ;p

I'm not sure what format this deck falls into ... since dark rituals
and hymns may be out or something.. but its still fun to play poison

any sharing of thoughts on poison decks would be welcomed :D


9:44 AM - add eprops - add comments - email it


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