Behind the Tag - Deck Stories Part 3
- Christopher Brunner
Have you ever asked what a mill deck has to do with The Four Horsemen? Why is a deck named after a Monty Python sketch? Read more about these and more as Christopher brings you four more stories of tags and their origins.
Welcome to the next installment in Behind the Tag. This time around, I've got four more decks and, of course, the stories that led to their unique names. Without further ado, let's dive into everyone's favorite U/B/G Delver deck, also known by a name that has almost nothing to do with its colors: Team America.
But the first version of Team America was slightly different. Look at the original list from 2008:
Team America, Dan Signorini, Top 4 at The Source 5th anniversary tournament 2008
|1Bloodstained Mire||4Force of Will|
|4Tormod's Crypt||4Blue Elemental Blast||4Krosan Grip|
According to several sources, the deck was developed by Dan Signorini and Dave Gearharts. It started as a Blue-Black joke deck because four Dark Confidant combined with a playset Force of Will and Tombstalker looked ridiculous at first. The name Team America was a reference to the differences between the European and American metagame and the deck was a homage to many cards which saw no play in the USA.
After adding Tarmogoyf and Snuff Out to the list, the Deck became a tempo monster with many free spells and a strong mana denial plan. The high number of free spells and the low mana curve allowed Tombstalker to be a strong finisher.
MUD is a colorless artifact-based deck which relies on big mana strategies and prison effects.
Grim Monloth with Sol-Lands like City of Traitors and Ancient Tomb helps to resolve early disruption like Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere or one of your signature cards, Metalworker, on turn one or two.
Hulahula, MUD, Legacy Challenge, 2018
|1Thespian's Stage||1Blightsteel Colossus||2Ugin, the Spirit Dragon|
|2Inventors' Fair||1Sundering Titan||1Spine of Ish Sah|
|2Vesuva||2Steel Hellkite||2Lightning Greaves|
|3City of Traitors||3Wurmcoil Engine||4Chalice of the Void|
|4Ancient Tomb||4Kuldotha Forgemaster||4Grim Monolith|
|2Duplicant||1Faerie Macabre||2Karn, Scion of Urza|
|4Leyline of the Void||3Mindbreak Trap||3Sorcerous Spyglass|
There are several stories about the name MUD. The most common tale is that it's called MUD because the old card frame of artifacts was brown like the color of mud.
Another story is that MUD stands for Mono U Disruption and refers to an old blue control deck that used a lot of artifacts back in Vintage and with the print of Lodestone Golem, it became the mono brown, mud-colored deck we know today.
The third possibility is the MUD-backronym for Metalworker Ultimate Domination, which refers to Metalworker as the key card for the deck.
Brave Sir Robin
Brave Sir Robin is a rarely used name for the deck Knightfall, or Bant Aggro.
The deck relies on the synergy of Knight of the Reliquary and Retreat to Coralhelm. Searching a land with the knight gives you a trigger, which let you untap the Knight to search again. Searching for fetch lands gives two triggers, allowing you to untap a Noble Hierarch or Birds of Paradise to generate a large amount of mana. This mana is used to pump your knight with Kessig Wolf Run to go in for a lethal attack.
Brave Sir Robin, Peer Oke Richelsen, Kieler Legacy 2015
|1Forest||1Birds of Paradise||3Daze|
|1Kessig Wolf Run||1Qasali Pridemage||4Force of Will|
|1Savannah||1Sigarda, Host of Herons||4Swords to Plowshares|
|1Sejiri Steppe||2Vendilion Clique||1Ponder|
|1Taiga||3Noble Hierarch||4Green Sun's Zenith|
|2Tundra||4Knight of the Reliquary||4Retreat to Coralhelm|
|2Wasteland||2Jace, the Mind Sculptor|
|3Flusterstorm||1Surgical Extraction||1Ethersworn Canonist|
|1Circle of Protection: Red||1Tormod's Crypt||1Izzet Staticaster|
|1Qasali Pridemage||1Scavenging Ooze||1Crop Rotation|
|1Krosan Grip||1Path to Exile||1Gaddock Teeg|
Brave Sir Robin is the name of a sketch made by Monty Python in 1975. The sketch is about a knight who constantly retreats from his enemies, which is definitely a great reference for brewers building around a Knight and a Retreat.
The Four Horsemen
The Four Horsemen is an old Legacy combo deck with one of the most difficult combos to explain.
Basalt Monolith allows you to tap and untap itself infinite times, which is, by itself, pretty useless, but in combination with Mesmeric Orb you are able to mill infinite cards from your own deck. Your first goal is to get four Nacromoebas into play. If you hit an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn while milling, you can continue milling in response to the Emrakul trigger to get more Nacromoebas into play.
Second step is to repeat the mill so many times, that Sharuum the Hegemon, Dread Return and Blasting Station are in your graveyard without an Emrakul-trigger. In theory, you get infinite tries via Emrakul-trigger-reset. Once your Blasting Station is on the field, you can sacrifice the Nacromoebas and shuffle them back with your Emrakul-triggers.
While all cards in the deck are legal in Legacy, the engine itself is kind of unplayable. Unfortunately, the new slow play ruling will nearly always come into effect because of how this combo, while technically inevitable, will almost always trigger slow play:
"…It is also slow play if a player continues to execute a loop without being able to provide an exact number of iterations and the expected resulting game state." This wording means that you can't execute the milling loop as long as needed to have the necessary cards in the graveyard.
The Four Horsemen, Jeff Liu, Star City Games Legacy Open 2012
|4Karakas||1Sharuum the Hegemon||1Blasting Station|
|1Kessig Wolf Run||2Emrakul, the Aeons Torn||4Mesmeric Orb|
|3Sejiri Steppe||4Force of Will|
|4Grindstone||4Painter's Servant||1Angel of Despair|
|2Emrakul, the Aeons Torn||4Show and Tell|
Some people think, the for Nacromoebas symbolize the four Horsemen but personally I believe in another story.
The Four Horsemen are the combo pieces of the deck. You need to assemble your Dread Return (first Horsemen), your Sharuum (second Horsemen) and your Blasting Station (third Horsemen) bevore your fourth and final Horsemen Emrakul appears.
Thank you for reading. If you have any wishes about deck names, feel free to ask in the comments below.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.