Rogue Report – The Perfect Gifts


I’ve never been as stumped by a format as much as I am this Extended season. There are so many powerful strategies you can expect to face on your way to a PTQ win that I’m not at all sure how you cover them all. On one extreme, you have Mono Red Burn, the fast, straightforward, and efficient aggro deck. All the way on the other side of the format, you’ve got the hyper-resilient Tezzeret decks. Then you’ve got combo decks like Hypergenesis, Dredge, and Scapeshift that each require different game plans to beat. How do you get a handle on this format? I have nothing to grab onto.

At least I didn’t, until Faeries hit the scene. If you think I was feeling bad about this format before, you should have seen me the first time somebody cast Mistbind Clique against me. (And the second, and the third, and the fourth; there goes my PTQ.) Trying to beat faeries for me is like mastering the piano. To a lucky few, it comes naturally and they’re playing Beethoven at three years old. As for the rest of us, we’ve got to work really hard at it.

So now I’m completely stumped. I can find reasons not to play any established deck, and what I really want to do is bring my own deck to the table. I like playing my own deck in a field like this, as long as I have confidence in it. One thing I’m not willing to do at this point is play the deck that I know doesn’t have the best shot of winning the PTQ. However, I feel like if you can craft a strategy for each matchup and test each matchup, you’ll have a good edge over your opponent who won’t know as much about what’s going on. This is how I did somewhat decent last year with Martyr of Sands; the deck had some pretty good trumps.

Meanwhile, I’ve been playing Tezzeret a decent amount in testing. I haven’t gotten under the hood and tweaked anything yet, I’ve just been messing around with LSV’s list from a few weeks ago. Yes, the deck is very hard to play. The deck is packed full of choices with cards like Gifts Ungiven, Tolaria West, and Trinket Mage. I’ve also found that the deck requires you to properly manage the cards in your deck as a resource, kind of like the Mystical Teachings decks had done in the past. Knowing how and when to use your three Cryptic Commands, two Tezzeret, one Muddle the Mixture, etc., can be very challenging.

The primary culprit for the deck’s difficulty is Gifts Ungiven. This card creates a complex subgame where you need to think like your opponent. Which four cards can you grab to make them give you the two you want? That’s hard enough without factoring in mind games like grabbing two cards you don’t want right away, then “agonizing” over two cards you knew you wanted from the start. I’ve also found that in long games Gifts Ungiven puts a real strain on your deck’s resources. When you cast Gifts Ungiven for Tezzeret, Cryptic Command, Thirst for Knowledge, and another Gifts Ungiven, you’re setting yourself up to have a hard time in the long game. Each wasted Tezzeret and Cryptic Command can really hurt. In those situations I felt like my Gifts Ungiven were lacking.

I have a theory and I want to test it:

There is a perfect Gifts pile for any matchup, and after Gifting for that pile, assuming you’ve done other things this game, you should win.

More broadly, there is a perfect Gifts pile for every situation, but you can’t build a deck that can handle every situation. What you can do after you know each matchup, is build Gifts piles into your deck for the common situations you expect to see in each matchup. Now this is just a theory. I’m not saying it is necessarily true, but it’s worth a shot. Last season I told myself there was a Gifts pile that set you up to win the game and I wanted to find it. What I came up with was Kiki-Jiki, Pestermite, Reveillark, and Body Double. What I’m thinking about now is instead of making a very proactive and general Gifts pile, I want to make specific Gifts piles with pinpoint accuracy.

The metagame

Based off of the numbers from Jeremy Fuentes’ last article, this is roughly the metagame from top to bottom:

Zoo – Tribal
Hexmage Depths
Zoo – Rubin

There are more decks below this like All-In Red, Doran, Hypergenesis, Hive Mind, Elves!, and Death Cloud, but the above decks are the ones I feel you have a reasonable shot of facing at a PTQ, and this article needs to be somewhere under 4,000 words.

It’s hard to make Gifts piles entirely from scratch, but hopefully as we go we’ll start to see a pattern. I also don’t mind including hyper-specific cards at this point, and some pieces of certain packages will likely find their way into the sideboard. We know we’re playing blue, and hopefully enough overlaps will make our other colors clear. It’s not like the whole deck is going to be one-of Gifts targets, so we’re going to need some structure near the end.


This has been a tricky matchup for me because even Martyr can lose to a timely Flames of the Blood Hand. Kitchen Finks has been a good card for me, and he has a very flexible mana cost. Circle of Protection: Red unanswered is probably the best thing the deck can do post sideboard, though some red decks are playing Pithing Needle or Everlasting Torment, so Cop: Red can’t be your only plan. Other lifegain spells include Pulse of the Fields and even Aven Riftwatcher, though I’ve definitely still lost with all of these spells before, so in no way do they spell game over. Creatures with toughness are pretty good as they significantly hurt Spark Elemental and friends, which is why Rhox War Monk is so brutal. I imagine Loxodon Hierarch fits into the same camp. Maybe weaving something like Tarmogoyf into the deck’s main strategy will provide some solid defense.

Right now I’m thinking white cards are the way to go, coming out with something like this:


Rhox War Monk might work if given enough time, but spending your fourth turn casting Gifts Ungiven won’t get that War Monk gaining you any life until turn six. If the deck can put up enough road blocks early on, maybe that strategy works. Also, while a strange card to like in Extended, I’ve found Kabira Crossroads to actually be okay. It gives you a good amount of space on turn one against Zoo or Burn when you normally wouldn’t be doing much on that turn.


I’m still struggling against these little guys. The easiest way to beat them is to attack early and hard. Fast Zoo and Mono-Red Burn are the decks you want here, not something that’s casting Gifts Ungiven. Still, I’ve heard that Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows is pretty good against Faeries. I imagine once that engine is going things start looking up, so my plan is to search up those parts. To make sure I end up with a grove there could be Crucible of Worlds or Tolaria West shenanigans, but I have a feeling Life from the Loam will come in handy.

The fourth card isn’t as important at this exact moment. What you really need is a card to make sure your Punishing Fire plan works against them. Vesuva is what I’m going with right now, to double up your Grove of the Burnwillows, but I’m open to suggestions here. Path to Exile might also be smart as it gives some defense against a Mistbind Clique.


Punishing fire should also be good against random creature decks heading in to the long game just to lock them out.

Zoo – Tribal

Right off the bat, I know I want to be able to Gifts Ungiven for Wrath of God and Day of Judgment. Maybe even something like Hallowed Burial or Firespout to round that out is enough, or Damnation if the deck gets black enough. Path to Exile is also fine there, and Engineered Explosives has done pretty well in Tezzeret. The other package you want to be able to grab gets you out of burn range and probably looks very similar to the Burn package. Lightning Helix can be good at both jobs and is worth thinking about.

A card that I haven’t mentioned yet because I feel like it’s a crutch is Eternal Witness. I don’t want my default packages to include the shaman because it’s overall a bit slow and vulnerable. The deck may very well include her because of how good she is later in the game, but I don’t want my defaults to rely on it.

For the basic wrath plan I like:


Maybe another Wrath finds its way into the sideboard if it’s really necessary, and I could see it being useful in other matchups like Doran or Affinity. Also, Firespout may end up being better than Engineered Explosives. As for the lifegain package, it’s going to look pretty similar to Burn with Kitchen Finks and Loxodon Hierarch, though Pulse of the Fields and Cop: Red are a bit weaker here. You know, there’s nothing wrong with a good-ol’ fashioned Faith’s Fetters sometimes. What’s nice about Fetters, Hierarch, and Finks is that they both gain you life and help stop a creature from killing you. For life against Zoo I wonder if this might work:


I could see them giving us Faith’s Fetters and Pulse of the Fields, which might be a bit of a weak Gifts Ungiven since it’s not really advancing you anywhere. A maindeck Faith’s Fetters provides a well rounded answer against things like Umezawa’s Jitte, as well as rounding out the Burn Gifts package by moving the Cop: Red to the sideboard. Baneslayer Angel might be the way to go, but I don’t want my lifegain to be so vulnerable to Path to Exile.


These decks can vary widely from Tezzeret with one Sword of the Meek and two Thopter Foundry, to UW control with as many as four of each piece. I don’t think the best way to beat this deck is to attack the combo directly, but if that’s what you wanted to do then this is probably a decent package:


Mystical Teachings can get another Extirpate.

I’m not a big fan of that pile as it loses pretty badly to countermagic if they put the Extirpate in the graveyard, though I doubt they are going to let Gifts Ungiven resolve in the first place. It’s also very easy for them to maneuver around your hate, picking off Pithing Needle with Engineered Explosives, shutting down Extirpate with Chalice of the Void and not letting Sword of the Meek hit the graveyard until they are ready. I do really like Mystical Teachings though, because it lets you Gifts Ungiven for any instant you want, given enough time.

I feel like this game is going to require a lot more setup. Given time, gifting for Boseiju, Life from the Loam, and a few other good spells might let you keep up a solid defense. Add in Raven’s Crime and an Urborg, and suddenly they are under a bit of pressure. Imagine this:


A package like that might force them to play into your hand that has a Krosan Grip or Extirpate. Because the Thopter decks tend to be so resilient, it’s going to take a lot of setup and maneuvering to win this matchup, meaning you can’t solve it with just one Gifts. The rest of the deck is going to have a big say on what happens here. I’m seeing a crack in the theory, but I’m willing to push on.

Hexmage Depths

The Dark Depths combo is much less resilient compared to Thopter Foundry, but it’s well-protected. Resolving Gifts Ungiven will probably be the hard part. Ghost Quarter and Life from the Loam is a good way to annoy them, but they usually have access to Pithing Needle somewhere. Our own Pithing Needle is also good as a long-term answer. Path to Exile kills the 20/20 pretty well, as does any bounce spell. Wipe Away gets around most Chalices as well as counterspells, but it’s not very versatile and can still be answered by a Thoughtseize. Cryptic Command seems like the right bounce spell because it also protects the rest of the cards you grab, but the mana seems bad for that. I’m thinking that diversifying your answers will give them the biggest headache.


Celestial Purge is a good way to get around Chalice of the Void for one out of the sideboard.


I don’t have as much experience with Bant as I should, but I imagine the Wrath plan used against Zoo works similarly here, while the life plan isn’t as important. Bant will be a little more resilient and have a better long game, so setting up to win after the Wrath will be important as well. That could be where Punishing Fire comes in. Bant also runs less removal (where Zoo has burn) so a Sower of Temptation or Baneslayer Angel might be easier to stick and should end the game. This is a matchup where a Hallowed Burial out of the sideboard is probably pretty useful. Something like Loxodon Hierarch will probably have a harder time trading because of the exalted from Noble Hierarchs.

This is probably a decent place to start:


If you’ve got time a good long-term plan probably looks like:



We’re getting to more linear decks, so things should get easier. Against Scapeshift all I want are cheap counterspells. They have a hard time fighting a Negate or two with Remands and Cryptic Command. As long as you aren’t dying to their random 1/1s you should be ok.


Cards like Punishing Fire and Kitchen Finks should keep the deck alive through combat damage, but again the theory I proposed is falling apart a bit. Flashfreeze may be a bit much for maindeck inclusion, but the next option for a counterspell costs three mana. Meddling Mage or Gaddock Teeg might also work, though Teeg will probably hurt this deck and any good Scapeshift deck should be equipped to deal with a 2/2. I hate playing into my opponent’s answers. After sideboard they are going to try to make things harder with Gigadrowse and Vendilion Clique, but I’m confident a good enough sideboard plan can be found if there are issues.


Yay, an easy one:


Academy Ruins is one of those cards I don’t think they can afford to give you, so you’ll probably have two graveyard removal spells when the Gifts resolves. If there’s another good graveyard removal spell I’m forgetting about it might be worth it over the Ruins (like Extirpate) and the next Gifts Ungiven can grab Academy Ruins and Life from the Loam. Heck maybe it’s just a Trinket Mage or Tolaria West to fetch your second Tormod’s Crypt. The metagame will tell you how much of this to put in the maindeck, though having a little graveyard removal should be useful in the maindeck.

Zoo – Rubin

I’m confident that the Burn, Zoo, and Bant packages can handle most of what Rubin Zoo will throw at you, so I’m not going to go into detail here. Hopefully a Ghost Quarter for your Life from the Loam is enough to keep them off of Grove of the Burnwillows.


Another easy one, though most of the answers will probably live in the sideboard:


I think the standard Wrath plan is good against them, though if the sideboard has room you could make a Gifts package like:


That oughta show ’em.

The Deck

It seemed pretty clear to me as I was going that Gifts Ungiven, Wrath of God, and Life from the Loam were important cards, making UGW a good core. Unfortunately, I close myself off to some good black and red options, but I think these colors can handle a lot of situations. Still, the deck is probably going to want to splash red and black, which shouldn’t be hard to get to, eventually with Life from the Loam and saclands.

Let’s consolidate some of the important cards that could easily make the maindeck.




That’s 19 maindeck cards so far, giving us about 16 cards to fill out the deck. I’m going to shoot for 25 lands and some Sakura-tribe Elders because I think this deck will be pretty mana hungry. Adding in some cards that I would like to have in a Gifts Ungiven deck, more removal, some acceleration, and an admittedly rough mana base, I come up with this:

The manabase probably has too many cute lands in it right now. I bet after some testing the Kabira Crossroads and Oran-Rief turn into something like Mystic Gate or Flooded Grove, but for now I want to test the cute lands and see what works and what doesn’t. I’m also hoping that Tarmogoyf, Punishing Fire, and a few random creatures are enough for the deck to win. The deck might want a more proactive Gifts package with some big monster, Makeshift Mannequin, and Eternal Witness.

Let’s also start fleshing out the sideboard:



Wow, what a crazy decklist. It is no doubt rough, but that’s not to say a lot of thought didn’t go into its creation. A list like this just needs a lot of time put into it to test what works and what doesn’t. Each card slot becomes very important, so any card that isn’t pulling its weight has to be replaced by one that will. Also, since some of the packages were split into the sideboard it’s necessary to make sure each game one matchup is still winnable.

I hope you enjoyed watching me build. I look forward to trying something like this soon. Gifts-rock style decks tend to be a mass of random cards, but people like them, so if anybody else has had success in this area I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading,

Jonathon Loucks
Loucksj at gmail
JonLoucks on Twitter
Zygonn on Magic Online

30 thoughts on “Rogue Report – The Perfect Gifts”

  1. Is Punishing Fire/Grove better than Thopter/Sword?
    Also no Bant Charm? You are already playing Bant colors and the card does pretty much everything you need.
    You mention that Vendillion Clique is a card that Scapeshift will use against you. Its also not bad vs them as the 4th card you could put in the Gifts pile.
    Trade Routes is an interesting card that Muddle gets and works really well with Life from the Loam and lands with CIP abilities like Crossroads.

  2. your only running 6 fetches? is that the way to go? (i would say at least 9) i think you should capitalize on some of your rav duals being a mountain so that you can always get what you need no matter which fetch you draw. but i really like what you’ve got going here retrace seems awesome in this type of deck might want to consider flame jab(and/or other good retrace spell)

  3. Ok Listen ! Please read this & Let it be know that this is a completly new and innovative breakout deck for this Extended Season. I cringe to give you guys all this list but its HOT! There is so much recursion in this dek it is off the charts. The rock with Death Cloud is a bad matchup before siding in Glen Elendra. The others it has been doing Extemely well. Please examine this closely! The sideboard is also very well mastered.

    Gifts of the Lark Martyr by V John Baker

    4xMartyr of Sands
    4xPath to Exhile
    4xSakura Tribe Elder
    1xRuned Halo
    1xLife From the Loam
    1xSword of Light & Shadow
    2xEternal Witness
    1xProclamation of Rebirth
    1xRanger of Eos
    1xMakeshift Mannequin
    2xGifts Ungiven
    1xElspeth Knight-Errant
    1xWrath of God
    1XDay of Judgement
    1xBody Double
    1xRude Awakening
    1xYosei, the Morning Star
    1xEnginered Explosives
    1xMiren , the Morning Well
    1xEmeria the Sky Ruin
    1xGodless Shrine
    4xTemple Garden
    4xHallowed Fountain
    4xArid Mesa
    3xGlen-Elendra Archmage
    1xGhost Quarter
    1xIvory Mask
    1xRuned Halo
    1xPithing Needle
    1xRavenous Trap
    1xYixid Jailor
    1xEthersworn Cannonist
    1xQasali Pridemage
    1xKitaki, War' Wage
    1xFracturing Gust
    1xCranial Extrction
    PS"¦. Please pass this along to LSV

  4. This was a pretty awesome way to build a deck, and even if it takes some tinkering at the end, I like the thought process. By listing all the “optimal” Gifts piles against the decks you expect, you really narrow down the list of cards you want in your deck, and if some of the same cards show up all over the place, it is a good indication that you should be playing them. I am very interested in seeing how this deck turns out.

  5. Very good article.
    Also because people playing Gifts decks tend to use up quite a bit of time resolving the key spells during each round.

    With the help of this article players might be able to make quicker and better dicisions and improve their games.



  6. Too bad the underlying theory fails and thus the deck fails as well. Focussing TOO much on gifts package will give you way too much dead cards in matchups and not help you get there. Alot of these gifts package’s are only a win if you are also doing stuff besides it which will not happen enough because of you drawing all dead cards too often. The idea is fun but it doesn’t work too well. The aggro matchup seems ok but any other matchup seems bad if you continue this shell because without a way to force gifts through or play it in time you just have a weak 1-of deck. Against hypergenesis, scapeshift, tezzeret/thopter, dark depths etc I just dont see this being any good because those decks are either very fast or don’t immediately roll over to any card because they have protection…

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  8. Very good read, I enjoyed it.

    You mentioned wanting a more permanent plan against Scapeshift. I’d say Mindlock Orb would work, stopping Scapeshift with its presence.

    Plus, you can set up a Gifts package like so:
    Mindlock Orb
    Academy Ruins
    Ghost Quarter
    Crucible of Worlds

  9. I have to agree that setting up gifts piles to make a deck is a weak idea because the reason gifts is so good is because of its ability to get you different cards depending on the situation and you can’t possibly come up with every situation in each match-up and make gifts piles for them.

  10. This was really interesting to see you come up with a deck from the ground up. What amazed me was that the final list had so many elements of different archetypes…there’s a little aggro, a little control, a little combo…etc etc.

    If nothing else, it certainly has an advantage in games 2 and 3….how the heck does an opponent sideboard against this oddball???

  11. To echo some of the above sentiments, the great thing about Gifts is its versatility, but it can also be a trap which you might have fallen into. Your deck is reliant on Gifts and will be a random collection of 1-ofs which do not mesh if you don’t draw Gifts. You will have too many draws with cards that are for specific matchups and remain dead in hand with no card selection spells to discard them for more relevant spells.

    What I think you should be doing is putting some of the more niche Gifts packages in the SB, or where there are some of the ideal pile in the maindeck (say Path, Wrath, DoJ) you can put the marginal life gain spell in the SB for the matchups where it’s relevant, as a COMPLEMENT to the more versatile MD cards (this is why Bant Charm should be maindeck).

    Currently, as a slow versatile answer deck, you are too dead in the water against fast combo decks with disruption/protection. I think the deck needs some cheap disruption, whether it’s more counters, discard, or something like Vendilion Clique.

    Finally, I think you need a better plan to win the game. Previously successful gifts decks (gifts rock, yasooka’s austin deck) had a decent lock to make sure that if you survive the end game is a formality and you trump all opposing decks. You sacrifice speed with this deck so we at least need inevitability. I’m not sure Raven’s draft is good enough without cycling as we won’t draw again if we’re dredging Loam every turn. It needs a renewable card draw source to complement it, or you might need to look at something else like Yosei+Miren+Emeria or something original I don’t have right now!

    It’s a great idea for deckbuilding but I think if you take some of these points on board it will be a more competitive deck.

    Keep brewing Loucks, always a great read!

  12. dowjonzechemical

    I am out this extended season. I was really looking forward to it until they spoiled the fetch lands…..now the format is *blech*

    Have fun this year!! GL, and Volcanic Fallout + Stag is good against Fae…

  13. With such a large meta game any deck packing gifts has a slight edge when it comes to side boarding in your hate. The feasibility of playing "a one of" hate card to cover yourself for that matchup may fail completely if you never successfully get to cast gifts. I understand why you cannot beat the fae because they just counter your toolbox and then in fly the little gay men in tights. However, you should also fear crafty players siding in shadow of a doubt or mindlock orb to disrupt you heavily gift related strategy.

    Because im a jerk i have to point something out:

    Starting your thesis paragraph off with a grammatical error is the MTG equivalent of missing your angel of despair trigger when playing hypergenesis. (see below)

    "It's hard to making Gifts piles entirely from scratch, but hopefully as we go we'll start to see a pattern."

  14. @pjh:
    If you’re going to be a grammer snob then at least make your own sentences correct. I think you mean “missing your angel of despair trigger when playing hypergenesis is the MTG equivalent of starting your thesis paragraph off with a grammatical error”

    Which is still absurd because the mtg reference has far from globally accepted meaning – it’s not like the brain fart of writing a sentence badly cost anyone $10,000, or was cheating in some form.

    @J.Loucks Great article, I’ve been doing a similar thing but I’m more scared of combo than you seem to be. You’ll need to bear in mind that your singletons must mesh together to form a cohesive deck with mana curve and appropriate functionality/redundancy otherwise your deck will stumble a lot.

  15. What do you think about coalition relic in the deck? It casts any sorercy speed spells you gifts for on it’s own and seems to fit the curve nicely. Maybe it’s too slow but it’s a thought.

  16. The problem with gifts is it’s too slow vs aggro builds. You can’t be casting your money card on turn 5 against aggro Zoo/Burn or you’re already dead. However, I’ve been testing gifts+packages in the sb of an aggro-oriented build of next level blue, and it’s been working pretty well. You just hope your paths/shackles/counters/firespouts/cryptics/explosives can win against zoo (you fold to burn), and side them out for negate or duress plus the respective gifts package against combo or control decks. Right now I have the option to bring in:
    Thopter Foundry
    Sword of the Meek
    Ghost Quarter
    Crucible of worlds
    Ritual of Restoration

    With my maindeck that gives me the option to gifts for an inevitability of either the thopter combo or continuous ghost quarter recursion out of the board, which has been pretty effective against combo/control decks. It feels like a pretty good deck for any metagame not chock full of burn

  17. PS: current MD is:

    4x Vendillion Clique
    4x Goyf
    2x Glen Elendra Archmage

    4x Mana Leak
    3x Spell Snare
    3x Cryptic Command
    3x Ancestral Vision
    3x Ponder
    3x Ancestral Vision
    3x Engineered Explosives
    3x Path to Exile
    3x Shackles
    2x Chrome Mox
    2x Thirst for Knowledge

    7x Island
    1x Breeding Pool
    1x Hallowed Fountain
    1x Watery Grave
    1x Steam Vents
    4x Misty Rainforest
    4x Scalding Tarn
    1x Academy Ruins
    1x Miren

    all the 3-ofs are a combination of being in testing and being able to answer slightly different threats/same threats in different ways (with card drawing to even things out). It needs a few more lands, but I’m not sure what to cut just yet.

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  19. Are people even looking at the final decklist? Cut the guy some slack. Rearranging the ordering of the cards (but not changing any cards) I see the following relevant “early cards” that seem reasonable against agro.

    3 Path to Exile

    4 Sakura-tribe Elder
    3 Tarmogoyf
    2 Engineered Explosives
    2 Punishing Fire

    3 Kitchen Finks
    1 Pulse of the Fields

    4 Gifts Ungiven
    2 Wrath of God
    1 Day of Judgment
    1 Loxodon Hierarch
    1 Faiths Fetters

    That’s 14 one or (mostly) 2 mana spells and 13 more relevant ones at 3 and 4. I count the EEs as 2 as you can trigger it turn two against zoo on occasion.

    The permission package is: It seems a little light for some people’s tastes but then you lose cards to agro. Every deck gets to make that call.
    1 Cryptic Command
    2 Negate
    1 Muddle the Mixture
    1 Pact of Negation

    Utility cards
    1 Life from the Loam
    1 Ravens Crime
    1 Eternal Witness

    Relevant Lands
    1 Ghost Quarter
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    2 Grove of the Burnwillows
    1 Vesuva
    1 Academy Ruins
    1 Tolaria West
    1 Kabira Crossroads
    1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood

    As to his premiss. The whole point of a toolbox is to provide the best answers to a variety of decks. Why not dream up the best answers and then build your deck.

  20. @Pedro: As others have said, Urborg. Another good question, however, would be how the heck am I casting Punishing Fire? With Groves as the only red source, the power of the fire is pretty diminished. Kabira Crossroads and Oran-rief, the Vastwood haven't really been worth it, so I'd say cut them for like a Stomping Ground and a Cascade Bluffs (or maybe Rugged Prarie, or maybe just another Rav land). With red being actually fetchable, I think Firespout could make it into the deck as a gifts target.

    @Corey: Thopter Sword is certainly a consideration, but I was trying to build the deck reactively instead of proactively. The most proactive plan in the deck is Raven's Crime. However, the deck does have trouble winning games right now. I don't know if I want Thopter Sword though, because that gives the even more cards that are even more dead. Worm Harvest is worth considering.
    As for Bant Charm, it certainly is a good card. Cards like that might be how this gets less specific and ditches some of those dead cards in G1.

    @holister: Seven fetches, but maybe more are needed to capitalize on Loam, and to fix my mana. As for retrace, I think one Oona's Grace would actually be pretty cool with Loam. It's no cycling land, but it's still pretty cool. For some reason it also made me think of Grim Discovery, which isn't bad with eternal witness. Not great, but maybe it does enough, I'm not sure.

    @Merkwerf: You're probably right. The metagame is so wide that being able to cover everything is going to be hard, and Gifts is pretty slow against Red.

    @ShadowSketched: Mindlock Orb also shuts me down. Seems painful.

    @dowjonzechemical: I don't think Stag gets Fae this format. They've got Jitte.

    @pete: I definitely should have laid the deck out more like that. There is a lot of redundancy, it's just hard to see initially. Also, you put Punishing Fire in the early spells, and by adding a red land like I mentioned earlier, maybe you can actually cast it early now.

    Glad some of you liked it, and the complaints about the deck I'm hearing are pretty much what I expected. I had a theory, and I took it to the extreme. The deck needs a lot of work, but it looks like I got the general idea across.

    And thanks for the decklists guys. I always enjoy seeing what other people are doing (especially when they play some card I’ve forgotten about and I can steal it).

    Now go check out Alexander Shearer's take on Gifts.

  21. I realize that Mindlock Orb does shut down Gifts once it comes into play, but I think it hurts the Valakut player more, shutting down their Scapeshift and land fetching. Plus, with the package I gave you, you can slowly whittle their board position.

    Yes it seems painful, but it would be more painful for the opponent.

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