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Why Aggro Decks Are Terrible June 23, 2009

Posted by James in : all, random, reviews, strategy, constructed, design , trackback

winter orbI have made great creature-based aggro (aggressive) decks for years, but it has become increasingly more difficult to make a good aggro deck. You’d think Lorwyn would have been the ultimate savior of aggro with the huge power creep for creatures, but Wizards has simply not realized something: They can make creatures with almost unlimited power, and it won’t make a difference. The problem isn’t that creatures aren’t good enough. The problem is that anti-control is nonexistent.
spirit mongerSure, Urza’s Saga was a huge power creep. There were powerful creatures. But what really shocked me was Spirit Monger. That card made the power creep very apperant. There was no way this creature would have been made before Invasion. A big creature for 5 mana could basically have unlimited power, and it simply doesn’t make a difference. Since then the power creep for creatures has gone out of control.

Wizards are viewing creature decks as too one-dimensional. They want creatures in a deck and that’s it. (Aggro-control is irrelevant for this article.) My first powerful aggro deck was black weenie. This is back before Necropotence was popular. When you could have four black vises, four strip mines, four mishra’s factories, four hymn to tourachs, and four dark rituals. This deck thrived off of these cards, so it was a little bit like aggro control.

Then after black vise was restricted Necropotence decks thrived. At this time my green (Saproling) deck did great. Part of the problem for control decks at that time was a lack of creature removal. But then not long after was a golden winter orbage: I found out how great Winter Orb was in aggro decks. It could tie down Circle of Protection. It could be played right after Wrath of God to chain the opponent down. This was the perfect anti-control card, and it did quite well in a new black weenie deck that I played for a while. (Of course, white decks could also play Armageddon, which was great for similar reasons as Winter Orb. It spawned the popular Ehrna-geddon deck.)
Then green aggro become good again during Urza’s block because of Plow Under. This was also a great anti-control card. You could ruin the opponent while they are already struggling to survive. As long as Plow Under was around, I could make a half-decent aggro deck.

When Tenth Edition was made we lost Plow Under. This was the last straw. There was just about no anti-control cards left. (Nothing worth mentioning anyway.) At this point creatures got about twice as powerful, but creature decks still struggled against the four or five Wrath of God-like cards around. Doesn’t matter how powerful creatures are when they can all be whiped out so easily and have no reasonable defense.

plow under

dauntless escortFinally we got Dauntless Escort. This card is specifically for white-green, but it is an interesting answer to mass removal. I haven’t got to play it very often in tournaments, but it is at least heading in the right direction. However, I would still love to see more Winter Orb-like answers to control decks as well.

My next article will be posted on Friday June 26, 2009.


1. Lacy - June 23, 2009

Pretty cool post. I just came by your blog and wanted to say
that I’ve really liked browsing your blog posts. Any way
I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!