[Old School] Star Format Mono Color Deck Ideas



  • I guess Lifeforce brings out the question: Should such a format pull out the color hosers. Like should White be able to run Conversion and CoP? I feel like the answer would be no somehow. Like white should be doing things like Kismet, Jihad, Moat, Heavens Gate / Martyrs Cry. Y'know, Awesome things.



  • I used to play that format back in the days, and we definitively did not allow the color hosers (they unbalance the games too much and some colors have exactly no answer to them). We allowed allies to block in combat because this allowed very fun diplomaty/tactical.
    Here are some hints, IMHO :

    • Black deck should be either the classic control black or a more suicide one. Both are quite iconic and Old school deck lists can be a good start. I would add a few random slots such as royal assassin and/or sorceress queen for the flavour (actually you could do the same for each color).
    • White could go wheeny obviously.
    • Green could ramp into Fatties (force of nature, craw giant, ...). A friend of mine used to play that and he could have a force of nature attack at turn 3 quite easily, maybe a less all-in version could be designed. Green weakness was the lack of flying creature.
    • Red could go into Goblin deck as it was the first tribal deck that really succeed in tornaments but i am not sure it would be strong enough in such a format (blood moon is not good here). Blasts spells are a must but it would be more fun to have blast be only a tool to help a main strategy.
    • Blue should have a lot of control spells (counter, control magic, ...) and a few good flying creatures.


  • Okay! So I actually started building and brewing. This is kind of a fun experiment because you are essentially creating a limited format, with deck ideas in mind that are more or less tuned to each other. It has however created some unexpected challenges and so I want to share these very silly lists here with The Great Minds of Vintage.

    So first warning: these are Johnny-ish Timmy Decks.

    As I started moving through the sets, the lists that I first generated (and could still share here if anyone would like to see them) were very much a highlander list of all the fun, vaguely synergistic, flashy cards from the early days, built on a longer mana curve to support a fairly slow game where you could expect to see some 6 drops. I was also trying to maintain some cards from each set, just for the gallery walk factor.

    The function of this idea after all is to expose people to cards and a style of play that would now seem pretty alien. Meaning that you'd play cards and combos that were perhaps far from ideal but that gave you the "Oh wow yeah! That thing!"

    While my inner Vorthos loved these decks, I worried that there wasn't enough cohesion, or that they would just get tooooo clunky. So I started trying to think of ways to tune them up into better versions of themselves, to show players the kinds of strategies that would have been available to mono color lists of the time, along with a few fun fatties and one-off combos/display pieces.

    In other words, I tried to think of what 12 year old me might have brought to an FNM in the early nineties: "Okay, I'm going to pull together a (color) deck!" That said, some of these choices are completely snap judgements that could totally be changed (like 4x Crusade). Some of the decks might just be too aggressively tuned and need some nerfing. The object of this set of decks is to give people a leisurely play experience and the opportunity to see old stuff happen.

    So all that said, in advance thanks for any and all suggestions for tuning and substitution to give people the best play experience of each color with Fallen Empires as the ceiling! These were all made with a slightly clunky 20 land manabase in mind, which might just be stupid, but which was done to give an even 20/20/20 that would lead to slower game play overall.

    White
    4 Savannah Lions
    4 Tundra Wolves
    4 Thunder Spirit
    2 Preacher
    2 Abu Jafar
    4 Serra Angel
    4 Disenchant
    4 Crusade
    4 Swords to Ploughshares
    Jihad
    Moat
    Blaze of Glory
    Balance
    Armageddon
    Wrath of God
    Forcefield
    Kismet

    Black
    4 Stone Throwing Devils
    4 Hypnotic Spectre
    4 Khabal Ghoul
    2 Royal Assassin
    2 Sorceress Queen
    4 Juzam Djinn
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Hymn to Tourach
    The Abyss
    Nether Void
    Lich
    Mirror Universe
    Mind Twist
    Demonic Tutor
    Underworld Dreams
    2 Terror
    Howling Mine

    Red (Went Goblins. Very tempted to go Kobolds instead)
    4 Mons's Goblin Raiders
    4 Goblin Balloon Brigade
    4 Goblin King
    4 Ball Lightning
    2 Rukh Egg
    Shivan Dragon
    Goblin Wizard
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Chain Lightning
    4 Goblin Grenade
    2 Fireball
    Gravity Sphere
    Raging River
    Wheel of Fortune
    Shatterstorm
    Gauntlet of Might
    Sword of the Ages
    Earthquake

    Green
    4 Ernham Djinn
    2 Killer Bees
    4 Llanowar Elves
    4 Elvish Archers
    Craw Giant
    Force of Nature
    Ifh-Biff Efreet
    Birds of Paradise
    Avoid Fate
    4 Giant Growth
    4 Ice Storm
    2 Sylvan Library
    2 Storm Seeker
    Tranquility
    Concordant Crossroads
    Berserk
    Drop of Honey
    Nevinyrral's Disc
    Dessert Twister
    Fog

    Blue
    4 Flying Men
    4 Prodigal Sorcerer
    4 Serendib Efreet
    4 Clone
    2 Vesuvan Doppleganger
    2 Mahamoti Djinn
    4 Mana Drain
    2 Power Sink
    2 Control Magic
    4 Psionic Blast
    Drain Power
    Braingeyser
    Recall
    Timetwister
    Copy Artifact
    Icy Manipulator
    Flood
    Mana Short

    Alright folks. Hack away.



  • I believe that Nevs Disk and Howling Mine should be in every list. Also, earthquake, hurricane, and tranquility should be used. How you gonna have Armeggedon and Wrath of God, but no Tranquility, Earthquake, or Hurricane? Smh. Also Desert Twister is like an auto include in green.



  • @Serracollector whoa! Earthquake was actually in the list as was tranquility but didn't make the literal cut and paste operation! Thanks for the catch though. I shall rectify immediately!

    Hurricane I debated as I have Ifh-Biff, but maybe just not the same flavorwise?

    I only wanted One mine and One disc in any one game but maybe blue should get a disc as well?



  • Why no BoP? Because of Efreet or did you forget to include them?



  • We used to play that kind of format in the past, we called it PentaColor in italy, 5 mages with one different color each and no more than 2 o 3 artifacts (appropriate mox and sol ring usually)...

    after some months it turned out it was better to play it without a defined ally/enemy policy but everyone against everyone, and it was nice because for the first half of the game it looked more like a role play where people were trying to find allies and turn other mages against the most feared opponent.

    Games were quite long, a single pentacolor game was lasting usually more than one hour i remember...
    it was more than 20 years ago...



  • @Teluin Was pondering. Could always just cut Efreet? It's just so flavorful to me to have the green Djinn AND the green Efreet. Maybe 2xBoP and 2x Llanowar elves? Or would you cut something else like Archers for more acceleration?



  • @BandsWithOthers I agree Djinn and Efreet are awesome. I think it depends what the deck wants to do - Mono G's strength is in ramp, right? I think BoP being in the air is relevant. Since it's vs. other mono coloured decks, how and when Efreet is used is determined by its owner, so you can ensure it is used to your advantage. I'd probably cut Druid and add Birds and Avoid Fate. With the mana you could consider a Tome as well to give some non-Sylvan card advantage. Btw Regrowth and Archers rock :)



  • @Teluin Regrowth is a pretty sweet effect but I wasn't sure how much this deck would need recursion. In some ways it's hard shutting off the regular vintage brain! I Can dig cutting Druid, Having trouble deciding. Let's see what happens cutting a fog.



  • This looks like a ton of fun.



  • @Topical_Island thoughts on the decks? Tuning for fun and flare!



  • Demonic hordes is needed in black. Could just win games and is a beefy finisher! Jet, swamp, ritual, juzam turn 1...pass...swamp, lotus, demonic hordes turn 2. GG



  • @Thewhitedragon69 In this format winning requires killing both opponents, assuming your "allies" don't interfere to keep you from winning. I Enjoy Hordes, and I was also considering Lord of the Pit, but this deck doesn't put up enough creatures. I figured Juzam would be plenty of beef without making the deck too hyper agressive in this closed format. Also, the only P9 in these lists is Timetwister, just because it's a fun blue bomb in a multiplayer.



  • So red should totally have Mana Flare. Also Inferno is clutch fun too. Just trying to think of cards that were amazing in multiplayer back in highschool. Gaeas Leige plus instill energy was game ending many times. Also Oubilett (spelling?) and Paralyze are both great cards for black.



  • If I was going to go with this format, maybe limiting the number of artifacts each deck got would be useful, as this type of format could be easily won by a white deck with island sanctuary/moat, sweepers, millstones and howling mines and swords. since only green has tranquility to remove the enchantments and blue to bounce, that means red and black are on the fast train to hosetown.



  • Not true. Red and Black both still have fireball/disinegrate/drain life as outs to Moat efx. Not to mention Hippy, Sengir, Dragon Whelp, Shivan, Inferno, and Pestilence.


  • TMD Supporter

    If you’re doing red with goblins or kobolds, throwing in a Keldon Warlord or two can make the deck a lot more interesting (timmy wise).



  • I'm so happy that people revived this little thread! As the holidays have approached, the people from Way Back When that I've been playing with forever have been in town, and we've had a Ton of fun with these decks, plus a few tweaks. We've also had the chance to teach some family and significant others the Ways of the Cardboard using them, so overall this has been a successful mission.

    I also glommed together a whole second set of decks that are a lot more like EDH decks in terms of flavor, using many of the same pieces, but that give a Just The Hits feel to the games. They aren't as good for Teaching the game though because they don't have the consistency that the slightly more tuned lists have, suh-prize. Both sets of decks provide lengthy games and protect against quick blowouts (other than some fun old school bombs like Lich/MU).

    Overall these have a really kooky set of power levels that make for a lot of fun. I look forward to running them a little more as we approach the weeks before and after new years when people need a little break from holiday cheer to fireball a bunch of thunder spirits.

    @Serracollector Both Mana Flare and Inferno have made appearances in red. I feel like half of the fun of the (casual) game in early sets was leveraging wacky global effects. Bi-lateral helpers like Flare and the whole original Enchant World cycle from Legends are such crowd pleasers in multiplayer, well, maybe not Nether Void...but even then, so much flavor and great art! To be clear, we still don't use mana burn as a house rule, so Mana Flare is just nuts.

    @joshuabrooks I actually tweaked to transform red from Goblins to Kobolds / Keldon Warlord, but I think somehow that the people we've been playing with just prefer the flavor of Goblins and Goblin King. It may be just that people enjoy any opportunity to say "You remind me of the babe..."


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