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The Card Thief

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Since the Expertise spells from Aether Revolt were first previewed, there have been a myriad of interesting decks trying to utilize these cards to cast Breaking // Entering and Beck // Call early in the game. At first blush, these are the two most obviously powerful things you can be doing with these Expertise spells. But that doesn’t mean that’s the full extent of what we can do with Fuse spells. Michael Majors has proposed a more controlling build of the Expertise deck featuring another powerful split card:


Baral's Expertise
Who needs to cheat Griselbrand into play? Michael Majors’s build of Expertise is a little less combo-oriented, and is more focused on grinding out value in a moderately long game. Sure, you still have the ability to cast a fused Beck // Call on turn four, but Michael isn’t spending deck slots on the likes of Griselbrand and Emrakul. Instead of going for Breaking // Entering, Michael has opted to play a more controlling role.

The only acceleration here is Pentad Prism, which can let you cast Baral's Expertise or Yahenni's Expertise as early as turn three. However, rather than being built for raw speed, Michael wants to play a more interactive game, playing removal spells like Fatal Push to help keep tempo with your opponent and discard and countermagic to help force through your game-breaking fuse spells. Beck // Call is still the obvious card you want to fuse, since it gives you a board presence and a pile of cards with which to force through your next fuse spell.

However, the second fuse spell that Majors has opted for here is an interesting one: Catch // Release. Smallpox can end games before they really get started. The ability to steal your opponent’s most relevant permanent and then force them to sacrifice a giant pile of things is absolutely brutal. Against Affinity, for example, you can steal and sacrifice your opponent’s best threat, such as a Cranial Plating, while forcing them to sacrifice a creature, land, and artifact. That kind of tempo swing can be absolutely devastating, and if it doesn’t just end the game, it certainly gives you time you resolve another fuse spell to put the game out of reach.

It seems clear at this point we’ve only started scratching the surface of what Expertise decks can do, and I can’t wait to find out what we’ve learned in a couple of months.


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