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Extended - The long and the short of it

By Richard Bland



Most players (until recently, me included) don’t play much extended. It’s the same story every year. You find out there’s an upcoming extended PTQ, so you borrow a deck from a friend, or if you have a decent collection, netdeck something yourself. You turn up having little experience of the deck and its matchups, make some sideboarding errors and a few play mistakes during the day and go home disappointed. “Next year,” you promise yourself, “next year will be different!”


The PTQ’s for Yokohama will be running in around 3-4 months, so if you want a headstart on everyone else, here are almost all of the decks that are running around extended at the moment, divided into their classical types, aggro, control and combo.





There are a fair few aggressive decks in the format. These decks all aim to win around turn 4 (or at least be able to burn out the opponent from there). They run cheap, efficient beaters, and disruption to stop control decks from stabilising.



First up, Boros Deck Wins


21 Land

4 Sacred Foundry

4 Mountain

1 Plains

4 Bloodstained Mire

4 Wooded Foothills

2 Windswept Heath

2 Barbarian Ring


18 Creatures

4 Savannah Lions

3 Isamaru, Hound of Konda

4 Grim Lavamancer

4 Goblin Legionnaire

3 Silver Knight


21 Spells

4 Pillage

4 Molten Rain

4 Firebolt

4 Lightning Helix

4 Lava Dart

1 Char




This deck has an incredibly low curve (19 1-mana spells, 11 at 2-mana, and 9 at 3-mana) and the Onslaught block fetchland heavy manabase allows it to fuel its lavamancers, activate the threshold ability of the barbarian rings, and thin its deck of useless lands in the lategame. The 8 land destruction spells topping the curve make it very difficult for control decks to mount an opposition and keep them off of wrath or hierarch mana. This deck is quite popular and you should expect to face it. Bear in mind that it is very consistent and can burn opponents out easily even after their initial onslaught is stopped (the deck can deal 60 points of burn to the face, not counting lavamancers!)






17 land

4 Great Furnace

4 Seat of the Synod

4 Vault of Whispers

4 Blinkmoth Nexus

1 Glimmervoid


19 Creatures

4 Arcbound Ravager

4 Arcbound Worker

4 Frogmite

3 Myr Enforcer

3 Ornithopter

1 Somber Hoverguard


24 Spells

3 Chrome Mox

2 Pithing Needle

3 Shrapnel Blast

4 Fire//Ice

4 Cranial Plating

4 Thoughtcast

4 Terrarion



Affinity is one of the cheaper decks in the format to build with its rare light manabase and creature selection, and so is a definite option for anyone on a budget. The deck is capable of some horrifically fast starts, and is very capable of swinging for 10 on turn 3 despite losing 2 of its favourite cards to last year’s bannings (disciple of the vault and aether vial), just showing how strong the affinity mechanic is. The deck runs maindeck answers to Kataki and other threats with some pinpoint removal in fire/ice, and to other disruptive strategies with pithing needle, and the deck packs its own disruption such as duress and cabal therapy in the board.




18 Land

4 Cephalid Coliseum

4 Watery Grave

2 Overgrown Tomb

1 Swamp

4 Polluted Delta

3 Bloodstained Mire



22 Creatures

4 Ichorid

4 Putrid Imp

4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Psychatog

4 Golgari Grave-Troll

2 Wonder


20 Spells

4 Chrome Mox

4 Zombie Infestation

4 Tolarian Winds

4 Deep Analysis

4 Cabal Therapy


Named for the deck’s inventor, John “friggin’” Rizzo, this deck abuses the dredge mechanic by dumping most of the deck into the graveyard in the first couple of turns, then swinging across with Ichorids or huge ‘togs. The deck is highly synergistic, and has multiple flashback cards that allow the deck to cast spells and gain card advantage while spending its draws on dredge cards. To appreciate the synergy and strength of the deck, you really have to see it in action; it really can get some sickeningly good draws. Unfortunately, the deck is quite easy to hate out, and so its sideboard is dedicated to dealing with the hate cards, running pithing needle to deal with withered wretch, scepter and tooth decks, chain of vapour to deal with leyline of the void, scepter and tooth, and moment’s peace to deal with aggro decks, which can sometimes race this deck.




“Aggro” Loam


25 land

4 Forgotten Cave

4 Tranquil Thicket

4 Wooded Foothills

4 Windswept Heath

2 Stomping ground

1 Sacred foundry

1 Temple garden

2 Forest

2 Mountain

1 Barbarian Ring


15 Creatures

4 Birds of Paradise

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Werebear

3 Terravore


20 Spells

3 Seismic Assault

4 Firebolt

3 Life from the Loam

4 Burning Wish

3 Thoughts of Ruin

3 Lightning Helix



This deck, while unconventional for an aggro deck, may well be the best deck in the format. The deck has a big pile of synergy, and uses the all-star life from the loam to fuel not only a card draw engine, but also for seismic assault, wild mongrel and to boost hand size for a big Thoughts of Ruin. The dredging and fetchlands also make for a gigantic terravore and enables werebear’s threshold. The Burning Wishes allow not only for up to 7 Thoughts and Loams but also give the deck access to potent silver bullets such as Morningtide against graveyard-centric decks, Shattering Spree versus affinity, and Hull Breach as a sorcery speed naturalize.





Control decks have to have a lot of answers available to them, due to the diversity of the format and the sheer size of the card pool. Many of the decks therefore utilise the Judgement wishes to allow the deck to answer any threat presented to them. The decks here all aim to neutralise the opposing deck’s threats, gain card advantage and end the game with either a large/difficult to deal with beater, or some sort of lock mechanism that makes winning a formality.





23 land

3 Hallowed Fountain

1 Sacred Foundry

2 Adarkar Wastes

2 Steam Vents

3 Island

1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

3 Plains

2 Seat of the Synod

2 Shivan Reef

4 Flooded Strand



4 Win conditions

2 Exalted Angel

2 Decree of Justice


33 Spells

4 Isochron Scepter

2 Orim's Chant

3 Fire//Ice

2 Mana Leak

2 Lightning Helix

3 Thirst for Knowledge

2 Chrome Mox

4 Counterspell

3 Force Spike

3 Wrath of God

2 Fact or Fiction

3 Cunning Wish


No-Stick, otherwise known as Scepter-Chant, plays as a regular blue/white control deck - countering spells, drawing cards and sweeping the board. But this deck also incorporates the powerful Isochron Scepter to counter every threat an opponent plays with an imprinted counterspell, or to deny them their turn with a kicked Orim’s Chant. The deck runs the uncounterable decree of justice, and the aggro-killing exalted angel as win conditions. The deck also utilises cunning wish to search for either extra copies of its lock pieces or silver bullets like stifle, disenchant and echoing truth.



Burning Tog


23 Land

3 Polluted Delta

3 Flooded Strand

2 Bloodstained Mire

1 Oboro, Place in the Clouds

1 Swamp

5 Island

1 Blood Crypt

2 Steam Vents

2 Watery Grave

1 Godless Shrine

1 Hallowed Fountain

1 Sacred Foundry


10 Creatures

4 Nightscape Familiar

4 Psychatog

2 Flametongue Kavu


27 Spells

4 Burning Wish

4 Fire//Ice

4 Memory Lapse

4 Remand

4 Counterspell

4 Fact or Fiction

2 Repeal

1 Deep Analysis



Burning Tog is the most successful of all psychatog variant control decks. The deck runs counterspell disruption and plenty of card draw, with nightscape familiar acting as a one sided helm of awakening, as well as slowing attacks on the ground. The acceleration provided allows tog to wish for answers such as morningtide, pyroclasm, global ruin and shattering spree from the sideboard and play them while leaving counter mana open. Tog is difficult to play, but can cope with all sorts of threats and benefits a skilled player.



Gifts Rock


22 Land

4 Forest

4 Windswept Heath

3 Overgrown Tomb

2 Polluted Delta

1 Hallowed Fountain

1 Watery Grave

1 Godless Shrine

1 Temple Garden

1 Breeding Pool

1 Swamp

1 Island
1 Plains

1 Golgari Rot Farm


15 Creatures

4 Birds of Paradise

4 Sakura Tribe Elder

3 Eternal Witness

2 Loxodon Hierarch

1 Ravenous Baloth

1 Genesis


23 Spells

4 Gifts Ungiven

4 Pernicious Deed

3 Living Wish

3 Leyline of the Void

3 Cabal Therapy

2 Putrefy

1 Vindicate

1 Plow Under

1 Sensei’s Divining Top

1 Deep Analysis


Rock has been around forever it seems, and for good reason. The power of Pernicious Deed makes this control deck something to be reckoned with. The deck runs plenty of mana acceleration and early game disruption such as the therapies and the plentiful removal. The deck’s late-game however is staggering, with witnesses, genesis, gifts ungiven and its board sweepers all providing card advantage. The deck can lock out an opponent with Witness + plow under + genesis, or can constantly recur hierarchs to thwart aggro staregies. The deck can also wish for silver bullet creatures like the graveyard hosing withered wretch, or the late-game bomb Simic Sky Swallower or even useful lands like Boseiju.






Combo decks aim to win around turn 4 or 5 and run a variety of cards to search for and protect their combo pieces from disruption. They tend to run stall cards like Moment’s peace, Remand and Sakura-Tribe Elder to delay their opponent’s development, giving them opportunity to combo out. The decks all require some skill and lots of practice to play with as many important decisions tend to be made over the course of a single turn that will make the difference between comboing off and losing horribly.


Tooth and Nail


23 Land

4 Urza’s Power Plant

4 Urza’s Mine

4 Urza’s Tower

4 Windswept Heath

5 Forest

1 Tranquil Thicket

1 Boseiju, who shelters all


11 Creatures

4 Sakura Tribe Elder

2 Eternal Witness

1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

1 Sundering Titan

1 Darksteel Colossus

1 Mephidross Vampire

1 Triskelion


26 Spells

2 Talisman of Unity

3 Moment’s Peace

4 Sylvan Scrying

4 Reap and Sow

4 Sensei’s Divining Top

4 Tooth and Nail

2 Mindslaver

3 Oblivion stone


This deck aims to quickly assemble the Urzatron and fire off an entwined Tooth and Nail on around turn 4 or 5 (needing only a Tron set and 2 forests to cast it) bringing out either a one-sided wrath in Trike & Vamp, or a one sided Armageddon in Kiki & Titan. The deck also runs Oblivion stone and Mindslaver to abuse the plentiful mana to sweep the board, or just wreck your opponent. The Windswept Heaths not only provide shuffle effects for the divining top, but also allow a white splash in the sideboard for Kataki (to beat affinity) and Orim’s chant (to protect the combo and to stop opposing combos)






22 Land

12 Forest

10 Island


4 Creatures

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder


34 Spells

4 Ideas Unbound

4 Remand

4 Heartbeat of Spring

4 Cunning Wish

3 Rampant Growth

3 Early Harvest

3 Gifts Ungiven

4 Nostalgic Dreams

2 Fact or Fiction

1 Revive

1 Deep Analysis

1 Brain Freeze










This deck aims to deck the opponent by building up a large storm count with Early Harvest, Heartbeat of Spring and card draw spells. The deck can usually go off with 5 lands in play. The current version of the deck eschews the traditional Mind’s Desire for Ideas Unbound, which does just as much to help the combo go off and is less useless early on in the game. The cunning wishes can grab combo pieces, countermagic and bounce as needed. Nostalgic dreams makes the deck highly resistant to disruption, as it can easily restock its hand with Ideas Unbound, and then get back the necessary cards. The loop of drawing cards, early harvesting, then casting nostalgic dreams to return them all allows the deck to easily build up the requisite storm count - with Remand allowing you to “cheat” the storm count by casting Brain Freeze for say, 8 copies, Remanding the original Brain Freeze, then recasting it for a total of 17 copies!


This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the decks you can encounter. There are many other archetypes lying on the fringe of competitiveness, such as Zoo, Izzetron, U/B(/g) Tog, Balancing ‘Tings, MadnessTog, slide and wake – all these will show up from time to time. Time Spiral looms on the horizon, and almost certainly will make some impact in extended. Whether it will inspire entirely new archetypes or augment existing ones, only time will tell…



- Richard Bland (Blasmeister on the forums)