One of the strategies I always want to give a swing is the two-for-one deck. What's not to love? Especially in the history of Standard, cards like Uktabi Orangutan, Flametongue Kavu, and Bloodbraid Elf have made for dominant decks across a variety of archetypes. Two-for-one based decks tend to have great game against fair decks, and lots of options in general.

I especially wanted to try two-for-ones as a reaction to the card Lifebane Zombie (itself the most powerful two-for-one of the last year or so). Lifebane Zombie has been oppressive to green (and white) decks since it was first printed, but one way to combat that card is to just overwhelm the opponent with two-for-ones! Which card advantage creature are you going to take?

And of course the reality is we are about to hit a rotation.

So here's a brew:


This deck is kind of a compromise for now. It is actually mostly legal post-rotation. Of the creature spells, we lose a couple of Scavenging Oozes, but most of the rest of the non-Mutavaults are intact. I know Khans of Tarkir is threatening to push three- (and more) colored decks, but maybe that gives us an opening for focused mana, especially when you can pack in four Reclamation Sages for their projected permanents.

This deck has been surprising, fun to play, and shockingly competitive. There are basically two engines to the deck:

1. Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
2. Everything else

Because it is a Yisan deck, you have to make certain choices; for instance there is at least one creature card at every curve point from one to seven. The deck fundamentally has a ton of lasting power because, like an old-school Rebels deck, you can just play Yisan and level him up turn after turn, building an army (and an increasingly impressive army at that).

So sometimes the leveling gets awkward when you draw your one Arbor Colossus or Kalonian Twingrove; but no one has really cracked the Yisan template yet.

One thing I would edit about this deck (or give a whirl after we lose Sylvan Primordial) is to switch in some number of Scuttling Doom Engines at the six. I might actually just replace Kalonian Twingrove, but I must say the card has been really impressive in this almost-all-Forests deck. When you combine Yisan, Courser of Kruphix, and Eidolon of Blossoms, the two-for-one of Kalonian Twingrove actually pays out at a much greater rate than two regular cards. Most of my games have been dragging out long enough to produce 10/10 or so Trees.

As for everything long as you can cast your stuff, you are generally getting something extra with almost every card. Past the one- and two-mana accelerators (Elvish Mystic and Sylvan Caryatid), it's all two-for-ones. So you can play Courser of Kruphix and land free lands (plus life); Reclamation Sage to KO an opposing enchantment; or litter the board with token creatures.

There are a number of interesting Chord of Calling sequences at four to seven mana, involving mid-combat Polukranos activations or Nylea ruining combat (all of a sudden everyone tramples); Hornet Queen has been a great mid-combat defender and an evasive racer.

This deck is a super blast to play because you keep touching your library every turn; and it actually has over-the-top card advantage or other resource advantage across many matchups; for instance against red aggro decks the combination of Scavenging Ooze and Nylea's Disciple can be anywhere from annoying to oppressive.

The worst matchup I've hit (which I didn't realize was a deck people were actually trying) is Constellation-Linear; that deck is even more value-tastic on a card-for-card basis, and there just aren't enough Reclamation Sages to beat all their Doomwake Giants + additional shenanigans. Hopefully your opponents won't be carrying Coinsmiths.

Enough on this intro for this one.

It's Make the Play Monday!

As usual, I am going to propose a situation (in this case with this Monogreen Two-for-One deck) and solicit answers from all y'all readers.

Your job is to submit your answers in the comments below.

On Friday, we will comb through the comments to find one who agrees with the play I submit and / or the play submitted by my weekly Celebrity Guest. One lucky reader who agrees with me will earn a $25 gift certificate. Ditto for one who agrees with the Celebrity Guest.

Ready for your scenario?

We opened on:
Arbor Colossus
Scavenging Ooze
Sylvan Caryatid

The opponent turned out to be a black deck and opened by forcing us to discard our Sylvan Caryatid.

We ran out our Scavenging Ooze turn two, while he further identified himself as the B/g variety with a dual land. That green mana fueled an Abrupt Decay on our turn three Courser of Kruphix.

Which put Scavenging Ooze in the driver's seat.

A turn three attack was followed by a turn 4/4 attack thanks to Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix; the opponent didn't let that last long, and sent Hero's Downfall at the Ooze.

Turn five, heroes made an Arbor Colossus.

The opponent answered with a Lifebane Zombie, but congratulations and condolences: found only Forests in our grip.

So it's now turn six.

The score is 22-12 in our favor.

Both players have three cards in hand and one creature on the battlefield.

We've just ripped a Courser of Kruphix; so our three are Forest, Forest, and the 2/4.

The bad guys have all of one Golgari Guildgate untapped, with a Lifebane Zombie on D.

Play this sixth turn.

Comments below!