Deck Tech: Gary Krakower

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Gary Krakower, two time Canadian National Champion and one-time GP winner, came into Milwaukee with only a single bye. By the end of the third round, he had a perfect 3-0 record. Gary has a reputation as being an innovative deckbuilder, and he did not disappoint with his newest creation.

Ben: So where have you been lately Gary? I haven't seen you at a tournament in a while.

Gary: Well, I sort of fell off the tour, so that put a damper on things. I was qualified for Osaka but decided not to go, and I wasn't q'd for Nice, but I'm back into the game now.

B: Tell me how you came up with the idea for this deck.

G: Originally I saw the Black/White Braids deck, and I thought it was a great new deck. This became a really perverted version of that deck. On a whim, I threw some Ensnaring Bridges into the sideboard of the deck before a tournament, and then every game I boarded them in, they simply crushed by opponents! So the Bridges came in main deck for a few of the creatures. The next card to come in was the (Disrupting) Scepter. I play it in every constructed format where it's legal.

B: So it's a signature card for you.

G: Yeah, and it came in and then all the creatures came out. When I played it yesterday I went 5-2, and every time I used the Scepter, it got some reaction from my opponents. One even asked "is that card legal?"

B: Your deck wins by decking your opponent with Millstone and Haunting Echoes, correct?

G: The Echoes is my kill card, that's for sure. With the (Innocent) Bloods and (Chainer's) Edicts I control the board, and with Duress and the Scepters I control hand sizes.

B: I bet you've had some opponents simply refuse to concede, though.

G: Most opponents concede, but I had one yesterday where he literally had only two creatures left in his deck, and no other way to win. I had to explain to him a few times that he was eventually going to lose, until he finally gave up. He wasn't too happy about that. (Laughs)

B: So let's take a look at your sideboard.

G: Aegis of Honor gives me a win versus Blue/Red and Control Black decks. It stops all their burn, and the Corrupts that black throws at you these days. I had one opponent sit there with a hand full of burn after I dropped a turn one Aegis, and I just kept stripping the cards from his hand as the game went on, while he couldn't cast a single thing.

B: The Addles and (Skeletal) Scryings are pretty standard, but what about your other cards?

G: Crippling Fatigue is there to kill those annoying mana creatures like (Llanowar) Elves and Birds (of Paradise). The Ray (of Distortion) and Aura Blast are for Trenches, and Opposition decks. The interesting thing I really like about Ray is that I can discard it to my Scepter if I need to keep a Bridge lock going, and then cast it again later out of my graveyard. It's like having an extra Disenchant even though I have no hand size.

B: What about the Pay No Heed?

G: It's a great trick against decks that kill you on one shot, especially Psychatog. I was playing on Magic Online the other day, and this guy attacked with a 25/26 Psychatog. Suddenly, he had a zero power Psychatog and he wasn't too happy about it.

B: And lastly, what about the (Orim's) Chant?

G: My deck is weak against Tog the first game. It's also doesn't like to see Pernicious Deed, Lobotomy or Upheaval. Orim's Chant gives me an edge against a control deck, but it also is a really good card to play in response to my opponent's Upheaval.

B: Do you think you're going to play this deck at Nationals?

G: Well...(Pauses)

B: Are you going to Nationals?

G: I'm not qualified yet, but I think I'll play there, I just may have to grind if my rating isn't high enough.

B: Although the meta-game changes at Nationals depending on what wins the grinders, and your deck is definitely innovative enough that if you win a grinder, other people will react to it.

G: That's true.

B: How has the deck performed so far?

G: I went 5-2 yesterday in the grinder, but one of those was a fluke. I had him locked down under the Bridge, with only one card in hand, a land. He only had a Rootwalla and Elf in play, and I was at 16. I drew 4 straight lands and died to his two creatures. If I'd drawn any other card in my deck, he'd have no way to win, so I count that as a win for me since it was such a freak accident. The other round I lost I got crushed.

B: How do you think you'll do today?

G: I'd be happy with 7-1. I honestly just want to make day 2. One lesson I've learned is that if I play a deck I enjoy I do well.

GP Milwaukee: B/W Millstone
Gary Krakower

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