Building_on_a_Budget

Lux Redux

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The letter I! wrote about a Lux Cannon deck a few months back. Since then, many readers have sent me emails asking if I could update the list with New Phyrexia and Magic 2012. Lux Cannon is a powerful spell that has the ability to completely take over any game in which it is left untouched. It's a difficult card to build around, but putting in a bit of work can often be very rewarding.


In the past, my Lux Cannon decks have done very well against control decks whenever Lux Cannon successfully resolves. Unfortunately, Lux Cannon doesn't always resolve. Savvy control players will save countermagic for your Lux Cannon, and you may be in a fairly awkward spot. I wanted to make sure that I had a threat that I didn't care was countered. I needed a fast clock that was powerful against everyone. I needed Kuldotha Phoenix.


Sure, the mana cost on Kuldotha Phoenix is a little prohibitive, but why can't I just be a mono-red deck? Previously, I played blue for cards like Trinket Mage and Treasure Mage. New Phyrexia introduced Tezzeret's Gambit and Volt Charge to the mix. With these two powerful cards I won't need to rely on Treasure Mage to find Contagion Engine to lock up the late game. Kuldotha Phoenix provides a fast clock, inevitability, and a 4-toughness flying body to ruin the day of Caw-Blade players who have hopeful dreams of hitting you with a Sword of Feast and Famine.

Tezzeret's Gambit is a really impressive card. I've never been ashamed to have a few Divinations in a deck, and this card essentially lets you play with Divination regardless of what colors you're playing. Drawing two cards is a powerful effect, but the effect becomes significantly more powerful when you take proliferate into consideration. Our deck is sure to be playing many cards that benefit from proliferate. Cards like Lux Cannon, Tumble Magnet, Everflowing Chalice, and Sphere of the Suns will all gain a big advantage when you're casting Volt Charges and Tezzeret's Gambits.

Lightning Bolt is still Lightning Bolt. I'll happily play four copies of this spell as spot removal. Three damage is enough to kill a Bird carrying Sword of Feast and Famine and one mana is a fine cost to deal with a Bird that's about to pick up a Sword of War and Peace.

Tumble Magnet is another card that works very well against Swords. Tumble Magnet is also an excellent answer to an on-board Titan. With Contagion Clasps and both proliferate spells you shouldn't have any trouble keeping enough counters on your Tumble Magnet to tap down any significant threat.

Everflowing Chalice is the best anti-control card available to a deck like this. As a mono-red deck we don't have access to cards like Mana Leak that would normally allow us to fight counter wars. Everflowing Chalice will provide our deck with large amounts of mana that we can use to pay for our opponent's Mana Leaks and Spell Pierces. If the game goes long you may find yourself with a lot of counters on multiple Everflowing Chalices. Drawing a Red Sun's Zenith can often be worth the full 20 points of damage needed to dispatch your opponent.

Sphere of the Suns, while not as powerful as Everflowing Chalice, still ramps us into powerful turn-three plays like Lux Cannon or turn-four Kuldotha Phoenix. The colored mana produced by Sphere of the Suns will help us cast our Kuldotha Phoenix and give us the option of paying mana instead of life for the Phyrexian mana on our Tezzeret's Gambit and Dismember. If you're lucky enough to own a few copies of Koth of the Hammer, then you definitely want to include them in this mono-red deck that plays eight two-mana accelerants.

At least a few copies of Dismember are necessary to deal with the broad brush of problems presented by the new Standard format. Spellskite and Deceiver Exarch are problematic for this deck, and we need a main-deck answer. Post-board we can go to four copies of this spell. Thanks to our Sphere of the Suns we can even pay some black mana to lose a little less life from the Phyrexian cost.

Red Sun's Zenith seems like a powerful endgame for this deck. The Everflowing Chalices will get very dangerous in the late game, and it seems reasonable for us to blast people for double digits with our Red Sun's Zeniths.

Here's the main deck once we crunch some numbers:

Lux Redux
Standard


Slagstorm is a perfect sideboard card for a deck like this. In fact, playing a few Slagstorms in the main deck may be the right choice if your local metagame has a good amount of Birthing Pod, Goblins, Vampires, or Tempered Steel decks.

I want a few extra copies of Dismember against Splinter Twin combo. These can also come in over two Lightning Bolts against decks like Caw-Blade or anything with Sword of War and Peace.

Act of Aggression is another spells that works very well against Splinter Twin combo. I may already have the Dismembers, but it isn't enough to make the matchup feel reasonable. I have the space in my sideboard, and I'll be happy to play the extra help.

I'll finish up my sideboard with artifact removal. I want to make sure that I can deal with opposing swords. Oxidda Scrapmelter is better than Manic Vandal because our deck has so many two-mana accelerators.

2 Dismember
4 Slagstorm
3 Act of Aggression
4 Oxidda Scrapmelter
1 Manic Vandal
1 Red Sun's Zenith

I put the deck together on Magic Online and played a few matches to see how it fared against what people are playing in the Constructed queues.


I lost the roll and kept 2 Mountain, Everflowing Chalice, Tezzeret's Gambit, Kuldotha Phoenix, Lux Cannon, and Tumble Magnet. My opponent played a Creeping Tar Pit and passed the turn. I drew a Tectonic Edge, played a Mountain, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Preordain, played another Creeping Tar Pit, and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain, played it, cast Everflowing Chalice, and passed the turn. My opponent played an Island and passed the turn back. I drew another Tezzeret's Gambit, played my Tectonic Edge, and attempted to cast Lux Cannon, but my opponent had the Mana Leak. My opponent played a Darkslick Shores, cast Jace Beleren, drew a card, and passed the turn. I used Lightning Bolt to kill Jace, then drew a Mountain, played it, and cast Kuldotha Phoenix. I attacked, but my opponent had a Dismember and paid 4 life to deal with the Phoenix. My opponent played a fifth land and passed the turn.

I drew a Sphere of the Suns, cast it, cast Tumble Magnet, and passed the turn. My opponent tapped out for a Grave Titan and passed the turn back. I reanimated my Kuldotha Phoenix during my upkeep, drew a Mountain, played it, cast Tezzeret's Gambit, drew another Tumble Magnet and a Kuldotha Phoenix, and passed the turn. My opponent entered combat, and I tapped down the Grave Titan. My opponent still attacked me for 4 damage with Zombies, cast Liliana Vess, and made me discard a card. I discarded Kuldotha Phoenix, and my opponent played a land and passed the turn. I reanimated my other Kuldotha Phoenix, drew a Lightning Bolt, and attacked for 8 damage. My opponent used a Doom Blade to kill one Phoenix, and I cast another Tumble Magnet and passed the turn with a red mana open.

My opponent played an eighth land, activated a Creeping Tar Pit, and entered combat. I cast Lightning Bolt to kill the Creeping Tar Pit, used Tumble Magnet to tap the Grave Titan, and took 4 damage from the Zombies. I reanimated the Phoenix again, drew a Tectonic Edge, played it, and attacked for what would have been lethal. This time a Dismember was fully paid for, and my opponent dropped to 4. I cast a Tezzeret's Gambit using my Sphere of the Suns, drew Volt Charge and a Mountain, and passed the turn. My opponent entered combat, and I tapped the Titan and took 4 again. My opponent cast Consecrated Sphinx and passed the turn. I tapped the Sphinx during the end step and reanimated the Kuldotha Phoenix on my turn, and my opponent conceded.

Sideboarding: -2 Contagion Clasp, -2 Lightning Bolt, +3 Act of Aggression, +1 Red Sun's Zenith


I kept 3 Mountain, Sphere of the Suns, Act of Aggression, Kuldotha Phoenix, and Lux Cannon. My opponent played an Island, cast Preordain, and passed the turn. I drew a Tectonic Edge, played a Mountain, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Darkslick Shores and passed the turn. I drew a Tezzeret's Gambit, cast Sphere of the Suns, and passed the turn. My opponent played an Island and cast Jace Beleren, making each of us draw a card. I drew a Volt Charge. I drew another Tectonic Edge, played a Tectonic Edge, cast Lux Cannon, charged it, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Creeping Tar Pit, drew a card off of Jace, and passed the turn.

I drew another Volt Charge, charged my Lux Cannon, played a Tectonic Edge, and used both Tectonic Edges to blow up my opponent's black sources of mana. My opponent drew a card off of Jace, cast a Preordain, and played another Creeping Tar Pit before passing the turn. I played my Mountain, cast Volt Charge to kill Jace, used my Lux Cannon to kill the Tar Pit, and passed the turn. My opponent passed the turn back. I drew a Tectonic Edge, played it, and cast Kuldotha Phoenix, but my opponent used a Mana Leak to counter it. My opponent again passed with no third land, and I drew another Sphere of the Suns, cast Tezzeret's Gambit, drew another Tezzeret's Gambit and a Red Sun's Zenith, charged up my Lux Cannon, cast the Sphere of the Suns, and passed the turn.

My opponent played a Darkslick Shores and cast another Jace Beleren, then drew a card and passed the turn. I paid four mana during my upkeep to return the Kuldotha Phoenix back to the battlefield, then drew a Mountain, played my land, attacked Jace Beleren to kill him, used my Lux Cannon to destroy my opponent's black source, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Swamp and passed the turn. I drew a Kuldotha Phoenix and cast it, but it got hit by a Mana Leak. I attacked with the other Phoenix, and my opponent used a Dismember to deal with it. I charged Lux Cannon and passed the turn. My opponent played another Swamp and passed the turn. I returned a Kuldotha Phoenix to the battlefield, drew a Mountain, played it, cast Tezzeret's Gambit, charged my Lux Cannon, attacked for 4, and passed the turn. My opponent passed back. I returned the other Phoenix, drew a Volt Charge, attacked for 8, used Lux Cannon to blow up another land, and passed the turn. My opponent drew for the turn and conceded to the pair of Phoenixes.



I lost the roll, pitched an awkward draw, and kept the following six: 3 Mountain, Everflowing Chalice, Volt Charge, and Lux Cannon. My opponent cast a Vault Skirge and passed the turn. I drew a Sphere of the Suns, played a Mountain, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked for 1, cast a Porcelain Legionnaire, and passed the turn. I drew a Tezzeret's Gambit, cast Everflowing Chalice, and passed the turn. My opponent cast Tempered Steel and attacked me for 8, then cast a Memnite postcombat and passed the turn back to me. I drew a Kuldotha Phoenix, played my Mountain, cast Volt Charge on the Porcelain Legionnaire, put another counter on my Everflowing Chalice, cast Sphere of the Suns, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked me for 6, cast another Porcelain Legionnaire, and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain and conceded to lethal damage on board.

Sideboarding: -4 Lux Cannon, +4 Slagstorm, -2 Red Sun's Zenith, -2 Tumble Magnet, +4 Oxidda Scrapmelter


I went to six cards again and kept 2 Mountain, Sphere of the Suns, Slagstorm, Lightning Bolt, and Tumble Magnet. I played a Mountain and passed the turn. My opponent played an Inkmoth Nexus, cast Memnite and Hex Parasite, and passed the turn. I cast Lightning Bolt on the Hex Parasite on my opponent's end step. I drew a Mountain, played another land, cast Sphere of the Suns, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Plains, cast Hex Parasite and Vault Skirge, and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain, played it, cast Slagstorm, and passed the turn. My opponent played another Plains and cast Tempered Steel. I drew a Kuldotha Phoenix, played my land, cast the Phoenix, attacked for 4, and passed the turn.

My opponent cast another Tempered Steel, played another Inkmoth Nexus, and passed the turn. I drew a Tezzeret's Gambit, attacked for another 4 with my Phoenix, cast Tezzeret's Gambit, drew a Tectonic Edge and a Volt Charge, played the Tectonic Edge, cast Tumble Magnet, and passed the turn. My opponent activated both Inkmoth Nexuses. I tapped one, and the other hit me for five poison. My opponent played another Inkmoth Nexus and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain, played it, and passed back. My opponent played a sixth land and activated all three Inkmoth Nexuses. I tapped one, and the other two attacked. I blocked one with Kuldotha Phoenix, destroyed the other with Tectonic Edge, and finished off the first one with the Volt Charge. I drew an Oxidda Scrapmelter and passed the turn. My opponent activated Inkmoth Nexus, and I tapped it with the Tumble Magnet. My opponent then cast a Glint Hawk Idol and passed the turn. I drew another Tumble Magnet and cast it, confident that it would win me the game alongside my Phoenix in the graveyard. My opponent cast a Spellskite, activated Inkmoth Nexus, and redirected Tumble Magnet's ability to the Spellskite when I tried to tap the Nexus. I took another five poison and lost the match.


The deck worked very well in the practice matches I played. The sideboard may need some work, but the main deck seems like it's where I want it to be. If you can get your hands on Koth of the Hammer or Chandra, the Firebrand then I would suggest adding those to the main deck over Lux Cannons and some other sampling of spells. I would still play the Lux Cannons in the sideboard to help the control match-ups.

Remember that Act of Aggression is very strong against Consecrated Sphinx, as you can cast it during your draw step after your opponent's triggers for the Sphinx go on the stack. If your opponent draws two cards, then you can draw four, and your deck has enough cheap burn that filling up your hand with pure gas will almost assure victory against most decks that play Consecrated Sphinx. This interaction seems very important in post-sideboard games with this deck.

I'm looking for ideas and suggestions for next week's feedback-based column. Be sure to shoot me an email with suggestions for the piece.

Happy brewing!



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