Blue halfdeck: gen 0 done

by wickeddarkman on 24 January 2023

Main Deck (30 cards)

Artifacts (3)

Enchantments (6)

Land (11)

Sideboard (6 cards)

Creatures (2)

Instants (2)

Enchantments (1)

Land (1)

Submit a list of cards below to bulk import them all into your sideboard. Post one card per line using a format like "4x Birds of Paradise" or "1 Blaze", you can even enter just the card name by itself like "Wrath of God" for single cards.

Deck Description

An awful long time ago (2008) I invented halfdecks, and started posting about them.
Initially it gained a group of followers who saw the fun part of shuffling two 30 card decks into 1 with 60. The basic idea was that the more halfdecks you had, the more ways you could combine them.

The group quickly fell apart.

Then in 2013 I had worked enough at the project to start posting about it again, this time my goal was to make the project into a very competitive contender.

Interest was rekindled but lost again.
Developing halfdecks seems to be an exceptionally hard task and even I gave it up for a while to advance another technology (paperstrips)

Then during the 2020's I started thinking about the idea again.

I wanted to figure out a way to create deck hybrids on a whim, like taking two random decks in the meta and just smash them together to form a new deck with more qualities and less weaknesses.

In 2021 I was producing a bunch of modern halfdecks, when it struck me that I needed to dig deeper into how halfdecks could be evolved, and I had a series of breakthroughs which is driving my work at the moment.

To give an example I discovered "the gap" it exists in decks with two heavy themes, for example infect, bogles, steroids and other decks where your strategy consists of two large groups of cards, in this case creatures, and something boosting your creatures. Decks like these fall apart when you frequently draw cards from just one of the two themes. "The gap" can be diminished by cards that overlap both themes (llanowar augur, for example is both a creature and a pump card) working seriously with halfdecks where every half is it's own theme has helped me discover the gap and taught me how to deal with it by using cards that overlap multiple themes.

Why bother with all this ?

In the past I've discovered that if you work on several builds at the same time and bring your designs to tournaments at random, then noone will know how to adapt their decks against you. The standard creed of deckbuilding is "become the expert at one deck to win the most, and work on it continuosly" but if everyone else is doing that, they become predictable, including yourself and the meta adapts against leading decks. I've challenged that creed in the past.

There was a time in magic where hybrid decks were made constantly because people designed decks in smaller modules (called shells) and you could sort of take these random modules and smash them together at random and have a fully competitive deck.

This system got trashed by a new type of deckbuilding, where you took the most successfull shells statistically and made your deck of that.

Hybrid deckbuilding crashed, and everything stagnated, and to fight the statistical approach, an age of misinformation was born, where fake decklists are spammed into the dci event reporter and magic forums to disrupt statistical builders and control the meta in general by abusing that most players tend to be copycats getting their lists of the web.

To me, that means that hybrid deckbuilding will be the longterm safer bet, which is why I'm trying to crack the very essence of how shells can be formed, and how you can reinvent the modular building style of the past.

Just to put in some time perspective, shells were a thing years before that modern came along as a format.

So to sum it all up, I use evolution to design my halfdecks for me, and train them against an old modern meta to beat the current modern meta to prove many points in one big package. It's going to take years before I'm ready.

But because of the intensity of the project, both pauper and modern players may find some forgotten gems among my lists.

I fight misinformation myself by having a solid panel of testdecks. Whenever I find a new decktype I want to add as a testdeck it gets played against all of the old testdecks, and if it scores higher than the average it gets added while the worst performer is removed. That way the quality of my testdecks never fall lower even if parts of the deck looks like sabotage.

Other groups, especially among pros, does something similar, but to prevent infighting in the group, they work on exactly the same deck and all take it to a big tournament at the same time.

The clearest spampattern I've seen is that each time a set supports an archetype, the spammers keep anything but those floating, then as a new set is released that supports other stuff, the neglected decktypes resurfaces but with their old cards rather than the new ones. Other people seems to be less capeable at juggling with multiple new set releases in their mind. It's a rather simple but powerful way to make the overall public forget good cards. Should anything resurface it naturally gets spammed and drowns in a flood of crappy obsolete decks.

Never trust new changes in a deck without testing it thoroughly, always research as many sets back in time as you can. The past is burried but powerfull.

How to Play

The developement of this prototype was fast and intense, and have given me many surprises along the way.

But from this point on it will be coevolved with the green halfdeck, and this will take three generations in which I'll have plenty of fun.

Theres also a sideboard.

This page will contain the progress and notes of generation 1, but it will take some time for me to generate.

25th January 2023:

Humans: I lose.
2 cavern of souls, 3 thalia's lieutenant and a mantis rider proves to fast to stop.

Affinity: I lose.
I lock down an archbound ravager with betrayal and counter a second. Howling wolf halts a memnite but I die to inkmoth.

Elves: I lose.
Lots of elves early are stopped from attacking by penumbra bobcat and ophidian, but a collected company brings the right tools forward to crush me two turns later.

Hollow vines: I lose.
I get to put a betrayal on a hollow one, but goblin guides and Emissary kills me.

Eldrazi taxes: I lose.
I'm manascrewed and they go turn 2,3 and 4 eldrazi displacer with an added leonin arbiter at turn 4.

Living end: I lose.
In this game rites of refusal shows some potential against this deck by countering the cascade spells while I discard good creatures in preparation for when I miss a spell.

Kiki-chord: I lose, but got close.
Early game I thermokarst 2 of their lands, then Countering 2 spells and casting fade away let's me get them down to 5 life before the combo.

Merfolk: I lose.
If merfolk had a bad curve, I would have locked down their mana by taking an æthervial out with naturalize. Betrayal slowed a few merfolk, but by playing blue myself it was a matter of dying eventually.

Dungrove aggro: I lose.
A relatively long game, so I was disappointed that I didn't draw better, especially because the opponent was landscrewed midgame.

Gw(x) vizier: I lose.
I counter the combo twice, but get no naturalize to deal with the walking ballista.

26th January 2023:

Selesnya company: I win. Holy crap, this thing CAN win.
Selesnya opens with a forest and a bird of paradise. I put betrayal on the bird. To make a long story short I get flood, 2 betrayal and 2 thermokarst, taking out 2 forest.
The opponent only has 2 birds and a ghostquarter, and during their upkeep I tap both birds, harvesting 3 cards each turn. In essence I play out most of my deck while the opponent manages to defend itself with 3 path to exile (and not killing their own tripple betraying bird just to have mana), basically losing because his deck is full of creatures. It's a 1 out of 11 event so far, but damn it felt good. I even got to kill a tireless tracker with the tidal visionary + blue elemental Blast trick.

Knightfall: I lose.
Bad start, manages to sweep the board with fade away, leaving the opponent with 2 fliers, but gavony township makes them too big before I can turn the tide, despite putting betrayal on one of them.

Flayer junk: I lose.
Early fade away takes out a creature, but two different liliana's lock me down, and soon ooze and rhino beats me down.

Neonate dredge: I win. Extreme luck.
Dredge draws a hand with no developement except for a stinkweed imp, so my opponent goes for the old "play no land" to discard the imp on his turn 2, and from turn 3 and onwards he dredges the imp hoping to get some good stuff into the graveyard, except nothing good gets there. While I slowly build up a small army he continues to be unlucky. On turn 3 I got ophidian into play and used it to draw each turn in an attempt to find tormod's Crypt, I even repulse a tidal visionary after combat to dig for it, but in the end it wasn't relevant. Extreme luck...

Bloodbraid eldrazi: I lose.
Opponent gives a damn about tapping a noble hierarch with betrayal on it, and plays reality Smasher, which I counter. Same thing happens, I counter a second reality Smasher. Meanwhile my life has been depleted by a matter reshaper due to 2 noble hierarch. While I got plenty of cards, none of them can get rid of the reshaper. I play a nantuko to chumpblock, it gets dismembered and the game is over.

Ponza: I lose.
Some betrayal stall and wolf action, then a titan hits the battlefield and I draw no blue elemental Blast.

Hollow one: I lose.
Almost got the draw engine up and running.

Bant eldrazi: I lose.
Oppenent starts by playing eldrazi temple, while I start with 3 islands, a counterspell and a mana leak, so I feel safe. The sight of a cavern of Souls being played, changes calm into panic. Two thought-knot seer in a row and a reality Smasher to top it. I'm done.

Eldrazi tron: I lose.
Awful close to getting the draw engine running. Even managed to thermokarst an Urza's tower and play a fade away.

Shadow grixis: I lose.
Decently close to getting the draw engine in motion.

Grixis shadow: I lose.
Got betrayal on 2 death's shadow, but was hit for lethal.

Infect: I lose.
The game lasted 10 turns, where a single glistener elf was constantly thrown at my defences. I managed to counter 2 boost spells along the way, but never drew any form of removal.

27th january 2023:

Burn: I lose.
An absolute test favourite. Learning if you have enough counterspells or lifegain is always important. I got to a stage where I had 2 betrayal on a goblin guide, 4 islands and a flood, so I only needed to draw a counterspell when I got bolted. Pretty close to locking burn down.

Countercat: I lose.
I got flood into play and was able to stall 2 nacatl at a time. Having 10 lands while the opponent has just 5 is something I really gotta exploit. I might need to go through a larger array of land fetch cards to see if I've might overlooked some game changer.

Hexproof: I lose.
Didn't get a leg to the ground, and without non-targeted removal this is an uphill battle. Naturalize has done some groundbreaking against this in the past, but in those matches I had a large blocker available.

Assault loam: I lose.
Got locked down by raven's crime and smallpox.

28th January 2023:

Goryo's reanimate: I lose.
Manage to swipe the graveyard with tormod's Crypt, lost to a breached worldspine.

8-rack monoblack: I lose.
Despite having naturalize, nantuko and counterspells I got wasted, because I drew none of it... pretty frustrating.

Mardu tokens: I lose.
Interesting game, but lost to both types of tokens.

Blue tron: I lose.
Turn 4 sundering titan crushes my manabase. At turn 8 ugin let's the opponent play trinket mage and mindslaver, fetching walking ballista and playing it with 8 counters, then taking control of my turn. Their next turn, an attack, a big shot and I'm dead.

Rw prison: I lose.
What a long battle. Using a deck with almost no creatures against this prison deck means it gets some very loyal planeswalkers. Twice ajani wiped the board of my lands before by luck, I draw into blue elemental Blast. The fact that this deck doesn't really rely on any creatures except emrakul, meant that betrayal was a very dead card. Two chalice of the void didn't make things easier, and unless I could draw nantuko I would lose. On the bright side, I didn't go out easy.

29th January 2023:

Cheerios: I lose.
Turn 2 fade away took out the first creature and turn 3 thermokarst slowed them another turn. But nothing was drawn to stop them from there.

Saheeli/felidar: I lose.
Dead to the combo on turn 4.

Seismic swans: I lose.
Turn 5 combo. I only draw "aggro".

Nahiri jeskai: I lose.
Long complex game where I draw little aggro and die to celestial colonised.

Mardu tokens: I lose.
Also a long complex game. Couldn't stop liliana from ultimateing, but at least she died to do so. I was given the choice between all of my mana or a man-o'-war and an ophidian, and choose to keep the creatures. I get killed by kalitas despite putting betrayal on it.

Giftstorm: I lose.
No tricks from my side, so I die at turn 4.

Scapeshift omen: I lose.
Turn 5 kill via omen. I got nothing to stop it.

bu mill: I lose.
Slow but inevitable game. I manage to use tormod's Crypt to stop Crypt incursion, but have to use an ophidian to stop startled awake. My naturalize got hit by surgical extraction as did land grant. I also manage to counter two mill spells, but I get slaughtered by mind funeral.

Breach moon: I lose.
I manage to counter the first breach, and survive the second breach with a single land in play. I die to bolts.

Kci: I lose.
Turn 2 thermokarst. Countered 2 cards. Then drew no aggro and kci had time to build up.

30th January 2023:

Uwx-mid: I lose.
Long game. To many counterspells because of teferi and snapcaster.

Urzatron: I lose.
Turn 3 tron & karn.

Bring scape: I lose.
Turn 6 I get killed. Not enough aggro.

Ad nauseam: I lose.
Turn 5 I die. Got manascrewed.

Lantern control: I lose.
Long boring game.

Two wins out of 51 games is not exactly brag material, but on the bright side the worst performers of the deck have been removed, which should allow some useful mutations to seep in.

Synergies discovered:
Rites of refusal + howling wolf.


Basking rootwalla + rites of refusal.

Howling wolf + whirlpool rider.

Red elemental Blast + tidal visionary.


Raze/tremble: with lotus petal and wall of tinder it's possible to set up a "land trap", where you use the mana boosters and play the destruction before you play a land.

Deck at a Glance

Social Stats


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Mana Curve

Mana Symbol Occurrence


Card Legality

  • Not Legal in Standard
  • Not Legal in Modern
  • Not Legal in Vintage
  • Not Legal in Legacy

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