Eternal Glory – Counting Lessons

It’s harder than you think.

To test this out, I decided to play Belcher at the SCG Invitational Qualifier at Amazing Discoveries this past weekend. First, the decklist:

Creatures (12)
Tinder Wall
Simian Spirit Guide
Elvish Spirit Guide

Spells (47)
Gitaxian Probe
Land Grant
Lotus Petal
Chrome Mox
Rite of Flame
Pyretic Ritual
Seething Song
Lion's Eye Diamond
Goblin Charbelcher
Burning Wish
Empty the Warrens

Land (1)
Sideboard (15)
Xantid Swarm
Empty the Warrens
Reforge the Soul
Infernal Tutor
Goblin War Strike
Shattering Spree
Hull Breach

If anyone tells you that Force of Will needs to be banned, point them to this deck. It’s a blazing fast deck that can kill on turn 1 or set up the kill on turn 1 relatively often. There are several win conditions for this deck, all having different mana requirements:

  • 3 mana – Burning Wish + Lion’s Eye Diamond (Burning Wish grabs Empty the Warrens from the sideboard)
  • 4 mana – Goblin Charbelcher + Lion’s Eye Diamond or Empty the Warrens
  • 6 mana – Burning Wish
  • 7 mana – Goblin Charbelcher (cast and activate) or Burning Wish into Reforge the Soul (only if you are desperate)
  • 9 mana – Burning Wish into Infernal Tutor into Goblin Charbelcher + activation

With one land in the deck, Goblin Charbelcher is almost always lethal. It’s also important to note that if there are no lands in the deck (say, due to Land Grant), Goblin Charbelcher will deal damage equal to the number of cards in your library. If your opponent actually survives the 40+ damage, then you can organize your library in any order. This is actually slightly relevant versus, say, a Spellskite.

So how did I do with Belcher? Let’s find out.

Round 1 – Burn

Coming into the IQ, I had two decklists written out—one for Esper Stoneblade and one for Belcher. After walking around the store the hour or so before the IQ started and seeing 5+ burn decks being sleeved up, I was cemented into Belcher. Turns out it was a good choice, since I was paired up against one of the 7 (out of 28 players) burn decks in the room.

I win the die roll and I cast a Land Grant, Chrome Mox imprinting Burning Wish, Rite of Flame, Seething Song, Goblin Charbelcher, pass the turn. He plays a Figure of Destiny. I draw a blank and end my turn. He levels up his Figure of Destiny, attacks me, then plays another Figure of Destiny. I draw an Elvish Spirit Guide to end game 1.

I see my opponent board in four cards, so I suspect a Mindbreak Trap. We shuffle up and I mulligan. I keep a hand with something like Burning Wish, Chrome Mox, and double Lion’s Eye Diamond.  He plays a Lightning Bolt and pass. I draw and pass. He Lightning Bolts me at the end of turn, untaps, plays a Mountain and ends his turn. I draw and I dump my hand. This flurry of cards somehow ends up with 18 goblins. He extends the hand.


The great thing about Belcher is that you get a ton of time at the end of the round to scout your opponent’s decks. Since Belcher is a deck that has a difficult time versus Force of Will, you have a huge advantage game one if you know what your opponent is playing.

Round 2 – RUG Delver

We get deck checked at the beginning of the round. Unfortunately my opponent gets a game loss for an extra, face-down card in his deck (used as a divider between the sideboard and maindeck). My opponent borrowed the deck and didn’t know what the card even was, so it was just a complete accident.

We shuffle up for game two. I go down to 5 cards since I don’t see a single win condition in my first two hands. The deck plays very little win conditions (only 11), so I usually try to see exactly one win condition in my opening hand. I’m content with just drawing into the mana sources. However, I still don’t see a win condition in my opening five. I keep anyway. Since I know what he is playing and it’s a deck with Force of Will, I probably wasn’t going to win on a mull to four. I decide to devise a new plan—lose this game and hope to catch him on a bad keep in game 3 (and hope I draw a good opener too).

He plays a turn one Delver of Secrets. I draw and pass. He flips a Thought Scour off of the Delver of Secrets to turn it into a raging Insect, then swings in for three. I draw and end my turn. He untaps, attacks with Delver, and then plays another Delver of Secrets. I draw again. I’m at eight cards now. I was tempted to play a Chrome Mox and try to stay in the game, but I decide to go with my original plan and just scoop it up.

While shuffling up for game three (by the way, I board in four Pyroblasts for four Seething Song), my opponent mumbles something about me on Dredge and quickly sideboards in a couple of cards. I mulligan down to 6 cards and he snap keeps his seven. My six cards are Gitaxian Probe, Taiga, Chrome Mox, Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, and Goblin Charbelcher. I Gitaxian Probe him to see: two Nimble Mongoose, a Tormod’s Crypt, a Force of Will, and three land. The plan worked! I draw into a Burning Wish, which I imprint onto the Chrome Mox, and play out my hand. At this point he’s laughing at his mis-sideboarding. He plays his Nimble Mongoose and Tormod’s Crypt. I draw into a Land Grant, so unfortunately I’m forced to pass. He attacks with his Mongoose, and then plays his second Mongoose and a Delver of Secrets. I draw a Manamorphose, which I cast off of my Taiga and Chrome Mox, but he decides to Force of Will it, pitching Brainstorm. He flips Spell Pierce off Delver of Secrets and attacks for five. I’m now at 12. I draw into a Chrome Mox. I play it and he Spell Pierces it to buy another turn. I pay and imprint the Land Grant that I drew earlier. He draws, then attacks for 5 to bring me to 7. I draw a Rite of Flame and activate my Belcher. He reveals the only card in his hand – a Stifle! This buys him another turn. He cracks his Tormod’s Crypt to bring his graveyard to 6 cards. He needs to get threshold to kill me, so a cantrip, a fetchland, or any burn spell will do me in. I tell him to just flip the top card onto the table. He flips a Tarmogoyf. Phew.


Round 3 – Maverick

Since the printing of Dark Ascension, Maverick has gained some serious tools to fight Belcher. While it can’t beat the turn one kill (most non-blue decks can’t), Thalia is basically an auto-scoop. Gaddock Teeg and Ethersworn Canonist can be played around while Thalia hinders both the win conditions and the mana abilities.

A Probe in game one reveals a turn two Thalia, naturally. I have the ability to generate three mana with a Lion’s Eye Diamond but no Burning Wish (I do have Goblin Charbelcher and Empty the Warrens in hand though, so I need a couple of draws to get that fourth mana. The Probe draws me a Goblin Charbelcher and a Manamorphose draws me another Empty the Warrens. I’m forced to pass, and he casts Thalia. Game two it is!

In game two, I Gitaxian Probe him to see a Mother of Runes, Windswept Heath, Swords to Plowshares, Ethersworn Canonist, Noble Hierarch, and a Misty Rainforest. I make ten goblins with Empty the Warrens, and he scoops it up.

Game three is my only actual turn one kill of the day. Land Grant, grabbing Taiga, Chrome Mox, Rite of Flame, Seething Song, Lion’s Eye Diamond, then Goblin Charbelcher for the win.


Rounds 4 & 5

ID into Top 8


Top 8 – Maverick

The feature match is here:

I play against the same player I played against in Round 3. I lost game one since I didn’t have an initial mana source – I had a couple Tinder Walls as well as Belcher and Empty the Warrens, so either would have sufficed, but I needed to draw into a Lotus Petal, Spirit Guide, Chrome Mox, etc, but failed to do so before he drew Thalia.


Top 4 – Maverick

My brother made Top 4 and I’m paired up against him! Since I’m already qualified and he’s not, I scoop him into the finals.

4-1-2 (kinda)

So what did I think of the deck? For one, I certainly would not like to be on the other side of the table! Turn-wise, while the games take a very short amount of time, most of the actual gameplay takes place during and before the opening hands. It teaches you how to read your opponents. In my opinion, the mind games are probably the most important asset you have with this deck, so use them to your advantage.

Surprisingly enough, Belcher is pretty budget friendly. After the Lion’s Eye Diamonds and Taiga (which you can easily swap for a Stomping Ground), the deck has cards worth no more than $15.

If you like killing people on turn one and don’t fear Force of Will, give this deck a try!


@mtgtwin1 on Twitter