Once upon a long time ago, I used to play in Friday Night Magic (FNM for short) tournaments. I also sucked.
However, there was a golden period right about the time Mirrodin came about that one card caught my attention, and changed my Magic game forever.
Tooth and Nail (TnN) was one of the first rares I saw and went “this is AWESOME.” When it first came out though, it actually kind of sucked: there was no real reliable way to play it quickly and efficiently. There weren’t any really powerful creatures to pull out with it. Overall, it was kinda so-so.
Nonetheless, I was determined to get 4 of the buggers and play them as much as possible. I got one in a booster pack, and got three for trading a Stifle and something else not too important. At the time, it looked as if I gipped myself.
However, when Darksteel came out, things began to look up. People began to realize the power of a fully powered TnN deck as more powerful creatures made their way into standard: Darksteel Colossus, Sundering titan, and Reap and Sow all made their debuts; in addition, thanks to people realizing the Urzatron (Mine, Plant, and Tower) and Cloudpost existed in the format, the mana to easily cast this powerhouse card was easily obtainable. The only problem was that there was still no way to reliably get out the cards you needed when you needed them, and you had to rely on luck to win, which is a really, really shitty thing to rely on.
Like, shitty. Like wagon-of-corn-exploded-all-over-the-road shitty. It was because of this problem that TnN still lost so often to other powerhouse decks like Arcbound ravager or Mono red Sligh.
This changed drastically with the introduction of Champions of Kamigawa. This underpowered block had a few overpowered cards, the two most important for me being Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Sensei’s Divining Top.
Kiki-Jiki didn’t just break mirrors (Bad luck, FYI) but he broke games. Even though most TnN decks would never get the red mana to hard cast him, TnN could easily get him and on other creature out, allowing you to create copies of whichever creature you owned until end of turn. Although this didnt fix TnN’s notorious problem with consistency, Sensei’s Divining top did. This tiny, one mana artifact fixed every single problem TnN had with consistency, and once people realized how important it was, it became the centerpoint of the TnN deck; you could see and rearrange the top 3 cards of you deck at any time. You could draw the top card of your deck at any time when needed. Finally, you couldn’t destroy it.
If you didn’t have 4 in a deck, there was a problem with your deck.
This ultimately boosted TnN to a highly competitive deck, complete with an answer to any problem at a high speed. Playing with TnN was like playing with a toolbox: any threat they could put in the battlefield, you could find an answer for.
Unfortunately, when Tooth and Nail rotated out, I tried to stay with the format and traded a large portion of my deck away. Tooth and Nail was lost for a time with me.
Recently, I vowed to re-create my TnN deck, and restore it to it’s former glory; and I have done this.
Here is the deck list of my favourite deck that I’ve ever created/played:
4x Sakura-Tribe Elder
4x Eternal Witness
1x Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1x Mephidross Vampire
1x Clockwork Dragon
2x Platinum Angel
1x Sundering Titan
2x Darksteel Colossus
The game plan with this deck is very simple: play TnN as quickly as possible, and win. Happily, this isn’t hard to do: thanks to the Urza lands, you can easily create the 9 mana necessary to cast a fully entwined TnN, and with the creatures you have available to you, you can easily win under most circumstances.
The first step is actually getting the mana to do this: Sakura-Tribe Elder, Sylvan Scrying, and Reap & Sow all search out the mana you need: One of each Urza land, and two forests. Any more than that is a luxury.
Once you have cast TnN successfully, what on earth do you actually get? The hard part about playing a TnN deck is choosing the right creatures to pull out in order to win. Pulling out 2 Darksteel Colossi might be intimidating, but if they have a flying creature posed to kill you or a couple of removal spells, they’re not going to do much. So instead, I’m going to mention some of the more powerful combos you can pull off.
Kiki-Jiki + Sundering Titan
A powerful move that allows you to destroy an inordinate amount of land right off the bat. By putting the Titan into play, you destroy a few lands to start. With Kiki-Jiki, you can make a copy of the Titan, causing more lands to blow up. And to top it off, the token dies at the end of the turn, destroying a few more lands to top it all off. Not to mention the titan is a sizeable 7/10, and the token can swing every turn without remorse.
Good against decks with the same lands as you do (So you don’t destroy your own) and decks that cannot win without all that mana.
This combo allows you to play a colossus and swing with it too!
Good for when you have a huge upper hand and need to end it quickly.
Kiki-Jiki + Duplicant
Facing a lot of annoying indestructible creatures? Can’t seem to get rid of your opponent’s massive beasty? Kiki-Jiki and the Duplicant allow you to remove anything you like from the game without any negative side effects.
Good for when someone has played a very tough to kill creature.
Platinum Angel x2
Platinum angel is actually a fairly frail card; however, it’s a lot harder to get rid of two of them instead of just one.
Good if you need to stall for a couple of turns before you can win.
Triskelion + Mephidross Vampire
This is likely the most powerful combo in the deck. With both creatures out on the field, Triskelion can mow down every singe creature on the field without losing a single +1/+1 counter. This combo has allowed me to single-handedly win games I really shouldn’t have won. In addition, if you can manage to get Kiki-Jiki out with the other two, you instantly win the game. Reason? You clone your Mephidross vampire. Now your Triskelion can shoot itself to infinity, and then shoot every player on the field dead.
Good for clearing the field of pesky creatures, and keeping it that way. Also creates the opportunity for an instant win combo.
Lastly, there are a number of support cards in the deck to help you win. Clockwork dragon is a powerful creature if you can’t find a TnN for your life. Thanks to the abundance of mana at your disposal, Clockwork dragon can become a monster very quickly.
Eternal Witness is one of the most powerful creatures in the deck. Why? It allows you to get stuff from your graveyard back AND it’s a blocker. Your TnN had to be discarded? Get it back! And one more thing…
Kiki-Jiki + Eternal Witness + Mindslaver
This, children, is what we call a Slaver lock. 1 vs 1, this combo allows you to permanently control your opponent’s turns, normally resulting in a loss for them. The way it works is that you use your mindslaver, and control your opponent’s turn. At the end of his turn, you create an eternal wtiness clone, pulling the mindslaver back up to your hand. Since your opponent is tapped out (gogo tapping lands for nothing!) they cannot counter the ‘slaver, and the combo continues until you have the mana to pull off the combo you need to win.
It’s not easy to pull off as you need a Mindslaver to do it, and it’s not as easy to find as everything else because it’s not a creature! Plus, it requires 10 mana to pull off. If you can pull off this combo though, most people will concede right away since they will never get another turn.
So I’m still working on a sideboard, but so far the deck is working better than I remember it. Any suggestions?