Gatecrash Decks

Do you like to see decks with new cards? Well, of course you do! It’s that time when everyone is talking about the latest cards from the newly released set. It doesn’t matter which set we are discussing, because invariably, the latest set is always the coolest one! The potential of these cards is just blatantly powerful because they are so new.

So, let’s put some of these bad boys into decks! After all, when you boil down all of those card evaluations, metagame information, financial information and strategies, Magic ultimately comes down to one simple thing: building decks.

Today, I have built four decks inspired by cards from this set. Some have several entries from Gatecrash while one deck has just two copies of a single Gatecrash card included. Let’s take a look under the hood.

This deck wants to drop a High Priest of Penance. You can stop right there because this is a great early drop for the Orzhov enthusiasts out there. It is a powerful roadblock—a player will not want to attack on the ground and see his best X die, where X is any nonland permanent he has.

High Priest of Penance
Of course, that’s not the whole story. Sure, I want to rock the High Priest, but then, I’d also like to keep it alive. Enter Darksteel Plate to make it indestructible. Once you have equipped it, no one will want to cross you again. Previously, from your foe’s view, the only good thing about pushing into your High Priest is that it is killed, slays its thing, and then everything is done. But with the Plate on it, it becomes a permanent barrier on the ground.

Once you’ve done that, you want creature control. Let’s add Pestilence and some allies to the deck. (Pestilence Demon and Thrashing Wumpus are great friends of Pestilence). Whenever you activate a Pestilence once, the High Priest takes a damage, and you blow something up. If it has the Plate on it, you can do this trick over and over again and clean everything out.

There are a few side tricks that work here as well. One is Pariah's Shield. It redirects damage that would be dealt to you instead to your equipped creature. Imagine this on a Plated High Priest. Now everything from a Lightning Bolt to a flying beat stick is heading straight for the High Priest. That’s going to leave a mark. I added Dr. Cho-Manno to the deck to stay alive through Pestilences, and you can throw a Shield on our good legendary Rebel friend as well.

I included a few tutors and Tops to the deck to find our combo pieces. You can snag whatever you need as you have time and mana. I also added a single copy of Basilisk Collar if you need one. Toss it on the Pestilence Demon or Thrashing Wumpus and laugh as your life skyrockets. (From the lifelink . . . )

Well, that was a fun deck. What’s next?

I mentioned in last week’s article how much I wanted to build a deck called Primordial Soup. Well, here it is! I decided to build around the Primordials in green, and then, I looked for a nice friend for them, and that landed me squarely in black for our buddy.

Sepulchral Primordial
To begin, I included a full set of Sylvan and Sepulchral Primordials. Both are beats that I adore. Then, I added two Primordial Sages and one Primordial Hydra just for flavor. This gave me eleven creatures with the Primordial theme, so then, I spread out to see what other cards would work.

I began with some mana making for the deck. Birds of Paradise and Cultivate both were kicked in. That left me with a lot of spots to round out my deck. I wanted to force some discard on my opponents, so that my Sepulchral guys could trigger. My first stop was the early rhythm of Liliana's Specter. This gave me a nice body and a forced discard of every foe. I then added Syphon Mind to give me some card-drawing and to force a little more discard on my foes. Finally, I tossed in a pair of Scythe Specters. You can drop them, they give the deck more flying bodies, and they can hit and force discards over and over again, making fuel for the Sepulchral Primordials.

Considering this theme, I added a pair of Dread Return, but I then realized that I might want to animate something from a foe’s graveyard, so I swapped them for Beacon of Unrest. I added a set of Maelstrom Pulse for emergency removal, and then, I called it. This deck wants to power out some large Primordial lovin’!

Okay, now what was the next deck in the queue . . . 

I love Pox. Is Undercity Plague the new hotness for it? I usually prefer a more defensive slate of creatures for my Pox decks, but with the City in consideration, maybe this deck would work:

It’s probably not enough creatures for the Plague, but if we can massage the number up to something reasonable, we might have something here. I basically replaced Liliana Vess in my Pox deck with the Plague and then massaged my cards to have a more aggro and control form of Pox. My Pox decks are usually only pulled out for casual playgroups that want a more serious deck. Perhaps this is my new version of that deck.

Pox
Pox decks are complex creatures. I once wrote a primer on playing Pox that clocked in at over four thousand words if memory serves me correctly. This small amount of space really can’t do it justice. The goal is to use Pox as your control card while you blast all of your opponent’s resources. Then, you use some repetitive resource such as a self-recurring creature or artifact or creature land that will go the distance.

This deck uses Cursed Scroll, The Rack, Bloodghast, and Mishra's Factory as winning conditions. You can slap the City on a Ghast or Factory that has been made a creature and then swing for another trigger after you played it. A Factory keeps the coded cipher card on it even when it turns back into a land. Then, you can activate it and swing again on future turns. In this deck, that is downright nasty.

Some of the cards pulled from my normal Pox deck include Liliana Vess for the Undercity Plague, Nether Spirit and Thoughtseize for Bloodghast, and Smallpox for Crucible of Worlds. I yanked Innocent Blood for some other cards as well. If this is your sort of thing, try out the Plagues and see if they work the way we want them to. I suspect they are a bit too hard on the mana, but casting them once, off anything such as Ritual and fast mana (some of my decks have artifact mana), and putting it onto a Ghast that can swing will mean two casts of the Plague, and that’s game over. Often, even the best-built Pox deck will turn into a top-deck war with your foe. The Undercity Plague will end that.

All right, let’s do one more deck and then call it an article!

This deck is built around Massive Raid. After initially wanting to add some Goblin tokens from Krenko, Mob Boss, the concept just exploded into this deck. The goal is to produce a ton of Goblins and then blow someone away with the Raids and Goblin War Strikes. The Raids are good because in a pinch, you can use them for creature kill.

Wort, the Raidmother
Wort, the Raidmother is key because she has the potential to double the Raids and War Strikes just by tapping two Goblins. In this deck, that is very easy to do. You can also fling Goblins with the Siege-Gang Commander at the head of anyone who annoys you (or their creatures). Be careful with that, though. You don’t want to chuck too many creatures and hurt later Raids and War Strikes. It’s a nice way to finish someone off, turn a chump-blocker into 2 damage, or do something with the horde as it is about to die to removal.

This deck includes a lot of ways to make tokens. Just one use of a Rise of the Hobgoblins is enough to fill the board with dudes. I’d hold them back as a play for after a Day of Judgment to refill the board and keep going. I’d also keep out a Tuktuk the Explorer in case of that as well, because then, you receive a 5/5 beater after the sweeping removal goes off.

Don’t forget to tutor for your needed Goblin of choice with a Goblin Matron. In this deck, one tap of Krenko is massively game-altering. When playing multiplayer, don’t overdo the cards. If you have Krenko, a Beetleback Chief, and its two Goblins in play, just stay there. Skip playing more Goblins, and then see if you can ride Krenko for a turn or two. You don’t want that Damnation to end you.

This deck might benefit from one or two copies each of one or two lords that will help all of your Goblins. You can tutor for the right one with a Matron if you really need too. I’d prefer to keep your Matrons for Worts and Krenkos, but tossing in the right Goblin lords might be quite powerful. Playtesting should suss that out. Also consider Goblin Assassin (seriously).




Today, we built four decks from all of those coolly-high-harmony cards from Gatecrash. I hope that you found one or more to tickle your fancy and perhaps to suggest some ideas for building your own decks. Like always, these decks are meant to be starting places. Feel encouraged to modify them to fit your own ideas and card collection. Toss in Mortify for Vindicate, Desert Twister or Putrefy for Maelstrom Pulse, and so forth. Perhaps you want to add Coat of Arms to the Goblin deck or Wall of Omens to the High Priest deck. Make it your own!

See you next week,
Abe Sargent

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