Do you ever feel that you use the same cards too much in your deck-building? When I build hundreds and hundreds of decks for these articles, I sometimes worry about using the same cards too much. Well, not today!
Today, I want to build some decks but without the normal cards I rely on. That means no Wall of Blossoms, no Harmonize, no Swords to Plowshares, no Tidings, no Murder, and so forth. It’s just going to be new cards for the decks (this does not include nonbasic lands included solely for mana—I don’t want to hose my mana base)
Deck 1 –
"Giants of the Yonder"
I began this deck with Palisade Giant and then went into odd directions. I wound up with a deck that tries to prevent all damage via the Giant, the Guards, and equipping them with ways to prevent the damage. Examples include Magebane Armor, General's Kabuto, and Unquestioned Authority.
Once I’ve stalled the game with these creatures and Auras/Equipment, the next place I went was to find ways to win from a stalemated board. The first place that struck me was to attack by shadow. I included a set of Soltari Crusaders to swing on that flank. This is a flank that is usually exposed to others, so you can hammer it hard. Feel free to pump your usually-unblockable Crusader to death-dealing heights. The other kill card is Whispersilk Cloak. You can give one of your creatures shroud to protect it from targeted removal and then swing unblockably for serious damage. Both are highly useful choices for smashing face.
With the Hippogriff in the deck, I pulled my Solemn Offerings for Dispeller's Capsules. Now I can return a Disenchant if it’s needed. I had space for a handful of cards. In addition to the Pentagram of the Ages for a bit of Abe-protection, I also decided that Ghosts of the Innocent would fit nicely. They give me a great option for a Whispersilk Cloak, and they help to keep my team alive if the Equipment is destroyed. Finally, I rounded out my deck with Tormod's Crypt. There are a lot of tricks that harness the graveyard in Casual Land, and they can give you a way to fight that. Even this deck would not like to be Crypted.
The result of this deck was to begin with a random card from Return to Ravnica, which sparked something, letting us wind up with an odd, but interesting deck for your next Magic night.
Deck 2 –
At first, I just wanted to build a Standard-legal Golgari control deck that didn’t use cards such as Seek the Horizon or Murder. By the end, I had morphed the idea of my deck a bit to include a strong graveyard theme. Both Innistrad and the Golgari guild have powerful graveyard themes, and it was hard to ignore that when making this deck!
I began with some good creatures, such as Harvester of Souls and Soul of the Harvest. Both have nice bodies for later and powerful card-drawing potential for you. Joining them was Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, who similarly has a strong board presence. These were key powerhouses in the deck to build around.
Eventually, I decided to run the graveyard-oriented creatures. First, we have Deadbridge Goliath, a nicely sized 5/5 that comes down before all of the expensive creatures and swings for a lot. Its vanilla nature means it might stumble into some Walls or Saproling tokens for a while before finding the end zone, but it has a strong board presence. Then, add the useful Splinterfright, who not only mills the deck, but also rises in power as creatures turn into graveyard food. Breaking that is a full slate of Kessig Cagebreakers. When they attack, they will spit out a ton of 2/2 dorks for free. It won’t take long to overwhelm a defense that way. Finally, Jarad himself joins the club, happy to give his various abilities to the cause.
With all of this graveyard love, I felt that both Rise from the Grave and Creeping Renaissance fit the bill perfectly. Both allow me to recur dead and gone cards of various sorts for another go. In fact, I fear that this deck might blow through the library too quickly in some cases, so be careful. Remember that you can scavenge the Goliath for a giant boost to a guy in play if needed. I added Grim Backwoods to add another card-drawing method to the deck, since few were in here. Finally, Vraska the Unseen supplanted my removal since she can take out anything, and she became another supplement to the controlling nature of this thing. The result is a deck that harnesses the graveyard for a lot of power.
Deck 3 –
With Voice of the Woods in here to make giant Elementals to populate, I need a lot of Elves. Elf decks have a lot of options, but I wanted to focus on making Elf tokens. By looking at making Elf tokens, I could feed into populate more in case I didn’t have an Elemental out when I populated. Imperious Perfect was great because not only did it give me a lord, but it also allowed me to make an Elf token each turn for just a mana and a tap. Don’t forget Elvish Promenade, which is a perfect fit for this deck.
After that, in went Elf enablers. Immaculate Magistrate, Wellwisher, and Priest of Titania are the obvious choices. All Elf decks need these guys in some number. You can tap for a ton of life, to permanently amp a creature, and to produce a bunch of mana. I also added the required four-set of Wirewood Lodge to untap these guys.
Rhys the Redeemed basically gives this deck a backup plan in case the populating Elementals stagnate. Just duplicate all of your tokens over and again, overwhelming any defense. This would be a good deck for Doubling Season, but I do use it a lot already, so I am steering clear of it here for more Elf-centric cards.
For populating, I am running both Sundering Growth and Growing Ranks. One suits quite nicely as a Naturalize effect that also keeps the tokens coming. The other gives a populate every turn for no extra mana. These enabled me to stay away from cards that use white, such as Trostani, Selesnya's Voice and Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage.
I hadn’t intended to do two guild-themed decks for today’s article, but they just happened. Sometimes, you just go where the cards are. As with all of my deck projects, feel encouraged to modify these decks for your collection, metagame, and preferences.
See you next week,