Magic 2013 Decks
Decks are the lifeblood of our hobby. Sure, we can have articles about playing the game, buying cards, or various formats, but it all comes down to deckage. Whenever a new set comes out, I join the rest of Magicdom in salivating. It’s time to build some decks!
All of these decks are inspired by new cards from Magic 2013.
I saw the double Soul Warden ability of Healer of the Pride, and I thought about how good that would be with Avacyn Restored’s flicker theme for white. So I decided to combine them. We have the key cards from AR for that theme combined with some good Magic 2013 cards and then rounded the deck out by a few older cards to spice this soufflé up.
We have eight flicker and bounce creatures. Restoration Angel is great because she has flash and a cheap cost and she’s just a flicker. Therefore, you don’t tie down any mana to replay a creature. Then we have Whitemane Lion, a 2-drop from Planar Chaos. It also has flash and a cheap cost. When it arrives at the battlefield, you can bounce any of your creatures. Bounce something with a nice trigger or you can even bounce the Lion and play it again and again, triggering things such as Healer of the Pride and Cathars' Crusade. Finally, we have Emancipation Angel. I wanted a bit more flying, and the replay of certain creatures is enough to warrant serious power in this deck.
Goldnight Commander is another good engine that will trigger when a creature joins your team. Sure, it only pumps temporarily, but it can still give your squad some gas prior to combat. Just dropping a simple Attended Knight prior to combat will give all of your creatures+2/+2 from one Commander.
Then I wanted some creatures with ETB abilities that suited the deck. Attended Knight is a new card from Magic 2013, and it’s a powerful common. For an investment of 3 mana, you produce a 2/2 with first strike and a 1/1 Soldier token. All of the trigger engines in this deck work on token creatures as well, so you net two triggers from this 3-drop.
Wall of Omens spoke to me as a good adjunct to the deck. This isn’t the sort of the deck that wants a 0/4 defender on the second turn to protect itself. But this is a deck that wants to draw cards, and bouncing or flicking the Wall can push you over the edge. War Priest of Thune is good on the mana curve as a nice aggressive creature, and it blows up nasty enchantments. It’s a may ability, so you won’t accidentally blow up a Crusade of your own. You can reuse it if needed.
The final touch was a pair of Reveillarks. Note that they trigger when they leave play and not when they die. If you bounce or flicker one, it still triggers. You can recur a Commander, Knight, War Priest, Wall, Shepherd, Lion, or Healer. Recurring two from that list is quite powerful.
This deck uses fun cards to push self-bounce and self-flickering to a fun place. Most of the cards are new, and those that aren’t can be replaced with others. Feel free to match this deck to your own collection.
"The Krenko Twins"
This deck is built around Krenko, Mob Boss, one of the new powerful legendary creatures from Magic 2013. I wanted to pump out Goblins at a prodigious rate and then swing with a horde!
I wanted these Goblins to have size as well as numbers. Much like the previous deck uses Cathars' Crusade to pump the whole team to a huge level, I’m using eight lords and In the Web of War. You’ll die when you make eight tokens with Krenko that are 4/2 with haste because of one lord and Web in play. You don’t even need the Web, just one of each lord turns these Goblin tokens into 3/3 mountainwalking hasters. Your foes had better hope they aren’t playing red!
This deck can recover well after a Damnation or Day of Judgment. A simple Krenko and Command, Fodder, or Marshal will give you six Goblins in one turn—assuming you have at least 6 mana available and haste from something—or an extra three Goblins next turn.
With the damage potential of this deck at a high level, you can threaten many players at the casual table. I’m sure you can find your own flavor of Krenko deck—in fact, why not build a different sort of Krenko deck entirely!
How does this combo work? You need Krenko and another Goblin, either Umbral Mantle or Staff of Domination, Mana Echoes, and Rolling Thunder, the Staff, or nothing else at all. With Mana Echoes, a creature that joins your team makes
Each time you untap Krenko with the Mantle, you pump him for the turn. Therefore, Krenko can be a 100,003/100,003 creature that swings for game immediately. Another combo is the Staff of Domination. If you have it and are untapping Krenko with it, you can fuel mana into it to gain 100,000 life. You can also draw your deck until you find Rolling Thunder and then blast each opponent for 100,000 damage.
Lightning Greaves is here to protect Krenko and to allow him to go off one turn sooner. The Staff will not untap Krenko if he has shroud from the Greaves, so if you are going off on a turn when Krenko cannot use his ability without the haste from the Greaves, you will need to repeatedly equip them onto another Goblin and then reequip them for each iteration.
The rest of the deck is support for our theme. We have white because I want Enlightened Tutor for combo pieces. If your group does not like a deck with four Enlightened Tutors, play black for one Demonic Tutor, one Vampiric Tutor, and two Diabolic Tutors. I added Orim's Thunder as a way to blow out creatures and artifacts or enchantments as circumstances dictate. Last, Chalice performs needed mana acceleration.
I think the beauty of this deck is that you can do all four routes to victory at the same time—have a million Goblins, a million-sized creature, and a million life, and deal a million damage to each player. I hear they give our merit badges for that sort of thing!
When you are building a deck around a certain card type, what you want is to find cards of that type that do other things. Take my first deck as an example. It was built around playing and bouncing and flickering creatures. In order to emphasize that theme, I crammed the deck full with as many creatures as possible. I tried to find creatures that would destroy enchantments, draw cards, and other things.
A deck built around Talrand needs to do something similar. Whenever you play a spell, you make a free 2/2 flying dork, so we want to find spells that do things besides counter, draw, and bounce. That way, we can emphasize spells in the deck without neglecting other aspects of the game.
This deck is reduced to just eight creatures: four Talrands and four Archaeomancers to reuse those spells. Playing Talrand's Invocation is easy—4 power worth of flying in two 2/2 flyers for an investment of just 4 mana is already a good deal. With Talrand out, it’s crazy.
It may not be in the same vein as above, but Govern the Guildless is a nice way of stealing a creature with a spell and not an enchantment such as Mind Control. Feel free to steal a lot of goodies, and don’t forget that you can forecast it in unusual situations. From stealing a Darksteel Colossus to turning your Bribery-retrieved creature green in order to avoid an opposing Akroma’s protection, there are enough uses that you don’t want to forget about it. Finally, Summoner's Bane makes a 2/2 Illusion, plus, it counters.
I then added both Fact or Fiction and Tidings to the deck. The graveyard fodder from Fact or Fiction is able to be retrieved with Archaeomancer. The card-drawing was necessary, and triggers of Talrand make me happy. I finished with counters and called it a deck.
I think Mwonvuli Beast Tracker has to be among the most flavorful cards from this set. This deck is built around the Tracker and a smorgasbord of tutorable awesomeness for the deck.
Since my deck was two colors, Birds of Paradise and Cultivate will help make sure we have enough of black to play my beaters in that color. They also act as acceleration to arrive at the good stuff even earlier!
Now that we have our engine in place, let’s look at the creatures we can tutor for. Acidic Slime is the only four-of in the deck among my tutor targets. It’s ideal since you can grab one when you need to blow up a land, artifact, or enchantment. Another creature that can blow up something is Stingerfling Spider. When it enters the battlefield, it can take out a flyer. If there is a creature you need to off badly, the Spider may be your answer, and fetching it with a Beast Tracker makes me happy.
The obvious beaters in the deck are the Steel Brothers: Dark and Blight. You can put them right on top of your library with a Beast Tracker and then drop them with a payment of 4 mana from a Call. You may not always have a Call, so I didn’t push this combo too much in deck design—only these two creatures are probably over the curve. Then, we have on-curve Pelakka Wurm to gain life while smashing through villages. After that, all of the other creatures cap at 6 mana.
There’s a copy of Hornet Queen in case you want to swing into the sky, make tokens, or create a large defense immediately. Since I don’t think you’ll want her that often, I just went with one copy. The other 6-drops are twins Harvester of Souls and Soul of the Harvest. They both allow you to draw cards in the right circumstances, and they can help draw you cards over time.
This is a fun deck built around a simple uncommon from Magic 2013. Sometimes, you find deck inspiration from cards that are neither rare nor mythic. The first deck was also inspired by an uncommon, so we have uncommons flanking the article today, which seems like a nice symmetrical note on which to end today’s deck-a-thon.
I hope that you came away with a few cards or a deck that you want to try out. Enjoy the new cards, and find your own decks!
See you next week,