A House Is Not A Home

Tony wants to poison you, then get marked… For cards!

I decided to have a birrova spring clean and tidy things up a bit. The old bedroom was getting scruffy – all those second-hand books I’ve been buying are now buckling the shelves, and piles of commons and uncommons, collected from various drafts, were (by necessity) sitting unsorted in under-bed boxes – within reach of the eager hands of my two-year-old son, Frederico.

As I began sifting, sorting, stacking, and cataloguing, I discovered a long-lost deck of mine – an old favourite from Tempest times, when poison creatures were Type 2 legal and Jolrael’s Centaur kicked some righteous ass. It’s basic premise was a first-game poison token combo-extravaganza, reverting to a traditional River Boa/Centaur/other effective green weenie in games two and three (when my hapless opponent had sided out useful stuff in favour of anti-enchantment ‘tech). This worked surprisingly well, despite a lack of dig-deep type cards.

And then they rotated poison out of the environment.

Boo and, indeed, hiss.

With an emphasis on hiss (dig the alliteration).

And I got to thinking, as you do when the floor is covered in loose cardboard, about how a deck like that could be reworked. Obviously, we need the Druids and the Vipers, the Vitalises and the Charms, to allow the”combo” to successfully”go off,” but I also figured:

  1. Splashing some blue to allow some searching would be a ‘Good Thing’ (TM) – hence the inclusion of the awesomely great Intuition and Fact or Fiction;

  2. If I’m going for a blue splash, then Hermetic Study gives us some extra ping-power;

  3. If I plan to ‘Intuit’ a lot, then having key cards in threes is another ‘Good Thing’ (TM)

  4. Again, if un splash de bleu is my bag (which it is), then slipping a subtle Mystical Tutor or three is fine and dandy for pulling out the other Instants and/or Sorceries;

  5. Apocalypse gives us player-pinging, card-drawing stupidity with Quicksilver Dagger and the pant-wettingly squeezy Prophetic Bolt (kill summat and fetch more combo stuff); and,


3 Birds of Paradise

4 Quirion Druid

4 Marsh Viper

3 Vitalise

3 Emerald Charm


3 Mystical Tutor

4 Intuition

3 Hermetic Study

4 Fact or Fiction


3 Quicksilver Dagger

3 Prophetic Bolt


7 Forest

5 Island

3 Shivan Reef

3 Karplusan Forest

3 Yavimaya Coast


3 Urza’s Rage

3 Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary

3 Blastoderm

3 Thorn Elemental

3 Ghitu Fire

Sideboard everything in for game two, taking out the following cards:

4 Marsh Viper

3 Hermetic Study

3 Vitalise

3 Mystical Tutor

2 Fact or Fiction

The mana curve has shifted up into the middle a bit but, providing no land drop is missed (which is a doddle if you learn how to ‘shuffle’ properly), you can still get some serious twattage in by turn five.

Now I don’t, for a second, profess to be a master deckbuilder. So if any of you kindly, goodly, juice-filled folk want to take issue with any of the above in more than a semi-serious way, then don’t waste your time putting digit to keyboard. I’m not interested in the slightest; I just thought it would be some fun. You remember what fun is, right? Actually, the whole poison ‘thing’ got me thinking (again! – *gasp*). I wondered if I could adapt the poison mechanic and create a suite of spells and effects related to people who have been ‘marked’ in such a way, but I wouldn’t call it ‘poisoning’ – I’d call it ‘Marking’. The crux is as follows: A creature damage-dealing ability would allow a player to become ‘marked’, thus exposing him/her to various other spells or effects. Without this ‘marking’, those new spells and effects would be useless (a la Ertai’s Trickery and Kicker costs). For instance, ‘marking’ cards could be:

Branding Iron



Tap: Target player gains a MARKED token if he/she does not already possess one.

“Crap! That’s hot!”

Branding Imp


Creature – Imp

Flying 1/1

When Branding Imp deals combat damage to a player, that player gains a MARKED token if they do not already possess one.

Rishadan Tattooist


Creature – Citizen


When Rishadan Tattooist comes into play choose one of the following effects: Target player loses a MARKED token OR target player gains a MARKED token, if they do not already possess one.

(And finally, one for the multiplayer fanatics)

Sigilising Wind



X target players gain a MARKED token, if they do not already possess one.

Once you have someone ‘tagged’, then more interesting effects can be applied – bear in mind that not everything that can happen to a ‘marked’ player will necessarily be bad!


Lobotomising Pulse



Each player with a MARKED token must choose and discard two cards from his/her hand.

Branded Leech


Creature – Leech


At the beginning of your upkeep, Branded Leech deals one damage to each player possessing a MARKED token.

Sigil Succubus


Creature – Horror

Flying 2/2

Sigil Succubus cannot be blocked if defending player possesses a MARKED token.


Sigil’s Boon



Each player with a MARKED token may draw 2 cards.

Mirror Domain



Each player without a MARKED token gains a MARKED token, while each player possessing a MARKED token loses one.




While you possess a MARKED token, all creatures you control gain flying.


Selective Purge



Destroy all creatures controlled by players that possess a MARKED token; these creatures cannot be regenerated.

Brand Essence



Gain 3 life for each MARKED token in play.

Cursed Branding



When Cursed Branding comes into play, name a colour. All creatures of that colour controlled by players possessing a MARKED token cannot attack or block. During your upkeep, gain a MARKED token if you do not already possess one.

Remove Sigil



Target player loses a MARKED token and gains 3 life.


Burning Brand



Burning Brand deals 3 damage to each player with a MARKED token.


Hounds of The Sigil Hunt


Creature – Hound



If an opponent possesses a MARKED token, Pack of Hounds costs 2 less to play and gains Haste.

Morphic Syphon



If you possess a MARKED token, draw a card for each player possessing a MARKED token otherwise draw 2 cards.




If an opponent possesses a MARKED token, then all creatures you control gain +3/+3 until end of turn, otherwise all creatures you control gain +1/+1 until end of turn.


Oh, you get the idea by now…

Ciao babies,

Tony B