CASUAL FRIDAYS #106: Switching Sides With Style

Ideas for two key threshold cards, as well as twenty-four countermeasures against the Multiplayer Threat of the Set.

The Break this Card for Graceful Antelope is underway! I have already gotten in a couple dozen submissions; so we’re on track. There’s good innovation out there and I’m already looking forward to posting a couple of them. Build your own deck today, and send it in!

This week, I’d like to take a card series from Odyssey and work out some basic multiplayer decks with them. Here’s what I’ve got to work with:

  • The lhurgoyfu (this is my plural form of Lhurgoyf…sort of like hippopotumi…);

  • The three creature-type champions (druids, clerics, wizards);

  • The land enchantments (e.g., Animal Boneyard, Caustic Tar, etc.);

  • The creatures that recur a specific card (e.g., Anarchist, Gravedigger, etc.);

  • The shrines, of which we will say no more;

  • The Thought Nibber/Eater/Devourer;

  • The Spheres;

  • The token creatures;

  • The optional damage cards (e.g., Blazing Salvo);

  • The Kindle-style cards (e.g., Muscle Burst);

  • Atogs;

  • The freaky double-creature types;

  • The two good-evil threshold creatures

And I haven’t even touched the mana eggs, the”conventional” spells redone through flashback, the sack-lands, the new 2/2s and Legends… Well, I guess I could go on.

The lhurgoyfu probably have the most popular appeal, but I’ll save each for a separate article. The three creature-type champions will also be interesting, once our group does up another”creature type” night. The recur-capability creatures have kind of been done before; the color-specific series (spheres, thought creatures, optional damage, token generators) typically build their own obvious decks; the atogs I did on the Sideboard; the freaky double-creature types will take a bit more time (and probably another expansion or two) to develop right…

…and that leaves us with Wayward Angel and Repentant Vampire. Which is good, because that’s where I wanted to end up, anyway.

Good Girl Gone Bad

For the sake of reference:

Wayward Angel


Creature – Angel Horror



Attacking doesn’t cause Wayward Angel to tap.

Threshold – Wayward Angel gets +3/+3, is black, has trample, and has”At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature.” (You have threshold as long as seven or more cards are in your graveyard.)

We all understand that Breeding Pit and Hornet Cannon work just fine with this card. What I’d like to do, though, is find another way to get to that Serra of the Pit without the nasty sacrifice part.

And the key will be dickering around with threshold.

Warning: Threshold will be a dangerous effort in multiplayer. Many people will start packing Tormod’s Crypts, Repopulate, Planar Void, and Steamclaw to take advantage of fools like us who just want to fiddle around with our graveyard. I give some possible countermeasures below; but in the meantime, recognize that you may have your hands full with the plan I’m going to outline.

When do you have to sacrifice a creature? During your upkeep. When do you want a 7/7 non-tapping, flying trampler… During your upkeep? No, during combat. So let’s think about that: We want cards that can pull cards out of our graveyard between our combat phase and our next upkeep. Instant speed feels right:

3x Wayward Angel

2x Gaea’s Blessing

2x Repopulate

2x Miraculous Recovery

None of the instants get used during your turn. Blessings and Repopulates are more efficient, and serve two purposes: Play at end of last opponent’s turn to move the Angel completely out of threshold territory; or mess someone else’s graveyard strategies up. (You didn’t think we were going to leave graveyard hosing to the opposition, did you?)

The Recoveries are not horribly efficient, since the seventh card you pull out gets replaced by the Recovery itself… But it does get you an extra creature in a pinch, and may even resurrect an Angel when you’re well past threshold to”replace” a weaker creature on the board.

We look like green/white, here. What we need now are two things: Creature cards (since token generators won’t work with the Blessing, Repopulate, or Recovery) and ways to get cards into our graveyard.

3x Greater Good

1x Manabond

2x Beast Attack

4x Muscle Burst

4x Diligent Farmhand

4x Wild Mongrel

3x Bloated Toad

2x Devout Witness

3x Krosan Archer

2x Mageta, the Lion

…mana to taste

I had Survival of the Fittest in there originally, but thought Greater Good was worth a try for style points. Use either one; we’re not after combo here, so the difference is not huge.

So the way this should work is: You get out a quick strike force that should discourage early bullies. By the time an Angel comes out, you should be within easy striking distance of threshold (four or five cards in your graveyard, as you ditch Farmhands, cycle Toads, pump Mongrels and Archers). Do whatever damage you can without threshold – this is a 4/4 non-tapping flyer, right? Hold one of your key recursion cards back until you are”forced” into threshold by someone else’s bad behavior. Of course, you can always opt to sack a creature if you feel you can afford it; but you’ll look more clever if you just avoid the whole dirty”sack a card” aspect of the creature bomb and just enjoy the fruits of it all.

I just couldn’t resist a couple Beast Attacks. Not only will this get a card into your graveyard at instant speed, it will also flush a card out.

I am very, very tempted to try Recycle in this deck. But something that risky requires a great deal of coordination, and probably a different style of deck.

Bad Boys Gone Good

Repentant Vampire


Creature – Vampire



Whenever a creature dealt damage by Repentant Vampire this turn is put into a graveyard, put a +1/+1 counter on Repentant Vampire.

Threshold – Repentant Vampire is white and has”Tap: Destroy target black creature.”

While not as stunning as the Wayward Angel, the Vampire is still an attractive deal, especially for the reasonable cost of five mana.

There are a few different ways to build a vampire deck – a Sengir-family deck, or silliness based on Psionic Gift and Fatal Blow, or some such. But the most promising uses the color-shifting capabilities of Invasion block.

I’m torn between the old standby Darkest Hour, the (unnecessarily?) flexible Shifting Sky, and the instant-speed Sway of Illusion. Tell you what; we’ll do four of a couple of them, and then come up later with a reason for doing just that.

4x Repentant Vampire

4x Darkest Hour

4x Sway of Illusion

4x Black Moon

3x Ascendant Evincar

Sure, pump everyone’s creatures, and then selectively take away privileges when it suits you. Let’s stay on the color manipulation theme:

4x Vodalian Zombie

4x Black Knight

3x Treetop Sentinel

And with the last six slots, let’s encourage the threshold:

4x Probe

2x Bloodcurdler

I’ll be curious to see (or hear from others) how well the Bloodcurdler works. From my experience in Limited environments so far, it’s not too bad at all… But it’s hardly stunning.

Add lands to taste. I would definitely throw in a Cabal Pit or two, as well as a couple of Remote Isles.

Last-Second Public Service

Of all the cards in Odyssey, there is one that I can guarantee beyond the shadow of any doubt will see play in your group within two weeks. No, I’m not talking about Mirari. I’m talking about a certain 4/4 flyer that will have protection from every color you throw at it.

The Iridescent Angel will be a powerful, and highly annoying, feature of any multiplayer game for several weeks. I will not stand for this. While in deep admiration of Wizards for creating a card that serves as an amazing in-your-face signal to the board, I am also terribly worried that the skies will soon be full of this ultimate color hoser. Hurricane, Inferno, Thrashing Wumpus, and even Wave of Reckoning are all useless.

The following cards will all destroy an Iridescent Angel:

THE OBVIOUS BOARD-CLEARERS: Wrath of God, Jokulhaups, Nevinyrral’s Disk, Pernicious Deed, and all their variants.

THE BEST BETS FROM ARTIFACTS: Sandstone Deadfall (coming to an OBC sideboard near you!), Masticore, Rocket Launcher, Draco, Teeka, Flowstone Sculpture, Predator Flagship, Thran Golem.

THE EASY-TO-FORGET LANDS: Maze of Ith, Kor Haven, Island of Wak-Wak. A couple of Barbarian Rings will do the job, too.

And finally…

THE SEARCH FOR STYLE POINTS: Chariot of the Sun or Phyrexian Splicer and one of the artifact creatures above; Double-Rancored Ornithopter; Viashino Heretic with a (double-activation) Forge[/author]“]Thran [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]; three Chimeras, two of which should be Tin-Wing and Brass Talon; Unerring Sling and the colored – yes, colored – 4+ power creature of your choice (and why not something pathetic, like Loafing Giant?); Power Matrix or Flaming Sword and a Telethopter or Clay Statue.

Happy hunting! And don’t forget to send those Graceful Antelope ideas in!


Anthony Alongi

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