Dancing With The Dead, Part 1

Okay, it’s a little early for Halloween – but let me tell you, I’m all excited about the graveyard recursion that Onslaught opens up. I’m diggin’ Onslaught’s graveyard cards… And is that a deck I smell a’brewing? By the pricking of my thumbs…

Okay, it’s a little early for Halloween… But let me tell you, I’m all excited about the graveyard recursion that Onslaught opens up. While Odyssey block was all about the graveyard, it was relatively short on recursion potential. I guess they had to be in order for other graveyard themes to be explored.

I have to say I’m a long time fan decks like Living Death and Godzilla/Reanimator/Benzo. Creatures are my thing, and there’s little I hate more than having all my cool critters swept into the grumper by a Wrath of God, or having each one countered as I try to summon them. Most of the time, those creatures just accumulate in your discard pile, deceased reminders of what could have been. But sometimes cards come along that give those creatures a second lease on life… And a second chance to smash your opponent.

Let me tell you, I’m diggin’ Onslaught’s graveyard cards!

Let’s start with my favorite: Doomed Necromancer! A”fixed” Recurring Nightmare, once in play, for a black mana this little gem taps and sacs to put a creature from your graveyard into play, no muss no fuss. No loss of life involved, no buried or removed from the game at the end of turn. Boom, there he is, living large and happy to see the light of day. This little guy begs to be paired with Dawn of the Dead, a cool enchantment from Torment that didn’t see much play – namely because it quickly ate up all your reanimation targets, leaving you with an empty ‘yard and losing life by the turn. But since the Necromancer sacrifices himself, you can recur him every turn to animate something big and/or useful out of your graveyard.

Ah, is that a deck I smell a’brewing? By the pricking of my thumbs…

Something Wicked This Way Comes

4x Duress

4x Buried Alive

3x Dawn of the Dead

4x Mesmeric Fiend

4x Merfolk Looter

4x Doomed Necromancer

3x Nantuko Husk

1x Undead Gladiator

3x Faceless Butcher

1x Ravenous Baloth

1x Fallen Angel

1x Arcanis the Omnipotent

1x Visara the Dreadful

1x Petradon

1x Symbiotic Wurm (or Beast)

4x Underground Sea

4x Polluted Delta

4x Island

12x Swamp

All kinds of cool synergies in here, I love this sort of deck. First off, let me tell you I’m extremely happy Nantuko Husk was printed. Torment’s nightmare creatures *screamed* for this sort of card so that you could use stack tricks to sacrifice the nightmare to permanent remove the card(s). So, Husk + Fiend/ Butcher/ Petradon is just tasty goodness. You can also Go Large with the Husk (or with the flying Fallen Angel) by sacrificing the Symbiotic creature and the subsequent tokens… I originally listed Symbiotic Wurm since it’s a huge 7/7 body and makes tons of insects when it dies, but it occurred to me I may want to have an additional beast in the deck (along with the Petradon) to mini-combo with Ravenous Baloth. While this deck isn’t necessarily slow as molasses, I can see you getting into some life trouble against a lightning fast U/G deck. I guess start with the Wurm, and if you find your life total needs help in playtesting, give the Beast a try.

Why is there blue in the deck? I initially had a monoblack version worked up, but it used a pet favorite bad card of mine, Overeager Apprentice, to help ramp up the mana to cast Dawn early, while dumping fatties you drew into the graveyard. The trouble came when I started realizing my mana curve spiked up big time in the 3cc range and I felt the need to do something about it. Necromancer, Husk, and Buried Alive are all pretty darn vital, so the Apprentices had to go.

So then I’m left with the problem – what if my toolbox creature that I need to animate is in my hand rather than in my graveyard? Merfolk Looter to the rescue! Yes, I think he is worth splashing blue for.

So Doomed Necromancer and Dawn of the Dead are fantastic in this deck, each on their own. But together… Ah, man I certainly hope I get to see that. Between the Fiends and Duress, I’m hoping it’ll happen, especially with counterspell quality diminishing in the new card pool.

Now, for a quick rundown of the toolbox creatures I selected for the maindeck:

Undead Gladiator: I envision him as creature card #3 that you get with your first or second Buried Alive, enabling you to cycle cards and pitch any fatties you draw. He may not be necessary, but he seems good.

Ravenous Baloth: Sometimes you’re just going to need life and a big body to stay in the game long enough to take control.

Fallen Angel: The fourth Husk, this one flies and can end the game.

Arcanis the Omnipotent: when the casting cost is no object, wouldn’t you like to Ancestral each turn?

Visara the Dreadful: helps you take control of the board and keep it.

Petradon: Upheaval defense. While Duress and Fiend certainly help in that fight, Petradon makes sure an untimely top deck doesn’t ruin your setup. Another cool trick to keep in mind for Upheaval dorks is to Butcher your Fiend and sit on it. When/if they Upheaval, your Fiend comes into play and you can snatch that nasty ol’ Infestation they’re eager to play afterwards. Keep in mind you can set up this defense with a Fiend and Necromancer in play, with a Butcher in the graveyard.

Symbiotic Wurm: with a Husk and Dawn on the board, and one of these in the graveyard, you will overrun your opponent in short order. Animating one of these with a Fallen Angel on the board will end the game most likely.

I’ll end today’s column with a quote I found extremely hilarious… for those who don’t have Brainburst premium and can’t read Zvi Mowshowitz Onslaught review, here’s a little bit of his humor, some of which is priceless:

“… the job of most green cards is the fine art of being a large man…”

Is it just me, or is this really funny?

Okay, maybe you shouldn’t answer that.

Next time, let’s go dancing in the Cemetery…