After last week’s failure at Mimeoplasm and his Zombies, I was itching to get back on the Tribal theme train. I’ve wanted to make a Karador, Ghost Chieftain deck since I first saw it way back whenever I saw it. Kaalia of the Vast might seem a better Angel Commander, but what she’s lacking is the green, which Karador has, to ramp you into the winged beauties on your own terms instead of Kaalia’s (admittedly free) get-into-the-Red-Zone ways. I’ve seen Kaalia decks start hot and stall out pretty often. I think it’s probably because the card draw in the colors is a little weak.
When putting together this deck, I first ask myself the question, “How do I want to win?” The answer is clearly “with hot, angry, flying women.” Speaking of women, there’s been some chatter recently about Magic players and women—Magic player dating guides and all manners of nonsense. If you want to “get women,” let me offer this piece of advice: stop trying to “get women” (unless your name is Gerard, then keep it up, because your tales of failure are awesome to read about). Seriously, forget tactics and techniques. If you want to have a happy and successful relationship, the first step is to be a decent human being. You’ll be surprised how well that works.
Back to hot, angry, flying women, there isn’t really a synergistic strategy for Angels, so the theme is clearly one of just flavor. Cards like Coat of Arms would probably help opponents more, so I’ll probably avoid them, but Adaptive Automaton might work. And as far as I’m concerned, Archons are Angels too.
There’s a clear division of responsibilities between the colors in this deck.
White: The Angels, a few control cards
Black: Control, reanimation
Green: Ramp and Utility
It’s one of the few decks that I’m not worried about having card draw, since the graveyard is the draw engine. The deck pretty much rolls over to graveyard hate, but what are you going to do? It’ll probably do well a few times, then just about the time that folks are figuring out they need extra Relics of Progenitus, I’ll be playing something else.
Birthing Pod: I’ve yet to play it, but there’s a nice line of creature costs in the deck, so I think it will pay dividends. It led me to think about if I would rather Pod away Yavimaya Elder instead of activate the old man, and it’s clearly way better to get what you want and put it onto the battlefield.
Quicksilver Amulet: I decided that Quicksilver Amulet was better than Belbe’s Portal. It’s one cheaper to cast (which you’ll pay once) but one more to activate (which you’ll pay frequently), which would definitely make the Portal better if all the creatures in the deck were actually Angels. Only 16 of them are, and it seems like I’d rather have the flexibility with everything. It’s worth the extra cost.
Sol Ring: We’ve implied, suggested, hinted at, mentioned, and outright stated that Sol Ring is not getting banned. I really can’t think of any way to get the point across better without convincing WotC to put one in every booster.
ARTIFACT CREATURES (2)
Hex Parasite: No, you can’t remove the six-sided die that your friend is using to show how many times he’s gotten landfall for his Avenger of Zendikar—but other than that, I’m really surprised that this card isn’t played more. And Avenger of Zendikar is now the number one card that I’m not playing but I reference most often.
Solemn Simulacrum: Maybe there’s an alternate art, reverse foil Jens somewhere. Reverse foil is the new thing, you know.
Admonition Angel: I’m not sure if Admonition Angel is better for protecting your own stuff or getting rid of things that are bothering you. I guess it’s just a card that you play around with based on the board situation.
Angel of Despair: A must-play in any white-black combo. She will get you out of many tight spots.
Angelic Arbiter: A thoroughly annoying card to play against, I figured I’d run it out there against someone. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “Crap! Now I can’t attack!”
Archon of Justice: Archons are Angels, remember?
Archon of Redemption: We’re playing white, so we need to use it to gain a little life. Nearly all our creatures have flying (I’m going to try to avoid calling them “dudes” in this deck), so there’s definite value here.
Baneslayer Angel: It was overplayed in Standard, but I think it’s underplayed in EDH. There are SO MANY great Demons and Dragons, plus the lifelink and first strike.
Deathless Angel: It’s a little pricey, but the ability to save other stuff is probably right on. Late game, you might end up with a situation where you can protect all your guys and then cast Wrath.
Emeria Angel: Cost-efficient and a great landfall ability. Don’t forget to gain a life with the Archon!
Fallen Angel: There are few sacrifice outlets in the deck, and I feel uncomfortable about not playing any. Plus there are tricks to be had with multiple other cards.
Guardian Seraph: Low cost and can keep weenie hordes from hurting you as badly.
Hermit Druid: Obviously, I’m not playing any kind of combo deck. The Druid is just there to get more stuff into my graveyard plus get that extra land—then sacrifice to the Birthing Pod to get Eternal Witness.
Karmic Guide: I’d have to check the old play-by-plays, but I don’t think I’ve resolved a Karmic Guide in a long time. Sure, I played it way back when (back when it had errata!), but it’s really my kind of card. And hey, protection from black!
Primeval Titan: Yeah, yeah, land ramp. If history teaches me anything, I won’t be the only person to ever use my own Prime Time.
Pristine Angel: Another card that I played back in the day, but it fell out of favor for more aggressively costed creatures. There have been times when I’ve attacked with it without having stuff to cast in my hand, just to see who will bite.
Shattered Angel: Opponents like their lands. I like life. Everyone is happy!
Silverchase Fox: I mentioned this creature in my set review, and he’s perfect in this deck. Exiling problematic enchantments is full of the winningest win.
Sun Titan: I like getting stuff for free, and I like battling. Another case where everyone is a winner. And when I say ‘everyone,’ I mean ‘me.’
Victory’s Herald: I’m hoping I don’t gain too much life and be the automatic target, but I’ve actually heard people say “That guy’s at too much life—I’ll attack someone else.”
Wood Elves: Gimme a land. Onto the battlefield, none of that into your hand jank.
Woodfall Primus: Green is the color of utility and fat, and not one is better at it than the Primus.
INTERLUDE: IRON MAIDEN PLAYLIST
Sometimes, you need to listen to the right music to build the right deck. I’m not sure why Bruce Dickinson and the band got me angelic, but who am I to argue? And before you ask about any song off of Number of the Beast or Piece of Mind that’s not on here—it probably could be.
The Number of the Beast
Run to the Hills
Be Quick or Be Dead
Children of the Damned
Flight of Icarus
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Evil That Men Do
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Fear of the Dark
LEGENDARY CREATURES (4)
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite: There are armies of Plant tokens that want to kill you. Elesh Norn tells them to take that chatter elsewhere. I would consider playing Tooth and Nail in this deck just for Elesh Norn/Massacre Wurm.
Linvala, Keeper of Silence: Linvala will often get killed, drawing fire away from other, more deadly stuff. That’s just fine by me. And if she stays alive, even better.
Radiant, Archangel: The only time I’ve seen Radiant played is in Armada League veteran Patrick’s mono-white decks, and it’s always huge.
Debtors’ Knell: The number of times Debtors’ Knell makes it all the way around the table without doing anything is many times greater than the number is actually does something. Here’s hoping we can buck that trend.
Lurking Predators: There are thirty-four creatures in the library. I should get some hits.
Survival of the Fittest: I sold a bunch of my Judge foil copies when they got really pricey. I think I’m down to playing the non-foil original. What a beating.
Fracturing Gust: This card is going to blow out someone so horrendously one day that I’m going to have to make a donation to a local charity to feel better about myself. Another underplayed card, current price for a foil is $4.99. You should snap them up.
Krosan Grip: I was saving my K-Grip for someone’s Top last week when another player in the game pointed out that the point for blowing up a Top was no longer on the sheet. I face-planted.
Return to Dust: I’m going to start focusing more and more on cards that exile other cards. In addition to being the Dollar Rare Format, EDH is the Recursion Format.
Sudden Spoiling: I’d personally like to see more split second cards made (here’s talking to you, Mark Gottlieb). I’m surprised that Take Possession isn’t played a little more. The biggest threat to the blue mage isn’t people countering the spell with which they’re trying to steal stuff; it’s being able to sacrifice or otherwise get rid of the stuff they’re trying to steal.
Garruk Relentless: Seems like a pretty good fit for the deck. That giant Overrun might be better if I were playing Avenger of Zendikar, but I’m some bit tired of him. And I have it on good authority that having too many creatures in play is really dangerous.
Liliana of the Veil: How often are we going to see one pile being all the player’s creatures, the others all the lands? I say “No” to the inevitable “Is that Chasm?” question.
Black Sun’s Zenith: I’m not as worried about my own creatures being in the yard as I am getting other peoples’ there. And it reshuffles.
Crime / Punishment: If you’re playing the Teneb wedge, this card is must-play. The dream will be taking out someone’s Lurking Predators then reanimating it with this—with my own already in play!!!
Cultivate: Simple ramp.
Demonic Tutor: Sometimes, you need to just go fetch something and put it in your hand.
Green Sun’s Zenith: I’m sure one of those Sean McKeown/Gerry Thompson geniuses would be able to tell you when is the optimum time to cast this when it’s in your opening grip, but I’m just waiting until I can afford Prime Time.
Mulch: Too bad the much cooler Rebecca Guay Stronghold art doesn’t come in foil. Getting a few lands and being able to dump a few creatures in the graveyard early seems great—although it occurs to me that Angels in the graveyard don’t make much sense. Also might be good later in the game to try to get something even cooler into the yard.
Profane Command: Good players like choices. I like them too.
Regrowth: See what I did there?
Wrath of God: You can’t play Angels without having the opportunity for God to be very angry.
Maze of Ith
LEGENDARY LANDS (1)
BASIC LANDS (20)
There’s my run at Karador, Ghost Chieftain. I’ll report back soon on how well it Embraces the Chaos.