Boy, do I love these bad rare deck articles. They feel right, you know? I began the Bad Rare Deck idea in my last installment of A Deck a Day. I then moved on and did an entire article of Bad Rare Decks, as a follow-up piece. Now here I am again, with my bad rare box intact.
In case you missed the previous installments of Bad Rare Decks, I basically pull out a bad rare at random from my bad rare box, and then build a deck around it. I’ll do this several times during the article, so you can see the deckbuilding process at work. Building decks like this is amazingly fun, and I recommend it to any deckbuilders out there.
I have previously built bad decks around Caribou Range, Cephalid Constable (Cephalid Steve), Ogre Enforcer, Glowrider, Pirate Ship, and Heat Stroke. Let’s see what happens when I try to pull out one of the many bad rares just sitting in my box. What will I pull out? My hope is that it is a card that I can immediately imagine some ideas to build around – otherwise I’m seriously screwed, because I cannot reject a rare. Here goes….
Bad Rare Challenge #1: Elder Druid
Elder Druid is certainly not the worst card I could have pulled. Its versatile ability to tap or untap any non-enchantment permanent means that we could have a winner. In fact, I am going to try and build the most abusive deck ever seen in a bad rare contest…
4 Elder Druid
4 Time Vault
4 Giant Fan
4 Energy Chamber
4 Spike Feeder
4 Spike Weaver
3 Leonin Abunas
1 Desert Twister
2 Telim’Tor’s Darts
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Eladamri’s Call
2 Island Sanctuary
2 Howling Mine
4 Gemstone Mine
Time Vault has been heavily errataed. It now untaps and gets a time counter when you skip a turn. In order to take infinite turns, you basically need two major things: First, you need to put a time counter on the Time Vault through some means other than skipping a turn. Second, you need a way to untap it.
Enter Giant Fan. Feel free to blow counters off Gemstone Mine, Energy Chamber, and whatnot. Your untapping ability is the Elder Druid, who can do double-duty by tapping down a Howling Mine so that your opponents do not get the extra card drawn.
After you set up, you can use the Island Sanctuary to skip your draw and take infinite turns. Your winning condition is Telim’Tor’s Darts. I also included a single copy of Desert Twister to handle things like Worship, Ivory Mask, Urza’s Armor, or True Believer that your opponent may be playing.
Spike Feeders and Weavers give you counters for your Fan, and also slow down your opponent’s advances until such time as you are ready to go off. Leonin Abunas helps protect your key parts, like Fans and Vaults.
Please note that a deck like this is hardly sporting and can result in a lot of grief in a multiplayer environment. This sort of deck is best spent in casual duels. Four Time Vaults is a bit pricey, but you can proxy if it’s allowed in your group.
Bad Rare Challenge #2: Thran Weaponry
Thran Weaponry gives a bonus for all creatures, including certain creatures of your opponent’s. There are several ways to use this, but I have a particularly naughty idea. Let’s take a look.
4 Thran Weaponry
4 Retribution of the Meek
4 Soltari Foot Soldier
2 Shaman en-Kor
4 Skyhunter Skirmisher
4 Amrou Kithkin
4 Beloved Chaplain
4 Intrepid Hero
4 Forbidding Watchtower
This deck is clever in its trickiness. The goal is to play a Weaponry, tap it, and never untap. Opposing creatures that get bigger will likely die to Reprisals, Retribution of the Meek, and Intrepid Heroes. Only creatures with a power of one or less will survive the Retributions with a tapped Weaponry.
That is exactly why every creature in this deck has a power of one. Note that Amrou Kithkin is virtually unblockable with an activated Weaponry. The Chaplain is also unblockable, as well as a great blocker for your opponent’s pumped up creatures. You also have Soltari Foot Soldiers to swing for damage or block on that front.
The Skirmisher is particularly nasty with an activated Weaponry, becoming a 3/3 flying, double-striking machine of death.
However, no trick in this deck makes me smile more than another bad rare: Crackdown. With an activated Weaponry, no creature, unless it normally has a power of zero, will untap unless it is white. So, unless your opponent is playing with Birds of Paradise or Will o’ the Wisp, all of their non-white creatures are staying tapped.
That’s a pretty potent combination with Thran Weaponry, made all the more potent by having nothing but white creatures available to you.
You also have the Watchtowers and Shaman en-Kor to help your defenses. Remember to untap the Weaponry if the tables turn and you are on the beating side of some large creatures. This deck seems like a fun deck to play and try out, although I’d probably take out a single copy of Thran Weaponry (after all, you don’t need two in play at the same time) and maybe something else for a pair of emergency Disenchant effects – like Terashi’s Grasp from Betrayers.
Bad Rare Challenge #3: Natural Emergence
Ummm…ick. Natural Emergence combines a solid ability with a testy gating requirement. Making lands 2/2 first strikers for four mana seems like a great punch for an aggro deck, but you’ve got to have other enchantments. Where can I get those…
4 Natural Emergence
4 Genju of the Spires
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Jackal Pup
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Mogg Flunkies
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Cursed Scroll
4 Karplusan Forest
Here we have an aggressive green/red deck that splashes green for Natural Emergence and Rancor. The Rancor is a great Enchant Creature with the benefit of being a cheap enchantment to bounce back to your hand after playing Natural Emergence. The other cheap enchantment in this deck is Genju of the Spires. Combine these with several cheap creatures, some burn, and you’ve got your deck.
Aggro decks are often easy to build. One of my key criteria here was to try and use a Genju, and the Spires is simply more aggressive. I wanted my creature base to be able to allow the Genju to get its hits in, so I made sure to use creatures like Grim Lavamancer, Mogg Fanatic, as well as burn and a single Cursed Scroll.
The Jackal Pup and Mogg Flunkies add additional bodies, and a Rancored Jackal Pup can swing for four damage on the second turn, while a Genju can swing for six – although I’d rather play out some permanents at that point.
I’m not going to count this deck against my limit of five deck challenges, because it was pretty easy and simple.
Bad Rare Challenge #4: Blessed Reversal
In all of Magic, I cannot think of many cards worse than Blessed Reversal. The Reversal really only works when you’re attacked by a bunch of small creatures – so let’s see if we can’t ensure that we are attacked by the littlest ones.
4 Blessed Reversal
4 Varchild’s War Riders
4 Mogg Infestation
4 Rain of Blades
2 Grand Melee
4 Orim’s Thunder
2 Reckless Assault
4 Mox Diamond
3 Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Gemstone Mine
This deck works simply – create a lot of 1/1 creatures for your opponent, force them over, then gain a bunch of life from them or, alternatively, you can kill them with Rain of Blades. You can do both of course, gaining life first, then axeing them.
Varchild’s War Riders gives your opponent a lot of creatures, and you can Mogg Infestation anyone with a lot of big creatures, giving them twice as many little 1/1 goblins of happiness and whimpering.
Your creature kill takes the form of Afterlife, which will not only off an offending creature, but it will leave a 1/1 spirit token to attack you. Other removal lies in the hands of Orim and her Thunder, giving you versatile destruction of both machine and man.
One of the cute little tricks this deck can pull is the dreaded Humility. Humility ensures that attacking creatures are of the small vanilla kind. This will feed your Blessed Reversal significantly, as well as allowing Rain of Blades to be simply devastating.
I added a few Congregates, because your opponents should have many creatures at various times during the game, while your War Riders and Moggs are playing havoc with their creature total. It also gives you a second chance to up your life count for the uber-tech of this deck.
Enter another bad rare: Reckless Assault. I had to splash black to fit it in, but it makes a perfect kill condition for this deck, especially when it can also off offending creatures during a bout with Humility.
Other potential ideas for this deck include Humble, Tremor, Rock Slide, and Bloodfire Dwarf. Alternatively, look to Earthquake to be both a board clearer of massive proportions and a winning condition that your life gain isolates you from. Lastly, you may find Energy Bolt to be another option to kill your opponent. You could even grow your black splash to add Death Grasp, Vindicate, or Demonic Tutor to the deck. This is a deck that really can go in a variety of directions, based on your own desires and card pool. Good luck with it!
Bad Rare Challenge #5: Volcanic Eruption
And for the second bad rare challenge in a row, we have a bad blue rare from the original set. Volcanic Eruption is many things – including massively out of flavor for blue. Let’s see how we can use and abuse this gem of years past.
4 Volcanic Eruption
3 Blanket of Night
3 Magical Hack
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
4 Force of Will
4 Spite / Malice
2 Kokusho, the Broken Star
2 Genju of the Falls
2 Swallowing Plague
1 Chimeric Staff
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
1 Grim Monolith
4 Faerie Conclave
4 Underground Sea
4 Underground River
The goal of this deck is ultimately simple – you want to blow up all of your opponent’s lands and creatures in one fell swoop. You play Blanket of Night, Hack Swamps to Mountains, and then Volcanic Eruption every land (which is now a Mountain) that your opponent controls. This will deal a lot of damage to the creatures in play – preferably your opponent’s.
Since the Volcanic Eruption does not hurt enchantments at all, your modified Blanket of Night will stick around, continuing to make your opponent’s lands Mountains. This will allow for a follow Volcanic Eruption if needed.
The deck needs several components to win. Firstly, it needs mana. Of all of my bad rare decks, this one has the most mana, including acceleration from several artifact sources. You’ll need to outmana your opponent’s land, so that you can take out all of the lands at once.
The second thing that your deck will need is creatures that can either dodge the explosion or you don’t care if they get hit. Masticore will regenerate from the burn as well as control any weenies that get played afterwards. Kokusho the Broken Star will give you life if he dies to volcanic spew. Otherwise, your deck runs manlands, Genju of the Falls, and a Chimeric Staff to beat down after the flames subside.
The third thing you are going to need is control. Swallowing Plague offs creatures, and is backed up by Spite/Malice. It also gives you extra life, which may be helpful when the volcano blows. Spite/Malice doubles as a supplement to Counterspell and Force of Will.
Lastly, this deck packs a pair of tutors designed to help find crucial combo parts. Each of these four parts – tutors, control, creatures and extra mana – are all combined in a tight package to effectively assist in the Obliteration of your opponent.
You might want to try Rainbow Efreet in your deck, since it evades fiery lava well. Other manlands may come in handy, as may Teferi’s Response. You may also want more raw card drawing in the form of Fact or Fiction. Impulse is another possible card to dig into the combo-licious deck. This deck looks mighty interesting, to say the least.
Bonus Bad Rare Deck #6: Masked Gorgon
This deck will ultimately be an easy build. Since Masked Gorgon makes green and white creatures great Gorgon blockers, we’re going to have to take them out. Welcome to the jungle.
This deck uses black’s two color hosers to get rid of any creatures that might benefit from the Masked Gorgon’s ability. After that, it’s a simple theme deck, replete with Medusa, Visara, snake creatures, and a piece of equipment that will make the Medusa (or a creature enchanted by Coils of the Medusa) into a creature sweeper.
In a way, we’ve remade the classic green deck in black. Few combos are as time tested and honored as Thicket Basilisk/Lure. Now we have Infernal Medusa/Nemesis Mask. Remember that you can slap a Coils of the Medusa on one of your creatures if no Infernal Medusa is in sight.
Other than the two color hosers, Coils of the Medusa doubles as your only creature removal. It can easily handle any one-toughness creature, but that’s about it. You can always play it as a surprise after attacking into an X/4 creature with a Python, Cobra or Warrior and kill the creature that blocked. Still, I think I’d prefer to play the Coils before attacking, so that you can potentially swing by unmolested for three damage.
I still love building these bad rare decks, and I don’t see any reason to stop anytime soon. These decks are so much fun to build, and several of them turn out pretty nice. If you’re thinking about trying any of these decks out, I’d love to hear about it in the forums!