Fun With Old Cards #12: The Horror! The Horror!

Today’s article is dedicated to those who responded to my last article,”The Art of Retaliation,” asking for a deck that I use in my group games to”punish” transgressors who have had the audacity to beat me. Me! Well, let me share the only deck in my collection that’s undefeated in a dozen games – and show you how to lay the smackdown with global annihilation!

Today’s article is dedicated to those who responded to my last article, "The Art of Retaliation,” asking for a deck that I use in my group games to "punish" transgressors who have had the audacity to beat me. Me!

But before I launch into it, I want to thank all of you who responded to me either personally or on the discussion boards concerning that article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading of the responses I received, and I always welcome feedback, even though I don’t always answer every response.

With regards to the article, it looks like most of you got the joke in that it was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek response to Bennie Smith article "The Legend of Chuck,” written in a mock-vitriolic (and humorous) style to match the tone of some of the articles and message boards I’ve read lately. There were quite a few of you, however, who missed the tone I was writing with and took me far more seriously than I had intended… And I apologize for not being clear enough in my use of sarcasm. Instead of laughing along with me you were pushing pins into the head of my voodoo doll – and believe me, I felt the pain! I am sorry, I take full responsibility, and I hope I don’t get "punked" if I ever "show (my) barnacled face at a PTQ."* And the Ferrett wonders why I haven’t sent him my picture yet…

In any case, I felt a need to address this subject and clear up any personal misunderstandings concerning the article because I did receive several very negative and extremely angry responses.

On to the article!

There are times in every person’s Magic career when they simply can’t buy a victory. Try as you might, even with the best-tuned decks sometimes you get into streaks where your draws are horrid or you get constantly mana-screwed, or you just plain get outdrawn and outplayed by your opponents. When that happens to me in a multiplayer game setting, over and over again, I get an overwhelming urge to destroy something. A lot of somethings, actually. In fact, make that everything!

Surprise, surprise: I have a deck that does that quite well.

Blow it All to Hell

4 Krovikan Horror

4 Ashen Ghoul

2 Squee, Goblin Nabob

1 Necrosavant

4 Buried Alive

4 Zombie Infestation

3 Bad Moon

2 Firestorm

2 Death Spark

4 Jokulhaups

4 Obliterate

4 Ebon Stronghold

4 Dwarven Ruins

4 Geothermal Crevice

4 Sulfur Vent

4 Sandstone Needle

4 Peat Bog

4 Crystal Vein (or City of Traitors)

If there’s one word I like to use over and over again it’s recursion, recursion, recursion! The theme of this deck is to get your infinitely recurring creatures into the graveyard with a Zombie Infestation and/or Bad Moon in play, then blow up the world with Jokulhaups/Obliterate. The ideal play sequence would have you start out by playing a Zombie Infestation by turn 3 (you can’t do it sooner without sacrificing lands, as they almost all come into play tapped). On turn 4, play Buried Alive for three Krovikan Horrors – and nothing else unless you already have some in hand. From here on, at the end of your opponent’s turn, you can pick up the two bottommost Horrors and make a Zombie Token with the Infestation; in fact, you can do this during every opponent’s turn!

When your turn comes around, you have to be careful during your upkeep when putting things into play or your hand depending on what creatures you have in the ‘yard, but do things in this order: First, pull up any Squees that you can. Second, bring Necrosavant into play (long live the black Hammer!) by sacrificing a zombie token if you wish. (Note: it usually isn’t worthwhile to sacrifice lands to do this unless the table is otherwise wide open or you have previously devastated everyone’s mana base.) Third, bring up Death Sparks and Ashen Ghouls.

Unfortunately, you have to do things in this order, as Squee has to be picked up at the beginning of your upkeep and the Ashen Ghouls and Death Sparks can only come into play (or hand) at the end of your upkeep. The Krovikan Horrors can only be returned at the end of your turn, but you can make a token with Squee and another card (always be sure to place Squee on top of any creature cards discarded) before that to enable you to dredge up all your Horrors. Attack at will and with abandon, because with the Horrors you will be able to make blockers as needed.

One very, very important point: Try to only have three to five lands in play at any one time, and resist the temptation to use them to make tokens or sacrifice them for mana unless absolutely necessary. You want a full grip when you get into trouble and have to blow up the table! When something does happen and you need to get rid of a threat, don’t be afraid to blow it all to hell! With an Infestation as the only permanent on the table and four Horrors in the ‘yard, it is theoretically possible to make three zombies every two turns by discarding just the Horrors! That’s twelve zombies per round in an eight-player game! Things get really sick with a Bad Moon out…

You’ll notice that my deck list contains sixty-two cards, including twenty-eight sacrifice lands. If you really insist on using only sixty cards, then I would advise taking out two Jokulhaups (or one and a Necrosavant), but don’t touch that land! You’ll need every one of them if you wind up having to go off more than once. I personally never have more than five in play at any time, as that’s more than I need to cast Obliterate – or Krovikan Horror. The other really nice ability of the Horror is that it (or another creature) can be sacrificed to do a point of damage to another creature or player, and I often use this ability – especially if the resets or the Infestations aren’t showing up. It can be quite amusing to finish a game by sacrificing all your lands and zombie tokens to deal a bunch of black direct damage to someone!

One play tip: When playing against white decks, try to play a Horror with a mana left available so that you can sacrifice it (or any other creature they target) in response to Swords to Plowshares, which really hurts your deck. I’ve also used the Horror in concert with Death Spark to do two damage to a player or a creature at the end of my opponent’s turn – placing the Death Spark underneath, of course, so that I can get it back on my next turn.

Speaking of Death Spark, it is really an incredible card in this deck. When you draw one, it seems like you’ve got a thousand! I cast it every turn or use it like I use the Horrors, making zombie tokens and returning it to my hand during my turn for a mere one mana.

As for the Necrosavant in the deck, well… Sometimes I can’t seem to find or keep an Infestation on the table and that’s when I use Buried Alive to fetch the "Black Hammer"! With him and the Ashen Ghouls, I can still dish out large chunks of damage even without lots of tokens – and even more so if I have out a Bad Moon. I have on occasion even hard-cast Squee and attacked with him (sorry again, Fernando)!

Finally, I have two Firestorms in the deck to act as finishers as well. With cards constantly coming back into my hand, it is not hard at all to cast a Firestorm for seven or more damage to take out a table.

As usual with my decks, though, this one comes with a warning: Jokulhaups and Obliterate are not player-friendly cards! Some tables don’t even allow their use, and no one enjoys it when you play them. But at least the game is usually over in three turns after you cast it, so it’s not like the games drag on for hours! Still, I wouldn’t break this deck out very often – but it is great for those times when you’ve just gotta get your fix of total domination.

This is the only deck that I have ever built that is undefeated! I’ve only played it about a dozen times, though, and I’ve yet to run into Feldon’s Cane, Tormod’s Crypt or Withered Wretch (or any hoser enchantments), so take that claim with a grain of salt. If you play this deck and have trouble winning, however, don’t be afraid to stick in four Nevinyrral’s Disks or even Apocalypses and Decrees of Annihilation! If you are going to push a theme, mise well max it out!

Tony Costa

[email protected]

* – Yes, this is an actual quote from an actual e-mail. Say what you want, send flames or any other criticisms but please, don’t threaten anyone with violence. I won’t tolerate it, and it is a federal crime.