It’s been awhile since I’ve written, but I’m back and boy, have I got a deck for you casual types! I’ve managed to break another card like a double-barreled shotgun, and in such a way that the resulting deck is almost as irritating as my infinite-games Shahrazad deck* and my pet Clone/Vesuvan Doppleganger/Mundungu deck (still to come!)!
The card in question is the Mirage rare, Bazaar of Wonders. When this Enchant World comes into play, it removes all graveyards from the game, and it counters any future spell having the same name as a card in play or in the graveyard. This has always been a pretty powerful card if you can break its symmetry, as it can single-handedly shut down up to three-quarters of the spells in many opponent’s decks and is particularly brutal against combo-style decks. With the invention of Flashback, Morph, and the Wish cycle from Judgement, I take it upon myself to inform you that this card is now officially”Bah-roken”!
The Bazaar is hardly a new card to multiplayer gamers, having been a staple of many playgroups since its creation. The most common use of the Bazaar of Wonders over the years has been in highlander-style mono-blue decks using four copies of the Bazaar and single copies of the best counterspells, Control Magic-class cards, and big blue flyers as finishers. Some other powerful versions splashed white for utility, black for creature control and discard, artifacts for Millstoning, or red for burn. One really imaginative deck that I saw even packed common cards that his opponents used all the time and ways to get them from his deck into his own graveyard!
The downside to using the card in highlander style, however, is deck consistency. Using similar-but-not-quite-equal cards just isn’t the same as using four of the most powerful card, and a failure to draw a Bazaar often resulted in an inability to win the game. Still, the ability of the card to completely control a game at times kept it one of my favorites. My favorite approach over the years has always been B/U/artifact using a combination of control, discard, and milling effects; and this is the model I followed in designing the”modern” version of the deck.
I had not thought about the card in quite some time when I noticed it in a display case at a local card shop. In the same case were the following cards: Bane of the Living, Cunning Wish, Recall, Mirari, and Chainer’s Edict.
Eureka! A deck is born!
Stopping by the Bazaar (66 cards)
4 Silent Specter
4 Bane of the Living
4 Cunning Wish
4 Bazaar of Wonders
4 Chainer’s Edict
1 Blatant Thievery
1 Grinning Totem
1 Control Magic
1 Helm of Obedience
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Ambassador Laquatus
1 Time Elemental
1 Diabolic Tutor
4 Underground Sea
4 Underground River
4 Salt Marsh
4 Mishra’s Factory
Sideboard (for Cunning Wish)
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Coffin Purge
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Dark Banishing
1 Force of Will
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Stroke of Genius
Expanded Sideboard Notable Options (if your group lets you use your whole collection)
1 Reverberation (for the real old-timers)
1 Brain Freeze
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Ray of Command
1 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Ghastly Demise
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Ebony Charm
1 Ancestral Recall (for the rich!)
When playing this deck it is best to use a defensive style until you can get a Bazaar down, but don’t be afraid to use your spells and creatures if you need to in order to keep the pressure off. In particular, it can be useful to use a Cunning Wish early just to get one out of the game so you can set up recursion using the Mirari. Of course, that’s the beauty of Cunning Wish in this deck – it leaves the game when cast, so you can keep casting future copies when you draw them or copy them via Mirari without worrying about the Bazaar countering them!
Also, don’t worry about instants getting into your graveyard prior to the Bazaar coming down, because they will be removed into Wish territory once it hits.
Unless I have a pressing problem, my first Wish target is usually for a Vampiric Tutor so I can grab a Mirari or a Bazaar. A lot can happen before you reach five mana for the Bazaar and Mirari, however; and if you don’t have Cunning Wish for an answer, this is where the Chainer’s Edicts and Banes of the Living come to your rescue! Chainer’s Edict is an absolutely perfect spell for this deck: it takes care of early problems, it can be copied by the Mirari (when flashed back), and it can be flashbacked from your graveyard so you can use later copies that you draw! Unfortunately, it’s not an instant so it can’t be retrieved with Cunning Wish, but being able to get two or more uses out of a single spell – and being able to remove it from your graveyard so later copies don’t get countered – makes it invaluable. The Banes are also quite useful for knocking down token armies (which are the”bane” of this deck) and making your Edicts hit home. They can also provide some beatdown; and if played as a morph creature, you can have more than one in play at a time!
Once you can get a Bazaar of Wonders into play, you should be at a huge advantage as you will be able to play nearly every card in your deck, while your opponents will most often have some”dead” cards and will have to make every spell count, as anything that goes to the graveyard from then on can’t be played by them (or anyone) later. At this point, your goal should be to get the Cunning Wish/Mirari engine running smoothly so you can deal with any threat coming your way… And once you have that established, get a Silent Specter or two into play (via morph!) and bang away at your most threatening opponents! Every card discarded potentially becomes two or more spells that they can’t play later!
Nebuchadnezzar is included just because I can, but he really helps you pick people’s hands apart in the late game. You can also attack people’s decks directly with the milling artifacts and Ambassador Laquatus, turning every card milled into a Counterspell! It is particularly brutal playing Traumatize on someone with a Bazaar in play – in many cases, they will be able to play nothing but land for the rest of the game! The fun really gets amplified when you cast Recall for Traumatize and play it on someone else! I personally enjoy watching my play partners sit there for thirty turns, unable to do a thing (yes, I think I might be a closet necrophiliac…).
You’ll notice that I still have a lot of single copies of spells in the deck, and a lot of them fulfill a similar purpose: Milling, or creature control. Of the milling cards, the Helm of Obedience is probably the most fun to play as it not only mills the opponent’s deck, but can potentially give you one of his creatures, thus keeping him from casting any further copies of that creature! The downside of the Helm, though, is that if there is already a copy of that creature in play or in the graveyard it will be countered… But when it works, it’s great!
Grinning Totem is pretty cool, too: even if you can’t play the best card from your opponent’s deck, it goes into their graveyard! Also fun is Bribery, as you get to take the best creature from their deck and put it right into play! It can even be copied with Mirari!
Control Magic, Persuasion, and Treachery also are great fun: Your opponent finally finds a creature he can cast, and you steal it – potentially getting a four-for-one in the process! Oh, how do I even begin to describe the utter joy that is Blatant Thievery…In an eight-person game, the potential is there for an almost unheard-of twenty-eight-to-one advantage just by stealing everyone’s best non-legend creature! A copy of Time Elemental is included to act as a catchall in case someone managed to get a couple copies of a threat into play prior to the Bazaar. It also acts as a reset for your Banes.
Looking at the lands, I included Mishra’s Factories simply because they bypass the Bazaar and are a great early and all-purpose creature. I have won more games with these lands than with any other card in the deck.
The sideboard is just as important for this deck as the main deck. I created a”main” fifteen-card sideboard for those who are strict about their casual games, but if your group lets you use more, I posted some other options. Vampiric Tutor I already described as your combo enabler and it is crucial to the deck. Also of great import is Coffin Purge; this spell can eliminate cards from opposing graveyards that are a threat or cards that match cards you have in hand (or your own graveyard due to opposing discard) but can’t cast because of the Bazaar. What’s more, it has flashback, so you can keep recycling it – and in a pinch, you can use it to remove copies of instants in your graveyard to retrieve with Cunning Wish. Skeletal Scrying also works for this, and helps you draw cards in the process.
Probably the card I get the most, though, is Evacuation. Not only does it reset the table, but it also acts to keep people from replaying multiples of any creature cards. I find I also get Misdirection and Force of Will quite frequently to stop threats, but the most fun cards are Desertion and Spelljack! These two cards often provide more than a two-for-one card advantage. Capsize is also great due to buyback.
I only listed single copies of cards here, simply because once it’s in your graveyard you can’t cast another copy anyway… That’s why I put Recall into the deck! Another great addition, it leaves the game when cast so you can use multiples to abuse your best spells. I also believe that it is amenable to Mirari, and you don’t have to sacrifice cards to the copied spell!
This deck as I have described it is powerful, but it is another one of those decks that paints a bull’s-eye on your forehead! Once you drop a Bazaar, you’d better have the firepower to withstand a round of abuse until you get your Cunning Wish engine established. Once you do, though, it’s usually a long, tortuous journey through the valley of despair for your opponents as it can take literally thirty or more turns to finally beat them all down – but you will be in control the whole way.
Enjoy the feeling while you can…I’ve gotta pay hundreds of bucks in Vegas to get anywhere near that feeling anywhere else!
(Extra credit information: There exists a very potent Burning Wish version of this deck, as well as an incredible W/U/G version abusing Living Wish and Academy Rector. See if you guys can come up with the same decklists that I did…in the meantime, I’m working on a Death Wish version!)
* – Regarding my Shahrazad infinite-turn deck: Um, it doesn’t work quite like I thought it did, but there IS a solution. The problem is that you can’t cast Burning Wish to get a Shahrazad from a sub-game, or any other game in progress for that matter (so you can’t grab a Pyroclasm you loaned to a friend that he has in the deck he’s playing against you, either…bummer!).
The solution is either to own more than one copy of Shahrazad… Or to include several copies of Recoup! You can cast Recoup on the Shahrazad in your graveyard once you finish the subgame. The Recoups give Shahrazad flashback and remove it from the game, so that Burning Wish can get it back! What’s more, you can also retrieve the Recoups with the Wish/Mirari combination so with proper planning you can still live the dream and go infinite.