Multiplayer Is An Art, Part 5: Spirit of the Night…

Not only does this provide the ultimate smash-face black deck, but it brings you the all-time great Magic misquotes!

Hark, for I speak of purity…

Once upon a time, I built decks by choosing two colors and then tossing together all good cards of those colors that I owned. The deck I will be sharing with you today was constructed in the same fashion. The sole aberration is that I tweaked it time after time (after time). I even daresay that I tweaked it so far that it is now a good deck. Only to make things clearer, I will act like this deck was constructed from scrap, and not from a lousy deck. That way I can just say”I included Vesuvan Doppelganger,” instead of having to say,”I replaced Island Fish Jasconius with Vesuvan Doppelganger.”

And why do I tell you this? Because I think the spirit of the little kid who built this deck can still be found in its design. It’s just a concoction of large creatures and grotesque spells — but lo and behold, it works. So close your eyes and gaze into this realm that I reveal…

Spirito della Notte



Flying, Trample, Protection from Black, Haste

First Strike when attacking


This creature is your God when you’re playing this deck. You will worship it and pray to it. It is the driving force behind all your actions. It is your main road to victory. It is the Spirit of the Night (the mighty lord of night).

Now I feel kind of naked writing this. I don’t have any explanation for the card. It is just a large monster that I wanted to play with, and so I put it in my black and blue deck. Without reason. Just because it seemed fun. But now the first step has been set and so the others will soon follow *.

So that’s our theme: Large creatures. What other large black creatures can you think of? Don’t think too large, though; we don’t want opening hands with an average casting cost of eight mana. Think about five mana. Think about the good old times. Think about the Sengir Vampire. He’s large, can get larger, flies, and costs only five mana. Even when it’s the only creature you control, people tend to leave you alone. Not very many creatures can survive being blocked by a 4/4 or 5/5 vampire, and opponents like being punished even less for an action by having to take five from a vampire. What do we learn from this?

A simple rule: You can survive by intimidating your opponents.

Nature is flooded with examples of the rule told above. There are snakes without any teeth. They eat only eggs. But when a predator nears them, they start hissing and crawling as voraciously as possible. They even show the false teeth painted at their lips. Their ‘opponent’ becomes so intimidated that it usually flees. (Unless it’s a mongoose, of course. Every magic player knows that, thanks to the Blurred Mongoose.) Other examples are flies with a black-and-yellow-striped exoskeleton. Little kids will fear them, thinking they are killer bees or something. And, not unimportantly, so will birds.

But let’s back away from this weird and strange world. Let us return to our comfortable magic world, where Blurred Mongoose just gets eaten by Hornet Cobra or River Boa.

Now that we are using Sengir Vampires, our deck gets a little old-school touch. So let’s include more huge old school-creatures! And in multiplayer, Clone will probably become very large… So we include Clone. It can almost always be played as a Sengir Vampire for only four mana, but more often than not it becomes a Rhox or a Thorn Elemental. When casting a Clone, you are casting the best creature on the board, and you know it. There’s only one thing that sucks about this beautiful blue creature: It doesn’t copy”come into play” effects. It doesn’t even get +1/+1 counters when you’re copying a Spike Weaver. And a cloned Kavu Titan will be only a Grizzly Bear. But even though there are strings attached, it’s still a great creature.

So what will be even better than Clone? Right on, Vesuvan Doppelganger will be! It acts just like a clone, except for that it doesn’t copy color and creature type. But most important: It may change during your upkeep. You may then choose another creature to copy. Note that I said it doesn’t copy creature TYPE; that way you will be able to copy any legend you long for. And that advantage far outweighs the disadvantage of possible Slivers being copied not receiving bonuses.

And when there are no other creatures in play? When a Nev’s Disk has just popped? Than you can always have some good times reading the original wording of the Doppelganger: Upon Summoning, Doppelganger acquires all characteristics except color of any one creature in play on either side; any creature enchantments on the original creature are not copied. During controller’s upkeep, Doppelganger may take on the characteristics of a different creature in play instead. Doppelganger may continue to copy a creature even after that creature leaves play, but if it switches it won’t be able to switch back.

Now honestly, I find it hard to believe that any of you could read that without even the slightest sign of amusement. This wording is truly among the ranks of the famous. I’ll give you a little list of funny wordings to make up for my lousy opening.

  1. Animate Death:”Enchant dead creature.” Oh my, what card type would Bribery have been? An ‘enchant unborn creature’?

  2. Beta Pestilence:”Does one damage to both players.” that was some good in multiplayer! Pay one black to ping you and you. I myself will stay unharmed, thank you.

  3. Alpha Gloom :”Circles of Protection cost three mana more to use.” Runes of Protection just got a whole lot better. Sacred Wild Mesa Pegasi sigh in relief.

  4. Revised Sengir Vampire :”Gets a +1/+1 counter each time a creature dies.” Now to be honest, I liked the definition ‘buried’ a lot better than that lousy ‘can’t be regenerated’ crap.

  5. Beta Tranquility:”All Enchantments are discarded.” Damn, I just had four in my hand! It might have been good versus Rancor and the likes, though.

  6. Preacher:”Lose control of target creature if Preacher is destroyed or game ends.” Thus undermining the last reason to give your opponent your Craw Wurm instead of your Birds of Paradise.

  7. Dämonisher Lehrmeister:”Vergiss nicht, Deine Bibliothek danach neu zu mischen.” When translated literally, this card says:”But don’t forget! You have to shuffle your deck anew afterwards.”

  8. Ancestral Recall:”Draw three cards or force opponent to draw three cards.” Oh NO! please don’t make me draw three cards!

  9. Revised Force of Nature:”If you fail to pay the upkeep cost, Force of Nature deals eight damage to you.” Now this is just unfair to all disabled people. It also encourages opponents to try and hide your forests.

  10. 7th edition Vernal Bloom:”Whenever a forest is tapped for mana, its controller adds G to his or her mana pool.” Excuse me chief, but we already knew that.

  11. Presence of the Master:”Whenever an enchantment spell is played, counter it.” Talk about unwanted advice. Who wants to play a card that forces you to waste your Mana Drain on some random enchantment?

  12. Beta Control Magic:”If target creature is already tapped, it stays tapped until you can untap it. If destroyed, target creature is put in its owner’s graveyard.” This is actually a BETTER card! It has a built in Chime of Night. For such a benefit, we will ignore the silly untap part.

  13. Antiquities Feldon’s Cane:”If Feldon’s Cane is used, remove it from the game, returning it to its owners deck only when the game is over.” Well, that’s an added bonus.

  14. Orcish Mechanics:”Tap to do two points of damage to any target. Each time you use this ability, you must choose one of your artifacts in play and place it in the graveyard. This artifact cannot be one already on its way to the graveyard, and artifact creatures killed this way may not be regenerated.” How cute.

  15. Antiquities Strip Mine:”Tap to add one colorless mana to your mana pool OR place Strip Mine in the Graveyard to destroy any one land.” So is this a modal effect or something?

  16. Lifeline. We all know the wording disaster that is Lifeline. Little kids (even smaller than I am) always think it works the way it is written on the card, and you have to point out its symmetry over and over again. They then often get very mad at you for decreasing their cards’ worth.

Now I’d better quit this charade before people quit reading. But I highly recommend myself to anyone knowing of some more oddities. (Of course, I don’t mean stuff like Old Man of the Sea, for that just boils down to the same funniness as Preacher. I mean real new funniness.) Let’s proceed with the deck, after this short break:

4x Spirit of the Night (Bringer of Awe and Derision)

4x Sengir Vampire

4x Clone

1x Vesuvan Doppelganger

Now we have some nice beef to brag around with. When someone announces he’s trying to target one of your permanents — and I don’t mean targeting in a haha-funny way — just look at him with dark eyes. Make a vague gesture in the direction where your creatures are lying on the table or the floor, and observe how obsolete misdirection is.

But sometimes your vampires are only 4/4 and one of your opponents is thinking he’s looking pretty swell with his brand new Fat Moti. In such a situation, intimidation is not only a ruin of its former self, but it is the ruin of those ruins. You would just wish that Jinn would die. And that’s why they invented targeted removal. But a cunning player will not be satisfied with killing a creature; he wants to take possession of it to have it do his bidding. And that’s why they invented Control Magic.

Where Clone isn’t actually always the best creature on the tabletop — think Armadillo CloakControl Magic is. Except, of course, when the best creature on the board is a Zephid, but we don’t get that here very often. (Where the heck DOES that happen? – The Ferrett) Control Magic removes the largest of your worries and also strengthens your resolve… And it only costs four mana. The only way this card could have been better is when it were free to cast. Like, say, Treachery.

A train of thought is now processing through my dendrites. Steal creatures. For free. Treachery. Beer. For free. Free Willy. Free beer. Wow, free beer! And Treachery steals creatures for free, too! I want it I want it, et cetera.

So Treachery was included not twice, not thrice, but mise add it four times. But there is such a thing as the Treachery Protocol: When casting it, don’t just grab the targeted creature without tapping any mana. You’ll look like a fool when someone kills the creature in response and you have to tap five mana. And people will often try to deny you some mana with this deck, for we’re going to pack several cards with buyback. More on that later.

Now we’re stealing creatures like Germans dig holes at a beach. But sometimes the harm of a creature lies in its”come into play” effects. Sometimes the threatening creature can instantly be sacrificed for a horrible effect. On such occasions, we praise ourselves that we are able to gain control of a creature while it is still on the stack… That is, when we’ve got our Desertion in handy. It also grants you the control over any artifact you care to counter, and other spells it just wastes like a regular counterspell. It is one of my favorite blue cards. And when you’re Deserting an Urza’s Blueprints, Desertion is almost as good as Dismiss.

Now we can steal almost everything. The only part where we’re differing with the government is that we’re not able to steal enchantments or lands; good thing Confiscate saw print in Urza’s Saga. It steals absolutely everything your hearth desires. Including the best creature on the board. Except of course when the best creature on the board is a Zephid, but we don’t get that here very often.

Now that we’ve processed almost half a page of raw theory, let us digress again. This time with some thoughts on and anecdotes about stealing permanents.

Some people might laugh at me suggesting stealing lands with Confiscate… But stealing an Underground Sea where said land is an opponent’s only blue mana source is often better than stealing yet another minion for your dark horde. So on one occasion, with the excuse that I needed his land to reach nine mana to cast the Sprit of the Night (the Emperor of Darkness), I stole an Underground Sea. And that was the start of an absurd chain of events no one could have foreseen, not even by divination.

The stolen sea wasn’t destined to be under my control for very long because somewhere on the other side of the table an Aura Thief was cast and instantly sacrificed to some random effect. My Sea was part of the booty, due to the Confiscate enchanting it. And now the original owner of the Sea smelled his chance. He Coffin Queened the Aura Thief and attacked an accomplice with it, thus killing it and retrieving his sea. But now the Sea got the taste of being a rolling stone, so it decided to switch controllers again when someone cast Living Death/Reins of Power and in that way stole the Aura Thief before killing it. The Sea (and not to mention a Survival of the Fittest, a Spirit Link, a Sylvan Library, and an Abundance (they got together due to the Thief; they weren’t cast by the same player (cool, huh? (does anyone remember how many opening brackets I’ve already used?)))) changed sides yet again. This Aura Thief madness continued for very long, as everyone was searching for ways to gain control of it. Finally, somebody removed it from the game and we all thanked the Eater of the Death. But just when we all thought we were through with it, someone thought it was good fun to cast another Aura Thief

Fact: Stealing your opponents’ Conspiracy set to rebels is a splendid idea. Not only does it limit their searchers to looking for actual rebels, it also allows you to cast your second Spirit of the Night (whose path is capricious, but yet so wide)!

Those were the anecdotes, now the thought: Always wait as long as possible before stealing a permanent, since a better target may always turn up. For example: I once stole a random fatty only to see Captain Sisay** hit play the next turn. Now that one I’ve just GOT to take over! It searches out my beloved Spirit of the Night (who hath the power to force any light in wane), and by stealing it I would prevent my opponent from using it to boot. Luckily, I had a second Treachery in my hand. So the lesson learned: Only steal when you’re in desperate need or when you’ve already declared war on your opponents (this will happen. It is a part of this deck’s strategy. I’ll tell you about it once the deck is done).

Now for the ultimate theft: Stealing life. This is so easily done with Syphon Soul. And even though it might seem a bad idea to play that card in this game of politics, it does fit the theme of the deck quite well. For the time is, in fact, pure aggressiveness. It is not just for a good laugh that my group dubs this deck the ‘not-making-friends’ deck. It is partially because of Syphon Soul. Now casting this card is often your declaration of war to all other players, so you might want to hang on to it until you feel you’re up for the task of killing all comers. This card is an excellent declaration of war since it doesn’t only weaken your opponents, it also boosts your life total.

Now I’ve already told you about ‘the war’ twice, so I figure I’ll just tell you the theory right away instead of just waiting with it ‘till the deck is done. That way it’ll be easier to explain some card choices.

In the beginning of the game, you do nothing and sit tight. You just try to look innocent and convince your opponents that this is not the deck they’re thinking it is. You just hold the ground with a single fat creature and slowly build up your strength. Then, when you think you’re ready, you pump out a whole big lot of creatures, building up to the universal soldier: The Spirit of the Night (Master of Beasts). You select a player, find a lousy excuse to beat the crap out of him, and then do so. Attack each turn with all creatures you control, save for one blocker. You only need one for we’re going to include some other tricks to fend off offenders. When your target’s dead, go for his ally with the excuse that he helped your former victim against you. Continue killing people in this way until you’re enthroned triumphant. This works because none will dare to protest against your actions. And when one does dare to question your motives, just switch targets and go for the rebel instead. This will intimidate others in such a way that they will sit still, as in a panopticum. No one likes to take up arms against a large horde of nocturnal beings. No one likes to take up arms against a player that acts sans mercy, sans compassion — nor will to answer whosoever asketh the why. Rule through fear. Only if the other players feel terror will they truly be your servants. And when you intimidate well enough, you will emerge as victor. You will stomp upon all who oppose you. The stomping shall be swift, the stomping shall be painful, and you shall show no mercy in all of your stomping.

Now when you’re in war, supplies are a very grand asset — so Syphon Soul is often a very good card. But constant supplies are more reliable, so Subversion might be a better card. It gives you a new layer of armor in life-form to take unblocked hits with. It renders you safe from red burn spells. And it acts like a clock for all opponents you’re not currently applying beatdown to. It will make future tasks of killing players easier because they will now already be weakened by Subversion.

Now, have a little looky at our arsenal so far:

4x Spirit of the Night (whose spirit lies upon every act of hatred, oppression and strife)

4x Sengir Vampire

4x Clone

1x Vesuvan Doppelganger

4x Control Magic

4x Treachery

1x Desertion

1x Confiscate

4x Syphon Soul

4x Subversion

Now to chill the temper of the critics, who are looking for my email address to tell me one blocker isn’t enough when you’re declaring war to the world: Temper, temper. Criticize players who think Type I sucks instead. One Sengir Vampire is certainly enough. For it will be assisted, in the background, by a huge stay-away sign. And I don’t mean those weak one time shots like Seal of Doom. I mean the creature whose flavor text is your guideline to playing the early game with this deck: Assassino Real. Trained in the art of stealth, the Royal Assassins choose their victims carefully, relying on timing and precision rather than brute force.

Now when you haven’t completed your army yet, this is so very true. Because the fact that you’re not ready for the war doesn’t mean you can’t do some preparations. You can always urge opponents to kill each other, and a Royal Assassin is a perfect tool for this. Just leave everybody’s creatures alone, safe those belonging to the player you’d rather see dying. And to all other players, keep repeating you’re leaving their creatures alone as long as they’re not attacking you.

Now one might think this doesn’t work. But what would YOU do? Would you put your creatures at stake for the sole purpose of eliminating a player who isn’t a real threat? Would you not attack the player your Assassinating opponent is harassing because that would be unfair? Or would you just pound on that player whose creatures are being killed because it’s more fun if you swing? I know the answer: Killing the helpless player is the obvious choice. You don’t turn against the Murder mage, because it costs you your creatures and promises are almost never broken (at our store). You can always deal with your Royal opponent later in the game when you’ve found an answer to his Royals. You don’t let the injured player live, because the harmed one might pose a threat later in the game when you don’t kill him right away. So you just go with the flow.

I’ve even experienced this situation today. I was playing this deck to get ‘in it’s mood’ for my article, and I found myself drawing all four of my Assassins within the first five turns, not assisted in their creatureness by a single other entity. So I had to use the above tactic, but I pushed it a little and cast two Royals. Now it just worked miracles. Opponents were driven from the game like heretics from an Amish paradise (where there are no cops or traffic lights – Weird Al Yankovic). (Wow, is HE an editor, too? – The Ferrett) Each time one of my targets kicked the bucket, I choose a new one, leaving all red mages and all players controlling Nightscape Master alone. And you’d be surprised how many an Arc Lightning my team of hired killers bore witness to, only when it targeted some other targets. You’d be surprised how many a Gray Ogre was gunned down by the Master, with my Leons standing on the side line, watching. And as part of the truce, I never killed the tapped Master. I never killed a red creature. And I won. So this concludes my ode to the slayer: Royal Assassin is cool. He stabs people.

Now it is time for a little ‘do do this at home’ test. Go to the eldest person you know. Rouse him from his coma and whisper the name of the Royal Assassin in his ear. He will instantly start jabbering about Icy Manipulator. Now do you remember those self-hypnosis classes you took to learn ignore your grandpa’s jabbering? Maybe you should be listening to him now.

Icy Manipulator is good in very many ways. It was in this deck even before I acquired my first Fourth Edition booster, which contained my first Royal. It was in it before I attained my second pack of Fourth ($1.50, anyone? We’ve also got Revised! What is this game anyway? we sell office supplies for Gossake…How we loved that store (for compatriots: 3.95 piek at Bekker. Six years ago.)), which brought me my second Assassin. My fourth pack contained my third one. Two of those four packs also contained Serra Angel and an Elemental (Fire, Air, Water, Earth). I was the envy of all of my classmates because all the boys in my class played Magic; we even had set times for it during elementary school. And is anybody wondering how I ever managed to drift away from the subject of the Icy THAT far? You should know; you just read it. But Icy works. In ways I will illustrate to you.

The Manipulator is, in my not so humble opinion (because I’m pretty sure), a better version of a Seal of Doom. Because it can, in effect, neutralize a creature much like the Seal does by tapping it every turn. But with an Icy on the table, something funny happens: People tend to declare their attacks when they’re aiming at you, but they just tap their creatures and hit when they’re smashing someone else… This is because no one has been helped when you tap a creature that wasn’t meant to be heading your way. You don’t win some because you lose an untapped Manipulator, and your active opponent loses some because he can’t attack like he wanted. This is very beneficial for a manipulating wizard. Go try it out, I’ll bet it works like that in your group too.

Now the aforementioned trick spawns, of course, the Great Trick that dodges any machines in it’s way. Conspire with an opponent to start whining when he’s attacked by you. Tell him to tell you to declare your attack and then start looking at any player controlling Icy or Ring of Gix with big sad eyes. The Icy player will coldheartedly say:”Go ahead, make your attack. And I ain’t helping you, you whining little…” Thus sealing his own coffin. For now, when attackers have been declared and nothing has been tapped, there is not a thing that keeps you from slapping the Icy mage good and hard. This is real fun with Might of Oaks thrown in by an independent third party. And no, this isn’t a trauma of mine — I just made it up to try and make you laugh. Or something.

On the subject of Ring of Gix versus Icy Manipulator: Echo sucks. Ice Ice, baby.

Now, some versatility has never hurt a soul, has it? So let’s also add something that comes as a surprise. An instant or something. And it must be a versatile one. It must be able to disrupt your opponent, save your own hide, and win you the game once a hapless green mage plays Awakening. Hence we’re going to go with Capsize.

Pay six: bounce a permanent. Seems nice. It removes an attacker from combat. It keeps a screwed player’s land count low. It removes an Empyreal Armor from a blocking creature. And on the other hand, it saves your own creatures from a little tête-à-tête with the dreaded Terminator. It saves your own Icy from a Dismantling Blow job. It returns you some land in response to Armageddon. But not to overlook is the funniest fact about it: It bounces your Clones, changing them to newer and better beings… Like a Vesuvan Doppelganger. For anybody who can confront me with evidence of the fact that a Cloned Doppelganger can’t change during your upkeep is hereby invited to confront me. Now your Clones can change to the best creature available each upkeep again… Except, of course when the best creature on the board is a Zephid, but we don’t get that here very often. (Does this happen ANYWHERE? – the Ferrett) Kentern also bounces your Control Magic and Treachery, bringing them a new home on a better target.

It is also very very cool to have two Capsizes in your hand. When an opponent finally manages to let one fizzle, or for the newer players: to counter one, he usually thinks he can sleep sound again. Having a new one usually comes like a huge surprise, and not revealing it until a crucial moment often turns tides in favorable favors. I wonder why that is. I really don’t know. Is there a psychologist in the audience? His explanation is welcome. It might have something to do with the opponents wanting to rest after a job well done or something.

Now to keep this deck in its original proportions, for as I told you, we’re only doing some major tweaking today, we have the liberty to add six more cards. We’re playing black and blue, so that virtually leaves us with only four spots left: Two are granted to Demonic Tutor and Braingeyser by hereditary right. So what do we include? For the sake of more different games, they are going to be four different cards.

Card advantage is good, so drawing cards must be good as a direct result of this; another card which draws us cards is therefore welcome. But I found myself placed before a large dilemma each turn when I was still playing treasure trove. It was: Do I draw cards or do I cast Capsize? To restrain myself from this difficult situation, I wanted a card drawer with a fixed casting cost. Not even Stroke of Genius was welcome. But Urza’s Legacy offered me an Opportunity, so I chose it. It works just fine to empty your mana pool of all the mana you put in there in response to the Balance/Zuran Orb/one card left in hand-trick.

Another thing I wanted to see more in my deck was stealing. Or, formulated in a more sophisticated manner, I wanted more or more versatile stealing. Crown of the Ages satisfies both needs. It steals all of your opponents’ creature enchantments, and it switches around your own Treacheries. This is so nice: Block YOUR creature with YOUR creature, and when the pain is on the stack I’ll wear the Crown and steal YOUR creature. Again. This card is what I most often Tutor for, so I’m trying to find some more spots for extra copies of it in the deck. And as a coinky-dink, I do have four Crowns, of course. Who doesn’t? They’re an absolute necessity for any self-respecting player.

Two different cards left, but Invasion melted them into two copies of Spite/Malice. The original cards were a Rewind (leaves mana open for Capsize so I included it over Dismiss. I was already using all fifteen copies of Dismiss I own, by the way) and a Feast or Famine. Now I lost the fearsome ability of putting Gray Ogres into play at instant speed, but as compensation I got two better cards. Now I can kill the best creature in play at instant speed. Except of course when the best creature on the board is a Zephid, but we don’t get that here very often. And more counterspells never hurt, too.


Random opponent #1: I cast Timetwister — and in response, I’ll empty my hand with Land’s Edge, just for fun.

Random other opponent: I’ll discard my hand, too.

Random crowd: Look at us! we’re all discarding our hands! Stijn, join us!

Savage Stijn ***: Hmmm, Spite that Timetwister.

Random opponent #1: I think I’ll just go home now.

Last landless list:

4x Spirit of the Night (whose presence dwelleth in every shadow)

4x Sengir Vampire

4x Clone

1x Vesuvan Doppelganger

4x Control Magic

4x Treachery

1x Desertion

1x Confiscate

4x Syphon Soul

4x Subversion

4x Royal Assassin

4x Icy Manipulator

4x Capsize

2x Spite/Malice

1x Crown of the Ages

1x Opportunity

1x Braingeyser

1x Demonic Tutor

Now, I got some positive feedback on the stuff I do with presenting card alternatives… But I ain’t gonna do one now. This deck isn’t a teched-out machine that beats any random metagame; but it is, however, a good tool of warfare. This deck represents the philosophy that politics can be so well hidden that they might even seem not to be there at all. But if there wouldn’t be any politics at all, would I have told you how to declare your war? I think not. But let’s not start mumbling about politics again — let’s add lands to the deck.

Do you notice any 1-drops? Neither do I. So lands that come into play better are not a disadvantage. Get your man lands out of the closet again! Or, even better, you ought to have these ones left provided you own twenty-four (Mishra counts, too) and built last week’s deck.

-Instinctive urge to add dual lands waxing…..-

Let’s add four Underground Seas!

-Primal needs satisfied…..-

Oh, look at how expensive Spirit of the Night (he who sways every plague and storm) is! Let’s add artifacts that puke out more mana than the times you need to tap them for that mana. En forme de Anneau Solaire and Thran Dynamo. And now that we are adding artifact mana, might as well insure ourselves against ‘Geddon and throw in some Cameos. Four of them. They also give us the opportunity to cast Sengir Vampire on turn four.

This is going rather quickly, isn’t it? We’re almost done. Notice how our cards are ancient. Royal Assassin. Icy Manipulator. Control Magic. Sengir Vampire. Those are all legendary cards, so let’s add land from Legends. Urborg is a good land because its abilities are useful. Tolaria is even better, for now we never need to dread banding again! At least, during our upkeeps. And a last legendary land is the icing on the cake: Volrath’s Stronghold. Hey, if your mana base can support it, why not play with the thing?

Basic land is added to fill the empty sleeves left. Land List:

4x Drake Skull Cameo

1x Thran Dynamo

1x Sol Ring

4x Faerie Conclave

2x Spawning Pool

1x Dunkeles Laichbecken

1x Pozza d’Incubazione

4x Underground Sea

1x Volrath’s Stronghold

1x Urborg

1x Tolaria

6x Swamp

6x Island

All done. Now go build a deck that declares wars. And go buy four Spirits of the Night (who knows no such thing as an impediment to strong) by clicking on the ‘magic singles’ link to your left somewhere.

Friggin *****’ Stijn <—– Hoping he’ll get some sort of compensation someday when he just propagates Starcity enough. Also imitating some random writer he read a piece of someday. Also trying to fill space because he wants to make this article even longer than his previous one. Also considering quitting his Feature Writer status so he can have a shot at the $25-submission contest again 🙂

Now, anybody who catches all — and with that I mean ALL — quotes, flavor texts, lyrics and references here may write them down and send them to me. If he truly caught them all he will receive a signed (with blood, when preferred) Spirit of the Night (forever will I praise thy dreaded name). Tony Clifton is excluded from participation.

Emperial Regards,

Stijn van Dongen,


Send impulsive love confessions to [email protected]. Please do.

* – Writing a good opening for an article is always the toughest part. Even now, I think the start of this article sucks, but I can’t think of a better one. I don’t have a strategic reason why I chose to build a deck with the Spirit of the Night (the King of Howling Wolves). Neither do I have strategic reasons for the use of all other cards in the deck, but I’m sure going to pretend I have some.

** – Haha, my spellchecker suggest sissy for Sissay. Laugh out loud!

*** Well, the spellchecker suggests stiffen. Now let’s try my last name: van Dongen ****.

**** – Woo hoo! It suggested Dungeon! That’s a cool word. Actually ‘van’ means ‘from’ and ‘Dongen’ is a tiny village where no important people live. Genealogy shows I’m the bastard offspring of the Lord of Dongen. A get-together for people named ‘van Dongen’ showed the Lord of Dongen had a quite exciting sexual life. And for those wondering about my first name, it is derived from emperor August and emperor Constantine. Their names mean ‘the exalted’ and ‘the steadfast’… So when you finally manage to pronounce my name, do so with respect.

***** – Hey, the spellchecker suggests Frigid. Now that would just be stupid to confess.