Obscure Decks From Obscure Cards

Anyone can build a deck around a power card like Survival of the Fittest… but what happens when you try to build decks around little-known cards like Invoke Prejudice and Dark Suspicions? Abe puts his deckbuilding skills to the test to dust off these oldie goldies and create a sixty-card pile that will shred the other players at your table!

First off, I would like to apologize for being away for a couple of weeks. Regular readers may remember that this time of year is very busy for me, since I am doing the annual report in addition to moving hundreds of residents. However, all of that ended last week when I turned in my report before going on vacation. Now, I’m ready to write and all is well again.

I wanted to write up a few decks based on some deck ideas that have been percolating in my mind for a while. When a friend of mine recently browsed my deck binder, he was surprised that the quality of several rares was quite low. I keep cards that I think I might use someday, even if that day hasn’t arrived for years.

Note that many of the decks today will be using cards that may not be in every player’s card pool. A general rule with online decklists is that you should always be able to add cards in for those that you do not have. Find something to use besides Force of Will or dual lands. You never have to be a slave to the decklist.

Today I am going to clear out a few of these ideas. Some of these old cards that have been languishing need to see their fifteen minutes of fame. Wish me luck, and here we go.

Prejudicial Manners

One of the obscure cards that I have sitting in my deck stock binder is the ever-popular Invoke Prejudice. Now, I once tried to sneak a copy of Invoke Prejudice into one of my Bad Rare Decks built around Glowrider, but even then I ultimately had to pull the card. Let’s review a few facts about Invoke Prejudice before using it.

First of all, Invoke Prejudice affects all opponents at a multiplayer table. Secondly, it does not affect artifact creatures, so your opponents are free to play Masticores and Triskelions all night. Thirdly, multiple Prejudices will stack, so a player trying to play Ball Lightning with a pair of Invoke Prejudices in play will have to spend 6RRR. Lastly, if you have no creatures, then by definition the card will trigger for creature spells your opponents play.

Invoke Prejudice is not for the weak of heart. An enchantment that costs four Blue mana is nothing to sneer at. The deck simply has to be straight Blue, or at least have virtually every land tap for it. Additionally, Invoke Prejudice does little against small creatures. Savannah Lions are a 2/1 that costs 1W, Grim Lavamancer becomes a 1/1 with a good ability for 1R, and so forth. The only real interesting interaction is that Little Girl now costs a full mana, and thereby relieves you of mana burn.

Since Invoke Prejudice has a few holes against the small creatures of the world (and the artifact ones as well), we’ll need to shore up our deck against those weaknesses. Let’s see what sort of deck we can build using Invoke Prejudice.

The goal of this deck is to get your opponents to tap lands, and then use that to either abuse Rhystic cards, get them to the point where Mana Leaks and Complicates are hard counters, and taking damage from Soul Barriers and Manabarbs.

Note that the errata on Soul Barrier causes it to work on all opponents, and you do not have to choose a target for it anymore.

With one Barrier and Prejudice out, even a small Llanowar Elves now costs 3G unless your opponent want to take damage to play it. Add a Rhystic Study and you opponent has to tap another land. If there’s a Manabarbs in play, that’s a lot of damage just to play a 1/1 creature.

You have very few creatures. Masticores do double duty as defending creature sweepers and attacking machines. You also have six manlands available. The idea is obviously not to have any creatures with a color out when opponents play creatures.

You’ll need to watch out for Disenchant-boy, who may want to target any number of great enchantments. In fact, it might even be worth splashing a touch of White for Replenish and Wild Research.

Other Deck Ideas:

I could probably build an entire article on decks built around Invoke Prejudice. One idea is to splash white for Aura of Silence. Not only would this increase the play cost of artifact creatures that normally get around the Prejudice, but it would also be useful is destroying those creatures if they become too big of a problem.

Another idea is to play a normal deck with a variety of creatures of various colors…. then play Mycosynth Lattice. Since all creature spells on the stack and in the hand are now colorless, it doesn’t matter than you have out a creature of the same color, opponents will still need to double down their mana.

Eating a Player

Eater of the Dead used to be so much better when it didn’t require itself to be tapped in order to use its ability. Time was you could play the Eater, then immediately take out all the creatures in an opposing graveyard. Still, Eater of the Dead appears to have several important uses when combined with an interesting B/R deck.

The Eater’s ability can now only work when it is tapped. However, the ability can be activated multiple times, even if they do not resolve due to the Eater’s untapped status.

What we need to do is find a way to use the Eater’s ability in conjunction with a good tap ability. Ah, I know just the thing…

The goal behind this deck is to find several paths to victory through the Eater of the Dead. In a multiplayer game, the graveyards can get pretty full pretty quickly. A simple Eater of the Dead plus either a Kyren Negotiations or a Fire Whip can handle things easily. One Eater plus a decently-sized multiplayer graveyard and a Negotiations can easily take out a player all by himself.

For killing other players, the idea is to nuke the creatures in other graveyards, then proceed to Living Death and overwhelm their defenses. You can easily kill off several players in a quick two or three turns. The Eater kills off a player, probably the guy with the countermagic, by popping graveyards, you sac your creatures to an Altar or Bombardment, then play Living Death. Tap your creatures to the Negotiations to deal a bunch of damage to someone else, then on your next turn, swing for some serious pain.

The reason I went all tribal is because I really like Vengeful Dead in this sort of deck. He hurts all players equally, and he has great synergies with many other cards in the deck. In fact, if you want more zombies, you can find some nice three-drops for the Bogardan Firefiend spot.

Altar of Dementia and Mesmeric Orb serve to give your deck creatures for the Living Death as well as ensure fodder for the Eater exists. Late in a multiplayer game, when everybody has full graveyards and low life, simply playing an Eater backed by a Fire Whip or Negotiations can win the game on its own.

Other ideas for the deck include Skinthinner, Nantuko Husk, Lord of the Undead, Smoldering Tar, and Shivan Gorge.

Other Deck Ideas:

You could run Eater of the Dead in an Opposition deck. You’d have the potential to lock down an awful lot of permanents before swinging across with a bunch of creatures. You could keep a person from getting a useful color of mana, like blue. Counterspell-boy would be unable to counter any of your spells for several turns until you’ve exhausted the graveyard supply.

Another idea is to power your Eater of the Dead with Earthcraft. Not only would you make a bunch of mana, but you would also be able to play a bigger class of creature. Fuelling a giant Consume Spirit or Hurricane might give you the game win right there.

Harvesting Kittens

To be fair, I’ve already built one deck for StarCityGames using Dross Harvester. And I’ve also already built one deck today using Black and Red. I think there is some writer’s creed about making sure that you use every color in each of your articles that involves several decks, but this will be my third consecutive deck with red and second with the dreaded black/red combination.

Ah well! Who cares about the creed? Let’s write the decks that I want to write.

Dross Harvester is an amazingly cheap card with a hefty drawback that proves to be quite interesting when combined with its other ability. Sure, a 4/4 pro white creature for just three mana is a bargain, and losing four life in your upkeep makes him look like some Flesh Reaver-type creature. What about that other ability? Gaining two life for every dying creature can help keep you alive, as well as give deck builders an interesting tool.

I once combined Dross Harvester with Tombstone Stairwell. Now it’s time for another combo: Firecat Blitz. Not only will the Blitz hopefully hit opponents for a bunch of life, but you will also gain an awful lot of life for all of the dying kittens. Let’s take a look at the deck.

Not only is this the second consecutive Red/Black deck in my article, but it’s also the second straight deck to use Goblin Bombardment. In addition, but it’s also the second consecutive deck with a tribal sub-theme. That’s an interesting set of duplications.

I wanted to support the main theme with more creatures. I came up with the idea of using mass goblin tokens. I am using an old trick of mine: Use Moggcatcher to get Goblin Assassin. Everybody flips, and losers have to sacrifice a creature. Then get something like Goblin Marshal. Everybody flips three times, and sacrifices a creature for each flip they lose. If you lose a flip, make sure that you sacrifice the Goblin Marshal, so that two more goblins come into play, and everybody flips twice more.

If anybody has creatures left, then get Siege-Gang to make people flip a few more times. You’ll also have a nice set of goblin tokens, a 2/2 Assassin, a 2/2 Catcher and a 2/2 guy that Shocks things with them. If you had out a Dross Harvester before all this began, imagine your life total now.

Just imagine what a full set of kittens can do.

When you play Firecat Blitz, you can attack with a bunch of creatures. If you have out Goblin Bombardment, sacrifice them after damage goes on the stack for a second pound of damage. Between the Blitzing Kitties, the Goblin Bombardments, the lack of creatures on other boards, and the number of goblins led by a Siege-Gang, you should be able to easily kill several players in one fell swoop.

Remember that you can Moggcatcher up a Warchief if you need him. You can also get goblin beef with the Dynamo or artifact destruction with the Tinkerers.

You can use Skulltap to sacrifice a goblin token or Firekitty to draw a couple of cards. You also have a single Goblin Offensive. This can help you reload late in the game or creature enough goblins to punch through a stalemate. A Goblin Assassin in play plus many goblins creates a powerful advantage for you.

Other Deck Ideas:

You could go all soldier-y with the Dross Harvester as well: Kjeldoran Outposts, Mobilization, Decree of Justice, Raise the Alarm, and Daru Warchief can easily establish a bunch of soldiers as the life-gaining creature type of your choice. It just seems a bit slower than the gobliny kitten beats. However, evil Dross Harvester squirrel beats might be fun enough to really enjoy. While I think that Black/Red is the most synergetic combination, there’s something to say for using cute squirrels to fuel your plans of evil.

And speaking of evil….

Suspicions of Evil

When people actually read Dark Suspicions, I find that their eyes light up. Their expressions range from, "Wow, I didn’t even know this card exists," to "I hope Abe doesn’t play this card in a deck." Let’s build that deck right now.

Now, it’s important to note that Dark Suspicions requires you to have a low number of cards in hand while your opponents are rolling in cards. There’s a great way to ensure that this happens. This will be my last deck, so let’s see if we can’t create a nice surprise by adding Blue to the deck.

("But Abe," you exclaim, "There’s no white or green!" I know. I don’t care. I go where my writing takes me. Which is a pretentious way of saying, "Bug Off!")

Gustha’s Scepter is interesting tech for this deck; it’s a quick and useful way of emptying your hand as quickly as possible so that the Dark Suspicions kick in. If you play a Scepter on the first turn, then use it every turn to remove your hand of cards, you can play Dark Suspicions on the fourth turn and have just one card in hand. People will start taking serious damage immediately.

The Megrims and Underworld Dreams are present to tell people that you are playing a different deck. Obviously, your deck works on Dark Suspicions, but players are likely used to seeing Megrim decks. Those enchantments will protect the real ones, because people will often go after Megrim and Underworld Dreams over Dark Suspicions.

If you play Wheel and Deal, players will take twice the number of cards discarded in damage from Megrim, seven damage from Underworld Dreams, and up to seven damage a turn from Dark Suspicions. That’s a pretty powerful group of cards.

You want players to play slowly, and Pendrell Mists helps to keep them off your back while you set up. Giving all creatures an upkeep should hopefully lock up several mana as your opponents continue to play.

You have a quartet of Rend Flesh and a Maze of Ith to help keep creatures off your back. In the meantime, you can set up, and make sure that you have both the needed countermagic as well as few to no cards in hand.

Remember that you can tap Gustha’s Scepter as an instant, returning a card Sceptered to your hand. Feel free to tap the Scepter to bring back countermagic, and then use it. Likewise, you can Scepter back a blue card to use with Force of Will’s alternate casting cost.

If you want this deck to run more smoothly, take out Pendrell Mists and a pair of Rend Flesh for three each of Fact or Fiction and The Abyss. It’s a more expensive option, but your deck will run much better.

Other Deck Ideas:

You could use Red or Green for damage. Green offers Stormseeker, while Red provides Sudden Impact. You can up the Scepter count and run Wheel of Fortune, just putting cards drawn under the Scepters and playing them until you have few cards n hand. Green can give you Regrowth effects that could prove very useful as well. Both colors have something to offer.

Well, folks, that’s all the time we have for you this week. I hope that you have enjoyed this four decks, and that maybe you can find the idea for a deck of your own!

Until later,

Abe Sargent