…Sacred Prey, That’s Game!

But it’s my opinion that you shouldn’t stop building fun deck just because you have cards of an obscene power level. In fact, those cards allow you to power ridiculously-strange decks that will cause people to laugh. And how can you not laugh when you get taken out by Laccolith Whelp and Skyshroud Ridgeback?

I consider myself blessed in that my collection is large enough to have quite a few good cards, a few pricey ones too…But I also refrain from building insanely powerful Type One tournament decks, since those are no fun… Besides, where’s the fun in that? Where’s my mark?

I recently started playing with a group of people who play competitive Type One and 5 color… And they’re honest, fun guys who know their Magic – but they’re also no fun to play with unless you’re also running in that super-powered crowd. There’s no fun in losing, just as I think it’s no fun to run the superpowered decks running around in Type One tournaments. After all, casual Magic is my area.

Magic is fascinating to me because it allows one to use cards of value just as they were cards of no value. There is no denying that having some cards (particularly the original dual lands and new Onslaught fetch lands) makes certain strategies easier to pull off.

But it’s my opinion that you shouldn’t stop building fun deck just because you have cards of an obscene power level.

Let it be known right now that the first version of this deck is extremely rare-heavy. But it’s a fun little thing to play. It’s very quirky, but when it gets rolling, no one is really safe. Let me put it this way: When was the last time that a 1cc creature like Sacred Prey won you a game?

Without further ado, I present my deck…

4 Wirewood Savage

4 Sacred Prey

4 Skyshroud Ridgeback

3 Riptide Mangler

4 Aquamoeba

4 Laccolith Whelp

3 Living Wish

1 Regrowth

1 Black Vise

1 Slate of Ancestry

4 Retraced Image

4 Aether Charge

2 Mountain

2 Island

2 Forest

4 Taiga

4 Tropical Island

4 Volcanic Island

3 Windswept Heath

1 Bloodstained Mire

1 Polluted Mire


2 Ravenous Baloth

1 Wonder

1 Genesis

1 Contested Cliffs

1 Treetop Village

1 Faerie Conclave

1 Ghitu Encampment

4 Red Elemental Blast

2 Naturalize

1 Flametongue Kavu

1 Crater Hellion

I think everyone sees the plan here: Slap down Aether Charges and, with the card drawing from the lone Slate, or more likely, the Wirewood Savages, play out many 1cc beasts to eliminate a player each turn.

Now, with only 19 beasts in the deck, this deck easily runs out of gas in large, large, large games. In games with four or five people (which are, personally, my favorite sizes for multiplayer groups), this deck packs enough to eliminate two to three people. Things get better after wishing, since one could go for the recursion of Genesis, the evasion of Wonder, or the life gain and fat behind of Ravenous Baloth. Blasts and Naturalize come in from the sideboard for control decks, and Flametongue Kavu deal very nicely with large creatures. Crater Hellion is the desperation… Make sure you can Wish for, or already have Genesis in the Graveyard. It’s just a beating.

As usual, I want to discuss this deck’s inherent weaknesses first. This deck is very single minded… But it’s also very quick. If the first seven don’t have two or three lands and a Savage, send it back. So here you are, essentially defenseless for a few turns. A rushdown weenie deck will gain the upper hand very quickly. Your creatures don’t have first strike, they don’t have protection from colors. A bunch of 1/1s with marginal special abilities and no creature pump spells or enchantments won’t do you much good – though a turn 1 Laccolith Whelp kills 1/1s dead if they’re dumb enough to block. (But trust me, they won’t be.)

A Counterspelled Aether Charge means huge trouble. Aether Charge is your main source of damage. Hope to God that your control player opponent can’t block a herd of 1/1s.

Finally, you have nothing to deal with combo decks. Nothing, zip, zilch, nada. Just a bunch of 1/1s and a few larger creatures. That’s your strategy now. Beat down, and do it quickly. I used to have an Obstinate Familiar to deal with Stroke of Genius-based decks, but they just either get countered or Capsized. It is comedy, however, to see an Obstinate Familiar get countered.

The good news: The deck is deceptively fast. Your highest casting spell is five. Once that’s done, you can lay down sick, sick numbers of creatures in one turn. Well, even better, you can use Retraced image to lay down additional lands a turn, provided you have the same one. It’s farfetched, but hey, the possibility is there.

Retraced Image is acceleration of a sort, a mana fixer in desperation, and a cheap way to get a second Aether charge in play. Almost all your spells are 1 or 2 cc. The Savage is your most expensive play, short of Aether Charge. That means fast. (Oh, I lied. This deck also rolls over to mass removal of creatures. Did I mention Wish for Genesis?)

Part of the price of the deck is paid in mana regularity. Duals assure you that you’re never manascrewed, and the fetchlands thin your deck. The Savages draw cards. Slate of Ancestry refills your hands like nobody’s business.

The single Black Vise is also an insane thing to drop. Restricted or not, a Vise is a bad thing for an opposing player to see. If this is down, there’s even more incentive for them to counter the Aether Charges, but that drains their hand of counters. One additional thing to consider about Aether charge is that the Beast does the damage, not the Charge. In other words, it gets around Circle of Protection: Red nicely, but dies blatantly to Circle of Solace… if your opponent can keep the mana up. If they can, keep the pressure up. They’ll fold to your ph34rs0m3 1/1 beatings.

It’s also important to note that this deck is very subtle too, especially the first time you play it. Feel free to lay an early beast or two just to have blockers, but beyond that, no one’s going to pay attention to you until it’s too late. Savage card drawing (no pun intended) keeps your hand full of cheap beasts to cast. For five mana, you can deal twenty damage. It’s very hard to argue with that.

I know I mentioned that the creatures are weak, but the Aquamoeba and Riptide Manglers are good for their cost and color. Worse come to worse, the Mangler can trade for a larger creature.

Now, I know that the deck is insanely heavy in rares for such a relatively weak deck, but here are some suggestions for budget oriented players.

The Riptide Manglers can be subbed out for any of the following creatures: Thought Nibbler, Thought Eater, Longhorn Firebeast, and Ember Beast. Along those lines, part of the huge cost of this deck is ensuring the right color of mana. Consider this two-color build which needs less rares, but is still very stable.

4 Wirewood Savage

4 Sacred Prey

4 Skyshroud Ridgeback

4 Ember Beast

4 Longhorn Firebeast

4 Laccolith Whelp

3 Living Wish

1 Regrowth

1 Black Vise

1 Slate of Ancestry

4 Land Grant

4 Aether Charge

6 Mountain

6 Forest

2 Mossfire Valley

2 Karplusan Forest

4 Shivan Oasis

The Sideboard changes to add another Naturalize and Maze of Ith, and loses Wonder and Faerie Conclave. The deck slows down a little, but also gains larger creatures.

Other sideboard considerations include Meekstone and Ensnaring Bridge for more creature control. Even with the two color version, this deck is much comedy to play with. Admit it, you know you wanna play with your weenies. Especially with your friends!

Either version of this deck shares the fact that it’s a blast to play. Win or lose, come on! You know the lure of winning with Sacred Prey is too good to pass up. Enjoy!

John A. Liu

“Retraced Image? What the hell?”