SCG Daily – A Deck a Day: Cancerous Attack

Hello again! This is the Wednesday installment of our Week o’ Decks. Each day sees me bringing a separate deck for your enjoyment. I was wondering about various deck ideas, when I decided top find a card from a nice, old set and build a deck around it.

Hello again! This is the Wednesday installment of our Week o’ Decks. Each day sees me bringing a separate deck for your enjoyment. I was wondering about various deck ideas, when I decided top find a card from a nice, old set and build a deck around it. After some perusal, I chose The Dark. I brought up a card list and searched for inspiration.

Now, I’ve already built decks around Psychic Allergy and Eater of the Dead, so I can’t use either of those. It’s a shame too, because Psychic Allergy used to be my favorite card, long ago.

So I searched and searched, checking the list three times. But no inspiration came. I decided to hop to another set. Since Mirage is about to be released online, I selected Mirage.

Once that occurred, I simply had to keep looking until I found the perfect card to build a deck around. I discovered it about halfway through the card list:

Cancerous Attack

4 Malignant Growth

4 Island Sanctuary

4 Silklash Spider

1 Ivory Mask

3 Sterling Grove

4 Arcane Denial

4 Howling Mine

2 Orim’s Chant

4 Moment’s Peace

2 Kami of the Crescent Moon

2 Mystic Enforcer

1 Mystic Decree

2 City of Brass

2 Treva’s Ruins

2 Elfhame Palace

2 Coastal Tower

4 Brushland

5 Forest

5 Plains

3 Island

The goal of this deck is to use Malignant Growth to cause your opponent to draw an increasing amount of cards, until death occurs from the Growth or from drawing too many cards and being decked.

Since this deck revolves around the Malignant Growth, it’s important to be able to find and play one. Therefore, we have a trio of Sterling Groves to assist. Each can search up a helpful enchantment, or you can use one to protect your Growth or Island Sanctuary against Disenchant-boy.

Playing Malignant Growth will make you a target. Ensure that you can survive the counter-attacks by playing a simple Island Sanctuary. This will prevent anything other than islandwalkers and flyers from serving. The Island Sanctuary will also help keep you from decking yourself from the Howling Mines.

Ah, how I love thee, Howling Mine. Thou dost make mine enemies lie down. Thou dost cloud their senses. Lo, how I enjoy playing thee and making others ignore me. Thou art truly mine friend.

They can also play a backup role as an alternate winning condition. They give you another way to deck opponents in case the Growths are taken out.

I have included just eight creatures in this deck. The quartet of Silklash Spiders are able to keep flyers off during an active Island Sanctuary. A Silklash can block threats up to and including Akroma, Angel of Wrath and Spirit of the Night. They can serve as normal blockers, but one Spider can also clear out several annoying flyers, giving you time to set up a powerful Malignant Growth.

We also have a couple of Mystic Enforcers. I really like having a backup, backup plan. If a Malignant Growth deals a helping of damage, a Mystic Enforcer can finish things up. Post-threshold, a flying Mystic Enforcer can also keep a lot of creatures back. Like the Spider, it can really mess with attackers when you have an active Island Sanctuary.

Lastly, we round out our creature mix with two Kami of the Crescent Moon. This gives you a backup Howling Mine as well as providing you with a defensive creature.

We have a full set of Orim’s Chant and Moment’s Peace. The flashback fog will give you some distance and help protect you from alpha strikes as people get more desperate. The Orim’s Chant will keep them from playing some of their goodies as well as essentially fogging for the turn.

Just in case either becomes necessary, I tossed a single copy of Ivory Mask and Mystic Decree into the deck. You can tutor up either one with a Sterling Grove. The Ivory Mask should keep people from forcing you to discard or bring you to death while you sit back, unable to be harmed. Mystic Decree removes the very two abilities from creatures that Island Sanctuary allows to get through. Combining them means that no creatures can attack you. It will remove the flying ability from an Enforcer, but it will still be good on defense or offense depending on the situation.

I tossed in four Arcane Denials as emergency countermagic. Use these only when absolutely necessary. A good time to consider their usage is when someone is trying to destroy a key piece. Always protect defensive cards like Island Sanctuary before Malignant Growth, unless you are abut to win.

Remember, if you have Howling Mines or Kamis, then you can still draw cards through an Island Sanctuary, you’ll just draw one less. Not only will this be helpful later when the decks get small, but you might find a use for it immediately, in case someone is running Black Vise type effects.

Other cards that might work here include the Words cycle from Onslaught. Words of War would be the best choice, but it’s a bit too many colors for my taste. If you ran Mox Diamond and Birds of Paradise, you could toss one in.

Another option might be to punish players for having too many cards. You could run your own Vise effects. Alternatively, there are some great cards that punish players for discarding or drawing, such as Underworld Dreams and Megrim. I don’t want this deck to venture into that commonly used territory, plus I want to steer clear of triple Black costs.

Yet more cards to use might include Wheel and Deal, Plagiarize, more countermagic, more card drawing, maybe a backup copy of Stasis, just in case, and more. By playing a single copy of Stasis, you could slide into that archetype anytime. You’d definitely surprise your opponents.

I also like the idea of skipping next turns. Once you get a large number of counters on a Growth, skip a turn or two. Chronatog will help here, as well as playing into the Stasis backup plan. Another option might be to run a copy of Time Vault, and untap to put a turn in the bank. You wouldn’t be abusing Time Vault, just using the skipped turn to nice effect. That’s a bit expensive, financially, but the idea is still valid.

If you don’t have the Chants, don’t worry. They are possibly the least important card in the deck. Just take a look at some of the other options, and pick some winners.

Other cards that might work are Moat, The Abyss, Aurification, Meishin, the Mind Cage or Humility. Each of these options will help shut down creatures. They’d all be solid tutor targets, although obviously some are better than others. It would give you a few more options.

Lifegain might also be useful. Congregate could give you several turns to work with, for example. It works especially well with Humility, which will allow all of the creatures to remain in play instead of killing them like The Abyss. Note that no creatures fly under a Humility, so Island Sanctuary would stop them all from attacking. It might not even be that necessary.

I hope that you found some fruitful ideas here! Good luck building your decks, and we’ll see you tomorrow when I build a different sort of deck altogether.

Until Later,

Abe Sargent