SCG Daily – A Deck a Day: Castling

So you want to be a soldier, do ya?

Today I wanted to explore a Magic-related concept. In a previous article, I created a deck based around the bad rare, Pirate Ship. That deck was The Fleet and involved a very flavorful concept for a deck, including special multiplayer rules for playing the deck. I really liked the idea of a heavy concept deck having its own rules attached to it.

Today’s deck is not the navy, but the army. Now, armies traditionally do one of two things. They march around, explore and guard borders, or they garrison a single place. Today’s deck is going to focus on the latter.


1 Castle

4 Parapet

1 Moat

2 Heavy Ballista

1 Catapult Master

2 Catapult Squad

1 Combat Medic

2 Enlistment Officer

1 Intrepid Hero

1 Seasoned Marshal

2 Ardent Soldier

1 Ardent Militia

2 Crossbow Infantry

1 Elite Archers

2 Expendable Troops

2 Infantry Veteran

1 Longbow Archer

2 Standing Troops

2 Staunch Defenders

1 King Suleiman

1 General Jarkeld

1 Commander Eesha

1 Major Teroh

1 Icatian Lieutenant

1 Lieutenant Kirtar

1 Pianna, Nomad Captain

23 Plains

Where possible, I chose soldiers that had generic names. For the officers, that was simply not possible, so we have a General from Ice Age, some officers from Odyssey, and a King from Arabian Nights. Ah well, it happens.

The deck includes a variety of soldiers that are flavorful. It does not include the best soliders, or any soldiers that would not make sense in a castle. For example, Master Decoy, although a fine soldier, would make more sense in an army that it out in the field, not a garrison force in a Castle.

I included Moat because it was flavorful, but its expense and poor synergy with the rest of the deck may cause you to want to play something else. The same is true of King Suleiman, whose ability will rarely come into play. If you are not playing with the special rules below, then I would add a pair of Castles if you pull them out.

There are several important soldiers in the deck, so make sure your protect them. Elite Archers, Intrepid Hero, and Catapult Master are all powerful. Other important soldiers include Enlistment Officers, Catapult Squads, and Commander Eesha.

The deck includes a lot of soldiers with a variety of abilities. One game you may have the Elite Archers and Crossbow Infantry keeping people from attacking you. In another game you may play a bunch of vigilance creatures and start swinging with high defense, low power vigilance creatures.

Unfortunately, you lack flying. Your only flyers are the Odyssey block officers – Teroh, Kirtar and Eesha. Treat these soldiers well, because you may need them to fly over opposing armies and hit the opposing wizard for damage. Otherwise you’ll have to go through the enemy’s army.

Let’s take a look at the special Castling rules for this deck:

Castling: Once per turn, at the beginning of your upkeep, you can sacrifice a soldier. If you do, search your library for a Castle and put it directly into play. If a Castle is already in play, you may search for a Parapet and put it directly into play. Arrange your cards so that your Castle is surrounded with a Parapet on each side.

Earthworks: When a Parapet comes into play, either though normal means or through Castling, put three counters on it. When a Castle comes into play, put five counters on it. As long as a Castle or Parapet has counters on it, it is indestructible. When an effect would cause a Castle or Parapet to be placed into a graveyard (including a sacrifice) instead remove a counter.

Vulnerability: Normally, a Castle or Parapet can only be destroyed by enchantment removal. However, these two enchantments represent physical stone-works. Therefore, if a given artifact removal spell could, in flavor, destroy a stone wall or Castle, then it can be used to target a Parapet or Castle and made to remove a counter. (For example, Crumble could target a Parapet and take off a counter. If the last counter is off, Crumble could be used to destroy that Parapet). I’d also rule that cards that destroy walls also can target a Parapet or Castle (Tunnel, Word of Blasting, etc).

A Castle is untargetable if all four Parapets surround it.

You may sacrifice three soldiers to return a Parapet from your graveyard. The Castle, once destroyed, cannot be rebuilt in time, and therefore cannot be recurred.

These rules give the Castling deck a sufficiently reliable Castle to protect and defend while also giving other players the ability to destroy them if they work hard. Please note that these rules were created with multiplayer in mind, and might be a bit too powerful in a duel.

By the way, according to the rules, you can play Parapet as an instant, confuse the math of an opponent and maybe saving a creature or two, then put three counters on the Parapet. When it is sacrificed for playing it an as instant, you instead remove a counter, and it sticks around permanently from then on.

I really like creating rules for special thematic decks like this one. There should be some advantage to playing with a deck that has a strong theme but doesn’t play very well. Just make sure that your rules are in flavor, and everything should work from there.

Good luck with your own castling deck!

Until Later,

Abe Sargent