The Kitchen Table #203 – Lorwyn Decks

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Hello again, my friends. It’s been a while since my last article in which I simply build decks for you. I figure that you are due. Additionally, I historically write an article with decks featuring the newest cards directly after my Five Color set review. Let’s keep that history intact and build a few decks for your consumption.

Hello again, my friends. It’s been a while since my last article in which I simply build decks for you. I figure that you are due. Additionally, I historically write an article with decks featuring the newest cards directly after my Five Color set review. Let’s keep that history intact and build a few decks for your consumption.

Since it’s been a while, let me go over some things to consider regarding deck articles.

As a reminder, all of the decks that I will ever build for you are meant to be starting points. You might find that the decklist you build is completely different, and that’s fine. We all have different cardpools, and you might not even be able to build one of these decks. You may also have a different take on the way the deck is built, and that’s alright by me. Deck construction should not consist of merely copying a list and then finding the cards. It should be an organic process, evolving over time with you constantly keeping an eye alert to see if the deck can be made better.

I also will often not use the super best cards for a decklist, when those cards are really expensive. Sure, I could put an Ancestral Recall in every Blue deck, but I am going to assume that you either have none, or have better uses for it than a Lorwyn merfolk deck. This same assumption is made about cards like dual lands and other things, from Mox Diamond to Strategic Planning.

There are a few high value cards that should be in your deckstock. Birds of Paradise is the best example. If you don’t have Birds, trade or purchase them at once. They are worth the price of admission. The cheapest on SCG are at $8.50 right now, so acquire some. There are other similar cards, from Wrath of God to Pernicious Deed and Vindicate, that are simply the best at what they do. You’ll play them enough to warrant their price tag.

When a Living Death or Wrath of God or Birds of Paradise is suited for the deck, then I’ll use them. You can rest assured that I’ll steer clear of the other stuff unless the deck has a quirky need for them (see the first deck below for an example of such a quirky deck).

Also, if I were to always use the super expensive stuff, then my decklists would look the same. I don’t want to write that and you don’t want to read it.

With that said, let’s take a look at some Lorwyn-inspired decks. Maybe there’s one or two in here for you.

Don’s Obliterate Deck

I came up with this decklist after one of the players in my playgroup, Don, said that he really liked the cards in Lorwyn. Now, this is a classic Johnny player who still builds Mirrodin-Block-inspired decks packed with combos. Lorwyn is a tribal set. I looked at the cards through what I thought would be Don’s lenses and came up with a decklist of which even Don would be proud. This is not my kind of deck, but it is perfect for Don.

The basic concept behind this deck is simple. Get out a Timber Protector, then play Obliterate, and you get to keep all of your newly indestructible Forests and treefolk. The rest of the deck is designed to set up that play.

Treefolk Harbinger is a great card. You get a one-drop wall that can help against the early offense that others might muster. You also get the ability to either smooth your mana or tutor right then and there for your combo piece.

Dauntless Dourbark is your ideal post-Obliterate winning condition with its large size. Once it gets to 10/10 or larger, you can kill opponents at ease at the multiplayer table. Remember that your combo deck has to kill players as fast as possible since you’ll likely be playing against several. This creature can do that.

Seedguide Ash is a great card because as a 4/4 it is pertinent to the red zone. When it dies, you can Obliterate the following turn as long as you have one in hand. If you spent five mana to play the Ash, then the three Forests you get when he dies will put you at least at eight mana. You can also get Red mana off your duals with the Seedguide Ash, thus ensuring you have the proper colors to play Obliterate as well as the proper amount of mana.

Heartwood Storyteller is a great earlier-game drop. It can net you some cards, which should help find Obliterates and Protectors. It also helps your opponents, so they are likely to leave it alone. Note that your deck only has twelve cards other than Obliterate that will trigger the Storyteller.

Lignify is a fine removal spell. Remember that it is indestructible so long as the Protector is in play, thus preventing it from being Disenchanted. Although it is indestructible, the creature that it is on is not, so the creature will still die in an Obliterate with your enchantment soon to follow.

Lash Out is your typical burn removal spell. I went with the Lorwyn burn for flavor, but you could put anything here. Incinerate is probably a better choice because you can hit a regenerator that might have survived the Obliterate. Still, I like the flavor of including the in-set burn, so I included it.

Rootgrapple is an expensive Naturalize, but realize that it is also an instant Ice Storm and that it will draw you a card virtually whenever you play it. This makes it a fine card. It is a great answer to any problems that might interfere with your plan, such as No Rest for the Wicked, Angelic Renewal, or That Which Was Taken.

The end result of this deck building is a concoction that I would rarely build. If this is your sort of deck, then thank Don, not me. It was his view of cards and Magic that I tried to emulate.

The Prerelease Combo Deck

This deck was built by my first round opponent in Flight 4 at the London Prerelease. He didn’t play it, but this deck is in homage to him.

This deck is designed to play a bunch of big creatures, sacrificing them to Brion Stoutarm. Then it has a lot of recursion to keep the engine going for hopefully long enough to kill everybody at the table. It is also exclusively Lorwyn, using only the newest cards.

The Flamekin Harbinger is great. It can get a Smokebraider, Nova Chaser, Inner-Flame Acolyte, Changeling Berserker, Crib Swap, Mirror Entity or Changeling Hero. That’s a lot of creatures, and each gives you something different.

This deck’s ideal turn goes like this:

Turn 1: Play Mountain, Flamekin Harbinger, searching for Nova Chaser.
Turn 2: Play land, drop Smokebraider
Turn 3: Play land. Tap Smokebraider and two lands for Nova Chaser. Champion Harbinger. Evoke Inner-Flame Acolyte. Swing for twelve.
Turn 4; Play land. Drop Brion. You have two mana from a Smokebraider in case you have another Braider or Harbinger in hand. Otherwise, swing for ten, kill that player right now.

Brion is great because he can Fling a creature every turn, gaining you life for each Fling. He’s a solid card with some serious potential, and this deck tries to unlock a little of that potential.

If you play Smokebraider on the second turn, then you can play one of your Elemental/Changeling four drops on the third turn. Remember your evoke. That’ll knock someone down.

Brion comes down on the fourth turn, and you can Fling the 10/2 as soon as turn 5. People will fear that.

There are a lot of good cards to Fling. Nova Chaser is a great Fling. Changeling Hero and Berserker are also great Flings. When you Fling them with Brion, the original championed card comes back. Was it a Harbinger? Use its ability again. Was it an Acolyte? Use its ability again to give something haste and +2/+0 in order to keep the pressure up.

With so many creatures going to the graveyard, Colfenor’s Urn can return some. Naturally, it works on Brion and the Champion. However, note that the Mirror Entity can make creatures big enough to be Urned. The Mirror Entity is a great card on its own, making all of your guys big. It also makes them big, and then Brion can toss one, turning the Mirror Entity into a virtual Death Grasp every turn.

Once you have some goodies under the Urn, you get to pop it and keep going. This is a great way to bring back a dying Brion. The way you will be burning through creatures it won’t be long until this is nice and big.

You do have four Crib Swap for protection. These should keep the big nasties from attacking you until you kill some players and gain enough life from Brion that you are shielded from traditional damage-based destruction.

With all of the championing and Flinging going on, remember that the Inner-Flame Acolyte will give a creature haste and a temporary power boost. That can help a creature get some damage in. Don’t be afraid to evoke it when necessary.

I considered playing Faultgrinder. With a Smokebraider you could evoke it out as soon as turn 3, and it goes on the Urn when it dies. You can evoke it, and then Fling it with Brion before it dies. It’s a great champion target. It has synergy with the deck. I just felt that land destruction was too weak when used sporadically and the creature cost too much to reliably use.

And there you have another deck, this time one completely Lorwyn-ish. This is more Abeish than the previous deck. Let’s see what the next deck will bring.

Tribal Love

Let’s play an actual deck based around nothing more or less than one tribe in Lorwyn. This deck isn’t designed to abuse one card, or Obliterate. Instead, this deck will be your ordinary tribal deck.

I wanted to try and fit Thornwind Faeries in, but to no avail. As a result, this is another deck that is virtually or exclusively Lorwyn.

As I mentioned above, this is your normal tribal deck. It has a lord creature with Scion of Oona. That allows it to make all faeries bigger, which you want.

After that, we have countermagic in the form of Faerie Trickery and Spellstutter Sprite. This gives you just enough countermagic to protect your faeries without being too dangerous at the table. You don’t have significant removal, so you may have to use your countermagic as proactive removal.

Pestermite is a great faerie because it has flash and it can tap or untap a permanent. My favorite trick was to use it in the prerelease to tap a land during my opponent’s upkeep after my third turn had completed. It turned a 2/1 flyer for three mana into a mini-Time Walk. You can also use it to untap a bigger creature like the Mistbind Clique or Wydwen.

The Clique can be a powerful swinging effect. Playing a 4/4 flyer for four mana is strong, but using it to Mana Short an opponent is even better. For best effect, use it during an upkeep, or lock down someone’s mana on your turn if they are playing counter-control.

The Sower of Temptation is a great faerie because of the Control Magic effect, but don’t expect the faerie to stay around for very long. Even if no one targets it for removal, there are always Pyroclasms and Infests and Deeds going off. You will lose your Sower as collateral damage, let alone it being targeted by the person whose creature you stole.

Dreamspoiler Witches is one of only two cards in the deck that use Black. At first, you might wonder why it was included since only one instant is in the deck. However, it will trigger off of all of the flash you have, and you do have a lot of flash. Teferi is this deck’s homeboy.

Faerie Conclave fits the deck because of the faerie-ness of the land. If you have a Scion out, then the Conclave benefits.

I don’t think that Wydwen is a super amazing faerie. Compared to the other leaders, he seems a little underpowered. (Brion is a 4/4 for four mana with two rock-solid abilities, Doran is essentially a 5/5 for three mana with a game breaking ability, Gaddock is a 2/2 for two mana with a great pair of abilities, Horde of Notions is a 5/5 for five with four abilities, Nath is a 4/4 for five with built in card advantage, Sygg is a 2/2 for two with two good abilities, and Wort is a 3/3 for four with built in card advantage.)

Of all of the gold tribal leaders, only three have a power/toughness lower than their casting cost. Of those three, two have significant card advantage built right in, plus another major ability. What does Wydwen have? Flash? Flying? The ability to self-bounce if you spend both mana and life? This is simply not on par with any of the other leaders. Sure, Wydwen doesn’t suck, but it’s not as good as any other leader. I’m playing it because it is a 3/3 faerie, and the tribe needs that size of creature. That’s the only reason Wydwen is getting played.

A Final Combo

Before I leave, allow me to build a quick combo deck for your perusal. One of the previous decks was Lorwyn only. Another was Standard with Lorwyn and Tenth. The first was almost all recent cards except for Taiga, which is replaceable. This deck also has a similar theme.

This is a combo deck built around Deathrender. Note that this deck is completely available for building on Magic Online, which was the similar theme. Today has been a very Magic Online friendly day, with only one card, Taiga, not available there.

This deck uses Enduring Renewal and then a bunch of creatures with sacrifice effects. Equip a Mogg Fanatic with Deathrender. Sac it to deal a damage to an opponent. Then put into play Shock Troops, equip Deathrender on them, and bring Mogg Fanatic back to your hand. Then sac the Shock Troops for two, put the Mogg in play, return the Shock Troops and repeat until everybody is dead.

In order to win, I believe that you will need two creatures that sac for an effect, one of which must be a creature that deals damage (Emberwilde Augur, Mogg Fanatic, or Shock Troops).

The Augurs won’t work until your upkeep, but you can kill everyone then. With the Augur il-Vecs, you can gain virtually infinite life, although that won’t win you the game.

Twelve creatures kill, and the il-Vecs gain life, giving your sixteen combo creatures for your deck. You only have four each of Deathrender and Enduring Renewal. As such, I have tossed in a quartet of Enlightened Tutors in order to find your combo pieces.

I also included Steel Wall for early defense and Incinerate to help keep opposing creatures off you. In this deck, you’ll want to drop the Enduring Renewal last, since it is your true combo piece. An opponent may not suspect a combo seeing just a Mogg Fanatic with a Deathrender on it, until your drop the Enduring Renewal and kill everyone at the table right then and there.

This deck basically uses Deathrender as a substitute for the Pebbles combo of old. Another combo I considered with Deathrender is to use Wild Cantor and Blood Pet to make unlimited amounts of mana and then burn everyone at the table to death.

You’ll note that the key elements of this deck are Standard legal even post-Lorwyn: Deathrender, Mogg Fanatic, Emberwilde Augur, and Enduring Renewal.

With that, we come to the close of another Magic article. I hoped that you enjoyed seeing a few decks from the new set. Hopefully something here will tweak your fancy. I bid you a fond farewell.

Until later,

Abe Sargent