Welcome back, my friends. Last week I created some decks for you using various Lorwyn cards. Today I want to follow that article, but instead of listing a bunch of decks, I will just give you some deck ideas. Today is meant to prime the pump of your own deckbuilding skills.
Lorwyn has a metric ton of countermagic, but I’m still waiting. What am I waiting on, you might wonder. I’m waiting on Wizards to finally print my counterspell.
What will make it my counterspell? Have I submitted it in some contest? Did I publish it in some third hand unofficial Abe Set? Nope. Once in an article of mine I said that I had the coolest title for a counter ever, and I was waiting for Wizards to use it for a counterspell. I’m still waiting. What’s the title?
“I Veto your spell.” I can’t imagine a better name for a counter than that. I really want to say that in a Magic game.
I’m still waiting for Veto to see print.
Evan once challenged me to build a deck around Life and Limb. I think I did pretty solidly. Before Lorwyn was printed. Life and Limb made your Mistform Ultimus a Forest in addition to a creature, but it was a minor ability.
Lorwyn brings changelings. A changeling in play is also a Forest. That means your Avian Changeling is a 2/2 flyer and a Forest as well. This is pretty cool, right?
Well, actually, your Avian Changeling is a 1/1 flyer and a Forest with Life and Limb out. Life and Limb makes the creature a 1/1.
Isn’t there probably a deck somewhere that likes this? I’m sure that your Life and Limb will enjoy being with Woodland Changeling at least. There might be a combo deck with Mirror Entity.
This idea will also work with cards like Timber Protector from last week’s article. Make your creatures 1/1 Saproling Forests and Timber Protector will make them indestructible. See Time Shifted Verdeloth the Ancient for more Forest/Saprolings that are indestructible and that pumps all of your treefolk (like the Protector) and Saprolings. Plus, the Protector will make Verdeloth indestructible.
Sprout Swarm would be good in this deck.
There is some potential here for yet another deck that abuses Timber Protector. It’s a solid card.
I hadn’t planned on making decklists for this article, but since I just built the deck, I might as well finish, eh?
- 26 Forest
Here’s your deck. Once again, I am using the Treefolk base (Harbinger, Rootgrapple, Lignify, Protector) but this time I have a Verdeloth I can fetch. Night Soil makes the Saprolings, as does the Treefolk legend and Sprout Swarm. This will make a lot of Forests with Life and Limb out.
This deck is all Standard post-rotation. Thought you might enjoy that. I have no idea how this would do in a FNM, but it is an interesting build with potential for the Kitchen Table. In multiplayer, if you want to win with your guys, you need a bunch. Life and Limb + Sprout Swarm + Verdeloth will give you a bunch, and indestructibility is even better.
Remember that Life and Limb will only drop the Saproling power and toughness to 1/1, not your non-Saproling treefolk, so you can still have the big guys leading the team.
Let’s go over some other deck ideas now.
In some decks, Battlewand Oak is a player killer. Imagine in the previous deck that you had out a Battlewand Oak, Life and Limb, and twelve mana from Saprolings and Forests. You play Verdeloth with six mana in the kicker. The Oak just had six Forests come into play, plus the +1/+1 from Verdeloth himself.
Now, the Oak doesn’t have the ability to sneak in and get a hit. You’ll have to find a way to get a hit it, from Fling or Brion Stoutarm to giving a creature fear or trample. (Fists of Ironwood would give it trample permanently and +4/+4 until the end of turn with Life and Limb out). There is some potential here as well.
I like playing Surestrike Trident because it doesn’t require another color, and it doesn’t require you to kill your creature, unlike Fling and other options.
In a Blue/Red deck, this is a 2/3 flyer for two mana under the right circumstances. Play this on turn 2, drop a faerie on turn 3, and begin to swing for two in the air. Not all faeries work well in a Blue/Red style deck, but one that does is Thornwind Faeries from Urza’s Legacy. This flying Prodigal Sorcerer still costs three mana so you can swing for two with the Chaser. Other cards like Faerie Conclave and Pestermite work well. Flash Faeries will work as pseudo-pump for the Chaser.
Is this card the next coming of Wing Shards? It only stops attackers on the ground and you have to win clash and then deal combat damage, but if all of that happens, then this card is pretty good. Clever players will note that in addition to the chance of it being a Wing Shards, it also makes two elves, and in this tribal block we are all about the elf love.
Gilt-Leaf Ambush is a fine play at the end of an opponent’s turn, making two 1/1s that are pumped by any number of existing elf pump effects. Then you untap and swing with the additional two damage (or more) on your turn. You also have the ambush for a surprise defense if you really need it.
Eladamri is good here because he gives your elves Forestwalk, which enables your ambushers to swing for a guaranteed hit in many situations. He also gives them shroud, which prevents your opponent from killing them if you play it on defense and win the clash.
Lys Alana Huntmaster
I like 3/3 creatures for four mana with a good ability as much as the next Magic writer. This ability seems overly good in a deck with a lot of elf enablers plus elf spells and such. Combining mana elves with elf spells and elf enablers (which are, by the way, all elves) turns the Huntmaster into a broken engine of doom. All of this brings me to the conclusion that this is a common that is overpowered in a tribal deck.
Lorwyn Elf Mini Rant
Alright Wizards of the Coast, here’s my flavor issue with your elves in Lorwyn. Ready? Here we go:
I like that elves are so arrogant and haughty that they have crossed into Black as a result. To me, this is a very flavorful extension of existing elf archetypes. I’m comfortable with this.
I’m also comfortable with you wanting to make some tribes accessible to players who may not buy many packs and thus may not get many rares. I’m comfortable with this too.
I’m also aware that elves played this role previously with cards like Wellwisher and Timberwatch Elves, or even going back to Priest of Titania. Again, I know all of this stuff.
However, here is my issue: With elves being this arrogant and haughty and prideful and stressing their nobility, isn’t it against their very flavor to have their best cards at common and uncommon? Shouldn’t the elves in this set be the ones that are hard to acquire and you need the rares? Let the Kithkin and the Merfolk be the ones you don’t need the rares for (and look, they are). Change the elves commonality expectations to match their flavor. By failing to do so, I think you missed a creative opportunity to demonstrate how elves are different in Lorwyn than they have been before.
End Lorwyn Elf Mini Rant
Begin Lorwyn/Recent Green Mini Rant
And while we are on the subject of things I think you could address, let’s talk about this whole Terramorphic Expanse issue.
I understand that giving player access to solid common mana fixing is an interesting idea for drafts and budget players, and I am behind it. However, we have a different problem.
I have regularly defended your vision of Green against the writers who regularly attack the supposed weakness of Green in their columns. It seems like writing a column decrying the status of Green is the default column of a lot of writers when they want to write about an issue.
I don’t like it, because everyone harps on the same stuff, and there are a lot of specious arguments raised on message boards and articles that are pretty silly.
However, if you continue down this path, you have a problem. Every color has a piece of the pie, but there are a handful of mechanics that only that color has. Only Blue counters stuff, for example (barring nifty Planar Chaos, obviously). One such mechanic is that only Green fixes mana.
If you are having Green fix mana while at the same time giving good mana fixing to all colors at the bottom levels of commonality, then Green needs something back. Green got a lot of player because it could play the Birds of Paradise and Sakura Tribe-Elders and the Kodama’s Reaches that enabled you to play several other colors. Then, since you were base-Green anyway, other cards of a Green nature would often make the cut, such as Wall of Blossoms.
With each set’s release of more colorless ways of fixing mana, we are not far from the day when I could build a viable four color deck without using Green at all. That is wrong.
If an ability that Green could really hang its hat on is moving, then what is it getting back? It’s got to have something, right? I’m not sure what that is.
End Lorwyn/Recent Green Mini Rant
Note that Oblivion Ring can do the Faceless Butcher trick where you bring it into play: put the target on the stack, then remove it from play, put the “bring back to play” ability on top, and then resolve and the permanent is gone forever. You could use bounce or a Disenchant effect, or to fuel Arenson’s Aura or Infernal Tribute.
I might play this in some of my future decks over Cloudchaser Eagles. I originally played Monk Realist, but then I got tired of having this 1/1 ground creature with no abilities in play, so I started to run the Eagle because it could do something in addition to popping the enchantment. This is still pertinent with a 1/3 body, its defensive nature suits White more, it costs one less, and is has the ability to be evoked for just a single mana if all you want is the Demystify. This is a strong card, and it will see instant play in my decks. Maybe you have a home for it as well.
By the way: Why isn’t Wispmare a horse? Thundermare was errata’d to a horse elemental, as was Timbermare, so why wasn’t this printed as such? This creature type stuff is killing them. According to their own principle, it should be a horse because it has “mare” in the title. It should also be a horse because it looks like a horse, and there are already precedents for elemental horses.
Notice how the tribes with small casting cost creatures get expensive harbingers, while the ones with large casting costs get cheap harbingers? (Exception, Giants).
If I were to win with this card, how would I do it? I imagine this card is pretty good. Goblin Bombardment? Siege-Gang Commander? Goblin Offensive? Mogg Infestation?
All of the above.
I would build a deck that looks like this:
- 26 Mountain
This deck includes the Matron to get you either the Shenanigans, or something like the Trumpeter or Commander.
You want to get a load of mana from your lands or your Mana Echoes, and then make goblins with Goblin Warrens.
Goblin Warrens + Mana Echoes + Boggart Shenanigans will allow you to do a lot of damage until you run out of Red mana. You can use the Echoes to fuel a giant Offensive or Trumpeter. I even included a pair of Rolling Thunders in case you get enough mana to kill everyone at the table. Another option would be to go with Magma Mine, which wouldn’t require Red mana and would act as a sink, but I preferred the Thunders because they double as creature removal in the mid game. Magma Mines are the better combo choice (they come down before countermagic is online and then become harder to stop, act as a mana sink for a bunch of mana, and are pretty useful at keeping players from attacking you if you have enough counters on it to sac and kill a player).
Use Mogg Infestation on yourself to both double your creatures and deal a bunch of damage via the Shenanigans. Plus, you always have the reliable backup of Goblin Bombardment, or if you need it, Siege-Gang Commander.
This is a nasty deck that really abuses the Shenanigans.
Worst Card in Lorwyn: Woodland Guidance.
This sorcery is four mana. For a whopping four mana, you Raise Dead a land. You don’t even get to put it into play… it goes into your hand and wastes a land drop. If you are lucky, you win a clash, which has a less that 50% chance of working, and then you can untap your Forests. Not all of your lands, not even all basics, just the Forests. Then you remove it from the game. It’s not reliable as an Early Harvest because you have to clash and have a target. It’s not a good Raise Dead Land card, because it costs four mana. Then, to prevent any possibly of abuse, it’s removed from the game as part of its resolution. What deck looks at this card and says, “Aha! The perfect piece for me!” …?
This is a lousy card. Every set has to have a few, and in my opinion this is the worst of the lot for Lorwyn.
Are you expecting to see me build a deck around this and the merfolk tappy people in this set (like Drowner of Secrets)? Nope, it’s too easy. I won’t do it. I find the Merfolk tribe to be the most offensively Tribal and linear. The cards point to just a few ways to build the deck and that’s it.
Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile
In multiplayer, this is a nasty card. If an opponent attacks another opponent, you can batter either one side or the other by simply tapping Brigid. She’ll keep away the small hordes while helping your own punch through. Traditional White controlling creatures like Commander Eesha or Cho-Manno, Revolutionary are great against the big stuff, but they can be overwhelmed. Now, if you have Brigid and Eesha out, nothing is attacking you. You are pretty secure in your position with just those two creatures in play.
As a result, I expect to play Brigid alongside my Dawn Elementals and Eeshas and Kirtars and Cho-Mannos and Beloved Chaplains and Spirit Mirrors and Trap Runners. It belongs in the White Defensive Creature Top Ten. In fact, let’s make that right now!
White Defensive Creature Top Ten
10. Angelic Wall
9. Beloved Chaplain
8. Trap Runner
7. Spirit Mirror
6. Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile
5. Cho-Manno, Revolutionary
4. Dawn Elemental
3. Lieutenant Kirtar
2. Pristine Angel
1. Commander Eesha
Pristine Angel sits at number two because you often want to attack with her, and then she dies. She’s also a serious enough threat that people will off her if they can.
You can see Brigid at number six… that’s how highly I think of her.
This card works at the end of the enchanted permanent’s controller’s turn; i.e. your opponent. As such, giving your opponent extra turns when you have out a Blight is a good call. Assuming your defense is up and running, feel encouraged to use Chronatog, Eater of Days, or untap a Time Vault to give you opponent more turns.
There are other effects you can use to annoy your opponent while giving extra turns. You could have a card with cumulative upkeep, for example, that really hoses (like, say, Reality Twist, Ritual of Subdual, Infernal Darkness, Naked Singularity, or Energy Storm).
There was an old mechanic in Masques block among Green cards. The mechanic was typically on a creature. When the creature came into play, you searched your library for three copies and put them in your hand. Examples include Howling Wolf and Nesting Wurm. There was also a rare that would do that with target creature: Pack Hunt.
Twinning Glass seems custom made for those cards. If you want to build around it, that’s where I’d look.
Turn 1 – Play an Elemental Harbinger. Get the Soulstoke if you need it. Otherwise, get the Nova Chaser.
Turn 2 – Do something.
Turn 3 – Drop the Soulstoke.
Turn 4 – Activate the Soulstoke, playing a Nova Chaser, which now gains haste and dies at the end of the turn. Champion the Harbinger. Swing with the 11/3 trampling Chaser. When it dies, the Harbinger comes back, put a Nova Champion on top of your library.
Turn 5 – Repeat Turn 4, attacking again with an 11/3 trampler. Kill your opponent.
Shuffle and play again.
Well, there we have it. We come to the conclusion of another day and another article. I hope you found some good ideas for your decks. There are some good cards in Lorwyn, and not every card or idea has to be tribal. Good luck!