The Kitchen Table #226 – Highlander Decks

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Thursday, March 27th – Hello all, and welcome back to the city of Magicalia, where citizens are regularly in danger from the Boredom Gang, led by the duo of Dr. Competitive and Prof. Repetition. Luckily, Casual Boy is here to keep Magicalia free from the tyranny of the Boredom Gang.

Hello all, and welcome back to the city of Magicalia, where citizens are regularly in danger from the Boredom Gang, led by the duo of Dr. Competitive and Prof. Repetition. Luckily, Casual Boy is here to keep Magicalia free from the tyranny of the Boredom Gang.

Last week, we spent some time and love going over decks. This week, let’s make a few more decks. I’m in a deckbuilding mood right now, but I doubt you’ll mind. Decks are great, and you can’t build enough of them.

I want to find a theme for today’s deck building experiences. What should it be?

Ah, I got it. All of these decks will be Highlander. I like Highlander, so let’s roll with some HL decks and see what happens.

This is a Highlander deck built around the single copy of Mirari’s Wake that it is allowed. It uses Idyllic Tutor, Sterling Grove, Academy Rector, and Enlightened Tutor to get the Wake when needed, and the Grove can also protect the Wake when both are out.

If you already have the Wake, you can use that same battery of tutoring to get removal (Oblivion Ring, Seals) or something to break the Wake (Centaur Glade). I didn’t want the tutors to be dead cards once you found your target.

Eladamri’s Call can get any card from your deck to suit your needs. Grab Tolsimir to perma-pump your creatures, or Fleetfoot Panther to save one from removal, or get a beater like Silvos or Akroma once you have the mana, or get defense like Silklash or Eesha when you have need.

To abuse the Wake I included four cards. Decree of Justice, Verdeloth, and Supply/Demand each will make you a bunch of 1/1 tokens for all of your mana. Centaur Glade is a recursive mana-sink intended to make you a bunch of 3/3 centaurs (which are 4/4 under the Wake) for as long as you are allowed.

I also included a large parcel of multiplayer tricks and friends. Silklash Spider is a great card that I have lauded before in my articles. Killing flyers and blocking most threats is pretty good. I’ve also been espousing Commander Eesha for years as the top defensive creature of all time. Spike Weaver is great because it forces your opponent to either slow down and take you seriously or try to speed up and race you. Either is good for your plans because you getting opponents out of their comfort zone.

Lieutenant Kirtar is brilliant because of his Seal of Order ability. I’ve recently been harping about the greatness of the Indomitable Ancients, and they need no further love from me here. Loxodon Hierarch, Mystic Enforcer, and Fleetfoot Panther provide some beef to the table in the early to mid game.

My removal is used with an eye to multiplayer. From Wing Shards to Swords to Plowshares, Crib Swap to Oblivion Ring, there are is a solid removal component here. You should be relatively safe.

The lands are another place where I pulled out all of the stops. Karakas can save your six legendary creatures from removal, or bounce an opposing legendary creature. There is one trick this deck has that I really like. Get your Wake down, and then keep playing and bouncing Verdeloth, making more and more saprolings each turn.

I have given a lot of love to Tolsimr Woflblood over the years. I love his double pump of your gold creatures, of which this deck has a few. If you want to push the gold creature count, look for cards like Asmira, Holy Avenger for your deck. Even Watchwolf is a solid addition.

I included two Wishes. If your table allows a Wish to get a card that would make your deck illegal, then you can get Mirari’s Wakes with them when you need. If your table frowns upon the illegalization of your deck (which our table does), then you can replace these with Eternal Dragon and Aura Mutation.

This deck intentionally does not have artifacts, so those artifact removal cards in opposing hands are dead.

Enjoy the deck!

Here we have a deck built around the old classic Lord of the Pit and its friends. Every friend is an old school card (except for Liege of the Pit) with an old school feel. Ebon Praetor, Minion of Leshrac, and Black Carriage represent the finest Black creatures available in the whole “sac a friend” genre. Your deck already has a lot of beaters, so I just added one more in Darksteel Colossus.

There are a few other sacrifice outlets. Hell’s Caretaker will swap a poor creature for a better one out of the yard. Gate to Phyrexia will sac a creature to pop an artifact, quite useful in Black decks. There’s even Victimize for bringing back two creatures in one go.

The deck needs fuel for the fire. The obvious choice is Breeding Pit, a card in use for over a decade in combination with the Lord of the Pit. The only other permanent option is Bitterblossom, which brings a life loss to the table but makes you tokens without a commitment to mana.

We also have more temporary solutions. Sengir Autocrat brings a lot of creatures to the table when he gets played, and even Skeletal Vampire brings three critters. Lab Rats can be used over and over again to make a creature useful for the sacrifice. Endrek Sahr will make some critters before he dies. We also have Bone Shredder, who does his thing, and then can be sacked instead of paying the echo.

Carrion can sac a creature and then make a bunch of 0/1 tokens from the corpse. It’s a pretty good way of keeping your creatures going for a few turns. I even have the Nether Shadow, Nether Traitor, and Ashen Ghoul to occasionally come back for more sacrificing.

I needed card drawing in the deck, so you have Night’s Whisper and Ambition’s Cost. That’s not much, and if you wanted to ramp up the amount of card drawing, I’d understand.

In order to counteract this lifeloss, I decided to run some classic Drain Life type effects. From Tendrils of Corruption to Consume Spirit, there are a solid number of life gaining removal spells to be a nice adjunct for your deck.

I rounded the deck out with a number of other removal effects. Nekrataal, Befoul, and others join the party.

In lands, I wanted to emphasize the Swamps for cards like Tendrils and Corrupt. I just ran two non-Swamps, with Cabal Coffers and Volrath’s Stronghold making appearances. The Stronghold can help your deck a lot, putting a vital Sengir Autocrat, Nekrataal, or beater on top of your library. The Coffers can help to get your expensive beaters out earlier and can sometimes make your Consume Spirit or Drain Life pretty heavy. It’s also grand with Lab Rats, allowing you to make more tokens for your deck.

And there we have another deck!

There Can Be Only One Marvel Character

A long time ago, I wrote a daily article that summed up various Avengers and what cards I’d use for a fun Avengers deck. I thought that I would do that again, only this time, highlight other Avengers, and general marvel characters.

Frankly, I really like doing this sort of stuff, so I could write these decks all day, every day. It’s also nice to show decks that are just mean to shuffle and play, with no additional desire to actually win. The goal of the deck is to have fun, and show your cleverness to your friends These uber-casual decks may not be for everyone, but I feel that I should give a little love to my fans who might appreciate this sort of deck.

I want to place characters in their likely color or colors when I can, because I feel that best reflects the persona of the card.

Here we go:

Shield Dancer — Captain America. This is a reprint of the card I used for him previously. It’s a very clever choice for him. You not only get the flavor of his shield, but note that Cap has no superhuman abilities, he is just at the peak of a normal human. As such, he should not be this uber-powerful character in the numbers. However, he can turn people against themselves, which this card represents.

Arcanis the Omnipotent — Dr. Strange. The Sorcerer Supreme would fit in with any wizard deck, which makes him Blue. Although you might want to argue that he is better suited as a creature with a variety of abilities (like Morphling), I felt that the tap, draw three suited him very well, as he has a store of knowledge and power that few others can tap into. The art is very Dr. Strange-ish as well.

Wall of Tears — Professor X. The professor in his wheelchair is best represented by a wall, and I wanted it to be a wall with no damage. This wall can harass attackers and bounce them back, which could also represent Xavier’s mental abilities.

Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile — Cyclops. Cyclops is a pain due to his arrogance and reliance on the rules. A classic White hero. I wanted a card that could represent his powerful ranged attacks, and here Brigid was, just sitting there. They are a perfect match.

Indomitable Ancients — Luke Cage — Cage’s claim to fame is that he is indestructible, with a parcel of super strength. He’s a house in combat because he’s hard to touch. I actually think of Cage more as a Green character than a White one, but I was hard pressed to find a good Green creature that fit his character. I can find lots of Green creatures for other beaters, but he needs more of a lower attack, huge ass sort of card, and the Ancients fit perfectly.

Scourge of Kher Ridges — Thor. I originally made Thor Crimson Hellkite, but I am moving him to the Scourge in this article. It suits him better. He flies, is one of the most powerful heroes in Marveldom, and can use various abilities such as flinging lightning and causing quakes. The Scourge hits flyers and ground creatures representing his lightning and quakes well, is big and flies itself.

Avatar of Might — Hulk. This is another card I stand by. In many incarnations, Hulk has been more savage than sinister, and Green is a perfectly acceptable color for him. He’s also Green-skinned regularly, and that’s a nice bonus. You could even call Hulk the Avatar of Might. Another option could have been Force of Nature.

Whip Vine — Reed Richards. This card represents Reed’s plastic-ness very well, and also shows that Reed, frankly, isn’t much of a beater. He can tie people up, and he can stretch up and grab flyers, but that’s about it in combat. Now, outside of combat, the man’s a genius, but in combat, not that much is going on.

Troll Ascetic — Wolverine. He’s primal, and Green is a primal color. I had to find a creature with regeneration for Wolverine. The Ascetic is good because the protection ability it has can also represent Wolverine’s natural toughness and learned skills like stealth and such.

Selesnya Sagittars — Spider-Man. I think I nailed his two colors with the card (he has a bit of an anti-establishment, streak, but a focus on community, family, etc. I know some might claim he’s Blue-White, because he’s a scientist researcher, but frankly, I think he’s Blue-Green before he’s Blue-White.) The ability to block flyers, harkening back to the first set, was represented by Web, which matches him perfectly in flavor. This version of a webbed creature can also block another, making it double useful on defense. Spidey is always tackling multiple baddies at once, and this represents that well.

Raging Kavu — Quicksilver. The superfast mutant member of the Brotherhood, Avengers, and X-Factor is hard to match with the right card. Neither haste nor flash suit him enough. However, combine the two, and you have the makings of a real card. Quicksilver is a character I would say definitely has a Red streak going, so this is not a stretch color-wise either.

Teremko Griffin — Angel. Angel is just a flyer who works well on a team. Therefore, banding and flying on the Griffin both suit him perfectly. This would obviously be pre-Horseman of Apocalypse Angel.

Gathan Raiders — Dr. Pym. Morphed, it represents his Ant-Man persona. Unmorphed, it represents his Yellowjacket persona. Hellbent, it represents either his Goliath or Giant-Man personas. It’s also Red, because Pym is mentally unstable (I’d give him Red/Blue as his colors).

Will-o’-the-Wisp — Wasp. I used Yavimaya Gnats for her last time, but the Wisp is a better creature, because she shouldn’t cost three mana to play. She’s neither Green nor Black in real life, so since neither creature works for her in terms of color, I’m giving her the Wisp as a cheaper alternative. She’s merely a tie-up character, who can annoy and harass a bug guy until help shows up. That’s the Wasp. There’s also some aesthetic value is calling a Wisp the Wasp.

Phantom Warrior — Nightcrawler. Unblockable suits Nightcrawler perfectly.

Heidar, Rimewind Master — Jean Grey. I wanted someone beefier than Temporal Adept and I liked the bouncing ability to represent her telekinesis. You require snow mana, which makes no sense I admit. I would say pre-Phoenix versions of Jean had a Blue tilt, but post-Phoenix I’d give her Red/Green coloration.

Rimewind Dragon — Iceman. This represents the more modern version of Iceman, after he has begun to realize his powers. He gets power from ice, which makes sense with a snow creature. He flies, which is similar to his ice slides. He has some size, which represents the power he has realized. He also has the creature tapping ability, which is very flavorful for Iceman who can encase foes in ice. Other than color, this is a great match for Iceman.

Dragon Whelp — Johnny Storm. The Human Torch has a few things going for him. He flies, like the Whelp. He can use fire to increase his power, like the Whelp, and when he puts too much into his attacks, he faints, like the Whelp dies. Ideally, the Whelp would have some sort of long-distance attack like a Shivan Hellkite — that’d be a perfect fit for Johnny, but I’ll take it as good as I can get it.

Master Healer — Sue Storm. Ideally, I’d get a card that had unblockable and protection for allies. That’d be perfect. However, no card has both. I wanted to stress her defensive capabilities with her forcefield creation, and this is a strong match for her.

Stone Elemental — Ben Grimm. This is a pretty good interpretation of Ben’s powers from a flavor standpoint. I’d prefer him to be a 5/6 instead of a 4/5, but few cards are perfect matches. The stone part is a nice match with him.

Scryb Ranger — Shaman. Shaman has a lot of little tricks, and can fly. Similarly, Scryb Ranger has a lot of little tricks, and can fly. As the shaman of Native American origin, he fits perfectly with the nature magic of Green.

Silver Wyvern — Ms. Marvel. She flies and she’s a beater, but she retains her ability to redirect energy at another. I’d give her the Quicksilver Dragon except the morph doesn’t make sense for her, and I gave that to Iron Man in my first article. It’s a little small for her, I’d like her to be at least a 5/4 and ideally a 5/5, but I’ll take what I can get.

Siege Wurm – Hercules. Hercules always seems to be better on a team, and Siege Wurm’s convoke represents that well I think. It’s a solid 5/5 beater, which also represents Hercules well, and the trample can reflect his more chaotic side. I think he’s more Green than White, so at least I hit on one color.

Ninja of the Deep Hours — Nick Fury. He’s sneaky, and ninjitsu seems like a good representation for the spy. The ability to draw a card when he hits represents the character well, because Nick Fury is arguably the hero in Marvel comics who knows the most about the world around him (either him or Dr. Strange). He has a smaller body, because Nick is just a human, and he is Blue to represent the intrigue of being a spy.

Samite Healer — Jane Foster. Thor’s main squeeze was a nurse named Jane Foster, who also helped out Cap’s side in the Civil War, healing from behind the scenes. This is a perfect fit.

Chainflinger — Punisher. Punisher is Red, of that there can be little doubt. (I’d say he’s Red with a touch of White, representing the angry part of White that gives us Akroma, Angel of Wrath and Wrath of God). He’s just a normal human, so I wanted a smaller body. He can deal one damage, until he gets really upset (threshold), and then he is tapping to deal two damage, which makes perfect sense for the card and the character.

Towering BalothColossus. He starts out as a normal person, (morphed) and then can change into a powerful beater. Frankly, I think this creature is too powerful for Colossus, and would drop it to a 6/6 or even a 5/5, but I have to takes what they give me.

Town Sentry — Mockingbird. She’s just a 2/2 human, but her SHIELD training and later training with Hawkeye (who was personally trained by Captain America) helped her stave off bigger attackers, just like the Town Sentry gets better on defense.

Blessed OratorJustice. I thought that another way to represent the ability for certain characters to form walls of force, like Jean Grey and Sue Storm, was to have a creature that gave all other creatures a bonus to their defense. Enter Justice, member of the New Warriors, and later the Avengers.

Spirit en-Dal — Shadowcat. A shadow creature is a perfect fit for Kitty Pride’s ability to phase. She can also phase others, which is perfectly represented by the forecast ability of the card to make other creatures phase. I also think I matched her color with the card. White suits her.

Darksteel Gargoyle — Simon Williams. Frankly, this should be a 7/7 flyer to best represent Wonder Man, but it will work this way. He has Thor-level strength. In the comics, Wonder Man has been transformed into ionic energy, so he is now indestructible. The worst that can be done to him is to disperse his energy, which he can reconstruct after some time. A recent mini-series, written by no less a writer than Peter David, proposed that after all of the other Marvel characters have come and gone, Wonder Man will be the last one alive. Ergo, the indestructible ability. I just wish I had a bigger flying body to stick it on.

Lexivore — Beast. I stand by this view of Beast as comic relief and a wordsmith from my Avengers article. Note that Beast and Wonder Man are described as best friends in the comics. Every Wonder Man limited series or series has Beast in it, but it is rare that a Beast series has Wonder Man (to which I wonder why? Especially if they are true best friends).

Jace Beleren — The Ancient One. The mentor of Dr. Strange was an old man who had a lot of power, but his crippled nature prevented him from getting into major fights. Jace represents the awesome power of the previous Sorcerer Supreme well, by not fighting, by having a lot of sheer power, and also by having servants fight on his behalf to keep him safe from numerous attackers.

Mahamoti Djinn — Sub-Mariner. A sea-faring Prince of Atlantis that can fly and is a beater pretty much sums up Namor. A flying Blue beater sums up Fat Moti too. A perfect match.

Sower of Temptation — Moondragon. Moondragon is a bit unstable, and she will often use her psychic powers to force others to do as she commands, which is similar to the Sower’s ability to control a creature when it comes into play.

25 basic lands

As before, I’d recommend that the player be allowed to tap a basic land for any color of mana in order to make this haphazard deck playable. You don’t want to be stuck with creatures in your hand that represent cool Marvel characters only unable to show them off because of mana issues.

That brings us to the close of another article. I hope that you enjoyed this trip through deckland. Good luck to you in your deckbuilding efforts.

Until later…

Abe Sargent