Bonjour mes amis! Welcome to the next entry in the journal of all things casual. I am your scribe, bringing you the poems and diatribes of Magic for the casual crowd.
As promised in previous articles, today I am going to create several decks around Shadowmoor cards. This has become habit, the week following my “Newly Released Set and Five” article. I did it also for Morningtide, Lorwyn, Future Sight, Planar Chaos, Time Spiral (delayed by the Battle Royale, but I did publish it eventually), Coldsnap, and Dissension. Thus, I am continuing this theme and writing up today’s article.
Before I begin, however, I’d like to tell you about a little deckbuilding contest I’d like to do. There were a lot of people who disagreed with my evaluations of Shadowmoor cards last week in the forums, so I want to give you an opportunity to prove me wrong! Send me a 60-card deck list to euplatious AT hotmail.com and I’ll put the best decks in next week’s article. I finish my articles on Monday, so I will need all submissions by Midnight, Sunday May 18th EST. In order for a deck to qualify, it must have at least one card from Shadowmoor in it.
Now let’s take a look at some decks I’ve built. Perhaps one or more will tweak your deckbuilding radar.
Today I am scanning the visual spoiler and looking for cards to build around…
As my eyes scan the page, I come across Umbral Mantle. Is there a way to abuse this, and make a creature with infinite (virtually) power and toughness?
Yes, if you can get three mana (or more) from the tapping of the creature.
- 18 Forest
- 2 Swamp
- 4 Gilt-Leaf Palace
This deck uses Umbral Mantle to make a Priest of Titania super huge, and then Fling it at your opponent with Rite of Consumption and gain that in life. Rite of Consumption is my new sorcery speed Fling in Shadowmoor that can only hit an opponent but gets you life as well. It’s great for this sort of deck, and splashing Black for my Fling instead of Red allows me to run Gilt-Leaf Palace and Eyeblight’s Ending.
Outside of Ending, the Mantle, and the Rites, every other card in the deck is a Green elf.
Priest of Titania are classic mana accelerants that can tap for a bunch of mana if you have enough elves out. My hope is that they will stay alive longer because you have so many threats that appear to be a problem. Years of playing against elf decks with Timberwatch Elves, Wellwishers, Elvish Champions and so forth has taught casual players which elves are Public Enemy #1 (Wellwisher) and next in line (Champions if you have Forests, Timberwatch if you don’t). People will use Swords and Expunges on your harmless combo elves, leaving your Priests alive… that’s my hope, anyway.
Getting a Priest to tap for three or more mana is easy enough. Have two other elves in play, such as a Harbinger and an Adept, and then you can go off. Your opponents will often supply two elves for you, and you can go off with just the Priest as your only creature.
I would recommend holding back the Umbral Mantle until you are ready to go off. Otherwise, if opponents see the Mantle and the Priest together, they may realize that you can make a 198/198 creature (with no evasive ability) and fear it enough to kill either the Mantle or the Priest. You don’t want that, so save the Mantle and play it when it comes time to go off.
Note that Elvish Harbinger can find you a Priest of Titania. It can also get you a bunch of other elves if you have need, such as Eyeblight’s Ending, Elvish Champion, and so forth.
This deck is very elf heavy, and you can win just as a super aggro elf boy. Wins like that are not unusual.
The two Hurricanes may look out of place, but they serve several needs. First of all, they are solid removal for the skies. You don’t have much defense, so you may get attacked frequently, especially through the air. Drop your Hurricane to kill the annoying flyers buzzing you.
The Hurricane can also allow you to win, no matter what the life totals are on the board, after you go off.
In multiplayer, you could be facing anywhere from two to two hundred opposing players. Sure, Rite of Consumption will off a player and yield you millions of life, but you want to win. If your Priest taps for four mana (or more), instead of just three, you can make a massive amount of mana, as well as making a big Priest. Then, play the Rite and gain 3 million life and kill an opponent. You’ll have a million Green mana in your pool (if it taps for four Green mana; you’ll obviously have more if it taps for more). Then, drop all of your mana into one giant Hurricane for a million damage. You’ll still be at two million twenty life, while your opponents should be dead.
Please note that if you do not have a Hurricane, and you do make a lot of extra mana, and you do not kill your last opponent with a Rite, that you will have to find a way to sink your extra mana. If your Priest tapped for eight Green mana, say, then you have a lot of spare mana. Move your Umbral Mantle to a creature of yours with a tap ability and keep tapping and untapping. See, this is secretly the other reason that I ran Wellwisher and Timberwatch Elves (and it also works with Elvish Harbinger). You can tap them a large number of times, and soak up all of that mana. Activating Wellwisher another couple of million times will net you even more life. If you don’t have them, just move your equipment back and forth until all of that mana is used up.
Ah well, I hope you enjoyed the deck. Remember that the deck has just eight cards dedicated to your combo, and the rest can play out normally. You can even drop the Mantle and allow it to reuse your tap elves without ever using it to go off, so it can contribute as well.
The great thing about Mass Calcify is that as a Wrath of God, you can keep all of your creatures protected, which is a very good thing it turns out. Sure, Mass Calcify won’t hurt other White creatures, and as a Wrath of God, it misses Akroma and Darksteel. Still, you can shore up your defenses in that area easy enough.
Mono-White Control at the multiplayer table has always been really good, and there are some nice tools in this set to keep it up.
- 2 Commander Eesha
- 2 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
- 4 Temple Acolyte
- 2 Lieutenant Kirtar
- 4 Indomitable Ancients
- 2 Twilight Shepherd
Using Mass Calcify as the root of the deck, this list is rocking with a lot of great mono-White creatures of old. Akroma is mixing it up with the new kid, Twilight Shepherd. Meanwhile, classics like Eesha and Kirtar are flying overhead while the Taco and Ancients mug up the ground and defend you from that route.
In addition to the Mass Calcify, which misses all of your creatures, I wanted to bring a lot of other removal. Since your deck has just two artifacts, I decided to toss in a pair o’ Akroma’s Vengeances. They can double as an emergency Wrath effect, and net you some solid card advantage at the multiplayer table.
Terashi’s Grasp is also rolling around, killing artifacts and enchantments while also giving your life total a little bump. Next up are two classics of the color, Wing Shards and Swords to Plowshares. These supplement your removal well, so use them to take out creatures from Akroma to Darksteel Colossus.
For card drawing, I tossed in a pair of Scroll Racks, which are always good cards. Oblation doubles as removal for any non-land card, but it primarily is to be used on your own cards to draw two cards and shuffle your library after your Scroll Rack runs dry.
This deck loves the Mistveil Plains from Shadowmoor. Putting a card on the bottom of your deck is a great way to keep the fuel going, and Oblation will shuffle your deck, bringing your goods back into the mix. Always use it at the end of an opponent’s turn if a non-land is in your graveyard, especially hit Akroma, Twilight Shepherd, Eesha, Kirtar, and Terashi’s Grasp. Those would be my top targets, in that order. My sixth target would be Oblation, to keep drawing cards and shuffling. Play a Taco, gain four life, then shuffle it back for two cards that might have more value.
I made the deck a little bigger than the normal sixty cards, to play with the Mistveil Plains. I have seen Mono-White decks get decked at the multiplayer table, especially with a little encouragement from a Traumatize or Glimpse the Unthinkable.
This is one of the rudest cards from Shadowmoor for multiplayer, and using it well requires some thought and care, but I think you’ll find a few ways to abuse it if you sprinkle a little Green into your deck.
- 18 Swamp
- 3 Bayou
- 3 Overgrown Tomb
This deck is pretty simple. You want to drop Polluted Bonds quickly. New Frontiers and Veteran Explorer have always been multiplayer classics of diplomacy. Drop a Veteran Explorer on the first turn. Then someone will waste a removal spell on it, and everybody can get two basics from their library. However, with Polluted Bonds out, they may not want to. The same is true of New Frontiers. Opponents may not want to get six basics and lose twelve life.
After you have significantly increased your land count, then you can drop Corrupt (all of your lands are Swamp), Consume Spirit and Drain Life for a bunch of life and some kills. You can keep going with your four Necrologias, allowing you to draw a lot of cards to find more kill mechanisms. There are ten kill cards in the deck, so you do not have to search long.
Imagine that you kill a Veteran Explorer early, and then drop Polluted Bonds on the third turn. A few players will drop some lands, giving you life and hurting them, but then you get attacked by a few early creatures, so you are down to, say, eighteen life. You untap, drop a Swamp, and New Frontiers for five. A few players get a few lands, and a few more are dropped, so you gain some life, but more attacks come your way, dropping you to ten life.
Now, untap, play any Swamps in your hand (it’s just the fifth turn after all), and you have 11 or 12 Swamps in play right now. I think a Corrupt may kill at least one player on the table, who may have gotten too many lands off your Explorer + New Frontiers. Gain 11 or 12 life. On it goes, you killing players, and using the life bump to play Necrologia and keep yourself alive. You drop Will-o’-the-Wisps for defense and keep up the pressure, until you have killed everyone at the table.
That’s how it’s supposed to be, at least. Obviously, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, so get ready to move around. No Mercy will kill any creature that deals damage to you, allowing them to get just one hit in. The Wisps are great early defense. Rend Flesh can take out a particularly annoying creature that is getting around your defenses.
Good luck with the deck if you decide to take it for a spin.
I built this deck in my head while writing last week’s article, so I might as well show it to you now.
- 24 Mountain
This deck would love to drop the powerful Aether Flash as soon as possible. It locks out smaller creatures and prevents a lot of goods from getting played at the table. Hopefully, you have played Fervor on turn 3. Then, next turn you can drop your Deep-Slumber Titan, who untaps after taking the Flash damage. Swing for seven damage. You can also drop your 5/3 Cinder Giant for a big hit, or your 4/4 Ashenmoor Gouger for a nice hit, or even a 3/3 Subterranean Spirit for a nice shot.
The Cinder Giant deals two damage to all of your creatures during your upkeep. That’s normally a disadvantage, but your creatures are big enough to survive an Aether Flash, so they are big enough to survive the Cinder Giant’s heat. It will also untap your Deep-Slumber Titan, who can hit like normal. Every upkeep you have a Cinder Giant in play, your Titan will auto untap.
If you need another way to untap your Titan, drop a Rolling Thunder for a lot of damage, and deal one to the Titan, giving it an untap. Clear out some blockers or hit an opponent for a smackdown, then swing with your newly untapped Titan.
The Subterranean Spirit will never take damage from a Cinder Giant nor the Aether Flash due to its pro Red ability. Do not tap him on your turn if you have a Cinder Giant out, because you will kill the Giant. You can tap him to untap your Titan, so remember that trick. On your opponent’s turn, you can tap him to kill any x/3 ground creatures your opponent played with a Flash out.
You can also supplement the Aether Flash with your Lightning Bolts, killing anything up to an x/5. Browbeat will allow you to draw some cards, and at the multiplayer table, players might be afraid to take the five, seeing the hasty beef you are dropping.
The result is an interesting deck using some old tools along with some new creatures for serious power.
Cauldron of Souls — Tatterkite
It seems like I sometimes build these uber-Johnny decks, and this will be no different.
This deck uses the combo of Cauldron — Scorpion — Tatterkite — Dross Scorpion — Grinding Station to deck everybody and you win! How does this work?
Assume one of each is in play.
Tap the Cauldron to give Tatterkite Persist.
Tap the Grinding Station to sacrifice an artifact, Tatterkite, to mill someone for three cards.
When artifact creature goes to the graveyard from play, Dross Scorpion triggers, and you may untap an artifact (choose the Cauldron).
When Tatterkite goes to the graveyard, it comes back because it has persist — but does not get the -1/-1 counter.
When Tatterkite comes back, Grinding Station sees an artifact come back into play, and untaps.
Repeat as needed until all decks are decked.
If you fear that an opponent might be running Gaea’s Blessing, you can substitute Blasting Station for Grinding Station. I included two of each for fun.
The rest of the deck is about finding and protecting your combo. Counterspell helps protect you from a critical removal spell, while Thirst for Knowledge helps you dig and Fabricate gets you combo pieces. Seat of the Synod is included as a discard outlet for Thirsts and a way to get mana off Fabricate if you have a mana-light hand. It’s not that powerful in this deck, and you can cut the card for Islands if you need to, or you fear Disenchants aimed at your land.
Anyway, good luck with your combos.
If any of these decks strike your fancy, then I feel like I’ve done my job this week. In every set, there are cards that tweak your interest, and this set is no different. That I only built one deck abusing the untap symbol should be a note that I wanted to build different decks, not that I couldn’t think of any others.
Remember to enter the Shadowmoor Deckbuilding contest by sending a deck to my e-mail address by midnight on Sunday night.
Enjoy the new set, and all it has to bring.