Hello readers! I am your Charon, charting a course across the River Styx of Magic. Today I am going to concentrate on some happy decks with the main card determined by casting lots. (Otherwise known as rolling dice.)
However, this time I am going to do something different. Each time I roll a new card, I have to use all of the old cards in the new deck. For the first deck, I just have to build around the first rolled card, but for the second deck, I have to build around both, and so on.
Before I begin, I want to take a quick second and give a nod to a site that is quickly becoming one of my favorites out there. I don’t know why I enjoy certain TV shows… but they just work for me. Roswell was that way. I’d never say that Roswell was an awesome show, or put it in the same league as West Wing or Babylon 5, but it just worked for me.
Similarly, there was a show on MTV late at night for several years called Undressed. Undressed was very avant-garde for its day, dealing frankly with many topics of relationships and sexuality. It is an anthology show, with three concurrent plotlines at any given time, with each plotline taking between three and five shows. The actors cast were virtual unknowns, chosen for their freshness on TV (although some have gone on to more famous roles).
Undressed has never been released on DVD, but now it is being released online. About two episodes a week are getting released here. Watch them for free and see if you like them as much as I do!
Digression mode activated. Return to article imminent.
Card the First: Monkey Cage
The first challenge is easy enough. Find a way to use Monkey Cage.
Note that Monkey Cage triggers for every creature that comes into play, if for some reason a bunch of creatures come into play at the same time.
In order to help you find the cards you want, I included a pair of Scroll Racks. Along with Eternal Dragon and Weathered Wayfarer, hopefully you shuffle your deck enough to find the card you need. The Dragon and Wayfarer also help ensure you have enough mana to play a larger Decree of Justice.
I gave the deck some traditional White defense. You have Dawn Elementals and Commander Eeshas to play defense, while Swords to Plowshares, Kor Haven, Seal of Cleansing, and Wing Shards clear out offense cards.
The Argivian Find can allow you to reuse a Monkey Cage, or bring it back after an opponent broke it with a small creature. You can also Find up a destroyed Scroll Rack, which may be crucial to your plans.
Temple of the False God is a great land for a deck that expects to be playing for a while, and doesn’t always have need of White mana, but beware the Temples along with the Dawn Elementals. There may be some mana issues there.
Remember that Eesha can swing for damage too, and the Glorious Anthems can make her a much more powerful threat. Feel encouraged to nip through an opposing defense for four or five damage with an Eesha.
I could have gone with any color and Monkey Cage, but I felt that a traditional White feel might be less popular, and therefore more interesting. Let’s see what the next card brings.
Card the Second: Lumengrid Augur
At least the second card deals with artifacts. Now to find a way to get both Monkey Cage and Lumengrid Augur into the same deck realistically. Okay, this is going to be uber-Johnny, so get ready.
The goal of this deck is to drop a March of the Machines. Then it wants to play a Roar of Reclamation and bring back a bunch of artifact creatures, killing the Monkey Cage and making a lot more monkeys.
We want to stuff the graveyard with goodies, which is where the Lumengrid Augur comes in. With its rat-a-tat-tat Merfolk Looter ability, it can be used multiple times a turn to fill up the yard while searching for the right cards. Also joining in the search are a pair of Jalum Tomes, a pair of Staff of Dominations, and Thirst for Knowledge.
There are also some self sacrificing artifacts to help fill up your graveyard. Sacrifice a Moonglove Extract to Shock something. Then bring it back with the Roar of Reclamation. Sacrifice a Bottle of Suleiman to try and get a 5/5 flyer, then bring the bottle back for another go. Sac an Aether Spellbomb to either draw a card or bounce a creature, then bring it back for another go.
You’ll want to play March of the Machines before you drop a Roar of Reclamation, because you might blow up one or two lands when you play it. Still, I think playing the lands with the synergy that they have with Roar, Augur, and Thirst is worth it.
Note that when you play a Monkey Cage with a March out, it will automatically sacrifice itself and give you five 2/2 creatures.
I am running Caltrops to help defend yourself from creatures in the early game, and it makes a nice sized 3/3 attacker after you drop the March. The Staff can also help you lock down attackers or blockers.
Finally I have four Counterspell as Deus Ex Machina in this deck. Use them to protect your Roar, if you have the mana. Otherwise use them to counter any thing that will ruin your plans, like Shatterstorm or Wrath of God when you have March of the Machines out and no Roar in hand. You only have four, so do not waste them.
Ideally, you’ll have several artifacts in your graveyard when you Roar. Suppose you have built up a tasty graveyard that contains the following:
1 Aether Spellbomb
1 Bottle of Suleiman
1 Monkey Cage
1 Moonglove Extract
Then you play Roar with a March out, and no other Cages in play. Here’s what will happen:
The following come into play:
The Cage will get sacrificed and you will get nineteen 2/2 monkeys added to your creature count! And you could easily have more artifacts in your graveyard, with all of the deck sifting you are doing.
I could have used the Lumengrid Augur as just a Looter for this deck, and ignored its potential, but I decided to really make it the lynchpin of a deck along with the Monkey Cage. Alright, next card.
Card the Third: Anaconda
So I have to find a deck that uses Anaconda, Monkey Cage, and Lumengrid Augur. Alright, let’s see what I can do.
- 2 Seshiro the Anointed
- 4 River Boa
- 2 Sosuke, Son of Seshiro
- 4 Anaconda
- 4 Lumengrid Augur
- 2 Kaysa
- 4 Kashi-Tribe Elite
In this deck, I combine the ideas behind the two previous decks. Again I want to bring a bunch of creatures into play from the graveyard in one fell swoop, and again I want to pump those creatures using various effects so that the Cage gets a bigger explosion.
This deck is built around the snake tribe, using cards like Sosuke and Seshiro to pump your snakes so that you get bigger Cage triggers. It also makes the deck more synergetic. You can go snake crazy, with Kashi-Tribe Elite protecting Sosuke and Seshiro while Sosuke’s Summons makes a bunch of tokens, and just beat with snakes for the win.
River Boa and Anaconda both have landwalk, and make excellent attackers. Especially when pumped by Sosuke and Seshiro. With Seshiro out, you can deal a lot of damage while also drawing cards. I wanted to actually use the Anaconda, and this was the best way I could think of.
Kaysa isn’t a snake, but she’ll pump up your team nonetheless. They won’t mind having her around.
Between the Augur and Compulsive Researches, you should be able to find vital cards while also setting up for a nice Bidding. Just remember to name snakes when you resolve it.
With one Cage out, and a resolved Bidding, one Seshiro and three other snakes in the yard can easily get you 15-20 monkeys. Add more snakes you can be making a ton of simians.
Even in this deck, the Augur benefits us by putting stuff in the graveyard. I’m happy with it, under the constraints of the deck. Good luck with the deck! This next one might be real tough, depending on card what I roll.
Card the Fourth: Martyrs of Korlis
I perked up when I had rolled Antiquities, hoping to get an artifact or another artifact friendly card like the Augur, but instead I rolled the Martyrs of Korlis. This will be hard.
This deck uses a lot of artifacts that hurt everybody, and then Martyrs of Korlis to keep you alive.
This deck puts up an impressive defense with cards like Martyrs of Korlis. Combined with other creatures like the Djinn from the Bottle and Anaconda, it should have a busy section at the table.
Note that you won’t take five damage from the Bottle if you have Martyrs out… they will take the five and survive, because they are 1/6.
In order to get through opposing defenses for the last bit of damage, I put in Mystic Compass to help the Anaconda Swampwalk, guaranteed. You want your Copper Tablets and Armageddon Clocks to deal some damage, and once that is out of the way, nipping in for a hit with an Anaconda is the best way to finish off an opponent.
The Archaeologist can bring back dead Bottles, Tablets, Clocks, Staffs, Compasses or Cages so he has some serious value. He can return what an Augur or Thirst discards.
The Staff of Domination can join the card draw to help find the goods. Alternatively, he can tap down some potential attackers and keep them away.
The Monkey Cage in this deck is basically a recurring source of extra creatures for defense or attack. You aren’t seeking to necessarily pop it yourself but to keep returning it with an Archaeologist and replaying it over and over again, building a large army over time.
The deck features one Ghostway as an emergency Wrath of God protection. It will kill your tokens, but save Archaeologists, Augurs, Anacondas, and most importantly, Martyrs. Use it wisely, and your opponent won’t see it coming.
Time for the last deck. Depending on what the last card is, this could be really mega-tough.
Card the Fifth: Eater of the Dead
Hmm. Well, I have a five color deck already. Interesting. I have to make sure each card is relevant on its own. The Augur, Cage, and Martyrs can work together around a core artifact nucleus. Then I need to make sure we have a way to use Eater of the Dead. Ah, I got it.
This deck is completely different to the others, and yet uses some of the same principles. Like decks 1, 2, and 3, it wants to put a bunch of creatures into play at the same time in order to get a giant trigger off the Cage. Also, similar to decks 2 and 3, it wants to bring them into play out of the graveyard.
Instead of using Roar of Reclamation or Patriarch’s Bidding, we are using Living Death. Therefore, I wanted to use Eater of the Dead to remove creatures in opposing graveyards from the game, and that required a trigger.
Enter the fifth color, Red, with Kyren Negotiations. I can tap an Eater (or any creature) to deal a damage to an opponent, then untap by eating a creature from a graveyard, and repeat. Perhaps I’ll kill a player right then and there. Note that the Negotiations does not give the creature a tap ability, so you can use it on a creature with summoning sickness.
Fill up your graveyard with Whetstone and Lumengrid Augur. Whetstone mills everybody, including yourself. It’s just more fuel for your Eater, and then later your Living Death.
Play a Sengir Autocrat and get four tappers for your Negotiations, or have four chump blockers. Either way it’s good for your team.
Anaconda and Martyrs add bodies to the playing field, and tappers too. The Anaconda can serve against those bearing Swamps. Note the presence of Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.
The Copper Tablet trick is still around, ticking points off your opponent’s life total while your Martyrs absorb your damage.
When you Living Death, not only will you get a ton of creatures into play, and not only will than mean many monkeys serving your call, but it also means that you might be able to kill every opponent at the table with the Negotiations. Bring back ten creatures for yourself, and then get an addition 23 monkeys, and you can deal 36 damage to players immediately if just one creature is an Autocrat, or 39 if there are two. That’s a lot of damage.
If you decide to run the deck, I wish you luck. You’ll need it. It’s odd. But it is playable, and I bet I could occasionally win with it at the multiplayer table.
I hope you enjoyed the spin on today’s challenge. It was a blast to write, so I may revisit it soon.