The Kitchen Table #244 – Eventide Decks

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Thursday, July 31st – Wizards of the Coast had to know that, when they printed the unconventional bounce spell of Banishing Knack, someone would use and abuse it. Why not have that someone be me?

Hello all and welcome! This is the column that is dedicated to bringing you a weekly dose of all things casual. Normally I write an article entitled “NEWLY RELEASED SET and Five” when a new set comes out, with a casual and Five-Color oriented view of the new set. I wrote that article, but unfortunately, it is on my desktop PC. It has been diagnosed as a motherboard issue, so it may be a week or so until it can be fixed and I can retrieve that article.

I follow up those articles with another article giving you some decks built around new cards from the set. This time, I am going to switch the order of those articles, since I cannot get the review article this week. So, this week we have the article on Eventide decks, and next week will be the actual review. This will be a teaser of next week, as a result. Maybe it will read well because of that, who knows?

On a personal note, I just had an interview with Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. If any of you are in Morehead, or the area, and you play Magic, let me know in the forums. I just want to make sure that, if they offer me a job, there are some people nearby who sling cards. I like the school, and I love Appalachia, so the only thing I want to ensure is that there are a few people there who play the games I love.

Alright then, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some decks.

Knack for Trouble

Wizards of the Coast had to know that, when they printed the unconventional bounce spell of Banishing Knack, someone would use and abuse it. Why not have that someone be me?

This deck is built around the aforementioned Banishing Knack, which gives a creature a temporary ability to tap and bounce target nonland permanent. What I wanted to do was to give the deck several ways to abuse the Knack by having two targets that can bounce a lot of offending permanents.

Eater of the Dead was in a Random Deck challenge from a few weeks ago, and I am reusing him here. Drop the Eater, and then you can untap it maybe six or seven or fifteen times at the multiplayer table. Cast Banishing Knack and bounce away, my friend. Bounce away.

Another good creature to use with the Knack is the Horseshoe Crab. It can untap itself for one Blue mana, and since the Knack just costs one Blue to play, you can untap the Crab several times in one turn, possibly bouncing five or six permanents later in the game. I’m sure you can find some good targets for bouncedom.

Warped Devotion turns every bounce into a Recoil, forcing discards. Bounce ten permanents into a player’s hand, and they have to discard ten cards, which is a staggering amount of card advantage. Megrim serves as a winning condition, making every discard equal two damage. Megrim is hated at multiplayer tables, so playing it can also be a decoy, forcing removal to hit the Megrim and leaving your innocent-looking Warped Devotion just sitting there until you play your first Banishing Knack.

The deck then contains a modest amount of some cards you would expect. We are rocking eight creature removal spells to entice attackers to head elsewhere. Expunge can be cycled if it amounts to no good, while Rend Flesh hits a ton of creatures, including Black ones. Sure, you occasionally try to Rend Flesh the occasional Kokusho, but you can hit a lot more creatures with this than you can with most Black removal.

I also tossed in a quartet of Tidings for raw card drawing, and Impulse to find the cards you need, from Banishing Knack to Megrim to Warped Devotion.

This deck can win in several ways. It can use Warped Devotions and Megrims to just kill everyone at the table through bouncing. Then it can win by swinging with Eaters and Crabs through defenseless creature zones (since you bounced all of the defenders). Either works.

A fun little interaction I want you to know about:

Eater of the Dead with Banishing Knack cast on it for this turn. Ten creatures in graveyards, twenty in play you do not control, Warped Devotion out.

Bounce the ten biggest threats in play, removing those creatures from their ‘Yards. Then when they discard many of the creatures you bounced, you have more fuel to keep going and keep going. Warped Devotion will fuel the Eater of the Dead for its big turn. Then, unfortunately, it is spent, and largely becomes a vanilla creature, just swinging and blocking (since it ate all of its fuel).

This is a simple enough deck to figure out, and it will be a lot of fun for many people to play. I hope you enjoy it!

The Pinnacle of Winning

No alternate winning condition is as simple as put some counters on this and win. We saw it with a certain indestructible artifact and now we see it here. The advantage is that here we can speed up the process with extra mana. The Darksteel Reactor would win without you needing to do anything, just wait a number of turns.

I actually used Umbral Mantle in a deck after Shadowmoor came out, so I am using it again here. I have two cards that can tap for four or more mana. One is Rofellos, with 24 Forests in the deck, every land increases his tappage by one. Then equip him with the Mantle, and tap for mana, untap, and repeat, using the extra mana for the Helix Pinnacle.

Bloom Tender will tap for five mana with a Transguild Courier in play. You can use it as well to make five mana, then untap and keep going, filling up your Helix Pinnacle.

Staff of Domination can be used as a backup untapper, but you have to tap for five mana to use it and still make mana instead of four. Bloom Tender will work, and Rofellos still only needs five Forests out to work. The Staff also gives you something else to do with your extra mana. Once you have an infinite mana combo out (remembering that those do not exist, but it’s still fun to call them that), you can use the Staff to draw cards until you find a Helix Pinnacle. then drop it and fill it up from there.

Haven’t you ever wanted to take an extra turn when you had out an alternate winning condition like Test of Endurance or Mortal Combat? Well, Green has few options here, but you might find a place to use Seedtime, especially if your opponents tried to counter or draw cards to find answers on your turn.

The deck features four Harmonize and Commune with Nature in order to help find combo pieces and keep going.

My favorite trick in the deck is Privileged Position, an enchantment that can keep your opponent from killing your vital permanents. Note that you can still target your stuff, so you can equip a creature with the Mantle or untap one with the Staff.

Anyway, this is a very simple deck, even more so than the previous one. It wins very simply, so good luck getting your Pinnacle to fire and win.

Pester My Opponent

Stillmoon Cavalier gives Black something it hasn’t had since Homelands, Ice Age, and Mirage and that era. A Protection from Black creature.

Pestilence is a powerful effect at the multiplayer table, but you do not want to lose it because you kill all of the creatures in play, so enter the Protection from Black creatures. Pestilence and Pyrohemia decks would often add White for various effects like Light of Sanction, a passel of creatures with Protection, and so forth. However, neither color needs to add White, because there are just enough options for mono-colored protection.

In this deck, I am running a full set of the new Cavalier in addition to the older Cemetery Gate. Both give you nice options, and the Gate is especially good in multiplayer because you do not want to get hit by attacking players who do not approve of your rampant Pestilencing.

I added a full set of the iconic Pestilence but I didn’t stop there. I tossed in a full set of the Bad Potato (Plague Spitter), which can hit everything for one during your upkeep and add another one if it dies. don’t worry, your non-Potatoes can handle it. I then tossed in a pair of Thrashing Wumpus, which adds to the Pestilence and creature density of the deck so it serves two roles.

I did not add the other two Pro Black creatures, because they are too expensive and limited for this deck (Minion of Leshrac and Spirit of the Night). Instead, I tossed in a set of Night’s Whispers to draw you some cards.

Consume Spirit has three functions in this deck, all important. It can act as emergency creature kill at the right time if nothing else is in hand. It can kill a player after you have gotten their life total down with Pestilence and Friends. Finally, it can gain you life back after you have been damaging yourself. All three are valuable.

Leechridden Swamps are included to give you another way to deal those last few points of damage to your foes.

For removal, I went with Expunge again because this deck has little card drawing, so the cycling is particularly tasty. I also thought Chainer’s Edict was vital in this deck. You are going to come across creatures that opponent’s control which are not killable by Pestilence, either by preventing the damage (Azorius First-Wing, White Knight, Cho-Manno are good examples) or by having such a big backside that killing them is unlikely (Indomitable Ancients), or by having regenerators with a large enough backside that you cannot kill and rekill them (such as Sedge Troll).

When you Pestilence, you can sweep away all of their other creatures, then Edict the survivors. This gives you a way to handle Pro Black creatures on the other side, which is one of this deck’s biggest weaknesses.

And there is your deck. Hope you enjoy!

Emerging Hobgoblins

At first, I wanted to abuse Rise of the Hobgoblins with Cloudstone Curio and a bunch of the 187 enchant creatures like Flight of Fancy. But I realized that would be too similar to a deck I built before, so instead I decided upon a different path.

This deck wants to play Rise of the Hobgoblins, making a bunch of 1/1 tokens for you, and then drop Natural Emergence, making a bunch of 2/2 first strike lands and bouncing Rise for a second go.

With all of the creature making, the deck packs Trumpet Blast (which will usually save the first striking lands and tokens) and Overrun to kill off players. Use these correctly, and you can turn a small army into a death machine.

Birds of Paradise and Joiner Adept can fix your mana problems while the Birds double as a mana accelerant and the Adept doubles as a creature with a pertinent power and toughness for its casting cost, lending itself to the red zone.

With several elements of the deck that work together, I tossed in a vital quartet of Harmonizes for the discriminating player. You need card draw, and they will do it really well.

Arc Lightning can be used to eliminate multiple creatures and help clear a path for your team.

I wanted a higher density of creatures, so I added Yavimaya Enchantress who will usually be a 3/3 or 4/4 just from your enchantments, plus whatever else others contribute to its size. I also tossed in a full set of Dowsing Shaman to recur your crucial enchantments to use again.

In addition, I added Seals of Primordium. They will pump your Enchantresses, are recursive with your Shamen, can bounce to an Emergence, and most importantly can be sacrificed to destroy a Natural Emergence in case someone casts Wrath of God. That way you won’t be Armageddoned as well.

A cool combat trick would be to attack with all of your lands, put damage on the stack, hitting an opponent for ten or so, but destroy the Natural Emergence to prevent the four lands that were blocked from dying. Then you can recur the Emergence.

This deck definitely feels like an Abeish deck. I’m rather proud of it.

Janky Combo

I was looking at Fable of Wolf and Owl. It’s a nice name, and I like that about it. However, I am very underwhelmed by it. It costs six mana, and you would never run it in a mono-Blue or mono-Green deck. By the time you dropped it on your sixth turn, you would have played most of your spells, and getting a 1/1 flyer or a 2/2 ground creature is relatively meaningless at that casting cost. So, I realized that the only value this rare has is in being on some janky combo.

Here is how the combo works. Have Earthcraft, Fable of Wolf and Owl, Goblin Bombardment, and two of Sapphire Medallion and/or Stone Calendar in play.

1. Play Mystic Speculation with buyback. The cost is a simple U because the Medallions and Stone Calendar will affect the buyback cost. Tap an Island for the cost.
2. Make a 1/1 flying bird token.
3. Scry your deck as the resolution. Mystic Speculation is back in your hand.
4. Tap the Bird with Earthcraft to untap the Island used to fuel Mystic Speculation.
5. Sac the Bird with Goblin Bombardment to deal a damage to someone.

Repeat until all are dead.

I went with Goblin Bombardment over Blasting Station (which would not require a weaker manabase) because Muddle the Mixture can transmute for it if you need.

I dropped the number of copies of Earthcraft and Goblin Bombardment to three each in order to include two Tidings, with the hope that you can Muddle the Mixture for one if needed. Muddle can also net you a Sapphire Medallion, or just play the part of a reactive counter in case someone tries to mess with your deck.

You also have Counterspell as an emergency. Only use it when absolutely necessary, to protect your combo from going off, for example.

One of the combo pieces, Mystic Speculation, can be used to find the others. If you draw two, cast one early just to get the scry. You also have a full set of Impulses and a pair of Tidings to help you out, plus the aforementioned Muddle the Mixtures.

If you drop Fable of Wolf and Owl early (via Medallions for example), your set up cards can make 1/1 owls which can chump block attackers. Otherwise, there are no creatures in the deck. If you can save dropping something until after the Fable is in play, do it. For example, if you have the Earthcraft in hand, but you aren’t going to go off for another three turns at least, hold off until you’ve played the Fable before you drop it, so you can get a 2/2 blocker (or mana accelerant with the Earthcraft) off the deal.

You only need one untapped Island to go off. You could get really lucky. Let’s take a look:

Opening Hands: Sapphire Medallion, 2 Islands, City of Brass, Muddle the Mixture, Fable of Wolf and Owl, Impulse.

Choose to go first.

Turn #1: Drop Island.
Turn #2: Draw Island. Drop Island. Play Medallion.
Turn #3: Draw Mystic Speculation. Drop City of Brass. Play Impulse. Find Sapphire Medallion, dropping it.
Turn #4: Draw Mystic Speculation. Drop Island. Play Fable of Wolf and Owl.

Turn #5: Draw Island. Drop Island. Transmute Muddle for Earthcraft. Play Earthcraft, making 2/2 creature. Use creature to untap Island. Play Mystic Spec with buyback, scry 3, find nothing, make 1/1 bird. Tap bird to repeat, playing 100 1/1 flyers and putting Goblin Bombardment on top of library.

Turn #6: Draw Goblin Bombardment. Play and win, or attack and win. Yay you!

That’s pretty close to ideal, although there is a way to win on turn 5. (Medallion x2, then drop Fable, then drop Bombardment and Eathcraft on turn 5, then Mystic Speculation for game).

I feel like I have to include one for the Johnnies in each of my deck articles, so I hope you are happy with this one.

And with that, we come to the close of yet another article here at The Kitchen Table. I hope the article was fruitful and you got some ideas for decks of your own. In the meantime, enjoy!

Until later…

Abe Sargent