The Kitchen Table #263 – Bad Rare Decks VIII: The Return of the Bad Rare Article

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Tuesday, December 9th – When I moved to London for eleven days, I divested myself of many of my boxes of cards. Among those was my bad rare stack (er… um… I mean “low value rares”). I wrote seven articles in which I selected, at random, one of these bad rares, and then forced myself to build a deck around these cards.

Hello all, and welcome back to the column dedicated to the casual. I am your host, and weekly I bring you new things from casual land. Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time in big deck country, whether Five Color or Prismatic, so I want to get away from that for a few weeks.

When I moved to London for eleven days, I divested myself of many of my boxes of cards. Among those was my bad rare stack (er… um… I mean “low value rares”).

I wrote seven articles in which I selected, at random, one of these bad rares, and then forced myself to build a deck around these cards. Some of my favorite decks of all time are from these articles (I especially enjoy my Thran Weaponry deck).

These decks force me to think way outside the box. From Amulet of Quoz to Okk, I’ve had to come up with some radically different ways to build decks down through the years . My most recent Bad Rare article was #192.

Since I had given away my bad rare box, I was unable to write any more articles in this vein. However, last weekend, while at a friend’s house, I accidentally took his bad rare box. I was looking through it, and then slipped it into my bag by mistake. Now, it’s not as bad as it seems, because it is my old bad rare box. Perhaps my friend slipped a few of his cards inside, but it’s basically my old box. Sure, I’ll ask him if he even wants it back, (Aaron, do you even want it back?), but for now, it gives me an opportunity to write another Bad Rare Deck article!

Hey, this is the only opportunity these cards have to shine. When was the last time you saw a deck with Vermiculos or Onulet? Yep, that’s right, it’s been awhile. This is a chance to dust off that bad rare and give it a little shine. Why not build your own bad rare deck this week, if these don’t meet your fancy?

So, without further ado, let’s start the bad rares.

Polter my Geist, Please

I reach into the box and pull out, sight unseen, Xenic Poltergeist. Now, the fun thing about this bad rare is that its tap ability lasts until your next upkeep. In multiplayer, that means a lot of turns may pass before the artifact is de-animated. Let’s build a deck around this awkward creature.

Okay, let’s look at this deck. It can get a little confusing. What I am using the Poltergeist for is to make an artifact a creature, so that it does not die when it is destroyed. How does that work?

Lifeline says that any creature that dies (including opposing ones), comes back into play at the end of the turn as long as there is another creature in play. Xenic Poltergeist can turn an artifact into a creature in response to removal, and the artifact will come back. It’s like a cheap Guardian Beast.

But that’s not all. Suppose you’ve used all of the counters on Serrated Arrows. Make it a 4/4 creature and start swinging, or make it a creature, sacrifice it to Blasting Station, and it comes back into play with a new set of counters.

Serum Tank is your main card drawing card, although Staff of Domination can act as a backup. With all of the artifacts coming into and leaving play, Serum Tank will get a nice selection of counters on it for your card drawing purposes.

Sculpting Steel is a perfect card at doing what it is supposed to do. It acts as a backup copy of any artifact in your deck, as well as being useful as an artifact clone in case an opponent has a copy in play.

A pair of Consume Spirits are in the deck for when you get Coffers and a lot of mana. You can kill a player with one. I also tossed in a pair each of Phage and Guiltfeeder. If you can swing through an opposing defense with Guiltfeeder, then great. If not, you can use your mana production and Staff of Domination to tap down a player’s blockers and swing with Guiltfeeder or Phage.

Cackling Fiend can be played to force everyone to discard, and then you can sac it to the Blasting Station and bring it back into play at the end of turn, untapping the Station, then repeating each turn, quickly stripping all opponents of cards.

You don’t want creature removal in a Lifeline deck. For example, Bone Shredder does nothing, because the creature it kills comes back at the end of turn. Thus, I stick with damage to your opponent, discarding and such. Sengir Autocrat can cause your Blasting Station to untap four times, allowing you to machine gun some creatures/players, or it provides creatures to ensure that you have enough blockers. Note that the serfs will not come back from a Lifeline, but you can keep one around to ensure you always have a creature to trigger your Lifeline. You can also use them as fodder for the Station.

Frankly, this would not be a deck that a Guardian Beast would find out of place, and you might want to toss one or two in if you have them. Remember to attack and block with your creatures you make from the Poltergeist. A 5/5 Lifeline is a beater. You can also turn someone’s artifact into a creature in order to kill it, if Lifeline is not out (or if no creatures will be out, such as through a Wrath of God effect).

Enjoy the deck!

As an interlude, here are all of the cards that I have used in previous bad rare articles, in order from oldest to most recent (not including today):

Caribou Range
Cephalid Constable
Ogre Enforcer
Pirate Ship
Heat Stroke
Flooded Shoreline
Elder Druid
Thran Weaponry
Natural Emergence
Blessed Reversal
Volcanic Eruption
Masked Gorgon
Icatian Town
Barl’s Cage
Hisoka, Minamo Sensei
Flowstone Slide
Stalking Bloodsucker
Gemini Engine
Circle of Solace
Overlaid Terrain
Celestial Gatekeeper
Benthic Behemoth
Elkin Lair
Traveling Plague
Fire and Brimstone

This is a lot of cards. 34 to be exact. Plus however many I do this article. Well, let’s get cracking on another one.

Elementally Fun

I reach back into my box and grab a Pirate Ship, but as you can see, I’ve already done Pirate Ship. I reach in a second time and pull out… Wand of the Elements.

It’s obvious what colors I’ll be playing with this card. Now what else can I do with it? Ah, I know.

I didn’t want to play with any non-basics since Wand of the Elements wants you to sac Islands and Mountains. I guess you could run Steam Vents or Volcanic Islands if you had them. I then included some, but not all, of the Lorwyn Block elemental tricks.

Incandescent Soulstoke has obvious uses. It pumps your elemental tokens from the Wand as well as the other elementals in the deck. It can also pop some into play, if that is your wish. Mulldrifter and Aethersnipe have value played instantly, and Supreme Exemplar might be played with haste on your turn to get one hit in with a 10/10 flyer.

However, I did not want to make this a cookie cutter elemental deck, so I just want to run the four Soulstokes and two Harbingers and that’s it. Why run Consuming Bonfire when you can run Incinerate? Tidings is also pretty strong in any deck with these colors.

You can enroll me in the Abe Sargent Crackleburr Fan Club. This card is really keen in these two colors, you can tap it and some creatures to Lightning Bolt and then untap it and some creatures to bounce. Unfortunately, there were not many Blue/Red creatures that fit the deck, so I could not truly abuse it by just running gold and hybrid cards, but if you did, this creature would be amazing. As is, it’s still really strong.

Cinder Elementals give you the ability to Blaze kill a creature or player. You can spite someone who kills it by hitting them for 6 or 8 damage. Cinder Pyromancer works well with the Red cards in the deck (of which there are 20). It can supplement your other bun spells, kill smaller creatures, or ping players many times.

The Exemplar gives you a bigger creature for the late game. You’re happy to Champion a Mulldrifter, Harbinger, or Aethersnipe to get it into play.

The result is a deck that may very well suit the tastes of many readers out there.

I’ve Got Your Autumn Right Here

I reach into my box of happiness again and pull out… Shizuko, Caller of Autumn.

Well I like making mana. Who doesn’t? Let’s see what we can do with Shizuko.

Let’s take a look at Shizuko for a moment. If you play her on the third turn, then you will have six mana guaranteed on the fourth. You will have seven mana if you play a land on the fourth turn or you played a Birds of Paradise earlier. What I tried to do was find the deadliest seven mana creatures around to accelerate into off a Shizuko. I think you’ll agree that I found two nasty creatures.

Simic Sky Swallower will end games quickly. With shroud and flying and trample, it was the single best seven-drop I could find. Cast this on turn 4, and you may not need to cast anything else for the rest of the game. Phantom Nishoba is almost as good. Trample plus lifelink really helps, and you can’t kill it in combat by dealing a lot of damage to it. It’s not as good as SSS, but it will still end games quickly. These two creatures are powerful creatures, and you have a full set of each to rely upon, giving you the ability to drop one, and then keep dropping them turn after turn until you win, or your opponents concede.

Feral Hydra helps here. You can play it with all of your mana as a good sized creature, and then you can add counters to it in the future as you have extra mana, so it gives you a sink for Shizuko’s mana. Sure, you won’t take mana burn from her mana, but you might as well have something to do with it, right? When combined with SSS and the Phantom Nishoba, you can bring serious hurt.

Desert Twister normally costs a lot of mana, but in this deck, you have it on the fourth turn easy, and it adds some strong removal that few Green decks can match.

Harmonize draws you cards and allows you to keep rolling. Joining that is Multani’s Acolyte. Before I added them, the deck lacked a two drop, and this can get played early, draw you a card, and then block and trade with an attacker. You can upkeep it with Shizuko’s mana because it comes into play under your control during the upkeep.

Weatherseed Treefolk are a cheap and recursive adjunct to the normal Green beat strategy. You can play them early or late, and they can add to your already impressive forces, and also give you options post-Wrath.

Worldly Tutor ideally will help you find a Shizuko, since your deck relies on her. Get her early so you can drop her third turn. You can also use it for beater, especially an SSS.

Remember that everybody gets Shizuko’s extra mana, but not everybody has a deck that is built to abuse it like you do. Be careful that you don’t speed up some combo deck, and use Desert Twister to knock off combo pieces if you need to.

Good luck with the deck!


My next card is Mungha Wurm. Problem. I do not know of an obvious way of abusing (or even using) Mungha Wurm. Hmm. Let me ponder this…

I got it.

If I can only untap one land per turn because of Mungha Wurm, then why not force my opponent to do to same? With a Winter Orb out, Mungha Wurm has no disadvantage and is a 6/5 for four mana.

In order to help with our acceleration, I have 8 one-drop elves that tap for a Green mana. Use these a lot after you drop a WOrb or have a Mungha Wurm in play. Playing one of these on the first turn can give you some strong second turn options, and I included Troll Ascetic and Call of the Herd for strong second turns. If the Ascetic is too expensive for your tastes, rock with Boggart Ram-Gang instead.

Play a Forest, tap, play Elf go.
Untap, play Forest. Tap Elf and Forest. Winter Orb. Go.
Untapped tapped Forest, play Forest, play Mungha Wurm.
Untap Forest and Elf, tap Elf, play Rancor, swing for 8 trampling on fourth turn.

That’s not bad at all.

Blastoderm plays well with the deck but not well with Rancor, so make sure you are not relying on a Rancor on your Derms. However, they will add to your beatingness.

You can drop a Seal of Primordium before playing your WOrb just to get it out of your hand. Then you can take out artifacts and enchantments as you need. Watch out for artifact mana that gets your opponent through the WOrb.

The Boas are great to drop when you have the spare mana. They love Rancors.

It’s a pretty simple deck, but it looks efficient. I think you can do well with it.

Let’s do one more.

For Thy Heart! For Thy Heart! Who Hast Wronged Me

I know that Heart of Ramos is not a card that you or I would associate with real decks. What to do with this sterling card?

I built a Wildfire deck with the Hearts. It’s pretty much your standard Wildfire deck.

You play artifacts, play land destruction, drop Covetous Dragon, drop Wildfire, use artifacts to pay for things like the Torch, and win.

It’s not a difficult deck to win with. For those of you who may not have seen an old school Wildfire deck, now you have, only with Heart of Ramos and Browbeat instead of the normal cards. Enjoy.

Ah, why not, let’s give you one more deck.

Jokulmorder, I Choose You!

I reach into my box and pull out Jokulmorder, which you could tell by the title of this section. Now this is a creature I can get behind. It only costs seven mana for a 12/12 trampler that comes-into-play destroys five of your lands. Then you can untap it by playing an Island. Play an Island, swing for 12, then play an Island, swing for 12, and you have won.

This deck realty wants to start swinging with Jokulmorder as soon as possible. On the fourth turn, play Explosive Vegetation. On the fifth, if you have played a land every turn, you can drop Jokulmorder. If you played Kodama’s reach or Journey of Discovery previously, then you could easily have two Islands in your grip. Keep two Blue for your Counterspell. Drop Islands and win.

In order to find the right cards, we have Tidings, Brainstorm, and Impulse, which should help you dig. I like Brainstorm in this deck more than normal with the 10 shuffle library effects that we are rocking.

Wall of Blossoms can act as both card drawing and a speed bump until you are fully Jokulmordered.

You do have eight counters to help protect your crucial spells. Hey, if nothing is happening on the 5th turn, and you suspect counters, wait a few more turns until you can cast Jokulmorder with counter backup. You have so much land search, and it all gets you two lands, that you can afford to outwait a control deck until you are fully ready. Just make sure you have two Islands in hand in order to untap your Leviathan twice.

And there you have a super rare sixth deck for your enjoyment. I hope that you liked today’s article.

Until later…

Abe Sargent