The Kitchen Table #295 – M10 Decks

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Wednesday, July 22nd – Abe Sargent builds some fun casual decks that contain the new offerings in M10!

Good day to you! Welcome back to our cozy little column. Today I have a simple task in front of me. I want to build some decks that use the new cards from M10.

Note that I said new cards, so there’s no need to build around Air Elemental or Nightmare, because they are hardly new.

Now, instead of boring you with a preamble that takes a long time to develop, wouldn’t you prefer that we just get right into the decks? I suspected as much. You didn’t come here for banter, you came here for decks, and decks you shall have!

For my first deck, I decided to hit up an old theme with some new cards. Lightwielder Paladin is especially devastating against decks with Black or Red creatures, but what if you force your opponent to have Red or Black creatures by playing something like, say, Distorting Lens? Then slap a Whispersilk Cloak on one and swing away, taking out one of their creatures every turn while doling out four damage. That’s a winning position.

You can use Distorting Lens and the Protection creatures in the deck to make a nice defense or swing through unblocked. If your opponent has just one flyer, get a hit in with Karmic Guide. Keep away threats from Shivan Dragon and Baneslayer Angel to Craw Wurm and Copperhoof Vorrac.

Voice of All is great because it suits the deck and it’s flexible. Drop it against a mono-colored deck and it’s bomb-tastic. Against more colors, you can prevent against one and use the Lens for the others as needed. It gives you a creature you don’t always need the Lens to protect, and yet fits the deck. It’s arguably the most important card after Distorting Lens.

Whispersilk Cloak might be in the deck for a Paladin, but it can keep any of your creature from getting targeted by opposing problems, and you can always nip it for a hit or two with White Knight or Karmic Guide or whatever.

I know that Karmic Guide might not have been the card you most expected to see in the deck, but you can use it to both give you a flying creature the Lens can help out, and also to recur valuable creatures like a Lightwielder Paladin or a Voice of All.

Tithe is included as a way to get you some lands, and perhaps a smattering of card advantage. Gift of Estates can substitute if you lack them. Tithe is down to $2 a copy of heavily played ones, and slightly played ones for $2.50, so the financial reason for not getting them is mostly gone and there are few excuses for not having them.

I decided that Solemn Offering would be a nice adjunct in the deck as basically an instant Terashi’s Grasp. In fact, I think Solemn Offering is sufficiently strong, so it may become my default Disenchant effect for mono-White, or W/B. (Dismantling Blow for U/W, Orim’s Thunder of Awesomeness for W/R, and Krosan Grip for W/G). Obviously, decks and needs and card stock will change it, and perhaps Seal of Cleansing or Aura of Silence or Return to Dust might be better in some decks and metagames

I like some immediate removal, so I rocked Crib Swap and Path to Exile. The Path is good in combination with Tithe because you will be more likely to get two Plains off it. In fact, it’s much better in this deck that Swords for that reason.

You could pull Crib Swap for Oblation or similar. The deck works as is, but perhaps you might want more card drawing power.

Since we don’t have a lot of card drawing, I added a set of Secluded Steppe, but stayed there and did not add more cycling lands, especially since you want to drop Tithe and White Knight early and too many CIP lands can mess with that.

Perhaps, if you like this deck, you’ll want to look at Oversoul of Dusk.

By the way, I love the new M10 art for Whispersilk Cloak.

This deck was initially built around Sanguine Bond. The obvious M10 cards to add were Consume Spirit and lifelink Child of Night. Syphon Soul followed quickly enough. I even tossed in Divinity of Pride as a lifelink Black creature that can get dropped later.

If you have out Sanguine Bond, then even if you trade something like Child of Night for another creature like Grizzly Bears, you’ll still gain two life and they lose two. Players can only take some much pecking before they fall. Syphon Soul turns into something like: I gain 8, my opponents lose two each, and someone is losing a ton.

Note that Sanguine Bond targets one opponent, so when that opponent dies, the Bond is broken as does no good anymore. Use Diabolic Tutor to get more if you don’t draw them off a Syphon Mind.

Syphon Mind is one of the best card draw spells for Black in multiplayer. I mean, it’s no Decree of Pain or anything, but it really rocks. It can keep you going with card advantage.

Another card advantage engine is Thrashing Wumpus. Feel free to Pestilence away and plink small creatures and life totals. Since you’ll be gaining lots of life, the plinking should be fine. Stillmoon Cavalier can survive the Pestilencing and gives you something else on which to use Coffers mana.

Cabal Coffers can fuel a giant Consume Spirit. Kill one person, gain 15 life or so, and then Sanguine Bond kill another. That’s a pretty nasty turn. The Coffers can also fuel a giant Wumpus to kill everyone but you and your bloated life total, or can pump a Cavalier. With protection from two sources, it can sometimes sneak past an opponent’s defenses, and that’s when you want a Coffers and seven Swamps.

Creatures are always annoying. I ran Rend Flesh as emergency kill. With the Wumpuses and Consume Spirits, the Rend Flesh could just be n adjunct, but it’s a pretty strong one.

Sure, the Diabolic Tutor was initially included to grab another Bond, but Cabal Coffers, Syphon Mind, Thrashing Wumpus, Divinity of Pride and Consume Spirit all make ideal Tutors targets under the right circumstances. Note that you can have out more than one Bond, and then I’d recommend you target multiple people. Turn a Syphon Soul into a tool of death and artistry.

Other cards to include might be Brush with Death or Highway Robber.

I’m finding it a bit difficult to come up with many decks, because many of these cards are very basic. It’s like saying, build a deck around Terminate. How could I ever do that?

The title of this deck refers to formats where the first letter of a card is pertinent, such as formats where you have to have a card that starts with each letter. X was pretty rare, including such winners as Xenic Poltergeist and Xanthic Statue. Now there is a new X.

This deck wants to use Green to supplement the rockingness of Xathrid Demon. Several cards are included that will have abilities when they die. In the early game, you have the 1/1 styles of Veteran Explorer and Insidious Bookworms, dealing some quick damage, and later they can get sacrificed for some effects once the Big Nasty is in play. You want to accelerate your mana, so chump block with the Explorer at will.

Sadistic Augermage is a fine mid game drop, since it can sac for three to the Demon later, and keep away or trade with x/3 creatures in the meantime. Liege of the Hollows is also a nice mid-game play with its 3/4 body, four mana, and willingness to die for the cause.

You only have to find one Nesting Wurm in order to pull the rest out of your deck. Not only does this allow you to play and keep playing 4/3 tramplers at will, but it gives you fodder for Mr. Demon too.

Genesis is great at getting dropped a bit later in the game at the 5 spot. It can recur creatures once it is in the graveyard for future sacrificing. A Xathrid Demon in play loves a Genesis in the yard with a Sadistic Augermage or Insidious Bookworms or even Veteran Explorer to play and recur.

Finally, we are rocking two Vulturous Zombies. There should be a lot of cards going to graveyards when this deck comes to party, so it can swell quickly, giving you another flying threat, as well as a game ending sacrifice to the Demon.

Although you both have been getting land off the Explorer, you should be able to out-squirrel your opponent because you can sack the Liege during your own upkeep, after your opponent has tapped some mana. This will give you an instant army and a ton of fodder for Mr. McHorns.

We have some non-creatures supporting the deck. This was a perfect deck for Maelstrom Pulse, but if you don’t have a full set, you could instead rock Putrefy. I’d play it because, at the end of the day, it’s an emergency lever to pull in case your opponent out squirrels you with your own Liege. They could Mana Short you, untap, then Ghastly Demise it and make 10 squirrels. Obviously, you’d never want to use your Pulse as token removal, but it’s there, just in case your cards backfire.

Syphon Mind and Harmonize are fine card drawing spells and I included two of each, but you could easily go four of one or the other. If this is for duels and not multiplayer, pull the Minds for two more Harmonizes please.

Would you believe that there are just 8 non-land, non-creature cards in this deck? Other cards that work here include Garruk Wildspeaker, Grizzly Fate, One Dozen Eyes, and so forth.

I was looking at Mirror of Fate and trying to find a quick way to Doomsday your deck by removing a bunch of cards in one fell swoop. Then I remembered Leveler, a janky rare for Johnnies. Mirror of Fate gives you a chance to play a Leveler with pride.

I’d recommend you play the Mirror of Fate first, then play the Leveler. You can drop the Leveler, exile your library, then tap and sac the Mirror immediately for a set up library. Once I knew I could set up my library, the set up became simple. Find a quick combo that will kill everyone at the table, and put it in the final seven.

I decided to go with a three card combo — Enduring Renewal, Shield Sphere, and Blasting Station. This is an old fashioned combo, but with a Blasting Station instead of a Goblin Bombardment so I don’t have to run Red.

Initially, you set up by getting Leveler and Mirror of Fate. Play the Leveler with a Mirror out, exile your library, then pop the Mirror and set your deck during your upkeep (to prevent yourself from being decked in the meantime). Put the following cards on top of your deck:

Enduring Renewal
Shield Sphere
Blasting Station
Gaea’s Blessing
Mirror of Fate

The 4th and 5th cards an easily be changed, but you do want the Gaea’s Blessing and Mirror of Fate to be the last cards, so you can pop it and reset if you need too. This works if you have out a Scroll Rack and two more cards in hand. Draw one, trade the other two for combo parts, and go off.

Perhaps you already have a part in hand or in play. If so, then you have to put fewer cards on top of your library. What if you only have zero or one card in your hand? Put Concentrate on top to draw all three combo pieces.

Since Leveler only exiles your library, you cannot exile and then stack cards in hand or your graveyard. The deck has one Brainstorm and two Gaea’s Blessing in order to make sure that the right cards are in your deck for removal and later use by Mirror of Fate. Remember that you always want to return a Mirror of Fate to your library. With two Blessings, you can keep going, so you do not have to use Mirror constantly to keep alive. Putting a Blessing in the library after you Mirror is also protection from death to a Glimpse the Unthinkable or a similar card.

There are some tutor and drawing cards in the deck in order to help you find the tools you need to succeed. You can always just play Concentrate and Brainstorm for cards and Blessing them back for later removal if needed. Playing a Gaea’s Blessing will draw you a card. The defensive Wall of Blossoms does the same. Scroll Rack can be used to find the right cards.

There are a few cards to protect your combo — Counterspell, Negate, and Capsize. Capsize can handle things like Ivory Mask, True Believer, and Aura of Silence that can keep you from going off. Counterspell and Negate can stop a card that is deadly to you, like Jace Beleren, Counterspells of their own, and more.

I would always drop a Shield Sphere early for defense if I got one, unless it gives away the deck too much. Some people equate Shield Sphere with the Pebbles combo, so against them you could run Ornithopter or something with less of a reputation.

With Fellwar Stones, Seaside Citadel and City of Brass, you can hopefully smooth your manabase out enough. Other cards that could help include Exotic Orchard.

And that concludes another article where I bring you some fun decks. I hope that you enjoyed this article, and that there are fun things for you to find out there in the wild blue yonder of M10.

Until later…

Abe Sargent