The Kitchen Table #299 – Bad Rare Decks IX

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Thursday, August 27th – Hello all, and welcome back to the column that explores the casual side of things. I am your writer, bringing you decks and formats and analysis for the casual side of the game. Kick up your heels and get ready for some decks!

[Editor’s Note: An editorial oversight means that Abe’s article earlier this week (#300) appeared before this article (#299). We’re now back on track… and congratulations to Abe for the REAL article 300!]

Hello all and welcome back to the column that explores the casual side of things. I am your writer, bringing you decks and formats and analysis for the casual side of the game. Kick up your heels and get ready for some decks!

I had initially intended for article 299 to be a Five Color article about where to start building your deck for the new 300 card deck. However, my grandmother died, and I have been unavailable for a while, so I am instead pulling this article out of the can and sending it in. I always have a canned article or two in my pocket I can pull out during writer’s block, emergency, or severe workload. Well, a personal emergency occurred, so I am sending this to ya instead of the usual.

One of my most enduring article ideas was the bad rare deck. Using this idea, I randomly select bad rares… erm… I mean “low value rares” from a bad rare box and then build a deck around each. It gives these cards some actual press, and some of these decks turn out to be really nice.

It’s a great exercise since it stretches my deck building muscles. I have no idea what card I will be pulling out, but I have to build around it. That’s one of the Bad Rare deck rules.

Sound like fun? Here are all of the cards I’ve built around in previous articles, from oldest to most recent:

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
Xenic Poltergeist
Wand of the Element
Shizuko, Caller of Autumn
Mungha Wurm
Heart of Ramos

Forty cards so far. How many will this article add to that list of impressive suckiness?

I have opened up the long box of suckiness. What card will come out in my hand?

Say hello to Pulse of the Tangle, my selected rare. Let’s see what I can do with this, eh?

Let’s build a combo deck! Here my ideal play:

Turn 1 — Play a Forest.
Turn 2 — Play a Forest, Drop Earthcraft.
Turn 3 – Play a Forest, Tap them for an Overgrowth.
Turn 4 — Play a Forest. Tap the Forest for Blasting Station. By now, one of your opponents should have two or more creatures out. Play Pulse of the Tangle, and tap it to untap the Land with the Overgrowth on it with Earthcraft. Then sacrifice the token to Blasting Station for a damage. Continue playing Pulse of the Tangle, tapping to untap the land, and sacking for a point until everyone is dead.

It’s nice when I can get a combo deck in here. You might want to hold off on playing Earthcraft until you are ready to go off. It screams combo.

Wall of Blossoms can give you time to set up, while Spike Weaver can give you three turns and Moment’s Peace gives you two. The good thing about the Weaver is that you can remove all of the tokens to kill it if you need to, because it may get in the way of you getting Pulse of the Tangle back.

It’s not often that I can get a combo deck into these articles, so I love that. In fact, this is a very Abeish Combo with Blasting Station and a countless number of token creatures. The Usual Suspects are here – Harmonize and Wall of Blossoms. This time, I decided to hit the Fogs with the Weaver and Peace instead of other options.

You have a set of Creeping Mold to stop any non-creature and non-Planeswalker permanent that keeps you from going off. It can off an Ivory Mask or Urza’s Armor, for example. With that, I hope you enjoy the deck and all it has to bring.

Let’s see the next card to get pulled.


Here is the irony in me pulling Workhorse. It used to be the lynchpin in a combo deck that won tournaments revolving around Survival of the Fittest and Recurring Nightmare and… EARTHCRAFT! The irony is that I got another card that broke Earthcraft. I wonder if I can build a modern day combo deck around Workhorse. It’d be great to see if I could pull off two combo decks in a row.

By the way, why didn’t Workhorse get the Horse subtype as a creature?

Okay, here is how the deck works. You play a lot of things that make lots of creatures. They are Forbidden Orchard, Decree of Justice, and Spectral Procession for starters. You can also drop defensive creatures like Commander Eesha and Wall of Essence.

Then you will want out a Workhorse and a Cradle of Vitality. Cast Congregate and gain a ton of life. Then pay the mana for the Cradle and put a ton of counters on Workhorse.

Suppose you are playing this deck in a duel. You could easily roll with 18, 20 or 22 life off the Congregate and thus have 18, 20, 22 counters on the Workhorse. Now Hurricane for the win, or tap it with Surestrike Trident for the win or just downright attack with it for the win.

In multiplayer, you could easily gain 50 or 60 life off the Congregate. Now Hurricane them all dead, use the Trident, and so forth. If someone has elevated their life significantly, off a Life combo or something like Invincible Hymn, then use Blessed Wind to knock them back down before doing so.

Sanctum Gargoyle is great at bringing back a dead Workhorse for another go, and it can also return a destroyed Surestrike Trident.

Note that there is another path to victory here, that does not use the Workhorse. Do you see it? Put all of those counters on Commander Eesha, the “protection from creatures” creature. Then swing through any defense with a giant Eesha.

The cleverness of this deck is that there are many paths to victory: The Trident, the Hurricane, Eesha and the Workhorse as a giant vanilla stomper. However, all revolve around the Cradle of Vitality and Congregate. If you gain life off a Wall of Essence or Staunch Defenders, use the Cradle to make a creature bigger. Take advantage of your opportunities.

The two Spectral Processions were a pair of Feudkiller’s Verdict before I cut them, so you could also look there as a nice addition to the deck. 10 life could very well be enough to fuel a giant Workhorse fed Hurricane. That’s 14 mana from the Horse plus whatever lands you have making you mana.

That was a fun deck. Alright, the next card is….


This deck wants to Sneak Attack out a beater, and then toss them on a Purgatory when they die. Then during the next upkeep you can pay four mana and two life to put it into play permanently. You can do this turn after turn to drop the big beaters consistently and regularly.

I loaded up with big hasted beaters. Then you can attack with them after they come into play with Purgatory. The only beater that does not fit this description is the Phantom Nishobas, and they are included as a way to gain some life to fuel Purgatory and Necrologia.

The deck has some strong tutoring. Feel free to play your tutors or Academy Rector in order to find some key components of the deck. Note that no creature is unplayable due to the presence of City of Brass in the manabase. It is never a bad thing to Enlightened Tutor for Scroll Rack instead of Cauldron or an enchantment if you don’t need them.

Other creatures I considered included Thraximundar, Kamahl, and Razia.

Whenever a creature dies, it goes back to Purgatory. Feel free to push your creatures at your foes, knowing you can pull them back out of Purgatory into play.

If a creature does manage to get to your graveyard through discard, or when you lack a Purgatory, there are two options. I did include a pair of Zombify anticipating this scenario. You can use these to start bringing back your beaters and slaying your foes.

I also added a single Cauldron of Souls as a backup to the Purgatory. Note, if you have them both out, you can stack your triggers so that it either comes back with Persist or goes onto Purgatory, whichever you prefer. You can also put the Rector under Purgatory or remove it to find an enchantment.

Scroll Rack allows you to find the right card, or it can get you a card tutored by Enlightened Tutor right in your hand, or you can put cards you don’t want or can’t cast back, or it allows you to hide pieces from discard. That’s a lot of usage out of a simple artifact.

No matter what colors of mana you have early, you can always drop a Steel Wall for some early defense.

Necrologia is valuable card drawing. You can scale it to your life total. This makes Phantom Nishoba very valuable, so I’d get it out the Nishoba out off Sneak Attacks and Purgatory and Zombify whenever I could.

And that’s a third Bad Rare Deck down, and it’s a fun one too. Which card is next?

Lodestone Myr.

Lodestone Myr is better than you might think at first glance. Allow me to demonstrate.

Let’s look at this deck carefully. The Lodestone Myr allows you to tap your artifacts at will. Do you know what likes to be tapped? Howling Mine does. Draw the card off it, then tap it to make the Lodestone Myr bigger. No one else will draw off the now tapped Mine. That’s pretty strong.

Know what else likes to be tapped? The Static Orb does. Tap it before you untap, so it does not affect you. Then you untap it and it will work for all opponents until it is almost your turn, when suddenly you tap it to make your Myr bigger.

And what if you do not have out a Lodestone Myr when you need to tap one of these things? I built in some backup. Clock of Omens can tap it, and itself, in order to untap one of your artifacts. You could untap one of your creature that you attacked with, or untap Icy Manipulator for another go. You could even untap a mana land to make a bit of mana in a pinch.

Icy Manipulator is also valuable backup. It’s in the deck not only as permanent control but as a backup tapper for the StOrb or the Mine. Use it if you need too.

And just in case your Myrs, Manipulators and Clocks are all taken out, I even spared a pair of Blinkmoth Wells to tap these artifacts down.

After that, what else do we have? Master of Etherium loves this deck. It’s a big creature that makes your artifact creatures bigger. This is a perfect home for it. Myr Enforcer also likes it here. He likes the Master who makes him bigger and he likes the artifact love here.

Thoughtcast can draw you a few extra cards early or in a pinch. It can supplement the Mines once you get them going, or replace them if they’ve been offed or you haven’t found one yet.

I tossed in a full set of Counterspell and two Desertion in order to stop the worst of the worst spells from getting cast. Desertion is a trick I like to pull out now and again. It beats Spelljack and other spells because it is cheaper and the artifact/creature goes right into play instead of needing to be cast again. I prefer it over Spelljack or Commandeer.

I didn’t want to Haddix the deck too much, but a pair of Forge[/author]“]Darksteel [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] was a nice touch for the deck, because you can drop it late to protect your stuff from a Nevinyrral’s Disk or Shatterstorm.

You can often win by making a giant Lodestone Myr and swinging with it. A 10/10 trampler backed by Static Orb and Icy Manipulators can be enough to get the victory easily. Master of Etherium and Myr Enforcer also serve as fine beaters, ready to swing for some significant damage to what we can only hope will be open opponents.

Lodestone Myr is not that bad at all.

Let’s do one more before we call it a day.

Kher Keep.

Oh yeah, a fun deck to end a day of combo-tastic decks. No combo here! Just Kobolds! This deck is designed for multiplayer.

Okay, let’s take a look at this one; it’s a bit ornery.

You want to drop Confusion in the Ranks, and then play kobold tokens off the Kher Keep and steal opposing creature with them. Funny, n’est-pas?

Anyway, you’ll have some enchantments rocking your side of the board, and I made them just okay, so you can send them somewhere else in order to steal a Mirari’s Wake or Future Sight, while they hopefully won’t be good enough targets for opponents to steal.

Fervor gives all of your creatures haste. What creatures? The ones you steal, so you can get a hit in before they get stolen by someone else. I’ve played against enough Confusions in the Ranks to know its weakness, let me tell you.

Kyren Negotiations and Goblin Bombardment give you something to do with your Kobold tokens when you do not have a Confusion out. You could also tap or sacrifice a creature stolen by Confusion before it gets stolen back.

There are no artifacts in the deck, so you have no weaknesses there.

I added some burn to give you some removal options. Chandra Nalaar is one of the few permanent types that cannot be stolen by Confusion, so play her and sit behind her.

Insurrection is a classic game ending multiplayer card, so play it, steal everything for one turn, and drive the point home by attacking en masse to kill as many players as possible.

Temporary Insanity can steal a creature, giving you a nice 2-for-1 when attacked. It can also steal you a creature for the attacking. You can always steal a creature from one player to block a creature from another.

Browbeat is a solid card drawing spell, and in multiplayer, no one wants to play the life so you almost always draw the cards.

Wild Ricochet can protect your deck and make some of your tricks go farther. You can use it as a simple Fork for your burn and the Temporary Insanity. It tears through opposing removal. It can be game changing. If someone Swords to Plowshares one of your stolen creatures off a Confusion, Wild Ricochet, take out two creatures, stop the Swords, keep your critter alive.

Mages’ Contest is a lot better than it looks and I wrote a third of an article on its value in Silly Card Tricks, found here.

This deck is janky, I admit. It’s fun, but it’s also a bit out there. It’s only creatures are tokens made off Kher Keep.

Well, I hope you enjoy seeing it. Perhaps you’ll shuffle up and play it soon.

And that concludes another fun article in my Bad Rares series. The decks this time are solid, and I like this one. Sometimes you get stretches, but these are all strong. I hope you found something here worth taking back. Catch you next week!

Until later…

Abe Sargent