Hello folks, and welcome to the column dedicated to the casual side of life. And Magic. Rise of the Eldrazi looks like a great set, and to celebrate, let’s build decks around some new cards!
Today’s article is simple enough. I aim to find cards I want to build around, and then I build around them. Yay decks!
There are some powerful Black cards in this set, so I wanted to combine several into one powerful deck. I used a variety of cards from sets recently, from Lorwyn, M10, 10th Edition, Shadowmoor and such, filling out most of the cards for the deck. Only the Coffers and Shade come from older sets, and while both work well in here, they certainly are replaceable.
The deck started as a way to abuse the Nirkana Revenant. I love this chick, with her own Mana Flare for your Swamps and her built-in shade ability. It’s one of the best combinations of two abilities I’ve seen on a card since Recoil.
Since the deck rocks 26 creatures, the Cadaver Imps feel like nice additions as a Gravedigger variant from Rise of the Eldrazi. With the potential for a lot of mana making either with the Revenant or the Coffers, I wanted to include a lot of fun cards. The first one was Drana, who can kill off creatures and then swing for a lot of damage. She likes a lot of mana, and luckily the Nirkana Revenant is willing to oblige. The aforementioned Nantuko Shade also rocks a pumpable body and it is the best Shade of all time, no question, so it goes in as well.
Murderous Redcap is a nice creature kill adjunct that provides a body. Phyrexian Rager will draw you a card in addition to providing another mid-range creature to do its things in the red zone. The Rager, the Redcap, the Shade, and even the Imp help to give your deck some early game, and none of them suck late.
After that, I added a pair of Ulamog’s Crusher, a nice Eldrazi addition to a deck with six ways to make a ton of mana. Another option might be to add more Eldrazi, but I’d want more ways to accelerate them out than just two lands and four creatures that cost six mana to drop.
Since we are making some mana, I wanted Consume Spirit, but I felt that four of those was not enough. I really enjoy the interesting Suffer the Past. It just looks like fun, so I tossed in a pair. I then decided to cap it off with a duo of Profane Command, which also seems suited for the deck.
With a variety of things for the early and late game, I think this deck looks like a lot of fun. Now, let me show you a different way to build this deck.
- 4 Gatekeeper of Malakir
- 2 Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet
- 4 Malakir Bloodwitch
- 4 Vampire Nighthawk
- 4 Anowon, the Ruin Sage
- 2 Butcher of Malakir
- 2 Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
- 2 Guul Draz Assassin
- 2 Nirkana Revenant
Here we use the same two vampires as part of a large selection of vampires that want to kill your creatures. There are so many ways to kill creatures, that I pulled Feast of Blood for Ambition’s Cost in order to add a sprinkle of card advantage.
I mean, take a look at all of this. Gatekeeper forces an Edict. Anowon is broken against your foes. Kalitas kills creatures and makes tokens. The Assassin can tap to kill guys. The Butcher Edicts all foes regularly. Drana kills them with shriveling. Vampire Nighthawk, Malakir Bloodwitch, and Nirkana Revenant are the only cards that don’t kill others.
You have some early drops, but unlike the above deck, this one wants the late game to arrive as quickly as possible. Sure, you have Nighthawks, Gatekeepers, and Assassins as early plays, but your deck turns on at five mana. That’s when a lot of baddies switch on.
This deck is very weak just like traditional Black weaknesses against enchantments and artifacts. It also has nothing to zark lands. However, any deck that wants to play creatures is going to have a really tough go against this deck. I felt that the biggest weakness of the deck was mass removal, so I tossed in a pair of Cauldron of Souls. You can tap it to give your whole team persist to live through a Wrath of God that comes your way.
Note that, except for Leechridden Swamp, Cauldron of Souls, Ambition’s Cost, and Profane Command, this entire deck is in Zendikar Block, and Type Two. If you wanted to make it meet those standards, you could find more vampires, and/or you could add things like Sign in Blood, Suffer the Past, Urge to Feed, Feast of Blood, and maybe even Sadistic Sacrament.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this trek through the darker side of Rise of the Eldrazi. Let’s lighten the mood up a bit with our next deck.
Have you ever looked at the cards that put auras into play and said to yourself “Well, there’s not that many powerful auras anyway.” Now there is. Eldrazi Conscription makes cards like Nomad Mythmaker look very powerful indeed. One example from my article last week is:
Turn 1: Play any one-drop creature. How about Flying Men?
Turn 2: Drop Arcanum Wings on Flying Men, attack for one.
Turn 3: Activate Aura Swap on the Wings and drop Eldrazi Conscription on Flying Men. Attack for 11 AND make them sacrifice two permanents.
I decided to rock Soul’s Attendant and Ornithopter as early Arcanum Wings/Eldrazi Conscription targets. If I didn’t get one in the opening hand with the combo pieces, and I didn’t want to assemble them immediately, I could just gain some early life with the Attendant, and drop other creatures as needed.
After that, I added creatures that will help me win. Academy Researchers will immediately become a 12/12 beater if I have a Conscription in hand, while Iridescent Drake immediately becomes a 12/12 flying beater if one is in the graveyard. Auramancer can return a destroyed Wings or Conscription depending on what else I have sitting around.
The power card here is Sovereigns of Lost Alara. If you have one out, attack with just it, it gets exalted to 5/6, and then gets a Conscription on it from your library to make it 15/16 trample. You won’t get the Annihilator trigger on that first attack because the Conscription doesn’t come out until after you declare attackers, but the 15 power trampler should be enough to take you really far.
Impulse can grab the right creature, land, or combo piece when needed. It’s never a dead draw. I even added a pair of Path to Exile as emergency removal for creatures that become too much of a problem.
I thought a lot about cards other than Ornithopter, like Mother of Runes. I like the 0/2 creature’s ability to run interference early, but perhaps it should have been the 0/3 Phyrexian Walker instead, or some better like Mother. Anyway, there are options for which direction to go.
This deck is loaded with juicy targets for a Splinter Twin enchantment. You play it on any of these creatures, and then enjoy the twinnings.
My personal favorite is Siege-Gang Commander, which will make you a bunch of goblin tokens each time you make a new one. Hot.
We have land destruction in Avalanche Riders and Fulminator Mage. Outrage Shaman and Ancient Hydra and Triskelion and Bogardan Hellkite all deal some damage in various ways, whether it’s pulling off counters or an enters-the-battlefield ability.
The final trick is a Magmaw, which can sacrifice a creature before it dies for a damage. Make sure you are attacking with your creatures in order to pressure someone. There’s no sense in just making an enters-the-battlefield creature in order to deal some damage or kill something — you might as well attack with it since it’s dying anyway.
This deck is pretty weak to things like enchantments and sweeping creature removal, so don’t go crazy with the creatures on the board… allow the Splinter Twin and one or two creatures to hold the fort, thus enabling you to recover easily post-Wrath.
This deck tries to use Saprolings to power out a quick Khalni Hydra. It uses cards like Fists of Ironwood, Sprout Swarm and Spontaneous Generation to make a large number of 1/1 saprolings, and then you can drop the big beater. I even tossed in Khalni Garden to give you an 0/1 plant.
Later, the deck has big creatures ready to push your army farther with Verdeloth the Ancient and Nemata, Grove Guardian. Thelonite Hermit can make some saprolings and pumps most of your team. The Thallid-Shell Dweller is a great early drop for defense, and makes saprolings. The Sporesowers are solid beaters, and make saprolings very quickly.
I tossed in a set of the new Snake Umbra from Rise of the Eldrazi. It’s brilliant on Khalni Hydra, as well as whatever is given trample from the Fists of Ironwood. It’s a great way to add defense to a creature with the Totem Armor ability, while also drawing cards and making it a bit larger.
Lastly, I rounded out the deck with a pair of just-in-case Naturalizes, because you never know what will fall at the table, and you might need to take something down.
Alright, and with that we come to the close of another deck article, with five decks in today’s trek. I hope you found something in here you enjoy, and we’ll see you next week!