The Kitchen Table #411: Some Casual M14 Decks

Abe has created a quartet of decks inspired by Magic 2014 for your next casual encounter. Let him know what you think in the comments!

You played in the Prerelease and are ready to get some serious M14 action in a few days when the release hits. I’m sure you already have some ideas for decks percolating in your Magic brains. What ideas have inspired you from the new cards in M14?

For me, I have seen some combos and cards both old and new. I see Laces, Libraries, Braids, and Nettles. I have built a few decks inspired by one or more cards from the latest set. Not all of these decks are amazing winners that will stagger people at your next FNM. Instead, they are designed to be fun to play at your next Magic night. After all, fun trumps tournaments in my mind.

All of these decks are just suggestions. If your card collection suggests different cards for these ideas, go ahead and use them. You may have different ideas for these decks that spin them off into new places. Perhaps you simply prefer a different selection of cards and pull out Flametongue Kavu for Scourge of Valkas or Solemn Simulacrum for Wall of Blossoms or Elvish Mystic for good ol’ Llanowar Elves. Feel encouraged to abuse or use the ideas in this article. As long as you are having fun, that’s the point.

This deck upgrades the old Reap-Lace engine for a new audience and adds the Tidebinder Mage from M14 as a new trick. Here’s how the old Reap-Lace trick worked.

1. Cast Prismatic Lace on an opponent’s card, turning it black.

2. Cast Reap and return the Lace (and anything else if they have more black permanents).

3. Cast Lace again.

4. If you have another Reap, cast it and return both the Reap and Lace and repeat.

5. You can progressively return more and more cards from your ‘yard to your hand with the Reap.

I added two copies of Eternal Witness to help the combo early. You can return a Reap to keep things going. Of course, you may decide other cards are good choices as well and instead go in that direction.

Since the Reap-Lace combo was printed, there have been a lot of cards that make it stronger. For example, take a look at Scuttlemutt. It can tap for a green or blue mana to smooth your mana base, or it can tap to make a permanent black for a turn. Sure, it only lasts one turn, but if you are about to cast Reap, it helps.

With this black stuff, I tossed in Compost. You draw a card for each black card that heads into an opponent’s graveyard from anywhere. You can Prismatic Lace or Scuttlemutt that permanent just before it dies and then draw a card from it.

Blind Seer is a great addition. For two mana, I can make a lot of things black, including spells. With a Compost out, I can turn your sorcery or instant black, and then when it resolves and hits your graveyard, I draw a card off the Compost. It can also help out a nasty Reap.

But the combos don’t end there! After all, green has a few nice creatures with protection from black. Chameleon Colossus and Darkwatch Elves provide nice bodies to keep away black threats. I love the Colossus here because after turning opposing dorks into black dorks, you can swing through an entire team, activate it a few times, and win.

And let’s not forget Tidebinder Mage. Note that when it comes into play, it taps and locks down a red or green creature permanently while the Mage is rocking. In addition to roughly 40% of opposing creatures already meeting the qualifications, you can tap the Scuttlemutt or active the Blind Seer to make a creature the required color and then lock it down permanently.

Because of how useful this felt, I rolled up two Distorting Lenses and a single Govern the Guildless. These give me a few more ways to shift colors around to best suit the needs of my deck.

After that, I just rounded it out with a few cards that fleshed out some needs and called it a deck.

This deck was built around Into the Wilds. As I looked at that card, I saw some other classic green enchantments that look at the top card of your deck for an effect, such as Rowen and Call of the Wild. I tossed in four Calls as well to give me my engine.

I needed some serious deck manipulation. Both Sylvan Library and Sensei’s Divining Top have long established themselves as amazing cards for your kitchen table needs, and they jumped in. But I wanted some more. Feral Deceiver came to mind for two reasons. First of all, you can look at the top card for one mana a lot. Second, it uses the deck manipulation of other cards to pump and tramplefy.

Another card to use it is Fa’adiyah Seer, which can tap to draw a card if it’s a land. Well, we can make sure of that, right? Then I tossed in a quartet of Llanowar Empaths. When it arrives, you scry two and then can bring a creature to your hand. It enables me to replace it and put a card or two on the bottom of the library if needed.

Cream of the Crop next recommended itself. When I drop creatures onto the battlefield, I can pick and choose what says up and what heads down. It’s another tool to keep my library fresh for the Sylvan and Top.

I also liked a pair of surprise Summoning Traps, which plays well with the deck too. Having a few instant tricks makes me a happy Abe.

I wanted six larger threats to summon via a Trap or Call of the Wild. The first was a quartet of Garruk’s Horde, which is a decent enough 7/7 and also plays quite well with the deck. The last two were Craterhoof Behemoth, which can enable my team to blow through another. Those could be any fatty you like, such as Woodfall Primus, Avenger of Zendikar, Sylvan Primordial, and so forth.

I thought Dryad Arbor was a great tool for this deck. It counts as a land for cards like Into the Wilds or the Seer. It also counts as a creature for Cream of the Crop, Llanowar Empath, or the Horde.

The result is a fun lil deck that has a few different ways to abuse not only Into the Wilds but other green library resources as well.

This deck was built between the interaction of Guardian of the Ages and Goblin Diplomats. I wanted to tap the Diplomats to force someone to attack into Guardian of the Ages and thus enable it to begin swinging.

Since I needed creatures to attack, I looked at Boiling Blood, which can cantrip and force a creature to attack. It also benefits from mass attacking, so Aggravate suits the deck because it softens up creatures before they attack en masse. Both were added as pairs to round out my preference for being attacked. I don’t want a reliable part of my deck to be answered by a Singe.

With being attacked as a key part of this deck’s design, I pushed it. Slumbering Dragon is an amazing early drop and then just lingers. As people attack you, it gets bigger quickly until you suddenly have a large flyer that loves to swing over others. It also gives me an aerial defense that Guardian of the Ages (and subsequent cards) miss.

Speaking of those cards, take a look at Circle of Flame. If you are rolling against me, your non-flyers take a damage each. Just like Aggravate, it softens up people and also slays a few. You can imagine casting Aggravate on someone and then them swinging everything into two a Circle of Flames. By the time they reach you, those still alive have taken two damage.

Meanwhile, Rock Slide will abuse what is left. It will instantly clear out quite a few ground pounders that swing your way. You can finish off creatures damaged by Aggravate or Circle or just smash a few normally.

Don’t forget Kazuul! Any creature coming your way will spit out a 3/3 Ogre token if your foe doesn’t spend three mana. That may not happen with each and every creature that is forced to attack, so it can make disposable blockers to trade with attackers.

Into this mad fun deck jumped a quartet of Flametongue Kavu to provide a mid-tempo body and some removal, Iron Myr to speed things up, and a playset of Forgotten Caves to cycle if needed because the deck has little in the way of card drawing.

This is a deck that uses two interesting interactions from within M14 to create some fun at your kitchen table.

Every Johnny who has seen the Resonator has tried to develop ways to abuse it. I’ve intentionally stayed away from forum posts and articles on this one because I wanted to develop my own thoughts. It seems like it can fuel anything from a Tombstone Stairwell deck to a Braids, Conjurer Adept deck dropping massive bodies.

I decided to hit the other Braids for an idea. I didn’t push it too much with Umbilicus, a quartet of Braids, or anything like that. But it began a thought in my head that evolved into this deck. I decided not to push a mean Braids deck but to instead use this as a platform for board control along with useful cards.

To begin with, I wanted some creatures with the stereotypical enters-the-battlefield trigger that is so abusable with a Resonator on your side of the table. Obvious uses include the ETB hotness of Acidic Slime to double dip a pop, Shriekmaw to double down on creature elimination, Solemn Simulacrum for a double dose of land fetch, and Deranged Hermit for a double drag of Squirrel love.

Then I looked at various triggers, such as upkeep ones. Herald of Leshrac can be used twice in each upkeep to steal lands at a prodigious clip. It really amps the deck up with the potential double land destruction of a Slime along with a double Braids for a foe. Don’t forget the Simulacrum’s death trigger to grab some cardage or Master of the Wild Hunt to make an extra Wolf.

One great double trigger is the landfall on Rampaging Baloths. Not only do you make a 4/4 Beast dork every land drop, but an extra two mana turns it into a double love. I also like Baloths generally as a strong 6/6 trampler for six mana to make some trouble in the red zone all by itself.

Don’t forget the triggers of Bojuka Bog and Khalni Garden. They are minor, but doubling up is keen. I even tossed in a single Verdant Force just because. Then I added the potent triple-trigger love of Primeval Bounty. All three of these triggers add some nice potential abuse for the Resonator. Either three life becomes six, three counters become six, or a 3/3 dude becomes two. All are great results.

I loved the Resonator enough in this deck to also add in a pair of Rings of Brighthearths in order to activate a Resonator twice. All of the things we already want to do can now be done twice! That’s class right there!

There are thousands of potential builds with Strionic Resonator, and we have just one here. I could make a new Resonator deck every day and not be tired of ideas in a year. I hope all this does is whet your appetite for more tricks!

I created a quartet of decks for your next casual encounter. I hope that a deck or idea here inspires you when you shuffle up and play with the new cards. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Until later,
Abe Sargent