I love playing Magic around my dining room table. Casual Magic Night supports a large number of variants, including a heavy dose of multiplayer Magic. The beauty of Casual Magic Night is that you can unveil decks that are a little off. You might never take a certain deck to a tournament, but it is particularly interesting.
I find the day-to-day grind of tournament decks to be boring. I have several tournament worthy decks, of course. I really like the occasional tournament. Maybe that’s why nothing recharges my batteries like a fun deck with a unique twist.
After a week of reading articles about Type Two decks or block ideas along with the occasional store tournament, it feels really nice to play with a different sort of deck – the type that defies typical tournament conventions. If you are looking for a deck to play casually that seems to run on a different axis than most, allow me to present three personal creations of mine that I have found to be a lot of fun.
4 Chain of Plasma
4 Guerilla Tactics
4 Psychic Purge
2 Urza’s Rage
4 Shard Phoenix
2 Possessed Aven
4 Circular Logic
4 Fact or Fiction
4 Shivan Reef
2 Grand Coliseum
4 Volcanic Island
2 Faerie Conclave
This deck has several powerful components, some of which come with an intriguing twist. At first, it appears to be a standard counter-burn deck, but a closer look at the decklist reveals several tricks up its sleeves.
The first is the old standby, Shard Phoenix. Shard Phoenix is one of those rare creatures in Magic that can be relied upon for so many reasons. It has evasion, and therefore becomes a win condition. It can block flyers, and therefore becomes defense. It can sweep small ground creatures, becoming a board clearer. It can recur, allowing for card advantage. A whole cornucopia of strategies are packed into one tight little card.
Traditional Counter-Phoenix decks often include cards like Forbid to take advantage of the Shard Phoenix’s ability to recur from the graveyard. That is a potent ability in a duel when you have enough mana to Forbid-lock someone with Shard Phoenixes. However, I typically play this deck in multiplayer, and there, the Shard Phoenix–Forbid lock is very weak and hardly worth running.
A second trick in the deck revolves around the Chain of Plasma. When a Chain of Plasma is played, the target can discard a card to play a copy of the spell at something else. If they target you, you take three damage, but you can also discard a card to hit someone else. The first time you play this deck against somebody, here is how it often goes:
“I Chain of Plasma you, take three.”
“I’ll discard this Plains and hit you for three too.”
“I’ll discard this Psychic Purge, when I do, you lose five life. Take an additional three.”
“Whoa, my life total just dropped from sixteen to five!”
This deck includes ten cards that reward you or punish your opponent if you have to discard a card – Psychic Purge, Guerilla Tactics, and Dodecapod. After a few times someone has flung your Chain back to you, they’ll soon stop. It also keeps players who use discard Megrim decks or Underworld Dreams/Wheel and Deal decks from working as properly as that person may have liked. A Balance may cause someone a bit of pain, as a Psychic Purge goes away. Playing the only creature, a 5/5 Dodecapod, after someone clears the board and all hands with a Balance is a pretty trick.
I have the Possessed Avens in there because they are a cheap creature that can hold the fort until you get the deck moving. There are also a pair of Grand Coliseums in the deck in case you really need to blow up Blue creatures with your Aven. I have been considering taking out the Avens for two Scandalmongers. With Scandalmongers, everybody can force everybody else to discard cards, but people will not come near you after they get a Psychic Purge or two.
The deck is a lot of fun to play. The beauty of it is that it is not overwhelmingly powerful. If it were, it would be too much of a target in multiplayer, but I find that the deck is just cute enough to avoid a lot of scrutiny from my opponents. It can sometimes really sneak up on people.
4 Psychic Venom
4 Icy Manipulator
4 Ring of Gix
4 Mind Whip
4 Errant Minion
4 Power Taint
4 Winter Orb
4 Sleeper Agent
This deck was designed to utilize Psychic Venom after one of the people in our playgroup added a few to her deck along with a few tapping effects. Two of us in the group thought the idea was so janky that we each went off and built a Psychic Venom deck.
The earliest incarnation of the above deck had Mole Worms and Mundungu, but I felt that the deck would be best served by going creatureless.
The deck is built around Mind Whip. Go ahead and look it up in the StarCity cardbase, you know that you need to. Did you look it up? Great! You saw that, unless you pay three during the enchanted creature’s controller’s upkeep, you take two damage and the creature taps. That last bit about the tapping is crucial, because that’s the way creatures cannot beat on you.
The deck ideally slaps down some creature enchantments that require mana to be used to upkeep the creature or else the player takes damage (or, in the case of Power Taint, loses life). In addition, you Psychic Venom a land so that tapping that land results in more pain.
Use Icy Manipulators and Rings of Gix to lock down any remaining mana during your opponent’s upkeep. You can also use them to tap mana producing artifacts or creatures during your opponent’s upkeep. Along with Paralyze, they are your only creature defense. Lastly, they can be used to tap Winter Orb, thus allowing you to fully untap.
The Winter Orb is multiplayer unfriendly. If you play this deck in multiplayer, you must be fully ready to incur the wrath of Orb hating players. In multiplayer, it might be beneficial to go after the fastest deck first – the one that drops early creatures. Shy away from playing the Orb until several of your opponents are tapped out. The Orb takes you from a funny nuisance to a serious threat.
If an opponent learns how your deck works, they will figure out that, as long as they do not play a creature, they cannot be seriously threatened. Help yourself out by playing Sleeper Agent. A Sleeper Agent will deal two to them every turn, and you can lock it down with an Icy, Paralyze, or some other method. Add any of your damaging creature enchantments, and you can kill a person very quickly.
This deck is a really fun and unique way of killing your opponent. Pull it out every now and then to try something new. Please recognize that many commonly played casual decks have no answer to this deck. As such, it can be joyless to have to play against this deck over and over and over again. Use it sparingly, and use it well.
4 Psychic Allergy
4 Unstable Mutation
4 Essence Flare
2 Sigil of Sleep
2 Skull of Orm
2 Hakim, Loreweaver
2 Crown of the Ages
4 Enchantment Alteration
4 Wall of Deceit
4 Metathran Elite
4 Phantom Warrior
I’ll be perfectly honest with you. The first two decks were created a while ago, and I play them regularly. After listing those decks, I noticed that the first two had a”Psychic” component – Psychic Venom and Psychic Purge. I figured that I would continue the theme. I built this deck a long time ago, and it’s a lot of fun to try and bring it back, updating it along the way.
The deck operates around several themes that all use a similar strategy – bringing back some critical enchantments.
An Essence Flare or Unstable Mutation can kill a creature. Using the ability to move a creature enchantment (like Crown of the Ages or Enchantment Alteration) will allow you to move an Unstable Mutation after a couple of counters have accumulated. You can use these two enchantments to kill a creatures and just move the enchantments to other creature. As such, Unstable Mutation and Essence Flare develop into mobile killing machines.
You can return enchantments with either the Skull of Orm, or, if it is a creature enchantment, with Hakim, Loreweaver. After Hakim returns an enchantment, you can move it to another creature.
The deck includes eight unblockable creatures. Slap down one of these on the third turn, and then attack with an Unstable Mutated five-power unblockable on turn 4. The perfect player killer is an unblockable creature.
I also included two Sigils of Sleep, to help in keeping your opponent off your back. The unblockable creatures will return one of your opponent’s creatures. Hakim might be able to help as well, since he has flying. Return the Sigil of Sleep to Hakim and fly over your opponent, bouncing one of his creatures as you hit him for two.
Hakim, Loreweaver is not the most commonly played creature. He may very well have a place in the Top Ten Least Played Legends of All Time Hall of Fame. However, there is one very important point to make about Hakim.
Hakim returns a creature enchantment from your graveyard to himself. You can only use this ability if Hakim is unenchanted. Therefore, during your upkeep, you can activate Hakim, targeting, say, an Unstable Mutation in your graveyard. Before Hakim’s ability resolves, activate him again, targeting the other Unstable Mutation in your grave. Before that resolves, bring back that Sigil of Sleep or an Essence Flare. Allow them all to resolve, and you now have (assuming two Unstable Mutations and one Essence Flare), a 10/10 flying beast of doom. During your next upkeep, put the Mutations and Flare on the stack, and tap Hakim to destroy all enchantments on him. You could also move these enchantments to other creatures.
It’s like Hakim was tailor made for this deck.
Another winning condition included is the Psychic Allergy. The Psychic Allergy is one of the most awkward ways of dealing damage to a player ever created – but it works. Again, you’ll probably need to look it up, so feel free to do so. Because Psychic Allergy has an upkeep of two Islands, most players probably look over the Allergy. That would be an error. You’ll rarely pay the upkeep. In multiplayer, you can deal eight, ten, or twelve to at least one person with a Psychic Allergy. The key point is that it affects each opponent during their upkeep, so you’ll go once around the table before you need to decide whether or not to upkeep the Allergy.
The Allergy provides a perfect Lava Axe effect at the end of the game to secure a victory. After your opponent has played a bunch of permanents to get past your defenses and removal, you simply turn the table and punish him for it. If you have ten mana available, you can allow the Allergy to go away, recur it with a Skull of Orm, and then play it again on that turn. Smooth and simple.
Each of these decks are a bit quirky. I’ve been playing Magic for ten years now, and I reserve the right to play unusual decks. Maybe these are some that you may not have thought about, and hopefully one has piqued your interest. The old aggressive, control, combo decks have become blasé.
Feel try to tack one of these babies out for a spin. They are each a lot of fun, and I am sure that you will enjoy the ride. Good luck with your own deckbuilding!