Two Post-Apocalyptic Decks

Sleeping Beauty has changed colors – even Bennie couldn’t resist the lure of a Duress….

I got some good response to my article”Your Graveyard and You,” and I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to write in. It’s nice to see that there’s plenty of other people out there searching for a decent deck that utilizes the few graveyard manipulation spells available.

My initial version of Sleeping Beauty used a few of the spells from Apocalypse that Wizards had let us in on before the release. Now that Apocalypse is in full swing, and with the good feedback I’ve received, I’d like to revisit the deck.

From”Your Graveyard and You”


4x Probe

3x Reviving Vapors

4x Breath of Life

4x Foil

4x Standard Bearer

4x Meddling Mage

3x Devout Witness

2x Fallen Angel

2x Phyrexian Delver

2x Staunch Defenders

4x Reya Dawnbringer

4x Caves of Koilos

4x Adakar Wastes

1x Coastal Tower

2x Salt Marsh

3x Dromar’s Cavern

4x Plains

4x Island

2x Swamp

This deck was admittedly rough around the edges and needed some serious tweaking. Not only did I get some good feedback from my readers, but also Mike Mason and Dr. Jay M-S were kind enough to really break down the deck and offer some great suggestions; most notable were the perfect additions of Vodalian Merchant and a much more solid mana mix. We ventured into U/W/g for the awesome Jungle Barrier, but the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted to use the new split card Life/Death. The Death side of it is a Reanimate effect, and gives some much needed redundancy to the Breaths. And dipping into black fully unleashes the power of Probe and gives us access to the fantastic Duress, which I like much better than Foil as a way to force through a vital Breath or Death. I ended up dropping the green altogether and this is the current incarnation of the deck:


4x Duress

4x Probe

4x Breath of Life

2x Life/Death

4x Vodalian Merchant

4x Standard Bearer

4x Meddling Mage

4x Devout Witness

1x Coalition Honor Guard

1x Ertai, the Corrupted

4x Reya Dawnbringer

2x Adarkar Wastes

2x Caves of Koilos

4x Dromar’s Cavern

4x Swamp

5x Plains

8x Island

The mana sources feel much smoother, with 14 blue, 13 white and 10 black available. The Merchants are just fantastic in the deck as living Probes, allowing you to dig a little deeper and to pitch creatures into the graveyard for reanimation.

I decided to try an Ertai since he has the same colors as the deck, and his ability is actually quite useful in a deck with graveyard recursion. Basically a backup to the Meddling Mage to help prevent Wrath-level disasters.

Meddling Mages and Standard Bearers remain as disruption and protection for Reya’s eventual entrance, and I went ahead and added a Coalition Honor Guard for flagbearer redundancy. Honestly, the flagbearers are key — since they not only protect Reya, but they protect you, too. For instance, with a flagbearer in play, your opponent can’t just point burn spells at your head to burn you out; if their spell can target a flagbearer, it must target a flagbearer. From the errata to the FAQ:

“If a spell or ability an opponent controls could target a Flagbearer in play, that player chooses at least one Flagbearer as a target.”

With a Flagbearer in play, you don’t have to worry about Ghitu Fire or Shocks aimed at your head. That can be quite a relief when you’re low at life and have finally gotten a Reya on the board.

I’ve also been noodling around with a R/w deck utilizing many of the new cards in Apocalypse. I’ve liked the reusability of Tahngarth since I first saw him wrecking house in a draft — however, his four toughness makes him less than impressive with Flametongue Kavus popping out of every other deck. Some cards in Apocalypse give me a renewed sense of hope that he might be Constructed-worthy, even with FTKs running around. Here’s an initial decklist:


4x Squee’s Embrace

4x Orim’s Thunder

4x Urza’s Rage

3x Afterlife

4x Bloodfire Dwarf

4x Goblin Legionnaire

4x Flowstone Wall

4x Flametongue Kavu

4x Tahngarth, Talruum Hero

1x Keldon Necropolis

4x Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]

9x Plains

11x Mountains

Some quick thoughts on the new cards:

Squee’s Embrace seems to be a natural for the deck. Almost every creature in the deck dies from its abilities. Of course, beefing up a FTK for attacking and getting to recast him when he dies is just golden. And putting an Embrace on Tahngarth turns him into an amazing board control beatstick with a backup plan incase he gets waxed. Chalk this one up to the very short list of constructed-playable creature enchantments.

Orim’s Thunder is something that base red decks have wanted for a long time — a Disenchant with an aggressive edge. Thunder gives it by dealing with troublesome enchantments or artifacts like Worship or Static Orb and possibly killing a creature, too, for the bargain price of four mana at instant speed.

Bloodfire Dwarf if the best one-drop red creature to come out in a long time. Kris Mage has been perennially good, but the Dwarf can blow off his Tremor effect the same turn he’s cast, and be able to go beatdown if necessary.

Goblin Legionnaire; he’s either a sky diving madman or a self-sacrificing savior. What would Tahngarth think of having goblins making him decent in Constructed?

Other stuff: The Afterlives might seem strange, but it occurred to me that a protection from red creature would be a big pain in the butt. Sure, the flying 1/1 spirit token they get could be a problem for some decks, but this one has numerous ways to get rid of the token without losing card advantage. And I’d trade a 7/7 trampling wurm for a 1/1 spirit token any day. In a pinch, you can Afterlife your wall against a creature-light deck to turn him into a flying attacker.

So here are two post-July 1st legal decks that are hopefully a bit different from the other decks you might have seen being kicked around. While I’m just as busy as everyone else trying to assemble the rares for a B/w/g Arena deck, these two ought to be fun to play in the meantime. Heck, they might actually turn out to be competitive.