Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #15: Happy Halloween!

Hey, it’s trick-or-treat time… And Peter’s whipped up zombies and monsters and all sortsa beasties for some fun play at midnight!

Halloween is here – Hallows Eve, for those of you with funny accents. Here are eight theme decks for your haunting pleasure. Sorry, these are fun decks – only two translate into T2 for use at States.

Let’s start off with a classic vampire deck. It features all the elements: Rats, bats, a black carriage, and vampires. Plus, of course, a twist to make it work. Wear your best Goth garb when playing this deck, have appropriate music on deck and serve with a chalice of hearty burgundy – or other deep red wine.

Velcome to Transylvania:

3 Vampire Bat

3 Crypt Rat / Ravenous Rat

2 Cemetery Gate

1 Black Carriage

4 Sengir Vampire

1 Baron Sengir

2 Krovikan Vampire

2 Repentant Vampire

1 Stalking Bloodsucker

2 Unholy Strength

2 Vicious Hunger

4 Drain Life

4 Dark Ritual

R Yawgmoth’s Will

R Vampiric Tutor

1 Living Death

4 Bullwhip

22 Swamps

The rats and bats are just there to provide flavor, and to provide creatures to chump block or beat with or to untap the Black Carriage. The Cemetery Gate and Black Carriage are just stage dressing. You could even add Frankenstein’s Monster if you don’t mind mixing stories.

The deck runs just a little removal. Vicious Hunger seems in flavor and kills black creatures. Drain Life is kill and removal, all rolled into one. Unholy Strength also seems appropriate, and works well on Vampires that need to get past a large blocker. Terror could also fit the theme – I just ran out of room.

The heart of the deck are the Vampires. Most of the Vampires grow when they kill creatures. Ideally, you want to hold them back to block until they have some counters, then beat for the kill. The trick, of course, is getting opponents to attack. That’s where Bullwhip comes in. Bullwhip will force someone to send that 2/2 over so your vampires can feed. It will also kill Birds, wimpy elves, and annoyances like Royal Assassin. In that respect it is a little more flexible than a Nettling Imp, but the Imp works as well.

Baron Sengir regenerates vampires. Living Death seems like a good reset if you are having trouble and it certainly fits the theme. I don’t see it as all that necessary, unless someone resolves a Wrath of God or has lots of pro-black fliers clogging up the works.

The mana is pretty simple – lots of swamps and Dark Rituals. The Rituals work well with Yawgmoth’s Will – ideally, you cast your last Ritual for BBB, let that resolve, cast Will, then Ritual, Ritual, Ritual, Ritual, Drain Life. If that doesn’t scare your opponent, they are already dead.

Speaking of dead, it’s time for a zombies deck…

“Need Brains”

2 Dauthi Ghoul

2 Carnophage

3 Sarcomancy

2 Zombie Scavengers

3 Hidden Horror

2 Rank and File

2 Phyrexian Scuta

4 Lord of the Undead

2 Zombie Master

2 Grave Defiler

2 Grave Servitude

2 Feast or Famine

2 Unearth

2 Necrologia or Infernal Tribute

3 Bad Moon

4 Dark Rituals

20 Swamps

No tricks, nothing special, just lots of Zombies and some pumpers. Grave Servitude can either pump a creature or kill something. Feast or Famine is removal or a zombie. The deck may be a bit land light, even with the rituals – in which case add some land or a Mox Jet, if you are lucky enough to have one. The Necrologia seems like card drawing that fits the theme, although the Infernal Tribute should work better. If you are playing in multiplayer chaos games and don’t mind being a target, add Grave Pact.

A long time ago, I wrote about a Jack the Ripper deck. Its theme was lots of blue Fog and Mist creatures (Fog Bank, Mist Dragon, Fog Elemental, etc.), splashing black for a nasty black kill card and Implements of Sacrifice for tone; I think I used Spined Fluke. Anyway, that could also be a Halloween deck, but it wasn’t that good, so I’m not giving it any more space.

Reanimation is always a classic Halloween theme. Here’s a Reanimator deck:

“I Give You Life!”

3 Entomb

3 Buried Alive

4 Exhume

2 Ashen Powder

2 Zombify

4 Dark Ritual

R Vampiric Tutor

R Demonic Tutor

1 Living Death

2 Jalum Tome

4 Ashen Ghoul

1 Spirit of the Night

1 Reya Dawnbringer

1 Penumbra Wurm

1 Devouring Strossus

1 Infernal Spawn of Evil

1 Radiant’s Dragoon

1 Crosis the Purger

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Jet

4 Mishra’s Factory

20 Swamps

Ideally, you start your turn one with Swamp, Ritual, Entomb a Spirit of the Night, Exhume, beat. More realistically, you can fill your graveyard with creatures, then Living Death or reanimate Reya. Once Reya is in play, reanimate stuff and beat with it.

One of my all-time favorite”horror” scenes is the Disney animation of Night on Bald Mountain in the original Fantasia. Lots of little demons clustered around a big demon on a volcano.

Night on Bald Mountain:

1 Lord of the Pit

1 Pit Imp

2 Foul Imp

2 Dusk Imp

2 Fledgling Imp

2 Volcano Imp

2 Misshapen Fiend

2 Ravenous Skirge

2 Slinking Skirge

1 Bellowing Fiend

1 Bogardan Firefiend

1 Furnace Spirit

3 Unholy Strength

2 Grave Servitude

1 Breeding Pit

2 Endless Scream or Keldon Mantle

4 Fireball (Kaervek’s Torch is better, but the image needs Fireball)

2 Phyrexian Tribute

4 Dark Ritual

4 Badlands

4 Urborg Volcano

2 Volrath’s Stronghold

10 Swamp

This deck is pure theme. It can probably win with lots of fliers, some pumped with creature enchantments, and has a few removal spells in Fireball and Grave Servitude.

Here’s another theme deck, although this could be pretty brutal:

To Hell with You All

4 Hell’s Caretaker

4 Survival of the Fittest

4 Wall of Roots

4 Birds of Paradise

2 Avalanche Riders

2 Uktabi Orangutans

2 Monk Realist / Cloudchaser Eagle

1 Squee, Goblin Nabob

1 Krovikan Horror

2 Fyndhorn Elves

1 Ghitu Slinger / Flametongue Kavu

1 Bone Shredder

1 Dark Hatchling

1 Academy Rector

1 Highway Robber

1 Masticore

1 Reya Dawnbringer

1 Phyrexian Plaguelord

3 Dense Foliage

1 Recurring Nightmare

Lots of duals, etc.

The concept is pretty simple: Survival gets you the creatures you need. During your upkeep, Hell’s Caretaker swaps a creature in your graveyard for a creature in play. Want to play Land Destruction? Use Caretaker to bring back an Avalanche Rider. Next turn, put the Rider’s upkeep on the stack, then have Caretaker swap him for someone else. Getting Reya in play is a bonus. I should have played with a Hell’s Caretaker/Hell Swarm theme, but Survival/Caretaker/Reya is too good to ignore.

Another classic schtick is the mad scientist at work in his laboratory, creating horrors to destroy the world. This deck is pretty bad. I wanted to play Frankenstein’s Monster, which means playing a lot of creatures. Most of the interesting theme elements from Frankenstein’s castle and laboratory are not creatures, and things like Bottle Gnomes are really stretching… But the deck needs them.

The Mad Scientist’s Lab:

4 Ravenous Rats

4 Lab Rats

4 Blood Pet

2 Body Snatchers

4 Bottle Gnomes

1 Frankenstein’s Monster

2 Abomination

4 Ball Lightning

1 Squee, (playing Igor)

4 Twisted Experiment

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Arc Lightning

1 Backlash (laboratory error)

1 Volrath’s Laboratory

Lands, like those in Night on Bald Mountain.

It could work, especially if you add a Fear or Rancor so a big Frankenstein’s Monster could get through. You could stall with the Rats, etc., until you can cast a big Monster… But don’t let him get bounced. Better yet, play something else. Like a big monster rally – the theme is”It’s big, it beats, play it.”

Monster Mash:

1 Cosmic Horror

1 Phantom Monster

1 Lesser Werewolf

1 Greater Werewolf

1 Frankenstein’s Monster

1 Spirit of the Night

1 Gallowbraid

1 Morinfen

1 Pit Spawn

1 Devouring Strossus

1 Verdant Force

3 Worldly Tutor

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Reclaim

1 Regrowth

1 Feldon’s Cane

4 Wall of Roots

4 Birds of Paradise

4 Elvish Piper

3 Quicksilver Amulet

2 Creeping Mold

1 Sol Ring

4 Bayou

4 Tropical Island

2 Undiscovered Paradise

1 Gemstone Mine

4 Llanowar Wastes

9 Forests

Okay, one final horror to leave you shaking in your shoes. Something really scary: A combo deck. You can do something very similar as a T2 deck. Think about that as you’re preparing for States:

Im. Velikovsky’s Earth in Upheaval, or – Wasn’t JarGrim Bad Enough?:

3 Upheaval

3 Megrim

R Memory Jar

R Ancestral Recall

R Time Walk

3 Prosperity

R Timetwister

4 Mana Drain

R Candelabra of Tawnos

4 Peacekeeper

2 Misdirection

R Yawgmoth’s Agenda

R Regrowth

4 Howling Mine

4 Force of Will

1 Evacuation

4 Dark Ritual

5 Moxen

R Black Lotus

R Mana Vault

R Grim Monolith

R Voltaic Key

R Tolarian Academy

4 Tundra

4 Underground Sea

4 Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrublands[/author]

Other lands

R Library of Alexandria

The concept here is pretty simple: Stall until everyone has a bunch of permanents on the table, then cast Upheaval and Megrim. Suddenly, everyone will have a ton of stuff in hand. As fallbacks, use Prosperity or Memory Jar to fill hands, then Megrim. Peacekeeper can stall all combat, and allow everyone to lay out more lands. Howling Mines make sure everyone gets lots of permanents. The jewelry, Tolarian Academy, and the Candelabra allow you to generate enough mana to flat a lot of mana, cast Upheaval, replay all the artifact mana, cast Megrim and then Prosperity for extra cards.

I need to tune this some, but I may or may not play this. My playgroup does not really like combo decks. Still, it looks like fun to me (twisted person that I am).

I’m going to end this now. I haven’t built a deck around All Hallow’s Eve… But since Living Death and Twilight’s Call are just better, I’ll skip that.

Happy Halloween, everyone. Stop by my house for trick or treat – I give out random rares and packs along with the candy. I’m at [email protected].


[email protected] (Well, really, anyway.)