Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #52: Enchantments Almost Good Enough For States

I have a couple of really good decks – decks that almost work well enough for eight rounds of Swiss and a Top 8.
In each case, the decks revolve around an enchantment that is pretty solid and does a very good job of controlling the game if you get it in play and keep it there. However, that’s a good description of Opposition as well – and Opposition decks run much better searching and card drawing.

If I time it right, this article should appear a day or two after States is over. That means it is a perfect time to display my superior tech and the great combo deck I used to win States.


I have a couple of really good decks – decks that almost work well enough for eight rounds of Swiss and a Top 8.


In each case, the decks revolve around an enchantment that is pretty solid and does a very good job of controlling the game if you get it in play and keep it there. However, that’s a good description of Opposition as well – and Opposition decks run much better searching and card drawing. In other words, neither of these decks is better than Squirrel Opposition. Opposition protects its enchantment better, since blue has counters.

These can go about 50 percent against U/G and combo decks like Wake, but are slightly inconsistent. They also go almost 50 percent against really, really fast decks like R/G beatdown (not the ones with Dragons – just the one tuned for pure speed; my decks wreck slower R/G decks, like everything else). They could be tweaked to be better against either beatdown or combo, but only at the expense of losing ground against the other types.

The enchantments these decks are built around are Death Match (I know, I know), Oversold Cemetery, and Astral Slide. Worship should also be in there somewhere – it is very good against so many decks. These come close enough to have been tested a lot, but are about tier 1.2. I also built decks around Words of Wind, Solitary Confinement, and Words of War, but these decks are just too weak to discuss now. They roll over and die if they don’t draw the enchantments, or roll over and die to other common causes. Those decks are tier 2 or lower.

The decks would be better if opponents are not packing enchantment kill, but most are. At least, the better decks will all have enchantment kill, at least in the sideboard.

The Death Match deck is fun – and I may take it to States, provided I decide I’m playing for fun, not to win the tourney. (If I’m playing to win, I’ll play Wake or Opposition.) It’s symmetrical – both players can use the card. The solution is to have more creatures, to have creatures that you don’t care to lose, or to have creatures that are unaffected, like Phantom Centaur.

Death by Squirrels

4 Phantom Centaur

4 Krosan Tusker

2 Gigapede

4 Death Match

4 Squirrel Nest

4 Smother

2 Chainer’s Edict

4 Duress

3 Grizzly Fate

2 Diabolic Tutor

1 Haunting Echoes

1 Naturalize

1 Skeletal Scrying

10 Forest

8 Swamp

3 Deserted Temple

3 City of Brass


3 Naturalize

3 Engineered Plague

2 Chainer’s Edict

3 Coffin Purge

4 (something else, generally Cabal Therapy or Wild Mongrel)

Originally, I had a Living Wish component, similar to the one for the Oversold Cemetery deck below… But it proved too slow in testing. Another change early on in testing: I started with fewer Smothers, but went to four immediately.

Once Death Match is in play, you can kill practically anything that is not pro-black. Squirrel Nest, Death Match, and Deserted Temple will kill a Roar token. Grizzly Fate and threshold kills a Phantom Nishoba. Once you have a token generator on the table, if Death Match stays in play, you win.

A quick note: Engineered Plague on Squirrels will indeed kill off the Squirrels, but they will still trigger Death Match because they did come into play. That’s the one advantage I can see for Squirrel Nest/Death Match over Squirrel Nest/Opposition.

Phantom Centaur and Gigapede are untargetable by Death Match, and are the primary kill mechanisms. The token generators are more useful as creature control (with Death Match) or chump blockers, but I have won with Squirrels and Bears often enough.

This deck can win against U/G, unless you get mana screwed or they get a couple fatties quickly, and then get Wonder in the graveyard. I had tried Entrails Feaster and Crypt Creeper as answers that could be fetched with a Living Wish – Feaster was better, but a bit slow. I would usually get down to low life total, then get control again – but if they waited until their own turn to pitch Wonder, I would lose. Coffin Purge is the best sideboard option I have found, and it helps. However, a good U/G deck will bring in enchantment kill, so it comes down to who draws what.

The Duresses are there for Upheaval and combo decks like Wake. Death Match is great creature control, but does very little when you get attacked with a lot of cat tokens or three 7/7 Wurms. Enchantment kill, plus Gigapede and Squirrel Nests to work around Wrath of God, seem to work best. Your only hope is to outrun them while keeping Mirari’s Wake off the table.

Haunting Echoes is there for Glory, which can be a pain otherwise. The other silver bullets, and the two Chainer’s Edicts, are there to deal with the random decks that seem to proliferate in Madison. I know I will see Opposition, maybe Ensnaring Bridge and Solitary Confinement, a couple Worships and the like – and I hate to die to that sort of thing game one.

The deck is very solid, with one exception: The mana. The deck wants double green for Squirrel Nest and Grizzly Fate, black for Duress and Smother, and Deserted Temple is really powerful when it gets going. However, it can just get run over when it draws multiple Cities of Brass or Deserted Temples. If it could run Bayous or even Llanowar Wastes – which, by the way, would make it a pretty good multiplayer deck.

The second enchantment almost good enough to build a deck around is Oversold Cemetery. My version is an evolution of the Beasts deck I wrote about a while back. It is pretty strong, but it can also fall to a fast Wonder.

Beast Attack v2.2

4 Krosan Tusker

4 Barkhide Mauler

4 Ravenous Baloth

4 Hystrodon

3 Phantom Centaur

4 Oversold Cemetery

4 Smother

2 Duress

3 Chainer’s Edict

3 Living Wish

2 Dirge of Dread

9 Swamp

10 Forest

1 Barren Moor

1 Tranquil Thicket

1 Plains


1 Cloudchaser Eagle / Nullmage Advocate

1 Auramancer

1 Intrepid Hero

1 Entrails Feaster / Crypt Creeper

1 Silklash Spider

1 Possessed Centaur

3 Naturalize

3 Engineered Plague

2 Duress

All the synergy between Cycling and Oversold Cemetery is still there. I have often found myself with two Cemeteries and four creatures in the graveyard… But when one of them is Krosan Tusker, you can stack the Cemeteries, return Tusker, and cycle him before Cemetery II’s trigger resolves. Then, when the second trigger resolves, there are still four creatures in the graveyard, so you get a beast back again.

The Phantom Centaurs are large, hard to kill, and provide bodies once they finally do leave play. However, I like Undead Gladiators in that slot as well. The additional cycling is good. Getting enough black quickly is tougher, and cycling for land turn after turn can be fatal, so the Centaurs will probably hold the slot.

The deck plays to stay alive until it gets a bunch of mana and accumulates beasts. It usually wins with a Dirge of Dread or just swarming with beasts. Repeatedly sacrificing Beasts for life with Ravenous Baloth has proved a very strong method of staying around long enough to win. Dirge of Dread is a marginal card – but every so often it cycles to give Hystrodon Fear, gaining a net of two cards, and those instances come often enough to keep Dirge around so far.

The Living Wish options have proved just good enough to keep them in the deck. Krosan Tusker can fetch the single Plains, so Cloudchaser Eagle can become recurring enchantment removal thanks to the Cemetery. Auramancer will get the Cemetery back from the graveyard. Guiltfeeder gets around Worship. Intrepid Hero dies easily, but when he’s active, he is a beating. Crypt Creeper is the best answer to single incarnations I have found, but it would be good to find room for some Coffin Purges.

Once again, I want the Duresses as answers to combo and Upheaval. I would like 4 maindeck, but I cannot find room.

Finally, my friend Barry and I have been playing around with an Astral Slide deck for a month or so – ever since he drafted two and ripped his opponents to shreds. Since Barry may play the deck – and since several other people have written articles on Slide recently – I’m not going to give a decklist, just some comments.

Cartographer and a cycling land is an amazing card drawing machine, which also blocks. It is very good. Weathered Wayfarer can help this combo, but cut him before you cut Cartographer.

Adding red for Lightning Rift is strong, but Mystic Enforcer may be a better kill card. You can get to threshold quickly, and you can remove practically any blocker. Enforcer also appears for four mana even if Slide isn’t in play, unlike the Exalted Angel or any other card that requires Morphing and unMorphing.

Astral Slide is critical. To this end, it is almost worth running Aura Extraction as a means of protecting Slide – remember, Aura Extraction cycles.

The long and short of it is that the enchantments are pretty strong. Packing enchantment kill looks to be very important in this format. Fortunately, there is a lot of it around.


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