One of my very first Magic: the Gathering Decks revolved around the Creature Enchantment (nowadays you would call that an Aura) Pariah:
What I did was to put Pariah and certain Enchantments that prevented all damage dealt to a Creature on the same Creature and thus would not receive any damage anymore. The killer card was Millstone, so this was my very first Mill-Deck. Yes indeed, my fondness of alternative roads to victory started early on in my “career” as a Magic player and has grown ever since.
Recently, when I was once again browsing my card binders for good cards for a certain EDH deck project of mine, I came across this card, which I had not seen in any deck ever, putting it in the Crap Rare category. It’s price of just about a Dollar fifty confirms that assessment. But have a look at it yourself, then have a look at Pariah again and you will see where this will be going:
So anytime Phytohydra receives damage, the damage is prevented and instead you get to put a +1/+1 Counter on it. By now it should be obvious that this card makes for a splendid combo with Pariah, as the latter will redirect all damage you would have been dealt to Phytohydra, which just eats the damage and converts it to +1/+1 Counters. Of course you cannot expect the Hydra to actually get to sprout, as your opponent will most likely realize that attacking you with a Phytohydra with Pariah attached to it is pretty much like cutting into their own flesh. So what you will have is a perfect stalling mechanism, which will leave you much time for some milling!
Let me show you how I would build a Pariah-Phytohydra Combo Deck nowadays, legal in the Modern Format:
4 x Noble Hermit (G)
2 x Birds of Paradise (G)
4 x Wall of Omens (1W)
4 x Wall of Denial (1WU)
2 x Carven Caryatid (1GG)
2 x Ambassador Laquatus (1UU)
4 x Phytohydro (2WWG)
2 x Cho-Manno, Revolutonary (2WW)
4 x Hindering Light (WU)
4 x Idyllic Tutor (2W)
4 x Pariah (2W)
4 x Millstone (2)
12 x Forest
6 x Island
6 x Plains
The basic plan would be to stall with qualtiy Walls/Defenders for the first few turns and then get out Phytohydra, or your “backup guy” Cho-Manno, Revolutionary, and enchant it/him with Pariah, which can be fetched via Idyllic Tutor. Cheap Mana-makers like Birds and Hermit allow you to get out your Defenders early on and to set up the combo earlier as well. Ambassador Laquatus and Millstone are there to do the “dirty work” – decking your opponent once the lock is in place. Since your enchanted Phytohydras/Cho-Mannos will most likely attract lots of targeted Creature removal from your opponent (depending on the type of deck they are playing) so I added 4 Hindering Light to the mix as a great way to protect your key Creatures/Enchantments and draw a card while you do so. What would really be great in this deck would be 4 copies of Greater Auramancy, as it not only shrouds all your enchanted Creatures but also all your Enchantments. Unfortunately, I don’t really know what to cut out in order to make room for those…
Overall, this is not really a serious deck, not trying to be competitive at all, but rather a fun new take on one of my very first Magic: the Gathering decks, which has many pleasant and nostalgic memories attached to it.