Yu-Gi-Oh: Kings of Fire & Twilight DAD – Two Casual Decks

Dear friends of the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG!

Just recently, my interest/attention has once again shifted from Magic: the Gathering to Yu-Gi-Oh! I noticed that I am switching back and forth between these two and also others, enjoying either for a shorter or longer period of time until I switch back to the other. So now my focus of interest is on Yu-Gi-Oh! again and I built several casual, not competitive, decks on the cheap, meaning I am only using cards I have in my possession. Two of these decks I want to showcase in this deck/strategy article. As usual I will provide the full decklist followed up with some of my thoughts on the respective deck. So let us start with

Kings of Fire

Monsters…19

3 x Fire King Avatar Kirin

3 x Fire King Avatar Barong

3 x Flamvell Firedog

2 x Flamvell Magician

1 x Flamvell Archer

2 x Manticore of Darkness

2 x Sacred Phoenix of Nephtys

3 x Fire King High Avatar Garunix

Spells…12

3 x Onslaught of the Fire Kings

3 x Circle of the Fire Kings

2 x The Big Cattle Drive

2 x Book of Moon

1 x Dark Hole

1 x Foolish Burial

Traps…9

3 x Horn of the Phantom Beast

2 x Icarus Attack

2 x Flamvell Counter

1 x Needle Ceiling

1 x Torrential Tribute

About the Deck:

This deck is an “evolved” version of a deck I threw together using only cards from the Onslaught of the Fire Kings Structure Deck and this newer version has a lot going on for it. Your “boss monsters” are Fire King High Avatar Garunix…

…and the well known Sacred Phoenix of Nepthys. Both Monsters resurrect after being destroyed by a card effect, whereby Garunix destroys all other Monsters on the field whereas the Phoenix destroys all Spells and Traps in play.

You can Special Summon either of your “boss monsters” easily by two amazing cards, of which I happen to own a playset of both due to purchasing three of the aforementioned Structure Decks. One is Onslaught of the Fire Kings and the other Circle of the Fire Kings.

Circle lets you choose any of your FIRE Monsters in play and one of your FIRE Monsters in the graveyard. Then you destroy the former and Special Summon the latter. This lets you easily trade one of your low-level / low-power Fire Monsters with a Garunix or a Phoenix in your Graveyard. You can use Foolish Burial and the effect of Fire King Avatar Kirin, which lets you send a FIRE Monster from Deck to Graveyard when destroyed by any means, to fill your Graveyard with your high-level / high-power Monsters.

Onslaught of the Fire Kings on the other hand lets you Special Summon ANY FIRE Monster of the Beast, Beast Warrior or Winged Beast types (all your Monsters are of one of those types) straight from your deck. It loses all effects and is destroyed at the end of your turn. That is why I am running 2 Book of Moon (a card of general usefulness which I firstly underestimated) so you can flip the Special Summoned Monster face-down, thus avoiding its destruction. You don’t need to do that of course if you WANT your Garunix or Phoenix to be destroyed by the effect of Onslaught, as they will resurrect and destroy all other Monsters in the case of Garunix or all Spells and Traps in the case of Phoenix.

Manticore of Darkness is a great target for Foolish Burial or Kirin’s effect as you can Special Summon it at the End Phase of the turn it was put into the Graveyard (it doesn’t specify from where) by discarding a Beast/Beast Warrior/Winged Beast from your hand or your side of the field. That is not bad at all for a 2300 ATK Monster.

One amazing non-Tribute FIRE Monster I cannot leave unmentioned is Flamvell Firedog. At 1900 ATK he is a decent beatstick but his effect is what makes him shine. If the Firedog destroys a Monster in battle, you can Special Summon a FIRE Monster with 200 DEF or less from your deck. Running 2 copies of the somewhat off-topic Monsters Flamvell Magician and Flamvell Archer turns Firedog into a viable instant Synchro and XYZ-engine. You can fetch Flamvell Magician to Synchro Summon a Level 8 Monster like Stardust Dragon or Red Dragon Archfiend or XYZ into anything with Rank 4. Alternatively, using Flamvell Archer would enable you to Synchro Summon anything Level 7 such as Black Rose Dragon etc. You can use Firedogs awesome ability to fetch Fire King Avatar Kirin or Barong as well since they have 200 DEF as well, which can be handy at times as well.

OK this about covers the quite synergetic cast of Monsters in the deck. Let us look at the Spells and Traps now:

There are quite a few Beast / Beast Warrior / Winged Beast support cards available and this deck pretty much runs the best of the best. First and foremost I have to mention one of my all-time favorite Trap cards for any deck running even just a number of Beasts and/or Beast Warriors: Horn of the Phantom Beast. This card is simply amazing. Not only does it give a permanent surprise boost (and what a nasty surprise it can be indeed) of no less than 800 ATK to one of your Beasts or Beast Warriors, no, it also lets you draw a card each time the equipped Monster destroys another Monster in battle. This makes the Horn an awesome draw engine with a total of 11 potential “Horn targets” and your opponent will alway be hesitant to attack one of your Beasts/Beast Warriors if you have just one set card in your Spell and Trap Zone.

The next best Beast / Beast Warrior / Winged Beast support card in my opinion is The Big Cattle Drive, which can easily be the equivalent of a Pot of Greed in a deck like this, potentially even better. The Big Cattle Drive lets you draw one card for each Monster type of Beast, Beast Warrior and Winged Beast you have in play. If we look at the statistics for a moment: This deck has a good mix of 6 Beasts, 5 Beast Warriors and 5 Winged Beasts so the odds are quite good that you will draw at least 2 cards most of the times you use The Big Cattle Drive and there is the potential to “max it out” and draw a whooping 3 cards. Something like that is pretty unheard of in Yu-Gi-Oh and thus I really really like this card.

For further support, I run two Icarus Attack, which lets you tribute one of your Winged Beasts to destroy not one, but two (!) cards in play. Any cards, Monsters, face-up, face-down, Spells, Traps, anything you want. However I more or less run these as some sort of emergency button, since the only Winged-Beasts are my ace Monsters Fire King High Avatar Garunix and Sacred Phoenix of Nephtys. Tributing one of these is a pretty dire sacrifice and should only be done if you really really need to get rid of two bothersome cards on the field. This warrants the inclusion of two copies of Icarus Attack in my opinion.

Furthermore, I am running 3 field sweepers / Monster mass removal cards. Dark Hole and Torrential Tribute are staples, but I am also running Needle Ceiling, a Trap that you can only activate if there are four or more Monsters in play and which destroys all Monsters on the field. The synergy of these cards with your ace Monsters Garunix and Phoenix should be obvious by now.

Also, since more than half of my monsters (12 to be precise) have 200 DEF, two copies of Flamvell Counter should work well in this deck and take care of pesky Spells and Traps your opponent might activate. Flamvell Counter lets you remove from your Graveyard one FIRE Monster with 200 or less ATK to negate the activation of any one Spell or Trap card.

That about wraps it up for this deck. Overall I think there are lots of  very powerful interactions and I am looking forward to taking it to the test some time soon. Now let us move on to the second deck / part of this article…

Twilight DAD:

Monsters…21

3 x Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

3 x Magical Merchant

3 x Apprentice Magician

3 x Old Vindictive Magician

1 x Magician of Faith

1 x Sangan

1 x Witch of the Black Forest

1 x Breaker, the Magical Warrior

2 x Chaos Sorcerer

2 x Dark Armed Dragon

1 x Black Luster Soldier, Envoy of the Beginning

Spells…19

3 x Dimension Capsule

3 x Dark Erruption

3 x A Feather of the Phoenix

2 x Monster Reincarnation

1 x Pot of Greed

1 x Graceful Charity

1 x Card Destruction

1 x Monster Reborn

1 x Premature Burial

1 x Foolish Burial

1 x Magical Stone Excavation

1 x Swords of Revealing Light

About the Deck:

You could safely call this deck “Cheapo DAD” (DAD stands for Dark Armed Dragon), as I don’t own and won’t invest in the must have cards in a decent DAD Deck, Armageddon Knight and Dark Grepher. So here is the main man of this deck:

You can see how awesome this one is, but at the same time the Special Summoning requirements are quite tricky. You need exactly 3 DARK Monsters in your graveyard to Special Summon DAD from your hand. But once you achieve this, you will be rewarded by a 2800 ATK behemoth of a dragon with a utterly devastating ability: You may banish 1 Dark Monster to destroy ANY 1 card on the field. And there is no limitation to how often you can do this in one turn. So most basically you will have 3 Dark Monsters to banish from your Graveyard resulting in the destruction of no less than 3 cards, regardless of card type or position. How I plan to set up the conditions required for the Special Summon of destructive DAD I will detail later on. But first a few words about the other Ace Monster in the deck:

This one is far easier to Special Summon, as you “only” need to banish one LIGHT and one DARK Monster from your deck to pull it off. You will be rewarded by a 3000/2500 super-soldier with two kickass abilities as you can read on the above card image.

I am also running two of Black Luster Soldier’s little brothers, Chaos Sorcerer, which has the same Special Summon requirements as the Soldier, has an ATK of 2300 and has the effect to banish one face-up Monster on the field once per turn.

But back to DAD and how I am planning on setting up the exactly 3 DARK Monsters in your Graveyard Special Summon Condition.

Firstly, I have lots of ways to get a lot of cards into the Graveyard early on. Your main “weapon” is Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter which has the awesome ability to destroy any one card (I am seeing a card destruction theme here!) when flipped, sending 3 cards from the top of your Deck to the Graveyard whilst doing so. Then there is Magical Merchant, which, when flipped, lets you send cards from the top of your Deck to the Graveyard until you hit a Spell or Trap card, which you can then take into your hand. Both Ryko and Magical Merchant are Light Monsters, so they can be used for fodder for Special Summoning Soldier or Sorcerer. The other “engine” I included for sending Monsters to the Graveyard easily is the pretty well-known Apprentice Magician – Old Vindictive Magician combo. Both Apprentice Magician and Old Vindictive Mage are DARK Monsters, so potential fodder for DAD, whereby Apprentice Magician Special Summons any level 2 or lower Magician from your Deck in face down defense postion when flipped. In most cases you will choose Old Vindictive Magician, set him and destroy any Monster when he is flipped face up (the card destruction theme goes on and on as you see!). Apprentice Magician can also be used to Special Summon and set Magician of Faith from your Deck in case you need to retrieve a key Spell from your Graveyard.

So as detailed above, there are plenty of ways to drop many many Monsters in your Graveyard to hit the 3 DARK Monster threshold for Special Summoning DAD. BUT, you will think, what if more than 3 DARK Monsters are in your Graveyard? That would make DAD utterly useless. My approach to solve this is the following:

Rather than trying to banish the surplus DARK Monsters from my Graveyard (although it can be done to Special Summon Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning or Chaos Sorcerer – quite a nice synergy here I would say!) via cards like Bazoo the Soul Eater or similar cards, my plan is to take cards from my Graveyard and Special Summon them or add them to my deck or hand. I am running quite a high number of cards that are capable of doing so. Monster Reborn and Premature Burial Special Summon Monsters from my Graveyard to the field, A feather of the Phoenix lets me put a card (for instance a surplus DARK Monster) on top of my Deck and both Dark Erruption and Monster Reincarnation lets me add (DARK) Monsters from Graveyard to hand. All these cards are quite useful in and off themselves but they also cater to the needs of DAD in case you have more than 3 DARK Monsters in the Graveyard. Monster Reincarnation is particularly useful to retrieve your “cannot be Special Summoned by other means Monsters” from the Graveyard (Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, Chaos Sorcerer and DAD himself) if Ryko or Magical Merchant dropped them there.

In order to get a hold of my ace Monsters in the first place, I am running three Dimensional Capsules (yeah I know, but I can’t afford Golden Sarkophaguses and after all this is supposed to be a buget deck!) and a Witch of the Dark Forest. The latter can only add DAD to your hand but that is fine anyways. Another, more complicated way to get Black Luster Soldier or DAD into your hand from your Deck would be to combine Foolish Burial with Monster Reincarnation.

Lastly, when we think about statistics, 8 LIGHT Monsters and 13 DARK should be enough to meet the Special Summoning requirements of DAD, Black Luster Soldier and Chaos Sorcerer I would think.

Overall this deck has potential, even though it is a cheapo version of a “real” DAD deck, and it has a lot of destructive power, the power to destroy any bothersome card(s) your opponent might manage to drop, which a huge array of Monsters with pinpoint destruction effects, namely 3 Rykos, 3 Old Vindictive Magicians, two Chaos Sorcerers, 1 Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning  and last but not least 2 devastating DADs. I am really looking forward to see if what sounds awesome in theory would also work out in practice!

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Yu-Gi-Oh: My first First Turn Kill (with Ben Kei Equip)

Dear friends and fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG!

Yesterday I had my good friend and fellow Yu-Gi-Oh! player Robin over and we had ourselves a little YGO marathon over the course of which I tested like two dozens of different decks and with one of these decks, something unprecedented happened:

I actually achieved my first ever “First Turn Kill”, meaning I managed to win on my very first turn! That is pretty cool in and off itself but what is even cooler is that I did that with a totally crappy (one might think) deck which I built from seemingly random commons I found in my boxes of cards which I bought cheaply while ago!

What I wanted to achieve when I constructed this seemingly weak common deck was just building a deck which made good use of Equip-Spells, which I think are underrated and indeed more powerful than many people think or realize. Ye ol’ Axe of Despair gives any Monster a permanent 1000 ATK boost for instance which is pretty amazing. So what I did is I threw a bunch of rather good to mediocre Equip Spells together with some more or less random Monsters to form my “proto” Equip Deck. I think it wouldn’t have fared so  well in that “protoypish” form so what I did next was to research a bit on Equip Decks on the internet and, over the course of my research I came across this card, which I deemed pretty amazing and which had me very much intrigued:

Armed Samurai has awful stats for a Lv 4 Monster but his effect is pretty much unique, powerful and totally unheard of: For each Equip Spell attached to him he gets ONE ADDITIONAL ATTACK each turn. As far as my knowledge goes, additional attacks are pretty rare in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG and only very few, very rare cards like for instance Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, have such powerful effects. I was intrigues. A common Monster with such a powerful ability. I could see how this would be awesome with some of the Equip Spells in my prototype deck like Axe of Despair and Mage P0wer, which would easily compensate the lack of ATK-Power in Ben Kei. So the next step for me was to scour my “card reserves” once again, which produced exactly 3 Ben Keis along with some other useful cards with my soon-to-be-built deck. So I assembled the next version of this deck, running quite a lot of Equip Support besides Armed Samurai Ben Kei such as…

and of course a ton of more or less powerful Equip Spells. What I had then was far from optimized or even fine-tuned, but it won me some games against my opponent’s highly powerful Beast-deck AND scored me, as boldly mentioned above and in the title of this article, my first time ever one-turn kill in my personal “career” as a player of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. I was pretty satisfied with my almost all-common deck. Actually I liked the deck so much that I now want to “pimp” it a bit and buy a few cards (all on the cheap) to fine-tune it properly and add some key cards, which may be cheap but I don’t happen to own like this one:

Here’s a list what I want my “advanced” version of the Ben Kei Equip deck to look like:

Ben Kei Equip:

Monsters…16

3 x Armed Samurai Ben-Kei

3 x Mataza the Zapper

3 x Iron Blacksmith Kotetsu

3 x Sunlight Unicorn

3 x Mystic Tomato

1 x Sangan

Spells…24

3 x Axe of Despair

3 x Malevolent Nuzzler

3 x United We Stand

3 x Mage Power

3 x Big Bang Shot

3 x Ego Boost

2 x Hidden Armory

1 x Premature Burial

1 x Reinforcement of the Army

2 x The Warrior Returning Alive

About the Deck:

In general, this deck could be called “unorthodox” as firstly, it does not have any Traps and secondly, the Monster Count is rather low with just  16 Monsters. Obviously I made this deckbuilding decision to maximize the number of Equip Spells and if this wasn’t just some fun-deck I would probably cut some more of the Monsters to run even more Equip Spells (such as Shooting Star Bow – Ceal which makes the equipped Monster unblockable at the cost of 1000 ATK) and some Giant Trunades to clear the enemy Spell and Trap Zone to launch a safe attack. For instance, I already cut out the Maha Vailo, a Equip-Supported Monster with 1550 ATK that gets an additional +500 ATK for each Equipment attached to it. Some will say “why the Sunglight Unicorn” and may be asking so rightfully, but again, this is a casual/fun deck and I like drawing additional cards! More on that later though. Well needless to say the main goal of the deck is to launch a devastating attack with a multi-equipped Armed Samurai Ben Kei asap and thus finish of your opponent over the course of one turn at best. Let me give you some thoughts on the individual cards:

Armed Samurai Ben Kei: Obviously the star of the whole show. At 500 ATK his stats are awful for a Lv 4 Monster, but his effect, which gives him one additional attack per turn for each Equip Spell attached to him is quite amazing and can but will not all too often lead to a first turn / one turn kill. Just equip all you got to Ben Kei and swing in for multiple, massive attacks. Maybe I should really consider running Giant Trunades, because Ben Kei will be prime subject to all kinds of nasty traps like Sakuretsu Armor etc.

Mataza the Zapper: A low-power Warrior too, which is a bad version of Ben Kei, whom I am still running as a backup for the latter. After all, Mataza has an ATK of 1300 (not too sparkling…) and may attack twice per battle phase. This means if you equip him with a lot of Equip Spells you are still going to do double damage and if he has just two Axes of Despair he will still be a 3300 ATK hulk, probably bigger than anything your opponent will have to defend against him, attacking twice per turn.

Iron Blacksmith Kotetsu: I will get a hold of a playset of those asap since the Flip Effect of adding any Equip Spell from your deck to your hand is quite amazing in a deck like this. Maybe I should consider to run an “Equip Spell Toolbox”, some one-of Equip Spells, just because Kotetsu would be able to conveniently fetch any of those.

Sunlight Unicorn: Most will probably disagree with this one, but I like a card that gives me at the least the chance to effectively draw me a second card every turn. Sunlight Unicorn lets you once during your Main Phase look at the top card of your deck and adds it to your hand if it is an Equip Spell. Otherwise you have to put the revealed card under your deck. In a deck which features 16 Equip Spells you will draw an additional card every other turn or so according to probability. I like this card!

Mystic Tomato: This is just in there to fetch Ben Kei (or, if it must be, Mataza the Zapper) as he is a DARK Monster and when Mystic Tomato dies in battle you can Special Summon a 1500 ATK or less DARK Monster from your hand.

Sangan: Sangan is another searcher for your key Monster Sangan.

Axe of Despair: A classic Equip Spell that increases the ATK by a whooping 1000. Tributing a Monster to retrieve it from your graveyard if it is destroyed will hardly ever be worth it…

Malevolent Nuzzler: Another classic. Increases the equipped Monster’s ATK by 700. Can be put on top of your deck by paying 500 Life Points when it would be sent to the graveyard, which may be useful in some situations.

United We Stand: Pretty amazing as it increases the ATK of the equipped Monster by 800 for every Monster you control. So in case you got two Monsters, this will be substantially better than ye olde Axe of Despair, giving an ATK boost of 1600!

Mage Power: Probably the most potent, the most potentially powerful Equip Spell you have giving the equipped Monster +500 ATK for each Spell or Trap card you control. This can easily boost one of your Monsters, preferably Ben Kei by 2000+ ATK.

Big Bang Shot: Gives a rather minor ATK boost of 400 but makes the equipped Monster inflict piercing battle damage which can be very useful indeed.

Ego Boost: Not an Equip but a Quickplay Spell that grants a respectable 1000 ATK boost to one Monster for the duration of  one Battle Phase. This card is really more powerful as you might expect, as I have seen in my test games. The thing is the element of surprise and your opponent will always have to fear your Ego Boost if you have just one card in hand when they attack. I love cards like that. Ego Boost can not only inflict a ton of battle damage when used on Ben Kei or the double-attacking Mataza the Zapper, but can also save one of your Monsters from being destroyed in battle when used defensively.

Hidden Armory: Lets you retrieve an Equip Spell of choice from the graveyard, which is handy, but has the drawback that you can’t summon any Monsters on the turn you activate it.

Premature Burial: A good way to reanimate a slain Ben Kei when needed. Note that this is an Equip Spell too so it can easily be searched for by Iron Blacksmith Kotetsu.

Reinforcement of the Army: I am running one copy of this Lv 4 or lower Warrior searcher mainly as another means of getting a hold of Armed Samurai Ben Kei.

The Warrior Returning Alive: This one retrieves your Ben Kei from the graveyard, letting you add him to your hand in case he was destroyed earlier on.

Well there you have it. That is my Ben Kei Equip / OTK deck for you. Again I don’t think this would be a “competitive” deck by any standards and it is still a work in progress. I am just happy it works like every other game or so and found it very satisfying to play, even more so due to the fact that you have the POTENTIAL for a quick and fulminant finish!

Yu-Gi-Oh: A De-LIGHT-ful Casual Deck (Work-in-Progress)

Dear friends of the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game!

It seems my Magic-craze of late has diminished and so I am back writing about Yu-Gi-Oh! again after a long pause on the subject.

After browsing some of the cards in my quite extensive collection, I came across one of my older deck designs and re-built that deck with some tweaks. I am not sure if I already posted about this deck in particular on this blog (but I am pretty sure I posted it to my old Yu-Gi-Oh-only blog) so if this seems familiar to you, you may as well skip this article.

So while ago I built a deck just from random cards I happened to own, revolving around more or less subtle interactions of a number of Light Monsters, most notably

Lightray Grepher 

and the in my opinion very powerful Freed the Brave Wanderer.

Lightray Grepher and Freed the Brave Wanderer have a nice synergy which becomes apparent when you read what they actually do. While Lightray Grepher can be Special Summoned by discarding a Light Monster of Level 5 or higher and has the effect to banish a Light Monster from your deck by discarding any Light Monster from hand, Freed the Brave Wanderer lets you once per turn banish 2 Light Monsters from your graveyard to destroy any Monster on the field with a higher attack than his own. So basically, as long as you keep adding Light Monsters to your graveyard, Freed will keep destroying any Monsters stronger than 1700 ATK which is quite an awesome effect in my opinion. If you just use these two cards in conjunction, you can basically Normal Summon Freed on your first turn, then Special Summon Grepher the very same turn, discarding a higher level Light Monster and maybe also active his effect to banish one Light Monster from your deck and discard one Light Monster from your hand. By doing so,  you will not only be able to use Freed’s devastating ability repreatedly, you will also have a ton of banished Monsters which can, at basic level, be Special Summoned with Return from the Different Dimension or D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation.

Now those who are wise in the ways of Yu-Gi-Oh! will realize that this card would go awesomely well with this kind of setup:

Well as you can read for yourself, Lightray Sorcerer would ROCK combined with the two aforementioned Monsters. Only problem: I don’t own a single copy of it, but who knows, maybe I’ll get a hold of some sooner or later in case I find the deck enjoyable overall!

There is more to this deck than just the interactions of two central Monsters, Lightray Grepher and Freed the Brave Wanderer. Let’s have a look at the full deck list:

Lightforce Deck:

Monsters…21

3 x Lightray Grepher

3 x Freed the Brave Wanderer

3 x Herald of Creation

1 x D. D. Warrior Lady

3 x Thunder Dragon

2 x Cyber Dragon

2 x Lightray Daedalus

2 x The Creator

2 x Blue-Eyes White Dragon

Spells…14

3 x D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation

1 x Pot of Greed

1 x Graceful Charity

1 x Trade-In

1 x Card Destruction

1 x Reload

1 x Monster Reborn

1 x Premature Burial

1 x Foolish Burial

1 x Swords of Revealing Light

1 x Lightning Vortex

1 x Dark Hole

Traps…5

2 x Return from the Different Dimension

1 x Torrential Tribute

1 x Mirror Force

1 x Call of the Haunted

Well this deck runs many (Traditional Format) staple Spells and Traps such as Pot of Greed, Monster Reborn, Dark Hole, Call of the Haunted and Torrential Tribute among others. While I think all these cards are of great general usefulness, I am inclined to happily swap them out for some more thematic cards as soon as I come across such. For now the deck as it stands is probably decent and moderately powerful, not least due to the fact that it runs all the what I call “Power Cards” except things like Raigeki and Harpy’s Feather Duster, which I don’t play in my decks anymore in general, as I simply consider them too powerful and devastating, to an extent that a deck containing them becomes less fun to play than it would be without those.

So besides the aforementioned staple cards, what makes this deck work? Well we have already seen how well what I consider the key Monsters of the deck, Lightray Grepher and Freed the Brave Wanderer, work together. Also I have pointed out that Lightray Sorcerer would be an awesome addition to the deck. Alas, as stated above, I don’t have a copy or two of that one handy so I must manage without it – for the time being. The deck still has a lot going on for it though:

Besides Grepher and Freed I run 3 copies of Thunder Dragon, which is quite weak and sucky for a Lv 5 Monster but its ability makes it worth running in this deck as far as I am concerned. You can discard a Thunder Dragon from your hand to add up to 2 more Thunder Dragons from your deck to your hand. Why is this useful or relevant? Because firstly you can discard one Thunder Dragon to get two more, then, if you have Lightray Grepher out, you can discard one of the two to Special Summon Grepher and use the second Dragon in your hand to activate Grepher’s ability, letting you banish one of your Light Monsters from your deck (to be Special Summoned immediately or later on through D.D.R. or Return from the Different Dimension) by discarding your second Thunder Dragon from hand. So you will end up with a free Lightray Grepher, 2 Light Monsters in your graveyard to fuel Freed’s destructive ability and one banished Monster, which, as stated above, can be Special Summoned through various means from there. Also you have effectively thinned out your deck. There are also some minor synergies with Thunder Dragon and Card Destruction or Reload. Discard one Thunder Dragon to get 2 more out of your deck, then activate Reload or Card Destruction to create some minor card advantage that may or may not matter.

Then this deck features – surprise, surprise – several “Boss Monsters” as you could call them.

Instead of Lightray Sorcerer I am running 2 Lightray Daedalus, which can only be Special Summoned when 4 or more Light Monsters are in your graveyard. While that requirement is easily met with discarding Thunder Dragons and/or through the effect of Lightray Grepher for instance, I do realize that there is some dissynergy between Daedalus and Freed the Brave Wanderer, the latter banishing Light Monsters from your Graveyard when activating his effect while the former needs Light Monsters in the graveyard in order to be (Special) Summoned. However I think this is managable and Lightray Daedalus is quite the “Boss Monster” to have with 2700 ATK and a situationally devastating effect (Target 1 Field Spell and any two other cards on the field and destroy all of them – once per turn). This one is going to be swapped out in favor of Lightray Sorcerer if I decide to get a hold of those eventually).

Then we got The Creator as another “Boss Monster”. For a LV 8 Monster his ATK is lackluster at 2300 (but he has a great DEF of 3000 – which will hardly ever matter though) but again, it is his effect that redeems him. Once per turn you can discard 1 card from hand (again a possible discard outlet for creating more Light Monster fodder for Freed the Brave Wanderer) to Special Summon ANY 1 Monster from your Graveyard. Your prime target will be one of the two Blue-Eyes White Dragons which I am running as the third Boss Monster for lack of a better idea and mainly as a powerful beater. The Creator himself can not be Special Summoned from your graveyard however, and I don’t run Seahorse Kaiser either, which would count as two tributes for your Creators, I am having a different plan for getting out The Creator easily, bypassing the two tributes needed and the “cannot be Special Summoned from Graveyard” clause: Nowhere does it say The Creator cannot be Special Summoned from the Banishment. So what you would do is banish him either from your deck through Lightray Grepher’s effect OR banish him from your graveyard through Freed’s effect, after having dropped your Creator there by your various means of discarding and just Special Summon him from the Removed From Game Zone with D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation or Return from the Different Dimension.

Another card which is not overly powerful but has some nice synergies in this deck in particular is Herald of Creation. At 1800 ATK its stats are decent for a Lv 4 Monster and its effect lets you discard a card (again useful to populate your graveyard with Light Monsters) to take any Lv 7 or higher Monster from your graveyard back into your hand. You can retrieve you lost “Boss Monsters” with this effect or discard Blue-Eyes or the Creator from your hand to draw 2 cards from Trade-In and return the discarded Monster to your hand. It is basically a Monster Reincarnation on a 1800 ATK Monster, so overall a pretty decent card which should come in handy many times.

Two Cyber Dragons and one D. D.  Warrior Lady complete the deck’s cast of Monsters and provide additional power and usefulness. If you cannot Special Summon your Cyber Dragon(s) just use them as discard fodder for Lightgray Grepher for instance, thus adding additional Light Monsters to your graveyard.

When it comes to Spells and Traps, I already mentioned above that the deck runs, quite uninventively, a ton of common staples. Besides those, 3 copies of D. D. R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation and 2 copies of Return  from the Different Dimensions are key Spells and Traps in this deck. We have already seen how many ways there are in this deck to banish Monsters, either from your graveyard to activate Freed the Brave Wanderer’s effect or from your hand or deck through Lightray Grepher. While D.D.R. lets you Special Summon one of these banished Monsters at the cost of discarding a card from hand, Return from the Different Dimension Special Summons as many of your banished Monsters as possible, thus acting as your finisher card. The only downside is you have to pay half of your Life Points to activate it and, more importantly, destroys all these Monsters at end of turn. So you’d better make sure not to run into a Mirror Force or other nasty things as you got only one shot with this card. Book of Moon would let you keep one of the Special Summoned Monsters but I am not sure if that alone would warrant adding a few Books…

Well that is my Casual Light Creature deck for you. I know it is far from being perfect or competitive and I could think of a dozen cards that would do it good such as Honest or the aforementioned Lightray Sorcerer, but consider it as a fun work-in-progress!

Yu-Gi-Oh: New Structure Deck Cyber Dragon Revolution – Reviewed!

At long last, a Yu-Gi-Oh article again! 😀

Not long after the release of the Saga of Blue-Eyes White Dragon Structure Deck, which I enjoyed particularly well, Konami has followed up with yet another kickass (as we shall see) Structure Deck, revolving yet again around one of the most iconic Monsters in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG:

Cyber Dragon Revolution!

The name says it all. The latest Structure Deck is all about the notorious, special summon for free Machine Monster: Cyber Dragon!

Since the card was and is highly popular among the followers of the Yu-Gi-Oh! CCG, many support cards, cards interacting with and refering to the original Cyber Dragon card were released, making “Cyber Dragon” a real “deck archetype” in the game. A good deal of these support and Cyber Dragon related cards is rightfully included in the Cyber Dragon Revolution Structure Deck, which I grabbed as soon as it was released and about which I would like to talk a bit in the following!

So what do you get for the approx. 10 Euros one of these decks will cost you?

You will get a total of 42 cards, 4 of which are holos, among them 2 Ultra Rares and 2 Super Rares as well as your two copies of plain, old Cyber Dragon himself. I think it is semi-limited (I don’t care that much about official restrictions though) so that is just fine. Among the holos (ultra and super rares) are 1 copy of Cyber Dragon Core, Cyber Dragon Drei, the awesome Fusion Monster Cyber Twin Dragon and the new, Cyber Dragon deck ace card, the ultra-powerful and ultra-flashy XYZ Monster Cyber Dragon Nova.

For a detailed card list of the Cyber Dragon Revolution Structure Deck I refer you to the Yu-Gi-Oh Wikia!

The deck itself is stoked with all kinds of Cyber Dragon related and support cards from the history up to the present of the game. This structure deck I think is not one of the easiest decks to pilot the right way, as there are many, more or less, subtle and intricate interactions, most of which revolve around Cyber Dragon and its derivates, so I would recommend against it if you are new to the game. It is these kinds of cards that have a whole essay crammed into a small text box with a font so small you’d need a microscope to read it properly (well actually it is not THAT bad) that makes me think this one is best for intermediate/advanced players. On the other hand, these qualities are what intrigues me, certainly belonging to the more advanced players, about this Structure Deck in particular. While the previous Structure Deck was pretty basic, revolving around the “vanilla” (as in Normal-Monster as opposed to Effect-Monster) Blue-Eyes White Dragon, the new Cyber Dragon Revolution Deck needs skill and experience to be played the right way in my opinion, but if you are able to master it you will be rewarded with awesome deck interactions including Fusion Summoning the powerful Cyber Twin Dragon or XYZ-ing into a no less powerful Cyber Dragon Nova.

If you always wanted to try out a Cyber Dragon Deck, this is your chance and I recommend getting three copies of this Structure Deck so you have all the powerful cards needed for this kind of deck at least in playsets of 3. I don’t think there has ever been a cheaper way to get your hands on a decent, even powerful Cyber Dragon deck like that.

Let me highlight a few of the more notable cards included in the Cyber Dragon Revolution Structure Deck.

I will start with the “stars” of the deck: The Extra Deck Monsters:

Cyber Dragon Nova:

Cyber Dragon Nova is the real deal! You can XYZ-Summon him for example by overlaying two Cyber Dragons (and trust me, there are many ways to get two of those into play in this deck) and will get a 2100/1600 XYZ-Monster with so many great effects they could barely fit all that in that tiny text box! I mean you can read it for yourself, but you can for once detach 1 XYZ-Material from him to Special Summon a Cyber Dragon from your graveyard. Then you can banish a Cyber Dragon from hand or the field to increase Nova’s attack by a whooping 2100 ATK. Lastly, if your Cyber Dragon Nova goes to the graveyard through an opponent’s card effect, you get to Special Summon 1 Machine Type Monster from your Fusion Deck. Yes, that’d be Cyber Twin Dragon then. How can you not like this card? What a deal. So many great effects on just one Monster. I am intrigued…

Cyber Twin Dragon:

Your Fusion Monster in the deck has a quite impressive ATK of 2800 and the best thing: He can attack twice every turn. Not bad either and all it takes to Fusion Summon him is two Cyber Dragons. Considering how many of your Monsters like Proto Cyber Dragon count as Cyber Dragons when on the field, meeting thte requirements to facilitate Fusion Summoning Cyber Twin Dragon appears quite easy.

Cyber Dragon Core:

This one lets you add a “Cyber” Spell or Trap card from your deck to your hand when Normal Summoned. Also, if your opponent controls a monster and you don’t control any you can banish this from your Graveyard to Special Summon a Cyber Dragon from your deck, which is pretty amazing. Also note that this card counts as Cyber Dragon as long as it is on the field or in your graveyard. Pretty handy!

Cyber Dragon Drei:

Cyber Dragon Drei has a respectable 1800 ATK for a Lv 4 Monster. What makes this card special are its many awesome effects as you might have guessed. First of all, when you Normal Summon it, you can make all your Cyber Dragons Level 5, so including those which aren’t actual Cyber Dragons like Proto-Cyber Dragon, which makes it very easy to pull of one, or who knows even two XYZ Summons of Cyber Dragon Nova. What is more, when Cyber Dragon Drei is banished, you can make one of your Cyber Dragon Monsters immune to card effects for one turn. Lastly, Cyber Dragon Drei will count as Cyber Dragon when on the field or in the graveyard.

Cyber Dragon Zwei and Proto-Cyber Dragon are two more Monsters that count as Cyber Dragon when on the field (or in the graveyard in the case of Cyber Dragon Zwei.

Cyber Valley has an amazing array of different effects of which you can chose to activate one: Either you banish it when it is targeted for an attack by an opponent Monster and then draw 1 card and end the battle phase. Or banish Cyber Valley and another Monster you control to draw 2 cards which is pretty awesome! Or banish Cyber Valley and another card from your hand to put any one card from your graveyard on top of your deck. With so many options and the inherent interactions in this deck including banishing stuff I can really see this card shine. If nothing else you can always use D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation to Special Summon a Monster you’ve banished with Cybertal OR even unleash a Return from the Different Dimension when you have banished lots of Monsters already to bring them all back at once. So many possibilities!

Cyber Repair Plant:

This Spell is quite useful in the context of this deck and has two different effects. If one Cyber Dragon is in your graveyard, you may activate one and if at least 3 Cyber Dragons are in your graveyard you may activate both effects and resolve one after the other. The effects are either add one Light Machine Monster from your deck to your hand OR chose a Light Machine Monster from your graveyard and shuffle it into your deck. This is an incredibly powerful searcher in a deck filled with Machine Monsters of the Light Attribute. And if you happen to have at least 3 Cyber Dragons in your graveyard (mind you that not only regular Cyber Dragon counts as Cyber Dragon when in the graveyard in this deck) you can even use Cyber Repair Plant to basically add any Monster to your hand, even from the graveyard. It appears to me that this deck features many cards with multiple uses. This is certainly one of them!

Evolution Burst:

Another powerful Spell card featured in this deck that lets you destroy any one card your opponent controls, with the requirement that you need at least one Cyber Dragon (or a card that counts as Cyber Dragon) on the field. A requirment that is easily met with this particular kind of deck. The only downside is that your Cyber Dragons won’t be able to attack the turn you activate Evolution Burst. Well anyways you can get rid of pretty much any unwanted card which redeems this Spell for me!

Dimensional Prison:

Well just a better version of Sakuretsu Armor. The reason why I am mentioning this Trap card in particular is that they aren’t actually cheap to buy. This is another reason why I got myself 3 copies of this Structure Deck!

Well that concludes my little review of the latest Yu-Gi-Oh! Structure Deck, “Cyber Dragon Revolution”. All in all this is an exciting addition to the game’s Structure Decks series and again, while I would advise a beginner against picking up this particular Structure Deck (Saga of Blue-Eyes White Dragon is much more beginner friendly in my opinion) it offers a lot of fun and (gameplay) value to the more advanced afficionados of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. If you are seriously interested in a decent Cyber Dragon deck, I can wholeheartedly recommend picking up 3 copies of this Structure Deck, which will give you pretty much all you need for building a successful and exciting deck of that kind.

Gods & Minions: A Delightful Surprise in the Mail!!

Dear readers and friends of indie card games!

Today I am not going to post about yet another Magic: the Gathering deck, which I have no opportunity to test and play anyways these days, when friends are rare and hard to get a hold of. No, today I am going to post about something completely different, and it is a great pleasure for me to do so.

So this very morning I got pulled out of my idle delirium by the ring of the doorbell and who was there but a friendly delivery man handing me over a small package from Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. Could it be what I hoped for? 😀 When I read that the parcel was boldly labeled “Greetz from Tobi” I was sure it was what I had expected!

So I am deeply honored and overjoyed to be one of the first elect few to hold in hands and lay my eyes on what is the (magnificent) result of a good friend’s and fellow game designer’s year-long (or maybe even age-long) game design efforts! What I was holding in hands and what I will be showing you in the form of photographical evidence below, was the first printed preview cards of my friend and fellow game designer Tobias Strunz‘s epic tactical card game “Gods & Minions”! And oh boy do these cards look awesome! Before I will tell you some more about the Tobi of 1ManStudios and his Gods & Minions project, I MUST show you the card previews in the form of some photos. Take a look and see for yourself how uniquely amazing these first few cards look:

Faylon (Wood Elves) Faction Cards + Awesome Card Back

Faylon + Card Back

Nighling (Night Goblins) Faction Cards

Nightlings

Khor (Dwarves) Faction Cards

Khor Cards

Well you can clearly see this is a WORK of ART and I want to seize the opportunity to send a huge THANK YOU to my friend and fellow designer Tobi! I am very honored and happy to have received these first physical card previews so unexpectedly!

As you may have noticed, all the cards were illustrated by one (highly talented) artist. If you have been following the Elemental Clash related posts on this blog, the art style will appear familiar to you, as, in fact, none other than Evgeni Maloshenkov, at this point a regular contributor to the Elemental Clash artwork, illustrated all the cards for Gods&Minions and is still in the process of getting the last few artworks done. Gods & Minions is not your regular, run of the mill fantasy card game, as you can see only by taking a glance at the characters in the above card samples. It is set in a postapocalyptic, dystopian fantasy world and whose artwork would be a better fit than Evgeni’s for such a setting. The visuals of Gods & Minions, and so much I can safely say by looking at my precious preview cards, are one unit and highly consistent to make for a unique and recognizable product, as all the artworks have been and will be done by one man, Evgeni Maloshenkov (at least for the base set cards, new artists may be joining for the inevitable expansions).

My friend Tobias Strunz of 1ManStudios, who is also a vendor of fine wines, has been developing his Gods & Minions card game and the world is set in over many years and has put tremendous work, money and, not least of all, love into his main project. I pay him due respect for his commitment and dedication as well as his patience and dedication to this amazing project, which somewhat reminds me of my own work with my main project Elemental Clash.

Tobi and I share a few things and attitudes on our beloved “game children”, which many will deem unprofessional or downright moronic, but which I wholeheartedly applaud when I see them in Tobi’s approach for Gods & Minions.

The game will be non-collectible for once, just like my very own Elemental Clash, which I highly appreciate in card games and will come in a bare-bones form, just the cards in the cheapest box available. After all that is all you need to get started in Gods&Minions! all else is pretty much superfluous and will only unnecessarily increase the price for the consumer.

What I really appreciate is Tobias idealistic attitude/approach when it comes to making and selling Gods & Minions, as these are qualities that are rarely found, even among the indie games designer scene. Just like myself, Tobi is an idealist, who has, just like I have done myself, shed the false hopes for making the “big buck” with (his) game(s), as anyone who is honest to himself will realize sooner or later when pursuing the noble quest of designing games, and, as I have heard from himself, sees his Gods & Minions project as a work of art. And designing games is a form of art in and off itself, at least in my firmly held opinion. Thus Tobias and I pursue our projects for the love of art – “ars gratia artis” (art for art’s sake!) – and not for the love of money. Hence neither Mr Strunz nor I bother with trying to find “real”  publishers for our beloved works of art (in my case that is Elemental Clash), even though a game like Gods & Minions would have a lot of potential to be “picked up” by a renowned publisher in my professional (??) opinion. And as far as I know Tobi will even pass on the oh so obvious Kickstarter campaign, which could be, again in my opinion, highly successful with an unique and brilliantly looking project such as Gods & Minions. For all I have mentioned, Tobi has my full respect and in fact I am happy to know that I am not the only one in the indie games design community who shares my idealistic ideals which many would deem pure folly.

So what does all this mean? Well, just like I did with Elemental Clash, Tobi will self-publish Gods & Minions later this year, as soon as the final artworks from Evgeni are in, and it will be available for anyone willing to appreciate it on The Game Crafter (www.thegamecrafter.com). Again it will come in a less flashy but all the more budget/customer friendly form and I for one must say that I haven’t been looking forward to a game that was NOT designed by myself that much in a long time.

I will surely keep you updated on Tobias Strunz’s Gods & Minions card game and hopefully I will be able to feature a full review worthy of this awesome project on this here blog hopefully sooner than later.

Meanwhile, if you want to feast your eyes on some awesome card and art previews as well as check out the game rules I refer you to the official Gods & Minions website at http://www.godsandminions.com! Tobi is quite an avid poster on the website so if this article caught your interest in the game, I recommend you subscribe, as news and previews are being posted there on a regular basis.

So in conclusion, once again, a huge thank you goes out to my friend and fellow indie designer Tobi Strunz! Your little surprise package made my day! I am glad not to be alone when I say:

“Ars gratia artis!”

Sincerely yours,

Andi

M:tG: Galvanize This! Another “Crap Rare” Deck:

Dear readers and friends of the Magic: the Gathering CCG!

I am in the mood for writing once again so I would like to show you another one of my notorious “crap rare” decks, which I have come up with quite a while ago. The central crap rare in this deck would be this usually overlooked guy:

When I saw Galvanoth the first time in the Izzet vs Golgari duel decks, I thought the ability had quite some potential, so I came up with a deck built around this Beast, trying to maximize the use of its quite potent ability. Here is the deck list I ended up with:

Creatures…8

4 x Augury Owl 1U

4 x Galvanoth 3RR

Instants…18

4 x Brainstorm U

4 x Serum Visions U

4 x Condescend XU

4 x Reverberate RR / 4 x Twincast UU

2 x Discombobulate 2UU

Sorceries…8

3 x Time Stretch 8UU

2 x Cruel Ultimatum UUBBBRR

2 x Plague Wind 7BB

1 x Searing Wind 8R

Artifacts…4

4 x Izzet Keyrune

Lands…22

4 x Halimar Depths

4 x Izzet Guildgate

7 x Mountain

7 x Island

About the Deck:

Well this is one of these decks that totally rely on one card, in this case Galvanoth, hence this should not be taken as a serious attempt at building a competitive deck. It is more of a fun experiment which could work out as intended in like every other game, in a casual environment needless to mention.

The basic premise is to get Galvanoth into play as early as possible – favorably on turn 4 powered through Izzet Keyrune – and to use your manifold deck manipulation / scry spells to set up one of your big sorceries for Galvanoth to cast for free on the consecutive turns.

A redeeming factor might be the fact that the deck features at least some countermagic in the form of Condescend and Discombobulate, but in case you just don’t find one of your four Galvanoths despite the abundant deck manipulation, you are pretty much done for.

Speaking of deck manipulation, you got a ton of that. Halimar Depths is a land that lets you look at the top 3 cards of your deck and put them back in any order when it enters play, Augury Owl lets you scry for 3 when it is played and various cheap instants like Serum Visions and Brainstorm (probably the best deck manipulation spell you have as you can even put (a) card(s) from your hand on top of your deck to play it for free via Galvanoth) as well as the aforementioned counters that let you scry or look at and rearrange the top cards of your library.

The actual killers in the deck are 8 sorceries: 3 copies of Time Stretch, 2 Cruel Ultimatums, 2 Plague Winds and 1 Searing Wind. If you have Glavanoth and means to manipulate what is on top of your library you will be casting one of these for free every single turn at best. Reverberate will copy any of those for you at the mere cost of RR, which means 4 additional turns in case of Time Stretch and a game-winning 20 damage right in your opponent’s face with Searing Wind for instance! IF it works out that is…

M:tG: Double Saprolings on a Budget (No Doubling Season!):

Well just recently I posted a number of decks all utilizing the amazing token and counter doubling powers of back then crap rare Doubling Season, which had its price skyrocket to about $15 USD a copy since the advent of the notorious Planeswalker card type.

In two of these decks I used Doubling Season together with the totally overlooked and underestimated Sigil Captain, a Rhino Soldier which puts two +1/+1 countes on each 1/1 Creature you play.

While researching for a cheapo/buget soldier deck running the obscure rhinoceros guy, which would run Captain of the Watch, who puts three 1/1 Soldier Tokens into play, which would all be 4/4s with Vigilance thanks to the two Captains (Sigil and of the Watch), I came across what is still considered a crap rare, but would partly do what Doubling Season does best. Have a look at Corpsejack Menace:

Corpsejack Menace has good stats to begin with, at 4/4 for 4 mana, but what raised my curiosity and gave me hope to be able to build a Sigil-Captain deck without having to spend a fortune on a playset of Doubling Season (for a casual/fun deck like this I would not spend $40+ on a playset of one card) is the Menace’s ability. It doubles the number of all +1/+1 counters you place on your creatures. Awesome! While Doubling Season would also double the number of tokens or counters other than +1/+1, Corpsejack Menace is cheaper than a buck (USD) atm so I was really, really curious about a deck using the unlikely duo Sigil Captain and Corpsejack Menace.

Here is the quite unusual deck I have come up with making what I think could be called good use of both cards:

Corpsecaptain Menace Deck (V.1.0  – Modern Format)

Creatures…22

4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Sakura-Tribe Elder 1G

2 x Dreg Mangler 1BG

3 x Sigil Captain 1WWG

3 x Corpsejack Menace 2GB

3 x Mycoloth 3GG

3 x Triskelion 6

Instants…4

4 x Harrow 2G

Sorceries…6

2 x Vigor Mortis 2BB

4 x Scatter the Seeds 3GG

Enchantments…6

4 x Fists of Ironwood 1G

2 x Golgari Germination 1GB

Lands…22

2 x Pendelhaven

2 x Oran-Rief the Vastwood

4 x Llanowar Wastes

4 x Marsh Flats

2 x Verdant Catacombs

2 x Forest

4 x Plains

2 x Swamp

About the Deck:

Well this deck might seem like an odd agglomeration of random cards at first glance, but I think the combination of what is some commons, uncommons and stuff you can safely call “crap rares” (best example, Corpsejack Menace of which you’d get a playset of 4 for like a dollar) would work unexpectedly well together. Don’t you love it when you combine said crap rares and other rather obscure cards in a way to make for an awesome and unique strategy/deck? And with this one I have the feeling everything would fall into place neatly!

So the basic premise is to put out lots of 1/1 Saprolings through Fists of Ironwood, Scatter the Seeds and other cards which will receive two +1/+1 counters from Sigil Captain, making them respectable 3/3s. However if you have both Sigil Captain and Corpsejack Menace, my cheap replacement for Doubling Season which doubles, on the plus side, as a decent 4/4 beater, things are going to get ugly for your opponent. Corpsejack Menace is a 4/4 for four mana that doubles all the +1/+1 counters you place on creatures while he is on the field. While he doesn’t double the number of tokens or other counters you’d generate, he works quite awesomely with Sigil Captain and your 1/1 token creators. What would happen when both are out and you play Fists of Ironwood for instance is this: Sigil Captain will place two +1/+1 counters on your 1/1 tokens and Corpsejack Menace would double those counters so that with an investment of 2 mana for Fists of Ironwood, you’d have two 5/5 giant Saprolings all of a sudden.

All this works fantastic with Mycoloth for example. Let him devour two of your early Saprolings and he’ll be a 6/6 that spawns 2 Saprolings each turn. With Captain they will be 3/3s, with both Captain and Menace they will even be 5/5s! What a deal!

Another card I think nobody has thought of combining with either Sigil Captain or Corpsejack Menace is Triskelion. Man I love it when one of those notorious crap rares going for a dollar for a playset turn out really powerful when combined with other more or less obscure cards. Triskelion is a 6 mana 1/1 (so a possible target for Captain’s effect) that comes into play with three +1/+1, which can be removed one at a time to deal 1 damage to a creature or player for each counter removed. With Sigil Captain, Triskelion will get 2 additional counters making it a 6/6 that can shoot for 5 damage. With Corpsejack Menace in play, Triskelion will come into play with 6 counters making it a 7/7 that can shoot for 6. Now if you happen to have both Menace and Captain out when you summon Trikelion things get really insane, as it will be a 11/11 behemoth able to distrubute 10 damage as you wish to. That is pretty amazing, although having both Captain and Menace in play and then also being able to summon a Triskelion won’t happen easily in most of your games. But the sheer possibility alone to get such a terrifying Triskelion into play in like the craziest way you could think of intrigues me.

I have some other cards  that supports the general strategy of the deck, such as Vigor Mortis which can reanimate one of your key creatures and would put a +1/+1 counter on them if at least one green mana was spent to cast it (a boost that would double with Corpsejack Menace) and lands like Pendelhaven, which can boost one of your 1/1 tokens to 2/3 if you dont have anything better at the moment, or Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, which gives all your green creatures you played on the turn you activate it a +1/+1 counter. Needless to say, that number of counters would double with the Menace in play.

Overall I must say that I am pretty intrigued with this deck, as, and I said it before, it seems like a random and totally unheard of assortment of cards but in theory it seems to me that the unit these cards form together could work out unexpectedly well in the end! The only minor problem I am having with the deck is that maintaining the three colors might be a bit problematic, especially because Sigil Captain requires 2 white mana. The Birds of Paradise, Harrows and Fetchlands should take care of this issue though.

MtG: Auras! (Modern Format / Casual Decks)

Welcome, welcome and thrice welcome to yet another Magic: the Gathering deck article!

This time it will all be about the often overlooked and underestimated cousins of Equipments: Auras aka Enchant Creatures / Creature Enchantments! I really hope WotC will show some love to this less powerful and thus less used card type in the future. But let us have a look at what is already there. True, there is much more support for Artifacts in general and Equipment in particular, the latter being more “safe” to play as Equipment remains in play even when the bearer is destroyed, contrary to Auras, which die with their bearers (noramlly), but I would like to demonstrate with 3 Aura/Enchantment centered decks that these card types can rock as well if only played in the context of the right deck. Note: The decks I will showcase are intended for Modern Format / Casual play!

Let me start with what is probably the “best” of the three decks:

Enchant-a-Tog Powerdraw (V.1.0)

Creatures…16

4 x Birds of Paradise G

2 x Noble Hierarch G

4 x Auratog 1W

4 x Verduran Enchtantress 1GG

2 x Mesa Enchantress 1WW

Instants…4

4 x Perilous Research 1U

Enchantments…20

4 x Rancor G

4 x Hatching Plans 1U

4 x Oblivion Ring 2W

4 x Copy Enchantment 2U

4 x Annex 2UU

Lands…20

4 x Seaside Citadel

10 x Forest

3 x Island

3 x Plains

About the Deck:

This deck has a lot going on. Massive damage from the well-known Auratog – Rancor Combo, massive card draw from the Enchantresses and an awesome draw combo I am going to elaborate on soon and, now get this, moderately cheap BLUE land destruction. That is right, this deck features blue land destruction – something which is usually only reserved for blue’s archenemy colors red and green. But first things first.

So for those who haven’t heard of it yet, the Auratog – Rancor Combo is pretty straightforward and rather cheap to pull off: Just enchant your Auratog with Rancor and sack the latter right away to give the ‘Tog a +2/+2 boost. Rancor will return to your hand as per its rules text so you can cast it again. Rinse and repeat as long as you have some green mana to spare. The last time you can cast Rancor, just leave it on Auratog so it gets an additional +2/+0 and, and this is crucial, trample. Then just attack for some massive damage. Furthermore, the raw draw power of the deck becomes apparent when you think about what happens if you have one (or even more) Enchantresses in play. Right, you will draw (a) card(s) each time you cast your Rancor, thus giving ‘Tog +2/+2 and drawing one or more cards for a minor investment of 1 green mana. That is pretty sweet I would say.

But I didn’t label this deck “Powerdraw” just for the draw you’ll get from the Enchantresses, no, in fact the deck includes a powerful 2 card draw combo I have been trying to implement in a deck for a long while. It involves a common and a so called “crap rare”, which is ostensibly so crappy that you get a playset for $1 USD or less nowadays. Please just look at both cards I am talking about and see the awesomeness for yourself:

Right, when you combine Hatching Plans with Perilous Research you get a fresh hand of 5 cards at the mere cost of 2UU. That amount of mana would normally draw you 2 – 3 cards so this is quite a good deal. And what is more, Perilous Research is not the only means to destroy Hatching Plans in order to draw 3 cards cheaply. Just feed it to your Auratog, which will result in a +2/+2 boost for the ‘Tog as well as 3 new cards for you. And all that at the mere cost of 1U!

OK on to what you may have been most curious about: The blue land destruction! Well this deck has, despite the cheap mana acceleration in form of Birds and Hierarch, this deck has a slower approach to winning, so these cards are actually quite a good fit.

The key to blue land destruction is Annex. Annex is an Enchant Land that gives you control over an opponent land. Not only is this some real blue land destruction at the cost of 2UU (one more converted mana cost than your standard, red Stone Rain) but it doubles as mid-game mana ramp for you, since your opponent will lose on land while you will gain one, even though it may be off color. What is really cool though is if you have Annex in play already, you can use Copy Enchantment to copy the Annex and steal yet another land, this time at the affordable cost of 2U, which is on par with the classic Stone Rain which would cost 2R, so 3 mana as well. Needless to say both Annex and Copy Enchantment will net you cards in case you got one or more Enchantresses out.

Indestructo-Land

Creatures…12

4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Noble Hierarch G

4 x Trinket Mage 2U

Instants…4

4 x Harrow 2G

Sorceries…10

4 x Sylvan Scrying 1G

4 x Day of Judgment 2WW

2 x Rude Awakening 4G

Enchantments…10

4 x Living Terrain 3G

3 x Vastwood Zendikon 4G

3 x Earth Surge 4G

Lands…24

4 x Darksteel Citadel

4 x Treetop Village

10 x Forest

6 x Plains

About the Deck:

Compared to the Auratog deck discussed before, this one is really just a fun deck intended only for casual play. It is all about one combo: Enchanting the indestructible Darksteel Citadel with Living Terrain or Vastwood Zendikon to get a huge, indestructible Creature (either a 5/6 Treefolk or a 6/4 Elemental). Following up a third turn Living Terrain with a fourth turn Day of Judgment would raze your opponent’s defenses completely, leaving them totally unprotected against your indestructo-land beater!

In the best case scenario you’d play either a Bird or a Hierarch on turn one, follow up with Trinket Mage to tutor for Darksteel Citadel on turn two and play citadel enchanting it with Living Terrain on turn three and finally cast Day of Judgment on your fourth turn. You would then be able to attack with a 5/6 indestructible Treefolk with your opponent being utterly defenseless.

The deck got a few more tricks up its sleeve though: There are two ways of getting what is your key card from your deck into your hand reliably, in case you did not draw it in your opening hand. Either use Trinket Mage or Sylvan Scrying to get a hold of a copy of the all-important land. Rude Awakening is your backup win condition and Earth Surge will give a considerbale boost to your indestructo-lands/creatures (+2/+2) while the four Treetop Villages I also included will become 5/5s when animated.

As I said this is just a fun deck built around a semi-powerful but nice to pull off two card combo. Not intended for competitive play mind you!

Eldrazi Academy Deck (V.1.0):

Creatures…18

4 x Birds of Paradise G

2 x Noble Hierarch G

4 x Thought Courier 1U

4 x Academy Researchers 1UU

4 x Nomad Mythmaker 2W

Sorceries…8

4 x Compulsive Research 2U

4 x Idyllic Tutor 2W

Enchantments…10

4 x Oblivion Ring 2W

2 x Gigantiform 3GG

4 x Eldrazi Conscription 8

Lands…24

4 x City of Brass

4 x Seaside Citadel

8 x Forest

4 x Island

4 x Plains

About the Deck:

This deck is very different from the previous two and it’s basic goal is to bring the most badass Aura available in Modern Format, Eldrazi Conscription into play attached to one of your creatures inexpensively, thus bypassing the tremendous cost to hard-cast Conscription (it costs 8 generic mana). Let us have a look at what Eldrazi Conscription does before discussing the ways to put it into play inexpensively and thus early on in the game.

So as you can see for yourself, this Aura is something worth building a deck around. So here are the two main ways of getting it into play cheaply, either through…

  • Academy Researchers: This is the most straightforward and fastest way to get Eldrazi Conscription into play. At the cost of 1UU, Academy Researchers lets you put an Aura from your hand into play attached to them. The Pros: This can happen as early as turn 2 with your one-mana mana makers. The Cons: You have to have Conscription in your hand to pull this off. Idyllic Tutor can help achive that relatively early on.
  • Nomad Mythmaker: This one costs 2W and taps at the cost of W to take an Aura from your graveyard and attach it to any of your creatures. Pros: You can attach the Aura from your graveyard to ANY of your Creatures. Prime target would be the Flying Birds of Paradise! Cons: You have to find a way to drop Eldrazi Conscription into your graveyard. This is why I rund 4 Thought Couriers and 4 Compulsive Research. Maybe that is not enough even and I should consider adding a few Thirst for Knowledge as additional “discard outlets”.

The rest of the deck is pretty much made out of cards to increase the odds of either one of the above combos happening. In the best case scenario you have Eldrazi Conscription and Academy Researchers in your opening hand and preferably a one-mana one-mana guy as well so you could in theory have a 12/12 trample, annihilator 2 Researcher in play by turn 2, which would be amazing. If you are not lucky enough to have the perfect starting hand, you’ll have to resort to fetching Eldrazi Conscription via Idyllic Tutor (possible on turn 2 through Birds or Hierarch) and then playing Academy Reserachers. If the Researchers don’t show up either, you’ll have to stall a bit until you can drop Conscription into your graveyard via Thought Courier or Compulsive Research and then put it into play for 1 white mana and slamm it onto one of your Creatures, preferably the flying Birds.

As some sort of backup, I included Gigantiform, which turns the enchanted Creature in a respectable 8/8 trampler. Nothing compared to what Eldrazi Conscription does but an 8/8 trampler quite possibly on turn 2 is nothing to sneeze at either!

 

MtG: In the Spotlight: Doubling Season

Here’s yet another Magic deck article for those who are still interested:

Today I want to look at decks from a slightly different perspective: By highlighting one particular card and suggesting some decks that could be built around it to make maximum use of its powers. So today in the “spotlight”: Doubling Season!

Oh man had I only gotten a hold of a playset of this combolicious enchantment from Ravnica (and, more recently, Modern Masters) when it was still cheap and considered more or less a crap rare. Since the new Planeswalker card type was introduced, things changed fundamentally for Doubling Season, which now goes for about $15 USD a copy (!!), since Planeswalkers will enter play with twice as many loyalty counters on them and if you use one of their abilities that add loyalty counters, twice as many are added through the all of a sudden awesome effect of Doubling Season. Well now it is too late for me to cheaply get a hold of a playset of the latter, but I can still make up some combotastic decks in my mind, designed to make maximum use of Doubling Season. And just that I am going to do in this article. And no, it will not be Planeswalker decks as I want to refrain from demonstrating the obvious: that Doubling Season + Planeswalkers = super awesome/powerful. Instead I will look at three different deck drafts in which Doubling Season plays a major role. I am also a bit proud that I have found, myself and without a hint from decks on the internet, a card which is not a Planeswalker but still totally rocks with Doubling Season and 1/1 Token generating cards. Have a look at this hidden gem uncommon from Alara Reborn:

Once again, this is a card that gave me, when I first saw it, this weird kind of deck building itch, which urges me to build a deck around this obscure and in my opinion underrated card. But oh man, think about what happens if you have Sigil Captain and Doubling Season in play and cast some 1/1 token creating spell, such as Raise the Alarm (making two 1/1 Soldiers at the cost of 1W) or Fists of Ironwood (spawining two 1/1 Saprolings at the cost of 1G). Doubling Season will do 2 things, each of  which would be kickass and devastating for your opponent in and off itself: First it will double the number of tokens you get and then it would double the number of +1/+1 counters placed on them by the Captain. So for instance if you cast Fists of Ironwood, you would get a total of 4 Saprolings that will be 5/5 Creatures, which could swing in for a total of 20 damage. And that at the cost of just 2 mana. What a deal. Seriously this is once again a match made in Magic-heaven!

The three deck list drafts (for Modern Format) I am going to showcase will all of course feature Doubling Season, with deck 1 and 2 being a Saproling and a Soldier deck that utilize the powerful Sigil Captain combo detailed above while and the third being an artifact deck quite similar to the Charge Up deck I discussed earlier, which would rock even without the Sigil Captain combo. So let’s have at it, shall we?

Double Saprolings Deck:

Creatures…18

4 x Llanowar Elves G

4 x Elvish Mystic G

4 x Sigil Captain 1WWG

3 x Thelonite Hermit 3G

3 x Mycoloth 3GG

Instants…8

4 x Harrow 2G

4 x Scatter the Seeds 3GG

Sorceries…4

4 x Rampant Growth 1G

Enchantments…8

4 x Fists of Ironwood 1G

4 x Doubling Season 4G

Lands…22

2 x Pendelhaven

12 x Forest

8 x Plains

About the Deck:

This deck features the Doubling Season + Sigil Captain Combo plus lots of ways to (cheaply) generate tons of Saproling tokens which will all be 5/5s when both Doubling Season and Captain are in play at the same time or even bigger with one or more Thelonite Hermits which will give all Saprolings +1/+1. So as explained above, a single, 2 mana Fists of Ironwood will create four 5/5 Saprolings with Captain and Doubling Season in place, plus it can give Trample to your ace creature: Mycoloth. Mycoloth is a 4/4 with “Devour: 2”. Let him devour two of your Saprolings and he will be a 8/8 that will create two Saprolings each turn. If you combine him with Captain and Season, he will be spawning four 5/5 creatures every single one of your turns. Pretty impressive I would say. Another great way to create lots of Saproling Tokens is the common “Scatter the Seeds” which costs 3GG and puts out three 1/1 Saprolings. However it has Convoke and can hence be played for a minimum of GG when you tap 3 Creatures to reduce its cost by 1 generic mana for each creature tapped. The only problem I see with this deck is that you have no ways to fetch either of your combo pieces when needed. However, as a redeeming factor I think each Doubling Season and even more so Sigil Captain are awesome in this deck to begin with. For instance if you only have  the Captain out, your Fists of Ironwood will still spawn two 3/3 Creatures for the cost of 1G. That is cheaper than a Ball Lightning. Well they don’t have Haste, but still…

The rest of the deck is mana ramp as Doubling Season is not exactly the cheapest enchantment and furthermore, Captain requires 2 white mana, so I figured adding Harrow and Rampant Growth to fetch some plains would be a good plan.

Also note that with Sigil Captain, even your lowly mana-elves will be awesome 3/3s for just 1 mana, which is pretty nice. I threw in some Pendelhavens as a minor backup solution if you don’t draw into a Captain early on.

Double Soldiers Deck:

Well the second most powerful targets I could think of for Doubling Season and Sigil Captain besides Saprolings would be soldiers. There are lots of ways to generate a ton of 1/1 soldier tokens, the first that came to my mind being Raise the Alarm from Mirrodin. At the mere cost of 1W, it would give you two 3/3 Soldiers in case Sigil Captain (also a soldier by the way) is out and four 5/5 Soldiers in case you have Doubling Season set up as well. And the best thing is that Raise the Alarm is an instant, so you could pull that off end of your opponent’s turn to give your massive soldier mob something akin of “pseudo haste”. Fantastic! Well let me show you the full deck list before I go into more detail:

Creatures…18

4 x Llanowar Elves G

3 x Elvish Mystic G

4 x Preeminent Captain 2W

4 x Sigil Captain 1WWG

3 x Captain of the Watch 4WW

Instants…8

4 x Raise the Alarm 1W

4 x Harrow 2G

Sorceries…8

4 x Rampant Growth 1G

4 x Captain’s Call 3W

Enchantments…4

4 x Doubling Season 4G

Lands…22

2 x Pendelhaven

10 x Forest

10 x Plains

Well this deck shares the same mana-ramp basis as the first one, with the mana-elves and the Rampant Growths and Harrows because, well, Doubling Season ain’t cheap. And neither is your trump creature, Captain of the Watch at 4WW. But just imagine that one with Doubling Season + Sigil Captain. With a 3/3 body and vigilance, this one seems lackluster for 6 mana, however, she puts three 1/1 soldiers into play AND gives all soldiers besides herself vigilance and +1/+1. Now let us look at this with Sigil Captain and Doubling Season all set up. You will get a 3/3 with vigilance and 6 (!!) soldiers which will each be 6/6s with Vigilance plus the 3/3 vigilance the Captain herself will be. That is simply mind-blowing. And game-winning… hopefully. So the turn after you cast Captain you will be attacking for at least 39 damage in total. And you don’t even have to tap your men-at-arms. Pretty sweet I’d say.

Double Charger Deck:

This deck is pretty similar to the artifact deck I discussed recently, with the major difference that it utilizes Doubling Season to double all the charge counters and +1/+1 counters that are placed on artifacts and artifact creatures in this deck. Let’s have a look:

Creatures…16

4 x Steel Overseer 2

4 x Suntouched Myr 3

4 x Etched Oracle 4

4 x Triskelion 6

Enchantments…4

4 x Doubling Season 4G

Artifacts…16

4 x Everflowing Chalice 0

4 x Voltaic Key 1

4 x Energy Chamber 2

4 x Pentad Prism 2

Lands…24

4 x City of Brass

4 x Glimmervoid

4 x Mirrodin’s Core

3 x Mountain

3 x Forest

3 x Island

3 x Swamp

About the deck:

Well this deck is somewhat different from my previous “Charge Up” deck, because it makes excessive use of Sunburst. With Doubling Season, the Sunburst Creatures will enter play with twice as many +1/+1 counters and your Sunburst artifact, Pentad Prism, will enter play with double the number of charge counters as usually. Furthermore, Energy Chamber will dish out two +1/+1 counters or 2 charge counters per turn and Steel Overseer will give every one of your artifact creatures not one but two +1/+1 counters. You can use Voltaic Key to untap Overseer cheaply so all your Creatures will get a lasting +4/+4 boost in just one turn. Sunburst paired with Doubling Season will make your Suntapped Myrs 6/6s for 3 at max and your Etched Oracles will be 8/8 in the best case scenario. I am pretty fond of the latter, Etched Oracle as it can be a 4/4 for 4 generic mana even without Doubling Season, plus you can remove 4 of its +1/+1 counters by paying just 1 to draw 3 cards. That is pretty amazing in and off itself. Combined with Doubling Season you can even draw 3 cards and still have a 4/4 beatstick if you were able to cast Oracle using 4 different colors of mana OR draw a fantastic 8 cards for 2 generic mana if you don’t need Etched Oracle as an attacker. Plus when you combine Doubling Season, Etched Oracle as well as Steel Overseer and/or Energy Chamber you can remove 4 counters from Oracle repeatedly to draw a ton of cards, making it a powerful draw engine in this deck. Doubling Season will even give Mirrodin’s Core twice as many charge counters as normal, which is a minor thing but nonetheless I wanted to mention it.

 

MtG: Two Unusual Weenie Decks (Modern Format)

OK here we are on day 2 of the indefinitely ongoing Magic: the Gathering deck marathon and I am back again with yet two more rather unusual decks. This time it will be all about more or less unconventional “Weenie” type decks. If you wonder why the hell I got the time to write blog post after blog post these days – I am actually taking a break from my “work” (as in paid projects and unpaid projects of my own) and this is what I do when I wanna relax! 😀

Well back to topic: White Weenie was probably my first real attempt at a competitive deck in Magic. And boy was it competitive back then. Ever since I loved the Weenie deck archetype, in which you would power out a horde of cheap but efficient creatures to overwhelm your opponent fast and furious. I have played (White) Weenie in various forms again and again over the years and here are the latest two Weenie deck designs I have come up with just today, including newer cards and intended for the Modern format. The following Weenie decks are not “purebred”, all white builds but something of a different nature, with white still playing the role of the “lead color” or makes up a major part of the deck. But let’s get on with this and have a look at the first deck:

Modern Artifact Weenie (V.1.0)

Well if I like one thing as much as White Weenie, then I would have to say it is artifact decks of all kinds, and I have built countless of thoses. Especially the colored artifacts of the Alara era and the ones released after that have a special place in my heart and I have built countless artifact decks including some of these cards. Over the course of a prolonged time, I came across some awesome artifact creatures which would be a perfect fit in a Weenie deck geared towards artifacts that intrigued me quite a bit. I had planned to build an artifact Weenie deck on the lines of a more or less classic White Weenie approach. What REALLY did seal the deal for me and lead me to finally attempt to make a viable and powerful artifact Weenie was when I discovered this card, just today:

Holy schmoly, I thought, a double Crusade for artifacts at just one and a half times the cost of  Crusade (or the much better Honor of the Pure)! Just imagine your 0 Mana Ornitopthers becoming awesome 2/4 Flyers with just one of these babies out.

Well I dug up some cards I had been wanting to run in an artifact weenie and this is the result of my deckbuilding efforts:

Creatures…29

4 x Ornithopter 0

3 x Court Homunculus W

4 x Vault Skirge 1B

4 x Etherium Sculptor 1U

4 x Ethersworn Canonist 1W

3 x Steel Overseer 2

4 x Porcelain Legionnaire 2W

3 x Juggernaut 4

Instants…4

4 x Dispatch W

Enchantments…4

4 x Tempered Steel 1WW

Artifacts…3

3 x Mask of Memories 2

Lands…20

4 x Adarkar Wastes

4 x Seat of the Synod

4 x Ancient Den

8 x Plains

About the Deck:

Almost half of this entire decks consists of creatures, but that is how it is supposed to be. 7 of the 29 Creatures are in the deck not to serve as attackers or blockers (they can however if necessary) but got into the deck for their amazing effects, which are, in my opinion, key to the success of this particular build. After I will discuss the actual attackers, I would like to highlight the 2 cards I am running for the sake of their effects rather than their offensive and defensive capabilities:

Steel Overseer is not really a Weenie at 1/1 for 2 generic mana, however he will act like a lasting, incremental “artifact crusade” for all your (artifact) creatures in play. In fact since I played my sole copy of Steel Overseer at great success in the Commander format, he has become one of my favorite cheap artifact creatures. I demonstrated my fondness of him already in my previous deck article installment. So at the mere cost of 2, Steel Overseer can be tapped to put a +1/+1 counter on each of your artifact creatures, including itself, and that basically every single turn. This way you can boost all your artificial soldiers each and every turn and the +1/+1 counters will remain even if Overseer gets killed somehow, contrary to Crusade, which will cease to boost your Weenies once destroyed and gone. Since this deck is about 50% Creatures, one should expect to have an army of formidable size for Steel Overseer to power up!

Etherium Sculptor can not by any means be called your typical creature you would expect in a Weenie deck, of any color, being just a lowly 1/2 Creature for 2 mana (1U). The reason why I added him to the deck and what makes him so awesome in this particular context is the fact that he reduces the costs of all artifacts you play by 1 generic mana. This will make it much, much easier to generate an increasingly large army of artifact creatures in a rush. Just for instance, Steel Overseer will cost only 1 Mana with one Sculptor in play, and if you manage to drop a second copy of the latter, the former will be free to cast. I think Etherium Sculptor shines especially combined with my “Phyrexian Mana” creatures, as their colored cost can be paid in life instead, while their colorless cost can be reduced down to zero through one or two Sculptors.

The real beaters in the deck are quite a powerful cast, starting with the zero cost Ornithopter, which has 0 attack to begin with but can become huge through Tempered Steel and through repeated activation of Steel Overseer, which is a pretty good deal since he will fly over your opponent’s defenses whilst powered up. Then I am running 3 copies of Court Homunculucs, which will be a non-legendary Isamaru, Hound of Konda most of the times (he is a 1/1 that gets +1/+1 if another artifact is in play). Probably my favorite Weenies in this deck are the ones that can be cast through “Phyrexian Mana”. Have a look at this one first:

So Vault Skirge can be cast by paying 1B OR by paying 1 generic mana and 2 life. What a deal, a 1 generic mana Suntail Hawk with Lifelink. The cost of having to pay 2 life instead of the one black mana is neglectable, since the Skirge will repay you in life from lifelink manyfold for that initital investment. Imagine him with Tempered Steel, which would make him a 3/3 flyer immediately and with Steel Overseer, which will make it more and more menacing. But it CAN get even better. In case you have an Etherium Sculptor in play you will get the Skirge basically for free. Well 0 mana and 2 life. I’d pay that life happily.

The second Phyrexian Mana creature is Porcelain Legionnaire, which is a 3/1 First Striker for 2 generic mana and either 1 white or 2 life. Again, imagine him cheaper or for free with Etherium Sculptor. Not to think of him becoming a 5/3 First Striking beast with Tempered Steel!

Juggernaut is a classic card they thankfully reprinted in more recent core sets which saw a lot of play in the earlier days of the game. It just has so much nostalgia stuck to it for me and I think it is a great addition to this deck being a 5/3 by with some drawback for just 4 generic mana. I like the idea of dropping one of these on turn 3, enabled through Etherium Sculptor and follow it up by a turn 4 Tempered Steel to start attacking with my big badass 7/5 Juggernaut!

Etherium Canonist is where it becomes tricky for your opponent. I would call that one a Weenie for starters as she is a 2/2 artifact creature for 1W. With cost and power/thoughness being equal, it meets the basic requirements of weeniehood for me. Usually those 2/2s for 2 mana have some nice additional abilities, so what does the Canonist offer? Well actually her ability can be crippling to any non-artifact deck player, since it says if a player cast a non-artifact spell this turn, they are not allowed to cast furhter non-artifact spells one the same turn. That should hamper the progress of any non-artifact player considerably, and this is why I chose to run 4 of these in this deck. Needless to mention Ethersworn Canonist will get counters from Steel Overseer and would be a 4/4 under Tempered Steel.

Well one thing a deck that is almost half Creatures needs would be a means for backup. What I needed to keep swarming the field, recover from creature mass removal á la Day of Judgment or Damnation, and to not run out of steam mid-game was a potent draw engine. Since I was already playing some blue in this deck my first thought was Curiosity, a creature enchantment for just U that lets you draw a card whenever enchanted creature deals combat damage to an opponent. But then I thought of something better: Mask of Memory, an equipment for 2, equip 1, which lets you draw 2 cards then forces you to discard 1 each time the equipped creature deals combat damage to a player. I prefer the costlier Mask over the cheaper Curiosity for many reasons. First and formost, an equipment is not lost if its bearer perishes. You can just equip it to a new creature if the old one dies. Furthermore, it is an artifact and its cost can be lowered down to 1 or even 0 with Etherium Sculptor(s). I think this kind of draw if combat damage was dealt type of draw engine is the perfect fit for a deck with many (cheap) flyers such as Ornithopter and Vault Skirge and should serve its purpose of drawing you backup forces constantly and reliably.

One more card I have to mention is Dispatch. In this deck it is basically a Path to Exile / Swords to Plowshares devoid of any drawback, as normally, it taps target Creature for W, but if you have 3 or more artifacts in play (Metalcraft), you get to banish target Creature instead. Meeting this requirement seems laughable easy in the context of this deck, so I had to include four copies of Dispatch.

A Card I am not playing is of course Mox Opal, which is ridiculously expenisve to get a hold of, and I prefer to keep my decks on a budget. Also some might wonder why I don’t run Glint Hawk and Ardent Recruit is simple. While they are both awesomely efficient 1 casting cost Weenies (Hawk is a 2/2 Flyer with a minor drawback and Ardent Recruit will be a 3/3 if you got 3 or more artifacts in play) they are not artifact creatures themselves. This means neither will their cost be reduced by Etherium Sculptor, nor will they get +1/+1 counters from Steel Overseer. That is pretty much why I prefer their, in my opinion, equally powerful artifact counterparts in this particular build.

OK on to Weenie Deck number 2…

Twilight Weenie (v.1.0):

The color combination black-white has intrigued me ever since the Invasion era, which is so long gone and in the past that I sometimes can hardly believe how fast time flies by us. Back then, only the most smug kids of rich parents could afford to own a black-white Magic deck, featuring the still unmantched in power Vindicate as well as the regenerating Spectral Lynx (which ironically costs like 50 cents nowadays, contrary to the still high in value Vindicate) and other kickass cards.

Today, looking back at 2 blocks of Orzhov Guild card-ridden Ravnica, I want to attempt, just as a mental experiment, without the intention to actually buy the stuff together I would need to actually construct this deck in real life, to make an at least decent black-white deck, with the Modern format in mind. And since this installment of my Magic deck marathon (Or should I say “Magic deck madness”??) is all about Weenie decks, this deck will be a Weenie type build of sorts as well. Let’s have a look at one of many possible decklists:

Creatures…24

4 x Nip Gwyllion W/B

4 x Vault Skirge 1B

4 x Nightsky Mimic 1B/W

4 x Tithe Drinker BW

4 x Tidehollow Sculler BW

4 x Vampire Nighthawk 1BB

Instants…4

4 x Mortify 1BW

4 x Unmake B/W B/W B/W

Sorceries…4

4 x Sign in Blood BB

Enchantments…8

4 x Edge of Divinity B/W

4 x Bad Moon 1B

Lands…20

4 x Marsh Flats

4 x Godless Shrine

4 x Caves of Koilos

4 x Plains

4 x Swamp

About the Deck: 

Well with 12 out of 24 Creatures having Lifelink, this could be called a “Lifelink Weenie” pretty much and what is more, after listing all the cards I realized that I might be building this for real some time after all, since almost all cards are cheap uncommons and commons. Well all except the Bad Moons and the non-basic lands. However I happen to own 4 Marsh Flats so that would be a start. The problem would be the Godless Shrines which go for around $15 USD nowadays which is harsh… On the other hand, the Caves of Koilos are cheap and the deck could probably do with 4 white/black fetchies and 4 white/black painlands. But on to the actual deck.

The deck’s focus is a bit more on the black side actually, so funnily and thanks to the Time Spiral “timeshifted” cards, I am running Bad Moons instead of Honor of the Pure in a Modern Format deck. 8 out of 2o creatures are just black and not white or black/white which is the reason why I opted for the black creature boosting Bad Moon.

So the creatures could be called Weenies, with their power and cost being at least equal. There is one exception: Vampire Nighthawk. His stats are decent at 2/3 for 1BB but what makes him really shine are his numerous special abilities. For just three mana you get a creature with flying, deathtouch AND lifelink! What a deal! Also we see a “familiar face” in the decklist: Vault Skirge. Well you will gladly pay the 2 life to reduce his effective casting cost to 1 generic mana gladly under pretty much any circumstances, which will give you a turn one 1/1 flyer. And he’ll be a 2/2 lifelinked flyer with a Bad Moon out. And he’ll be a 3/2 Flyer if you enchant him with the 1 casting cost (either black or white) Edge of Divinity. Edge of Divinity becomes truly awesome on a Creature that is both black and white, giving its full +3/+3 boost for just one mana. It will turn a lowly Nip Gwyllion into a fearsome 4/4 lifelinked beast and a Tidehollow Sculler into a monstrous 5/5 beatstick. Tidehollow Sculler is a creature which I have liked a lot since I first laid an eye on it. It is a 2/2 artifact creature for BW (so yes, it would qualify as a Weenie for me) that lets you banish a non-land card from an opponent’s hand for as long as the Sculler remains in play. That is quite awesome. One more creature with quite some potential is Nightsky Mimic, a creature I just today became aware of. Most basically, it will be a 2/2 for 1B/W but if you cast a spell that is both black and white, it becomes a 4/4 flyer until end of turn. Now in a deck with a total of 28, mostly inexpensive, spells that are both black and white, this guy will be a 4/4 flyer most of the times.

Supporting your rush of lifelinked beaters are some high quality, effective spells such as Mortify, the poor man’s Vindicate as I like to call it, which lets you destroy a Creature or Enchantment and Unmake, which costs also 3 mana and banishes any Creature right away. Sign in Blood makes sure you draw some extra cards to prevent you from running out of steam too soon. The cost of 2 life is something that will hardly bother you with all the ways to gain extra life. What is funny about Sign in Blood is that you can also niftily use it to kill off your opponent if they should be down to 1 or 2 life, since you can target any player for the draw and life loss!