MtG: A Kamigawa “Crap Rare” in the Spotlight: Toshiro Umezawa

Dear readers!

It IS Kamigawa week after all as it seems, as it just occurred to me that I on the one hand promised to do more “crap rare in the spotlight” Magic deck articles and that on the other hand I pretty much declared this week “Kamigawa block week”, since we are celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the japanese-mythology-themed block this year. So here I want to present you one of the ominous “crap rares” from the Kamigawa block that has always tickled the inner deckbuilder in me.

Have a look at Toshiro Umezawa in all his glory:

Toshiro Umezawa, not to be confused with a distant relative from ye olde Legends set, Tetsuo Umezawa, is, by my standards, to be considered a “crap rare” as he goes for about 80 US cents on average nowadays.

At the same time, the legendary Samurai has, in my eyes, tremendous potential to be unleashed and profited upon in the right deck for Toshiro.

So let me re-iterate what you can see for yourself in the above card preview: Toshiro Umezawa is a lackluster Creature, a 2/2 for 1BB with Bushido 1, but what makes him really shine is his in my opinion quite awesome abiltiy. So, whenever a Creature your opponent controls is put into a graveyard from play, you get to cast and instant from your graveyard. That makes Toshiro nothing short of a little, walking, talking Yawgmoth’s Will for instants and that is what makes this particular card from the Kamigawa block so interesting and a great candidate for showcasing in a Kamigawa-themed “crap rare in the spotlight” article.

So, before we dive into a decklist, let us look at what a Toshiro Umezawa Deck would need to max out on the Samurai’s very much abusable ability:

First of all, we need to trigger Umezawa’s ability. Therefore we need ways to send opponent creatures to the graveyard from play.

Secondly, we need instants in our graveyard that are worth casting from there and at the same time cheap enough to cast.

To make maximum use of Toshiro Umezawa’s ability, I propose that a combination of red and black would be most suitable.

So after rummaging through my almost encyclopedic M:tG card knowledge (there are some holes in that knowledge though as a matter of course!) and with the help of the real Magic cards encyclopedia over at I am able to present you with one possible Toshiro Umezawa deck, legal in Modern Format but not really intended to be competitive.

Modern Umezawa Deck (Modern Format):


4 x Toshiro Umezawa 1BB

4 x Horobi, Death’s Wail 2BB


4 x Lightning Bolt R

2 x Shock R

4 x Incinerate 1R

4 x Magma Jet 1R

4 x Searing Blood RR

4 x Terminate RB

4 x Geth’s Verdict BB


4 x Lightning Greaves 2


4 x Terramorphic Expanse

10 x Swamp

8 x Mountain

About the Deck:

Well the deck is pretty straightfoward: Get out Toshiro Umezawa and destroy creatures via Lightning Bolt, Shock, Incinerate, Magma Jet, Searing Blood, Terminate and Geht’s Verdict (no less than 28 cheap – 2 mana or less – instants that can kill creatures) and then re-cast these instants from your graveyard, dealing direct damage to your opponent via Lightning Bolt, Shock, Incinerate and Magma Jet. Horobi, Death’s Wail, however risky this one may be, can help a lot with destroying opponent Creatures and finish off the opponent as Horobi is a 4/4 Flyer for 2UU that has the ability that each creature is destroyed when targeted be a Spell or Ability. That means on the one hand that a humble Shock will kill off any creature, no matter how big. On the other hand, that makes Horobi itself and Toshiro Umezawa vulnerable, so use Horobi with care. Also, make sure to attach the Shrouding Lightning Greaves to Toshiro PRIOR to playing Horobi…

Well that about concludes this – for my standards – really brief “crap rare in the spotlight” article.

I hope you had a nice, quick read and will be back shortly with more…

As always I wish you all





MtG: Revisiting Kamigawa

Dear readers and friends of Magic: the Gathering!

Today I am going to treat you with a blast from my personal Magic past:

Ten years ago from today, waaay back in 2004 Wizards (of the Coast) released Champions of Kamigawa, the first set in the Kamigawa block, which was set in the rich, ancient Japanese world of mythology. Kamigawa was, in my opinion, one of the most flavorful sets in M:tG history, coming with stunningly beautiful artwork and teeming with otherworldly spirits, featuring lots of legendary Samurai, Ninjas and various other creature taken right out of Japanese lore and myth, as well as several interesting abilities such as “Splice onto Arcane” or “Soulshift”.

In hindsight, the Kamigawa block was one of the less powerful and lasting blocks overall, as it was very flavorful and interesting within itself as mentioned before, but produced, as far as I can tell not a whole lot of cards that made a lasting impact on the game after the Kamigawa blocks. There are few cards from Kamigawa that you see played in decks nowadays, though there sure are some great quality cards to be found in said block, for example a “pet creature” of mine:

Back in the time of the Kamigawa block, I was very actively playing Magic and so I am quite familiar with the “Kamigawa era” cards and remeber quite a deal of the decks I used to play back then. So, in order to celebrate Kamigawa’s ten year anniversary, I would like to share with you some of my old decks I had back in the days, trying to reconstruct them in written form in this article while possibly adding a few more recent cards thus updating the decks to some extent.

So the Kamigawa block was all about spirits (Kami is Japanese for spirit I guess, hence the name of the block) legendary creatures and other permanents, arcane instants or sorceries, Samurai, Ninjas, Oni (Japanese demons) and all kinds of other things you might expect to find in a japanese mythology themed set. Let me start this off by sharing with you a deck focussed on spirits first. They are no ordinary spirits however but a special kind of spirit: Zuberas! As always, I will present you with the decklist first and then follow up with my thoughts on the deck! OK lets get this started: Banzaaaai!!

Zuberas (Modern Format):


4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Hana Kami G

4 x Dripping-Tongue Zubera 1G

4 x Ashen-Skin Zubera 1B

4 x Floating-Dream Zubera 1U

4 x Thief of Hope 2B

4 x Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker 4B


4 x Soulless Revival 1B

4 x Devouring Greed 2BB


4 x Terramorphic Expanse

10 x Forest

7 x Swamp

3 x Island

About the Deck:

Back then I liked to play this deck a lot because of its many, many synergies. This list differs from the original one though as I was not able to afford what I today consider THE key card in this deck: Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker…

Why the above card is so powerful in this particular deck will become apparent soon. But first a few words about these special little spirit creatures going by the name Zuberas:

Zuberas are all 2 cost 1/2 spirit creatures that have an effect when they die. Said effect is duplicated for each other Zubera sent to the graveyard the same turn. Let us look at Dripping-Tongue Zubera as an example:

You see, a 1/2 Zubera Spirit creature for 1G that puts a 1/1 Spirit creature token into play when it is sent from the battlefield to the graveyard this turn. When it dies alone, you will get one Spirit creature token. When another Zubera was killed the very same turn, you’ll get two tokens and so on.

The other two Zuberas I am running in this deck have similarly working effects: Ashen-Skin Zubera forces your opponent to discard a card from hand for each Zubera sent from play to graveyard the turn it dies and Floating-Dream Zubera, by far my favorite Zubera, draws you one card for each.

The basic plan with this deck was (and still is) to swarm the field with cheap Zuberas and then unleash a mighty Devouring Greed…

… causing your opponent to lose a ton of life while netting you as much life as your opponent lost.

The cool thing is that Devouring Greed lets you trigger your Zubera abilities en masse if you can sacrifice a substantial number of Zuberas for its additional cost. Suppose you have one Dripping-Tongue Zubera, one Ashen-Skin Zubera and one Floating-Dream Zubera out when you cast Devouring Greed. What will happen when you sack all three to Devouring Greed would be that your opponent will lose 2 + 6 life (2 per Spirit sacrificed), you will gain 8 life and the three Zuberas will cause your opponent to discard 3 cards (through Ashen-Skin Zubera), spawn 3 spirit tokens (through Dripping-Tongue Zubera) and draw you 3 cards (through Floating Dream Zubera). That is pretty amazing all in all for an investment of just 2BB (for Devouring Greed).

And this is where Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker comes in:

As you have seen in the above card image, at each end of your turn, Shirei will reanimate (bring back to the battlefield from the graveyard) any creature with 1 or less power sent to the graveyard during the turn. This means all the Zuberas you sacked to Devouring Greed will come back to life at end of turn, provided you can keep Shirei in play long enough for his awesome abiltiy to resolve, so they can be sacrifice fodder for another, even more devastating Devouring Greed.

There is one card in particular that will make sure you can follow up a first Devouring Greed with another one quite reliably and easily: Hana Kami. Hana Kami is a 1/1 for 1 green mana that can be sacked at the cost of 1G to retrieve any Arcane from your graveyard and put it into your hand. So you’d be able to retrieve and re-cast Devouring Greed pretty easily and what is really cool is that, since Hana Kami is a 1 Power creature as well, Shirei will reanimate the little retriever at end of turn so its awesome ability can be used again and again!

The second Devouring Greed will be even more devastating if you had all your Zuberas respawn by means of Shirei’s ability, as any sacked Dripping-Tongue Zuberas will have spawned a considerable number of spirit tokens which can serve as additional sacrifice fodder for follow-up Devouring Greeds.

Another notable card is Thief of Hope. The thief is a 2/2 Spirit that causes your opponent to lose one life and you to gain one every time you play a spirit or arcane. Since 34 cards, so more than half of the deck, are either spirits or arcane sorceries, you should gain quite some life and your opponent lose quite some life over the course of the game with Thief of Hope out. Also, you can sack him to Devouring Greed as he is a spirit himself AND has Soulshift 2, meaning you get to take any spirit with cost 2 or less from your graveyard back into your hand. This is a good way to retrieve a Zubera or Hana Kami if Shirei isn’t around to reanimate them. Soulless Revival serves a similar purpose, returning any creature from your graveyard to your hand and can be spliced onto an Arcane like Devouring Greed for the cost of 1B. (Clarification: Spells with “Splice onto Arcane” can be cast from your hand in addition to any Arcane Instant or Sorcery for their Splice onto Arcane cost and remain in your hand if they were spliced instead of going to the graveyard, so they can be used multiple times.)

Overall I really, really like the synergies going on in this particular deck and will probably go through the trouble of getting my Zubera deck cards back together, proxy up some Shireis and try the deck out again after such a long time to see how it fares against more modern builds!

OK on to the second Kamigawa deck. This time it will be all about Ninjas and I must admit beforehand that I am a tiny bit proud of the following deck, as I think I came up with quite a creative, unique and not “net-decked” approach to Ninjas and making great use of their “trademark” ability Ninjutsu. So here comes Blue Green Ninjas (Note that there are some Mirrodin block cards in the following decklists as I used to play this when the Kamigawa and first Mirrodin block were Standard Format!):

Blue-Green Ninjas (Modern Format):


4 x Ornithopter 0

4 x Birds of Paradise 0

4 x Mistblade Shinobi 2U

2 x Walker of Secret Ways 2U

4 x Ninja of the Deep Hours 3U

2 x Throat Slitter 4B

3 x Higure, the Still Wind 3UU

3 x Eternal Witness 1GG


3 x Bramblecrush 2GG

3 x Plow Under 3GG


4 x Shuriken 1

2 x Umezawa’s Jitte 2


4 x City of Brass

8 x Forest

8 x Island

2 x Swamp

About the Deck:

Well as I mentioned already I am quite fond of this deck as it is my very own creation making use of the Ninjutsu ability native to many Ninja creatures in Kamigawa in an unusual way. I played this deck when the Kamigawa and (first) Mirrodin block defined the Standard Format, hence, cards from both these blocks characterize the above deck. I only added the new Bramblecrush to the mix of old cards.

So what is this deck all about and how is it supposed to work (and win)?

As I already mentioned this deck makes heavy use of the Ninjustsu ability many Ninjas from the Kamigawa block possess. For those who aren’t familiar with it, I shall explain how it works:

Whenever one of your Creatures attacks and is unblocked and you got a creature with Ninjutsu in your hand, you can exchange the attacking creature with the Ninjutsu creature from your hand by paying its Ninjutsu cost. This is after blockers have been assigned (or not) and before damage is dealt. Here’s an example:

So if you pay 1U and return an unblocked attacking creature you control to your hand, you get to put Ninja of the Deep Hours into play tapped and attacking. Says so right on the card above!

So this deck runs an assortment of Ninjutsu Creatures:

  • Mistblade Shinobi is a 1/1 with Ninjutsu U, that returns an opponent creature to their hand when it deals combat damage.
  • Walker of Secret Ways’ Ninjutsu ability is negligible (you get a look at the opponent’s hand when it deals combat damage) but it has a great secondary ability: At the cost of 1U you can return a Ninja from play to your hand. This can be tremendously useful to use Ninjutsu abilities of various Ninjas again and again.
  • Ninja of the Deep Hours as seen above is a great way to draw some additional cards.
  • Throat Slitter, the only non-blue Ninja in the deck (it’s black), destroys target non-black creature when it deals combat damage to a player at the Ninjutsu cost of 2B.
  • Higure, the Still Wind is the big badass boss of Ninjas: He is a 3/4 playable via Ninjutsu by paying 2UU and whenever he deals combat damage to a player you get to fetch any Ninja from your deck and put it into your hand. Great for searching out the one Ninja you need the most at any given point. And if that would not be awesome enough in and off itself, Higure makes any Ninja unblockable for one turn at the mere cost of 2 generic mana. How tremendously convenient!

Besides the actual Ninjas, I am running some other, non-Ninja creatures as well. 8 of them are in the deck to actually enable you to get your Ninjas out via Ninjutsu, namely Ornithopter and Birds of Paradise. Without wanting to praise myself any more, I think these two do a great job in this deck as “Ninjutsu-enablers”:

Ornithopter can be played for 0 mana and is a flyer. Since Ninjutsu does not require an attacker to deal damage – it just requires an unblocked attacker – Ornithopter is extremely useful in conjunction with Ninjutsu creatures as you can attack with it and “Ninjutsu-in” any Ninja from your hand, then immediately re-playing your zero casting cost Ornithopter to attack with it once again on your next turn, possibly facilitating another Ninjutsu attack.

Birds of Paradise are not only great mana-acceleration and provide you with just the right mana needed to cast your blue, green and black spells, they are also 0 Power flyers that can be used to facilitate Ninjutsu and can be re-cast for just 1 green mana, similar to Ornithopter.

Besides your cheap (or free) flyers, I included three Eternal Witnesses. Why you may ask? Well here the combo-esque nature of the deck becomes apparent. So Eternal Witness is a walking Regrowth, as it is a 2/1 at the cost of 1GG that lets you return any one card from your graveyard to your hand. Your prime targets for Eternal Witnesses retrieving capabilitites would be either Bramblecrush or Plow Under. Bramblecrush is a sorcery that destroys any target permanent that is not a creature at the cost of 2GG and Plow Under is a 3GG cost sorcery that lets you put any two lands on top of their owner’s library. So what you’d do is control the battlefield at first with Mistblade Shinobi and Throatslitter until you gather enough mana to go into “combo mode”. What you’d do is cast land destruction sorceries like Bramblecrush and Plow Under, then summon Eternal Witness to retrieve them. Then you’d return Witness to your hand via Ninjutsu and summon her again retrieving a Bramblecrush or Plow Under which you’d cast again asap. This way you can, in theory, put your opponent under a real “land lock”. However the deck does not need this combo to go off in order to win…

The Ninjas are supported by some quality equipment in the form of direct damage dealing Shuriken and versatile Umezawa’s Jitte.

Ok so much for my combo-tastic Ninjas/Ninjutsu deck which I used to play casually in the Kamigawa/Mirrodin 1 era.

Let me present you with one last deck which I just recently came up with when going through the Kamigawa block cards for nostalgic reasons, somewhat in celebration of the block’s 10 year “anniversary”. Have a look at my monogreen spirits beatdown deck, which would be Kamigawa block legal, meaning it consists of Kamigawa cards only:

Kodama’s Might (Modern Format/Kamigawa Block):


4 x Hana Kami G

4 x Soilshaper 1G

4 x Loam Dweller 1G

4 x Elder Pine of Jukai 2G

2 x Kodama of the South Tree 2GG

2 x Kodama of the North Tree 2GGG

2 x Briarknit Kami 3GG


4 x Kodama’s Might G


4 x Kodama’s Reach 2G

4 x Unchecked Growth 2G


4 x Long-Forgotten Gohei 3


2 x Okina, Temple of Grandfathers

20 x Forest

About the Deck:

This is just one of many possible spirit creature-type decks. I decided to build mine mono-green, including many synergies – not combos, but card synergies mind you.

The central card of the deck is without any doubt what I would not have been able to afford back then when Kamigawa was brand-new, and what can be safely called a “crap rare” nowadays, going for about 50 (US) cents these days:

Not only does Long Forgotten Gohei decrease the cost of your Arcane Spells by 1, no, it also boosts all your spirits by +1/+1, which is pretty amazing in a deck where all creatures are spirits and all instants and sorceries are Arcanes.

Well supported by Long Forgotten Gohei, the deck features a great array of green spirit creatures and Arcane instants and sorceries.

Hana Kami can be sacked to retrieve any one Arcane from your graveyard. Soilshaper turns one of your lands into a 3/3 creature for a turn whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane and Loam Dweller and Elder Pine of Jukai have effects that go hand in hand. Loam Dweller is a 2/2 for 1G that lets you put a land from your hand into play tapped whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane while Elder Pine of Jukai is a 2/1 for 2G that lets you reveal the top 3 cards of your deck whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane and put all lands revealed this way into your hand. The latter Spirit creature has Soulshift 2 as well, which can retrieve Han Kami, Soilshaper or Loam Dweller from your graveyard to your hand in case it should die.

Your mid- to high-end creatures, all Spirits as well, have pretty amazing abilities as well. Kodama of the North Tree is quite a huge beater at 2GGG. He is a 6/4 with Trample and Shroud. Not a bad deal! Kodama of the South Tree on the other hand is a 4/4 that gives all your creatures +1/+1 and Trample whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane. Lastly, Briarknit Kami might appear a bit costly at 3GG for a 3/3 creature but the awesome part is his ability: Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane, you get to place a +1/+1 counter on target creature, giving any one of your creatures a permanent boost of +1/+1 whenever you cast one of your Spirits or Arcanes.

Speaking of Arcanes, you got a good assortment of these as well: Kodama’s Might is pretty amazing as it is an Arcane itself at the cost of 1 green mana that gives +2/+2 to target Creature until end of turn and it can be spliced onto another Arcane for the mere cost of 1 green. So whenever you play the mana ramping Kodama’s Reach, which lets you search your deck for 2 basic lands and puts one into play and one into your hand for 2G or the massive spirit pumper Unchecked Growth, which gives +4/+4 and trample to one of your Spirits, you can always pay one additional green mana to splice Kodama’s Might onto either of these to give one of your Creatures an additional +2/+2 boost for the turn.

Okina, Temple of Grandfathers gives a small +1/+1 boost to one of your legendary Kodamas, which may not seem like much, but may matter some times.

All in all I think the individual cards in this deck would work very well with each other and I am tempted to go through my old Kamigawa block cards and see how many cards needed for this deck I have in my possession and maybe proxy up the rest to try it out – for old times’ sake!

Anyways this concludes my nostalgic article commemorating the 10 years anniversary of the japanese-mythology-themed Kamigawa sets. Heck, who knows maybe, as I look into the old Kamigawa block cards some more, I will make this “Kamigawa Week” and post some more articles around the block about spirits and legends of the east!

In any case I hope you had a good read and maybe enjoyed this blast from the past. As always I wish you all




MtG: Turning Dirt to Gold: Corpsejack Menace – A “Crap Rare” in the Spotlight

Dear readers and fellow friends of M:tG!

Some of you may already have noticed that I have a soft spot for, no, I LOVE so called “crap rares”. To get definitions out of the way, I consider a rare (or even mythic rare) card that goes for under a dollar or so as something many would refer to as a “crap rare”. To my knowledge the prices of cards are determined by demand, how popular and sought after a certain card is in competititve and casual play. These prices may change over time and some rare cards may become crap rares or crap rares may rise in popularity and with that increase in monetary value, as new cards come out that make them more or less desirable and viable in certain decks. The best example are the classic Birds of Paradise, which were about 20 USD or more back then – until Noble Hierarch came, which skyrocketed in price ever since it was released and averages in at about $50 USD or more, while you get a Bird for $3.50 USD on average nowadays.

So I want to start a series of articles about Magic: the Gathering crap rares, since I love to build decks around those, which are, due to the nature of a crap rare, not only cheap to buy together, but also provide a fun challenge for my deckbuilding mind.

For a worthy start of this little series, I chose a card which I find myself mentioning over and over again in so many deck articles and which has great, great potential in my opinion – potential that can be unleashed and built upon if you assemble the right deck around it.

Lo and behold our first “crap rare in the spotlight”:

First of all, Corpsejack Menace goes for about 60 US cents and thus qualifies as a crap rare. It is a 4 cost creature with a decent 4/4 body. What makes it so awesome in my opinion however is its ability. Whenever you would place a +1/+1 counter on any of your creatures, place twice as many instead. Seriously that card blew my mind when I first saw it and my deckbuilder’s brain went wild with ideas and combos involving this very card. It is kinda the poor-man’s-version of Doubling Season, which considerable rose in price since the introduction of those notorious Planeswalkers into the M:tG universe, as Doubling Season doubles the number of counters on any of your permanent, which includes Planeswalkers as well…

Corpsejack Menace has its advantages (and disadvantages) too – for instance it is a 4/4 beater which can pose quite a threat to an unprepared opponent. Again, what matters though is its awesome +1/+1 counter-doubling ability, which offers so many possibilities for the crafty deck designer. Just yesterday I prominently featured the “Menace” in two decks built around another of those ominous crap rares – Deathbringer Thoctar – but there are many, many more possible “homes” for Corpsejack Menace.

Let me share with you three of the many combotastic decks that came to my mind since I “discovered” our “crap rare in the spotlight” (all decks are Modern Format legal, though their competitiveness is doubtful – use in a fun/casual environment is recommended):

Artificial Menace:


4 x Arcbound Worker 1

3 x Arcbound Stinger 2

4 x Steel Overseer 2

3 x Etherium Sculptor 1U

4 x Corpsejack Menace 2BG

3 x Etched Oracle 4

2 x Triskelion 6

1 x Clockwork Dragon 7


3 x Thoughtcast 4U


4 x Pentad Prism 2

3 x Lightning Greaves 2

3 x Howling Mine 2

3 x Clock of Omens 4


4 x Glimmervoid

4 x Mirrodin’s Core

4 x Tree of Tales

4 x Vault of Whispers

4 x Seat of the Synod

About the Deck:

I am particularly excited about this deck, which runs, oddly enough, a bunch of artifacts alongside Corpsejack Menace, as there are so many combos and synergies in it and as it features two crap rares at once. The second is a card which I have always liked a ton and tried to build combos and decks around it for a long time: I am talking about Triskelion:

“Trike”, as I like to call it, is a true crap rare as it goes for around 30 US cents a piece. Now just have a look at what it does and imagine this casting one with Corpsejack Menace out. Yep, that’s right, you will get a 7/7 Construct that can shoot/distribute no less than 6 points of damage however you choose. That is a pretty great deal for just 6 generic mana if you ask me! Attach Lightning Greaves, attack for 7 right away and then, optionally, distribute 6 damage among creatures and/or players as you choose. That is how the Trike rolls when its best friend, the Menace, is there to support it!

Another great, great but terribly underrated “pet card” of mine is Etched Oracle:

In my opinion, getting a 4/4 for 4 (different) mana that can draw you 3 cards at instant speed if you got one more mana to spare is pretty amazing. Again let us imagine this in conjunction with Corpsejack Menace. That’s right, if you play Oracle fully boosted via Sunburst, it will be a whooping 8/8 artificial Wizard with the ability to pay 1 and remove four counters to draw 3 cards (so you’d be able to draw twice – six cards in total). Again this would be a good candidate for equipping with Lightning Greaves.

Another great artifact creature to run alongside Menace is Clockwork Dragon:

This one is pretty obvious: When combined with Corpsejack Menace, the Dragon will enter play as a huge 12/12 flyer for just 7 mana on which you can place two +1/+1 counters for the cost of 3 generic mana…

Well, the awesomeness does not stop with Triskelion, Etched Oracle and Clockwork Dragon. The deck features some minor combos or synergies involving Menace and small Arcbound creatures – namely Arcbound Worker and Arcbound Stinger. These Arcbound creatures have the Modular ability, which places a number of +1/+1 counters on them when they come into play. Furthermore, when they die, you can move the counters from them onto another artifact creature. You may use them as early blockers but they become really neat once you manage to get the Menace into play. Not only will they enter play with double the number of +1/+1 counters, no, when they die, the number of counters doubles AGAIN due to Menace’s ability when you move them onto another of your artifact creatures. A good target for spare +1/+1 counters would be Triskelion of course!

So with all the talk about combos and synergies with Corpsejack Menace, you may ask yourself “It is just four cards in a 60 card deck, what if I don’t draw Corpsejack Menace?” Well first of all the deck is not half bad even without the counter doubling capabilities of Menace and secondly, there are tons of ways to draw quite a few cards so the odds of you eventually bumping into a copy of our favorite Fungus are pretty good. Etched Oracle was already mentioned. Then there is the (due to affinity for artifacts) cheap quality card draw of Thoughtcast. Lastly, and this is my favorite part, the deck runs a draw engine combo I came up with while ago consisting of 2 – 3 cards (the third being optional but all the more powerful if you got all parts lined up):

The core combo consists of Howling Mine + Clock of Omens, with Steel Overseer, the only costlier creature in the deck, as the third and optional combo piece. It would work like this: Howling Mine draws each player an additional card during their draw phase, UNLESS it is tapped. Clock of Omens lets you tap two of your artifacts to untap target artifact. Now what you’d do is tap both Mine and Clock to untap any of your many artifacts, so the Mine would be tapped and hence not draw your opponents any card during their draw phases. The  best untap target for the artifact duo of Mine and Clock would be one of your Steel Overseers.

And this leads us to yet another synergy with Corpsejack Menace: Steel Overseer taps to put a +1/+1 counter on each and every one of your artifact creatures. You’ve guessed it, Menace will double the amount of counters dished out, which is amazing in and off itself. However this can get quite insane if you use Clock of Omens and some other artifacts such as Howling Mine to untap the Overseer and use his ability multiple times each turn. This works great with your modulars and will provide Triskelion with more “ammunition” on each of your turns.

Well, that about wraps it up for this deck. I must say I am really excited to try this one out (I think I have all the cards in my collection to be able to build the deck) and see how it all falls into place. The sheer amount of combos and snynergies, not only related to Corpsejack Menace sure sounds promising!

For now, on to the next Corpsejack Menace deck:

Mono-Green Menace (Bugs, Plants, Hydras and a Fungus):


4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Scute Mob G

4 x Vinelasher Kudzu 1G

4 x Sakura-Tribe Elder 1G

4 x Mistcutter Hydra XG

2 x Vastwood Hydra XGG

4 x Corpsejack Menace 2BG


4 x Bioshift G/U

4 x Solidarity of Heroes 1G

4 x Harrow 2G


2 x Oran Rief the Vastwood

4 x Llanowar Reborn

4 x Evolving Wilds

10 x Forest

2 x Swamp

About the Deck:

First of all I have to admit that the title is a bit misleading, since this deck cannot possibly be mono-green if I am running Corpsejack Menace, which is green AND black as we have seen already. However the rest of the deck is all green, and I needed a shorter, catchier title than “Bugs, Plants, Hydras and a Fungus”, which would describe what this deck is all about more accurately.

So what is the basic plan with this almost mono-green deck?

Well I am running tons of quite efficient cards that let you add +1/+1 counters to creatures – surpise, surprise! Before I go into detail on my card choices in this one and how they are supposed to interact with the star of the show – Corpsejack Menace – I would like to note that despite this deck features lots of rares, it is still rather budget friendly, as many of the rares included are not really crap rares but still quite cheap to get a hold of: Scute Mob goes for $1.80 USD right now, Mistcutter Hydra is at about $2.50 and Vastwood Hydra averages in at 60 cents to mention a few. Furthermore it has to be said that this deck could work out well even if you do not draw into a copy of Corpsejack Menace due to the fact that it contains many highly powerful and efficient quality cards.

Let me go through the cards one-by-one this time to demonstrate the tremendous synergies and great interactions in this deck:

Birds of Paradise speed up the deck but the main reason is not their mana-making capabilities but rather the fact that they fly. Why that is relevant will become evident later on.

Scute Mob is a 1/1 for one green mana that gets no less than four +1/+1 counters during each and every one of your upkeeps if you control 5 or more lands. As this deck features considerable mana-ramp in the form of Sakura-Tribe Elder and Harrow, meeting these requirements early on should not be too hard. And now comes Corpsejack Menace! All of a sudden your Mob of bugs will gain 8 (!) +1/+1 counters during each of your upkeeps as long as you control at least 5 lands. Pretty awesome for a one mana creature if you ask me.

Vinelasher Kudzu is another 1/1, this time at a still very affordable cost of 1G that accumulates +1/+1 counters over the course of the game. Kudzu gets a +1/1+ counter every time a land comes into play under your control. This goes extremely well with cards like Sakura-Tribe Elder, Harrow and Evolving Wilds, which all put additional lands into play. The Kudzu would be growing considerably even without Menace, but with it, once again the number of counters gained for each land you play would double.

Sakura-Tribe Elder, a 1/1 for 1G can be sacked any time to search your library for any one basic land card which is then put into play tapped. As mentioned above this goes well with Vinelasher Kudzu but it also speeds up your deck AND gives you access to one of your swamps which you may need for summoning the Menace.

Mistcutter Hydra is one hell of a creature even without Corpsejack Menace. It costs XG and comes into play with X +1/+1 counters. On top of that it cannot be countered, is protected against blue and has haste. What a deal! Now imagine Mistcutter Hydra in conjunction with Menace. The Hydra would come into play with twice the number of +1/+1 counters on it. So for example if you invested 4 mana into the X in its casting cost you would get a hasty, cannot-be-countered, protection from blue 8/8 beast of a hydra for just 5 mana. With all the mana ramp in the deck, you should be able to reliably drop a huge Mistcutter Hydra soon.

Vastwood Hydra is pretty great as well and works in a similar way as its mistcutting cousin. It costs XGG and comes into play with X +1/+1 counters, just as Mistcutter Hydra. When it dies, and this is what makes this 60 cent crap rare so great in this deck in my opinion, you can distribute its counters among your creatures as you wish. Now first of all, just like Mistcutter Hydra, Corpsejack Menace will double the amout of +1/+1 counters the Hydra comes into play with. When it dies however things can really get quite ugly for your opponent, as the number of counters doubles AGAIN as you distribute and place the counters of your slain Hydra among your creatures. A prime target for this would be your lowly Birds (of Paradise), which have evasion in the form of flying. For example: You have Menace out and cast Vastwood Hydra for 4GG. You will get an 8/8 creature. When it dies, you could place 8 counters on a Bird for instance, and Menace would double those counters giving you a 16/17 flyer that will be a game winner in many cases.

Corpsejack Menace pretty much doubles the power of the deck as a whole but as I said already, the deck is quite efficient I think even without Menace in play. I say that because there are no ways for you to fetch Menace or draw additional cards to bump into one sooner or later. However, there is a good deal of deck thinning in form of your land searchers Sakura-Tribe Elder, Harrow and Evolving Wilds, which does increase the chance of acutally drawing Corpsejack Menace.

Bioshift, an instant that costs just 1 green or 1 blue mana (you’d pay the green in this deck), is your best friend in this deck. What it does is simply amazing, even more so when combined with the powers of Corpsejack Menace. Bioshift lets you transfer any number of +1/+1 counters from any one of your creatures to another. Simply make sure to have one green mana handy and you can save all your precious +1/+1 counters on one of your creatures that would be destroyed, exiled, bounced or whatnot by sending them over to any of your other creatures. A great target would be the flying Birds of Paradise. Now Corpsejack Menace proves its incredible value in a deck like this as you will get to put twice as many +1/+1 counters on one of your creatures than you removed from another. This works great with Scute Mobs, Vinelasher Kudzus and your Hydras. Bioshift is so versatile, you can even attack with a few creatures and move some counters from a blocked creature to an unblocked creature to inflict some (serious) additional damage on your opponent. Just an example how powerful this 1 mana instant can be: If you have Menace out and managed to summon a Mistcutter Hydra with 6 +1/+1 counters, you can use Bioshift to remove all 6 counters from the Hydra (maybe in response to something that would have destroyed or exiled it anyways) and put no less than 12 +1/+1 counters on, let’s say, a flying Birds of Paradise. I really like the potential of this really cheap instant as so many neat tricks can be pulled of with it.

Solidarity of Heroes doubles the number of +1/+1 counters on any one creature for just 1G – at instant speed – and can target additional creatures for each 1G you pay in addition for every creature beyond the first one. Now that would be amazing in and off itself, but as far as I understand the cards involved, Corpsejack Menace would double the number of counters you placed with Solidarity of Herose. So again an example: Menace is on the field. You play Mistcutter Hydra for 4G, so it comes into play as an 8/8, with 8 +1/+1 counters on it. Then you’d play Solidarity of Heroes which would put 8 additional +1/+1 counters on the Hydra. These newly placed counters would double through Menace’s effect which would end in an 8 x 3 = 24 +1/+1 counter Mistcutter Hydra. IF I am not totally wrong, that would rock big time! You could Bioshift the 24 counters onto Birds of Paradise which would make them an 48/49 flying behemoth of a bird. Utterly insane. Utterly…

Harrow is a great way to get additional lands into play fast. You just pay 2G, sack one land and put two basic lands from your library into play UNTAPPED. You would be searching for a forest and a swamp most of the times, so you’d be able to cast your Corpsejack Menace. Note that Harrow will trigger Vinelasher Kudzu’s ability twice, putting 2 additional +1/+1 counters on it.

Oran-Rief the Vastwood is a great land in this deck. It comes into play tapped, produces green mana and you can tap it without any additional cost to put a +1/+1 counter on each green creature that entered play this turn. Once again, Menace will double the number of the counters you get to place.

Llanowar Reborn comes into play tapped and produces 1 green mana as well and has Graft 1, which means it enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter which can be moved onto a creature when the creature comes into play. Quite useful as well as Menace will let you put 2 +1/+1 counters on the creature of your choice.

Evolving Wilds can be sacked to search your deck for any basic land, maybe the one swamp you need to cast Menace, triggers Vinelasher twice and thins out your deck. A good choice for this deck as well I think.

OK so much for the second Corpsejack Menace deck. It appears to me that there is some huge potential in this deck as well and the prospect of 48/49 Birds of Paradise, however likely or unlikely that may actually ever happen, is just so very tempting. Only good that I own most of the cards listed in this deck – I can’t wait to try that one out sooner or later as well.

Now on to the third and last Menace deck:

Grafting Menace:


4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Simic Initiate G

2 x Llanowar Elves G

4 x Plaxcaster Frogling 1GU

4 x Trygon Predator 1GU

4 x Vigean Hydropon 1GU

4 x Corpsejack Menace 2BG

2 x Trikelion 6


4 x Bioshift U/G

4 x Solidarity of Heroes 1G


4 x Give / Take 2G / 2U


4 x Llanowar Reborn

4 x Yavimaya Coast

4 x Llanowar Wastes

4 x Forest

4 x Island

2 x Swamp

About the Deck:

This deck has a lot in common with the previous one as both run central key cards like Bioshift and Solidarity of Heroes to move around and double counters (as a matter of course, there is also Corpsejack Menace in this deck as this article is all about Corpsejack Menace decks!), however it does focus a bit more on the “Graft” ability. Graft is somewhat similar to Modular which we already discussed in the first deck I presented in this article. A card with Graft enters the game with a number of +1/+1 counters and whenever a creature enters play, you may move one +1/+1 counter from the card with Graft onto the creature you just played.

Right there we have the reason why Corpsejack Menace can live up to its name once again. With a Menace out, your Graft creatures will enter battlefield with twice as many +1/+1 counters and whenever you move a +1/+1 counter onto another creature, it will receive two counters instead – thanks to Menace.

Notable Graft cards are:

  • Plaxcaster Frogling…

…which comes into play with three +1/+1 counters or with 6 of those in conjunction with Menace at the mere cost of 1UG and has the awesome ability to give shroud to a creature with a +1/+1 counter on it by paying 2 generic mana.

  • Vigean Hydropon…

…which acts as a great “storage facility” for +1/+1 counters. While it can neither attack or block, it comes into play with five +1/+1 counters – make that ten with Corpsejack Menace – and there are some awesome combos with it. For instance you could use the “Take side” of Give / Take ro remove all its counters and draw 5 cards or your could target it with the in this deck awesome as well Solidarity of Heroes to double the number of its +1/+1 counters only to move the counters over to a creature that can attack, preferrably the flying Birds of Paradise or Trygon Predators (I love that card in particular, not only in this deck!).

Let us think this through real quick: Suppose Menace is on the field. You play Vigean Hydropon which enters play with ten +1/+1 counters. Then you target it with Solidarity of Heroes, adding 10 + 10 counters, elevating the counter total to 30. Then you could transfer the counters on another creature for just 1 mana by means of Bioshift. This is completely crazy but the creature would receive no less than 60 counters that way!! Triskelion anyone?? (Remember you can remove a +1/+1 counter from Triskelion to inflict one point of damage to target creature or player. That means you could in theory kill of an opponent thrice, or three opponents at once if you like multiplayer madness. So YES PLEASE to at least two Triskelions in this deck as well!

Llanowar Reborn is a land with Graft 1 and you got 4 Simic Initiates as well for some additional grafting!

Lastly I want to highlight the already mentioned double-sided card Give / Take. You can either put three (six with Menace) +1/+1 counters on target creature for 2G, which is nice OR remove all +1/+1 counters from target creature to draw that many cards. The latter makes Give / Take a very potent draw card in this deck in particular. As I said you can refill your hand by targeting a Hydropon with Take or turn a, thanks to Menace, 6/6 Plaxcaster Frogling into a new hand of 6 cards – if you need the draw more than the awesome 6/6 creature that is.


Well, that about wraps it up for my first, admittedly rather lenghty “crap rare in the spotlight” article. There would still be more to explore and tinker around with Corpsejack Menace, as I didn’t want to torment you with a whole novel about this quite awesome but totally underrated card, so I had to leave out some other deck ideas. One deserves a honorable mention though: What if one combined creatures with the  rather new “Heroic” ability, introduced in the Theros Block, with Corpsejack Menace? Here’s an example card for you to figure it out yourself instead of me having to explain how this would work:

That’s right, the above Centaur would receive four +1/+1 counters everytime he’d be the target of a Spell you cast when teamed up with Corpsejack Menace. I will refrain from posting a decklist and commentary on a possible “Heroic Menace” deck, which would be very much feasible I guess, at least for a casual/fun environment.

Well I hope you enjoyed the first of what will hopefully become a series of articles highlighting certain “crap rares” and exploring the possibilities of “turning dirt to gold” so to say by building the right “home” for rare cards that are considered more or less unplayable.

I for one enjoyed writing this a lot, as, and I mentioned it initially, I like myself a good deckbuilding challenge, hence my fondness of toying around with ostensibly worthless cards which have one thing in common: A slumbering potential that can be awakened by the crafty deck designer.

So I thank you for reading and wish you all, as always,




MtG: Of Deathbringing Thoctars & Angelic Rebirth (Modern & Legacy Decks)

Dear readers and friends of M:tG!

Once again I want to share with you some of the many, many deck my these days so Magic-centered mind (when it comes to games at least) is churning out faster than I can keep up with or indeed than I am able to afford (if I bought all the cards to assemble all the decks I am coming up with). Today I am going to look at different versions of two decks, one of which I have at the ready and am putting to the test of the awesomely powerful Green/Red/White beatdown deck that won my sister the tournament some weeks ago (I designed that deck, so I am quite proud of that fact!) – with mixed results – and one which I will be testing soon. The former deck is all about one particular beast, namely Deathbringer Thoctar

… a card which I have found to be immensely powerful in the right deck, although it is considered a “crap rare” and hence very much affordable to get a hold of, and the second deck being a reanimator-style deck without any black, the color you might expect when it comes to reanimation (returning cards from graveyard to play aka “the battlefield”). Let us start with the first deck idea, centered around this very deadly type of Thoctar. I will be presenting you both with a Modern Format version and a Legacy legal version although I don’t think either would be fit for competitive play. I love the interactions though so there definitely is some fun to be had with the following decks in a more casual setting. Lets get started with the decklist, after which I will elaborate on the same a bit – as per usual.

Modern Deathbringer Thoctar:


4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Scarland Thrinax RBG

4 x Sprouting ThrinaxRBG

4 x Corpsejack Menace 2BG

4 x Deathbringer Thoctar 4RB


4 x Terminate RB

3 x Altar’s Reap 1B

3 x Solidarity of Heroes 1G

2 x Putrefy 1BG


3 x Basilisk Collar 1

3 x Swiftfoot Boots 2


4 x Savage Lands

4 x Terramorphic Expanse

10 x Forest

4 x Mountain

4 x Swamp

About the Deck:

Well the center card of this deck is, and we established that already, Deathbringer Thoctar, a true crap-rare which goes for about 20 cents (US cents mind you!). It’s stats are weak at 3/3 for a 6 mana creature but its effect is awesome if you build the right deck around it. This I attempted in the above Modern Format legal deck.

Well if as you have seen for yourself, you get to place a +1/+1 counter on the Thoctar whenever a Creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield. Moreover you can remove a +1/+1 counter from Thoctar any time to “shoot” one point of damage at target creature or player, much like you would with the classic Triskelion.

Now in this deck there are various means of maxing out on Thoctar’s ability, which is actually pretty amazing when combined with the right cards, so it includes many combos and card that synergize with Deathbringer Thoctar.

The most obvious combo is attaching Basilisk Collar to Deathbringer Thoctar, giving it Lifelink and DEATHTOUCH. The latter means you’ll just need to remove one counter to target any Creature (that can be targeted – Protection from black/red, Shroud and Hexproof are probably your worst enemies) and deal 1 damage to it to destroy that Creature. That would gain you another counter and you’d just rinse and repeat until you killed off the whole opponent army.

Thoctar also interacts greatly with one of my pet combo cards, which also happens to be an ostensibly unplayable crap rare going at around 60 US cents currently: Corpsejack Menace. Menace is a formidable 4/4 at the cost of 2BG that doubles the number of all +1/+1 counters you would place an a Creature of yours. This works greatly in favor of your deadly Thoctar strategy, as everytime you’d kill a creature, the Thoctar would receive not one but two +1/+1 counters. Imagine this in conjunction with Basilisk Collar. If you opponent had 4 targetable creatures for instance, you would be killing off one after the other and ending up with a Thoctar with 4 +1/+1 counter, making it a 7/7 zombie beast and an utterly defenseless, devastated opponent.

To ensure that the Thoctar will at least have one or some counters to start the madness, I am running an array of cards that let you destroy creatures, either your opponent’s or your own by means of sacrificing them for some beneficial effect.

Terminate and Putrefy are great, cost-efficient cards to get rid of opponent creatures (or artifacts in the case of Putrefy), thus putting a counter on Thoctar, whereas Altar’s Reap draws you 2 extra cards if you sacrifice one of your creatures, and that at instant speed. I like to have 1B to spare during my opponent’s turn to play Altar’s Reap in response to one of my creatures being killed anyways. Scarland Thrinax is also a great “sacrifice outlet” as it is a 2/2 for 3 mana (RBG) that lets you sack any one of your creatures to have a +1/+1 counter placed on it. Note the great synergy with Corpsejack Menace, which will double the number of counters placed on Thrinax as well (matter of fact I like that card, Corpsejack Menace, so much that I will be dedicating a whole article to decks built around it shortly!). Sprouting Thrinax on the other hand is awesome sacrifice fodder for its Scarland cousin, as it is a nice 3/3 also for RBG that spawns three 1/1 Saproling tokens upon death. While the tokens being sacked won’t trigger Thoctar’s ability (as should be apparent if you read the card carefully as I showed it to you initially) which is too bad, they can be sacked to make Scarland Thrinax grow huge, or even huger if Corpsejack Menace is out there as well.

Furthermore, I added Solidarity of Heroes as well, which lets you double the number of +1/+1 counters on any one target Creature at instant speed and at the mere cost of 1G. You can either make your Scarland Thrinax even bigger or, the better choice in my opinion, double the number of +1/+1 counters on Deathbringer Thoctar to get an even more menacing zombie beast.

Lastly, I am running some Swiftfoot Boots to protect my key creatures from any targeted harm (as well as giving them haste on top of it) and I have to note that I sooo wanted to add a few Bioshifts, which let you transfer +1/+1 counters from one creature to another. But in the end, that one didn’t make the cut because I found the effect to be somewhat too situational. Sure it would be great to send some counters from a heavily pumped Scarland Thrinax to a Deathbringer Thoctar, or “save” your +1/+1 counters in case the current bearer would be destroyed by just relocating them onto another of your creatures, but as I said, I skipped Bioshift in favor of other cards. Maybe I will reconsider after some more testing.

Now on to the Legacy format version of the Deathbringer Thoctar Deck:

Legacy Deathbringer Thoctar:


4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Veteran Explorer G

4 x Carrion Feeder B

4 x Death Baron 1BB

4 x Corpsejack Menace 2BG

4 x Deathbringer Thoctar 4RB


4 x Dark Ritual B

2 x Bioshift U/G

4 x Terminate RB


2 x Vigor Mortis 2BB


4 x Swiftfoot Boots 2


4 x City of Brass

8 x Forest

4 x Mountain

4 x Swamp

About the Deck:

Well this is how I would play a Deathbringer Thoctar deck with the Legacy pool of cards to choose from. It is basically centered around the same general plan as its Modern Format counterpart, but I am running some great Legacy-only cards or card-alternatives that improve the deck greatly in my opinion.  First off, I added Dark Rituals and Veteran Explorers to speed up the deck. The latter is really awesome, as he lets you (and your opponent) search your library for 2 basic lands and puts them into play untapped! You can just chump block with this 1 cost creature or sacrifice him to Carrion Feeder, the considerably cheaper Zombie alternative to Scarland Thrinax and you’ll get two additional basic lands of your choice. Secondly, Death Baron replaces Basilisk Collar in this build, a choice which has its pros and cons. Death Baron gives +1/+1 and Deathtouch to all Zombies, and the Thoctar happens to be of that type. Also, I found room for 2 Bioshifts as I think it can be really useful to move some +1/+1 counters from Carrion Feeder to Deathbringer Thoctar or to a lowly Bird of Paradise, possibly making it a huge threat for your opponent. Two Vigor Mortis were added as well as a means to reanimate a destroyed Thoctar or another key creature like Death Baron for instance. The fact that you get to place a +1/+1 counter on the reanimated creature if at least one green mana was spent to cast Vigor Mortis goes quite well with Thoctar for obvious reasons…

OK so much about the dealdy Deathbringer Thoctar and how I would build decks around it in the Modern and Legacy Formats. Now on to something completely differnet:

I have always been quite fond of “off-color card effects”, cards that is that do something rather unusual for their respective color. Among those cards is white reanimation for instance. I am talking about cards like this for example:

So a white reanimation deck always gave me that kind of “must build deck around this” itch. In the second part of this here article, I will be presenting you two versions of reanimation decks that don’t run the typical color of reanimating stuff – black – at all, which I would like to call “Angelic Rebirth”. The first will be a quite costly Modern Format deck, actually being too costly for my taste and my meager budget and the second being a less costly, semi-budget Legacy Format legal deck. Once again, neither are intended for competitive play. Let us start with the expensive Modern deck then:

Modern Angelic Rebirth:


4 x Noble Hierarch G

4 x Fauna Shaman 1G

4 x Merfolk Looter 1U

1 x Akroma, Angel of Wrath 5WWW

1 x Avacyn, Angel of Hope 5WWW


4 x Mana Leak 1U

4 x Compulsive Research 2U


3 x Time of Need 1G

4 x Supreme Verdict 1WWU

3 x Ressurection 2WW

4 x Defy Death 3WW


2 x Lightning Greaves 2


4 x Seaside Citadel

4 x Sunpetal Grove

4 x Yavimaya Coast

10 x Forest

About the Deck:

So the deck is called Angelic Rebirth. Why? The answer is simple: It is all about quickly reanimating the über-awesome Avacyn, Angel of Hope (or Akroma, Angel of Wrath as a backup plan). Bask in her angelic glory for a moment:

Yeah that’s right, a flying, vigilant, indestructible 8/8 that makes all your other permanents indestructible as well. If I had 2o dollars to waste I would so get a copy of this one! But alas… Nevermind and let us move on. So the basic plan is to A) get Avacyn into your hand, then B) drop Avacyn into your graveyard and lastly C) reanimate her cheaply from there. After that you can go knock yourself out casting stuff like Supreme Verdict to eradicate all opponent creatures (yours are indestructible after all!) in order to make them lose all Hope… yeah, “Avacin,  Angel of Despair” she should be called instead!

Ok so, how do we accomplish this series of requirements/steps?

First of all we have to get Avacyn into our hand. There are several ways to accomplish that in this particular deck: Either draw her via your formidable card draw in the form of Merfolk Looter or Compulsive Research OR fetch her directly through Fauna Shaman or, even better and cheaper through Time of Need. The latter costs just 1G and puts any one legendary creature from your deck into your hand. How convenient!

Step two, dropping Avacyn into your graveyard, would be accomplished by the very same cards – Merfolk Looter, Fauna Shaman or Compulsive Research. These are all great discard outlets and can place Avacyn in your graveyard easily and cheaply setting all up for the third and final step.

Reanimating Avacyn, Angel of Hope is accomplished by the classic Resurrection at the cost of 2WW as shown above OR by the newer and totally awesome Defy Death. Have a look:

Yeah that’s right, Avacyn would be entering the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters if revived by the above card, making her an even more awesome 10/10 vigilant, indestructible flyer!

Lightning Greaves are in the mix to give Avacyn Haste as well as Shroud so she can attack right away and escape these pesky exiling effects caused by such nasty cards as Path to Exile. And in case you need it, there is always the cheap Mana Leak to protect her as well.

OK now on to a similar deck as I would play it with the Legacy pool of cards available. It is considerably cheaper but not a lot less powerful in my opinion. Let us have a look at the deck list:

Budget Legacy Angelic Rebirth:


4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Avacyn’s Pilgrim G

4 x Wild Mongrel 1G

4 x Fierce Empath 2G

1 x Akroma, Angel of Wrath 5WWW

3 x Artisan of Kozilek 9


4 x Careful Study U

3 x Time of Need 1G

3 x Breath of Life 3W

4 x Defy Death 3WW


4 x Lightning Greaves 2


4 x Brushland

4 x Yavimaya Coast

4 x Adarkar Wastes

6 x Forest

2 x Island

2 x Plains

About the Deck:

In this deck, I attempt to pull off something similar as in the deck discussed above: Drop a powerful Creature, in this case…

…into the graveyard by various means and then reanimate it quite cheaply to swing in for the win. This is supposed to be somewhat of a semi-budget deck so I skipped Avacyn, Angel of Hope in favor of Akroma, Angel of Wrath, which is about half as expensive and in fact the only costlier card in the whole deck. Well the “Painlands” are not exactly cheap either but as I happen to own playsets of all of them I am running them. The deck would work well with common and uncommon alternatives for lands as well though.

Anyways, as you can see clearly above, Akroma isn’t a bad deal either being a 6/6 vigilant, first striking, trampling, vigilant flyer with protection from red and from black.

The plan is the same as in the much more expensive Modern deck we have looked at before:

A) Get Akroma into your hand via Time of Need or Fierce Empath. The latter can be cast on turn 2 via your mana makers Birds of Paradise and Avacyn’s Pilgrim.

B) Dump the Angel of Wrath into your graveyard. This is done by discarding to Wild Mongrel or the very cheap Careful Study.

C) Reanimate Akroma via Breath of Life for 3W or Defy Death for 3WW as in the Modern Angelic Rebirth deck. In the latter case, Akroma would be attacking as an 8/8 the turn she enters play.

There is a nice one-two punch combo involved here as well. If you manage to drop both Akroma and…

…into your graveyard, you can reanimate him and through his effect, Akroma could be reanimated. That would give you the powerful Akroma AND a 10/9 behemoth with Annihilator 2. Add Lightning Greaves into the mix, equip it to Artisan and you’ll be able to attack for 16 damage in total the turn you cast Breath of Life or Defy Death.

Lightning Greaves is also useful to protect Akroma from all other targeted effects besides red and black ones, such as, I mention it once again, the notorious Path to Exile.

Note that Fierce Empath does not only fetch Akroma, he also puts Artisan of Kozilek into your hand if you need him.

OK that’s it from me regarding deadly Thoctars and Angels Reborn. I hope you enjoyed this article and had a good read. I am sorry for the over-abundance in Magic: the Gathering related posts. I will try to get in some variety by posting on something else for a change soon. Bear with me for now. I just have so many ideas when it comes to Magic Decks these days and the strong urge to share them!

With that I wish you all the best and




MtG: In the Spotlight: WHITE (Modern Format)

Dear readers and fellow M:tG enthusiasts!

In the “Modern” times of the Magic: the Gathering Customizable Card Games, the color white has brought us many great and powerful cards such as the staple…

… and older white cards that were and are still quite potent in the past have been replaced with arguably or strictly inferior alternatives, such as…

…instead of the classic Crusade and…

…instead of good-old Swords to Plowshares. The latter is about half the price of the new Path to Exile now by the way.

So having always been a passionate White Weenie player, the color white has a special place in my M:tG heart. In this article I want to showcase what the very same color can do in the Modern Format (which includes all sets since the new card layout was introduced with the 8th Edition at the 10 years Magic anniversary back in 2003) by showcasing 3 decks as you know I like to do quite a lot.

Our first deck will not be a typical White Weenie, although it certainly has “weenie-esque” traits as it is basically a creature rush deck swarming the field with small guys and pumping them with one or two single cards like Honor of the Pure as seen above. All that in Modern Format and built on a budget.

So as always, I will present you with my decklist and then follow up with my thoughts and comments on the deck:

Exhibit A: The Phantom Menace (Modern Format):


4 x Doomed Traveler W

4 x Twilight Drover 2W

3 x Phantom General 3W


4 x Gather the Townsfolk 1W

4 x Lingering Souls 2W

4 x Spectral Procession W/2 W/2 W/2

3 x Hour of Reckoning 4WWW


4 x Intangible Virtue 1W

4 x Honor of the Pure 1W

4 x Oblivion Ring 2W


4 x Orzhov Guildgate

4 x Terramorphic Expanse

10 x Plains

4 x Swamp

About the Deck:

Yes, this is a Token Rush deck as I would describe it, built on a budget and whilst technically Modern Format legal, clearly intended for casual play – a fun deck so to say.

So about the actual deck: You got only very few actual creature cards but a ton of sorceries which produce a ton of creature tokens, mostly 1/1 flyers with the exception of the 1/1 non-flying humans generated by Gather the Townsfolk. Combine that with 11 cards that give all your tokens +1/+1 (4 Intangible Virtue, 4 Honor of the Pure, 3 Phantom General –  more on those cards later) and you’ll have a more or less huge army of more or less threatening creature tokens in like no time!

The few creatures you have all have abilities that go well with the token rush theme.

Doomed Traveller is a 1/1 for instance who spawns a 1/1 flying spirit creature token when he dies, which is pretty amazing once we get to the actual “creature token support” that is found so bountifully in this deck as we are going to see.

Twilight Drover has two abilities which go hand in hand and are great support for the overall theme of the deck. Whenever a creature token leaves play, you get to put a +1/+1 counter on the Drover. Then for just 2W and without having to tap him, Twilight Drover makes two 1/1 Flyers if you remove a counter from him. Getting two small flyers repeatedly is pretty awesome when seen in the context of this particular deck.

Phantom General is the last “real” creature in this deck and probably least efficient. He is a 2/3 creature for 3W that gives all your creature tokens +1/+1. He is quite overcosted in my opinion, even with his ability, but I added 3 copies still to have another way of boosting all my tokens’ power and toughness.

Besides the not even a dozen actual creatures you have, as mentioned before, an array of Sorceries that spawn lots of tokens. Lingerning Souls creates four 1/1 flyers for 3WB (if you add up the normal and the flashback cost) while Spectral Procession (probably the most potent token generator at your disposal) spawns three 1/1 flyers quite possibly at as small a cost as WWW. Gather the Townsfolk is the oddball token generator as it does not make 1/1 flying spirits but rather two 1/1 human tokens at the cost of 1W. The cool thing about Gather the Townsfolk however is that you will get 5 of these little humans if your life total is equal to or below 5. That can be handy and turn the tide in your favor.

Besides the token generation sorceries I added three copies of Hour of Reckoning. This totally overlooked “crap rare” from Ravnica: City of Guilds is a great addition to the deck in my opinion, as you can reduce its cost down to WWW via Convoke and it can serve as a great field swiper leaving all your (boosted) creature tokens unscathed.

When we look at the enchantments in the deck, I am running a playset of less creative but always good to have Oblivion Rings, your one-stop-solution to get rid of a bothersome non-land permanent as well as 2 x 4 creature boosters: Those are the well-known Honor of the Pure, which has been shown above, giving all your white creatures +1/+1 and the more obscure but in this deck very potent Intangible Virtue. The latter costs the same as Honor of the Pure (1W) and gives all your token creatures +1/+1 and, and here comes the awesomeness, the Vigilance ability on top of that (meaning your tokens won’t need to be tapped in order to attack).

If you have just a single copy of one of your many creature boosters out (I list them again: 3 x Phantom General, 4 x Intangible Virtue, 4 x Honor of the Pure), a single Spectral Procession for instance will give you a little army of three 2/2 flyers, swinging in for 6 damage soonest and maybe being untapped and ready to block after that if you have Intangible Virtue out, and that at the mere cost of WWW. Pretty cost-efficient if you ask me.

Well that about wraps it up about this fun budget deck idea of mine. Actually, I see great potential in this humble deck design of mine and, as most of the cards included in it are dirt-cheap, have already ordered all the cards i need to assemble it. I for one am looking forward to see how “The Phantom Menace” will perform in real life!

Moving on, the next deck is kinda the anti-thesis of a white weenie/creature-rush deck; a monowhite control type of deck. Now in “Modern times” white control often comes in the form of enchantments. Having realized this I came up with the following deck:

Exhibit B: The Banisher (Modern Format)


3 x Hero of Iroas 1W

4 x Mesa Enchantress 1WW

3 x Fiend Hunter 1WW

3 x Celestial Ancient 3WW


4 x Emerge Unscathed W

4 x Path to Exile W


4 x Journey to Nowhere 1W

4 x Arrest 2W

3 x Oblivion Ring 2W

3 x Banishing Light 2W

3 x Prison Term 1WW


4 x Sejiri Steppe

4 x Kabira Crossroads

14 x Plains

About the Deck:

The latin saying “nomen est omen” is very true for this monowhite control type of deck, as it is all about banishing permanents, especially creatures – exiling those by various means that is. Let us run the numbers before I elaborate more on the strategy I have in mind for this deck: The deck runs no less than 24 ways of either “shutting down” or exiling a Creature (those are 3 x Fiend Hunter, 4 x Path to Exile, 4 x Journey to Nowhere, 4 x Arrest, 3 x Oblivion Ring, 3 x Banishing Light & 3 x Prison Term). Out of those 24,  6 cards banish any permanent (3 copies of each of the already “classic” Oblivion Ring and its newly-released duplicate  Banishing Light), thankfully including those pesky, new Planeswalker cards…

So I noticed that most of my creature and/or permanent removal comes in the form of enchantments. In an effort to profit from that fact, I built this deck. So first off, the most important part of the deck. Lo and behold our potent draw engine:

Mesa Enchantress will draw you a card each and every time you play an Enchantment. This deck is almost 1/3 Enchantments and so the Enchantress will replace your every Journey to Nowhere, Oblivion Ring or any other of your (creature) removal enchantments with a fresh, new card in your hand. That should generate some massive card advantage in your favor.

Continuing with the creatures, let us have a look at Hero of Iroas:

Well first of all he is a decent weenie-type creature with 2/2 at the cost of 1W, has the (in this deck mostly irrelevant) heroic ability and, and this is why I am running him in this deck, he reduces the cost of your Auras by 1. While only 7 of my 17 enchantments are auras (4 x Arrest and 3 x Prison Term) I think this still warrants running 3 copies of the hero.

Fiend Hunter is a creature with in-built creature removal, as you may exile any one target creature when he comes into play. When Fiend Hunter leaves play, the exiled creature is returned to play. You are getting this awesome effect on a 1/3 body for just 1WW.

Lastly, Celestial Ancient is supposed to be my “killer”/win condition, being a 3/3 flyer for 3WW that puts a +1/+1 counter on each of your creatures whenever you play an enchantment, superbly ineracting with the enchantment theme of the deck and profiting greatly from the high enchantment percentage in this particular deck. Of course I could skip the Ancients and just run Elspeth, Knight Errant instead using her second ability on one of my creatures each turn, but I somehow refuse to play with Planeswalkers in any of my decks. Call me stubborn, but I’d rather stick to old-fangled win-conditions…

Moving on to the non-creature cards, I would like to first of all mention a  tiny instant with a great effect which I have grown very fond of lately:

This is your answer to anything that would do harm to one of your key creatures and I have found myself ordering multiple playsets of Emerge Unscathed as I want to run it in several of my decks at the same time. This can really be a life-saver for your important creatures such as your Mesa Enchantress or Celestial Elder, giving a creature protection from any one color – instant speed – at the cost of W. The really cool thing about Emerge Unscathed is its Rebound ability, which lets you cast it again during your next upkeep – for free! This is kinda a one-two punch combo thing as you can protect one of your creatures on one turn and then give the same or another creature protection from one of your opponent’s creatures’ colors so it will be unblockable for the turn. I think this is a really great card and will serve well in this deck in protecting your key creatures, acting in many ways quite alike a white counterspell for the mere cost of 1 white mana.

The other must have instant is Path to Exile, which I have shown you at the outset of this article.

Besides the creatures and instants I am running a lot of creature and permanent removal in the form of enchantments as I have mentioned before:

Journey to Nowhere exiles any creature at the cost of 1W, Arrest shuts down a Creature completely (the enchanted creature cannot attack, block or activate its abilities) for 2W and Prison Term does the same with the option to move it onto another creature that enters the battlefield (in case the opponent plays a more threatening creature than the one you put Prison Term on initially)  for 1WW while Oblivion Ring and Banishing Light exile ANY target non-land permanent that might bother you at 2W.

On a closing note, I am running 8 “comes into play tapped” lands with useful effects, as this is supposed to be a slow, control-style of deck that can afford things like that. The lesser useful of the two special lands is Kabira Crossroads, which nets you 2 life when it comes into play. Now the other one could be really useful I reckon: Sejiri Steppe gives protection from any one color to one of your creatures for the remainder of the turn it entered the battlefield. This can be quite neat in stalemate situations as you can give your Celestial Ancient for instance protection from an opponent color so it will become unblockable for one turn in the best case scenario.

So much for “The Banisher”! My gut feeling tells me this one could do quite decent even in a more competitive setting. On to our next and last white deck, which is the least “budgety” of the three decks presented in this here article:

Exhibit 3: Power to the People (Modern Format)


4 x Champion of the Parish W

4 x Elite Vanguard W

4 x Knight of the Holy Nimbus WW

4 x Banisher Priest 1WW

3 x Mentor of the Meek 2W

3 x Angelic Overseer 3WW


4 x Emerged Unscathed W


4 x Gather the Townsfolk 1W

2 x Increasing Devotion 3WW

2 x Hour of Reckoning 4WWW


4 x Honor of the Pure 1W


3 x Chrome Mox 0

18 x Plains

About the Deck:

This deck is inspired by a deck I played in the Magic 2014 App for Android, contains many cards from the Innistrad block, which pretty much came and went without being noticed by me, as I had been occupying myself more with the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG at that time I guess, and is about one lesser known and supported creature type – the very race the humble author himself belongs to: Humans.

It is again a creature-rush type of deck, “weenie-esque” you may call it. Basically I saw these two cards and in that instance I knew I wanted a human-tribal deck:


While Champion of the Parish is an amazing first turn drop, growing exceedingly large the more humans you play and best followed up by the two human tokens generating Gather the Townsfolk, Angelic Overseer is not a human at all but an angel but acts as the trump/killer-type creature in my take on a human deck. You can see why for yourself above…

This deck shares quite some cards with the other two decks presented in this article, such as Gather the Townsfolk and Honor of the Pure which I also run in my token rush deck and Emerge Unscathed as in the “Banisher” deck. I run them for similar reasons, but let me still go through my card choices for my human deck one-by-one:

  • Champion of the Parish: An amazing first turn Creature that will grow ever larger the more human creatures you play. Best followed up by Gather the Townsfolk, which will give Champion a lasting +2/+2 boost and you two 1/1 humans.
  • Elite Vanguard: The uncommon, human Savannah Lion who happens to be a human. Just a 2/1 for W. If you happen to have a Chrome Mox handy, you can pair this one with Champion of the Parish to get a 2/2 and a 2/1 on your very first turn.
  • Knight of the Holy Nimbus: Has the old-fangled Flanking ability but what makes this 2/2 for WW really awesome is that he regenerates everytime he would be destroyed, unless an opponent pays 2 to shut down the Knight’s regenerative powers for one turn. Your opponent will most often not be able to pay the 2 mana early on, but even if they can it will be quite taxing on their resources, which makes this an amazing 2 drop. And yes, Knight of the Holy Nimbus is a human as well!
  • Banisher Priest: The 2/2 version of the 1/3 Fiend Hunter as the Priest exiles any one target Creature for as long as he remains on the field. I prefer him in this deck over Fiend Hunter as I like the extra +1 Power in this case.
  • Mentor of the Meek: Technically not a Weenie as he his converted casting cost is 3 and his stats are a meek 2/2, this one is a great, great draw engine, and I think a great deck needs a great draw engine. So whenever a Creature with Power 2 or less enters play when Mentor is out, you can pay 1 to draw a card. Just imagine playing Gather the Townsfolk and having 2 more mana to spare. Then the card would basically say “3W: Put two 1/1 human creature tokens into play and draw 2 cards”. Mentor becomes more powerful in mid- to late-game, when you will be able to afford to pay some extra mana for some extra cards.
  • Angelic Overseer: This one is the killer card in the deck and the only non-human in the deck. As you can see above, Angelic Overseer is a formidable 5/3 flyer for 5 mana. As long as you control a human though he’ll get a deadly combination of Hexproof and Indestructible, which pretty much makes the Overseer invincible (except if your opponent causes you to sacrifice a creature á la Cruel Edict – but then again you’d have a puny human to sack most of the times…). Lots of humans and the human token generating Gather the Townsfolk etc should ensure that the Overseer will get its awesome bonuses for sure.
  • Emerge Unscathed: I am running this one for the same reason as I run it in the Banisher deck presented above: To protect a key creature from harm and to give your most powerful creature protection from a color the turn after you cast it from your hand for free via the awesome Rebound ability.
  • Gather the Townsfolk: I think I don’t need to explain this in detail once again. Just generate two 1/1 human tokens or five of their kind if you have 5 or fewer life.
  • Increasing Devotion: This one generates no less than five 1/1 humans and can be cast from your graveyard for 7WW via flashback, then generating double the number of human tokens (10). Just imagine this with the 1 white mana Champion of the Parish, who would get a lasting stats boost of no less than +5/+5.  Also making five seperate tokens will give you a formidable army with a total attacking power of 10 (!!) if you happen to have a Honor of the Pure out.
  • Hour of Reckoning: This one is already familiar to us from the creature token deck we looked at initially. I think it is a pretty great combo with your mana human creature token generating cards and Angelic Overseer. If your position on the battlefield is less fortunate but you still have at least a human token and Angelic Overseer in play, you can unleash Hour of Reckoning which will A) leave all your tokens unharmed and B) leave Angelic Overseer unharmed as well as she has indestructible if a human is on the field. This is a great way to break stalemates, so I thought running 2 Hour of Reckoning would be a good plan.
  • Honor of the Pure:  Everything has been said about that one already: Gives all your white creatures +1/+1 and goes very well with your token generators Gather the Townsfolk and Increasing Devotion.
  • Chrome Mox: Just speeds up the deck. If you have no clue what a Chrome Mox is, please educate yourself here.

Well, that concludes my “white in the spotlight” deck/strategy article. I think I covered quite a bit of what the color white can do for you in the Modern Format – from weenie to monowhite control with a twist – and hope you had a good read and enjoyed the article. Who knows, maybe I will be covering other colors and what they are capable of in Modern and/or Casual Format soon as well.

For now I will leave it at that, thank you for reading and, as always, wish you




MtG: Toying around with the Theros Block “Heroic” ability…

Dear readers and fellow M:tG enthusiasts!

I am in a writing mood so I will follow up my previous Magic-related article I just posted with yet another one:

As I have been visiting the Magic Shop on a weekly basis for quite a while and through buying some Theros Block Intro Packs and through participating in a Sealed Deck release event as well I became somewhat familiar with the Theros Block cards and one new ability had caught my attention in particular and made my inner deckbuilder curious. I am talking about


Heroic is a creature ability that triggers some effect whenever the creature with heroic is the target of a spell. Most commonly the creature would receive a +1/+1 counter when targeted by a spell. Here is a typical example of a creature with heroic:

So my curiosity was raised and my inner deckbuilder unchained and ready to come up with some decks maxing out on the in my opinion and in the right deck awesome new heroic ability!

I will present you with three decklists in this article along with my ramblings on how the heroic ability is put to proper use in them. The first will be a pretty straightforward White/Green “weenie-eskue” type of deck whereas the second deck will add in some blue and explore how creatures with heroic can profit from auras (formerly known as enchant creatures) and the third deck will be something completely crazy, maybe crazy enough to actually work!

Let me get this started with showing you how I would build and play a Green/White Heroic Deck on a budget:

Modern Heroes on a Budget (Modern Format):


4 x Favored Hoplite W

4 x Phalanx Leader WW

4 x Akroan Skyguard 1W

2 x Wingsteed Rider 1WW

4 x Fabled Hero 1WW


4 x Mutagenic Growth G

4 x Ajani’s Presence W x

4 x Emerge Unscathed W x

4 x Solidarity of Heroes 1G x

4 x Selesnya Charm GW x


4 x Brushland

4 x Sunpetal Grove

12 x Plains

2 x Forest

About the Deck:

This deck consists of 1/3 lands, 1/3 creatures with the heroic ability and 1/3 of cheap yet powerful and flexible instants that all target creatures, thus triggering the heroic abilities of my army of White-Weenie-style creatures.

Favored Hoplite is a great one-drop with a great heroic ability…

… and Phalanx Leader…

…is very powerful, acting as some kind of pseudo-Crusade / Crusade replacement, as whenever he is targeted by a spell, all your creatures will get a +1/+1 counter. Akroan Skyguard and Wingsteed Rider, the former costing just 1W and the latter 1WW, are both flyers, which is great because a +1/+1 counter will be added to them everytime they are targeted by a Spell you cast. Fabled Hero is a 2/2 Doublestriker costing 1WW with the same heroic ability. That one can grow out of control in the blink of an eye!

Now on to the instants that will support the “heroic weenies” and cause their heroic abilities to trigger, placing lots and lots of +1/+1 counters on them:

Mutagenic Growth is basically a free +3/+3 boost when used on a heroic creature, whereby the +2/+2 from the spell will terminate at end of turn while the +1/+1 counter granted by the triggered heroic ability will last and remain.

Ajani’s Presence makes one Creature or even more if you can pay for the additional “Strive” cost indestructable for one turn AND gives them +1/+1 until end of turn. Of course, if heroic creatures will be targeted, those will have their heroic ability trigger and recceive a +1/+1 counter in addition in most cases. Ajani’s Presence is a great way to save one of your creatures while at the same time giving it a permanent boost as well.

Emerge Unscathed is a great way to save one of your creatures from targeted harm like Path to Exile, Journey to Nowhere, Oblivion Ring, Doom Blade, Putrefy, Mortify etc just to mention a few and what is more, it will rebound, you will be able to play it again for free on your next turn that is, thus triggering heroic twice.

Solidarity of Heroes doubles the number of +1/+1 counters on one or more of your creatures at the cost of 1G per creature. The cool thing is that it targets the creature first, meaning the heroics would get their counters and then these are doubled. A nice addition to a deck like this in my opinion. And all this at instant speed not to forget!

Selesnya Charm is so tremendously versatile and useful. Just have a look at it:

While the first ability will be useful in conjunction with your heroic creatures, the other two may well be of great usefulness at times as well.

OK so much about my take on a straightforward White-Green Heroic Weenie built on a budget – actually, the only cards that are a bit costlier are the lands, the 4 Brushland and 4 Sunpetal Grove. All else is pretty much dirt cheap, the deck consists mostly of commons and uncommons and yet I see great potential in it.

Let me show you another take on a deck making great use of heroic by other means: auras. Since auras target the creature they enchant when played (at least as far as I know) they should in theory also trigger the heroic abilities of the creatures we have seen and discussed above. For the fun of it, I added some blue to this deck as well besides white as the main color and green as the secondary color.  There is one card in particular that was begging for a heroic deck making use of aurus:

But on to the decklist already!

Enchant a Hero (Modern Format):


4 x Favored Hoplite W

4 x Akroan Skyguard 1W

4 x Hero of Iroas 1W

4 x Battlewise Hoplite UW


4 x Ajanis Presence W

4 x Emerge Unscathed W

4 x Selesnya Charm GW


4 x Aqueous Form U

3 x Snake Umbra 2G

3 x Unflinching Courage 1WG


4 x Sunpetal Grove

4 x Glacial Fortress

10 x Plains

2 x Forest

2 x Island

About the Deck:

This deck contains many cards we have seen in the last one already. When it comes to Creatures, I cut some out and added in Hero of Iroas whom I just showed you as well as Battlewisse Hoplite who is a great deal at a mere cost of UW:

Not only does he get the somewhat standard +1/+1 counter whenever he is targeted by a spell, you also get to Scry 1! That is a great additional ability in my opinion.

So much for the Creature base. When it comes to heroic-triggering instants, the assortment is pretty much the same as in the first deck showcased, with some cards left out in order to make room for the auras which should play a big role in this deck. So there is Ajani’s Presence, Emerge Unscathed and Selesnya Charm once more – cards I already introduced and discussed above.

What is new and what I think makes this deck unique and what differentiates it from the first heroic deck I showed to you is the addition of 3 different auras (enchant creatures), 10 cards in total – an assortment which I think would go particularly well with this kind of deck. Again I am pretty sure that auras target the creatures you cast them onto so if I am not completely mistaken they should in theory trigger the heroic abilities of my creatures, which would be the main plan in this deck. Let me go through the three auras i chose for this deck in particular and share my thoughts about them:

  • Aqueous Form: At the mere price of 1 blue mana, this makes one of your creatures unblockable AND you get to scry 1 whenever it attacks which is an amazing deal if you ask me, especially when you attach this cheap aura to one of you bigger heroics.
  • Snake Umbra: This is a great, great aura that I like to play in many of my decks for its sheer versatility. It gives the creature it enchants not one but three amazing bonuses/power at the cost of 2G (it may be cheaper if you got one or even multiple Heroes of Iroas in play): Firstly, the enchanted creature gets +1/+1 which is the least exciting of the powers Snake Umbra grants. Then, far more exciting, it lets you draw a card whenever the enchanted creature deals combat damage to an opponent. This is simply amazing if you enchanted the same creature with aqueous form previously, as it will not only be unblockable, securing you the card draw, but you will actually be able to scry for 1 prior to drawing the card from Umbra, which is an awesome synergy in my opinion. And the awesomeness does not stop here: Snake Umbra has a third power named “Totem Armor” which simply says if the enchanted creature would die, you may destroy the Umbra instead. This is great to protect one of your mighties heroic creatures from being killed by any means, which can be a very useful emergency option. All in all, the threefold usefulness of Snake Umbra made me run this one over Curiostiy, which would be away cheaper option at the cost of 1 blue mana. But thanks to Hero of Iroas, you may be able to lower the cost of Snake Umbra considerably as well.
  • Unflinching Courage: At the cost of 1GW, the enchanted creature gets +2/+2, trample and lifelink, thus making this the aura equivalent of Behemoth Sledge and an awesome power-up for any of your heroic creatures! I was arguing with myself if Rancor wouldn’t be the better alternative since it is considerably cheaper and, what is curcial, it returns to your hand when the creature it enchants would die, so you can cast it again and again, triggering heroic abilities over and over again. In the end, I chose to run Unfliching Courage over Rancor because of the lifelink and additional +2 toughness boost and the fact that the whole thing would cost just GW with only one Hero of Iroas in play.

Ok so much for the “Heroic Auras” deck. Let’s get right to the third deck I came up with, which is, as I said initally, crazy enough that it might actually work:

Heroic Survivor (Modern Format):


4 x Favored Hoplite W

4 x Phalanx Leader WW

4 x Akrosan Skyguard 1W

2 x Battlewise Hoplite UW

1 x Dawnbringer Charioteers 2WW


2 x Bioshift U/G

4 x Ajani’s Presence W

4 x Emerge Unscathed W

2 x Mortal’s Resolve 1G

2 x Selesnya Charm WG


3 x Supply / Demand XGW/1GU

4 x Day of Judgment 2WW

1 x Supreme Verdict 1WWU


1 x Ajani, Mentor of Heroes 3GW


4 x Coastal Citadel

4 x Sunpetal Grove

4 x Glacial Fortress

10 x Plains

About the Deck:

I think by now you are already familiar with the creatures I am running in this deck, with one exception: I added a sole copy of Dawnbringer Charioteers as you ace/killer card (if you ever draw them). Take a look:

When it comes to instants, we have seen most of them already in the previously showcased decks. What is new are two Bioshifts and two Mortal’s Resolve. The former costs either 1 blue or 1 green mana and lets you transfer any number of +1/+1 counters from one of your Creatures to another wheras the latter costs 1G and gives one of your creatures +1/+1 and indestructibility for one turn. What I am planning with those two will become evident now as I want to explain why I named the deck “Heroic Survivor”:

The basic plan is to play a bunch of your heroic creatures fast, true white weenie style, and pump them through heroic as much as possible. Then on turn 5 or 6 you would unleash one of your mass creature removal cards – either Day of Judgment or the “cannot be countered” Supreme Verdict. What you would do if you did that on your 5th turn would be spend 4 mana on Day of Judgment and save the last 1 (white) mana to cast Ajani’s Presence targeting your “best” heroic creature, thus giving it a +1/+1 counter from heroic, a temporary +1/+1 boost from Ajani’s Presence and, and here it comes, make it indestructible for the turn. This means on turn five, provided you played a land on each of your turns you would whipe the field clear of all creatures, save for one: Your lonely “Heroic Survivor”! Mortal’s Resolve is your backup for Ajani’s Presence here but it costs one more mana than the latter.

If you think such a feat as described above would be devastating enough, you could be doing something even nastier if you can wait until you have 6 or 7 mana handy. This is where Bioshift comes in. In the best case scenario you would unleash Day of Judgment or Supreme Judgment when you got 6 or 7 mana at your disposal, pay 4 for the mass removal, save your mighties “hero” with Ajani’s Presence and furhtermore, spend one green or one blue on Bioshift, transferring all +1/+1 counters from your second most powerful heroic creature to your lone “survivor”. Both Ajani’s Presence and Bioshift will trigger the “survivor’s” heroic ability anyways plus it will get a ton of +1/+1 counters from your second mightiest creatures which would die to Day of Judgment or Supreme Verdict anyways. What an awesome move!

I added 3 Supply/Demand as this is an amazing tutor for so many great cards in this deck, tutoring for anything multicolor – Supreme Verdict or Ajani, Mentor of Heroes (I pulled one out of a booster luckily but the deck works without him as well!) would be prime targets.


Well, dear friends of Magic: the Gathering, this is it about my ramblings on the rather new heroic ability/game mechanic. I hope you had a good read and found my deck ideas interesting to some extent. As a matter of fact I already bought together the cards for the first of the three decks I showcased above, and I tell you it was very, very budget friendly, and will keep you up to date on how the deck will work out!

So thanks for being a reader and, as always,






MtG: Surviving Judgment Day – A Modern Format Deck

Dear friends of MtG!

These days my head is buzzing with deck ideas for the incredible Magic: the Gathering CCG and hence I am going to present you with yet another one of my deck designs.

This time it is somewhat of an Aggro Control deck which center around getting out some cost-efficient beatsticks, then unleashing mass creature destruction like Day of Judgment or Supreme Verdict, whiping out all Creatures on the field. All but one – yours! How? Have a look at these two cheap instants from the new Theros Block:

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Some of you may be remembering that I attempted a similar approach in a deck I posted some time ago on here. I completely redesigned the deck, dropping the Dauntless Escorts and Loxodon Hierarchs in favor of the above two instants as the latter are considerably cheaper and not as easy to nullify than two 3 and 4 mana cost Creatures.

But let me show you my new decklist first before I go into detail regarding what I intend to do with this deck:

Doomsday Survivor (Modern Format)


4 x Sakura-Tribe Elder 1G

4 x Troll Ascetic 1GG

3 x Loxodon Smiter 1GW

1 x Isperia, Supreme Judge 2WWUU


4 x Spell Pierce U

4 x Ajani’s Presence W

4 x Emerge Unscathed W

3 x Mortal’s Resolve 1G

4 x Mana Leak 1U


1 x Reborn Hope GW

3 x Supply/Demand XWG/1WU

4 x Day of Judgment 2WW

1 x Supreme Verdict 1WWU


1 x Elspeth, Knight Errant 2WW

1 x Ajani, Mentor of Heroes 3WG


4 x Seaside Citadel

2 x Greypelt Refuge

2 x Seijiri Refuge

5 x Island

5 x Forest

4 x Plains

About the Deck:

This is not a fast deck by any means, as it adopts more of a control approach featuring cheap counterspells like Spell Pierce and Mana Leak etc. The basic plan I have laid down above already: Basically you play a Troll Ascetic or Loxodon Smiter on turn 3, then pull off a Day of Judgment or Supreme Verdict asap with one or two spare mana to invest in the Instants shown above (Ajani’s Presence or Mortal’s Resolve) to make your beater indestructible for the turn. That will leave the opponent utterly defenseless and both Ajani’s Presence and Resolve of Mortals grant your “survivor” a temporary +1/+1 boost to boot.

I could run Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarchs (both costing 1 green mana and producing any one mana of the colors I need) to play may key creatures on turn 2, but in this particular deck I chose a slower, more control-style approach with adding Sakura-Tribe Elders for at least some mana acceleration. I prefer Elder over Bird and Hierarch, as the latter two would die to my mass creature removal and Sakura-Tribe Elder can be sacrificed in order to put any basic land from your library into play tapped. The land will survive Day of Judgment/Supreme Verdict – Birds and Hierarchs will not.

Let me show you my two main beaters in this deck. First off the by now almost “classic” Troll Ascetic, who made his first appearance waaay back in Mirrodin:

This one is simply great if your opponent does not run countermagic, as the Ascetic is terribly hard to get rid off once he is on the table through hexproof and his regenerative powers. The cool thing about Troll Ascetic and my mass creature removal is that with the Troll I don’t even need Ajani’s Presence or Mortal’s Resolve in hand to make him survive Day of Judgment and Supreme Verdict, as, contrary to good old Wrath of God, those two do not have the “Creatures cannot be regenerated” clause in their rules text. This means once you got Troll Ascetic out and have 6 mana to spare, you can fire your mass removal away and just regenerate the Troll to make him your lonely “survivor”!

In case the opponent DOES have countermagic, Loxodon Smiter will be your best friend. Just bask in his 4/4 for 3 mana glory:

Yeah that is right, a 4/4 beatstick for 3 mana – and he can’t be countered. How exceedingly amazing! (His secondary ability will hardly ever matter as I have to add.) Contrary to Troll Ascetic, Loxodon Smiter does not have any regenerative powers so in order to make him your “survivor” you will have to rely on the 1 mana Ajani’s Presence or the 2 mana Mortal’s Resolve to make him indestructable for the turn. The deal is pretty much the same as with Troll Ascetic however, as you will need 4 mana for your mass creature removal spell of choice and 1 or 2 additional mana for making the Smiter indestructible through Ajani’s Presence or Mortal’s  Resolve during the turn you unleash said mass removal.

I am running a third Creature kinda as a “silver bullet”: The somewhat more expensive but very powerful Isperia, Supreme Judge:

For 6 mana Isperia is a 6/4 Flyer which isn’t half bad to begin with but she can potentially draw you a lot of cards with her awesome ability, as you can read for yourself in the above card image.

I am running several “silver bullets” like Isperia, which are all multicolored and I use this…

…to fetch them out of my deck in case I need them. Besides Isperia, I can “tutor” for Supreme Verdict, which is a Day of Judgment that cannot be countered (tremendously handy), for a Loxodon Smiter in case I need one or for Reborn Hope in case I want to retrieve a spent/destroyed multicolor card from my graveyard – Supreme Verdict or Isperia would be good targets.

In order to effectivley stop your opponent from meddling with you plans, I am running 8 cheap counterspells in the form of the 1 blue mana Spell Pierce, which lets me counter any noncreature spell unless its controller pays an additional 2 and the 1U Mana Leak that lets me counter any spell unless its caster pays and additional 3 mana. These cheap counters will help with slowing your opponent down whilst you set everything up for the “big boom” whilst at the same time protecting your “combo”. If you are playing against countermagic or cheap creature removal, I would suggest in general that you rather wait one more turn to pull off your mass removal feat and have one spare blue mana handy for Spell Pierce so you are more or less safe from any opponent meddling and foiling.

Speaking of cheap creature removal: Whilst Troll Ascetic has hexproof anyways and thus does care for any targeted removal of the likes of Path to Exile or Oblivion Ring etc, Isperia and Loxodon Smiter are rather unprotected. And this is where Emerge Unscathed comes into play: This instant grants any one target creature protection from any one color for a turn and if you cast it from your hand, you can exile it to cast it again from the exile during your next turn. So if you opponent tries to get rid of your Smiters or Isperia, just use Emerge Unscathed to nullify the opponent targeted removal. And what is more, you can cast it once again in your next turn to give the same or another target creature protection from a color of your choice once again. Perfect for making one of your creatures, maybe even your “doomsday survivor”, unblockable if your opponent’s creatures all share one color.

In general, the three instants Emerge Unscathed, Ajani’s Presence and Mortal’s Resolve are just so tremendously useful and usable in a ton of ways, besides from being part of your “combo”. As mentioned above, Emerge Unscathed protects a key creature from any targeted harm and/or makes it unblockable in many cases. Ajani’s Presence and Mortal’s resolve grant your key creature(s) indestructibility for one turn, which can be used to save any creature from dying in so many ways and what is more, both give the targeted creature(s) a +1/+1 boost for one turn (which is never a bad thing).

Lastly I have to mention the über-awesome Planeswalkers: Ajani, Mentor of Heroes costs 3GW and I would say you best add a counter to him to put three +1/+1 counters on your lone survivor each and every turn, while Elspeth, Knight Errant costs 2WW and is best used for giving your surviving beater +3/+3 and Flying until end of turn, done by adding a counter to Elspeth. I think having a few Planeswalkers in a deck that relies on clearing the field off all Creatures whilst saving one from destruction is a great thing, as the Planeswalkers will survive the Days of Jugment and the Supreme Verdict AND the abilities of Elspeth, Knight Errant and Ajani, Mentor of Heroes greatly fit the strategy of this deck in my opinion.

Overall I like the interactions of the cards in this deck very much and I am only missing a few odd cards to build the deck as described above and will gladly put it to the test as soon as my missing cards arrive.

Hope you enjoyed yet another M:tG deck article of mine and wish you all





MtG: Three recent, random deck ideas (various formats):

Dear readers and friends of M:tG!

While the title of this article sounds rather boring one could argue, I will try to entertain you and provide a good read by showcasing three rather budget-friendly deck ideas I have had just recently. The first two will be Modern Format legal and the last will be a Legacy Format deck, although, and I have to state that clearly here and now, I am not intending to play with any of the three in a competititve environment, but rather “just-for-fun” – casually.

Before I will show you the first of the three decks, I have a BIG M:tG-related announcement to make:

My sister Nora Propst won the Casual Tournament last Saturday!!

I am so proud of you, Nora!! Mind you it was her second tournament ever and in the first one she did not win a single game. Here’s the winning deck I built for her in case you missed the article and are curious what deck she masterly piloted to victory!

Let us get started with the most boring of the three decks and work our way up towards the one that is potentially the most fun to play:

Double Direct Damage Rush (Modern Format):


4 x Ball Lightning RRR


4 x Lightning Bolt R

4 x Pyretic Ritual 1R

4 x Seething Song 2R

4 x Flame Javelin 2/R 2/R 2/R


4 x Lava Spike R

4 x Pyroclasm 1R

4 x Browbeat 2R


4 x Furnace of Rath 1RRR


4 x Forgotten Cave

20 x Mountain

About the Deck:

Well as I said initially, this deck is pretty boring… The single and simple strategy is to inflict a minimum of 20 points worth of direct damage on your opponent as fast as possible. The only creature I am running is good old Ball Lightning, which they reprinted in some more recent core editions so I can run him in a Modern Format deck thankfully. The rest of the deck is a nice mix of burn spells, mana ramp like Pyretic Ritual (adding RRR to your mana pool at 1R) and Seething Song (adding RRRRR to your mana pool for 2R) and even some decent draw in the form of Browbeat. Powerful card draw in red? How amazing! I had to include that in a playset of four and still, the deck qualifies as a Modern Format deck as they “Timeshifted” the old Browbeat in Timespiral.

The main card in the deck however is a shamefully overlooked Enchantment from Tempest which was reprinted in some core editions a few years ago as well:

This card…is simply INSANE in a deck like this. Sure it will double the damage your opponent will deal as well, but who is faster I wonder? I for one got a Ball Lightning with a virtual power of 12 for just RRR for once, multiple Spells that inflict 6 damage at the cost of 1 and Browbeats which will in most cases draw me 3 new cards as the opponent would have to take no less than 10 (!) damage to prevent me from drawing.

The perfect play would be second turn Pyretic Ritual providing mana for a Seething Song which then provides 5 red mana, of which 4 will be spent on Furnace of Rath and the fifth mana will inflict 6 damage in case you happen to have either the classic Lightning Bolt or the Kamigawa Lava Spike handy. Not half bad and even if you can do that turn 3 with Seething Song your opponent will be in big trouble.

Honorable mention: Pyroclasm is great for stopping fast Creature rush decks short, even more so with a Furnace out as it will then deal 4 damage to every Creature on the field instead of the regular 2, which wouldn’t be a bad deal at 1R to begin with!

OK that is all I can say about this deck idea I had very recently… BORING! Next!

Beastfall (Modern Format):


4 x Sakura-Tribe Scout G

2 x Skyshroud Ranger G

4 x Sakura-Tribe Elder 1G

4 x Vinelasher Kudzu 1G

4 x Woodcrasher Baloth 4GG

4 x Rampaging Baloths 4GG


4 x Harrow 2G


4 x Summer Bloom 1G

4 x Mulch 1G

4 x Seek the Horizon 3G


4 x Terramorphic Expanse

4 x Evolving Wilds

14 x Forest

About the Deck:

This one looks more interesting to me with lots of great synergies – just how I like my decks!

The basic plan is to ramp mana like crazy using cards that put lands into play quickly. The deck is running Creatures as well as Instants or Sorceries that do the job. Either put lands from your hand into play with Sakura-Tribe Scout or the nearly identical Skyshroud Ranger, starting on turn 2, as both cost a single green mana, search your deck for lands and put them into play with Sakura-Tribe Elder and the awesome Harrow (which lets you sack any land and put two basic lands into play UNTAPPED for just 2G) or use a combination of your sorceries Summer Bloom, Mulch and Seek the Horizon. Summer Bloom works really well with Mulch and Seek the Horizon. Summer Bloom lets you play three additional lands on your turn for 1G while Seek the Horizon lets you conveniently search your deck for three basic lands and puts them into your hand at the cost of 3G. Mulch is even more cost-efficient as for only 1G you can look at the top 4 cards of your library and puts all lands revealed into your hand.

All this sounds pretty amazing, but what will all the additional lands and additional land plays per turn be good for. The answer are one cheap and two more expensive Creatures.

Exhibit A:

Vinelasher Kudzu can be played turn 2 and if you have a Sakura-Tribe Scout or Skyshroud Ranger in play, you can give it a first +1/+1 counter right away by bringing a land into play through Scout’s/Ranger’s Ability. And many, many more +1/+1 counters will follow as you Harrow and Mulch away to your heart’s content.

Exhibit B:

This one will grow insanely large when you play land after land after land, being a 4/4 and gaining +4/+4 everytime you put a land into play and, and this is crucial, he gets Trample to boot! Just imagine dropping 4 lands via your regular land drop plus 3 additional lands through Summer Bloom. That’d make the Woodcrasher a freaking 20/20 trampler. Not something to sneeze at in my humble opinion.

Lastly, Exhibit C:

This one will have you swarm the battlefield with 4/4 Beast Tokens in like no time, which is great as well and on top of that he is a decent 6/6 Trampler for just 6 mana.

Well that is what you use the excessive mana you generate through cards like Sakura-Tribe Scout and Elder, Harrow, Summer Bloom in conjuction with Mulch and/or Seek the Horizon as well as with your 8 land-fetching lands. Yes, that is right, this deck runs playsets of each Terramorphic Expanse and the identical Evolving Wilds, which can be tapped and sacked to put a basic land from the deck into play tapped. Landfall-Count: 2. And these are lands so they cannot be countered and your various Baloths and the Kudzu will benefit from them no matter what.

Overall I think this deck has a lot of great interactions and could, in theory overpower an unprepared opponent fast, considering the tremendous mana ramp capabilities and potentially highly powerful killer Creatures (those would be the Kudzu and the two kinds of Baloths).

Lastly I have to mention that this deck was extremely expensive to buy together from scratch and I think I did not even spend 20 Euros for all of it!

Well, on to the last and funniest deck of the three and whilst it is Legacy legal, I consider it just a fun experiment with a combo I came up just a few days ago. So here comes…

Turbo Sphinx (Legacy Format/Casual):


1 x Anger 3R

1 x Sharuum, Sphinx Hegemon 3UBW

1 x Magister Sphinx 4UWB


4 x Dark Ritual B

4 x Daze 1U

4 x Thirst for Knowledge 2U

4 x Force of Will 3UU


4 x Careful Study U

4 x Thoughtseize B

4 x Life/Death G/1B

3 x Exhume 1B

4 x Buried Alive 2B


4 x Lotus Petal 0


4 x Polluted Delta

2 x Scalding Tarn

4 x Underground Sea

4 x Volcanic Island

2 x Island

1 x Mountain

1 x Swamp

About the Deck:

Well, first off I must say I dislike these kind of instant win combo decks, preferring more control or aggro control types of decks which give your opponent a fair challenge. But just a few days ago, I spontaneously and really out of the blue so to say a crazy combo came to me (I think a particular game of EDH came to my mind where something similar happened and secured me the win) and I just had to construct a deck around it, even if it will just remain some kind of mental experiment.

As in so many combo decks, all stands or falls with one card. In this case it is most definitely Buried Alive:

So basically what you do is play the above card asap (Lotus Petals and Dark Rituals provide extra speed and draw spells aplenty should help you find one – and the latter is the harder part!) and send the following 3 Creatures to your graveyard (which are the only 3 Creatures in this deck):


…Sharuum, Sphinx Hegemon…

…and lastly Magister Sphinx:

Once you accomplished that, you just need something to reanimate Sharuum from the graveyard to the battlefield, control a Mountain and the rest the more M:tG-savvy of you will already have figured out. For the not-so-wise in the ways of Magic (the Gathering): Anger will give all your Creatures Haste whilst in your Graveyard and once you reanimate the 5/5 Flying Sharuum, Sphinx Hegemon, she will reanimate your Magister Sphinx which, also being a 5/5 Flyer, makes your opponent’s life total exactly 10. Just attack with both your Sphinxes and GAME OVER!

You may say that the combo is kinda weak and easy to dismantle as a single Path to Exile, Oxidize or whatnot could destroy it in the blink of an eye. However, in this particular deck the combo is well protected through cards like Thouhgtseize and 8 free Counterspells in the form of playsets of each Daze and Force of Will.

The deck really lives or dies with Buried Alive, but there are cards that help you draw into one and double as discard outlets if you happen to have one of your 3 key creatures in your hand, such as Careful Study and Thirst for Knowledge.

As for the actual reanimation, I am running 4 of these…

as well as 3 Exhumes, which have a drawback that will not matter if you are able to pull off the combo early on.

And yes, your Volcanic Islands count as Mountains to acitvate Anger’s graveyard-based ability as well as as Islands so you can return one of them to your hand to pay for Daze’s alternative casting cost.

In theory, you could win on turn one with this deck, which is highly, HIGHLY unlikely. You could play a Volcanic Island and a lotus Petal, then sack the Petal for a Dark Ritual and follow up with anohter dark Ritual. You will have 5 black mana at your disposal which you’d spend first on Buried Alive, sending your terrific trio from the deck to the graveyard and then play either the “Death side” of Life/Death or Exhume to reanimate Sharuum which will reanimate Magister Sphinx, setting your opponent’s life total to 10. As Anger will be in your graveyard and your Volcanic Island would count as a Mountain, you would be able to swing in for the win with two 5/5 Flyers possibly, if you were the starting player, without your opponent ever playing a single card.

As I said a first turn kill like that will not occur very often but it is within the realm of the possible by any means. A second or third turn win is much more likely and I guess the deck, while, again, I dislike combo decks like that, could be fun to play in a casual environment. As for competitive Legacy Format play, I’d prefer my tried and tested, trusty Red-White-Blue Landstill by any means!


OK that’s my three latest Magic: the Gathering deck ideas for you. I hope you found this article at least somewhat entertaining, would like to thank you for reading and, as always, wish you all