For variety’s sake, this article will be about Magic: the Gathering Decks, specifically Modern Format Decks that are “inspired” by the recent, Greek mythology themed Theros Block. When I say “inspired” I mean that the two decks I am going to showcase shortly will consist mostly of cards found in the Theros sets and their core mechanics are to be found in the very same block as well. As always, I will be providing a decklist followed by my thoughts on how the decks are supposed to work and the strategy involved in each. So let’s get started with
Monogreen Heroic Rampage:
4 x Hero of Leina Tower G
4 x Elvish Mystic G
4 x Setessan Oathsworn 1GG
4 x Centaur Battlemaster 3GG
4 x Pheres-Band Thunderhoof 4G
4 x Rancor G
4 x Mutagenic Growth G
4 x Giant Growth G
4 x Solidarity of Heroes 1G
2 x Mortal’s Resolve 1G
22 x Forest
About the Deck:
Well, I already own and enjoy a White Green Heroic Deck with mostly cards from the Theros Block, wherein White provides the Heroic creatures and Green provides the targeted Spells that boosts the Heroics’ stats. For those who are not familiar with the native Theros Block “Heroic” ability / mechanic: Heroic is a creature ability that has certain effects trigger when the Heroic creature is targeted by a Spell you control. Most commonly, a +1/+1 counter is placed on the creature with Heroic when it is the target of one of your Spells. One +1/+1 counter on a creature is fine, but I have thoroughly overlooked what the green Heroics can do. So have a look at this one!
Sure, his 5 mana cost is a bit steep, but you read that right, whenever Centaur Battlemaster is the target of one of your Spells, he will get not one but THREE +1/+1 counters, boosting his otherwise lackluster stats permanently and considerably. Just imagine what the classic Giant Growth…
…could do for the Battlemaster! Just attack with your 3/3 Battlemaster and cast Giant Growth (or two!?) for just 1 green mana and you will be attacking with an impressive 9/9 that will remain a respectable 6/6 afterwards with the realistic potential of growing even larger in the future.
Well, basically, one half of the deck more or less consists of creatures with Heroic, save for the four Elvish Mystics which provide some much needed mana acceleration so you can drop your Centaur Battlemaster and other higher cost creatures one turn earlier, and the other half of the deck are targeted support spells, most of which give a stats boost to a creature, thus triggering their Heroic abilities in addition to the mostly temporary boosts of said spells.
Hero of Leina Tower is cheap at 1 green mana and whenever it is target of one of your spells you can pay X to put X +1/+1 counters on her, which is great for spending spare mana. While weak at 1/1 for 1GG, Setessan Oathsworn will grow huge through Heroic as he receives two +1/+1 counters through Heroic and is a great second turn play made possible through Elvish Mystic. We have already seen how powerful Centaur Battlemaster can be and the last Creature I am running is somewhat of a weaker version of Battlemaster. Pheres-Band Thunderhoof costs 4G and is a 3/4 which gets two +1/+1 counters through Heroic, so not as great as Battlemaster but it is great to have alternatives, even though they are somewhat inferior.
As for the support, I am running 4 Enchantments and a bunch of Instants that give power boosts to your Creatures, thus triggering their Heroic abilities. The Instants are 4 Rancor, which I chose over Ordeal of Nylea, which I included in the first draft of this deck. The reason is simply that Rancor gives Trample to the Creature it enchants as well, which was THE thing I found the deck was lacking. Plus you get it back into your hand when the enchanted creature leaves play so you can re-cast it and give another creature a boost and at the same time triggering Heroic one more time. I must say that I am not exactly sure, but I would interpret the wording of the cards in a way so that and Aura (formerly known as “Enchant Creature”) would target the Creature it is about to enchant and thus trigger Heroic (once). If I am totally off the track here please do correct me in a comment or so, but either way I think that Rancor is a decent addition to the deck, for the sake of making one of your heavy hitters a trampler!
Regarding instants I am running 4 of the classic Giant Growths as shown above, but I must say that I find Mutagenic Growth…
…even better in the context of this deck, for the fact that you can pay two life rather than its cost of 1 green (brought to you by awesome “Phyrexian Mana”!). So if you are totally tapped out you can still give your Centaur Battlemaster a temporary boost of 5/5, whereby the +3/+3 will remain as it comes in the form of counters! That is pretty wicked in my opinion! Another great, great card which I use in sooo many decks involving +1/+1 counters is Solidarity of Heroes:
This is simply awesome with the double or tripple counter Heroics in this deck, as, if we look at Centaur Battlemaster once again, you will target him with Solidarity of Heroes (or even multiple Creatures through paying for the affordable Strive cost) which will place three +1/+1 counters on him through his Heroic ability and THEN you will double these counters, giving the Centaur a permanent boost of +6/+6 for just 2 mana (1G) and that at instant speed! Just imagine what this would do if there were already a bunch of counters on the battlewise Centaur!!
Lastly, I run two odd copies of Mortal’s Resolve which gives a mediocre +1/+1 for the rest of the turn but, and this is crucial, makes the Creature it targets indestructible until end of turn, which is great if your Creature would die in battle, or to some pinpoint destruction like Doomblade or even saves him from mass removal like Day of Judgment, Wrath of God etc…
4 x Hopeful Eidolon W
2 x Nyxfleece Ram 1W
4 x Brain Maggot 1B
4 x Underworld Coinsmith WB
4 x Grim Guardian 2B
4 x Mesa Enchantress 1WW
4 x Hindering Rays W
4 x Ethereal Armor W
4 x Journey to Nowhere 1W
4 x Banishing Light 2W
4 x Evolving Wilds
4 x Orzhov Guildgate
8 x Plains
6 x Swamp
About the Deck:
This is a real low-buget deck not trying to be competitive but rather fun-to-play in a casual enviroment, making heavy use of enchantments – in fact only 4 cards (Mesa Enchantress – your über-powerful draw engine, but more on that later!) aren’t enchantments besides the lands. Theros was and is an Enchantment-Block, introducing awesome things such as Enchantment Creatures (similar to Artifact Creatures) and Enchantment Artifacts, which count both as Enchantments and Creatures or Enchantments and Artifacts respectively, as well as introducing many Enchantment-related abilties and mechanics such as Bestow or Constellation.
So this deck consits almost entirely of Enchantments and Lands (too bad they did for whatever reason decide against making Enchantment Lands as they made Artifact Lands in the first Mirrodin Block). Besides 4 non-Enchantment Mesa Enchantresses, the deck runs a grand total of no less than 34 Enchantments – lots and lots of Enchantment Creatures as well as regular Enchantments and Auras. This means half of your deck consists of Enchantments.
And here Mesa Enchantress comes into play as your overly powerful (potentially – if you manage to keep her alive!) draw engine! Bask in her crap-rare-tastic (nowadays a playset of 4 can be obtained for an Euro I guess) glory:
Yeah that’s right, she’ll draw you a card whenever you play an Enchantment Spell, no matter what type, Aura, Enchantment Creature, regular Enchantment – you name it! And with a deck where quite literally every other card is a (relatively low-cost) Enchantment, ou are going to draw… a lot! Provided you can manage to keep her alive for a few turns at the very least. In fact the Enchantress is the main reason why I didn’t make this deck Theros Block only. The only minor difficulty could be the double white mana required to cast her, but what am I running the Orzhov Guildgates and land-fetching Evolving Wilds for anyways?
The overal strategy and playing style of this deck is defensive. While experience tells that defensive builds are generelly less viable or even competitive if you will than aggressive ones, I think this one might just work like a charm. You got good defenders and tons of ways to gain a little life at once but regularly, and some cards even do both such as Nyxfleece Ram, which is an Enchantment Creature, so it will draw you a card if you have an Enchantress handy, with 0/5 that will net you 1 life during each of your Upkeeps, and that all for just 2 mana (1W). Each of those things by itself isn’t exactly great but in combination I think it is worth including at least twice in this deck. Also, Underworld Coinsmith…
…and Grim Guardian both have the Constellation mechanic from Theros, which will trigger whenever they come into play or another Enchantment comes into play. Coinsmith gains you 1 life when this happens while Guardian causes your opponent(s) to lose 1 life whenever an enchantment enters play. Furthermore, Coinsmith has the nice ability, if you ever got some mana to spare, to pay WB and 1 life in order to have each opponent lose 1 life. This deck really incorporates the concept of winning “slowly but steadily”. Many white Enchantments that effectively neutralize any targetable Creature or even any non-land permanent in the case of Banishing Light should be able to stop an opponent assault short in like no time. I am running Hindering Rays, which is especially useful in the early game, at a cost of 1 mana, Journey to Nowhere, which banishes any Creature that can be targeted at 2 mana and Banishing Light which can exile any troublesome non-Land permanent even at the 3 mana level. I would like to emphasize once again that these are all relatively low-cost Enchantments which WILL trigger Enchantress and draw you a replacement card for each of them when played, so you might be drawing into more Creature/Permanent neutralizers as you play them, thus shutting down your opponents offense effectively and thoroughly while you keep gaining some life and in turn causing your opponent(s) to lose life – slowly but steadily!
So while this deck is largely defensive in playing style and causes your opponent to lose life, once again, slowly but steadily, keeping your opponent’s Creatures at bay with various Creature neutralizers, the deck can well go on the offense and deal a finishing blow rather quickly in fact. What you would do would be taking the battlefield throughly under your enchantments’ tight grip and when the way is clear for an attacker of your own, just enchant one of your Creatures with this…
… and maybe Bestow Lifelinking Hopeful Eidolon on it for additional life gain and go on the offense, hopefully dealing the finishing blow to a defenseless, paralyzed, life-drained opponent.
I think this deck has potential and I am really looking forward to try this one out in the casual, “friendly” environment of my home!
Well I just hope THIS won’t happen to me: