Casual Encounters- Bruce Brews a Bad Deck
OK folks, I’m back and all excited for Shadows over Innistrad. There is a just tons of sweet new additions in this set and new possibilities that are getting me all excited. In the past I have started a new set with a number of Crack a Packs and approached them from a Limited perspective as if I was going to draft. That is fun, but today I wanted to try something different. I’m going to open up a pack and use as many of the cards in the pack to brew up something kind of fun and silly that might inspire you and get your brewers hat on and take a stab at brewing. I won’t use every single card, and I will keep the deck Standard legal. It is invariably going to be a kind of a silly little deck that might have some play, but is more likely than not just going to falter. However, I enjoy brewing decks like this and maybe something I do will inspire you to do the same. Let’s see what I opened!
This is a pretty sweet pack. Sage of Ancient Lore is a very strong draft card, but the card that got me really excited in this pack is Ever After. The first time through Innistrad we got to see the power of Reanimator spells with things like Unburial Rites, and Ever After harkens back to some of that reanimator-type love. So, what does a Reanimator-style deck want to do? Why, it wants to mill itself, dump a ridiculous bomb (or several ) into the graveyard and then reanimate them at a considerable mana discount. Now, Ever After is not a cheap Reanimator spell because it does cost 6 mana, but for that six mana you are getting TWO potential bombs, not just one. So, let’s see what we can brew up with some of the cards in this deck.
The game plan is fairly simple. You want to burn through your deck as quickly as you possibly can with things like Vessel of Nascency, Corpse Churn, and Crow of Dark Tidings as you dig for either your Inverter of Truths or the Bane of Bala Ged. Now, Bane of Bala Ged is really a placeholder for just about any huge Eldrazi you want to cast and the bigger the better really. If you can unearth an Ulamog, a Kozilek or any of the truly scary Eldrazi you are obviously going to target them with your Ever After or your Necromantic Summons, but Bane is a nice tidy budget option that can be run reasonably easily. The real treat is the Inverter of Truth that is a very discounted 6/6 for 4 mana that I’ve been fooling around with since Oath of the Gatewatch dropped. It could now be time for this ridiculous flying Eldrazi to shine now that we can mill our decks with surprising speed so we don’t deck ourselves.
Some of the more interesting cards from Shadows Over Innistrad that are found in this pack are the Moldgraf Scavenger and the Pale Rider of Trostad. The Scavenger is a surprisingly solid little creature that is an effective early blocker. It blocks things with Skulk, survives Fiery Impulse and Fiery Temper, and when you hit Delirium can go on the offensive as an undercosted 3/4 . Those are all very reasonable stats and make the Scavenger almost a reasonable addition to a Constructed deck that could play a similar, but different, role to Jaddi Offshoot. Pale Rider of Trostad is a 3/3 for 2 mana which is a fine set of stats, but also gives the deck a way to discard something big if you don’t want to cast it yet. I toyed with the idea of dropping something like an Angel of Deliverance in this list to be discarded, but that felt very risky if I couldn’t actually cast the Angel. In the end I figured sticking to Eldrazi that could actually be cast seemed less risky.
Sage of Ancient Lore is another really interesting card in this deck because it is an expensive rare card at 5 mana that has a ton of potential. The fact that it says “draw a card” is the first dead give away that this is very powerful. I have run much worse creatures that include that line of text and would happily do so again. The real deal is when it transforms into a huge monster that can wreck the game. This makes for another solid reanimation target, but is a little more volatile and riskier because it could flip back to being a human on any turn. That said, it is a very strong card and would be another good target for reanimation.
The other cards in this list are just creatures that might allow me to hurry up and rush out some of my spells by ramping me, but also provide some measure of value if I need another valid target in my graveyard to make Ever After work. Just about any value creature would work, but I opted for 3 Brood Monitors because 6/6 worth of stats across 4 bodies is very strong, but I could totally envision not playing this in favor of another value creature. This slot is very much up for discussion and I would welcome some ideas if you had something I could have run Gloomwidow as a form of aerial defense, and that might be a better option to give me enough time to hit enough land drops and be able to play an Ever After.
I weighed playing Vessel of Malignity and decided against it because exiling the cards from my opponent is not really what I wanted to do. If I could have used it to target myself and discard something then I would have been more interested. It would have been another discard outlet to allow me to pitch some other big scary creature, but alas, it exiles and can only be used on my opponents. I can see Vessel of Malignity having a place in some decks because I feel like the hand destruction in this Standard format is very strong, but this is not that deck.
The rest of the pack is not on colour or theme for what I want to do with this sort of deck, but there is a little interest in some of those white creatures, notably the Apothecary Geist, and the Ghostly Wings because I think those might see a little fringe play if the right conditions are met.
That’s all for tonight folks. I hope you all enjoyed the different approach to a Crack a Pack. If you didn’t enjoy the weird deck and would rather I just crack a pack and focus on limited please let me know. Personally, I enjoyed brewing something kind of fun and off the wall. I know I might be stretching the self mill angle in the format with some of my selections, but if you are truly intent on milling yourself you do have some options. Would you have used Ever After or would you have left it alone and opted to do something completely different? Share your brewing ideas down below in the comments or find me on Twitter.
Thanks very much and as always be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.
@bgray8791 on Twitter