Hello and welcome back to another edition of A Seat at the Table. With Double Masters 2022 having such a huge gap of value in the rare slot ranging from hundreds of dollars to 25 cents, I thought why not find some silver linings and build around some of the less expensive legendary creatures that saw a reprint in 2X2.
This time, Kaervek the Merciless gets the build-a-beast treatment while a copy from this set will run you just under a buck.
So what does he do?
For a whole seven mana (5BR), Kaervek the Merciless is a 5/4 Legendary Human Shaman whose powerful ability can take over a table:
“Whenever an opponent casts a spell, Kaervek the Merciless deals damage equal to that spell’s mana value to any target.”
Of course, this only does stuff as long as your opponents cast spells, but as a Kaervek player, you learn quickly that players need to cast spells. It’s your job to nudge or force them to. By this I mean you can go group hug or you can go hard in the paint as a punisher deck. Do you want to offer favours to your opponents like “if you cast a spell, I’ll snipe their Commander” or do you want to pressure pressure pressure?
Let’s take a look at some of the tech I’ve chosen for this edition of A Seat at the Table.
Allow me to toot my own horn about one of my favourite cards. It was shortly after Prosper, Tome-Bound released and artist/content creator Sheepwave and I were in a Spelltable pod on Twitch when I slapped this bad boy on the field and everybody had a reaction. Sheepwave took to Twitter and posted a pic of the card saying something to the effect of THIS CARD IS NOT OKAY! Then in the coming weeks, Uba Mask saw a bit of a spike.
That said, I think it’s an excellent card to smack onto the table. With the possibility of losing their card to exile, it will force them to play their spells. Of course, this means the Mask and Kaervek will be targeted, but that’s where you want to play…
Deflecting Swat / Bolt Bend / Wyll’s Reversal / Emissary of Grudges / Wild Ricochet / Shunt / Ricochet Trap / Reroute
Your opponents won’t be too happy to feel like each of their spells costs them life, creatures, or planeswalkers with Kaervek. When they swing at Kaervek, it’s time for a little judo so you can flip that momentum onto them instead. My favourites of this bunch are Deflecting Swat because it’s free, Wild Ricochet because now you flip the script double, Wyll’s Reversal because possibly the same for one less, and Bolt Bend because Kaervek is a 5 power creature meaning it’ll cost you R most of the time.
Don’t like choosing between a creature or a player? Why not both!
With Toralf, God of Fury, give excess damage to any other target. That means if an opponent plays a Solemn Simulacrum, you can ping their Tymna and then their Oracle of Mul Daya. Screw that Abzan player!
(Note: the Abzan player is a fake player in this case, it’s just hype – look at how much damage is getting slung around!)
This reminds me of one of my favourite tribal decks, helmed by Sevinne, the Chronoclasm.
You really want to put the hurtin’ on somebody? Threaten the table with a Brash Taunter while Fiery Emancipation is out. Keep Kaervek safe with Lightning Greaves and Darksteel Plate (Look! Bonus picks!) and wait for somebody to cast even a one mana spell. Here’s how it works.
Your opponent casts a one mana spell, Kaervek triggers targeting Brash Taunter. Since it’s a source you control (Kaervek), that damage is tripled to three. Then Brash Taunter, taking three damage, gets to deal three damage, but because it’s ALSO a source you control, Fiery Emancipation triples that again, meaning a single one mana spell cast by your opponent can be mirrored out to make nine damage.
1 becomes 9, 2 becomes 18, 3 becomes 27, 4 becomes 36, and 5 becomes 45, aka game over even if they’ve managed to stay above starting life total.
Remove the ability to gain life and pressure your opponents’ life totals so they’re less likely to cast things, or if they do, your Kaervek triggers can take them out on the stack before their spell even resolves. Pretty simple and self-explanatory.
These work in this deck from what I understand. I have chatted with pals who are judges and they agree. If we’re wrong, please let me know, but I’ve done the requisite research and it looks right.
Here’s rules text from Gatherer regarding Mindslaver:
You choose which spells the other player casts, and make all decisions as those spells are cast and when they resolve. For example, you choose the target for that player’s Shock, and what card that player gets with Diabolic Tutor.
The wording here says that the other player casts the spells in the end. So if you control your opponent and they’ve got some sort of way to generate a ton of mana and you’ve still got Kaervek out, have fun! Every spell you make that player cast nets you a trigger that can be slung anywhere you want.
That does it for another edition of A Seat at the Table. Thanks for stopping by and see you at Commandfest Montreal!
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