Well, we’re back to school and back to the grind. For some this is the worst time of the year because it signals the start of the boring and mundane for yet another year. For others it is a time of excitement as things start all over again with fresh beginnings and fresh options. For those of us who play Magic, the specter of rotation and the imminent arrival of Khans means there is lots of buzz in the air. The end of September can’t come fast enough!
This isn’t an spoiler article because we are hard at work here at Three Kings Loot prepping our review, but we’ve got good stuff on the burner. However, with Khans being on the horizon and Constructed being in a bit of holding pattern until the rotation, I thought this would be a perfect chance to highlight some casual decks I’ve been rocking, some relatively inexpensive and fun decks to liven up your Casual games. These are all 60 card decks that are perfectly viable in a duel situation, but are better suited to playing a multiplayer setting. Let’s see what I’ve been brewing.
The first deck is my take on what can only be called a Modern Mono-Green Devotion deck. A number of months ago I posted a decklist for a budget Mono-Green Devotion deck here on Three Kings Loot. It has done reasonably well for me since then, but decks are like living organisms that change and evolve and this deck is no different. With cards like Chord of Calling, Genesis Hydra, Hydra Broodmaster there are yet more powerful options to sink a ton of mana, there is no reason not to change a few cards to do a few more powerful things. However, the addition of a card from an older set is REALLY what I wanted to add to the deck…and that was Craterhoof Behemoth. This just smacks of being the best thing you can do to dump a ton of mana either by hard casting it, Chord of Calling for it, or Genesis Hydra for about a billion and grabbing it too. Here’s the list.
I was rocking this is in a 4 person free-for all game and was in the driver seat. My opponents had allowed me to resolve a number of creatures, a Voyaging Satyr and a Nykthos. I had all the tools needed to start going off and just needed some huge mana sinks. Sure enough, up comes a Polukranos and we’re off to the races. I cast “Big Polly” and get set to Monstrosity him…but sadly have to target the stupid Biovisionary in the stupid combo deck my pal was playing, a Fleetfeather Cockatrice because I had no flying defence, and some other random creature. Stupid Cockatrice and the Deathough ability. Oh well. I get my turn back and top deck… Hydra Broodmaster! OK! So, cast it, and then set up the Monstrosity…and make 10 10/10 Hydra Tokens! OH YEAH! Let the beat down plan begin. I start smashing stuff around and just making a wreck of the board. Then, out of nowhere, my buddy slams a second a Biovisionary, casts Polymorphist Jest, and turns his mana dorks into Biovisionaries…and we all lose. Damn it! Lesson learned…kill the stupid combo deck…no matter how durdly the combo is.
Next, I shuffled up my Mono-Red Goblins deck. I have no real expectation that Mono-Red Goblins will fare well in a multi-player game. They are far too fragile and just not suited to trying to fight a number of opponents. However, things are going my way. I land a Foundry Street Denizen, Legion Loyalist, and then…KRENKO! Oh yeah. A couple of Krenko activations later and I have a ton of goblins, had just smacked one opponent for 20 points of damage and was in good shape to start taking the game over. Everything changed with one card…Scouring Sands…and wipes out all the Goblin Token…and I get thumped. Ok…I know Goblins are fragile, but it is a terrible feeling to have your board wiped out by Scouring Sands because NOBODY plays Scouring Sands. However, I lost to Scouring Sands and I wanted to cry (well, not really).
The last deck today is one that is clearly a Casual build because it is such a silly concept and packs such a ridiculous mana base there is no way to describe it. Here’s the list and I’ll talk about it afterwards.
This deck plays on the interaction between Kor Skyfisher and Spark Trooper. Most opponents won’t bother to block what amounts to a Ball Lightning because they know that it will be sacrificed at the end of the turn. Sure, they eat 6 but they are banking on the creature no longer being a threat. However, during your second main phase if you can cast the Kor Skyfisher you can return the Spark Trooper and re-use it. Once I established that interaction it became a matter of digging up a host of creatures who a) return stuff to my hand to be re-used or b) have good enter the battlefield triggers. Now, this is a very mana hungry deck so playing it in a duel is suspect, but in a slower multiplayer game it is just perfect.
Well, I shuffled it up and suggested a couple of minor adjustments to our game. I suggested that we all play at the same time and play with a Howling Mine effect. The Howling Mine is hardly earth shattering, but the “everyone plays at the same time” is…interesting. It makes resolving spells really tricky, but boy was it fun! So, we had 1 player eliminated leaving 3 of us still playing. It was a tricky situation but I decided to throw caution to the wind and swing to take out the opponent to my right. The whole team went and was delivering somewhere up to 35 points of damage…but in the process the opponent to my left hit me. All the while, the opponent to my right wound up and lashed out with Nefarox with some ridiculous amount of Exalted triggers caving in the guy to my left. So, all in one turn all three of us just straight up die ending the game in a weird finale. It was a fun variant and something we will do again, but most definitely not the way to play every single time.
All three of these decks would fall into a pretty budget friendly category and highlight how you can make some fun decks with just a pile of funny cards and do some damage at your next Casual Night. The Mono-Green deck is probably the most pricey of the decks on this list, but the cards on it can totally be substituted for and can revert back to the Budget deck list I had previously. However, the new twists on it could make for a fun deck because of the powerful things you can do with the crazy amount of mana that can be generated. The UWR Skyfisher deck is pretty unreliable because of the wonky mana base and the fact that half the plays in the deck set you back, but when it works…dear LORD…does it work. And Goblins…well…they’re Goblins and will always be funny. When they work, they work awesome. When they fall flat on their face, they fall flat on their face hard.
There we have it, three fun builds, three fun games, and some random feel bad stories about how to lose a game despite being in a dominant position. I’m not sure what lesson to draw from the last two apart from perhaps playing the politics game a little more, but regardless of the lessons learned it was fun. It was refreshing to sit down and just sling some card board and relax with some friends with nothing on the line. I’ll have to make a point of playing this way more often just to keep things fresh.
Thanks for reading again this week…and until next time keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it casual.
by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @bgray8791 on Twitter
M15 Clash Packs are not replacing Event Decks, but instead will alternate with them for each release. That means you’ll see a Clash Pack for Magic 2015 and an Event Deck for Khans of Tarkir. The Clash Pack will then return for the second set in the Khans of Tarkir block.
A two-player product, the Clash Pack contains two sixty-card decks designed to be played against each other. It’s a great way to introduce new players to Magic. And it also comes with six premium foil cards with alternative art.
- Two ready-to-play sixty-card decks
- Six premium cards with alternative art
- Deck box
- Strategy insert
- Magic rules reference card
Languages: English, Japanese, French, German, and Chinese (Simplified)
There were a few new treats that got spoiled and figured it would be a good time to go over them as well. Here we go.
Athreos, God of Passage- Wow…here we have a really aggressively costed God. For 3 mana (1 black, 1 white, 1 colourless) you get a 5/4 indestructible enchantment creature God with the same devotion mechanic as the other minor Gods. Whenever a creature you own dies, return it to your hand unless your opponent pays 3 life. At the mana cost of 3 this is very aggressively costed and will most assuredly see play in Constructed formats. Orzhov Mid-range has already proven that it can hang with the big boys of Standard, but this has pushed it into a whole new stratosphere. The ability that basically ensures your creatures continue to threats even after they have died is huge or you opponent can punish himself in order to keep it dead. That’s potent stuff. I really like the art, the cost is super aggressive, and the ability makes your creatures very resilient to removal…it’s safe to say that this is probably an A+ bomb that will really shake some things up.
Forgeborn Oreads- a 4 mana 4/2 creature…well, that’s fairly reasonable for an uncommon. What is neat about this little guy is the Constellation ability that says whenever Forgeborn Oreads or another enchantment enter the battlefield it deals 1 damage t target creature or player. This gives Red yet another threat to burn out their opponents without ever having actually fight them . The more I read through Red the more in appears as if Red Mage’s are going to have to consider very carefully how they want to proceed to burn out their opponent. Do they want to go the route of spells like lightning strike or bolt of Keranos to go straight to the dome? Or with they opt for the Purphorous/Eidolon of the Great Revel/Forgeborn Oreads to light them up. The choices will be plentiful and this is just another option. I see this being a solid B in limited environments where the body is very serviceable, but you may not have enough enchantments to trigger the Constellation ability enough to really see a huge benefit, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it caught on a little at Constructed as someone dabbles with a burn deck featuring some of these new treat.
Hydra Broodmaster-A 6 mana 7/7 hydra. We’ve already see one massive hydra, and this one is better, but still not good enough. What makes this guy interesting is the Monstrous ability where for xx and a green it gets +X/+X and puts X hydra tokens at the X/X where X is equal to the mana spent in the ability. So, you could absolutely flood the board with Hydra tokens and have them run amuck of everyone. At least the creation of tokens allows you to rush your opponent and overwhelm them to seal the win, but again, the lack of trample is what sets this guy back. I want something this large to punish my opponent, but it will get chump blocked by a 1/1 every time meaning I can’t get through to smash face. It’ll be a bomb in limited, but a 6 mana and no trample, it will likely sit out Constructed games. He gets a B+ from me.
King Macar, the Gold-Cursed- This is a super flavourful card obviously stemming from the story of King Midas. For 4 mana you get a 2/3 legendary Human with inspired that says whenever King Macar untaps you may exile target creature and place a Gold token on the battlefield. We’ve seen the Gold token before and it allows you to sacrifice it to produce 1 mana of any colour. This is a super fun card and I could see the Inspired trigger being very powerful. The problem with Inspired is that it just hasn’t lived up to the hype. If Pain Seer, and the quasi “bob” like effect can’t see Constructed play, I doubt that this card will see play. The exiling ability is very powerful and might just be enough to push someone down the road to try this guy out, but I doubt it. Now, the fact that it is Legendary might make it appealing to EDH players as I bet someone out there could do something nutty with him, but otherwise he’s just a cool card that won’t see much play. B-
Kruphix’s Insight- This is a three mana sorcery that allows you to reveal the top 6 cards of your library and place 3 enchantments into your hand and the rest in your graveyard. This is actually quite solid because the ability to burn through your library and dig up 3 enchantments, including enchantment creatures, is very powerful. It plays perfectly with the emerging B/G dredge style deck that is popping up and has far more reach to dig deep into your deck than Commune with the Gods or Satyr Wayfinder. Not every deck will be looking for this ability, but those that do now have another terrific weapon to dig deep into their deck and find the tools they need. I give this guy a C because of the somewhat narrow scope of the ability, but don’t be deceived, decks that want this guy will consider it a soild B or maybe even a B+ and decks that don’t want him will treat him like a D. So, the middle road is a C.
Polymorphus Rush- This 3 mana instant is going to take combat tricks to a whole new level in limited. This Instant allows you to change target creature and have it become a copy of another target creature until the end of turn. That’s cool, because when you attack with your biggest bomb and a little guy, you can suddenly have a pair of big ol’ critters bearing down on your opponent. But you know what makes this even better folks? It’s the Strive ability! For each additional 1 blue and 1 colourless you get to pick an additional target for this spell. So, what’s better than attacking with 2 Nessian Asps (or fill in your favorite big, scary monster)? The answer is attacking with LOTS of Nessian Asps thanks to this spell. It won’t be super useful in the early game, and will usually be a dead card, but when you need, my GOD will it mess up combat. I’ll give it a C+ because when it’s good, it’s REALLY good, but when it’s bad…well…it’s REALLY bad
Pheres-Band Warchief- So, Centaurs now got a lord, huh? For 4 mana (3 colourless and a Green) you get a 3/3 Centaur with Vigilance and Trample and gives other centaurs you control +1/+1 and vigilance and trample. It’s a fun flavourful card, and will assuredly see play in limited, but this is mostly casual card to entice someone to play a Centaur themed tribal deck. The abilities are all super relevant because Vigilance let’s him play Offence and Defence, and trample can just be punishing, but Standard won’t run enough Centaurs to make his other abilities matter. Now, Voltron this guy up with some Bestow guys and your limited game just swung around in your direction, for sure. He’s a solid B and very playable but won’t break anything.