Tag: standard

Louis-Serge Gagne Louis-Serge Gagne - April 25, 2022

The Queen of Grass – Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR Decklist!

Astral Radiance is on the horizon! With all the powerful new cards in the set, I figured it would be a good time to check out a brand new VSTAR – Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR.

The latest Pokémon TCG set, Brilliant Stars introduced the new VSTAR mechanic. VSTARs are a perfect mix between the tankiness and power of VMAXes and the frail, but fair prize-giving ability of the Basic Vs. Each Pokémon VSTAR also has a special power called VSTAR POWER, which is a once-per-game Ability or Attack that could change the flow of the game. A good example is the Ability – Star Birth of Arceus VSTAR, which can make you search any 2 cards of your deck.

Let’s dive into this decklist with the two key cards that you will need in every version of this deck.

Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR 

To start things up in this deck build, I need to introduce: Gardenia’s Vitality and Hisuian Lilligant V/VSTAR.

Kinda like Welder was for Fire, Gardenia’s Vitality will help greatly the Grass type archetype in our Standard format. This card attaches 2 Grass Energy from your hand to 1 of your benched Pokémon while drawing 2 cards before the effect. Any Pokémon attacking for 1 to 3 Grass Energy will now have an immediate Supporter to charge it up.

Although it is far from being the first Grass VSTAR Pokémon, Hisuian Lilligant has no real reason to be scared of competition as it is the one that synergizes the most with Gardenia’s Vitality in my opinion. Its attack can do 230 damage while having the cost of the added damage helping you set up with Gardenia’s. The VSTAR Power also screams, “USE ME BEFORE USING GARDENIA”. I will go more into what to do with the card while explaining the deck list. The evolving V is also great, not everyone has a drawing attack for 0 Energy.


  • 3-3 Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR
  • 1 Zarude V (BRS)

These will be your main attackers for the deck. Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR, will take the first 2 turns to be ready to attack most of the time. It being an evolution and needing to be benched for Gardenia’s to charge it up can be a hassle to try to get on going while having it ready to attack in the Active but there are some tricks to help all that. If you started the game with the Basic evolving V, I found that evolving it to give it 1 less in its retreat cost could be effective.

230 damage is a great number to hit, 260 with Choice Belt. Your game-plan mostly consists of one-shoting Pokémon Vs or some of the more frail VSTARs and two-shoting VMAXes or the bulky VSTARs. Lilligant will have a lot less trouble against those one-shot match-ups since it would probably be two-shotted, like most VSTARs.

Hisuian Lilligant will most of time need to use the second effect of its attack to KO its target but some Pokémon, like Galarian Moltres V, Umbreon V, Darkrai V, and most Basic/Stage 1 1-prizer, like Rapid Strike Malamar, are great exceptions to keep in mind.

Zarude V is also a great secondary-attacker. With only a 3-3 line of Lilligant, you can get it in play 3 times, which, normally, is enough to play until your opponent has no prize remaining. But if you need to discard at least one of these 6 cards, or if you have bad prizes in that aspect, it would be almost impossible to get the game going after 2 Lilligant KOs. Zarude solves that problem.

It hits for similar numbers, 240 instead of 230, but lacks the tankiness and Ability that our dear VSTAR has. It is a ready-to-swing Basic Pokémon though, so if you get a Lilligant KOed and you didn’t prepare another one to keep the kicks going, Zarude could help you keep the momentum. It sucks to start the game with it thought, so if you don’t care about having a basic attacker, I would suggest Ordinary Rod as a replacement.

  • 4 Sobble
  • 3 Drizzile
  • 1 Inteleon (Shady Dealing)
  • 1 Inteleon (Quick Shooting)

At this point I think everybody has heard about the Inteleon Engine and how it shaped the format since Chilling Reign. But for explaining the deck’s sake, I’ll share what’s the plan with using these lil’ lizards. Drizzile is super duper important to get Gardenia’s Turn 2, but it can also search other trainer cards for specific scenarios – pivot options, Pokémon Tools, combo cards, Pokémon search, disruption, etc. And Quick Shooting Inteleon can help make some of those pesky two-shot matchups into nice one-shot ones.

  • 2 Beedrill (Persist Sting)
  • 1 Hoppip
  • 1 Eldegoss V

When you’re using Perfume Star – Hisuian Lilligant’s VSTAR POWER, you can search for 5 in any combination of Grass Pokémon and Grass Energy. You can search theoretically for 3 Grass Energy, 1 Pokémon to keep your game going and an Eldegoss V, which when placed, can be a Gardenia’s Vitality from your Discard Pile. So, Eldegoss V can basically make your VSTAR POWER into a Supporter search as well. It can even be for Boss’s Order.

Hoppip is a free retreater Basic 1-prizer pivot that can be interestingly searched with both Star Perfume and Keep Calling (Sobble) since it is both Grass and Rapid Strike.

The Beedrill is also a way to win against more annoying matchups. It’s really easy to get Single Strike Style Mustard consistently and to get a surprise kill out of nowhere with Persist Sting, which KOs the opponent’s Active if there’s a Special Energy attached to it. Great against Arceus VSTAR, Single Strike, Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and Mew VMAX which are difficult match-ups otherwise. Training Court, which helps with Gardenia’s in general, also helps to confirm an energy attachment on Beedrill after getting a random 5-cards hand with Mustard.

Trainer and Energy Cards 

  • 1 Marnie
  • 1 Raihan

Marnie was a recent addition to the decklist. It can be helpful as a straight draw or small disruption in early game, but it’s mostly because it’s the only way to put cards back in the deck. Beedrill can only be Mustard-ed if it’s in the deck and playing a mid-to-late-game Mustard can be rough with the big hands Gardenia + Shady Dealing could give you. Raihan is nice as a quasi-fourth Gardenia that can only be played on specific turns, but can be a lot more consistent if you only need 1 Energy acceleration. Searching for any card is also good in general.

  • 1 Escape Rope
  • 1 Tool Scrapper

Besides retreating or using Scoop Up Net, Escape Rope is the only switch-out card in this deck, which can be important in a deck that only charges Energies on the Bench. Having it prized can be sour, but I found that searching it with Shady Dealing is more than enough most of the time, even having games where it was not necessary. The repel effect it gives is also nice to keep in mind. Tool Scrapper can be great to remove opposing power increases by Choice Belt, HP increase with Big Charm / Cape of Toughness or Air Balloons!

  • 1 Choice Belt
  • 2 Big Charms

When I’m building VSTAR decks, I like to have either a 1-1, 1-2 or 2-1 split of Choice Belt and Big Charm, depending on the VSTAR in question. For Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR, I found that the HP buff comes a lot more clutch than the damage increase, which sometimes Quick Shooting or Persist Sting can take care of anyway. My best suggestions would be to test the counts of your choice and decide on the one you’re most comfortable with.

Closing Thoughts 

From what I tested and built, I think Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR, with the help of the Inteleon Engine and Gardenia’s Vitality, has the potential to stand toe-to-toe with the other dominant decks in our format. It doesn’t have the great advantage of searching 2 important cards in a deck nor does it have the big-BOOM that some other VSTAR and VMAXes have, but I would argue that it does not need it. Shady Dealing gives it the consistency boost it needs and the Mustard-Beedrill side of the deck gives it the advantage while forcing a 7-prize game for your opponent.

I think, at the end of the day, it’s a prize race, going first and dodging knockouts is the way to play. You can all feel free to test the list and change things up. Changes will be necessary when the meta-dust settles after a few weeks post-release.

Thanks for reading!

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The Fossil Maniac The Fossil Maniac - July 7, 2021

Reigning Supreme: Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX Deck Profile

The psychic-type king officially rides his trusty steed into the top levels of competitive play with the release of Chilling Reign. Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is proving to be a serious contender for the best deck in the format, but he is accompanied by some familiar friends.

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX


The king himself, Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, is your first line of offense in this build. His Underworld Door ability allows you to set up your bench, drawing you extra cards along the way for some insane value. Thanks to his Max Geist attack, the more [P] energies you attach to your Pokémon, the harder Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX hits. This allows for amazing snowball potential with built-in support through Underworld Door to start building up your bench, as you dish out even more damage.

Everyone keeping up with the Pokémon TCG knows that Mewtwo & Mew-GX is a force to be reckoned with. This is because Mewtwo & Mew are granted access to all the moves learned by your other Pokémon-GX. The inclusion of these extra Pokemon-GX also gives you the option to freely discard them with cards such as Quick Ball and Professor’s Research since Mewtwo & Mew-GX can still access their attacks from the discard pile. This line of GX support allows you to play a more control-oriented play style and works around powerful threats to Pokémon-V such as Zamazenta V and Victini VMAX.

The foundation of utilities included in this archetype may seem situational, but you can consider this deck the jack-of-all trades of having just the right tool to pull out at any given moment. Dedenne-GX replenishes our hand size while discarding any of our Pokemon-GX, synergizing with the Mewtwo & Mew-GX tactic of using our discard pile to our advantage. Crobat V will accomplish the same thing, however its extra 20 HP may prove to be more crucial against decks constantly looking to damage the bench.

Galarian Zapdos V is essential in covering Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX’s weakness against Eternatus VMAX. A single Thunderous Kick attack is all it takes to take down the 340HP dark behemoth. We even throw in three copies of Aurora Energy to make sure Galarian Zapdos V has the energy it needs to pull of its signature move.

Moreover, given that Galarian Zapdos V’s special ability reduces the cost of this attack for every Pokémon-V on your opponent’s bench, Galarian Zapdos V will likely be able to cover your greatest threat with a single Aurora Energy attached. We throw in two copies of this new Zapdos’ new Galarian form just because of how important it is in beating our hardest match up in the meta.

Cresselia is the go-to starting basic Pokémon any time you find yourself going second. Its Crescent Glow attack allows you attach three [P] energy cards from your deck to your benched Shadow Rider Calyrex V. Since we are usually looking to go first, we can get away with only playing one copy, especially given that Cresselia is searchable with Quick Ball, Fog Crystal, and Pokémon Communication in the scenarios where we find ourselves going second instead.

Marshadow, like Cresselia, can also be searched out through Fog Crystal and Quick Ball. Its Resetting Hole ability is extremely useful in getting rid of popular Stadium cards such as Path to the Peak or Giant Hearth.


The trainer cards in our list are staples in the competitive decks of the format. Fog Crystal allows you to search out almost any attacking Pokémon in the deck. You won’t be able to search for Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Zapdos V, but they are readily accessible thanks to Pokémon Communication.

Air Balloon and Switch allow you to rotate your strategy between Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Mewtwo & Mew-GX, as you are safely able to switch into a healthy attacker depending on the situation. Reset Stamp puts our opponent to a low hand size after they take out one of our three-prize Pokémon to prevent them from getting an upper hand in the late game.

Chaotic Swell is our only Stadium and has a role similar to Marshadow, in that it keeps other pesky Stadium cards off the board which might inhibit our big plays. Finally, our three supporters are essential to any deck of the format, with Marnie and Professor’s Research refueling our resources and Boss’s Orders allowing us to pull our opponent’s Pokémon from the bench into the active.

Parting Thoughts

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX has without a doubt established itself at the top of the current meta game. In playing the deck, it’s important not to overestimate him when energy is running low before your board is yet developed. Don’t be afraid to start off with Mewtwo & Mew-GX earlier on, with access to Horror House-GX, allowing you to evolve Calyrex. Aim to start Cresselia whenever you’re starting second to catch up to your opponent who will inevitably evolve a turn before you.

Match up is extremely important in playing Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. Avoid dropping Mewtwo & Mew-GX in the mirror match while prioritizing Zapdos V and Mewtwo & Mew-GX. Prioritize Gengar & Mimikyu, and Trevenant & Dusknoir in the Eternatus matchup.

To conclude, this decks versatility in its ability to deal massive amounts of damage while controlling the state of the board as well as your opponent’s hand is what ranks it in the highest echelon of an otherwise complex format.

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Avatar Three Kings Loot - October 21, 2016

Noose Constrictor FNM January Promo Card

Noose Constrictor FNM January Promo Card


Man, that snake is adorable! Just look at his cute little face and eyes, so cute! He’s even all bundled up… oh, I get it, he’s a noose. That’s terrifying. And are those… yup, boots behind him, with several other nooses in the background. And possibly even a body. Well played, Kev Walker, well played.

Scary art aside, the January FNM Promo is a sweet one. Noose Constrictor is a very powerful card because of its ability. It’s playable in a number of decks, so make sure you pick yours when you can in January!


Avatar Three Kings Loot - October 21, 2016

Call the Bloodline FNM December Promo Card

Call the Bloodline FNM December Promo Card


When you want to madness cards and turn lands into 1/1 creatures, who you gonna call…? The Bloodline, apparently. The new art by the talented Magali Villeneuve makes this one FNM Promo card one you won’t want to miss out on!


Avatar Three Kings Loot - October 21, 2016

Fiery Temper FNM November Promo Card

Fiery Temper FNM November Promo Card


Angels can certainly have tempers, especially when gripped with madness. This guy does not look like he’s having a good time, not at all. You, however, will be having a great time if you manage to pick up one of these awesome FNM Promos coming up in November. Fiery Temper has already shown itself to be an important part of Standard every time it’s printed, so being able to bling out your standard deck seems pretty good. Also, if you don’t pick them up, it might cause you to lose your temper. And no one wants that.


Norman Fried Norman Fried - July 11, 2016

One Tribe to Rule Them All

Outside the Norm – One Tribe to Rule Them All

One Tribe to Rule Them All

Hey guys, I’m back! So after a long hiatus from Magic and an even longer one from the competitive scene my creative juices have started flowing and I just had to start up again. By the way I’m not just jumping into one format but I’ve been actively back in Standard, Modern and now stepping back again into my personal favourite which is Legacy. Now what could these three all possibly have in common? Well, I’m playing Eldrazi in every format currently and doing quite well with the massive titans and their spawn.

First off let’s take a look at Standard…

One Tribe to Rule Them All

U/R Eldrazi

This deck is a lot of fun for the one piloting it but less so for the one who has to try and stop it. Basically you just have to stay alive long enough and you have the tools to do it with your cheap counter magic and efficient removal, including the very powerful Kozilek’s Return, all of which plays at Instant speed. As long as you’re making your land drops the removal keeps you going long enough to drop down a walker to really get ahead or a Drowner of Hope to put some pressure as well as use the tokens to ramp. Once you have the mana, which can be as early as turn 6, you drop Ulamog and it’s pretty hard to lose from there especially as you get to exile your opponents bests two permanents and clock them with his ability as well as damage. This deck matches up well against the GW/x decks like Tokens or Company and is generally well positioned in the current meta due to the fact that you really don’t care what your opponent is doing, and really you just need to make it to turn 5-6 to snowball advantage.


Moving on to Modern…

One Tribe to Rule Them All

Bant Eldrazi

This Eldrazi deck isn’t strictly a ramp deck, yes you play a bit of ramp to power out your Eldrazi a bit faster BUT you are mostly an aggro deck which better creatures then other aggro decks and for cheaper too! It’s not uncommon to go turn two Thought-Knot Seer followed by a turn three Reality Smasher. That is an insane opening and an absurd clock that few decks can actually race against, not even taking into account the built-in disruption these monsters have! Looking at your opponents hand to exile one of their cards is already a solid ability then put that on a 4/4 body that can come out so quickly and it’s so amazing. The best part is if they kill it they don’t get that card back, yes they get to draw one at random but the card you stole is gone for good. Reality Smasher is a pain to deal with but you must because a 5/5 with haste and trample…well let’s just say it does a very good job of living up to it’s name while dealing with it is difficult at best. One of the cards that doesn’t get enough credit is Matter Reshaper because on defense or offense it’s just good and if the opposition isn’t playing Path then even if they get rid of it you get value. Easily the best card in the deck is Eldrazi Displacer giving your guys evaision, clearing your way for attack, actual removal for tokens, and abusing the hell out of Thought-Knot. He does it all and generally your opponent is going to try everything to get rid of him right away. Other key elements are Ancient Stirrings which hits almost every card in this deck and is arguably as good, if not better, here than it was in Tron and as a former Tron player that is saying something. Cavern of Souls makes control match-ups much easier and leaves them with a bunch of dead cards in hand while Eldrazi Temple itself is a straight-up ramp card. This deck is insane and provides a fast clock while causing some minor disruption all at the same time.


Finally looking to Legacy…

One Tribe to Rule Them All

Colorless Eldrazi!

So as you can see this list is very similar to the Modern list in terms of the creatures used but is much more explosive and you get to play with one of the most disruptive cards in the format. Whenever you are able to drop a turn one Chalice of the Void for one it can just absolutely ruin many decks. Like they are out, it is game over, moving on…that’s just how devastating the card can be. Decks like Storm which rely on one mana cantrips and Dark Ritual effects or decks that try to deal with your monstrous creatures without the help of Swords to Plowshares will be miserable. You also pretty much just get a win against decks like Burn and if you are on the play against Elves it just completely shatters their game plan. We also still get to play with Eye of Ugin and the sol lands making turn two Thought-Knot Seer scarily common. The other thing this deck can do because of Eye of Ugin is toss down a bunch of Mimics on one turn and next just play Reality Smasher for a quick end to the game. Another big advantage that this deck has over it’s Modern counterpart is the use of Jitte because when you have it combat for your opponent becomes just awful with no profitable way for them to do anything. This deck offers amazingly crippling disruption paired with a combo finish as one avenue to win or just big fast efficient creatures that can end games quickly and prevent your opponents from ending games as another.

These three powerful eldrazi decks have all been very fun to play and have been giving me amazing results. I will continue to pilot them for the foreseeable future, especially now that I have gotten my two byes from a Grand Prix Trial for a trip to Grand Prix Indianapolis for some Modern where I will hopefully be laying waste to the opposition (see what I did there? wastes?!? ahhh screw you it’s funny!)

Until next time…

Norman Fried

Avatar Bruce Gray - May 3, 2016

Embracing Change in MTG and Life

Casual Encounters- Embracing Change in MTG and Life


I don’t usually figure that I am the type of person that gets all reflective.  I very much live in the here and now. I  focus on what is in front of me, what needs to be done, and I try very much to not get ahead of myself.  However, every once in awhile something happens to me that forces me to sit back and really take stock of where I am and what I am all about.

As some of you may be aware, during the day I am a teacher.  I love my job.  I love working with my students as they grow into outstanding young men and women.  I relish their successes, and I genuinely feel for them when they falter and stumble. I wouldn’t trade the job for anything. If you aren’t familiar with schools, it takes a lot of planning year to year to be able to keep a school running and publicly funded schools need to ensure that they have the appropriate number of staff for their site.  In my school area we start that process in April and it doesn’t get fully resolved until August and even then can be a kind of up and down affair.  

A year ago, at this time of year, I opted to move from a safe and sure thing at a solid school in order to search out a new job and some new experiences because I thought my teaching was getting a little on the stale side. I landed a job at a small school and have been forced to not only take a much larger leadership role than anticipated, but also challenge myself with my teaching and new subjects that I haven’t taught before.  The experience has been healthy to say the least.  Sadly, the staffing process for next school year has just begun and I found out that my small school is shrinking a little bit further and that I am now supernumerary.  That means that I’m out a job and will need to look for a new job for next school year.

Am I a little sad to leave?  Yes.  I have been afforded some tremendous opportunities and I have really enjoyed my experience.  However, staring down the barrel of forced change doesn’t feel so bad.  I’ve done this before, just a year ago, BY CHOICE, and done well.  Surely I can find myself another new job now that I NEED to go and find a new job.  Desperation can be a very powerful motivator, but so is the prospect of change.  

Many of us resist change.  It scares us and makes us tentative.  However, I have seen that change can be extremely positive in my professional life leading to greater enjoyment of what I love to do.  Does it still scare me?  You bet, but I am learning more and more to accept this change and to try and use it to my advantage and to improve myself.  

mass polymorph

How does all this discussion of change pertain to playing Magic?  I think it is very straight forward.  Change in Magic is good.  We all love the change afforded us on account of rotation and a new block.  This is a type of forced change that impacts most of us who play this game and helps to keep the game fresh and interesting at every level. To see the recent  transition in Standard away from 4-colour insanity to more modest 2 and 3-colour decks has been refreshing. We see new cards, new combinations, and new abilities that will help redefine how we think about Magic.

We can also see this sort of forced change through things like the recent Bannings and Restrictions.  Adding new cards to the card pool of a format like Modern goes a long way to help freshen up a format an unlock new potential combinations that will make the environment more enjoyable.

However, for every instance of someone getting excited for change, we see other things where players complain about all sorts of changes.  I can scroll through my Twitter feed and see people complain about all sorts of Magic issues on a daily basis.  I understand that some changes may not feel positive, but I would ask players to at least keep an open mind.  Play points may not be all bad for MTGO.  MTG finance might be more predictable at some point down the road. Less coverage of GPs may not be a bad thing instead of competing with everyone on Twitch for the attention of Magic players.  But if we all complain about such things instead of embracing some of these changes, or at least giving the people who planned the change the benefit of the doubt, then we are limiting ourselves.

arlinn kord

Then there is the question of change that you have brought upon yourself by choice.  This might be the most difficult area because many times it is unclear how we, as players, can change and grow.  However, perhaps it is a matter of becoming more attuned with the story of the game and paying more attention in that realm to help deepen your appreciation for the game.  Perhaps it is uncovering a new fun podcast or website for inspiration.  Maybe you just commit yourself to spending more time playing a given format into to try and grow your skill and understanding.  Regardless of what you have chosen, making those first steps down the path of change can open up countless opportunities and be something that pushes you to be better.

For me, I look at the next few months of impending change as a positive.  Am I sad? Yes. I hate to leave my school. I’m also sad when I take apart old decks from formats that I enjoyed and had kept together for nostalgia, but sometimes those cards can be put to better use elsewhere. However, the new possibilities that can exist from this change can be very positive.  I like building new decks and I enjoy new challenges professionally.  Things will be stressful and tense in the next few weeks as I attend interviews, but that’s part of the challenge and one I look forward to facing. I can’t wait and I am hoping that there is a perfect dream job out there for me somewhere.  In the meantime I am going to enjoy the time at my current school, enjoy a little Magic, and get ready for whatever may come my way.

Bruce Gray

@bgray8791 on Twitter


Avatar Bruce Gray - April 20, 2016

Shadows over Innistrad Crack a Pack

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.


Bruce Gray
@bgray8791 on Twitter