Thursday, January 24, 2013

Children of the Grave

First: if you're headed to the Gatecrash pre-release this weekend, like I am, I found a couple helpful articles you might want to check out.
Gatecrash Primer at PureMTGO
The Gates Come Down at Gathering Magic
Judge's Corner Gatecrash Mechanics review

Good luck! Unless you're my opponent, in which case...let's have a beer. Now on to the new deck.

Continuing the near-creatureless deck idea of last time, let's do another!

I think the intro to Children of the Grave is one of the best in metal. There's just no way to mistake it for anything else. Like galloping electric horses of doom, Sabbath rides in! This song title was a natural fit for this deck which probably looks like an old timey take on reanimator strategies, albeit with better creatures. 
4 Brain Pry
4 Night's Whisper
4 Buried Alive
2 Steam Blast
3 Last Rites
4 Fling
4 Dark Ritual
3 Corpse Dance
3 Firestorm
2 Shallow Grave

1 Sutured Ghoul
2 Death's Shadow

2 Lake of the Dead
4 Badlands
9 Mountain
9 Swamp
This is a combo deck that wants to survive long enough to put the Death's Shadow and Sutured Ghoul in the graveyard, then reanimate the Ghoul as a trampling 26/26 creature. For years, this build used Leviathan and Krosan Cloudscraper as the creatures that the Ghoul would eat because I couldn't find any black creatures with similar stats. This occasionally lead to me having a card in hand that needed to be in the graveyard but wasn't, so I would attack with a smaller Ghoul. Firestorm was the first card I had to help prevent this problem, with Last Rites coming in shortly after.

Even with those fixes, Fling has been a part of the deck from the start, effectively doubling the damage. This also had the bonus of cutting off any lifegain decks: doing twenty is possible with this deck but once that happens, if the game isn't over I've lost. A little bit of lifegain or a solid blocking creature like Fog Bank and now I had to scramble to win, if I could manage that at all. The possibility of doing forty gives this deck more reach.

Fortunately, Death's Shadow is considered to be a 13/13 in the graveyard, the modifiers only kicking in while it's on the battlefield. This provides me with two benefits: it's effective graveyard food and, should I draw the Shadow and not have a discard outlet like Firestorm or Last Rites, I can just play Death's Shadow and have it die.

Everything else is there to set up or protect the combo: Firestorm serves double duty as a discard and board sweep outlet, Brain Pry serves double duty as a discard or draw outlet, along with Steam Blast and Last Rites help clear the way. It is a Bad Time when I go through all the trouble to reanimate a Ghoul only to have it get Path to Exiled. Dark Ritual and Lake of the Dead help to accelerate everything, from a turn one Buried Alive to a turn three Shallow Grave/Fling.

At the moment, I don't see any huge flaws in this build so I'm going to run with it and see how it holds up.

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