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By: jinx_talaris, Nicholas Anson
Apr 02 2007 7:45am
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Hi and welcome to the newest installment of Black Magic.  Last time we explored the omnipotent land Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and had some fun with it in extended.  Today we're going to focus on standard and see if it has any room for my new pet, Roiling Horror.  As you may know, Roiling Horror is the black suspend creature from Planar Chaos that has a triggered effect when you remove a time counter off its clock.  Two other suspend creatures have been getting a lot of hype lately and with good reason.  Aeon Chronicler and Detritivore are quickly becoming a huge part of the new standard and block metagame.

But what about the other suspensions?  Do they have a chance at showing up in future tier one decks?  Well, I can't speak for
Fungal Behemoth and Benalish Commander, but I can say that Roiling Horror may have some potential.

Aeon Chronicler

Card advantage and a fatty.


Destroys current metagame manabases.

Roiling Horror

Steals one life at a time?


So whats so special about pinging your opponent for a measly one damage and gaining one health?  Assuming you suspend the horror for X=1 and you and your opponent are both at twenty life, he comes into play as a 2/2.  Big deal right?  Guess its time I showed you the deck list:

Roil Pain by Nicholas Anson

Land (21)
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
3 Ghost Quarter
3 Dreadship Reef
13 Swamp

Artifacts (2)
Phyrexian Totem
1 Serrated Arrows

Other Spells (31)
Moonlight Bargain
1 Dark Banishing
2 Damnation
2 Extirpate
2 Last Gasp
3 Phyrexian Arena
4 Sudden Death
4 Soul Spike
4 Tendrils of Corruption
4 Dash Hopes
4 Temporal Extortion

Creatures (6)
Mirri the Cursed
4 Roiling Horror

Sideboard (15)
1 Nightmare Void
2 Persecute
3 Bottled Cloister
4 Shadow of Doubt
4 Leyline of the Void

The Strategy
So what makes this deck tick?  Obviously
Roiling Horror can't perform the enitre show by himself.  In order to be successfully cast, you have to be ahead of your opponent in life.  As much as we would like that to always be the case, often times your opponent has something to say about it and this deck is not real quick to deal damage of its own until its time for Roiling Horror to make his debut.  Thats where his teammates Temporal Extortion and Soul Spike come into play.  Soul Spike alone is an eight point life swing between yours and your opponents'.  Just think of it as effectively giving your future Roiling Horror +8/+8!  That is quite a change.  And what better way to take half of your opponents' life away than making them do it themselves!  Temporal Extortion's effects are both very powerful and not desired by the enemy whatsoever.  Ideally though, Temporal Extortion is much better played while the horror is in play and ready to dish out some major pain.  Paying half of his/her life total usually ends up being the same result as giving it an extra swing in combat.  A "lose, lose situation" as some of us like to call it.  Always a situation you want to put your opponent in.

Soul Spike

Temporal Extortion

I think Soul Spike also needs a bit more explanation.  As I pointed out earlier, often times your opponent will have a decent to significant lead on you in life total.  When this is the case, they become more liberal with their life total when it comes to Temporal Extortion and Dash Hopes which lures them nicely into your trap.  Also, if they have a two or more life point lead, they will ignore your suspended Roiling Horror altogether and tap out even if they are playing countermagic.  That's when you hit them with a nicely timed Soul Spike and/or hit their only blocker with a Tendrils of Corruption.  Either will suprise them and swing the life contest well in your favor.  And if you happen to get the horror on board with a clear view at your opponents' skull, throw down a Temporal Extortion and let them decide how they want to die.

Another honorable mention, while it may seem like a random addition, is Mirri the Cursed.  She is the best sidekick a Roiling Horror can ask for.  She has haste, she flies, and she has FIRST STRIKE.  What does that mean for Syphonzilla?  That's an extra +3/+3 before he even gets to bash some heads in!  Phyrexian Arena can also seem like its more of a hinderance than a blessing but it does more good than bad in every situation I have played it so far.  It does give your Roiling Horror -1/-1 in the long run but it can also hand you two black cards to toss to Soul Spike or that much needed Damnation to clear a cluttered board.  Moonlight Bargain is also a nice option to dig up more pieces of your arsenal at the end of your opponents' turn.  This deck is played very similar to a draw go since all of its spot removal is at least instant speed.

The Sideboard
Leyline of the Void
is for the Dredge or Solar Flare match up.  Be sure to side out Extirpate if you put in the leylines as it will not work with it out.  Shadow of Doubt is the Dragonstorm hoser and a viable option against Dralnu tutoring.  The Bottled Cloisters are there to help combat against the guy playing Persecute.  If an opponent gets one off naming black, it could take awhile to recover.  They can easily replace the three Phyrexian Arenas if need be.  Then it has its own Persecute when faced against those other mono-colored strategies such as Mono-Green Aggro.  Nightmare Void is one of the best control disruptors and Darkblast is just another removal option if they like to use a lot of weenies.

The deck itself is pretty resilient to most everything your opponent can toss at you.  Unfortunately, as a control deck, disruption is a major problem. 
Persecute is a very popular card in today's metagme and will wreck your whole hand.  If one of these gets pointed at you, sneak in an extra five life loss on your opponents' end with a Dash Hopes and toss away two other black cards to Soul Spike them for another four.  Countermagic is also another major show stopper (which is the whole point).  If your opponent is playing a ton of counters (i.e. Dralnu du Louvre), suspend Roiling Horrors with large X costs to keep a consistent two life swing in your favor every turn.  Its uncounterable (unless they want to Trickbind it for a turn >< ) and can give you enough space to wait for the right moment to strike.  Putting plenty of counters on your Dreadship Reefs can help contain this foe as well by allowing you to fling a bunch of spells at him all at once.  Very fast aggro can pose some problems if it gets a few large swings through your removal but usually they run out of gas before it can keep up with your life gain.  Land destruction is annoying but little more than that.  Even if your opponent can get a few lands and jump ahead with major card advantage, Soul Spike is almost always ready as a last ditch effort to completely change the situation.

Mirri the Cursed

Mirri is just angry that you didn't take Roiling Horror seriously enough.

Even though I gave the strategy of the deck in comparison with the top notch metagame contenders, I still advertise this deck as a casual deck.  In its current state, I don't think it has exactly what it takes to battle the likes of Dralnu du Louvre, Dragonstorm, etc. at a tournament level.  This deck definately needs two more copies of
Damnation (I only own the two) and one more Phyrexian Arena.  Card advantage is very important with this deck and it just can't keep up with blue's Compulsive Research and the like.  Deathmark is another sideboard candidate; unfortunately, I don't own any.  Maybe someone will try and splash another color into the mix but with my build, an additional color is not optional due to all the double, triple, and even quadruple black mana costs.  In addition, mulligans are far and few because you will almost always catch at least two black mana to get things started.

Next time, I'll be reporting some test results as I attempt to tweak this deck to a more competetive level.  Any suggestions are welcome and if you want to play your standard deck against me to try and wreck it, feel free to /addbuddy Jinx_Talaris and send me a message.  I expect a rough fight with Lord Erman's Vore 2007 as well   In addition to playtest results, I would also like to post a new deck idea that fancies the johnny in me.  So if you have a black card or concept you would like me to attempt to build around, send the name of the card/concept to
jinxtalaris@gmail.com.  Remember, it has to be johnnyesque and tied with black somehow (also try to keep the cost of the card below 1 tix please).  If it doesn't completely flop, I'll try to do something similar each week while I'm here in Afghanistan (11 more months to go!).



My bad! by jinx_talaris at Tue, 04/03/2007 - 05:54
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I accidently saved over this article when trying to edit my future article. Not sure if Mitch or Heath can correct this error on my part but I appologize for the new "lack" of an article. I assure you, there used to be one here :)

by Outlaw1 at Mon, 04/02/2007 - 13:06
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I agree with Erman completely. This deck is very solid and specializes in putting opponents into lose/lose situations. From experiance I can tell you that remanding a soul spike and thinking you got away with it is completly wrong ;) I really like the rouge feel that this deck has and am looking forward to the test results. Keep up the good work!


Nice Deck by MysticLancer at Mon, 04/02/2007 - 16:27
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I played your deck today and it was quite fun to play against until you got disconnected. Mono Green Agro is a pretty even match up I think for your deck, and I really want to know if I would have pulled out the win or if you had a life gain spell in your hand. Either way GGs and nice deck!

Thanks! by jinx_talaris at Mon, 04/02/2007 - 22:25
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Thank you all for the great feedback so far. @MysticLancer: I had the Soul Spike but if I didn't draw a Damnation next turn, you had me. I hope they upgrade our internet to fiber optics soon so that connection loss doesn't happen again >< @Lord Erman: Took your advice and added the Magus of the Mirror. It does come in handy especially against decks that have little to no removal.
Thanks again guys. I'll get some more testing in and let you guys know how it went :D

Solid Deck, Nice Article by Lord Erman at Mon, 04/02/2007 - 12:19
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First of all, the deck is very solid. I say this not because it seems solid, I say this because I have been beaten by it several times and I KNOW that it is solid! Only a humble suggestion would be to replace that lone Dark Banishing with one Magus of the Mirror. It may help in certain situations. The article's general layout is pretty neat and one can clearly see the difference between your first article and this one. Which leads me to think: The next will be awesome then! Your are most certainly raising my expectations as a reader. And finally about that "rough fight" you're expecting... Heh! What can I say; anytime :))).