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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Feb 21 2014 1:00pm
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So it's Heaven and Hell week!  Really the whole week is all about Angels and Demons, and the dichotomy they provide.  So that really brings you to a Black and White deck with a bunch of Angels and Demons, right?  I wasn't really feeling it.  Basically it felt like it was just going to be a lot of fat creatures in a really slow deck.

The other option was going with Kaalia.  She can cheat those fat creatures into play early, and make sure you survive to your later game.  You don't really need the Red that Kaalia will provide but it can help out with the destruction a little bit.  But again I wasn't feeling the deck.  Kaalia decks are really popular still and they bring a decent amount of hate.  I wanted something that could be a little more under the radar.

That's when I came upon the idea of using Clerics.  There are a lot of Black and White Clerics, and they support the theme of Heaven and Hell.   Clerics obviously have religious themes and worship a variety of subjects.  The White Clerics tend to focus on damage prevention and protection, while the Black Clerics have the ability to make sacrifices for fun effects, and are good when things die.

battletide alchemist true believer cabal archon rotlung reanimator

There are actually a lot of different things to work with here, at least enough for a control deck that can sit behind heavenly defenses while dealing with problems through hellish means.  Clerics were an old Odyssey tribe but haven't really been supported since then.  Most of them are small and unfortunately they require numerous other creatures in play to really get going.  I figured that I could use a couple of Angels and Demons as support creatures and go to town.  The Clerics need physical embodiments of the things they worship, right?  But they had to really fit with the theme.  The Angels had to be somewhat vengeful, and the Demons had to enjoy it when things died.  On top of all that the available Gods would be an awesome inclusion! 

harvester of souls angel of despair heliod, god of the sun

The main problem was who to use as the Commander.  It didn't take me long to settle on Teysa.

There are no legendary Clerics that are Black and White (aside from Kaalia of the Vast, and she wouldn't fit the theme at all), but with the sacrifice theme that's going on with the Clerics she seemed like she would be a good fit.  I originally wanted to go with Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts but I ended up sticking with the original instead.  Again, a sacrifice outlet and removal in one card isn't a bad thing at all, despite not seeming as cool as her new version.  This way we can use death triggers, and have spirits come around when we kill off some guys!  The deck won't be dedicated to Teysa but she's pretty good in it.  I wish she was a Cleric though.  I did give some thought to using Selenia, Dark Angel, but she didn't fit nearly as well.  Anyways, with the Commander chosen, I put together the deck:

Teysa, Orzhov Scion
A Commander Deck
1 Academy Rector
1 Angel of Despair
1 Angel of Glory's Rise
1 Auriok Champion
1 Battlefield Medic
1 Battletide Alchemist
1 Cabal Archon
1 Deathpact Angel
1 Devout Chaplain
1 Disciple of Griselbrand
1 Doomed Necromancer
1 Doubtless One
1 Edgewalker
1 Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Frontline Medic
1 Grand Abolisher
1 Harvester of Souls
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
1 High Priest of Penance
1 Kor Sanctifiers
1 Master Apothecary
1 Mikaeus, the Lunarch
1 Mirror Entity
1 Mother of Runes
1 Pontiff of Blight
1 Preacher
1 Rotlung Reanimator
1 Sin Collector
1 Skirsdag Flayer
1 Skirsdag High Priest
1 Soltari Visionary
1 Sun Titan
1 Suture Priest
1 Transcendent Master
1 True Believer
1 Vile Deacon
1 Vizkopa Confessor
1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Whipgrass Entangler
1 Withered Wretch
41 cards

Other Spells
1 Skullclamp
1 Angelic Destiny
1 Dark Prophecy
1 Grave Pact
1 Martyr's Bond
1 Oversold Cemetery
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Phyrexian Reclamation
1 Path to Exile
1 Return to Dust
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Damnation
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Harsh Mercy
1 Hellfire
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Patriarch's Bidding
1 Promise of Power
1 Revoke Existence
1 Wrath of God
21 cards
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Fetid Heath
1 Godless Shrine
1 Kor Haven
1 Marsh Flats
1 Mouth of Ronom
1 Mutavault
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Rogue's Passage
1 Scrubland
9 Snow-Covered Plains
6 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Starlit Sanctum
1 Strip Mine
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Thawing Glaciers
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Vault of the Archangel
1 Vesuva
1 Volrath's Stronghold
37 cards

1 Teysa, Orzhov Scion
1 cards
teysa, orzhov scion


Orzhov Cleric control?  Pretty much.

Deck Tech:

I forgot to include this in the video:

So one of the issues with the Cleric tribe is that they really need lots of Clerics in play to be effective.  Unfortunately the only card that makes Cleric tokens is Heliod, but since he's a God he really fits into the deck theme.  Even still, I'm not always going to have Heliod or the mana to pump out dudes, so I had to go pretty heavy on the Clerics.  That's why the creature count is so high.

Fortunately the Clerics fulfill a variety of functions, from creature control to life gain to damage prevention.  There are a couple of different ways to sacrifice guys and as such Grave Pact and Martyr's Bond seemed like they would be good.  Don't forget that sacrificing a Heliod token when Martyr's Bond is in play will make your opponents sacrifice an enchantment as well!  Recursion is handled through Oversold Cemetery, Sun Titan (who isn't a Cleric, but I thought would pass thematically) and Patriarch's Bidding.  Most of the Clerics are also Humans so Angel of Glory's Rise seemed like a good form of recursion and a nice thematic fit.

devout chaplain skirsdag flayer sin collector

There isn't a ton of card draw but what is in here is pretty good.  Harvester of Souls is a nice Demon worthy of your affections, and Promise of Power is an old standby.  I tried out Dark Prophecy for the first time in this deck, and it worked surprisingly well.  Phyrexian Arena might not fit the theme but it is so good it had to make the cut.  Erebos is a God, so of course he gets in.

Other destruction is handled through the standard Wrath of God, Merciless Eviction, Damnation and Angel of Despair.  Harsh Mercy seemed good since this was a tribal deck.  The deck is a little light in artifact and enchantment removal but it is running Devout Chaplain and Soltari Visionary as Clerics that can get rid of some stuff.  

dark prophecy hellfire merciless eviction

There are some thematic cards that were added.  Hellfire is a goofy way to clear the board, but since it is Heaven and Hell week I knew I had to include it.  Martyr's Cause seemed nice and thematic, providing damage prevention and a free sacrifice outlet all in one card!  I also included Deathpact Angel, specifically because she turns into a Cleric when she dies.  Unfortunately this Angel is pretty bad.  I never lived the dream of getting the Cleric to bring the Angel back, but you never know...

So really what you want to do with the deck is pump out a variety of Clerics, use the sacrificial effects to your benefit, and bring them back with your recursion until you're able to get a decent sized army out that can attack for the win.  It's really a matter of control and attrition.  Ideally the Clerics can help you prevent damage as well.  Clerics aren't very threatening, and you should use this to your advantage.

Let's see how the deck does in action!

Game 1

This is an early version of the deck, so there are some cards you'll see that I ended up taking out.  Dromar is running some sort of weird Exalted Human deck, Ob Nixilis is running Demon tribal, and we can't really figure out what Thraximundar is doing.  I get out a few Clerics and Ob Nixilis gets a few Demons, whom he sends after Thrax.  Thrax puts up a defense and then plays Rooftop Storm.  This is a little strange since we haven't seen any other creatures from his deck.  Dromar and Ob Nixilis take him out.

Ob Nixilis uses Plague Wind to clear the board of problems, but I have Angel of Glory's Rise to bring back most of my team.  Dromar's Debtors' Knell doesn't have many targets in the graveyard after Relic of Progenitus gets rid of everything.  Eventually I get a board state that has a free sacrifice outlet in Martyr's Cause, free recursion in Oversold Cemetery, card draw in Harvester of Souls and death triggers with both Martyr's Bond and Grave Pact.  My opponents can't deal with this unfun board state and I take the win.

Game 2

Eight-and-a-Half-Tails is running some sort of Cleric tribal deck here as well, and manages to slow down the board with Aura of Silence while putting Sword of Feast and Famine on his Commander.  After the Sword and Aura are dealt with, Krenko plays Gauntlet of Might, then follows it up with Coat of Arms.  This is bad for him considering 8.5 Tails and I have a decent amount of Clerics out, and we kill him.

After that I try to convince the Jenara player that 8.5 Tails is a threat, but Tails deals with my army through Austere Command.  Luckily I have Dark Prophecy to help me draw cards, and Phyrexian Reclamation for some recursion.  I draw into Mirror Entity and use my army to take out Tails.  Jenara starts to put up a fight, getting out Prophet of Kruphix as well as Mistmeadow Witch, but can't handle my horde of Clerics.

Game 3

This is a pretty long live game where I'm sort of color screwed early on.  There are a decent amount of colorless lands in the deck, but this is the only game where I had this problem.  If you wanted more lands that produced colored mana you can take out Rogue's Passage, Nykthos and Mouth of Ronom.  Adding Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth would likely be helpful.

Anyways, I sort of hang around the early game.  Karona starts off with a Garruk and a Chandra making me think she's planeswalker control.  Child of Alara starts blowing up the world every time he gets though.  This actually helps me, as it stalls out the board long enough for me to get the colored mana I need.  The Child player is also running some Gods, which is pretty smart in that kind of deck.  Nekusar interestingly runs Mirko Vosk into play, along with Exquisite Blood, but neither last very long.  The Karona player bails about half way through.

Child is also running all the Lieges, such as Glen Elendra Liege.  Nekusar gets out a Nevinyrral's Disk with Academy Ruins in play.  I've been getting dinged every once in a while but the extort ability of Vizkopa Confessor helps me with some life gain.  That's only temporary before Child blows up the world again.  Child gets some Lieges out, but has to blow things up again.  Eventually I manage to stick Heliod and Phyrexian Reclamation with a pretty full graveyard, when the Child player has to go.  After that it was just a matter of time before I take Nekusar out.

So there you go.  Although I show 3 games where I won, this deck is really not that great.  Sure, it has some fun interactions, but it's not a deck you should be thinking you can win with every time you pick it up.  Still, the sacrificing theme really holds up well overall.  There are certainly ways to improve the deck, such as adding Darkest Hour to support Teysa, and removing some of the more flavorful cards like Hellfire and Deathpact Angel.  But it was an interesting deck to play, especially if you like sitting back and controlling things.

Anyways, hope you guys enjoyed my contribution to the week!  Next week I'm going to finish up the precons by looking at Evasive Maneuvers.  Until then!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com
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It seems to me that the theme by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 23:28
Kumagoro42's picture

It seems to me that the theme is nicely fulfilled here. I would have included a few more big finishers like Avacyn or Akroma, or even Reya with all those sacrifices. Then again, it's a deck with not a single mana accelerator and 37 lands. I would never work the courage to play it, as I usually always have a good 50% of mana-related cards in my builds. :)

Martyr's Cause is not in the list, though. Did you take it out eventually?

Oh crap, Martyr's Cause is by Leviathan at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 01:03
Leviathan's picture

Oh crap, Martyr's Cause is supposed to be in the list. I just missed it I guess.

Yeah, the deck originally had Sol Ring, and I accidentally cut it. Like you said there's no accel, but I made sure that the curve was decently low. I wouldn't fit anything with a CMC over 7 in this list.

As for the Angels and Demons, I wanted them to fit thematically as well as being useful for the deck. While the Angels you mention are obviously good, Reya would likely be the best for the recursion aspect. But still, 9 mana or whatever is a lot.

Martyr's Cause is in the deck by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 01:30
Kumagoro42's picture

Martyr's Cause is in the deck tech video indeed. But the numbers check out in the list so it was replaced with something that's not in the actual deck.
EDIT: Ah no, it says 21 Other Spells, but they're actually 20. :)