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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Oct 11 2013 10:24am
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So I bet you guys weren't expecting Skittles!

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon sketch by Chippy

A while ago someone requested a Skittles deck, and I sort of brushed it off.  "Psshh," I said to myself, "who wants to play with an overpowered infect dude that draws tons of hate?"  Skittles decks are so annoying, with their ramping and hasty infect dragon with regeneration. However I've seen how he gets treated in games. Seriously, most of the time people automatically target the Skittles player.  He gets attacked first and beaten into submission before he can get an offense or defense going just because of who the Commander is most of the time.  But then I realized something:  Skittles decks aren't really that bad.  They win with combat and take a couple of turns to get going.  Sure, if no one has removal then can wipe the table pretty quickly.  But Skittles needs several combat steps.  Plus nowadays there are often bigger threats out there, with Maelstrom Wanderer ramping into fat hastey dudes and Ghave, Guru of Spores trying to combo out.  Maybe now was the time to break out of my comfort zone and try to play with Skittles?

First of all, I thought, "Skittles is so powerful, I bet I could build a good budget deck around him!"  Unfortunately this is not the case.  You need to pay the big bucks for the mana production, the tutors and the ways to wipe the board that Black needs, like Oblivion Stone.  Like I said, Skittles can get targeted a lot early on and without some cards like Damnation and Demonic Tutor I never came close to taking a game.  I quickly gave up on the budget version.

With the budget out the window I knew that I had to build a deck that could survive without the Commander.  I've never seen more tuck spells directed at a Commander than Skittles gets.  Also I had to get over the icky feeling a normal, well adjusted player gets when they infect some poor innocent opponent to death on turn 6.  You just gotta get over it.  I felt really bad the first time I did it, but it sort of went away over time.  It's tough to do but I managed to do it.  Sort of like desensitization.

Here's the deck:

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
A Commander Deck
1 Ascendant Evincar
1 Bloodgift Demon
1 Bone Shredder
1 Crypt Ghast
1 Dark Impostor
1 Dread
1 Graveborn Muse
1 Leaden Myr
1 Magus of the Coffers
1 Nezumi Graverobber
1 Nirkana Revenant
1 Palladium Myr
1 Phyrexian Crusader
1 Plague Myr
1 Rune-Scarred Demon
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Withered Wretch
1 Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed
19 cards

Other Spells
1 Armillary Sphere
1 Bonehoard
1 Caged Sun
1 Champion's Helm
1 Charcoal Diamond
1 Contagion Clasp
1 Crawlspace
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Jet Medallion
1 Journeyer's Kite
1 Lashwrithe
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mind Stone
1 Nightmare Lash
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 O-Naginata
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Sol Ring
1 Spine of Ish sah
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Dauthi Embrace
1 Endless Scream
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Underworld Connections
1 Go for the Throat
1 Imp's Mischief
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Sudden Spoiling
1 Tainted Strike
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Karn Liberated
1 Liliana of the Dark Realms
1 Damnation
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Diabolic Revelation
1 Praetor's Grasp
1 Profane Command
1 Promise of Power
1 Sever the Bloodline
1 Sign in Blood
1 Spread the Sickness
43 cards
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cabal Coffers
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Deserted Temple
1 Inkmoth Nexus
1 Lake of the Dead
1 Maze of Ith
1 Petrified Field
1 Phyrexia's Core
1 Rogue's Passage
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
1 Strip Mine
21 Swamp
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Thawing Glaciers
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Volrath's Stronghold
37 cards

1 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
1 cards
skithiryx, the blight dragon


Not really sure what I wanted at first but it turned out all right.

Deck Tech:

So the deck breaks down into a couple of categories.  First up is ramp, and most of this is artifact based.  Because a quick Skittles is the best Skittles and you don't want to cast him until you have at least 6 mana available (3 of which have to be Black).  This includes stuff like Sol Ring, Leaden Myr, and Charcoal Diamond.  Also included are Crypt Ghast and Nirkana Revenant, along with trusty stuff like Cabal Coffers.

Next up we have the stuff that can pump up Skittles.  Ideally, we can kill with one hit but 2 are fine if necessary.  O-Naginata is cheap and not seen very often and stuff like Lashwrithe and Bonehoard can act as creatures until needed for Skittles.  My favorite find here is Endless Scream.  Just a hugely goofy card that I knew I had to put in here even if it isn't the best.

endless scream
Look at my armpits!!!

After that we have the Black control deck stuff. Card draw, destruction, tutors, a couple of beaters and mana production.  We also have a couple of ways of making sure that Skittles can sneak past attackers with Dauthi Embrace, Shizo, Death's Storehouse and Profane Command.

Aside from the Commander there is a very minor infect/proliferate theme.  Phyrexian Crusader, Plague Myr and Tainted Strike are the only infect cards, while Contagion Clasp and Spread the Sickness were the only proliferate cards.  Honestly the proliferate stuff can probably go as I never found their abilities too exciting.  I would stick in Hero's Downfall for sure but I just hadn't picked one up yet.  The infect cards were all pretty good though.

I was surprised that I wasn't always the first person attacked and that worked out well for me.  There's a lot of life loss in the deck already and too many dings from little dudes can add up.  Still, I found that people saved their Hinders and Condemns specifically for Skittles.  Luckily the deck has a decent amount of tutors to get him back but really you don't need him.

I realize the mana base is pretty greedy and that I should have at least 25 Swamps in the deck.  I guess you can take out Lake of the Dead and Phyrexia's Core, possibly Thawing Glaciers.  I'll leave it up to you what else to remove.  I don't really know if there's a "correct" way to build Skittles but this is what I did and it worked out for me.  Let's see how the deck does in action!

Game 1:

Here's my first game going up against one of the gods, and it's Nylea.  I'm not really sure what to expect from her so she's my first target.  I get Phyrexian Crusader out to help me and take out the Nylea player with infect damage quickly.  The Ulasht player starts to amass an army with Rapacious One but luckily I have Crawlspace to protect me, and he concedes before I can infect him out.

That leaves Meng Huo.  I get one hit on him with Skittles and the Crusader once before he tutors up Sylvan Primordial to block my Commander.  Fortunately, I draw into both Sudden Spoiling and Profane Command.  As such I could use the Spoiling to get rid of the Primordial's reach and poison him or use the Command to give all my dudes fear and poison him.  I opt for the latter.

Game 2:

In this game Edric is running a bunch of little evasive dudes which usually means a lot of Temporal Manipulation effects as well.  Geist of Saint Traft knows this, and goes after him, as do I.  Once the 3 of us have our Commanders out and I get 8 poison counters on Edric, Jenara uses Hallowed Burial to tuck all of the Commanders.  Geist plays an Archangel of Thune and Sword of Body and Mind and continues to beat on the Edric player, while Edric accumulates a bunch of little dudes and his own copy of Archangel with Phantasmal Image.  Luckily I have enough mana to cast an entwined Promise of Power, which provides a blocker.  However the swarm reaches critical mass and I decide to Damnation and follow up with Liliana of the Dark Realms to help with my mana.

I cast Lashwrithe and Bonehoard with Nightmare Lash the following turn, and the next turn use Rogue's Passage to get my Bonehoard in unblocked and kill Edric.  After that, Geist puts up some defense with a bunch of little guys and Martyr's Cause, but I get rid of his little dudes with Ascendant Evincar, and eventually get past his blockers and high life total for the win.

Game 3:

So the cool thing about the Oros deck is that it is all promo cards.  It takes me a while to figure this out though and I end up going after Damia early because she is likely the biggest threat on the table.  She tutors for something on turn 2 which I assume is Hinder, so I avoid casting Skittles and instead beat down with Nirkana Revenant.  Damia plays Corpsejack Menace, which is interesting, while I set up some defense with Vampire Nighthawk.  I tutor for Urborg to go with my Coffers and  eventually take out Damia.  With the Hinder threat gone I cast my Commander and follow that up by taking out Oros with infect damage.

Yeva appears to be only creatures and copies my Coffers with Thespian's Stage.  I make the mistake of forgetting that I have Strip Mine and don't blow up his Coffers the entire game.  I have a flipped Nezumi Graverobber and use it to get a Moldgraf Monstrosity from his graveyard before the Graverobber gets killed.  I end up putting Lashwrithe on the Monstrosity followed up by Endless Scream making him a 45/18 trampler, and use him to stomp in for the win.

So there you go!  It's probably not the most high powered deck out there but it doesn't bring immediate hate most of the time either.  The deck is resilient and usually does well.  I do sometimes like to lay low early on but most of the time I end up getting Skittles out early.  Of course, I've noticed that the longer that I wait to cast him, the better chance I usually have of winning the game.  Just be aware that there are games I wasn't able to show where I got ganged up on early and couldn't hold off the onslaught.  However, usually someone else would appear as a bigger threat while I appeared meek and attention would be averted elsewhere.  This would usually give me enough time to recover.

Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed the deck.  It was outside my comfort zone, but proved to be fun.  Until next time!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com



I think it's less of an issue by AnimalWedding at Mon, 10/14/2013 - 01:57
AnimalWedding's picture

I think it's less of an issue with whether it's cheating or not than whether people actually enjoy seeing it at the table. If a certain commander gets focused every game without fail, you really have to wonder whether that card is good for the format. I am usually against banning cards in casual formats - I think people should be able to use their own judgement when deciding how to enjoy a game in a social setting - but it's really a bit counter-productive to promote single-card-win strategies in a 100cs format (especially if that card is the commander).

Yeah, this was an interesting by Leviathan at Mon, 10/14/2013 - 11:53
Leviathan's picture

Yeah, this was an interesting experience. Some games I was targeted early, some games I wasn't. Check out the vids to see how people played against me. I did notice that Skittles was always targeted for tucking though. Even the people that complained about him never conceded on sight, like I used to see back in the day.

After playing the deck I'm just not sure how much of a "single card win" he really is. Unassisted he still takes 3 hits to take an opponent out, similar to cards like Karrthus, Maelstrom Wanderer and Borborygmos. And I would argue that Wanderer is more powerful. I dunno, it was a learning experience, and made me realize that Skittles isn't the huge bogeyman I originally thought he was.