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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Nov 15 2013 10:55am
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This past weekend I was out of town, and therefore didn't have time to get on to MTGO.  No MTGO means no playtesting of decks.  Usually, this isn't a horrible thing.  Since I enjoy providing weekly content, I'm usually a little ahead of things and may already have a couple of games under my belt, or even a "one shot" article already written, like my block overviews.  However, I had neither of these things really going for me this week.  But I still really wanted to get this article out on time.  The only way I could make it work was if I came up with a really fast deck, one that ends games quick.  Like, really quick.  It didn't take me long to come up with you know who.


That's right, Heartless here is very good at closing games fast.  Not only can he cut peoples' life totals in half, he does the same to you!  So even if things are going well you'll often win with less than 10 life, and sometimes people can just kill you out of nowhere.  Quick games it is!  Here's the deck I (quickly) put together.

Heartless Hidetsugu
A Commander Deck
1 Anger
1 Burnished Hart           
1 Godo, Bandit Warlord
1 Inferno Titan
1 Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
1 Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
1 Kuldotha Phoenix
1 Kumano, Master Yamabushi
1 Lightning Mauler           
1 Myr Retriever
1 Obsidian Fireheart
1 Shard Phoenix
1 Silent Arbiter
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Taurean Mauler
1 Urabrask the Hidden
1 Wurmcoil Engine
18 cards

Other Spells
1 Caged Sun
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Gauntlet of Might
1 Gauntlet of Power
1 Magewright's Stone
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Mind Stone
1 Puppet Strings
1 Rings of Brighthearth
1 Ruby Medallion
1 Sculpting Steel
1 Sol Ring
1 Staff of Nin
1 Thousand-Year Elixir
1 Trading Post
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Batterskull
1 Illusionist's Bracers
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Fervor
1 Furnace of Rath
1 Gratuitous Violence
1 Hammer of Purphoros
1 Leyline of Punishment
1 Stranglehold
1 Chaos Warp
1 Comet Storm
1 Fork
1 Price of Progress
1 Overblaze
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
1 Koth of the Hammer
1 Aftershock
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Gamble
1 Molten Disaster
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Reforge the Soul
1 Vandalblast
1 Wheel of Fortune 
43 cards
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Arid Mesa
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Buried Ruin
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Hall of the Bandit Lord
1 High Market
1 Maze of Ith
1 Miren, the Moaning Well
21 Mountain
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx           
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Spinerock Knoll
1 Strip Mine
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
1 Wooded Foothills
38 cards

1 Heartless Hidetsugu
1 cards
Heartless Hidetsugu


Now I'm not going to say that this is the most tuned version of a Heartless Hidetsugu deck you're going to find out there.  There are some things that need to be smoothed out in this deck.  But overall it did the job well:  Provide quick games.  Let's go over it in a little more detail.

Deck Tech:

Ok, so the damage doublers in here are Gratuitous Violence, Furnace of Rath and Overblaze.  I decided not to include Quest for Pure Flame because you needed to do damage to an opponent 4 times, which is longer than I wanted to wait.  Curse of Bloodletting isn't in the deck because it only affects one player.  Still, if you want you could put them in.  With the cards that are in there, just make sure that you are at an odd numbered life total (meaning 39, 37, 35, etc.) before you activate Hidetsugu.  And if all your opponents are at an even numbered life total, you'll be very happy.

gratuitous violence furnace of rath overblaze

 I added Batterskull, Loxodon Warhammer and Basilisk Collar to give Hidetsugu lifelink.  There are also a ton of ways to give him haste in the deck.  I added ways to untap him like Magewright's Stone and Puppet Strings, as well as Illusionist's Bracers and Rings of Brighthearth to double up on his ability, but I don't really think that you need all of them.

Actually, if you wanted to make the games even faster, you should include cards like Manabarbs, Burning Earth and Acidic Soil.  These can definitely shorten up games.   You can also add more Earthquake effects to go along with something like Repercussion if you want.  If you're really worried about the life loss getting you too close to death you can add Platinum Angel and Platinum Emperion.  However, both cost a lot of mana, and the Emprion keeps you from gaining life as well as using your fetch lands.

In my very first draft of the deck I started with some Red recursion.  I knew that Red didn't have a whole lot of draw and was looking for more card advantage.  This mean cards like Rekindled Flame, Punishing Fire, Hammer of BogardanFirewing Phoenix and Shivan Phoenix.  However most of these aren't very good or they were mana intensive.  I basically stuck with just Kuldotha Phoenix (haste) and Shard Phoenix (repeatable creature kill).  Magma Phoenix almost made the cut but his hand return ability costs too much I think.  Up to you guys though.

The deck is low on card draw, but it shouldn't usually matter.  Also, it could probably use some more mana rocks to get Hidetsugu out faster.  But it did fine enough for me.  Let's see it in action!

Game 1:

The Nylea deck in this game has an archer theme, which is kind of cool.  Anyway, I have Ruby Medallion in my opener, which helps.  Things aren't all that exciting the first couple turns but eventually Nylea gets out a decent amount of critters.  I go on the defensive, getting out Kazuul and Maze of Ith to keep things away from me.  Finally I get out Hidetsugu with Loxodon Warhammer and get to activate him once, giving me a comfortable life total, before he is quickly dealt with by Thassa's Inundate.

At that point I'm getting hate.  Maze of Ith helps me out, but Nylea is accruing a massive army of dudes and Thassa gets out Invisible Stalker with Quietus Spike to deal with my life total.  Lazav has Szadek to help get cool stuff into the yard.  I put my resources into taking out Thassa and with a combination of Godo and Valakut.  Lazav gets out Consecrated Sphinx and is next on my list, with the help of Inferno Titan.  Finally, Nylea has a bunch of wolves with Master of the Wild Hunt, but I force him to tap out to kill a Steel Hellkite before I equip it with Lightning Greaves, then sneak in for the win.

Game 2:

This is a much quicker game.   I get Koth out early, along with a Lightning Greaves.  I also have Leyline of Punishment in play which is a non-bo with my Basilisk Collar.  Tajic's soldiers don't use the opportunity to hit Koth, but I kill most of them with Inferno Titan anyways.  A hasty Hidetsugu, followed up with a couple attacks with the Titan are more than the Ruhan player (who only really gets out Loxodon Warhammer and a mana rock) and Lazav player (who appeared to have a few mana issues) can handle as I end the game on turn 6.

Game 3:

This one is longer, and is cool because the Melek player is essentially using my old Dragonstorm version!  I get off to a pretty good start with a bunch of artifact ramp but Bosh has the perfect foil for my Mana Vault and Sol Ring: Ring of Gix!  If I untap my Vault, he just taps it.  If I don't untap it, he untaps my Sol Ring!  Pretty frustrating.  However I get through it and manage to activate Hidetsugu once while equipped with Basilisk Collar before Jarad uses Slum Reaper to make me sac it.  Melek plays his Commander, and I see Pongify, so now I have to wait until he uses it.  Bosh plays Kuldotha Forgemaster, which I thought would eat Pongify, but instead he waits. I figure I can't wait anymore and through Hidetsugu out there and get a monkey shortly thereafter.  After Bosh sacs a bunch of artifacts to Forgemaster to search up Myr Battlesphere Melek uses Blasphemous Act to get rid of all creatures.  Bosh concedes shortly thereafter.

I try to play Hidetsugu again, but before I can get Swiftfoot Boots on him Melek bounces him with Echoing Truth.  Melek then tries to go off, but craps out because he doesn't have enough Blue mana, ending up with only 2 non-hasty dragons.  Jarad takes advantage, and after playing Spawning Pit and Nath of the Gilt-Leaf, tutors up Grave Pact.  Now no one can keep creatures on the board, so Jarad draws our ire.  We manage to fight through and drop him down to 2 before he dies to his own Phyrexian Arena.

At this point I'm at 38 and Melek is at 7, but I can't close because he fights me off, returning Pongify to his hand to kill of attackers, and then casting and overloaded Cyclonic Rift to really slow me down.  Finally when he has no cards in hand and is down to 4, he sees Time Spiral on top of his library, and is able to use the extra untapping mana provided to tutor into a Dragonstorm with Mystical Tutor, getting enough hasty dragons and Scourge of Valkas to kill me off right there.  It was pretty awesome, and I wish the replay didn't crap out right there.

So there you have it!  Some of the games weren't as quick as I wanted them, but mostly things were fast.  This wasn't as quick as it could be, but not as controlling as it could be either.  Still, I had plenty of fun with it.  The most interesting thing about these videos is that there were more than a couple of people who had never heard of Heartless Hidetsugu!  Shocking, right?  Hope you enjoyed the deck!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com



Sweet Brew!! by 3drinks at Fri, 11/15/2013 - 14:11
3drinks's picture

He is a very fun commander to play, and Red is nice for having cheap sweepers for annoying elves, soldiers, and goblins.

If I could make a couple suggestions from my own Hidetsugu deck - Have you considered Pristine Talisman? It takes away the "is your life odd or even" bit completely because you can just tap it for mana to make sure you're always odd! And then, Glacial Chasm, to make your Hidetsugu not kill you.

Mine is more "control heavy" with Tabernacle and only a few utility guys (Fireheart is probably my biggest mana sink/curve topper...but I might have Titan and Hostility too). Mostly the deck is just all the best X burn spells in existence, from Red Sun and Disaster to Rolling Earthquake and Banefire (priority given to burns that exile of course).

Anyway, sorry kind of rambled on. Just wanted to say sweet brew lol.

Glacial Chasm was mentioned by Leviathan at Fri, 11/15/2013 - 16:13
Leviathan's picture

Glacial Chasm was mentioned by someone else recently and seems like it would be a great addition to the deck. I didn't even think about it, partially because I don't think I own one. Pristine Talisman is also good and would help with the ramp as well.

I don't have as many sweepers and X spells, but like I pointed out they would be great with Repercussion and a lower creature count. Glad you liked the deck! It's been a while since I've run into anyone playing him, so it's good to hear that he's still getting used!

Lazav in game one by Dawwy at Sat, 11/16/2013 - 10:40
Dawwy's picture

I think that if Lazav Rited the Disciple he would get to 50 sth life and with that he could have had enough time to finish you off