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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Feb 18 2014 1:00pm
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Heaven!

Hell!

But not in that order.

Deck 1 A Hellish Propehcy

Dark Prophecy    

I have seen a prophecy. It's that a lot of creatures are going to die.  On both sides of the table.

Let's start with the idea behind a Dark Prophecy deck.  You don't want it to be an overcosted Night's Whisper. You want it to trigger a lot!  You want a lot of creatures on your side of the board.  You could go the token route (the card doesn't specify otherwise), and I have a few of those, but I mostly went the synergistic creature route.  This means:

- Evoke-type creatures (Shriekmaw, Bone Shredder)
- Fragile creatures (Skulking Ghost)
- Optional-suicide creatures (Skittering Skirge, Lashwrithe)
- Recycler creatures (Apprentice Necromancer, Crypt Champion)

Did you notice?  There's no exiling involved with Apprentice Necromancer—using him once gives you two Prophecy triggers.  You could even theoretically chain two of them into each other back and forth.

Since we're killing so many of our own guys, it would be silly not to have more cards to trigger off of it.  That's where Grave Pact comes in.  It's a great way to keep an opponent under control while we set up our crazy synergies.

    Tombstone Stairwell

And since we're having so many creatures fill up our graveyard (there's not one exile effect in the deck), we could capitalize on it with Tombstone Stairwell.  This card actually gets quite ridiculous in here.  Let's say you have just two creatures in your graveyard, and you cast this with a Dark Prophecy out.  You will attack for four hasty damage on your turn.  Then you'll draw two cards from them, whether they die in combat or at the end of the turn.  Then on your opponent's turn, you get two blockers who become another two draws!

Of course this deck can rack up the life loss quite quickly, so it needs some lifegain.  I'll stay in mono-black due to all the triple-black casting costs (and Lashwrithe), which gives us access to the mighty Tendrils of Corruption and the surprisingly-decent-in-the-right-deck Demon's Horn.  You'll see I have a red mana splash for Crypt Champion, but literally every nonartifact card in the deck is still black.  That's 31 cards for the Horn.

The last trick, for when our opponent isn't killing our guys for us—Altar's Reap.  It's especially satisfying to cast off a creature who was about to die anyway, like an evoked Shriekmaw, a non-powered Crypt Champion, a targeted Skulking Ghost, a creature animated by Apprentice Necromancer, a non-echoed Bone Shredder, a Tombstone Stairwell token, an unwanted Lashwrithe Germ token... come to think of it, every single one of our creatures works well with Altar's Reap!

Here's my casual, casual list.  I encourage you to tinker with it.

Dark Demonic Tombskirge Lashpact
When there's no more room in hell, the dead will etc.
Creatures
2 Apprentice Necromancer
4 Skittering Skirge
4 Skulking Ghost
2 Bone Shredder
2 Crypt Champion
2 Shriekmaw
16 cards

Other Spells
1 Demon's Horn
3 Altar's Reap
4 Dark Prophecy
4 Lashwrithe
3 Tendrils of Corruption
3 Grave Pact
2 Tombstone Stairwell
20 cards
Lands
4 Blood Crypt
20 Swamp
24 cards
 
Grave Pact

 

Deck 2 Hellish Demons

Demonic Taskmaster    

Out from the maw of hell... it's a playset of demons.

This guy is the reason the deck was created.  He and my beloved Skittering Skirge (see above decklist for proof of belovedness) provide the 8x finishers in a midrange black deck.  The rest of the deck is focused on controlling the board and pumping up our solitary beaters.

A few concerns—

How do we turn a solitary 4/3 (or 3/2) flier into a game-winning threat?  My favorite ways to pump them up are Empyrial Plate, Ring of Xathrid, and Runechanter's Pike.  The latter has 20 cards to grow with.  It won't become as huge as it does in those dedicated tournament decks, but it's still way better than No-Dachi.  For a while I also tried the cheaper-still O-Naginata, but trample wasn't nearly as useful as first strike (or the toughness boost from the other equipment).  We need to protect our guys since we have so few of them.

    Unearth

We can also think about protecting them retroactively.  Like, bringing them back after they're already killed.  Unearth is my favorite, at only a single mana.  It even provides a snazzy way to have two Skittering Skirges out at once!  (Returning to the battlefield does not count as casting.)  And its cycling comes up more than you'd think.

All of our guys are cheap, but you don't always want to cast them as soon as you can.  Sometimes you'd rather wait until after your (Mutilation) drops.

There are a mix of targeted removal spells (Doom Blade, Grasp of Darkness) and sweepers (Infest, Curse of Death's Hold).  I also threw in some Cursed Totems, since it doesn't affect our own guys at all.  But I also bought them when they were $1.50 each.  They're a bit more than that now.  If it's out of your budget, you could easily swap them out for an increased number of any of the deck's non-4-ofs.  I'd probably go with more discard.

The only cards we can't deal with are opposing artifacts and enchantments.  The discard that's there helps, but even then I still had trouble, so I just made a white splash for Solemn Offering.  (It's almost always better than Terashi's Grasp.)

Gosh, heaven and hell in the same deck!  Cats and dogs living together.  Here is the yin-yangy list:

 

Empyrial Cursechanter Skitmonic Mutifestpeel
With a white splash for Solemn Offering
Creatures
4 Skittering Skirge
4 Demonic Taskmaster
8 cards

Other Spells
1 Mind Peel
3 Unearth
2 Cursed Totem
2 Empyrial Plate
2 Ring of Xathrid
2 Runechanter's Pike
3 Night's Whisper
1 Wrench Mind
2 Doom Blade
2 Grasp of Darkness
2 Infest
3 Solemn Offering
3 Mutilate
1 Curse of Death's Hold
29 cards
Lands
4 Tainted Field
19 Swamp
23 cards
 
Runechanter's Pike

 

But let's end with some positivity!  A dedicated heaven deck!  Angels galore.

 

Deck 3 What does that card do?

Here's an unwinnable challenge: try to cast this card without your opponent stopping the game for 5 seconds to read what it does.

Angel's Trumpet

What an oddball.

Angel's Trumpet is part Serra's Blessing and part....

erm....

...part half of Grand Melee mixed with half of Impatience.  Yes.

This card was intended to be a stalemate breaker, but being a Johnny, I'd rather construct some awkward combos around it.  Our opponent's creatures that don't attack deal damage to their controller, do they?  Let's make it so they can't attack!  Let's combine Angel's Trumpet with another angel—Blinding Angel!

    Blinding Angel

There's also Reverence for small creatures and Windborn Muse for armies.  (No, the muse isn't an angel, but she sure feels like one.  At least "Reverence" is thematically related to heaven.)

If our opponent should choose not to cast creatures?  Forbidden Orchard and Varchild's War-Riders!  I love any deck with the War-Riders in it.  It's true: just look at my profile.  And it's been that way for 4 ½ years when I signed up for this site.

We just need some pacifism effects for the odd creatures who are too big for Reverence.  Prison Term is a strong one, not only for the regular reasons, but also because it prevents a creature from tapping out before combat.  (If it's tapped, the Trumpet does nothing to it.)  Guard Duty is another good one.  It can still block, but only for one turn: the Angel's Trumpet taps it out after that.  And anyway most of our creatures are flying so the blocking doesn't do much anyway.

Most of our creatures are also really low power, so let's spruce 'em up with Tormentor's Trident.  For an extra one mana, we get an extra +1/+0 from Sunforger.  Its tutor isn't too useful in this deck of mostly permanents, though, so there's only a single copy of it.

My last choice is perhaps controversial, the card-disadvantageous Winds of Change.  My reasoning is that this deck (1) really needs certain cards at certain times and (2) rarely wants to draw multiples of those cards.  So in either case, it'll smooth out your hand.  (It's either that or Enlightened Tutor, and those are like $20.  And they STILL give you card disadvantage.)

Here is the heavenly deck list.

Reverent Blinding Angel's Trumpet
 
Creatures
4 Varchild's War-Riders
4 Windborn Muse
2 Blinding Angel
10 cards

Other Spells
3 Winds of Change
3 Guard Duty
4 Boros Signet
2 Tormentor's Trident
2 Disenchant
2 Lightning Helix
4 Angel's Trumpet
2 Prison Term
1 Sunforger
4 Reverence
27 cards
Lands
4 Forbidden Orchard
7 Mountain
12 Plains
23 cards
 
Reverence

 

Heaven and hell!