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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Feb 24 2016 1:00pm
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 Time for some casual decks! Peace out, tournament players.


Deck 1 Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke

Has anyone ever used Heat Stroke before? No, and I don't blame them. It's hard to make work. But that makes it all the more fun!

There are two main ways to use it. 1, have a lot of cheap expendable dudes that trade upwards by killing your opponent's better creatures. 2, what I'll be doing, have a small number of resilient creatures that repeatedly kill your opponent's dudes at no real cost to you. Things with indestructible, or even things with regeneration can survive the Heat Stroke, while still killing the opposing creature. So our best candidates are:

Will-o'-the-Wisp  Fog of Gnats  Kathari Remnant

And on the ground:

Rimebound Dead  Dutiful Thrull  Darksteel Myr

So we have our airtight defense. The next thing to think about is our win condition. We could really drop in whatever high-end threat we want to break through while the board is gummed up, but it's way more fun if we use something that synergizes with the cards we're already running. And you know how to turn a doofy Will-o'-the-Wisp into a game-ending threat? With either of these:

Moonsilver Spear  Argentum Armor

That's the core of the deck. We can add redundancy with Dead-Iron Sledge, filtering with Orcish Librarian and Tormenting Voice, accel with Worn Powerstone (which curves perfectly into a turn 4 Argentum Armor), and utility with Rakdos Charm.

    Maddening Imp

My favorite trick in the deck is something I haven't mentioned yet. What do you do if your opponent stubbornly refuses to attack his creatures into your death trap? Make him attack! Black has the uber-siren that is Maddening Imp, targeting your opponent's entire army at once, AND killing the ones who try to get out of it. (Humorously, its templating allows you to even kill a creature with summoning sickness—if it was cast before combat.)

The numbers below are the result of much tinkering on my own part, although I encourage you to do more tinkering of your own. Some other routes you could take the deck in:

Most of those require splashing, but with the low price of alpha duals these days, splashing has never been easier.


Bugs Don't Get Hot
Nor Do Skeletons Made of Ice
4 Rimebound Dead
4 Will-o'-the-Wisp
2 Fog of Gnats
3 Orcish Librarian
4 Maddening Imp
17 cards

Other Spells
2 Dead-Iron Sledge
3 Tormenting Voice
2 Rakdos Charm
4 Heat Stroke
3 Worn Powerstone
3 Moonsilver Spear
3 Argentum Armor
20 cards
4 Badlands
8 Snow-Covered Mountain
9 Snow-Covered Swamp
2 Temple of Malice
23 cards
Dead-Iron Sledge


Now that we've got all that blocking out of the way, let's make a deck that prevents blocking!


Deck 2 Bedlam


Oh yes. Bedlam. Nobody is blocking anybody ever again.

The obvious starting place is creatures with Ophidian-type bonuses. (And creatures have improved a bit since Ophidian itself.)

Ebonblade Reaper  Augury Adept  Markov Blademaster

Daxos of Meletis  Dimir Cutpurse  Dune-Brood Nephilim

And we don't have to limit ourselves to Ophidian creatures! There are also plenty of Ophidian enchantments, spells, and artifacts.

Curse of Stalked Prey  Thunderblade Charge  Quietus Spike


Our deck is starting to take shape! We'll want some other ways besides Bedlam to get our creatures through, so I'm also enlisting Aqueous Form and Hands of Binding. And if we're putting +1/+1 counters on our creatures with the above Curse, let's use some creatures that appreciate them. Falkenrath Exterminator turns them into damage, and Cold-Eyed Selkie turns them into cards. And even if you don't get a Bedlam (or an Aqueous Form or a Hands of Binding), a simple Looter il-Kor plus a Curse of Stalked Prey can be pretty threatening.

We should take precautions against our opponent's creatures getting through, since we can't block either. For the small ones: kill them with the above-mentioned Thunderblade Charge and Falkenrath Exterminator, or the all-around-useful Flame Slash and Fire/Ice. (In this deck, don't forget that the Ice half can tap a would-be blocker!)

For the big ones: mute them with some old-school tech, I mean as old-school as it gets, going back to ALPHA with this one... Forcefield! Yeah!!! Who cares if they get through with their Avacyn, Angel of Hope now? It's as good to them as a Triton Shorestalker. (Aren't you glad you're playing online instead of with cardboard? $0.57 for Forcefield instead of $100.00....)

Other options for dealing with big creatures: Shut them down with No Mercy, Aurification, or Spear of Heliod. Or just nuke them all with a massive Mordant Dragon trigger!

Fun deck. A LOT of two-drops, and we can almost always find a way to break through from turn three onward.




Deck 3 Molten Vortex

Enough with the blocking-matters decks already! Let's do something completely unrelated. This card caught my eye for being a fair version of Seismic Assault (meaning that, no, I won't be using it to go infinite, or even pairing it with Swans of Bryn Argoll in the first place—the internet has already got that one covered). I'll actually be using it for its intended purpose of just recycling superfluous lands. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, of course.


The main one is, increase how many lands we can consider superfluous, which we can do by decreasing how many lands our deck needs to function. I built a deck that can subsist on a mere three lands. This means two things: 1, our opponent is almost guaranteed to have more lands than us, and 2, we can make use of the three-mana Rivalry. Oooohh!!!  What tech!!!  Deal two every turn, while we're controlling the board (and/or going to the dome) with our Vortex.

The next thing is to capitalize off those lands in our graveyard. At three mana, we can afford the powerful (but not broken, at least not in here) Terravore. (Knight of the Reliquary is comparable, but: it's way more money, it's a tournament bomb, we don't need its tutoring, we'll miss the trample, AND it strains our mana base too much. We want to function on only three lands, remember, which is tough in a 3-color deck. It doesn't give you a lot of wiggle room.)

Harvest Wurm is a cute way to get an extra Molten Vortex activation, and he can usually kill another creature in combat. (Even if trading in combat is ALL he does, that was still a two-for-one.) From here, we have some choices. The best one is probably to go low-land count and use a Life from the Loam engine. But since when have I ever wanted to use the most powerful strategy? I'm going high land count, and running cards that synergize with that. Like Magmatic Insight.

Some more tricks: bounce lands like Gruul Turf and even Ghost Town are a great way to feed the Molten Vortex without hurting our development. Gruul Turf being multicolored also helps, and we'll want to use a lot of muticolored lands, since we do want to have GG for the Terravore, but also RR for multiple Vortex activations in a single turn, and the only way to have both of those at once with three lands in play is if one of them is a multi-land.

Droppin' Mountains on 'Em
3 Harvest Wurm
4 Terravore
7 cards

Other Spells
4 Molten Vortex
4 Magmatic Insight
2 Tormenting Voice
1 Commune with the Gods
4 Lignify
1 Lightning Greaves
4 Rivalry
3 Firespout
23 cards
4 Taiga
4 Gruul Turf
2 Ghost Town
10 Forest
10 Mountain
30 cards
Harvest Wurm


See you next time!