CottonRhetoric's picture
By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Jul 23 2015 11:00am
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I recently spent over a year away from Magic, and when I came back, one huge change happened. In V4, when you go to the "just for fun" room... people actually play fun decks!

In V3, it was 50-50 between fun decks and tournament-caliber decks. In V4, it's more like 90-10. Perhaps the reason is because the next room up was retitled to "getting serious," making room for the spikier players who don't view themselves as preparing for a tournament. Whatever the reason, casually players like myself are free to show their heads again! (Mostly) gone are the days of my janky Varchild's War-Riders combos facing off against first-turn Entombs.

This change in culture has led to a renaissance of casual deckbuilding. I've faced off against so many clever concepts these past few weeks. Which in turn got my own creative juices flowing, and I'm happy to share some hot-off-the-presses decklists with you all. I'll be unloading them here at a rate of 3 per week. Just like the old days! (If you read PureMTGO from 2009–2013, about 130 of my articles were printed then.)

And if you WEREN'T reading PureMTGO from 2009–2013, and you're unfamiliar with my style, I should clarify up front that the following decks are CASUAL ONLY and playing with them anywhere other than the casual room will end in disaster and humiliation. Also, I encourage you to tinker with their contents and customize them as to your liking.


Deck 1 Assault Formation


Here's a card I was delighted to discover upon my return! It seems tailor-made for johnnies like me.

The obvious approach is to just cram your deck full of 0/X walls, but I don't recommend that. You will run out of green mana, and what exactly are you supposed to do when your Formation gets destroyed?

Rather, the approach I'll be taking is to focus on the other half of the card, the part about dealing damage with your creatures' toughness. I'll use a small handful of walls, but mostly the deck will be creatures with high toughness that can attack on their own.

Kitsune Loreweaver  Rhox Faithmender  Grizzled Leotau

Indomitable Ancients  Sapling of Colfenor  Priests of Norn

There are oodles more to choose from, and you should certainly spend some time scouring Gatherer, but the above are some of my favorites.

    Accorder's Shield

The temptation is to also put in Slagwurm Armor, but it's a little slow, a little limited, and frankly overkill. I'd much prefer something with more utility, like Accorder's Shield or Spidersilk Net. There are also many auras that perform similar feats, if you want to build a wacky enchantress deck or something. (It's not the route my below deck goes, but it makes sense, since Formation itself is an enchantment.) Spider Climb, Triclopean Sight, Chosen by Heliod, Eland Umbra, Soar...

Since we've got such high toughness, we should make use of Pyroclasm-type effects. Firespout and Sulfurous Blast are solid choices. I went with the more flexible Savage Twister, since our equipments allow our toughness to vacillate unpredictably, and you never know what your opponent will have.

We don't want our entire gameplan to hinge on drawing one playset, so I also added 4 Commune with the Gods and 2 Doran, the Siege Tower. I don't usually recommend expensive cards in my casual columns; I bought the Dorans back when they were $1.75 each, and they're now over $7. So if you didn't buy them back then, you could swap them out for Mannichi, the Fevered Dream, who is much cheaper—and who will also ease the color requirements from 4 to 3, which will save further money on the manabase. About the manabase....

My build is full of dual lands. With most of them costing between $2 and $4 nowadays, I got several of each, and play them in almost every deck I make. You can get 10 duals today for the price of one dual two years ago. But it is still an expenditure, and if you'd rather not make it, I recommend getting (for this deck) 4 Jungle Shrine and 4 Terramorphic Expanse. Those plus the Chromatic Lanterns should be plenty.




Deck 2 Concerted Effort

Concerted Effort

This card has been around for a long time, but it keeps getting better, because the creatures to run with it keep getting better and better. Let's look at double strike, for instance. A 2-powered double striker used to cost four mana... now the standard is three! For four mana, they also have other abilities, like giving double strike to others, or undying.

So the first thing to do is decide which abilities we want to go for. A rookie mistake with this card is to go for all of them, but that's superfluous. Let's break it down.

  • Flying: Sure, but mostly for blocking purposes. If we want evasion, we can do better.
  • Fear: Not worth it. There's better.
  • First strike: Not worth it. We can get double strike! And if you're thinking "But first strike is cheaper"... double strike is still plenty cheap. (The double strikers we'll be using are cheaper than the Concerted Effort itself.)
  • Double strike: Yes. The second-best ability on here.
  • Landwalk: No. See Fear, above.
  • Protection: YES. And I don't just mean protection from colors, I mean THIS GUY. Can you see why we're not bothering with other forms of evasion? They're all obsolete!
  • Trample: No. Seeing as our creatures are not going to be blocked, this wouldn't accomplish anything.
  • Vigilance: Actually decent. Since our creatures are nigh-invincible, we'll want to reuse them on defense after swinging through our opponent's blockers.

And by now our basic gameplan should be pretty clear. Just run the best of the above abilities that made the cut, sometimes picking creatures that have multiple abilities. So who are the best?

Leonin Skyhunter  Courier Hawk  Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers

Skyhunter Skirmisher  Commander Eesha  Oversoul of Dusk

You can do some cool tricks with protection besides "from creatures." Order of the Stars can fill in any gaps. Angelic Curator gets those non-color decks (although frankly, it's usually a bit superfluous next to protection from creatures, unless you're really worried about, uh, Icy Manipulator and Aeolipile I guess). With an Empty-Shrine Kannushi, you'll have access to pro-white... and next to the hybrid-costing Oversoul of Dusk, he'll also get pro-green. In other words, those two cards combined cover protection from all five colors!

As for how to get protection from spells—you don't have to spend seven mana on a Petrified Wood-Kin. Just one every turn from your Devoted Caretaker. Remember that Concerted Effort uses the stack; respond to it with her ability.

Can we do even better? Well, I'd love the Progenitus ability "protection from everything," but if you have a Progenitus out, you can win without Concerted Effort, so let's not bother. And True-Name Nemesis is even better, but it's also $26 and a tournament bomb, so perhaps we should forgo it in the casual room.

As for the rest of the deck, I'm running tutoring for the Concerted Effort (in the form of Idyllic Tutor and Crystal Ball), and removal (as enchantments, so they can be fetched with the Idyllic Tutor too: Journey to Nowhere and Seal of Cleansing). If you want to make the deck more budget-friendly, take out the Idyllic Tutors; either splash green for Commune with the Gods or keep it white and just throw in a few more Honor of the Pures.



With all of those white mana symbols, I considered running some Devotion and Chroma cards. Until I looked at them, and realized none were at all relevant to the deck's gameplan.


Deck 3 Feast on the Fallen

Feast on the Fallen

Look at all these cool cards that keep coming out!

I want to make sure you don't mistake this card for just a cheaper Dragon Blood. In a typical draft game, that's what it will likely function as, but in reality, it can be double that, since it can trigger on everybody's turns, not just once per untap. Now, dealing damage to our opponent on our own turn should be obvious enough, but any deck based on Feast on the Fallen has to consider this key question:

How do we deal damage during our opponent's turn?

And your answer shouldn't just be "Lightning Bolt"—we need something repeatable! Fortunately, there are dozens of those. Some of my favorites:

Curse of the Pierced Heart  Ankh of Mishra  Spellshock

Goblin Fireslinger  Underworld Dreams  Pestilence

Which brings us to our second key question:

What do we put those +1/+1 counters on?

For one thing, a lot of the above effects exist in creature form. Instead of Ankh of Mishra, there's Zo-Zu the Punisher. Instead of Underworld Dreams, there's Fate Unraveler. Instead of Pestilence, there's Thrashing Wumpus. It all depends on your build, and what threats you want to make vulnerable.

For another thing, don't forget that we also need to deal damage during our own turn, so maybe we should put those counters on some creatures with evasion. Black has got two of the best shadow creatures in Dauthi Slayer and Dauthi Horror. There are also some good fliers, like Basilica Screecher and Daggerdrome Imp.

And now there is but one more key question to ponder:

What other synergies can I use?

In other words, take a step back and look at what your deck is without Feast of the Fallen. Do the remaining cards have anything else in common you can capitalize on?

In my build, I made the decision to deal damage in packets of 2 at a time, so I could also run a playset of this card:

Bloodchief Ascension

Trust me, it will activate in no time, basically regardless of our draw. And once it is active, it is quite easy to trigger. Which is good, because with all of those Ankh of Mishras and Spellshocks, we will need some lifegain!

I also wanted to include a pet card of mine, Cuombajj Witches. This caused me to only pick 2-toughness creatures, which explains why I'm running cards like Fledgling Djinn instead of Dauthi Horror.

And I always like to include two artifact destruction spells for good luck. But I didn't want them to ever be dead cards, so I chose Fury Charm and Rakdos Charm. Versatility!


Life Loss Extravaganza
(explosion noises)
4 Fledgling Djinn
2 Cuombajj Witches
4 Dauthi Slayer
2 Foul Imp
12 cards

Other Spells
4 Bloodchief Ascension
2 Lightning Bolt
1 Fury Charm
1 Rakdos Charm
4 Tormenting Voice
3 Terminate
4 Ankh of Mishra
4 Feast on the Fallen
3 Spellshock
26 cards
4 Badlands
4 Blood Crypt
3 Mountain
2 Sulfurous Springs
9 Swamp
22 cards


In the end, it's a fun deck! Both life totals racing downwards at an alarming rate, while you frantically swim against stream and try to keep your own above your opponent's.


Welcome back! You've by Paul Leicht at Thu, 07/23/2015 - 15:27
Paul Leicht's picture

Welcome back! You've successfully out Haitused me. :D Glad to see you are still among the comedic and casual. I am a big fan of Thrashing Wumpus, so I am glad to see him get some love, though he didn't make your final lists.

Glad you're back! Anyone who by Leviathan at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 18:17
Leviathan's picture

Glad you're back! Anyone who uses Cuombajj Witches in a deck deserves 5 fireballs!