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By: BaldEagle247, Peter Hollman
Jan 17 2008 12:07am
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This is my first article for PureMTGO.  I'm excited about the opportunity to share my ideas with everyone.  I will begin by looking at four spells that are largely ignored by the magic community.  This is will be the first of a four article series and will focus on the other Kamigawa epic spells.  Enduring Ideal gets all the press, but Neverending Torment, Endless Swarm, and the others could be played in some sort of format.   Today we will focus Neverending Torment.  No, I am not talking about being forced to listen to Lindsey Lohan try to sing, although that would certainly qualify.
Neverending Torment

 

Bitter Ordeal

At first glance Neverending Torment seems like a pretty crappy mill card, and for the most part, first impressions are right.  Now understand that Neverending Torment will never be a tournament playable card, we can sit down and make a fairly decent casual deck around it. 

The advantage of Neverending Torment is that we get to search the opponents deck for cards, it doesnt take cards from the top of the library.  This ability wrecks combo decks.  Your opponent is playing Guile and Dovescape, with a seven card hand we can remove the four Dovescapes and three of the four Guiles.  At that point we wait to deck them while they hopelessly try to stall the inevitable mill that the epic ability gives us.  we have to compliment Neverending Torment with cards that not only help us build up the hand, but also gives us a chance to cast the epic spell and survive long enough to win with it.
 

Spellbook is immediately thrown into the deck, as it allows our hand to move above the threshold of seven cards, which is a must to speed up this deck.  Damnation gives us time to build up for the spell, and is the same color as torment, keeping our deck simple.  Neverending Torment is a rather unique card, meaning that few cards can do what it does.  The only other card that can aid torment is Bitter Ordeal.  The gravestorm spell can speed up the kill condition of the epic spell. 

Not only does Bitter Ordeal give us a compliment to Neverending Torment, it combos very well with Damnation.  Now that we have a backup plan, we can start working on enhancing our win condition. 

Black has draw, but for the most part its draw is suicide draw like Night's Whisper.  Considering how slow our deck is, we can not rely on suicide draw, as it would only hasten our death, and we need all the time (Life would be a resource that we could consider as time.) possible.  Blue has the best draw, but we have very specific drawing needs.  We need low casting cards that can help us draw many cards at once or something that can enable us to draw without paying any mana, so while Myojin of Seeing Winds is nice, we won't be able to play it as Neverending Torment stops us.

The only way to draw without playing a spell or the ability of a permanent is Cycling or Forecast.  Cycling doesn't really help us as we have to discard the card in order to draw another, netting us no additional cards in our hand.  Forecast is limited, but Skyscribing fits the bill nicely, as well as helping any teammates we might have.  The only other option to our no spell casting  is land.  Mikokoro, Center of the Sea helps, but once again can only result in one card a turn.  Aeon Chronicler's suspend ability is another great addition to have, but once again doesn't allow us to draw more than one card a turn.  Paradox Haze works wonders for this deck, allowing multiple epic spells per turn.

This means that we will have to resort to having permanents in play to help us draw.  Considering how much draw is slammed into this deck, Jushi Apprentice and its flipped ability allow us to end the game with Neverending Torment quite quickly, and maybe outrace the aggro deck recovering from our Damnation.   Jace Beleren also fits perfectly into this deck, it allows us to draw, distracts the opponent, and can nuke the opponents deck occasionally, speeding up our win even more.  One of my favorite cards, Quicken, serves to speed up draw and allows us to play our first torment or a Bitter Ordeal on the opponents turn.  Seeing how we play blue, leaving mana open gives the threat of a counter, even if we don't run any, and may delay them a turn or so.  And of course, Damnation on our opponents turn as their goblins are about to attack for the win can turn the tide of the match.  Now when we add in lands, take note that even though our bread and butter is black, blue dominates this deck, meaning all we have to do is splash some black in, merely because we run only three black spells.  Half of our mana will still be able to make black, but theres no need for basic land.

This deck can establish a lock very quickly, from that moment its only a matter of time until we remove the rest of the unimportant cards from our opponents deck.

Our chances of drawing damnation without any draw help by turn 4 are 53%, which means more than half the time without any drawing aids from our deck, we will have damnation by turn 4, when we are able to play it without a mana screw.  Considering this deck is meant to be played casually, 95% of decks wont kill us until turn 6 or 7, when our chance of drawing damnation without any additional draws from our deck is 63%.  Now lets assume we are able to draw at least two cards by then from a source in our deck(remember a turn 3 jace would allow us to draw 4 by turn 7).  The probability of clearing the board with damnation then becomes 68%, and if all the draw help we get is from jace, more than three fourths of the time we will have a damnation by turn 7.  This means that we will be able to stop a casual aggro deck in its tracks 75% of the time before they kill us.  Obviously a bad draw can screw this deck over, but the same can be said of any deck.  If your a Spike, stay away from this deck, but if your a Johnny or Timmy, enjoy, as this deck is both fun and inventive.

Here's the completed decklist:

 

Creatures and Artifacts: 11
4x Aeon Chronicler
3x Jushi Apprentice
4x Spellbook

Other Spells: 25
4x Neverending Torment
3x Bitter Ordeal
4x Damnation
4x Paradox Haze
4x Quicken
2x Skyscribing
4x Jace Beleren

 Lands: 24
4x Watery Grave
4x Darkwater Catacombs
4x Salt Marsh
1x Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
1x Boseiju, Who Shelters All
10x Island

 

Damnation

 

 

You might notice the absence of some easy combos with Neverending Torment.  When i made this deck,I did not want to be cheesy, so I decided not to use cards like Uyo, Silent Prophet or even Twincast.  Sure, the Silent Prophet can win the game on the first casting for you, but how fun is that.

Thank you for your time, i'll be back next week with an article about Endless Swarm.  Thanks for reading my casual take on the first of many Epic spells to be highlighted! 

0 Comments

head games by Anonymous (Unregistered) 132.195.202.152 (not verified) at Fri, 01/18/2008 - 09:06
Anonymous (Unregistered) 132.195.202.152's picture

totally missed that... give oyur opponent a hand of lands before the torment starts...

Avatar Picture by Anonymous (Unregistered) 69.134.30.56 (not verified) at Fri, 01/18/2008 - 10:07
Anonymous (Unregistered) 69.134.30.56's picture

Please post some kind of Avatar picture

Please by Cyrrix_chipset (not verified) at Fri, 01/18/2008 - 10:23
Cyrrix_chipset's picture

Please register.  Why do you want to see him so badly?

by drob (Unregistered) 67.160.126.202 (not verified) at Fri, 01/18/2008 - 01:24
drob (Unregistered) 67.160.126.202's picture

When I built my undying flame deck a long time ago, nobody saw it coming.

I used top,elder,reach for land/hand fix,  congregation of dawn to get the a.wurm on the top at e.o.t. (1 card I'd draw and then 2 wurm next), then play undying flame next turn. So 28 damages in 2 turns.  I added wog and also some seedspark to stall the game.

neverending torment deck is much more difficult to build though.  

by elrogos at Fri, 01/18/2008 - 05:07
elrogos's picture

Now, that's a list! i would really add decree of pain for mass removal and the 2 miojins (black and blu): i've played a neverending torment list for quite a long time and the black miojin was one of the few way to stop the threats my opponent had in hand, it's an enormous tempo advantage if you can cast it in the first turns, and can be paired with cards like mirokoro and skyscribing (you know, letting your opponent draw is never a good idea, sometimes is bad even if you have 2 underworld dreams out); also, i repeat, graceful adept is fantastic in this deck, they try to remove her, or she saves you some life chump blocking (or even blocking in the beginning of the game) and she's a wizard! if you splash green the great accelleration let you build mana in a moment, and traproot kami can save your day for a long time; a nice addiction if playing blu is the blu honden (and even the black one) that even works great with paradox haze; otherwise, if you go white, teferi's moat and the white muse, plus cards like ivory mask or circle of protection can help you through the game; and never forget miss martyr of sands, that can get you 20 life in a moment if you have 7 or 8 cards in hand; plus, necrotic sliver is a nice addiction if your opponent has some permanent that needs removing, life a planeswalker or something that prevent him to lose cause of milling (for example uba mask, or tomorrow, azami's familiar).

Agree with erlogos by Anonymous (Unregistered) 12.47.110.206 (not verified) at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 16:55
Anonymous (Unregistered) 12.47.110.206's picture

Yeah, this seems much more than casual to me.  Also i would prefer my casual decks to actually win sometimes...

 How about:

 creatures(14):

x4 Voidmage Prodigy(counters under Epic)

x4 Jushi Apprentice(and a wizard)

x4 Fathom Seer(Epic triggers, stack, flip and search for 4 more cards)

x2 Etheral Usher(transmutes for Torment)

 

spells(

x4 Remand

x4 Repeal

x4 Ichor Slick/creature kill(does playing this w/ madness count as playing a spell? if not maybe Death Pulse?)

x4 Think Twice(or other cheap draw of choice)

x3 Neverending Torment

x4 Mindstone (acceleration, much needed for 6cc win condition) 

 

land(23)

x4 Watery Grave(while strictly casual, these should be on everyone's list to get untill ME2 comes out)

x4 Dimir Aquaduct(bouces a land)

x2 Toloria West

x1 Boseju

x2 Swamp

x10 Islands

 

 

If you have the above you proball have most/all of my deck.  I would like to see how it does comparativly.

 Regards,

 ___helper_monkey on MTGO

by Stu Benedict at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 12:41
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Wouldn't something like Decree of Pain be good in this deck as it provides some defense after the epic spell .... also Mindstone can ramp your mana into the epic and then bolser it by sacking it for card draw afterwards.

I wouldn't say that RGW is obviously the most optimal color for the red epic either. Mono red is pretty good with tron or vesuva/cloudpost .... you have all the red channel spells, divining top .... plus activating red myojin with red epic on the stack is nice ... myojin and darksteel collosus make for a nice burn from epic. 

 

by elrogos at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 12:14
elrogos's picture

I understand that you want to keep it as THE win condition, but the deck is the same incredibly weak. If you want to keep the entire deck centered on neverending torment, you should at least backup it with counters, mass removal for enchantments and artifacts (going white), something to keep up the game when you already cannot cast spells anymore. Your deck (without any rudeness) is just a bunch of draw plus one win-condition plus 4 mass removal cards, with all the troubles i've already described in my last comment. However, it's your deck and you are free to put it the way you like, I've just the idea that having at least the 30% of winning is nice when playing (otherwise, solitaire is better :) )

by BaldEagle247 at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 10:38
BaldEagle247's picture

Draegar, thats an excellent point about the autochon wurm, the RGW is the best fit for Undying flames, as their are some excellent multi's that augment its power, but thats gonna have to wait til later...

Elrogos, you have some excellent points, especially about channel, but the goal in setting out wasnt to make torment the alternate win condition, but rather THE win condition, while a better deck could be made, i decided to center the deck around the epic cards, rather than just fit them into a proven deck.   

The Red Epic Spell by Dreager_Ex at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 10:17
Dreager_Ex's picture

The Red epic spell (can't remember the actual name) already has a pretty good deck going for it

using that 14 cmc wurm from Rav (sorry I suck at remembering names)

 

Welcome by DarthWingnut at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 09:20
DarthWingnut's picture

Congrats on your first article.  For the record, I enjoy reading articles about "jank" cards, it may never find any real hidden gems, but it is far more fun to build something that no one else is building than just take the latest deck that Kenji is running off the net.  I'd personally ditch the four slots for Quicken though, and add something else, whether it's for some Drudge Skeletons, or something heftier, you need a few more critters, and an early game (you don't want to lose your apprentices, so you need something besides them to take hits).  I'd also consider walking away from Boseiju, it can be useful sure, but it's a card I'd be sideboarding against MUC decks and that's about it.  Just my opinion.  Good luck with the articles, I'm looking forward to Part 2.

by Cyrrix_chipset (not verified) at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 06:50
Cyrrix_chipset's picture

Well I must say your article was written great.  Your subject not so much.  I hope you keep writting artilces, but I would beg of you to write something worth reading.  This little serious honestly is not.  I believe casual decks have no chance ever.  If they work out well then they aren't casual anymore, and if they don't work out then they just lose and suck to play.  It's a no win situation I think.

 

Keep up the writing and please consider going in a new direction with it.

>>When Casual became "i want to lose" by elrogos at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 06:05
elrogos's picture

Ehy, congratulations for the deck and trying to use neverending torment in a deck. I love that card, and i like to play it; however, i can't understand how your deck is supposed to win in even a super-casual environment.

First, you can't go on "casual" with 4 aeon chroniclers, 4 damnations, 4 Jace and the 4 duals, unless you accept to go against "casual" decks that play confidant, Jitte, Tarmogoyf and fetchlands.

Second, the deck itself is really really too weak! you try to fit in the Gravestorm thing, wasting slots that could be useful with creatures or cards that can be played as abilities instead as spells; you try Aeon Chroniclers withouth the slightest mana accelleration (when are you suspending them? on turn 6 for just one turn? so they die to your own damnation the next turn if you are not already "dead"?); you use subpar cards like quicken, jushi apprentice (useless without some protection, maybe from counters), spellbook; you assume that 4 damnation can put an end to all the troubles you can have (casual decks go from the fast gruul that do not die to damnation to the mirari's wake decks that wreck you if you have not responses to yosei or mirari's wake etc. 4 damnation are useful maybe the 40% of the times).

I would really change the deck keeping Neverending torment as an alternative win condition, i would add green for some accelleration and big critters (simic sky swallowers), i would put in 3 graceful adept that can stop initial threats, some decent beater with evasion and drawing (soramaro for example), keep 2 damnation and put in 3 decree of pain; plus some strong counter, blu miojin and some "channel" cards.

Avatar- get one by Anonymous (Unregistered) 69.134.30.56 (not verified) at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 01:40
Anonymous (Unregistered) 69.134.30.56's picture

Get an avatar please