Bird Maiden

BirdMaiden

Story

This starts from the comment that my friend gave me in Facebook. He dared me to make a deck from Bird Maiden as he has quite nice collection of Bird Maidens – over 60 of them. 😉

So what to make out of Bird Maiden? This is what I came up with:

The deck

4 x Bird Maiden
4 x Buried Alive
1 x Entomb
2 x Zombify
4 x Rise from the Grave
2 x Dance of the Dead
4 x Earthbind
2 x Torture
4 x Seizures
2 x Exotic disease
2 x Phyresis
1 x Last Word
4 x Terminate
4 x Tarnished Citadel
1 x City of Brass
1 x Bloodstained mire
1 x sulfurous springs
6 x Mountain
11 x Swamp

How to play

The basic idea is to bury the Bird Maiden alive (or entomb her) and then turn her into a zombie (very accurately so via Rise from the grave) or alternatively you can just force the dead Maiden to dance by your whistle.

Now that we’re at it, we can also bind the Maiden to earth and torture her. I totally expect her to have a headache so I added Seizures to the deck. And if you ask me, bird maiden probably carries an exotic disease (and with Phyresis you can make sure she has infect).

That annoying Maiden probably tries to have the Last Word, hence it’s better to just Terminate her as soon as possible – as if there would be a way to cast the sole Last Word anyway.

Spoiler

I never really liked Bird Maiden.

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Vedalken Orrery & New Frontiers

Story

According to Wizards Of The Coast the most submitted idea for “You make the card II” was “You can play sorceries as instants. However, Vedalken Orrery was already in the set so they ignored those submissions.
So when Orrery was out? I ordered four-of. Unfortunately I never managed to do anything useful out of it. Best situation I got to was when my friend cast Naturalize, targeting Orrery. I responded with Flicker, which bounced Orrery out of game and back in. It took a while before he was ready to believe that his Naturalize will fizzle even though the Orrery is in battlefield as we speak. But that set of four was left to gather dust. And then I noted this combo submission in moxdiamond.com:

Balance + New Frontiers
you’d be amazed how stupid people can be when they see that you’ve retieved no land.

The thing is: why not play massive New Frontiers on opponents turn? Then they will decide first. Also: why use Balance which is restricted? Since I had good skeleton for this combo, I made a deck from it:

The deck

4 x New Frontiers
4 x Vedalken Orrery
4 x Terravore
3 x Jokulhaups
1 x Obliterate
4 x Llanowar Elves
4 x Wild Growth
4 x Stone Rain
4 x Winter’s Grasp
1 x Kaervek’s Torch
1 x Demonfire
4 x Moment’s Peace
4 x Sandstone Needle
4 x Hickory Woodlot
5 x Mountain
9 x Forest

Want to try it? Cards you don’t need:

You don’t need else than Orrery and Frontiers, really. And from them, Orrery can be replaced with Hypersonic Dragon, Leyline of Anticipation, Alchemist’s Refuge or alike. Add mass land removal (Armageddon, anyone?) and you’re set.
What you need is basic lands as New Frontiers fetches those. Special lands are bad for this deck.

How to play

Slow opponent down with land destruction and accelerate mana with Elves and Wild Growths. Try to use two-mana lands only once so you can get as much mana out as possible. Play Vedalken Orrery, wait opponent’s turn, untap and wait until opponent has reached end phase. Then cast New Frontiers with X at about 10.
If opponent fetches lands, fetch none (or as much as you need to cast Jokulhaups) and as your turn starts, untap. Cast Jokulhaups. Your opponent has no lands and a depleted library. Victory is at your grasp with Terravore.
If opponent refuses to fetch lands (or fetches, say… one), get as much as you paid for and win the game on more traditional way or with X-burn.

Tips:

Try to have fun. This deck is in reality 4-card combo (Orrery, New Frontiers, Jokulhaups and Kaervek’s Torch), which means you most likely will never get to see it work like it should. But when it does, boy is it fun. 😀

Tainted Æther

Story

This is again old deck, in a sense older than “Elemental Augury”. I didn’t list this as my oldest “deck from a card” as this deck did not start from Tainted Æther. You see, I was new to Magic and – around year 2001 – I realized one can order singles of Magic cards. I ordered multiple black cards that sounded good. Mostly something like Dry Spell. (I told you I was new to Magic.) One of the cards I ordered was Tainted Æther. I put all those cards to a mono-black deck I carried with me when playing with friends.
The deck has evolved a lot then. Tainted Æther became four-of (all traded or from boosters!) Dry Spells are gone. I have added good creature control whenever I have gained some from boosters or by trading. I haven’t bought any cards to this deck. (Well, I use same tutors in all my decks so they have not been bought to this deck.) And there are even few combos. Currently deck has evolved to this:

The deck

4 x Tainted Æther
4 x Dark Ritual
1 x Curse of the Cabal
1 x Lethal Vapors
1 x Decree of pain
1 x Ensnaring Bridge
1 x Grafted Skullcap
2 x Havoc Demon
3 x Corrupt
2 x Massacre
3 x Engineered Plague
3 x Consume Spirit
4 x Seal of Doom
1 x Slaughter
1 x Smother
2 x Crippling Fatigue
1 x Demonic Tutor
1 x Vampiric Tutor
1 x Expunge
1 x Cabal Coffers
1 x Peat bog
21 x Swamp

How to play

You want to drop Tainted Æther as soon as possible, preferably turn 2 with dark ritual. When it is in play, every creature destruction in your deck (is there anything else in the deck?) is cheap land destruction. Kill opponent’s creatures so he/she has to sacrifice lands in order to get more into play. Then kill those too. You can drain opponent whenever you have nothing better to do with your mana. Cabal Coffers is awesome for that.

Want to try it? Cards you don’t need:

Anything past Tainted Æther and Dark Ritual is non-mandatory. You really need just creature removal spells (Dark Banishing & alike) and a way to kill opponent. “Your opponent sacrifices a permanent” style cards splash in very nicely and work as artifact/enchantment removal black is lacking.

Tips:

• Your Tainted Æther was destroyed or you did not draw one? It’s okay, you are now playing one of the best creature control decks I have. Have fun! 😀
• Multiple Tainted Æthers are cumulative. For one creature entering the battlefield player must sacrifice as many creatures or lands as he there were Æthers in battlefield.
• Engineered plague destroys 1-toughness creatures as state based effect. Tainted Æther will trigger, but creature that entered the battlefield will be long gone before it could be sacrificed for the effect. Therefore opponent has to sacrifice yet another permanent.
• Grafted Skullcap is good if you are already having empty hand but it becomes double as useful with Ensnaring Bridge.
• Multiple drain spells double as creature removal if needed.
• Two Havoc Demons and Engineered Plague tuned to “Golem” can kill Darksteel Colossus. If opponent refuses to attack, consume the spirit of other of the demons to start the fun. 😉

Terravore

Story

This deck actually started from Wizards article about Revenant. It took me to Lhurgoyf which made me search for other creatures like it and then… Oh, well.
There was Extended tournament coming to my town and I had never been in a Magic tournament so I wanted to participate. I thought that no one would be expecting land destruction deck so I could make some decent position by surprise factor. Land destruction cards and Terravore – easy deck. I ordered four-of Terravores and Winter’s Grasps and started testing.

Early playtesting showed that land destruction needed mass wipe effect to fix the situation where opponent escapes. As I was heading to a tournament I decided to spend a bit and ordered full set of Jokulhaupses. I called my deck “Jokulvore”.

Needless to say I didn’t win. My decks do not win tournaments. But I did beat few opponents which was nice. And I still have this deck:

The deck

4 x Terravore
4 x Jokulhaups
4 x Llanowar Elves
4 x Wild Growth
4 x Molten Rain
4 x Pillage
4 x Stone Rain
4 x Winter’s Grasp
1 x Thermokarst
3 x Misguided Rage
4 x Moment’s Peace
4 x Sandstone Needle
4 x Hickory Woodlot
4 x Karplusan Forest
4 x Wooded Foothills
2 x Mountain
2 x Forest

Misguided Rage is what I call “poor man’s Ice Storm” – I wanted 20 land destruction cards where all of them would be 3-mana versions but I have only one Thermokarst and Ice Storms cost about $15 a piece which is way too much. Buying 3 more Thermokarsts would cost only $1.80 but the mana base is already complex enough and my base rule is that I create the deck from cards I already have. And I have abundance of Scourge commons. 😉

Misguided Rage is very well suited since if you have a good start, opponent has only lands in play. And you’ll be surprised how often people sacrifice a land in the first game against this deck. 😀

Want to try it? Cards you don’t need:

You don’t really need any specific card beyond Terravore. Jokulhaups is good but not mandatory. Mana acceleration can be achieved with other means. Land destruction spells can be any card that destroys lands.
You could probably turn this to Green-Black version if you use black land destruction spells.

How to play

Very simple: aim for 2nd round 3-mana start. Either by starting first turn with Hickory Woodlot or Sandstone Needle and landing normal land on second turn or then by dropping green-mana land and Wild Growth or Llanowar Elves on first turn. That enables second turn land destruction and cripples your opponent. Keep pumping up mana and destroying lands until there is enough critical mass to get 7+ powered trampler to play. Beat opponent to death. Use Moment’s Peace to save your skin if needed. Wipe board clean with Jokulhaups if you have to.

Tips:

• This deck has awesome synergy: everything aims to add lands to graveyards. Fetchland goes to graveyard. Two-mana lands go to graveyard when depleted. Land destruction… You get the idea. All you need is Terravore.
• There is no creature tutor in this deck. Be prepared to mulligan.
• Starting with Terravore is a safe bet but hand with 4 land destruction, karplusan forest, mountain and wild growth is best possible start.
• Ultimate kill-combo is to gather 9 mana, draw them all, drop Jokulhaups and then use remaining 3 mana to land Terravore to empty table. Preceded by land drop of that turn if possible.
• You play a deck that relies on Jokulhaups. Don’t put more than 9 mana on the table. Ever. You need those lands if you need to wipe the board.

Elemental Augury

Story

This is one of the oldest deck ideas I’ve had. It was around year 2002 when I found this card in some online catalog and realized it was not listed in the service I usually used to browse cards. It costed too much so I dropped the idea then but printed proxies to try it around. The key was “target player’s library”. I could gain control of opponents game! Oh, the possibilities!

My initial idea was black/red land destruction with splash of blue to provide mana for playing Elemental Augury. Prevent opponent from having lands with stone rains and alike, kill their access to mana with Elemental Augury, use Millstone to lose lands from top of opponents library. Done.

That didn’t work out well so my current version packs creature destruction and counterspells. I recently found Elemental Auguries from Blackborder and they costed only $0.24 a piece! Combine that with Millstones being only $0.39 each and my order of eight cards was set!

The deck

4 x Elemental Augury
4 x Millstone
4 x Terminate
4 x Mana Leak
4 x Counterspell
3 x Notorious Assassin
1 x Decree of Pain
4 x Dark banishing
1 x Fabricate
1 x Demonic Tutor
1 x Vampiric Tutor
1 x Bane of the Living
1 x Barter in blood
1 x Deep-sea Kraken
2 x Phantom Warrior
24 x lands (will update exact list here…)

Want to try it? Cards you don’t need:

You can safely replace any card that is not named Elemental Augury. Even Millstone has replacement options. Use the control cards you have. That’s what I did.

How to play

On early game you will slow down opponent with Terminates and Mana Leaks, looking for mana to play Elemental Augury. When Augury is out, wait for opponent’s turn and play your slow-downs on his/her turn. When the inevitable turn comes that opponent does not play a spell, it’s time to use Augury. Put land on top of opponent’s library so they will be short of spells and (if you have it) use millstone to dump opponent’s non-land cards to their graveyard. Beat opponent to death with Deep-Sea Kraken or Phantom Warrior.

Tips:

• There is no need to counter/terminate every Llanowar Elf opponent plays. You can root them out later with Notorious Assassin. If you lack suitable cards, use Augury on yourself.
• The Deck is a control deck so you can survive without Augury if it comes to that.
• The deck is slow. Fully functional lock needs 7 mana: 3 for augury, 2 for millstone and 2 for (defensive) counterspell. And – frankly – nobody wants to look the game to an end if you get them to a lock so it’s boring too. Only reason I listed this in my blog is that I wanted to tell what is the oldest “deck from a card” I have done.