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. 😉

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.