Planeswalking – Lessons from the Gods


In my last blog I wrote about my first experiences with the Born of the Gods set and mentioned my flawed attempt at using some of the new cards in a standard aura/bestow deck. Well the short story is that it didn’t work and I wanted to talk about why. I was, and still am, excited by the excellent Eidolon of Countless Battles so I started with four of him. The fact that he is powered up by creatures and auras led me to Raised by Wolves and green became my second colour. So far so good? Well no. I was basing my deck on two cards with different double colour symbols and while this is not always a dead end it wasn’t something I really even considered. The deck was mostly filled with cheap bestows, a few combat tricks and Ethereal Armor (thanks @dangerawesome). The issue was that while the theory was sound enough I’d not considered actually casting any of these spells, when cost became an issue I went with Hero of Iroas to help, and while that did make things easier what I really needed was a solid mana base, a full set of While/Green standard lands. The deck was rushed and my ideal card list was unobtainable at short notice. Looking over the deck now I can see why I bombed out of that tournament, I’d made a potentially powerful deck that was prone to being achingly slow while not bothering to include any cards that would keep me alive long enough to get going.

After the tournament I stripped the deck down to a very basic level and have since rebuilt it with some considerable increases in speed and functionality. I pretty much started over. The deck lives now as an extremely fun Bestow/Ordeal based affair. Four Heroes of Iroas make casting ordeals and bestows a breeze, their Heroic +1/+1 ability also makes them excellent targets for the spells they are reducing. A playset of White/Green Temples and some, admittedly non-standard legal, Sunpetal Groves form a nice base for the colour split.

The main lesson I learnt here was not building a tournament deck that requires cards you don’t have 48 hours before said tournament. You may well start with a solid idea but on that timescale you’re going to end up making a lot of changes and all those substitutions soon add up to a great big under tested mess that simply won’t function.

The irony of the situation is that while I was running all over Glasgow failing to collect up cards to put in this mess I had the pre-made Born of the Gods Event Deck sitting on my desk, just sitting there. Straight out of the box Underworld Herald is a very solid deck, a full set of Rakdos CacklersShred-Freaks give a consistently aggressive start, Spiteful Returned works as an early threat or later as a great bestow and Mogis’s Marauder can quickly enable your early creatures to finish a game against a non-black opponent. The rest of the deck is made up of a few larger flyers and a ton of removal. Initially I found this screaming out for a set of Grey Merchants in place of the Agent of Fates & Tormented Heroes who never seemed to be pulling their weight. After a few more games I swapped out the Blood ScrivenerErebos’s Emissary for an additional Herald of Torment & another Pack Rat. I was left with a very decent mono black deck that could really end games in a hurry with a good draw, especially against non-black players and all I’d added was four commons and two rares that I already owned.

A couple of hard working little fellas

It would have been perfect for the tournament, had the tournament not already happened by the time I started using my brain but Magic is all about learning and while I played for many years in the past I’ve only just started entering tournaments. Using pre-built decks used to feel a bit like cheating but swap a few cards out and you’ll feel a lot better about it, especially when you start winning more games!

Underworld Herald is available now for around £19.95, where as my G/W Aura mess of a tournament deck will never be mentioned again.



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