BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
June 17, 2010
I have a multiplayer deck that I was hoping that you would
look over. Here's the decklist.
4 Twisted Abomination
4 Rotlung Reanimator
3 Bane of the Living
3 Gempalm Polluter
4 Shepherd of Rot
4 Carrion Feeder
4 Vengeful Dead
Other Spells: 11
4 Plunge into Darkness
4 Tombstone Stairwell
1 Demonic Tutor
2 Liliana Vess
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
2 Crypt of Agadeem
3 Unholy Grotto
After seeing how the body count tends to very high in
multiplayer, I figured I can capitalize on this with
Tombstone Stairwell. Shepherd of Rot, Vengeful Dead, and
Gempalm Polluter are my main players by eating into life
totals at a rather alarming rate. Plunge into Darkness is
intended as a means to counteract any life loss or to dig
deeper into the deck for whatever I need at the moment. I
originally had Gravespawn Sovereign instead of Liliana Vess,
but the Sovereign proved to be too slow and not quite as
versatile as Vess.
This deck doesn't always win most of my multiplayer games,
but I have been able to knock out 1-2 players from the game
Budget isn't really an issue, but I don't want to go
overboard. Any and all advice would greatly be appreciated.
Always happy to be of service, Brian, especially when it
means I get to work with a quirky older card like Tombstone
Stairwell and its ilk.
Now, the first thing that jumps out at me about Tombstone
Stairwell is that its effect is symmetrical. When you first
play it, your upkeep for the turn will have surely passed,
so it will first trigger on your opponent's upkeep. At that
point, let's suppose that your graveyard has 4 creature
cards in it and your opponent's graveyard has 3. Your
opponent, the active player, will get three 2/2 Zombie
tokens (named Tombspawn) and you will get four. Since they
have haste, your opponent will be able to attack you with
them and you will be able to block with yours. Then at the
end of the turn, all remaining Tombspawn tokens will be
exiled, and on your upkeep, you'll all get new Tombspawn
tokens based on how many creature cards are in your
respective graveyards. Oh, and you'll also pay the
What all this means to me is that there are a few issues
that need addressing.
1) Tombstone Stairwell is only beneficial to you if your
graveyard contains more creature cards than anyone else's,
or if your tokens are bigger than anyone else's.
2) You have a copious supply of creatures, but none of them
stay in play for more than a turn.
3) After a few turns of this, the cumulative upkeep will be
too much to pay. You need all these Tombspawn to pay you big
dividends fast for this to be worth playing.
4) Your opponent will likely attack you with Tombspawn if
you let him or her.
So, how do we solve these problems? Well, Number One can be
solved either by exiling creature cards from your opponents'
graveyards, or by making your Zombies bigger. Fortunately,
both of those issues can be solved with one card: Cemetery
Reaper. Having the Reaper on the board means that while your
opponents' Tombspawn are 2/2's, yours will be 3/3's. And
when the Reaper's summoning sickness wears off, he can exile
creature cards out of other folks' graveyards, reducing the
number of Tombspawn they are able to... spawn.
Number Two can be solved with effects that allow you to
sacrifice creatures for a benefit, since your Tombspawn were
just going to die soon anyway. Carrion Feeder and Plunge
into Darkness were wise choices on your part.
Solving Numbers One and Two is a big step towards solving
Number Three. If, on the turn after you play Tombstone
Stairwell, you're able to swing with an army of 3/3's
against your opponent's comparatively fewer 2/2's, then
sacrifice the doomed tokens to pump up a Carrion Feeder or
gain 3X life and pay 3 or 4 of it to sift your library for a
card, you've gained a huge advantage. However, I think your
Vengeful Deads create the biggest advantage of any card I
can think of. Every turn, all Tombspawn-- on all sides of
the board-- will be put into a graveyard, and thus every
player who isn't you will lose life equal to the TOTAL
number of Zombies put into a graveyard. With that combo
active, you could easily wipe out everybody in a six-player
free-for-all before your next turn even comes around.
Unfortunately, such a powerful solution to Problem Number
Three only exacerbates Problem Number Four. Once the rest of
the table figure out how this works, they will want to stop
it from happening by whatever means necessary-- and the most
readily available means to a player who doesn't have a few
hundred life to spare or a
Disenchant in hand is to bring about your defeat as soon as
possible. And you just gave them a swarm of 2/2's.
My proposal? A fairly new card called Suffer the Past. I
knew I'd be recommending this card frequently the moment I
laid eyes on it at the Rise of the Eldrazi prerelease.
Suffer the Past's function is twofold: further deplete
opponents of their graveyards, and steal life points from
them. This, along with Plunge into Darkness's life gain,
will be much needed if you want your life total to be high
enough to survive the backlash you're undoubtedly going to
draw. May I suggest that if you want to use Plunge's "pay X
life" mode, that you not pay any more than 2 or 3 life. No
matter how much life you pay, you only ever get one card.
Since Black is used to paying one life for one card, it
seems about right that you wouldn't want to pay much more
than that if it won't get you an extra card. I can see 2 or
3 life being worth it to give you a choice of which card you
get to draw, but no more than that.
I also propose that you drop Shepherd of Rot. In my own
personal experience with the Shepherd, you can very quickly
get into a position where you don't have enough life to
survive tapping the Shepherd, at which point he becomes
useless. Removing the Shepherd handily makes room for
Cemetery Reaper besides. It also means that you no longer
have need of Rotlung Reanimator, so it can be taken out to
make room for Suffer the Past.
How did I get this far into a deck fix and only suggest two
cards? I guess you had done a better job than you realize,
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