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Gathering Deck Garage
Earlier today, I received quite an interesting e-mail. It was from my e-mail service provider, telling me about a glitch they'd just sorted out. Apparently, when I first received my smartphone, there was an error syncing it up with my E-mail account, causing several E-mails to fail to appear to me properly on my computer or my phone.
What this means is that this is the first time I've seen this decklist from Geoff, despite him having sent it to me last August. Errgh. Sorry about that!
Ok here are the cards. 95% of the time i'm playing multiplayer casual games with anywhere between 2 and 6 other players. The deck just doesnt seem to be consistent. mostly it seems to be that people kill my creatures or playing most things uses up a lot of my mana (the lightning reavers are my main creature, the Demigod's are powerful and a nice side win-condition) i'll tell you a bit about the main decks I play against - there is mono-green stompy beatdown, a blue-red replicate&swerve/willbender deck that uses splinter twin along with willbender or mnemonic wall or pestermite for shenanigans, a very aggressive and fast mono-black vampire bloodthirst beatdown deck with a splash of life control/steal, a White soldier deck, a green-blue infect deck, a multicolour ally deck, and an interesting and actually fairly powerful if slow rainbow and colourless Golem deck (yeah I know I'm as surprised as you are) there's one other player but he has like 24 decks and I'm not gonna waste your time naming them all lol.
Ok onto the deck - since making it I've
discovered good multiplayer cards like
Sizzle and Kazuul, I just don't own any and
want your advice first before buying them
go for the throat x1
breath of malfegor x4
Mana geyser x2 (lots of land on that battlefield.. Ta muchly! :P)
buried alive x1 (for demigods)
banefire x1 (hopefully kill someone off or a nice hit of burn)
reassembling skeleton x2
lightning reaver x4
demigod of revenge x4
Deathbringer thoctar x1 (combos horribly with Night of Soul's Betrayal which i'm thinking of getting dunno what you think?)
Vampire nighthawk x4
Slavering nulls x2
Kaervek the merciless x1
no mercy x1 (love no mercy haha)
haunted crossroads x2
furnace of rath x1
rain of gore x1 (come across a fair bit of life gain where i play too)
Sent from my iPhone
So Geoff, you've got an iPhone too, huh? Hope yours didn't betray you as badly as mine seems to have. Anyway, I've kept you waiting long enough. Let's get into it.
Multiplayer is a whole different animal than 1-on-1 duels. Card advantage is more important than ever before, and it was always pretty darn important. Terminate is an amazing card in 1-on-1, but in a six-way grand melee, it means you and one other player are each down a card while the other four players are, relatively, up a card. If you want your deck to shine, you have to build it so that it doesn't run out of resources.
Black/red burn, sadly, is probably the worst strategy you could have picked in that regard, with the possible exception of Auras Voltron. Red has always been known for its ability to burn through its gas tank in a hurry. Black is slightly better in that regard, though you're still staring down the fact that you have to deal 20 damage to up to 6 opponents, which is going to take a lot of burn spells. We need to find some means to keep you from running out of steam, as well as some means of deterring your opponents from attacking you.
For starters, take out Doom Blade and Go for the Throat (we'll leave Terminate) in favor of Bituminous Blast. Cascade is a great ability for a deck that doesn't draw much extra cards, and it make the Blast into a double kill spell, a kill spell and a creature, or just about anything else in your deck. I'll concede that Bituminous Blast won't kill 5-toughness creatures, but that's why it's replacing the instants with targeting restrictions. If you regularly go up against creatures with bigger backsides (or don't want to replace two-mana instants with five-mana ones for concern of your curve) then replace them with Tragic Slip instead. It may not look like much, but you can get the Morbid trigger to go off pretty regularly if you pay attention and multiplayer does tend to spawn some pretty big creatures.
I'd also like to add in a few Backlash. As an instant, Backlash can be used to deter an opponent's ready-to-attack creature, or help one player who's attacking another by tapping a blocker and dealing some more damage. It's also hilarious when you hit someone else's Blightsteel Colossus or Hypnotic Specter or whatnot.
Adding Backlash would also set you up nicely for one of my favorite Red recursion spells, Surreal Memoir. The fact that you get two instants back makes it pretty close to a Red Divination, except you already know you're getting useful spells from it. You just don't know which ones exactly.
Blood Tithe and Exsanguinate are definitely good choices in multiplayer and I'm glad you thought of them. The only trouble is that X spells don't work well with Cascade. If you do choose to add Bituminous Blast, definitely choose Blood Tithe over Exsanguinate. In fact, that singleton Banefire isn't doing you much good either, so I'd recommend removing it along with Mana Geyser. Spells that do naught but give you more mana are a great way to run out of cards-- they're only good in Storm decks, decks full of X spells, and combo decks. You, Geoff, are running none of that and your solitary Banefire does not justify the presence of Mana Geyser.
I'm not thrilled with Haunted Crossroads either. It might look cute since it lets you get creatures back, but it really doesn't actually get you any extra cards. It just makes you harder to deck out. If you want to get creatures back, I'd replace the Crossroads with Torrent of Souls. Or to be really cute, Unhallowed Pact, which can double as a time-released Enslave. Better yet, Reaping the Graves, since it fits in with the Surreal Memoir subtheme.
I'd also like to add in some Undying. Undying solves both of your problems-- it discourages people from attacking you (since your blockers will just come back bigger) and it helps you to not run out of cards (since your opponents will have to kill them twice). Butcher Ghoul and Hound of Griselbrand are good chocies, but the best has to be Mikaeus the Unhallowed. He grants +1/+1 and Undying to all your creatures. Imagine an Undying Demigod of Revenge! He also comes with a psuedo-No Mercy effect, but only against Humans.
But since you mentioned that you enjoy No Mercy effects, perhaps you'd prefer Dread. No undying, but its No Mercy effect applies to everything and it's one bigger than Mikaeus (and every bit as evasive). No Mercy is very effective in multiplayer, as it encourages players to attack each other instead of you.
Finally, I'd remove Slavering Nulls and Blood Seeker, and up your Damnation count to four. I like the idea of playing this deck with a control mindset, and Damnation is great for when the rest of the table just seems to have it out for you.
I hope all this has helped, Geoff. I'm just sorry the fix came so long after you sent me the E-mail.
And there's plenty more E-mails that got lost in the smartphone shuffle, so it would appear I've got my work cut out for me for the next few weeks... or months. At least you all won't have to wait long for my next article!
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Magic the Gathering Deck Fixes