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From: [mailto:bemore4096@yahoo.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 21, 2005 10:54 PM

Subject: Breaking Last Laugh: A casual deckbuilding demonstration by BMoor

How do you build a deck around a single card? Well, the simple answer is to look at every aspect of the card, and keep it in mind when deciding all other cards that will go into the deck. To help all of you get a sense of this process, I'm going to pick a Magic card, analyze it thoroughly, and build a deck around it. For the basis of this deck, I've searched my binder and stumbled across Last Laugh:

Last Laugh 2BB

Enchantment

Whenever a permanebt other than Last Laugh is put into a graveyard from play, Last Laugh deals 1 damage to each creature and each player.

When no creatures are in play, sacrifice Last Laugh.

Now, there's clearly several things going on here, so let's break it down.

Last Laugh 2BB

Okay, it costs 2BB. That means it's black. And black isn't known for it's ability to accelerate its mana, so it's unlikely that this would ever come into play before Turn Four. A mana-accelerating artifact like Wayfarer's Bauble may come in handy, but in general we should think of turns one through three as our opportunity to prepare for Last Laugh coming into play.

Enchantment

It's an enchanment. Green and white are best known for being able to destroy enchantments. We might want some defense against that.

Whenever a permanent other that Last Laugh is put into a graveyard from play....

Now we're getting into the meat of the card. When I read this line, I think of two things. One, Last Laugh doesn't care WHOSE permanents go to the graveyard, and two, it counts ALL permanents. Which means we should look into cards that destroy any sort of permanent: land, creature, the works. Black is good at destroying creatures and also lands to some extent, but not artifacts and enchantments. In case we have trouble detroying our opponents' permanents, we may want to consider sacrificing our own. Again, Wayfarer's Bauble could be useful here, as well as anything else with a self-sacrifice ability(one of black's strong suits).

.....Last Laugh deals 1 damage to each creature and each player.

So that's our reward for killing a permanent. It's easy to see that if we had, say, six creatures that had a toughness of one, and one died, it would cause Last Laugh to deal 1 damage to the other five, and kill them. This in turn would cause Last Laugh to deal 5 more damage all around, for a total of 6 damage to all creatures and players. This would likely be enough to kill most creatures in play. Thus Last laugh's purpose is to keep the board clear of creatures, as well as deal equal damage to all players. As with all symmetrical effects, we'll need a way to minimize our losses from it to make the deck work. The frst way that comes to my mind is Urza's Armor; Last Laugh deals damage one at a time, so Urza's Armor would prevent all damage it deals to you. Your creatures will still die, but hopefully, so will your opponent.

When no creatures are in play, sacrifice Last Laugh.

This last part makes things harder. If you let all your creaures die, Last Laugh dies with them. We'll need at least one damage source on the table, so that means we need a creature that can survive the laughter. The most obvious method is a creature with very high toughness, but that's not what black is good at. Besides, a lot of permanents can die in a turn, so high toughness alone may not be enough. The next option is regeneration, but most regenerating creatures tend to be small. Since Last laugh deals damage one at a time, a Drudge Skeleton will need a regeneration shield for every permanent that goes to the graveyard. This could get expensive mana-wise. The next possibility is indestructible creatures, but they tend to be expensive as well. The final option I can think of, since Last Laugh is black and deals damage is a creature with protection from black. This is probably the best option, but all others should certainly be considered.

Taking all this into consideration, we can put together a decklist like this one:

Creatures:20

4 Devoted Retainer

3 Nezumi Ronin

3 Hand of Honor

4 Kuro's Taken

4 Bile Urchin

1 Konda, Lord of Eiganjo

1 Myojin of Cleansing Fire

Other Spells:20

4 Last Laugh

3 Urza's Armor

4 Wayfarer's Bauble

4 Vindicate

3 Befoul

2 Spawning Pit

Lands: 20

10 Plains

9 Swamp

1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse

Every card in this list either triggers Last Laugh or can survive Last Laugh. Every card except Shizo, Death's Storehouse, which works with the two legendary creatures in the deck. The concept would be to hold the ground with small but tough creatures until you get a Last Laugh and a creature that can survive it. Just having a Last Laugh on the board can mean total destruction for your opponents' creatures, so don't be afraid to play a Laugh even if it's likely to wipe out the whole board. Once you have Hand of Honor (pro:black) or an indestructible legend out, you can attack with reckless abandon and sacifice whatever you want, letting the Laugh run wild and wiping the board. Hopefully you'll be able to keep your life total higher that your opponent's, so the Laugh will kill him/her first. This is where Urza's Armor comes in.

And that, in a nutshell, is how to build a deck around a card. Using this principle, you can build a deck out of just about any card. Try it with your favorite card and see how you do! I'd love to hear about the decks you build; drop me a line at bemore4096@yahoo.com if you've got something. Good luck!


~BMoor
 

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