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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
"Donations Support a Good Cause"
October 14, 2010

Today's deck is one I think everyone has attempted at one point or another--  a deck dedicated to taking control of opponents' cards. Red and Blue have each had enough tools to do so that the temptation of defeating an opponent with his own weapons is undeniable for the more adventurous of deck builders out there.


Hi Bmoor!

When I was searching for some inspiration for another deck of mine I stumbled upon your website. I play magic for a long time now, but after a break for years I'm finally back and have some nice ideas for decks. Now I have this Donation deck which is a lot of fun to play. The only problem is that the balance somehow doesn't feel right and I'm out of ideas. Here's the deck list:

3x Izzet Signet

4x Jinxed Idol

4x Bronze Bombshell

4x Bazaar Trader
3x Dominus of Fealty


3x Illusions of Grandeur


9x Island
9x Mountain
4x Shivan Reef


3x Boomerang
1x Mystical Tutor
4x Rune Snag
3x Act of Treason
4x Donate
3x Mark of Mutiny

The deck idea is pretty funny. I saw some decks like this before but most of them were based around take over and not donating stuff. This is kind of a hybrid. I take over creatures and donate them to myself with bazaar. Then I give
my opponent (friendly as I am) Illusions of the grandeur, bombshell and/or an idol. The fun thing about the idol is that I can sacrifice his own creatures to give it to him, or simply just give it with bazaar trader.

I used to have Lightning Bolt in there in stead of boomerang to make sure I could make it through the first couple of turns without losing to much life against an aggro deck for instance. But Boomerang seems to fit a bit better I think. Also for protection against things like Sword of Fire and Ice, which is a problematic card for me to play against. And of course to shoot Illusions of the Grandeur out of the game once it's at the other side. It's a pretty slow deck, though I think that's okay for a control like deck like this one.

The problem I have lies in the balance I believe. Somehow when I play it doesn't seem to feel right. It seems it could be a much better deck than this. Maybe it lies in the number I have of each of the cards. Maybe there should be less of some cards and more of others? Or maybe I missed a card in magic that would fit in perfectly? Maybe it is just a really tough concept that will never run smoothly but you know Johnny's, we just have to try don't we ? :)

I hope I gave you enough info to work with. Thanks in advance for taking a look at this deck.

With regards,
David van Egmond
The Netherlands


Well, David, most players just try and steal their opponents' cards. This is the first I've seen that had the dual purpose of giving your opponent
harmful permanents and taking theirs. It's possible that this duality of purpose is the source of your problems. The cards you donate to your opponent combo with the cards that donate them, while the cards that gain control of your opponents' cards don't. Meaning Bronze Bombshell, Jinxed Idol, and Illusions of Grandeur are dead draws until you draw Bazaar Trader or Donate, and Donate is a dead draw without one of those three. Bazaar Trader is less restricted, in that it can be useful with an Act of Treason or Mark of Mutiny, and it can swing for 1 if needed. Even so, a 1/1 isn't hard for an opponent to kill, and if it dies you'll struggle.

How to solve that problem? Well, one way is to make sure you have ways of making your one-sided trades that only involve a single card. My personal favorite are the blue Auras that say "you control enchanted permanent". Confiscate, Commandeer, Take Possesion. Scars of Mirrodin just gave us a new one in the form of Volition Reins, though the triple-blue requirement there might be tricky. They also allow you to steal any type of permanent on the board, including planeswalkers, where your current build can't really steal anything but creatures.

After that, all there is left to steal is instants and sorceries. That one might be trickier, but still doable. If you can't outright gain control of them, you can still copy them with Twincast or Reverberate, or change their targets with Redirect or Swerve. If you get to choose the target of a spell, you may as well be the controller.

But of course, this is in essence a combo deck, and thus it benefits from the same thing every combo deck benefits from-- reliable ways to draw extra cards and dig through the deck for combo pieces. For that task, I'd recommend Foresee. A bit costly at four mana, but it gets you six cards deep into your deck-- deeper than any card in recent memory.

Finally, I'd suggest replacing Boomerang with Disperse. You lose the ability to bounce lands, but it's pretty clear that's not what you want it for anyway. And in a two-color deck, hitting 1U is much easier than UU in the early game. Disperse/Boomerang also works well with those blue Auras I mentioned-- bounce your Aura when they play something that's better than what you've got under your Aura, then replay the Aura and steal the better thing.

Good luck!



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