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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage Catapulting Deathtouch
July 9, 2010

Hi Bmoor:

So, I am a long time fan of your articles, and I've submitted a deck before (based on a pretty dumb concept) but I was hoping to get feedback on a new deck I've created. It's playtested okay, not as well as I was hoping, but its won more than its lost. Of course, the decks its faced have been highly nuanced so I'm not even sure it counts as play testing.

Deathbringer Thoctar x2
Kederekt Parasite x4
Bloodhall Ooze x4
Sign in Blood x3
Terminate x4
Lightning Bolt x4
Blood Cultist x4
Basilisk Collar x4
Gorgon Flail x4
Cunning Sparkmage x3

Doomblade x4
Corrupted Root x4
Deathmark x3
Bloodchief Ascension x4

Dragonskull summit x4
8 Swamps
12 Mountains

The deck revolves mainly around two cards, Blood Cultist and Deathbringer Thoctar. The goal is to use artifacts to give them both death touch and just kill everything around. Thoctar is supposed to be my big finisher card as he can repeatedly kill if he's already got a +1 counter and his ability doesn't require him to be tapped. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to use him in such a role, which is making me rethink the idea of him being my win condition. My stall cards haven't done much more for me. I chose Kederekt Parasite and Bloodhall Ooze because I love the way they play off each other and no matter which one my opponent takes out dropping blood cultist will activate the other one. I also love Parasite's synergy with sign in blood, though I find it difficult to justify giving my opponent 2 cards just to cause 4 damage. Anyway, my stall cards also didn't follow along with my theory, because I didn't consider the need to drop them both at the same time. Otherwise my opponents have had no problem dealing with them.

So, I come to ask your advice Bmoor. I'm preparing for a game at the end of July with friends who are magic experts and have kicked my ass ever since I started playing. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!




Well, Brian, the more I look at it, the more I think that this strategy is just flawed at its basic premise. You've built a deck that's centered around allowing your creatures to have abilities that kill other creatures. Sure, killing your opponent's creatures is a worthwhile endeavor, and being able to tap a creature to do so without actually spending a card seems great. But what do you do when your opponent has no creatures on the board? What if they have creature kill of their own? Being able to deal with opponent's creatures is a means by which to defend yourself against their strategy, not a strategy of its own.

I'm also not thrilled with Bloodhall Ooze or Kederekt Parasite. As 1/1's, they're too easy to answer. Sure, the Ooze can grow larger, but only by 1 per turn. It won't get out of Lightning Bolt range fast enough, and you'll need three or four turns at least before you can swing with it without it just getting blocked and killed.

So, remove the Parasite, the Ooze, the Blood Cultist, and the Thoctar. Cunning Sparkmage and the equipment can stay. The catapulting deathtouch combo is a good one, it's just not worth being the center of your deck.

Now, let's turn this into a more straightforward B/R control deck, shall we? The first candidate for inclusion is the black and red card that's been turning Standard upside down since its printing: Blightning. Three to the face and two cards down is just too good to pass up.

Next, you'll need a real win condition. Something with teeth. Something that looks your opponent in the face and says, "Do you have a card that can answer me right now? No? Well, if you don't draw one on your very next turn, this game is over. I win." But what could manage that? Well, we're in Black and Red, so Demons and Dragons sound about right (as long as Baneslayer Angel doesn't show up) Rise of the Eldrazi alone gave us Pestilence Demon and Rapacious One, who isn't a Dragon but will prove its worth in one swing. You could pretty much pick any sizable beatstick you want. If you really want to go with creatures that tap to kill other creatures, I always had a soft spot for Vein Drinker.

Next, since black and red's best finishers aren't usually as well equipped to protect themselves as those in blue, white, and green, you'll want some means of hindering your opponent's ability to kill it. Blightning helps rid their hand of cards, so let's continue the theme with a playset of Inquisition of Kozilek. This will make it very easy for you to ensure that everything goes according to plan, both by ridding your opponent of a needed spell and by letting you see what he's left with, so you know what to save your Terminates and Lightning Bolts for.

That leaves two slots. Personally, I think you should fill them with planeswalkers. In Black and Red, I'd say your best choices are Sarkhan the Mad, Sorin Markov, or Chandra Nalaar. You may not want to pick two copies of the same one, so you can have both out at once if need be. Planeswalker inflict a sort of tunnel vision on opponents; that "answer me now before I win singlehandedly" feeling I was talking about when I mentioned Demons and Dragons. That's because they have an uncanny way of generating a bigger and bigger advantage for you each turn they're in play. Actually, if you can swing it, maybe the four "Dragon/Demon" slots above should go to planeswalkers.

Good luck!




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