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Mackerel's Pond


Breaking Stupid Rares #10 - Mortal Combat

No, don't touch that Back button! Relax; you're in the right place.

After many months of Breaking Stupid Rares the John 'Happy Heretic' Hornburg has decided that he's finished with the subject. I'd like to congratulate him on the great articles he has already written, and wish him luck with the future. Don't worry, he'll still be writing for Pojo, but he's entrusted this series to me, Doctor Mackerel.

What better way to start than with a card so broken it makes Battle of Wits look good. Actually, there is a very tasty looking deck taking shape that has both Mortal Combat and Battle of Wits. This deck looks like a real dark horse, and could win a few surprise matches. However, the spirit of Breaking Stupid Rares has always been innovation, so I'm going to take a completely different direction to Battle of Wits here. First, let's take a look at the rare in question, from the new Torment expansion;

Mortal Combat 2BB
At the beginning of your upkeep, if twenty or more creature cards are in your graveyard, you win the game.

Extremely circumstantial, I'm sure you'll agree. Even in a creature deck Vs creature deck match up you'd be lucky to have 20 creatures in either graveyard by the end. I'd make an aggressive deck around this, and use Mortal Combat as an alternative win condition. So, you're attacking with creatures, whilst dumping others into the graveyard. If your opponent is taking damage from the creatures, pursue that strategy, but if they are blasting them into the graveyard then try to fulfil Mortal Combat's condition. This deck needs trickery, big creatures and graveyard manipulation, which suggests a Green Blue & Black deck. A very good deck in these colours is the Countermonger deck, so I'll use that as a basic framework.

I'm thinking about 100 cards sound about right for the finished product. Firstly so that we can ensure a large creature content without compromising other card types, secondly to optimise the ratios, and thirdly because having 100 cards in your deck sounds cool, and throws the experienced opponent off guard. They'll be expecting you to play only creatures that cost 11 mana! Here are some key cards any self respecting GUB deck has;

To be honest, I'd be OK paying 5 mana for any 6/6. The abilities he comes free with make him incredible.

This is the best counterspell in Type II in my opinion.

Pernicious Deed
As well as removing any pesky enchantments your opponent has out, P. Deedy can add creatures to your graveyard. Nice synergy with Spiritmonger's regeneration too.

Mystic Snake
A counterspell and a creature in one. When you draw a Mystic Snake it's like drawing 2 cards at once.

Shadowmage Infiltrator
This card represents a card draw every turn, with an added bit of damage. Too tough for some of the weaker burn spells too.

Now, here are the better GUB Type II creature spells that stood out when I browsed them. I've marked them with a B if they're big (can reach 3/3 at least), a T if they have useful extra abilities, a K if they can get bodies into the graveyard, and a C if they are cheap for what they do.

Birds Of Paradise T C
Blood Pet T K C
Nimble Mongoose B T C
Putrid Imp K C
Boneyard Slasher K C
Blurred Mongoose T C
Cephalid Vandal K C
Quirion Dryad B C
Werebear B C
Wild Mongrel T K C
Ambassador Laquatus K
Morgue Toad T K
Overeager Apprentice T K
Psychatog B T K C
Quamire Druid T K
Shadwomage Infiltrator T C
Spellbane Centaur T
Stronghold Assassin T K
Centaur Chieftain B T
Cephalid Broker T K
Doomsday Specter T C
Krosan Beast B C
Mindslicer B T K
Mortivore B T
Mystic Snake T C
Possessed Aven B T K C
Possessed Centaur B T K C
Springing Tiger B C
Thieving Magpie T C
Grotesque Hybrid B T C
Metamorphic Wurm B
Revenant B
Sadistic Hypnotist T K
Spiritmonger B T C
Ancient Silverback B T
Cabal Patriarch B T K
Penumbra Wurm B T
Devouring Strossus B K

Phew. 362 creature cards later, that's what the list looks like. Obvious deck selections are Wild Mongrel, Psychatog, Spiritmonger, Mortivore, Mystic Snake, Mindslicer, Shadowmage Infiltrator and Grotesque Hybrid. I think as an overall ratio 43 creatures, 36 land and 21 spells looks good. Here's a deck list;

4 Wild Mongrel
4 Psychatog
4 Spiritmonger
4 Mortivore
4 Mystic Snake
4 Mindslicer
4 Shadowmage Infiltrator
3 Grotesque Hybrid
3 Thieving Magpie
3 Spellbane Centaur
3 Boneyard Slasher
3 Possessed Aven

3 Mortal Combat
3 Traumatize
4 Innocent Blood
4 Undermine
3 Pernicious Deed
4 Lobotomy

4 Tainted Isle
4 Tainted Wood
4 Underground River
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Yavimaya Coast
12 Swamp
4 Island

The creatures that made the cut had either entries in more than one category, or were excellent in their one category. They all fit with the theme of the deck, and will make each time you play a different experience.

The way to play this monstrosity is primarily as a straightforward creature damage deck. Use a little disruption and if you win this way, that's fine. However, if your creatures are being slaughtered all over the place, the objective becomes to let your enemy concentrate on dealing with your creatures. Supply more fodder, and then add Mortal Combat followed by Traumatize to the mix for the finish.

The absolute biggest problem this deck has is with Tempo. It would be fine your creatures were dying a horrible death but no, they have to return to your hand. They only chance for this deck is to overwhelm the other deck, whilst searching for a Spellbane Centaur. The extreme weakness of the deck to Bounce is what let Spellbane make the cut. Lobotomy is very nice against the big Type II decks at the moment, Psychatog and Balancing Tings.

The spells look quite limited, but that's because all the tech is sealed in creature form. If your opponent wants to stop you using the abilities, they'll have to remove the creature, which is to your benefit!

If anyone is daft enough to play this, or any deck even remotely similar to this, first check that you haven't gone mad, then e-mail me to tell me how it fared. Actually, this deck has beaten Tings on 2 occasions when I was testing it, thanks to a fluke Lobotomy. I'm not going to put the number of losses, though!

Next time, a chilly blast from the past - Ice Cave revisited! This was the subject of the first ever Breaking Stupid Rares, and I'd like to see if it fares as well in the new Type II environment!




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com

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