Stupid Rares, Part 12 - Last Stand
Hello all, and welcome to the Pond for another Breaking Stupid Rares article. I've been working on a few of these at the same time, so expect to see Meekstone and Darkest Hour pretty soon.
Anyway, Last Stand narrowly didn't get into my Jenova deck in the last Breaking Stupid Rares article, because I couldn't find enough room. Here's the card itself:
Last Stand WUBRG
Target opponent loses 2 life for each swamp you control. Last Stand deals damage equal to the number of mountains you control to target creature. Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play for each forest you control. You gain 2 life for each plains you control. Draw a card for each island you control, then discard that many cards from your hand.
Now, apart from a pretentious name, this card needs all 5 kinds of mana. What makes it worse is the unfocused nature of the beast. You'd automatically assign this as a Domain card, but it really doesn't work in that deck. Take a sample situation, in which you have a swamp, a mountain, a plains, 2 forests and 3 islands. The effect of Last Stand would be to reduce your opponent by 2 life, gain 2 life for yourself, deal 1 damage to a single creature, put 2 1/1 creatures into play, draw 3 cards and discard 3 cards. That really isn't worth 5 different coloured mana, because you're gaining a very small advantage in each area.
Now, imagine playing Last Stand with a different land set-up. Same quantity, but they're all swamps in this case. Last Stand now does a straight 16 damage to your opponent for 5 mana. That is really good value.
In Jenova, it would have produced a sizable quantity of 1/1 creatures, but the islands I had to include diluted the effect somewhat.
But how do you play a 5-colour card in a deck with just swamps? Black has very few mana producing creatures and enchantments, so the answer must be in a colourless solution. Crystal Quarry, well known for its use with the Legacy Weapon, will work well with Last Stand too. With a Crystal Quarry on the board and a Last Stand in your hand, you can cast it for 5 mana of any colour instead, and at other times Crystal Quarry can be used for colourless mana.
Ideally, you'd want to wait until you have a sizable number of swamps before casting Last Stand. Defensive creatures that say 'You don't want to be attacking me' fit the bill perfectly. Having a Mindslicer as a blocker will deter your opponent from attacking, because if they kill him then they lose their hand. Toss in a Megrim for a more effective deterrent. Killing your Shambling Swarm is equally disastrous, as he can take a Finkel or even 3 Birds of Paradise down with him. A card that works nicely with Shambles is Mutilate. If you don't have enough swamps to kill a certain enemy threat, then the extra -3/-3 from him will often make the difference. Nantuko Shade also works well, because if he blocks an attacking creature Shade can suddenly blow up to enormous size and kill it.
Black always needs a healthy slice of disruption. Duress is almost a given in any deck featuring Black, and as for creature kill I'd use the aforementioned Mutilate, which is excellent at slowing your opponent down, and Chainer's Edict for those evasive monsters. Corrupt works a little like Last Stand, but doesn't need Crystal Quarry. It's still expensive though, so I think Cabal Ritual is OK in this deck. It's not supposed to be a fast deck, and at Threshold Nantuko Shade can put the extra mana to good use.
A tricky card in this deck would be Cabal Coffers. This card is excellent with a large number of swamps, and also great with Nantuko Shade. With, for example, 6 swamps, 2 Cabal Coffers and a Nantuko Shade all in play, you can pump him up by +14/+14. However, this situation is a real balancing act. There are already multiple Crystal Quarry in the lands, and so for each Cabal Coffers I add there are fewer slots open to swamps, and I have put in many cards dependant on these swamps. Overall, it works well, but you wouldn't want to draw more than 1 too early.
Megrim is one of those enchantments which works great in multiples. With 2 Megrim in play, your opponent will lose 4 life every time they discard a card. As well as the excellent synergy with Mindslicer, Megrim will work well against decks that use Madness, and it deprives Psychatog and Wild Mongrel of their favourite snack.
Finally, Last Stand should be played as a 3, despite the conditions that you need to fulfil before it can be played. This is because there is plenty of mana acceleration, and ways to use that mana in case you fear mana burn. Here's the finished product:
4 Nantuko Shade
4 Shambling Swarm
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Chainer's Edict
3 Last Stand
3 Crystal Quarry
3 Cabal Coffers
When playing this deck, concentrate on a defensive strategy. Play Megrim and Duress to slow the game down. Keep creatures back as blockers, and fire off a Mutilate or Chainer's Edict whenever your opponent has sufficient forces to mount an offensive. When you have enough land down, play Last Stand for the kill. Then laugh heartily.
That wasn't too bad, was it? One of the worst rares from Apocalypse now has a good home to go to.
Any thoughts on this deck? Want me to tweak yours? Got any recommendations for a Stupid Rare to break? I'm always up for a challenge! The address is back one page.
Speaking of challenges, I have one for you, the reader. I called this deck Negative Rainbow throughout its construction. If you can tell me where the name 'Negative Rainbow' came from, then you win my respect, a mention, and a guaranteed Type II deck fix. Good luck!
That is all.