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Pre-Constructed Deck Review 

Expulsion - Core Set - Black
Rating: 2.5 to 3.5 (out of  5)

First off, thank you to all of you that requested Precon deck reviews...I'm finally getting to them!!  I'm starting off with the latest set, which is the Core Set, and will review a different deck each article.

I decided that the best avenue for playtesting would be to utilize the free practice precons on MTGO.  That way I could play all I wanted, and would hopefully hit all the different colors.  I chose Expulsion as my first deck to review because, as I went into mtgo to playtest, this was the first deck listed... such method to my madness!  Well, I must say, I was feeling a bit black after my first few matches.  I basically played mostly against blue (apparently the "hot" color to play), and got my butt beat mercilessly.  While the discard engine should work best against traditional permission blue, the Core set blue precon is barely noticeable as "control" as it lacks most of the components.  Instead, it's an evasion deck (flyers) that utilizes Urza's Armor to reduce the damage against it's player.  Armor is so scrubby, but so annoying, and it worked. Anyhow, playtesting in MTGO was fun and it got me a large number of matches in a short matter of time.

Let me give you the deck listing, and then we'll go over some of the cards:

# Name Rarity Cost
3 Maggot Carrier C Black Mana
4 Ravenous Rats C 1 ManaBlack Mana
2 Dusk Imp C 2 ManaBlack Mana
2 Severed Legion C 1 ManaBlack ManaBlack Mana
2 Deathgazer U 3 ManaBlack Mana
2 Abyssal Specter U 2 ManaBlack ManaBlack Mana
1 Coercion C 2 ManaBlack Mana
2 Dark Banishing C 2 ManaBlack Mana
2 Megrim U 2 ManaBlack Mana
1 Larceny R 3 ManaBlack ManaBlack Mana
1 Sever Soul U 3 ManaBlack ManaBlack Mana
1 Disrupting Scepter R 3 Mana
17 Swamp - -

The biggest problem with the deck is actually it's strongest point... and that's a bad thing.  It has decent synergy as a discard deck.... TO A POINT.  Megrim inflicts damage when you force discard with Ravenous Rats, Abyssal Specter, Coercion, Disrupting Specter and Larceny. But, the problem is, once your opponent realizes you are trying to hurt them with discard, they just play out their hand. Anytime after early game, that's pretty easy. So now what happens? You effectively have 4 useless cards in your deck (Megrims, Larceny and Disrupting Scepter), plus 7 cards whose usefulness or synergy has been greatly reduced, including Ravenous Rats, Abyssal Specter and Coercion. What you're left with is a really pathetic weenie deck whose biggest creature is a 2/3 flyer, a bunch of overcosted 1/1's and 2 power cards.  Your only saving grace at this point is that maybe you can push a couple points through with one of your 2 Severed Legions.  Unfortunately, your opponent is probably banging your head in for a lot more, so unless you're already ahead in the race, things aren't looking too good for you.

Another problem is that the creatures are just too wimpy. Your "fattie" is a 2/3. Which means anything and everything can beat up on you. I think the idea behind this deck, discard, could work if you incorporated more destruction perhaps, or beefier creatures.

Another problem with this deck, and all the Core Set precons, is that they are mana heavy.  17 lands are way too much for this deck, and 15 or 16 should more than suffice for these weenie decks.  I had some people I playtest against even suggest as low as 14.  I don't know about that, but 15 or 16 should work better than 17. 

If you would like to tune the Expulsion deck up a bit, I'd suggest the following (remaining within the set).

If you'd like to keep with the same cards already named in the deck, try the following:

Take out:

  • 2 Swamps - keeps you from getting flooded
  • 1 Larceny - By the time you get this down, your opponent doesn't have a hand
  • 1 Disrupting Scepter - same as above
  • 3 Maggot Carrior - too wimpy and no synergy with the deck.


  • 2 Severed Legion - Unblockable is good
  • 1 Deathgazer - a little more creature kill, yet a body if you can use it
  • 2 Abyssal Specter - at 2/3 it's a decent blocker too, plus evasion and forced discard
  • 1 Coercion - Let's you see it earlier, and hopefully you can pull a bomb from their hand
  • 1 Sever Soul - Get rid of that nasty creature and gain some life while you're at it.

Here's what you'd end up with:

# Name Rarity Cost
4 Ravenous Rats C 1 ManaBlack Mana
2 Dusk Imp C 2 ManaBlack Mana
4 Severed Legion C 1 ManaBlack ManaBlack Mana
3 Deathgazer U 3 ManaBlack Mana
4 Abyssal Specter U 2 ManaBlack ManaBlack Mana
2 Coercion C 2 ManaBlack Mana
2 Dark Banishing C 2 ManaBlack Mana
2 Megrim U 2 ManaBlack Mana
2 Sever Soul U 3 ManaBlack ManaBlack Mana
15 Swamp - -

This build should give you a little more bite, and should help you hold on just a little better.

if you're interested in adding in some more beefy cards to really improve this deck, here are some suggestions.  Again, staying within the set:


Commons - Easy to trade for

  • Looming Shade - Pumpable
  • Vicious Hunger - Do a little damage... gain a little life....get DOWN TONIGHT!
  • Gravedigger - Get back what you need - especially Rav Rats and Nekrataal!
  • Drudge Skeletons - Regenerating blockers

Uncommons - Still in the affordability range

  • Nekrataal - First striker with built in creature kill - play this guy with Gravedigger!!
  • Primeval Shambler - The beefy version of Looming Shade
  • Ambition's cost - Card draw for card advantage

Rares - Try trading for these to get what you need and keep costs down

  • Eastern Paladin - Green got you down? At worst he's a 3/3 body for 4...at best, he's a green killing machine and can turn the game for you.
  • Fallen Angel - Flying beef and she pumps up to get the job done
  • Royal Assassin - This guy is amazing!  It will usually stop your opponent from attacking.

Compared to other Pre-cons, I'd rate this one a 2.5 out of 5 as is, and 3.5 when modified.

Important!  Be sure to keep your deck right at 40 cards. When you add a card, remove a less useful one from your deck. The smaller your deck, the more it increases your odds of drawing a good card.

Remember that you can also go outside of the cards used here by Wizards in the Core set. You can use the Pre-cons as a base for a deck, and then add some of your favorite stronger cards that you feel will be helpful. Remember not to stray too far away from the focus or theme of a deck, as that will generally weaken it.

Most of all, have fun with it!  Be constantly on the lookout for cards that you can add to your deck to make it better. If you are a good trader, you should be able to do it all for a small investment, and eventually have a much improved deck!

. (click on "Boosters & Decks").  That will give you an idea of the different decks available and their pricing. I'll review a new deck again soon, so...

Until next time...

 ~ Christine

PS: Thanks to the following MTGO players that helped me playtest!!:






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