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IQ on Magic: the Gathering

(RB) Hellbent
May 2, 2006

Life is a resource that should belong only to the strong.”




Once we set our eyes on the prize few are willing to make the required sacrifices to achieve it. Let’s see your opponent handle wave upon wave of hellbent warriors.





This archetype is built around the Hellbent mechanic and the added effects it can provide. We’re looking at playing as many spells as possible each turn and never holding anything back. If you’re not willing to put everything on the line and rely on your creatures, this archetype is not for you.   


Taste of Mayhem is the card behind it all. There might be scarier spells with bigger hellbent rewards, but this small enchantment is deadly and very efficient. This aura may only cost one red mana, but its ability to give any of your creatures +4/+0 as long as you don’t have any cards in your hand is simply game breaking. Even if you have cards in your hand and don’t trigger its hellbent effect the enchanted creature still gains +2/+0. Talk about mana well spent.


When speaking of mana well spent we can’t overlook Goblin Cohort, a 2/2 creature for one red that can only attack when you play other creatures. There’s also Kird Ape, another creature that only costs one red and is usually a 1/1 but turns into a 2/3 as long as you control a forest. The best of all might be Dark Confidant, a 2/1 wizard who draws you an additional card each turn. He may hit your life every now and then but paying a life or two here and there is well worth everything he can do.  


I can imagine the puzzled looks for playing card drawing in a deck that tries to have no cards in hand and not to mention Avatar of Discord is not in the line up. The simple reason for both of those things is mana cost. With the exception of two Chars everything else costs two or less, which allows you to get rid of your hand even if you’re drawing two cards a turn. Not to mention this way you force your opponents to deal with two threats instead of one.




The concept is simple, the more creatures you have in play, the more pressure you can apply and the faster you’ll be able to defeat your opponent. Suicide decks are not a new thing by any means and thanks to the hellbent mechanic they’re once again in the environment.    


I refer to this deck as being part of the suicide branch not only because it doesn’t have any mid or late game cards but also because it’s willing to hurt itself as much as necessary to be able to come out on top. The deck packs four Stomping Grounds and four Overgrown Tombs only to boost Kird Ape and it plays Char over Flames of the Blood Hand just incase you might need the burn to get a blocker out of the way. You can not play this deck unless you can constantly remind yourself that every single life point your opponent loses matters.     


The only things to keep in mind is to hold Gobhobbler Rats whenever possible until you have no other cards in your hand, because once their hellbent ability kicks in you’ll be able to regenerate them for one black. Rakdos Guildmage is another creature that you might want to keep an eye on. If the game reaches turn five or you simply start running out of gas you can use its ability for one red and three colorless to get a 2/1 creature with haste until the end of turn. It may not seem like much but at that point in the game you won’t need much damage to achieve victory. 



As you can see, the deck is very self explanatory. Hit hard, hit often and maximize the amount of damage you can deal each turn. Once you reach hellbent you’ll pretty much be playing off the top of your deck, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have options. Most of your creatures have a few tricks up their sleeves, keep a cool mind and pay attention to detail. Just because you’ll be attacking with out mercy doesn’t mean you have to be a barbarian.


Q signing off.





Land: 22

2x Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace

4x Blood Crypt

4x Sulfurus Springs

4x Stomping Ground

4x Overgrown Tomb

3x Mountains

1x Swamp


Creatures: 27

4x Thoughtpicker Witch

4x Kill-Suit Cultist

4x Kird Ape

4x Goblin Cohort

4x Dark Confidant

4x Rakdos Guildmage

4x Gobhobbler Rats


Other: 10

4x Taste of Mayhem

4x Seal of Fire

2x Char











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