Hello everyone, and welcome back to the realm of multiplayer goodness!
Before I come to the meat of this article, there is something I would like to clarify:
The decks I’m going to show you are my own, meaning that if I don’t own a certain card, you won’t find it in my deck lists. That does not mean, however, that the decks will be budget decks, and while I usually won’t pay 20 euros (around 26 dollars) for a single card, it may be that I nevertheless own a copy of an expensive card – either because I opened it in a pack, bought it before the price skyrocketed, or because I purchased it despite its hefty price tag, thinking that it would be absolutely perfect for a certain deck. So perfect in fact that I would not want to play the deck without it and therefore absolutely needed that card. In most cases though, there are always alternatives that don’t empty your purse as much while still being fun. An example:
When Baleful Strix came out, I immediately fell in love with it. However, I obviously wasn’t the only one as its price seemed to go through the roof very quickly. I wanted a playset very badly, but I wasn’t going to pay that much for a puny 1/1 flyer! So I needed a replacement, and lo and behold, I remembered that other blue and black bird back from Shards of Alara, Tidehollow Strix. The missing card draw was annoying but it did not make Tidehollow Strix a bad card per se. As a matter of fact, after playing a few rounds with it, I was so impressed with the little creature that I kept them in the deck even after I finally bought a playset of Baleful Strixes. My intention had been to swap them out for the better birdies once their price dropped – instead I took out something completely different so that there are now eight (!) angry birds (deathtouch, people!) in the respective deck. And I’m happy whenever I draw either of them.
So, no budget decks from me but possibly more cost-effective card selection.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s dive right in!
One of my favorite keywords on Magic cards is haste. For some reason, it always seems less important or even weaker than, say, flying or trample. In contrast to those, however, haste can change the game in perhaps more drastic ways. Suddenly, the evil control player on the other side of the table who has just wiped the board is not as secure as he thinks he is. So go on, wipe that smugness off his face! I know you want to. Aurelia, the Warleader? Blazing Specter? How about Elemental Appeal? Or Bloodbraid Elf? Horde of Notions anyone?
Getting in a hit when your opponents don’t expect it might win you the game if you play it right.
Now, playing a creature that has haste is nice and all, but wouldn’t you rather your whole deck had haste? With the creatures actually costing less than their mana cost to boot?
I might just have the right thing for you! There is a number of enchantments that let you cheat creatures into play for no or very little mana, usually in Red and/or Green. Look at Sneak Attack for example. It’s great but also limited to the cards in your hand. Killer Instinct (awesome card name by the way, and the flavor text is hilarious!) uses your library as a resource but costs 6 mana. Kind of expensive, although the creatures are for free, hooray! Then again, you are limited to one creature per turn unless you have more than one upkeep.
What if you want to put more than one creature onto the battlefield? And at a discount as well? Is there a card that lets you do that?
Of course! Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Impromptu Raid?
As you can see, one activation costs you which might be a bit much in the beginning of the game. It’s still cheaper than the mana costs of the creatures you usually want to sneak into play though, so that’s alright. The downside is that you don’t keep the creature, and leaving yourself open to three or four other players just to get in a few points of damage early on can spell disaster.
On the other hand, don’t forget that you can activate the enchantment on your opponents’ turns as well in order to get one or even several surprise blockers. You can even use it at the end of another player’s turn so that the creatures stay on the battlefield until the next end of turn. If you do this right before your own turn comes around, you can amass a literal army of fatties for a massive alpha strike during your attack step.
So what should we do to maximize the use of Impromptu Raid?
Play creatures with powerful enter-the-battlefield or leave-the-battlefield / die effects, of course. I only use on-color creatures so that I can actually hardcast them if the board state requires it. But don’t forget that Impromptu Raid does not care about the color of the creature you reveal with it. Feel free to include as many off-color monsters as you like! I used to have two Maelstrom Archangels in the deck to get fatties that were stuck in my hand onto the battlefield. It worked to a certain extent but I could only ever get them there themselves via Impromptu Raid which annoyed me whenever I drew one. I have since swapped the angels for a card I’ll mention below that does not have this problem.
Selecting Which Fatties to Cheat into Play
So, the fatty section. Which big beaters do I want to cheat into play?
My absolute favorite here is Worldspine Wurm. Not only is it a huuuuuuuuge trampler, it is also insolent enough to leave three 5/5 tramplers behind when it dies, thus ensuring your safety until your next turn (when those guys can actually turn into a formidable attack force themselves!). Well, and as if that wasn’t enough, the big wurm shuffles itself back into your library whenever it dies for another go later on. It seems a full playset is mandatory here!
Well, if you want to be an asshole, try out the Eldrazi. Most of them don’t have any real evasion, but who cares when you can force your opponent to sacrifice four or even six (!) permanents just by paying ? That is pure evil. I used to play Pathrazer of Ulamog who has only Annihilator 3, and always felt it was just borderline acceptable. Especially in the early game, Impromptu Raiding an Eldrazi can render an opposing player completely helpless without taking them out of the game, thus forcing them to watch without any real means to interact. That’s something I really don’t like which is why nowadays my deck is Eldrazi-free.
Since the game plan is to use Impromptu Raid as often as possible, our fatties should have extra functions. Being big is not enough here, powerful abilities are required as well.
Something the deck can never get enough of is mana, and it just so happens that one of the best green creatures of all time is a 6/6 trampler with an amazing ETB effect. That’s right, guys, a full playset of Primeval Titans goes into the deck. Imagine: A single activation of Impromptu Raid that hits a Titan gets you another four lands! And not just basics either. At worst, that’s one more activation of Impromptu Raid on your next turn. At best, you have cool lands that strengthen your position even more. In addition, the Titan thins your deck to reduce the chances of hitting lands with the Raid. Primeval Titan is fantastic and absolutely essential to the deck.
Okay, we now need more top end cards that are good in the early stages of the game when cheated into play with Impromptu Raid. So, in go a few Hornet Queens. Not too many since they don’t exactly have the highest power, but their tokens remain on the battlefield when the Queens die and protect you from being attacked as noone really likes throwing their creatures into deathtouching insects. They may even deal the last few points of damage if the ground is clogged up. Not that that should be a problem for a Worldspine Wurm…
Removal, On a Stick
Next up is mass removal in the guise of a creature: Novablast Wurm‘s function is to disrupt your opponents’ game plans. In most situations, you’re probably not sure whether you should attack with it or not. Let me tell you from experience: Unless someone destroys your Impromptu Raid, it does not matter if your own creatures die – you’ll get new ones next turn. With haste. And they are probably bigger than what the other players may cast.
Being able to destroy creatures is nice, but sometimes a non-creature permanent has to go. For this purpose, a singleton Woodfall Primus joins our team. At first, I considered adding more of them, but it was rarely necessary. It comes back to remain on your side when it dies at the end of your turn thanks to persist though, thus providing a blocker as well as destroying another card you don’t like on the table. I prefer Hornet Queen here as the Insect tokens usually scare off multiple attackers.
Okay, those are a lot of expensive creatures, mana-wise. And naturally, some of them will always find their way into your hand. For these cases, I have added three Summoner’s Eggs to the deck. The cool synergy with Impromptu Raid here? When you reveal the Egg with Impromptu Raid and imprint a creature when Summoner’s Egg enters the battlefield, that creature comes into play and stays there when the Egg dies. A three-mana Worldspine Wurm? Sign me up! In addition, the Egg functions as an early rattlesnake, preventing your opponents from attacking you. They never know what’s underneath it, and the threat of getting a big beater has served me well and saved me a lot of life in the past .
As I said before, the deck is mana-hungry which is why we need some land fetching. I have decided to do this with creatures in order to have a small board presence in the early game. The ones I have chosen have ETB or LTB effects so that they still do at least something if I hit them with Impromptu Raid: Yavimaya Dryad and Yavimaya Elder. The Dryad is also able to fetch you one of the two Temple Gardens so that you can eventually hardcast Novablast Wurm if you want to. In general, you should only give the Forest to an opponent if they are low on life and you are sure that the dryad can take them out. Otherwise, your deck definitely needs the mana to operate smoothly.
The Finishing Touches
Finally, I have added a couple of Mwonvuli Beast Trackers. They can either search for my single Woodfall Primus if I need to remove an unwelcome permanent, for a Hornet Queen if I need defense or a threat in the air, a Titan for ramp, or a Worldspine Wurm for a brutal attack. They are at their best if you control an active Impromptu Raid since they allow you to fetch the creature you want to cheat onto the battlefield and put it right on top of your library, which is exactly where Impromptu Raid wants it to be. Wow, what a coincidence! But because I don’t really want to draw them in the early game, two of them should be enough.
Well, well, these were the creatures. Apart from Impromptu Raid, the deck does not play many more non-creature spells as it would be contrary to the key card’s function. One card, though, is absolutely bonkers here. I mentioned it in my last article as a part of my personal From the Vault edition, and it absolutely shines in this deck: Cream of the Crop. In principle, it gives a weird form of scry to all of your non-Egg creatures – the bigger they are, the better.
Remember that Worldspine Wurm I keep talking about? With Cream of the Crop and Impromptu Raid on the table, that card goes through your deck like a knife through butter, basically allowing you to chain your wurms because they always return to your library when they die. It actually happens quite regularly that you attack with three Worldspine Wurms simultaneously. That’s a Crush of Wurms for real! Oh, and don’t forget that Cream of the Crop triggers for each of the wurm’s three descendants, too!
I have rounded out the deck with two singletons: Sylvan Library and Call of the Wild. Both fulfill roles similar to those of Cream of the Crop and Impromptu Raid respectively but not in exactly the same way. Having basically five copies of the same card twice seems like a recipe for disaster, but Cream of the Crop makes it so that you can just put them under your library and do not draw them. Have I already told you how awesome that card is? Since Call of the Wild puts your creature permanently onto the battlefield, you might want to add one of those in exchange for an Impromptu Raid. However, for me the haste-granting ability has been crucial so often that I’m not sure I’d do that. There are pros and cons for both cards of course, so it’s up to you!
With regard to the land base, the main focus is on the production of green mana. I have added a few lands that can produce white as well so that I can hardcast Novablast Wurm. A singleton Tectonic Edge can be searched for with Primeval Titan, and the same applies to the one Rogue’s Passage if I need to ignore blockers for once.
It’s only 22 lands in total, but funnily enough, thanks to the seven land fetching creatures and Primeval Titan, it’s sufficient. I have never had problems with the mana so far, and you really don’t want to reveal lands with Impromptu Raid…
Finally, here’s the deck:
MULTIPLAYER MADNESS II – It's kinda wurm in here...
That’s it for today, people! I hope you liked it.
If you have any ideas about this deck or have something else on your mind you would like to share, let me know in the comments!