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Multiplayer Madness XIV – Brewing with the Khans

Whew, Khans of Tarkir has finally been released and I have to say that I’m quite happy with the set. I’ve already ordered quite a few cards, either for decks I already have or for ones I want to build. That said, why don’t I show you two of these decks? Let’s jump right into it!

How to Butcher Everything

Butcher of the Horde DeckThis deck is a monster. The main incentive to build it was Butcher of the Horde who, just like Falkenrath Aristocrat, likes to have a lot of buddies around that can be sacrificed at his command. For this, the best guys are those that can return to the battlefield, such as Bloodsoaked Champion. Sadly, the champion can’t block, a disadvantage that gets even more pronounced the longer the game goes. So something better suited is needed here. Enter Reassembling Skeleton. Yes, it enters the battlefield tapped, but neither does it require an attack before it can return to the battlefield (meaning that it can also come back during an opponent’s turn) nor is it completely unable to block. Another dude that likes to be sacrificed is the mighty Archon of Justice who exiles stuff in the process. Okay, why don’t we find other ways to profit from all that sacrificing that’s going on? Oh, hello Dictate of Erebos and Butcher of Malakir! Let’s make our opponents’ lives miserable, shall we? But we still need some card draw, so in go the always great Phyrexian Arena and Grim Haruspex, the latter of which really likes death and sacrifices.
As I already said in my Khans of Tarkir review (which you can find here), Mardu Charm is a workhorse, and that definitely applies to its role here. Use it to kill smaller and medium-sized creatures, provide blockers and/or fodder for Butcher of the Horde, or rip an important card out of an opponent’s hand. Ah, the versatility!

Funnily enough, a quick Butcher of the Horde can shape the game in your favor if not outright win it for you. However, the deck also has a very powerful late game. Remember all those little dudes returning to the battlefield? Well, turns out Purphoros, God of the Forge really likes those guys, and between him and Massacre Wurm, the other players will lose a lot of life damn fast.

Finally, there is Utter End as a catch-all answer to take care of everything you don’t get through other means.

Alright, that was fun. But there is one more deck I’d like to show you.

Tapping and Untapping

A card that caught more than one eye is Jeskai Ascendancy. Here is my take on it.

Jeskai Ascendancy Legacy DeckJeskai Ascendancy is a card that begs to be built around but then makes it somewhat difficult by wanting you to cast as many noncreature spells as possible while at the same time forcing you to play with creatures to benefit from both abilities. Since infinite combos aren’t really my thing, I tried to use it a bit differently. First, I looked for other cards that benefit from noncreature spells – and lo and behold, I actually found a small stack of cards that I had never managed to turn into a real deck so far. This stack included the nice synergy between Djinn Illuminatus and Lightning Bolt / Lightning Helix which, as you might have noticed, already puts us firmly into red and white. Oh, and the djinn is also blue, you say? Now, what a surprise – the Jeskai colors! Now we just need some more spells and creatures that can tap to activate abilities. The first part is easy: We already have Bolt and Helix and don’t need a lot of card draw as that is already provided by Jeskai Ascendancy. Still, Telling Time is cheap and great card selection, so in it goes. Depending on our creatures, a bit of recursion might be good as well, so let’s add two copies of Miraculous Recovery. The djinn is just too important for our strategy, so we must be able to get him back if he bites the dust. Next up is one of the best sweepers of the recent past, namely Supreme Verdict. We need to be able to survive until the djinn wins us the game, so the verdict is essential for our game plan. I would have loved to include End Hostilities but a card mentioned further below doesn’t play well with it so I left it out.

Hm, what about the creature section? Preferably, we’ll choose dudes that can be untapped with Jeskai Ascendancy without us having to risk them in an attack, so if they have activated abilities that require tapping, they might be exactly what we’re looking for. I selected Intrepid Hero for creature removal, Overtaker for stealing creatures (well, Ray of Commanding them, really), Lobber Crew as a large defender who can also spread the love around (it may even untap twice if you control an Ascendancy and cast a multicolored noncreature spell), Dormant Gomazoa as a beefy attacker, and Mantis Rider for early attacks and board presence. Yes, Mantis Rider has vigilance and thus doesn’t even tap, but he also has haste and can start attacking your opponents’ life totals without missing out on defensive action. Well, and then there is the mysterious card I mentioned above when I was talking about End Hostilities, a creature in the guise of a noncreature spell – Bonehoard! Actually, living weapon works very well with our key card, so if you have a few Batterskulls lying around, you might consider adding them to the deck. I most certainly would if I had any. The trick here is that you are basically casting a creature thanks to living weapon. However, Bonehoard isn’t a creature but an artifact and thus triggers Jeskai Ascendancy.

The last card I put into the deck is Isochron Scepter. There are enough cheap instants here that I think it works out well even though its copies don’t trigger the Ascendancy as they are not cast but put directly onto the stack. Still, a Lightning Helix every turn is nothing to sneeze at, right?

By the way, if you are of a mind to annoy your opponents, feel free to add Opposition. Thanks to Jeskai Ascendancy, you should be able to keep most attackers at bay. Just be aware of the fact that this should make you the Archenemy…

Okay, that’s it for today, people. I hope you liked the decks. Have fun butchering your opponents’ creatures and untapping your own stuff!




  1. I love both of these decks! Would love to see them play out versus each other. If I had to pick one or the other, I’d play the Butcher deck! This Mardu build is extra glazed with flavor and synergy – love it!

    1. Thanks, Wally!
      I think if we had those decks fighting against each other, the Butcher deck would win most of those games as it is a lot more aggressive and has the stronger removal suite. Then again, I have never tried that out and might be dead wrong. Who knows?

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