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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

[Hello again.  If you’re a regular reader here, you may have missed the Red/Black list from last week due to some technical errors.  If you missed it last Thursday, don’t worry its here.  It was posted Friday, so in case you missed it, it should be the post directly under this one.  Enjoy, and thanks for reading] Calvin

Give a Little, Take a Little!

Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone coming to you with the next Dual Color deck in my series for your viewing delight.  This week we’re heading into White/Black territory, so I want take a look at Black and White.  These two colors are the go to choice for massive death - a.k.a. board sweepers.  Let’s face the facts here, Black and Red can deal with creatures pretty well, like I showed last week, but they have  thier limits.  In those colors, once a guy, or group of guys, reaches a certain amount of toughness, Red starts to sit on its hands and Black gets stuck pulling the weight.  But in White and Black…


Huge toughness?  Day of Judgment.  Regeneration?  Wrath of God.  Indestructible?  Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshare.  Shroud or Hexproof?  False Prophet.  And that’s just the White removal!  Don’t make me name drop Black removal, or for that matter the removal you get when the two colors show up in the same mana cost.  Lets’ just face it, if these colors want the board clear, they’ll clear it, and there not a dam thing you can do about it, unless you happen to have a counterspell.   

The thing about these two colors is that, much like Red and Black, they too have a weird relationship.  You see, these two colors also happen to have a deep interest in Life.  White has a deep love for gaining life and all that stuff, while Black has a deep love for draining life, and none of that other stuff… unless that other stuff can be used for a profit.  In fact, these two colors share only four Commanders, and two of them have a way to gain you life, while two of them have built in removal.*  So, with these two things in common, I think I may have found my starting point for this week.  Oh, and while I still have you here, I figure I should let you know I tried to keep out as many Life filters (you many pay X life to do… effect) as possible.  Why?  Because, while gaining a lot of life will happen with this deck, you run the risk of someone using a Mindslaver on you and killing you instantly on your own turn.  When you play this deck, feel free to swap out a card or two for them if you want, but I say keep it as creatures, or at least something you can destroy at Instant speed, or it just may come back to bite you where it hurts.

*Quick side note: one of the B/W Commanders actually has both removal and lifegain, which means I’m really only talking about three cards.  The fourth is an angel with neither ability, and is so far away from where the others are in relevance it didn’t even make it into the deck.

Join In The Syhon!

With a deck like this we need a Commnader that can syphon with the best of them.  When it comes to that, you couldn’t ask for a better group of guys then the Ghost Council of Orzhova.

Sure, they only do thing one at a time, but you can use them to sac creatures that are going to die anyway in a chump block, are being targeted with removal, or are about to be stolen.  So from here, let’s take a look at what the rest of the deck has in store.

Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter and Teysa, Orzhov Scion:  Ok, so here are the other two “real” options.  Vish Kal has Lifelink and a way to point removal at other creatures you want dead.  That puts him as the best of the two to use as a secondary Commander for the times you want to change it up a little.  Teysa can also fit the bill but she’s more into the group thing.

No, not that “group thing”.  She likes to have a lot of tokens around to use for her own reason.  She likes to send white guys out on graveyard shifts to do her dirty work, and she likes to replace black dudes with more white guys…

Well, that didn’t sound as good as I thought it would...

So I’m just going to move on…

Souls of the Faultless, Cathedral Membrane, and Vampire Nighthawk:  These guys give you a good defense for draining opponents like an ice cool beer at a Nascar event.   Souls of the Faultless works like a Ghostly Prison in most cases.  No one wants to attack you if they know their biggest guy is going to be blocked, gain you some life, and do its damage TO THEM.  Cathedral Membrane falls in the same boat, because unless their guy has a seven or better in the defense department, sorry bro, you’re doing patrol elsewhere.  Vampire Nighthawk brings the two together in a way no other creature does, without the help of an aura or artifact.

Necromancer's Covenant, Kjeldoran Outpost, Storm Herd, Bitterblossom, Luminarch Ascension, and Grave Titan:  If you haven’t figured out by now, I’m all for Army-In-A-Can cards.  If it can make tokens for the price of me playing only one card, sign me up.

Sanguine Bond: Hold this card for when the hands are low or for when you can finish off at least one player with it.   This will be the card that will make your table pray they can find their Krosan Grip before it gets real.  Combined with all the syphon effects and lifegain, this could win games.

Baneful Omen, Subversion, Dark Suspicions, Psychosis Crawler, Agent of Masks, and Leechridden Swamp:  In a group game like the ones that are common for Commander, it’s all about the slight advantages.  These are advantages that change the game by building up over time.  Why?  Big swings scare people.  If you’re there playing a game with 40 life and a full grip of seven, then out of nowhere someone does something in one turn that takes half your hand and 10 life points, ask yourself, what would your reaction be?

I’ll take Attack that jerk for $200 Alec.

That’s what I thought.  But if you lose say, two life points, and everyone is at about the same amount - let’s say three people are at 36 and one guy is at 43 - the difference is less threatening, and this package is all about the slow, even bleed.   

Blistergrub, Pulse Tracker, Putrid Warrior, and Infectious Horror:  These guys are in the same camp as the slow bleed package, but they come with a bigger target.  Attacking with them is a good way of spreading the damage, but no one likes losing something in a fight they’re not involved in.  Use with caution.

Victory's HeraldWindbrisk Raptor, Divinity of Pride, Knight of Meadowgrain, Serra Ascendant, and Chancellor of the Dross:  These are your Lifelinkers.  You see, with this deck you should expect to be attacked.  Your plan is to use the life you gain as if it was a prevent damage effect.  Your goal is not to gain a large amount of life, but enough so that when you take damage you can pull the I’ve-been-attacked-X-times card.  This way people will feel like attacking you is’nt pointless, but you’re still in the game for some reason.  These guys help to keep people from attacking you too much, but can also bring you out of a danger zone.

Skeletal Scrying, Exsanguinate, Consume Spirit, Swallowing Plague, Bond of Agony, and Death Grasp:  These are your one shot kills if you find someone in range.  They can also be used like your Lifelinkers. Bond of Agony and Skeletal Scrying are the only real life filters here, because Skeletal Scrying is limited to what you have in the grave, and Bond of Agony may kill the whole table if you gained enough life.

Vengeful Pharaoh, Angel of Despair, Mortify, Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares, Unmake, Dismember, and Vindicate:  Spot removal is key. You don’t always want to clear the whole board just because someone has a Titan out.  The difference here is that this package comes with an “exile” lining.  You can remove the problem, break up a combo set, or just buy some time in the cast of other Commanders.

Wrath of God, Damnation, Day of Judgment, Phyrexian Rebirth, and Zealous Persecution:  When it comes to board sweepers, could you ask for anything more?  As far as these go, the only questionable one is Zealous Persecution.  I like it because it fills a role of token killer/ battle trick.  You can wipe a field full of 1/1’s, and if you use it while being attacked, you may even kill the rest.  If all you have is a 2/2 First Striker against a field of 1/1’s and a 4/4, you can come out ahead with Zealous in hand, and on their turn no less.  Come on, don’t act like you’ve never been on the wrong side of a Bitterblossom.

Orzhov Guildmage, Stillmoon Cavalier, Righteous War, Cauldron Haze, Soul Link, Ebony Charm, Beseech the Queen, Orzhov Pontiff, Dakmor Ghoul, Gwyllion Hedge-Mage, Deathbringer Liege, Blind Hunter, Voracious Hatchling, Netherborn Phalanx, Adarkar Valkyrie, and Galepowder Mage:  Utility cards are always good to have around.  They give you extra usage out of your cards thru blink effects and can be taken out of the deck in case you’re into customizing the deck to your liking.  I say if you like the guys that have a come into play effect, you should look into Galepowder Mage and Adarkar Valkyrie.  They give you blink like effects and can really put those ETBs to work.

Down To The Last Drop!

With 18 Swamps and 18 Plains we close out this week’s article.  As always, my mana base here is just a starting point.  At the bottom, you can check out the deck list.  Next week, we get to see Black smooth talk its way into another deck.  As always, thanks for the read and I will see you next week for another article!

Hope you had fun and please leave any comments or suggestions.  Until next time,

This is your Captain speaking… We’re heading into the Red Zone!!!

1 Teysa, Orzhov Scion
1 Ghost Council of Orzhova
1 Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
1 Orzhov Guildmage
1 Divinity of Pride
1 Stillmoon Cavalier
1 Cathedral Membrane
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Gwyllion Hedge-Mage
1 Deathbringer Liege
1 Blind Hunter
1 Voracious Hatchling
1 Agent of Masks
1 Angel of Despair
1 Putrid Warrior
1 Souls of the Faultless
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Unmake
1 Dismember
1 Cauldron Haze
1 Vindicate
1 Mortify
1 Soul Link
1 Righteous War
1 Necromancer's Covenant
1 Zealous Persecution
1 Death Grasp
18 Plains
18 Swamp
1 Kjeldoran Outpost
1 Storm Herd
1 Bitterblossom
1 Luminarch Ascension
1 Phyrexian Rebirth
1 Sanguine Bond
1 Ebony Charm
1 Leechridden Swamp
1 Baneful Omen
1 Exsanguinate
1 Subversion
1 Infectious Horror
1 Psychosis Crawler
1 Chancellor of the Dross
1 Netherborn Phalanx
1 Blistergrub
1 Dakmor Ghoul
1 Pulse Tracker
1 Adarkar Valkyrie
1 Galepowder Mage
1 Grave Titan
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Vengeful Pharaoh
1 Knight of Meadowgrain
1 Serra Ascendant
1 Victory's Herald
1 Windbrisk Raptor
1 Swallowing Plague
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Dark Suspicions
1 Consume Spirit
1 Bond of Agony
1 Path to Exile
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Wrath of God
1 Damnation
1 Day of Judgment

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