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Magic: The Gathering!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

[Ran out of time to do links but it will be fixed by Friday] Calvin

Touch of Death! Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone coming to you with the first part of my new deck series for Tri-Colors for your viewing delight. This week we’re going into the Green/Blue/Black combination known as Vorosh, but quick story. When I first started playing Magic, sometime around the summer of 1999 or so, my favorite color to play was Black. I only played casually because, at the time, my brother and I had no idea that there was such a thing as competitive Magic. Black was my favorite color because it had the Hand of Death.

I liked Red because the burn spells could hit both the creature or the player but it wasn’t a guarantee that the damage would be enough to take out a creature. I didn’t play counter spells because I didn’t fully grasp how they worked at first and till this day I’m a little trigger shy with them. With a spot removal like Hand of Death, I could kill any (nonblack) creature I wanted. There was no pressure to do it right now before it hits play, becomes too big to burn, or any of that. It was a point and kill kind of thing.

After a few years of buying packs at my local comic book store, my brother comes to me and tells me about how he met some people at his high school that played Magic and there was a new set that came out called Odyssey. This was the first time I got see the Basilisk effect. For those of you who don’t know, the Basilisk effect is basically what deathtouch is but it only works during combat. I loved this effect. Now my creatures could kill any creature no matter the size difference? Sign me up! But this was when I learned how counter magic really worked… but that’s a story for another time…  

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is I love deathtouch like effects. It makes it hard for other players to attack you because they know there creature is going to die. And it will usually be to a smaller, less impressive, creature. No one wants to loss a Godsire or its 8/8 token to a Giant Scorpion. Sure you could make another token but don’t say you wouldn’t want it for face smashing instead of trading with a 1/3 common. I had this in mind when I choose the Commander for this week’s deck and that’s why I chose…

When most people see Damia the first thing they notice is that area of text about card drawing and hand size. But if you breakout the magnifying glass and look in the upper left hand corner of that same text box you see a little effect she has. Granted as a 4/4 for seven mana you don’t plan on attacking with her, but that’s no reason to not turn hers sideways. So let's go!

You've Got the Touch! You've Got the Power! YEAH!!!

I’m thinking of this deck as a Gorgons den. Players will be afraid to send creatures at you because they know their creatures will die. Only the bravest, and foolish, creatures will dare step foot on your side of the battlefield and most will not be returning home. So let’s start with the obvious set of creatures…

Moonglove Winnower, Grave Titan, Bitterheart Witch, Typhoid Rats, Giant Scorpion, Vampire Nighthawk, Glissa, the Traitor, Greater Basilisk, Daggerback Basilisk, Turntimber Basilisk, Thornweald Archer, Wren's Run Vanquisher, Hornet Queen, Acidic Slime, Death-Hood Cobra, Ambush Viper, Onyx Mage and Deadly Recluse: While we may not have many artifacts,  Glissa, the Traitor is still willing to bring them back from the graveyard whenever another corpse is add to the death toll. Moonglove Winnower and Thornweald Archer are a perfect example of the kind of creatures your opponent doesn’t want trading with their Primeval Titan or Consecrated Sphinx while also being elves for Wren's Run Vanquisher to come out. Typhoid Rats, Giant Scorpion, Greater Basilisk, and Daggerback Basilisk may not have much but they have the touch and in my book that’s good enough. Turntimber Basilisk’s Landfall ability can come in handy for dealing with creatures that refuse to battle. Hornet Queen maybe on the expensive side but five flying deathtouching creatures in one card can’t be passed up on. Acidic Slime usually only gets played because of its board changing destruction effect but, just like a lot of creatures in this group, the fact that it has deathtouch is often overlooked. Death-Hood Cobra, Ambush Viper, and Onyx Mage can even turn other creatures without the touch into deathtouching pros. Deadly Recluse is here to keep the sky clear making our side of the field a no fly zone. Bitterheart Witch is used to find curses but if you haven’t been paying attention… deaths… touch. Vampire Nighthawk is a great example of how great a creature can be with just combining a few evergreen abilities on one creature. Quick can you name a 6/6 black creature that is not a zombie, makes zombie tokens, and has deathtouch….Times up! It’s Grave Titan!

So with the deathtouch creatures out of the way, we move onto the next set of creatures that are in a similar area. The creatures with the Basilisk effect! These creatures will kill just about everything they fight with at the end of combat, so their almost as good but hey I still like the “If I got to go I’m taking you with me” attitude.

Gorgon Recluse, Infernal Medusa, Ohran Viper, Sosuke, Son of Seshiro, Simic Basilisk, Serpentine Basilisk, Stone-Tongue Basilisk, Thicket Basilisk, Lowland Basilisk, Venomous Dragonfly, Deathgazer, Tangle Asp, Dread Specter, and Engulfing Slagwurm: Stone-Tongue Basilisk is good at a 4/5 with this effect but way better when you hit the threshold. Serpentine Basilisk’s morph effect can catch a few people out there. Simic Basilisk can be used to help another player take out a creature. Thicket Basilisk, Gorgon Recluse, Deathgazer, Dread Specter, and Infernal Medusa have abilities that will allow certain creatures to live, like walls or black creatures, but sacrifices must be made sometimes… why does that sound familiar? Ohran Viper can draw you cards if it connects with a player. Ohran Viper and Tangle Asp maybe small so I’m calling up Sosuke, Son of Seshiro to help with the battling and the extra pump he gives to snakes. Engulfing Slagwurm will give you the most problems when it comes to deciding to attack or just hold him back for blocking. Venomous Dragonfly has flying, making it easier to deal with those pesky other flyers. As for Lowland Basilisk, it is the weirdest when it comes to these creatures. From the best I can figure it is the missing link between deathtouch and the basilisk effect. If it gains the ability to deal damage to a creature outside of combat, that creature will die at the end of the next combat phase even if it didn’t attack!

So with all of this going for us, now would be a good time to start thinking about how to get these creatures out of the Den and into the faces of our enemies.  

Basilisk Collar, Livewire Lash, Viridian Longbow, and Thornbite Staff: Livewire Lash, Viridian Longbow, and Thornbite Staff are all here for the creatures with deathtouch so they can start to kill from a distance while Basilisk Collar is here to give deathtouch to any creature without it… or lifelink to any creature with deathtouch so we can regain any lost life.

But this isn’t enough to deal with every problem when we start turning dudes sideways. I wonder… what other effect is good when combined with deathtouch?.... hmmm

Grappling Hook, Fireshrieker, Bladed Pinions, Helm of Kaldra, Phyrexian Splicer, Power Matrix, and Viridian Claw: Oh Yeah!! First Strike!! You get to attack and anyone dumb enough to get in the way catches a brick to the mouth before your creature even gets to see the whites of their eyes! Here are a few ways to get that death dealing dealt right. Even a little double striking action can help round out this package.

Rite of Replication, Spitting Image, and Cackling Counterpart: Having the ability to copy any of your creatures, or even the best creatures on the other side of the table, can come in handy. I wouldn’t feel right without adding a few of these just to add some extra copies of our best nonlegendary creatures.

Favor of the Overbeing, Animate Dead, Mana Reflection, and Curse of Death's Hold: Mana Reflection for mana, Animate Dead because it’s awesome, Curse of Death’s Hold because the witch should have at least one target, and Favor of the Overbeing because…. Well…. Hmmm…

Vorosh, the Hunter and The Mimeoplasm: Since there are only two other legends in these colors at the moment, I feel they should be here. Vorosh has been putting in work for this color combination solo for so long it should have a medal. The Mimeoplasm has also been putting up numbers with the local community. So much so that I can’t even think of a single person in my play group that doesn’t have at least one deck with it taking the lead. So, even if he’s just side lining here, you can’t deny how amazing it can be.

Cannibalize, Hand of Death, Doom Blade, Go for the Throat, Hero's Demise, Do or Die, and Putrefy: Removal packages come in all sizes. It seems as if no matter how many I time I make one for a deck I always find something new or old I didn’t realize was a thing. Looking at Do or Die just brings a tear to my eye. Where have you been all my life?

Grim Discovery: Nothing to special about this one. It just didn’t really fit anywhere else.
Can't Touch This!

With 13 Islands, 13 Forest, and 13 Swamps we can now watch people as they squirm in their seats while trying to decide if it’s really a good idea to attack us. As always, my mana base here is just a starting point. At the bottom, you can check out the deck list. Next week we’re going Green/White/Blue with our next Tri-Color Deck using as we visit Bant. Feel free to leave any comments you have and you can always hit me up at CaptainRedZone@gmail.com. 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 Vorosh, the Hunter
1 Damia, Sage of Stone
1 The Mimeoplasm
13 Swamp
13 Island
13 Forest
1 Gorgon Recluse
1 Mana Reflection
1 Infernal Medusa
1 Moonglove Winnower
1 Grave Titan
1 Bitterheart Witch
1 Onyx Mage
1 Typhoid Rats
1 Giant Scorpion
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Glissa, the Traitor
1 Ohran Viper
1 Sosuke, Son of Seshiro
1 Simic Basilisk
1 Serpentine Basilisk
1 Stone-Tongue Basilisk
1 Thicket Basilisk
1 Lowland Basilisk
1 Venomous Dragonfly
1 Deathgazer
1 Tangle Asp
1 Dread Specter
1 Greater Basilisk
1 Daggerback Basilisk
1 Turntimber Basilisk
1 Thornweald Archer
1 Wren's Run Vanquisher
1 Hornet Queen
1 Acidic Slime
1 Death-Hood Cobra
1 Ambush Viper
1 Deadly Recluse
1 Rite of Replication
1 Spitting Image
1 Cackling Counterpart
1 Grappling Hook
1 Fireshrieker
1 Bladed Pinions
1 Helm of Kaldra
1 Phyrexian Splicer
1 Power Matrix
1 Viridian Claw
1 Favor of the Overbeing
1 Animate Dead
1 Hand of Death
1 Cannibalize
1 Hero's Demise
1 Doom Blade
1 Go for the Throat
1 Grim Discovery
1 Do or Die
1 Putrefy
1 Engulfing Slagwurm
1 Curse of Death's Hold
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Livewire Lash
1 Viridian Longbow
1 Thornbite Staff

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