Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ooze Or You Looze

With the release of Innistrad everyone is talking about new planeswalkers, werewolves, tribal humans, and vampires. I, like many others, have been particularly excited about the return of flashback. As soon as Ancient grudge was spoiled I was excited as it seemed to be an indication from Wizards that a host of powerful flashback spells were to come, and they didn't disappoint.

One of my favourite cards in the set, and potentially of all time is Forbidden Alchemy. In any sort of control deck 3 mana to dig 4 cards deep at instant speed is a dream come true, the ability to do it twice is sick. Forbidden Alchemy may have some standard application with the graveyard theme running ripe through Innistrad, but for us casual folk the card holds a lot of power.

The graveyard is an incredible resource in magic, and there are a multitude of ways to abuse it. My focus today remains in the recent history as I want to focus on Necrotic Ooze.

Necrotic Ooze definitely has some power, but for multi-player he has proven to be a bit of a challenge for me to deck build around. The main issue being is it is very easy to focus on filling up your graveyard with a bunch of expensive creatures with activated abilities, but these decks often fall into the trap of not committing enough relevant permanents to the board, and as such they have a tendency to get run over.

Forbidden Alchemy changes this. It allows you on turn three to fill up your graveyard (admittidely it is random, and you may whiff), and dig for the Necrotic Ooze to play on the fourth turn.

So this puts us into blue and black, which as far as activated abilities go are some pretty powerful colours to be in. While other colours do have some power to add to this maintaining a consistent mana-base will be important, especially if we end up with creatures requiring coloured-mana to activate their abilities, so we will stick to U/B for the present.

I would like to take a quick aside here to address the issue of playing off-colour creatures with the intention of dumping them into the graveyard for Necrotic Ooze to abuse. This is not a strategy I am ok with unless the effect is "you win the game". Cards like Godsire are powerful and it would be cool to pump out out 8/8's every turn from a four mana creature, but if we draw it late after a Wrath of God, it is completely useless, and wherever possible avoid dead draws. //Aside over

At the moment we have Forbidden Alchemy to get cards from our library into the graveyard, but we are going to need more than this. My second suggestion is Oona's Prowler. This is one of my all time favourite creatures, especially in this type of deck. It is an early beater that we can use to unload any expensive dudes from our hand, at instant speed. his is very powerful as it allows you to not give away what you want to do with the Ooze until you actually need to do it, and the less information your opponents have the better. Also if a Prowler trades of early Necrotic Ooze will gain the ability, so as long as we get one early (exluding any case of exiling) we should have access to instant speed graveyard filling.

Now that we have the basics of how we are going to achieve the decks goals we need some powerful activated abilities. With all the creatures I still want the deck to be able to cast them reasonably easily as I don't want to roll over and die if I don;t have access to an Ooze, and sitting there with a hand full of cards you can;t cast is never fun. Also, we get better use from our creatures if we cast them first and let them die naturally, then drop the Ooze late to get double value from our creatures.

The following list is a few creatures that interact well with Ooze, what is good though will vary from playgroup to playgroup though, so there may be some niche choices you want to make if your playgroup has a certain style that isn't covered here.

Avatar of Woe - She is expensive, but her ability is ridiculously powerful. Also the way our deck is designed to use creatures in the graveyard interacts positively with her cost reduction.

Myr Propagator - He is a cheap army in a can kind of guy, who -when used by the Ooze- makes more Oozes (Oozi?)

Merfolk Looter (or equivalent) - Digs use through our deck, and fills up the graveyard.

Merfolk Wavebreakers/Pili-Pala - Untapping your Ooze is going to be pretty important since many good activated abilities require tapping. In this case I would lean towards Pil-Pala, but the evasion from the Wavebreakers might also be relevant.

Nantuko Shade - Pumping for 1 black is pretty impressive and with some aggro elements to the deck Nantuko Shade is not out of place (although watch your commitment to blue, he wants a heavy black commitment).

By now we have built up a fairly solid base of things to do but we are left with a but of a dilemma, how do we win the game?

Obviously we can pump up a Nantuko Shade or Necrotic Ooze, but their lack of evasion makes me uneasy. Since we seem to be more black than blue at the moment I would keep that theme going through our win-condition and use Geth, Lord of the Vault.

Geth is super powerful, as he fuels himself, and our ooze (by giving us access to opponents activated ability creatures). Best of all Necrotic Ooze can use his ability as well.

To round out the deck I would recommend adding some spot removal, and potentially a reanimation spell or two.

Taking everything I discussed here is the deck list I came up with:

4x Necrotic Ooze
4x Oona's Prowler
4x Nantuko Shade
4x Merfolk Looter
2x Pili-Pala
1x Merfolk Wavebreakers
2x Avatar of Woe
3x Geth, Lord of the Vault

4x Forbidden Alchemy
3x Dismember
2x Beacon of Unrest
2x Nevinyrral's Disk
1x Black Sun's Zenith

24x Land

I added Beacon of Unrest as its reusability is very attractive, same goes for Black Sun's Zenith. Nevinyrral's Disk is our only way of interacting with artifacts and enchantments. Dismember is my removal spell of choice at the moment because it is unconditional removal for creature with 5 toughness or less, and we have Avatar of Woe for the late game problem creatures.

As far as lands go use what you have, obviously the more dual lands you can run the better.

That's all my thoughts on the Necrotic Ooze for the moment. Obviously I've barely scratched the surface as to his potential. If you have any comments on the deck, or article, or if you want to share your own Ooze deck ideas leave a comment of e-mail them to me at or send me a tweet.

- The Delver of Secrets (@DelverofSecrets on Twitter)

No comments:

Post a Comment