Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spirited Away

The two deck lists for today's post can be found here:
As a casual player tribal is often a big part of my meta-game and of my decks. Tribal decks are generally nice and simple to build as the number of potential cards to work with is significantly reduced, and once you filter out many of the bad cards one or two strategies tend to make themselves apparent.

The release of Innistrad brought us brand new tribes (werewolves), tribes in new locations (blue zombies), and tribes that had not been explored before (humans). It also gave us some new toys for some older tribes. My decks are generally a bit off beat (at some point I will tell you about the horror that is 5-colour cascade merfolk), and the general tribal strategy of play lords and attack isn't in my play book. As a result I took one look at spirits and decided they were the tribe for me.

Spirit is a creature type that is often used for filler, or if something is hard too classify. As a result spirits show up in every colour and do a range of random things that are not really related to their creature type. This is a big problem for any tribal deck builder as tribal relies very heavily on synergy between creatures. If this synergy doesn't exist much of the point of playing tribal is lost as they are generally better ways to do what the deck is trying to achieve.

Spirits have weak lords, and their common theme is soulshift. Soulshift is a cool ability that I think has some deck building potential, however I currently play with a Birthing Pod deck, so having two decks that care about converted mana cost is not really what I wanted to do with this deck.

In my search I came up Teysa, Orzhov Scion. Teysa is an incredible card for multiplayer. She makes it very difficult for people to attack you as they fear losing creatures, and not being able to get damage through as she enables easy chump blocks. Teysa also can enable a black based aggressive strategy as you can suicide black creatures in to push damage through, and come out with the same number of creatures, some of which are untapped and ready to exile something.

I <3 tokens

At this point I got very excited about building a Teysa deck, and decided spirits would have to wait for another time. Although before I left spirits I noticed a card just below Teysa called Twilight Drover.

Moar tokens

Now is probably a good time to note that I have a long-standing love affair with tokens. I rarely make a deck that cannot produce tokens in someway, and as soon as I saw Twilight Drover I knew he was a must have.

Twilight Drover triggers off of tokens leaving the battlefield, which Teysa facilitates, so late game we can sacrifice three spirits to exile a creature, and put three +1/+1 counter onto a Twilight Drover, which could result in six spirits!

Teysa, also likes to see black creatures die, and Twilight Drover likes to see tokens die so, I figured the main sort of tokens we wanted to be making would be black ones. In my search for things that make black creature tokens I stumbled across another spirit; Belfry Spirit. He makes a total of 4 black bats, and since this deck seems like it is going to be a bit on the slower side I thought he was a fine include at 5 mana.

For the rest of my black token producers I went with:
  • Bitterblossom; which I only included as a two-of as the deck cannot handle sustained life loss of multiple copies. 
  • Necromancer's Covenant; this gives us a bit of graveyard hate and life gain, as well as a horde of zombies.
  • Oona, Queen of the Fae; she allows us not only to create a horde of flying tokens, but she also gives us an alternate win condition.
Now we have a deck that can hopefully produce a mass of tokens, and it likes it when those tokens die, unfortunately we do not have any reliable way to ensure these creatures die when we want them to. So the next course of action was to add some sacrifice outlets:

  • Spawning Pit; This not only gives us an instant speed sacrifice outlet, but it also allows us to make more tokens. The main use of abuse for this will be with Teysa, as it allows us to create 3 spirits with 1 mana, and two black creatures. 
  • Phyrexian/Ashnod's Altar; As I stated earlier the deck is quite mana intensive so these help to pay for Twilight Drover's ability or for a Spawning Pit. If you have one of each altar and two tokens it is possible to go infinite with the Twilight Drover. 
  • Blasting Station; This is what I intend to be our big daddy for breaking stalled boards. Often in multiplayer you might not be able to attack through a large board, Blasting Station allows you to disregard the blockers and send your tokens straight to the face. Having a Teysa in play allows the Station to untap as soon as soon as you sacrifice a black creature to it. It is also important to note that Blasting Station will get multiple untap triggers if 2+ creatures come into play at the same time, so you can sacrifice a creature before each trigger resolves to get the maximum damage from the station. 
Guns solve all our problems

Because Blasting Station is so useful I wanted to include a creature that could abuse it with maximum efficiency. That creature would be Nether Traitor.

I'll be back.. In about 2 seconds...

Before I tell you about how great he is I would like to direct your attention to his type line, which does say spirit, man I am good. Now that we are back on the Spirit Express, lets look at Nether Traitor. He is our creature that keeps coming back. His real power though is in multiples, as we can sacrifice one to the Blasting Station, bringing back the other, which untaps the Blasting Station. Rinse and repeat.

Teysa's first ability allows us to deal with creatures. However, it is very conditional and I do not like to rely on conditional removal when I am facing down a creature the likes of a I-have-a-math-degree-and-still-can't-work-out-how-big-it-is Squirrel Mob. So for our unconditional removal I went with, what I think is one of the most underrated and underused removal spells in magic:

Baby switching, fun for the whole family!
Crib Swap is a great removal spell, especially in this deck. Not only is it a spirit, but it also interacts with Twilight Drover. Many people will miss this, but he doesn't mind whose token it was just so long as it left, so when we give them the token it has the potential to fuel our deck even further.

Now Crib Swap is great in our deck, we have a few creatures that don't mind dying, and I would expect Twilight Drover to draw some hate after a few games with this deck. Thankfully Innistrad provided us with a way to get them back:

So we come full circle, back to an Innistrad tribal card. Angel of Flight Alabaster allows us to return any spirit, so late game with might be a Belfry Spirit or a Twilight Drover if we are missing one. But, my favourite interaction has to be recurring a Crib Swap every upkeep.

I filled out the deck with some removal and card draw. The full deck list (found here), has a very pricey mana-base, as well as Vindicates. I certainly won't be building this version. I will probably be playing Necrotic Sliver in place of Vindicate (as it interacts with Teysa as well!). Feel free to completely ignore the mana-base as they are not really my forte, and just go with what ever dual lands you have. Although I would suggest a Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to allow for recurring Nether Traitors as many times as possible.

If this version of the deck is still too expensive (Bitterblossom and Nether Traitor are not cheap) I built a  more budget version (found here), that focuses a bit less on making black tokens to sacrifice and more on making an army.

I had a lot of fun building this deck, and can't wait to see it in action, I hope you enjoyed reading about it. If you have any thoughts, comments, criticisms let me know. Send me an e-mail, or follow me on twitter (@DelverofSecrets).

Until next time

No comments:

Post a Comment