Years ago, I came up with a fun challenge to build decks. It's a ladder of random deck construction. I roll dice and select a Magic card randomly. Then I must build a deck around that card. Sounds like fun, right? But there's more! Then I select another random card, but instead of building a separate deck around it, I must build a deck that includes both cards. Then I flip a third card, fourth card, and finally a fifth card. Each time, the deck evolves into something wackier and wackier as I try to find a way to incorporate the new cards into the old deck. Finally, I have a deck that has all five cards in it.
The last time I built an article around this subject was waaaaay back in 2009. That's just too long to let such a cool idea linger, so today I'm bringing this series back. We will be choosing random cards and seeing what craziness results!
Let's roll for the first card. I grab my trusty dice. Rolling them, I randomly determine the set first, which is…Planeshift.
What amazing card from Planeshift will be the card I must build my first deck around?
Okay, sure, let's do it.
So if I am playing against you with this deck, I'll be turning your stuff for blue. I might as well hose you further, right? Enter Story Circle. When I play it, I can select blue and protect myself from any blue damage. Since every piece of damage you can throw at me will be blue with the Servant out, it's very powerful. Similarly, Voice of All might as well read "protection from your whole deck." It seems like a strong addition to this deck.
A fun and potent card is Psychic Allergy. I'll give you a few minutes to read the card. Forget the upkeep; you will rarely want to upkeep it unless you will win. Imagine this deck at a multiplayer table. Every card every person has is blue. Then you drop Psychic Allergy. Even lands are blue. Each opponent untaps, and during their upkeep, they take X damage where X is the number of nontoken permanents they control. Then, during your upkeep, just bury it. You will have dealt a tremendous amount of damage to your foes with this thing out.
To find our fun stuff, I included ten cards. The first four are Impulse, which is a great play early. The next four are Tidings, which is a potent way of drawing cards. Finally, Muddle the Mixture will Tutor the key Servant or will give the deck a useful backup counter beyond the Gainsay. Either use can be quite helpful. After that, I simply added a pair each of Crib Swap and Dismantling Blow and called it a day.
Alright, time for the next card. Here we go. I roll randomly and get Weatherlight. What fun card will be added to Gainsay?
Wow. As some may know, I wrote about an old Well of Knowledge deck I had years ago. I tapped the Well on my opponents' turns so they could not use it because, at that time, a tapped artifact was turned off. Today it resembles an odd take on a Howling Mine-ish card. Let's add that to Gainsay.
Since this deck is leaning on Well of Knowledge for cards, the number of Tidings and Impulses diminished. I also yanked Muddle the Mixture for Fabricate since it can Tutor a Well too. Then I add the artifact mana of Gilded Lotus and Thran Dynamo to the deck to better enable me to have mana for the Well. Once I did that, I added more cards to Fabricate's delight. This was actually an easy change to make to the first deck, but surely that cannot continue.
Alright, what is the next card?
The set rolled is…
Uh oh. What card from this awesome set will appear?
Well, at least it's in white, so I'm not forced to switch colors yet.
This deck incorporates a nice defense. Follow me on this. The Meekstone prevents larger creatures from untapping. Unless they have vigilance, once they tap to attack they are done. This will lock them down. The only creatures you have to worry about are the small ones, and that's where the Bureaucrats come in, locking down smaller creatures from attacking, blocking, or saving their abilities. The Meekstone can be gathered by the Fabricate, and the engine we already have slides here with our defense. Since we have defense, Crib Swap has reasonably been removed. I like Tidings, but we clearly don't have the space.
Will the fourth card move me to a new color?
It's from Scars of Mirrodin block, and I rolled New Phyrexia set. Finding a newer card to add to the mix is always nice. Here we go…
That sucks. I was one card away from rolling the highly useful Remember the Fallen, which could have gone very nicely right into my deck. There's always at least one card that throws you for a ringer in these projects. Here we go:
We no longer have space for the cool Psychic Allergy trick. Adding green enabled me to pull out Dismantling Blow and incorporate Bramblecrush, which is slower but more generally useful for answering issues. I slid in four Birds of Paradise to speed up my deck and make all three colors of mana. I had to fix the land base, and after it was massaged, I tinkered with how many copies of each card to include in our deck.
The major bonus of adding green is that it enables me to ponder new combos for the deck. Consider cards such as Eyes of the Wisent, Snake Pit, Quirion Dryad, Glade Gnarr, Spellbane Centaur, or even protection from blue creatures like Great Sable Stag or Bloated Toad. Voice of All suddenly looks downright pedestrian. I pull two for a pair of Snake Pits. I want to keep my creatures small to avoid running into my own Meekstone, so I don't go with Glade Gnarr or the Stag. I also pull one Fabricate for an Enlightened Tutor so I can find a Pit or a Circle.
Okay, time for the last card. What set will it be from?
Time Spiral block. Set…Planar Chaos. Card?
Well, at least it's green…
This adds a different anti-blue creature to the mix with Scryb Ranger. It's a solid creature, and since it can swing through defenses, you can play Keen Sense on it, draw some cards, and keep on going. Well, that's the hope anyway. I reduced the numbers of several cards and had to pull Voice of All entirely to help fit in the Ranger. While the Voice could work with Keen Sense, I wanted a cheaper creature to play early and rock the Keen Sense before people have a bunch of mana available when possible. I want to slip in those early hits when people are okay with the innate card disadvantage of auras. Because it is cheap, flashes out, and flies, you can often sneak in a few smacks before defenses come online and without the aid of the Painter's Servant.
I thought it would be cool to include the basic concept of the core deck idea with the colors required by this project but sans the extra cards that suck lingering around. Here is that foundational concept of today's deck.
I like the concept we ended up with today, and this is where I'd take it. (I recommend the Centaurs because they protect the Servants.)
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed today's little adventure. I'll see you next week with my 400th article!
P.S. Here are the first three Random Deck articles:
Random Decks III: Published basically one year after the first entry, it again incorporates all of the cards into each new and crazier deck. (03/18/2009)
Random Decks II: This is where I begin to move all of the cards from one deck to the next, rather than just including five random decks around five random cards. (06/19/2008)
Random Decks I: I had not fully fleshed out my challenge yet and did not incorporate each random card with the old ones for the latest deck. So it's a proto-project version of today's series. (03/20/2008)
Know someday I'm going to do this challenge and wind up with a five-color deck!
We are Selesnya. Because we understand the power of "we."