Life-Tastic!: The Top Five Multiplayer Creatures
How do you decide the top five multiplayer creatures? There are so many good creatures out there that it is difficult to narrow it down. To do just this, I decided to use creatures that have a large effect on the whole table, but are also fun to play with. In this vein, cards that affect all players are infinitely more powerful than cards that are designed to win against one opponent - so you won’t see any Psychatogs, Jackal Pups, or Flesh Reavers here.
The decks included here are just for reference; if you like them, have fun with them. However, if you don’t like them, don’t blame me. All can be customized to suit your particular playing style or multiplayer metagame. There are dual lands and other rares in the decks that can usually be substituted for similar cards that are less costly. These decks are just one direction in which you can take these cards; by experimenting and playing with them, you can most likely uncover many different uses for these creatures in multiplayer games.
Now, on to the creatures!
It is well-known that elves are a popular deck archetype in multiplayer. Elf Beatdown and Elf Combo are both prevalent, most likely because the decks are inexpensive to build and fun to play. If your playgroup is anything like mine, you’ve probably had a game where there were two or more elf decks feeding off of each other with Priest of Titania and Wellwisher. Barring mass removal, multiple elf decks will usually dominate the table.
With a beatdown elf deck, you’re going to want a reusable kill card… And
Wellwisher can help you survive until you find what you’re looking for. You can then abuse it with your mana elves and destroy your opponents one by one. Here’s a sample decklist, which can easily be tuned to fit your preferences:
Elf combo decks are many and varied, but you can use the same principles as an elf beatdown deck. Play lots of elves, get lots of mana, use Wellwisher to survive until you find a way to kill your opponents.
Whenever you play an elf deck, you must be wary of mass removal. If you know that one of your opponents likes to play with Wrath of God or Pyroclasm, throw in some Caller of the Claws and don’t overextend yourself.
2. Soul Warden/Auriok Champion
The majority of multiplayer decks will use creatures of some sort, either as their kill condition, to set up a combo, or as defense. If you drop a first-turn Soul Warden in a game with five or more players, you can easily be at thirty life by the end of the first three turns. (Assuming they don't kill it on sight, which I've seen happen in Warden-shy groups – T.F.)
So what do you do with all of this life? It can be used as a buffer zone to set up a combo or to keep you alive until your offensive creatures kick in. You can aim for a life deck; both Soul Warden and Auriok Champion are clerics, and you can add some more and hope to plop out Test of Endurance and win. I prefer a slightly different strategy that combines these cards with Wellwisher. Moving into green helps you achieve your goal of fifty life for Test of Endurance very quickly. Here’s a rough list:
Win (Also known as "Hi, I hope you don't have enchantment removal" – The Ferrett, who feels this deck might be a smidge narrow):
2 Test of Endurance
Again, this deck can be tweaked to fit your preferences. Basically, play your Clerics first, then play your elves and generate a bunch of life. Use a Sterling Grove or Enlightened Tutor to find your Test of Endurance, and use Sterling Grove to protect it until your next upkeep. The Heroes’ Reunion and Vitalizing Cascade can be used during the preceding player’s end of turn step to boost you back up to fifty if you took damage during the turn.
The clerics can (and should) be used in any multiplayer white deck, unless everyone you play with runs very few creatures. The life generated by them will stall your opponents indefinitely until you can get rolling.
3. Shard Phoenix/Ryusei, the Falling Star
If you are the guy that kills everyone else’s stuff, than these creatures are for you. Shard Phoenix and Ryusei can keep the board clean of annoying elves while you prepare to demolish your opponents. They are both a little costly, but their effect is huge on multiplayer games. If you prefer to run straight red, Shard Phoenix is probably a better bet. I present to you a deck that will annoy the heck out of your multiplayer opponents:
4 Shard Phoenix
The concept of this deck is pretty simple. Use Pyroclasm and Starstorm to keep the board clear until you can generate insane mana with Mana Flare. Use Shard Phoenix to clear the board if needed, then start burning away.
To use Ryusei, you need to incorporate some incursion. One possible way to do this is to not play red at all. Confused? Look at this:
4 Pernicious Deed
Getting those bad boys in the graveyard:
4 Survival of the Fittest
You can really put in any creatures you want, but the Dragons work well with Living Death. Victimize is a cheaper option for Living Death, and you can really use any reanimation spells. Basically, you get your dudes in the graveyard and bring them back and kill them off when you need their effects. Pernicious Deed helps keep board control in case something crazy starts happening, and the Troll and Spiritmonger both survive to keep on fighting. Look out for Swords to Plowshares; if possible, respond by popping a Pernicious Deed to send your guys to the graveyard instead of removing them from the game.
In a more control-oriented deck, Fatespinner works wonders. Each of your opponent’s skips one phase per turn, slowing down development and reducing the amount of damage you take. This gives you time to set up your defenses and possibly lock down the board, depending on what you are playing. Here’s a deck that can use Fatespinner’s ability to develop board position:
With this deck, counter anything that hurts while building up an army of wizards. Once you’re in a good spot, start stealing the best stuff on the table and beat away with it. This will also work well in a white/blue deck. You can add Meddling Mage, Wrath of God, and Swords to Plowshares by taking out Disruptive Pitmage, Mana Leak, two Briberies, and Confiscate. If you’re feeling ambitious, try the Mystic Remora/Island Sanctuary combo, backed by countermagic.
5. Bringer of the Red Dawn
In the same vein as the last deck, Bringer of the Red Dawn steals the best creature on the table, every turn, and beats away with it. If one of your opponents lays a Yavimaya Elder, you steal it, hit him with it, then get a free Ancestral Recall. If someone is playing with Wellwisher, Soul Warden, or Fatespinner, you steal the annoying creature and attack into another opponent who will block and get rid of the pain in the butt. Here’s a pretty fun deck to play based around Bringer of the Red Dawn:
This deck, while narrow in focus, does pretty much everything you need it to do. Walls provide early defense, cards, and mana. Birds of Paradise, Chromatic Sphere, and Channel the Suns help you to get the mana you need to cast the Bringer, Cromat, and Last Stand. Land Grants help you find the right duals. Coalition Victory provides an alternate win condition. Cromat can go into the red zone or play defense while you steal your opponent's creatures and bang away with them.
If you decide that you like all of these creatures so much that you have to combine them into one deck…. Well, don’t. It would suck. The only way it could really work is with a deck similar to the Ryusei deck above, using a toolbox of creatures and varied ways of getting them back into play. If you feel like taking on a challenge, try it and let me know how it does.
Thanks for reading and let me know in the forums how you like the creatures I chose.