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Sep 07 2014

Multiplayer Madness XI – Multiplayer Dueling. Wait, what?

Hello everybody, welcome back to Multiplayer Madness!

As many of you can probably attest, it can be quite boring if you get defeated early on and have to wait on the sidelines until the rest of the group manages to finish the game. There is an easy solution to this problem though. Having a 1on1 deck at hand in such a situation allows you to have fun again as soon as the next player dies!

Please don’t misunderstand me, I usually enjoy watching the rest of the show if it’s an interesting game – but as you’ll know, there’s always the occasional game that nobody seems to enjoy but which stubbornly refuses to end.

Hated out because of StasisSo despite this being a multiplayer column, today I’m going to show you a few decks that are intended to let you enjoy yourself even if you’re already out of the current multiplayer game. I won’t go into too much detail as I only want to provide you with some food for thought. So I hope you really don’t think along the following lines: “Heck, yeah, that’s coming in handy! I really need some duel decks because I’m kicked out so often!” Because if you do, you’d better look for a solution to that specific problem. Maybe the others in your playgroup regularly gang up on you because they don’t like your decks? Perhaps it’s just them, but there is also the chance that your decks tend to be oppressive without being fun. Ever heard of Stasis, Winter Orb or Capsize? Isochron Scepter with counterspells? And what about Iona, Shield of Emeria getting reanimated on turn 2? It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that many people seem to dislike those cards. By the way, encountering them in multiplayer usually makes me groan whereas I don’t have a problem running into them in a duel. Just admit defeat and start a new game, there’s no point in dragging this out. In multiplayer though, conceding is usually frowned upon since a concession might inadvertedly upset the plans of another player who is trying to turn the game around and is counting on your support (even if it’s only passive), and because you can always form an alliance and turn the whole thing into some kind of Archenemy game.

Okay, back to being killed early on. Maybe it’s entirely different and your decks aren’t oppressive but just too weak. In this case, off with you to the drawing board! Pimp up your decks, boys and girls! You don’t have to invest a lot of money as powerful rares and mythics are easy to come by for cheap nowadays. All you need to do is look around and keep your mind open. Drogskol Reaver, Necropolis Regent, Wild Ricochet, Shadowmage Infiltrator, Glissa, the Traitor, Mirrorweave etc. The list of powerful and fun cards is very, very long and there’s definitely enough for everyone’s tastes without having to plunder your wallet.

So, on to some actual decks. I have created these specifically for 1vs.1 purposes although I have already played the first one of them in multiplayer, and it didn’t do too bad there either.

Angelic Immortality

Angelic Accord Casual DeckThe key card of this deck is Angelic Accord. Many of the others are intended to trigger it, resulting in a 4/4 flying angel at the end of each turn if possible. This works really well with Trostani or with a Ravenous Baloth that’s enchanted with Gift of Immortality. The aura likes creatures that sacrifice themselves, so the baloth can grant you 4 life every turn, and an enchanted Sakura-Tribe Elder means serious ramp. Just keep in mind that you have to sacrifice the creature enchanted with Gift of Immortality before the end step so that the aura comes back at the end of the same turn. The removal suite consists of Day of Judgment and Swords to Plowshares for opposing monsters as well as Oblivion Ring as a catch-all for troublesome permanents.

The last time I played this deck, my opponent had a Painful Quandary on the battlefield. Normally, that card is a bitch to play against, but this time, I was actually grinning when he cast it. Why? Well, I cast Angelic Accord and opted to discard a card – which was Obstinate Baloth! So I cast my key card, gained 4 life and got a 4/4 beast as well as a 4/4 flying angel token at the end of the turn in the process? For only four mana? That is value, my friends!

Alright! What’s next?

The Walls of Phenax

Phenax, God of Deception Casual DeckYour road to victory here is straight-up milling. Actually, your only way to win is casting several high-toughness creatures followed by Phenax, God of Deception. Then, at the end of your opponent’s turn, tap all of your creatures to put lots of cards from their library into their graveyard. That’s it. Until you defeat them, you’ll have to stay alive though. Against creatures, your walls should do an amiable job already, especially Wall of Denial. Wall of Shards is also very cool here because you just don’t care about their life total at all. A special mention must be made for Order of Whiteclay who can tap via Phenax, then untap to return something to the battlefield (i.e. a wall that your opponent somehow managed to destroy, or a Mulldrifter that you cast with evoke), and then tap via Phenax again. Wash, rinse, repeat for as long as you have a target in your graveyard and the mana to pay for the untap ability.

In case your defenders aren’t enough, you have a few reset buttons in the form of Retribution of the Meek and Catastrophe. The former leaves your own creatures alone – all but Reveillark but that guy is supposed to die anyways – while the latter can also put the lid on any given game by destroying all lands if you have a favorable board position. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Creeping Tar Pit is there as an unblockable planeswalker killer. The deck may have its difficulties when it comes to handling those guys as you cannot attack them with your walls. However, the incremental advantages planeswalkers provide may be hard to overcome, so you’ll have to be prepared. Tar Pit is excellent because it dodges sorcery-speed removal completely and can’t be defended against with creatures.

And now the last deck:

RUG Tempo Control

Plow Under Land Destruction DeckOne of the most evil cards of all time has to be Plow Under. It’s one of those cards that can really make the victim slump in their seat. And you know what? That’s awesome! Let’s exploit this by stuffing the deck with other tempo-oriented cards, okay? For example Temporal Spring which, if cast at the right moment, basically negates a player’s complete last turn. Nice! Then there’s the most iconic land destruction spell, Stone Rain, conveniently costing three mana as well, and Avalanche Riders costing four. These cards together usually make Mana Leak a hard counter because your opponent will never be able to pay the three additional mana for their spell.

Okay, now that we can slow down and hamper our opponent’s board development, we need to focus on our own game plan. Sylvan Caryatid and Augur of Bolas provide us with extra mana or our next action spell as well as with bodies to protect another very important asset, Chandra, the Firebrand. Because c’mon, what’s meaner than putting two lands on top of a library? Exactly, putting four lands on top of it! Our finishers are the three titans and Prognostic Sphinx. The sphinx is very difficult to remove as there always comes a point where land destruction spells become either useless or obsolete. In such a case, just pitch them to the sphinx to protect it. Also, scry 3 is absolutely ridiculous and sifts through your deck like a hot knife through butter. I’m really looking forward to Khans of Tarkir and hope that it includes some cool things for this deck!

Okay, boys and girls, that’s it for today! Did you like the decks? What do you do if boredom looms over you, threatening to ruin your fun? Fire away in the comments!

Until next time then! May you always find a worthy opponent to duel with!

Cheers!

Kuchisama

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