Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vorosh, the Hunter EDH

Got another EDH list for you today, and it's a real bitch of a deck.

Vorosh, the Hunter

This deck was born out of an idea I had to put Genesis into a deck with Mulldrifter and Shriekmaw. Basically the thought was to just recur utility cards like these two Evokers to eventual card-avantage my opponent to death. And it works pretty well, too!

Card advantage wins games, as has long been the prevailing theory in Magic. And this deck is designed to break one of the fundemental rules of EDH, in that it is a Singleton format, meaning each card is unique and therefore a precious resource to manage carefully and not waste. If you only have 1 Swords to Plowshares in your deck, you'll want to save it for a dire threat like Yosei, Keiga or Akroma, rather than waste it on a minor annoyance like Acidic Slime or Solemn Simulacrum.

But if you know you can just reuse your removal and utility spells all day long, you're free to blow them early and often, just be sure you can get them back later when you need them. Having Genesis + a variety of creature-based utility (several with built in sac outlets like Evoke or Echo) lets you be more generous with your removal. Yes, getting your graveyard nuked late game is kind of a downer, but I can still usually win even after that.

So what else is in the deck? Take a look for yourself:

General: Vorosh the Hunter (chosen simply because he's the only Legend in this color scheme)

Blue dudes:
Looter il-Kor
Sower of Temptation
Body Double
Vesuvan Doppleganger
Keiga, the Tide Star

Black dudes:
Coffin Queen
Fleshbag Marauder
Undead Gladiator
Dimir House Guard
Corpse Connoisseur
Puppeteer Clique
Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni

Green dudes:
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Ana Battlemage
Eternal Witness
Ohran Viper
Ravenous Baloth
Indrik Stomphowler
Arashi, the Sky Asunder
Acidic Slime

Multicolor Dudes:
Cold-Eyed Selkie
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Wrexial, the Risen Deep
Simic Sky Swallower

Artifact/Colorless Dudes:
Solemn Simulacrum
It That Betrays

Blue Spells:
Frantic Search
Rite of Replication
Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Black Spells:
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Intent
Beacon of Unrest
Living Death
Consuming Vapors
Decree of Pain
Mind Twist
Profane Command

Green Spells:
Krosan Grip
Greater Good
Mwonvuli Acid-Moss

Multicolor Spells:
Pernicious Deed

Sol Ring
Dimir Signet
Golgari Signet
Simic Signet
Coalition Relic

Lightning Greaves
Sword of Light and Shadow
Sword of Fire and Ice

Island (x3)
Forest (x2)
Swamp (x2)
Watery Grave
Overgrown Tomb
Breeding Pool
Underground River
Llanowar Wastes
Yavimaya Coast
Verdant Catacombs
Misty Rainforest
Dimir Aqueduct
Golgari Rot Farm
Simic Growth Chamber
Drowned Catacomb
Creeping Tarpit
Twilight Mire
Vivid Creek
Vivid Marsh
Vivid Grove
Faerie Conclave
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Treetop Village
Lonely Sandbar
Barren Moor
Tranquil Thicket
City of Brass
Shimmering Grotto
Evolving Wilds
Volrath's Stronghold
Phyrexian Tower
Temple of the False God
Gargoyle Castle
Miren the Moaning Well

I'll go over some of the highlights and some of the card choices that might be less than obvious.

Several cards have to do with getting the Genesis engine online - Looter il-Kor, Corpse Connoisseur, Frantic Search, Intuition and Greater Good all help with this in some capacity. All of these cards are good in their own right, though, and aren't dead cards once I have Genesis online.

Looter il-Kor, for instance also has good synergy with Ink-Eyes, being small and evasive.

Sower of Temptation is a recurrable Control Magic, as is Keiga.

Fleshbag Marauder, Bone Shredder and Shriekmaw are all good as recursive pin-point removal, while Kagemaro, First to Suffer is a recurrable Damnation on a stick, and can be an able-bodied finisher if need be.

Coffin Queen and Beacon of Unrest are there because I am going to be killing a LOT of my opponents guys, and the deck is a bit short on fatties, so... why not just use whatever my opponent was going to use on me!

Undead Gladiator - okay, this guy might seem out of place, but he's really good with Intuition. Basically, when you cast Intuition with this deck you're always going to get Genesis + 2 other guys, right? Well if your opponent is any kind of decent player, he's going to give you the Genesis and pitch the other 2 guys, because he knows you WANT to pitch Genesis, so he's going to make you work for it. Well, if one of the other 2 guys you get is Undead Gladiator, you can just discard Genesis on your next upkeep, and then Cycle the Gladiator later when you don't need him. So he's just really good at setting up Genesis. He's also really good for late game mana pockets.

Dimir House Guard is a versatile tool. You can transmute him for Damnation, Rite of Replication or whatever. Or you can cast him as a sac outlet to help you recur things with Genesis. Oh, AND he lets you sac Genesis himself, should you draw into him without any other way to discard him. Another good card to help setup Genesis, but it also has several other relevant uses as well.

Ink-Eyes is extremely good here, because you're going to be killing most of your opponents creatures, meaning A) nothing will be able to block her and B) your opponent's graveyard will be well-stocked for Ink-Eyes to pilfer out of. She works well with the fairly large number of cheap, evasive creatures, AND her Ninjitsu ability is yet one more way for you to get multiple uses out of a ETBF utility creature.

Ana Battlemage - I admit this is a pet card of mine, but don't laugh it works. Seriously, I've made some pretty devastating plays with it before. You almost always want to kick it for the 2U ability, but you'd be surprise at how often the 1B ability has also be highly relevant. This little guy has outright won me games!

Ravenous Baloth - just recurrable life gain, should you need it.

Arashi, Sky Asunder - Repeatable anti-Akroma tech

Cold-Eyed Selkie - Just imagine how sick she is with a Sword of Fire and Ice...

Wrexial, the Risen Deep - So far I can't tell if this guy is worth running. He seems like a natural compliment to the stellar Ink-Eyes, as he basically does for sorceries and instants what she does for creatures. But so far he hasn't been relevant, but I haven't actually played enough with him to know for sure. I usually just keep drawing him way too early and either can't cast him, or my opponent's 'yard is full of nothing but permanents.

Duplicant - Reusable Swords to Plowshares... on a stick... I'd run 4x if I could!

It That Betrays - Another one that looks good on paper, but I haven't played the deck much since I slotted him in, so I can't say yet if he'll work out.

Rite of Replication - The other day I cast this for 5 Baneslayer Angel tokens. Do you really need more explanation than that? Okay, try casting it for 5 Eternal Witness tokens. Five Keiga tokens? Duplicant? It That Betrays?

Diabolic Intent is almost BETTER than Demonic Tutor here... you generally WANT your guys going to the bin. How else do you break Genesis?

Consuming Vapors - I keep wanting to swap this out for Barter in Blood. Both have their merits and drawbacks, but I really want this card to work out. It seems like it should... I haven't really given it a fair chance yet, as it is a new addition, but one of the last times I transmuted Dimir House Guard I REALLY wanted this to be Barter...

Mind Twist - Am I a dick for running this? Yes... but this deck is really so dick-ish even without the Mind Twist that it really doesn't make any difference.

Profane Command is just really good. If you need more than that, I'm sorry but you just have to trust me. I've never once been unhappy to draw it. It's so damn versatile, it's ALWAYS relevant.

Mwonvuli Acid Moss - I really don't like LD, as I feel it's even more douchebaggy than Mind Twist. However, this card is really great for two reasons. One is that this deck really needs to establish a mana advantage early on - Acid Moss helps. Say you and your oppoent both hit 4 mana. You cast this. Suddenly you're 2 ahead in the mana race, and losing one land rarely cripples them to the point the concede on the spot. The other is that sometimes utility lands mess things up, and this deck doesn't have too many ways too deal with that. This and Acidic Slime are about the only two cards that can kill lands, so I don't think I'm overdoing it here. Another thing is if your oppoent drops their Volrath's Stronghold first - you really need Stronghold in a lot of games, so Acid Moss lets you get theirs out of the way so you can safely drop yours.

Increasing the LD slightly would make this deck quite a bit better, as Acid Moss has been very good when I cast it, even fairly late in the game. But it would also make you that much more of a dick. I try to keep dickery to a minimum.

You'll also notice that the list of artifacts is pretty much the exact same list of artifacts in my other EDH decks... yeah, Sol Ring, three signets, Relic, Greaves and two Swords... I'd like to be a bit more original here, but damn it these are all TOO DAMN GOOD to leave out!

The mana base is equally straightforward - just run as many duals as you can get your hands on, add in a smattering of good utility lands (Volrath's Stronghold is a MUST).

Once built, this deck plays out like a control deck, spending the early turns developing the mana base and accelerating where possible. Then just Damnation or something to slow the game down a bit, and start killing everything your opponent tries to put on the table. You can answer just about any permanent type with this deck, but planeswalkers can be a bit of a trick. If you feel the need, you might add Vampire Hexmage. I personally have never really needed it, but I can see where she might fit some metagames.

As for other inclusions, the one card that SCREAMS to be put in this deck is Survival of the Fittest. Alas, I don't have one, but I definitely would run it if I did. Bribery could easily be a solid addition. I'm also considering replacing Intuition with Fact or Fiction, but I dunno...

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