Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Damia, Sage of Stone - Final List

Tonight's list is Damia, a UBG heavy control deck with a strong Graveyard manipulation theme. This deck has performed very well for me, overall, which is no surprise as it heavily resembles my old Vorosh control deck. Basically, I just swapped out the largely irrelevant Vorosh for a more interesting general in the form of Damia. Then I sprinkled in a few cards that were specifically useful in a Damia deck but wouldn't have been very useful in a Vorosh or Mimeplasm deck. Over time, quite a few new cards wormed their way into the deck and the list now looks quite a bit different from the Vorosh list, yet retains the same themes and plays very much like it.

EDIT: Overlooked a couple of cards. Duplicant, Scavenging Ooze and Insidious Dreams have been added.


Damia, Sage of Stone

Jace's Archivist
Sower of Temptation
Body Double
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Shpinx of Uthuun

Coffin Queen
Fleshbag Marauder
Bone Shredder
Undead Gladiator
Dimir House Guard
Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Vengeful Pharaoh
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Massacre Wurm

Sakura-Tribe Elder
Fauna Shaman
Scavenging Ooze
Magus of the Library
Eternal Witness
Indrik Stomphowler
Acidic Slime
Seedborn Muse
Primeval Titan

Shadowmage Infiltrator
The Mimeoplasm
Psychosis Crawler

Spells and Stuff

Turbulent Dreams
Frantic Search
Rite of Replication
Leyline of Anticipation
Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Diabolic Intent
Buried Alive
Insidious Dreams
Barter in Blood
Living Death
Beacon of Unrest
Profane Command

Nostalgic Dreams
Beast Within
Krosan Grip
Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
Greater Good
Maelstrom Pulse

Sol Ring
Dimir Signet
Golgari Signet
Simic Signet
Coalition Relic
Lightning Greaves
Mimic Vat


38 Lands including:

Volrath's Stronghold
High Market
Phyrexian Tower

The deck is a lot of fun to play, but Damia is a tricky general to play. Once you have her on the board, you'll want to dump your hand as quickly as possible to maximize Damia's value. It's hardly worth casting a 7-mana Legend if all she's going to do is draw you one extra card a turn. Yet, if you cast a whole bunch of cheap spells and permanents counting on  Damia's presence to refill your hand, you might find yourself overextending into a Planar Cleansing or similar, leaving you behind on the board AND without Damia around to refill your now-empty hand. If this happens, you'll probably lose.

That's where the Seedborn Muse +  Leyline Anticipation come in. Casting everything at Instant speed helps narrow the window for your opponent to completely blow you out with a Sorcery like Akroma's Vengeance. It also makes the deck a bitch and a half to play against because you can respond to combat by dropping blockers, and almost any other situation gets really tricky when stuff that's supposed to only happen on your turn now suddenly happens any time you feel like it.

The Dreams - Nostalgic, Turbulent and Insidious are all flat-out amazing when combined with Damia and a handful of cards that you don't mind discarding. Incarnations like Wonder or Genesis, for example are cards you want in your graveyard anyway, but the Dreams provide powerful effects in exchange for pitching something you wanted to pitch anyway. Even if you have good stuff like Primeval Titan or Rite of Replication, in this deck you probably won't mind discarding them to a Dreams spell because you'll have plenty of ways to get them back later on.

A few of the cards I selected are just "cute" - like Magus of the Library for example. It's just a terrible card that happens to actually be considerably more playable alongside Damia. With Damia guaranteeing you'll start every turn with a grip of 7, the Magus just guarantees you'll start every turn with 8 instead. I enjoy this interaction, but he's probably not necessary in the long run.

Overtaker was just a neat Spellshaper that doubles as a way to pitch your Genesis or any other unwanted chaff you might draw.

Jace's Archivist and Sphinx of Uthuun are just new hotness that I added because they were new hotness. I'm not 100% sold on either of them, but Sphinx of Uthuun actually has played quite well. It's an easier-to-recur-but-harder-to-cast Fact or Fiction, but in this particular deck having a creature version of a spell is almost always better than it's non-creature equivalent, thanks to Genesis and Geth's importance to the deck.

Anyway, the deck basically just plays a slow, grindy, control gameplan, answering everything possible while building up card advantage and a dominant board position. As with any deck, mass resets like Planar Cleansing are bad news, but with such a prolific graveyard package, it rarely spells doom for the deck. We can get anything we need back, over and over again usually.

Vengeful Pharaoh is an amazing Buried Alive target and happens to be a very cool and flavorful card too. I definitely think he will stay in this deck for a very long time.

As for winning the game, the usual win condition is simply to reanimate an opponent's scariest threats via Geth, Beacon or Coffin Queen. Psychosis Crawler is pretty good with Damia out, though most worthy opponents won't let you stick both at the same time.

Massacre Wurm is metagame tech for me. I have an Edric player whose deck is loaded with 1/1's and 2/2's and there is of course Ghave to contend with as well. A well-timed Massacre Wurm can... well... massacre and opponent with too many tokens on the board.

Maelstrom Pulse is in for the same reason - to deal with token decks - and to deal with Rite of Replication. Rite of Replication is one of the biggest and most popular game-winning spells in my group, and Maelstrom Pulse just laughs at it (as long as they didn't RoR something with Haste!).

Mimic Vat is a big fat "duh!", and fits the theme of "kill opponent's threat, take threat from opponent, kill opponent with their own dude".

Mimeoplasm and Living Death round out the win condition package.

All in all, this is one deck I'm very happy with. There are only a few cards that I would even consider cutting and none that are outright bad choices. It can be an agonizingly frustrating deck to play against, because it usually just tries to kill everything that hits the board, but at least I'm not running countermagic!


1 comment: