Friday, November 25, 2011

I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghost!

So, I was at the inlaws for Turkey Day yesterday, watching Ghostbusters on VH1 when I realized I never got around to posting my 6th and final decklist in the last round of deck-building. I came up with a Ghost Council list that turned out to be pretty okay.

The initial design for the deck came about as a result of my love for contrast. In illustration, there's no sharper contrast than between black and white. That has always had an aesthetic appeal to me, for whatever reason. And ever since the Orzhov guild debuted in Guildpact, White/Black has been my favorite color pair in Magic.

What I love most about the W/B pairing, is that in Magic, White and Black are the most opposite of any two colors, while simultaneously being the most similar! This duality of one color being almost the negative image of the other, is fascinating. In the mechanical terms of the game, it simply means I get to have a lot of redundancy. Playing Wrath of God and Damnation in the same deck is as poetic as it is powerful. Having Grave Pact and Martyr's Bonds is also a huge boon.

Mechanically, the deck's primary themes are Life and Death - in other words, removal and reanimation. I'd hoped to make the deck excel at killing opposing creatures, while reanimating the best of them to serve the Church of Orzhova. Also, I tried to run as many W/B pairs like Wrath + Damnation as I could squeeze in. Decree of Justice + Decree of Pain, Elesh Norn and Sheoldred, Profane Command with Austere Command. Whenever there was a Black analog or just a part of a cycle, I tried to include both.

Of course, I made plenty of concessions to "good stuff", utility and other necessities, so the deck looks and plays much less... thematically, than most of my other recent builds, but I'm okay with that. The theme is there, it's just not as dominant. It was simply a necessary concession to make, if I wanted the deck to perform.

Oh, and because it plays so well with the Ghost and the Grave Pact effects, there's a little bit of a token theme as well. Without further preamble, here's the list:


Ghost Council of Orzhova

Serra Ascendant
Weathered Wayfarer
Suture Priest
Mentor of the Meek
Academy Rector
Emeria Angel
Hero of the Bladehold
Karmic Guide
Sun Titan
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Reassembling Skeleton
Fleshbag Marauder
Pawn of Ulamog
Falkenrath Noble
Graveborn Muse
Puppeteer Clique
Phyrexian Plagelord
Bloodgift Demon
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Grave Titan
Butcher of Malakir
Sheoldred, Whispering One

Divinity of Pride
Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
Angel of Despair

Solemn Simulacrum


Swords to Plowshares
Path to Exile
Land Tax
Luminarch Ascension
Wrath of God
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Martyr's Bond
Martial Coup
Decree of Justice

Vampiric Tutor
Phyrexian Reclamation
Demonic Tutor
Phyrexian Arena
Barter in Blood
Grave Pact
Unburial Rites
Beacon of Unrest
Sorin Markov
Decree of Pain
Profane Command

Debtors' Knell

Sol Ring
Expedition Map
Orzhov Signet
Sword of Light and Shadow
Sword of Fire and Ice
Scroll Rack
Mimic Vat


New Benalia
Leechridden Swamp
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Bojuka Bog
Cabal Coffers
Phyrexian Tower
Volrath's Stronghold
Temple of the False God
High Market
Kor Haven
Isolated Chapel
Marsh Flats
Godless Shrine
Orzhov Basilica
Fetid Heath
Caves of Koilos
Tainted Field
Command Tower
Terramorphic Expanse
Plains x9
Swamp x9

There really isn't a whole lot to say here. Most of the choices should be self-explanatory.

I will say that Falkenrath Noble and Suture Priest were mostly just attempts to metagame slightlly against a variety of token strategies in my group. I have at least one Ghave deck and a Rhys the Redeemed deck that I square of against quite often. Since both decks push the token strategy way, WAY harder than this deck does, I needed something to give me a bit of an edge. I'm also looking for room for a Massacre Wurm.

The rest of the deck is pretty much dedicated to killing things, reanimating things, making lots of little things, or just drawing cards to keep me from losing steam. I was losing to grindy control decks that would eventually but inevitably out-card-advantage me, so I upped the draw to pretty much the maximum for these colors.

I've got the classic Land Tax + Scroll Rack engine, the modern classic Skullclamp + Bloodghast (or Reassembling Skeleton) engine, and the all-stars Phyrexian Arena, Graveborn Muse, Bloodgift Demon and my new favorite: Mentor of the Meek. The only things I didn't find room for were Promise of Power and Mind's Eye.

Other forms of card advantage include: Mimic Vat, Geth Lord of the Vault, and the pair of Planeswalkers. I've already won a game thanks to Sorin Markov's giving me some reach when I was in topdeck mode. In fact Sorin has actually been far better in t his deck than any other so far, for me. In other decks he would almost always come down, drop an opponent to 10, then die. Not bad, really, but in this deck I've actually managed to make his +2 work to great effect, and I've actually had his loyalty up to 10+ a time or two!

One of my favorite aspects of Ghost Council as a General is that I pretty much only ever have to cast him once per game. Maybe twice. But that fucker is one hard-to-kill sonofabitch!


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