Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Auras of War

Before we begin, I have two caveats to get out of the way.

First, I have not yet assembled this deck with real cards – I’m going to need to purchase 7 or 8 critically important cards, and I’m totally broke. So this list is just a theoretical starting point, for now, but I plan to have it up and running for real in a couple of weeks. It may change between now and then.

Second, the title “Auras of War” is a tad outdated, as the initial concept was going to revolve more heavily on Voltroning-up Jenara  with a number of top shelf Auras and winning via General Damage. However, this seemed to me like it would make the deck play out like a cross between Uril and Rafiq, both of which I have already explored. Uril is played out completely, for me. And while I still love Rafiq intensely, if the deck I build here is going to be that similar to Rafiq, why don’t I just build Rafiq? So, the end result is that the deck is much less of a Voltron-styled General Damage deck, and more of just an Enchantress deck with a  solid beat-down General. I’m keeping the title in place for now, though, because it sounds cool.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s dive in.

General: Jenara, Asura of War

   1. To avoid linear, repetitive gameplay (a la Uril the Miststalker)
   2. To avoid over-reliance on my General
   3. To make the deck viable within a metagame that is heavy on sweepers and spot removal
   4. The deck should be creature-oriented and avoid combo or heavy control

To fulfill objectives 1, 2 and 4, I have tried to reduced the Aura count from what you’d typically see in a Uril deck or any other “Voltron” strategy, while simultaneously upping the creature count, as well as including some non-Aura enchantments that buff all my creatures, not just my general. General damage wins should still be possible, but not necessarily the primary route to victory.

Fulfilling objective 3 is helped along by the increased creature count, but I have also added a good deal of recursion for both creatures and enchantments, to help prevent blowouts by a Wrath of God, or Fracturing Gust, etc.

Creatures: 20

Jenara, Asura of War

Faith Healer
Kor Spiritdancer
Umbra Mystic
Mesa Enchantress
Academy Rector
Totem-Guide Hartebeest
Sun Titan

Drift of Phantasms

Argothian Enchantress
Verduran Enchantress
Eternal Witness

Femeref Enchantress
Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
Dauntless Escort
Rafiq of the Many
Sovereigns of Lost Alara


Enchantments: 33

Ancestral Mask
Angelic Destiny
Armadillo Cloak
Bear Umbra
Eldrazi Conscription
Griffin Guide
Spirit Loop
Shield of the Oversoul
Steel of the Godhead

Volition Reins
Copy Enchantment
Aura Shards
Faith’s Fetters
Oblivion Ring
Prison Term
Seal of Cleansing

Enchanted Evening
Enchantress’s Presence
Greater Auramancy
Holistic Wisdom
Karmic Justice
Land Tax
Mirari’s Wake
Rhystic Study
Sigil of the Empty Throne
Sterling Grove
True Conviction

Non-Enchantment Spells: 9

Wrath of God
Cleansing Meditation
Creeping Renaissance
Three Dreams
Idyllic Tutor
Enlightened Tutor
Eladamri’s Call

Lands: 38

Serra's Sanctum
New Benalia
Kor Haven
Mistveil Plains
Secluded Steppe
Halimar Depths
Tolaria West
Lonely Sandbar
Llanowar Reborn
Yavimaya Hollow
Khalni Garden
Tranquil Thicket
Command Tower
Reflecting Pool
Seaside Citadel
Misty Rainforest
Evolving Wilds
Flooded Grove
Mystic Gate
Wooded Bastion
Breeding Pool
Hallowed Fountain
Temple Garden
Glacial Fortress
Sunpetal Grove
Hinterland Harbord
Plains x4
Island x3
Forest x4

This is the list as it stands, and there are a few clear issues:

1. Too many cards overall. This list is 68 non-land cards, with very little Ramp, so I need to cut a few slots to make room for Lands. Ideally I’d like to have 37 or 38 lands, so I’d need to cut 5 or 6 non-Lands from the list above.

2. Not enough Auras? I’m clearly trying to avoid making this deck play out like every Uril deck ever, and I don’t want every game to just be “pile aura after aura on Jenara, swing for the win”, but I do need to be able to buff my creatures into actual threats. How many is too many?

3. Not enough game-ending creatures. Jenara is still one of the most likely targets for my Auras, meaning most of my wins will likely come from swinging with Jenara enchanted with a couple of Auras and some +1/+1 counters. I really need to find room for more suitable threats – adding a few Hexproof creatures (Geist of St Traft, Troll Ascetic, Thrun, etc.) might help.

4. Not enough “pet cards”. I can’t help that I’m a good-stuff player. I like my decks to have a cohesive theme, but I also like to play really powerful spells. Stuff like Primeval Titan, Consecrate Sphinx, and Rite of Replication… you know, cards that almost everyone plays and are often groan-inducing to most EDH fans. Well, I like stuff like that, and I don’t ever get bored kicking a Rite of Replication targeting a Consecrated Sphinx or Primeval Titan. It helps that those are often the cards that eventually win you the game, not your gimmicky theme or whatever.

So, I want the deck to remain true to its theme, and for that theme to be relevant in-game. But I also want to make more room for spells that I enjoy. I don’t think Rite of Replication is a good fit here, but I’d love to get a few other pet cards into the list, without diluting the theme too much. Here’s a quick list of stuff I’d highly prize being able to find room for:

Augury Adept
Cold-Eyed Selkie
Cephalid Constable
Noble Hierarch
Loxodon Hierarch
Primeval Titan
Simic Sky Swallower
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Drogskol Reaver
Troll Ascetic
Thrun, the Last Troll
Sol Ring
Darksteel Ingot
Winds of Rath (Tech!)
Time Spiral
Aura Mutation
Yavimaya’s Embrace
Finest Hour
Martyr’s Bond

Please comment if you have any suggestions or tips for me. I'm a little rusty on the deckbuilding, as it has been a while since I put together any new decks. Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

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