Friday, March 30, 2012

Auras of War, Finished List

Finally! Of all the new deck projects I’m working on, this was the toughest to crack. I started out with a pool of nearly 100 cards, not counting lands, that I wanted for the deck. Obviously that meant I was going to have to cut well over 30 cards, and to do so without neutering my own strategy was an immensely difficult task.

As I reminder, here are the objectives laid out by myself, which I had to always keep in mind while making cuts and additions during the building process:

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

Objective number one was the biggest sticking point. While it was completely necessary, it also made the deck that much harder to build. If I were willing to just go all-in on Voltroning up Jenara as the primary purpose of the deck, it would have been considerably easier to make cuts, but that would have lead to a boring, repetitive deck that functioned like a slightly weaker version of a Uril the Miststalker deck. I’ve already done the Uril thing, though, and while that was fun initially, it got old pretty quickly. It was imperative that I avoid doing that here.

So I tried to include creatures other than Jenara that would be worth enchanting with my Auras, as well as broadening the Enchantment theme to include a wider range of effects that extend to ALL my creatures – instead of running Shielding Plax to give Jenara Hexproof, I went with Asceticism to give all my creature Hexproof. I wanted to make it so that any creature could potentially be a viable threat.

Only by playing the deck will I know for sure if I succeeded in hitting all my objectives, but for now this is the final list I plan on rolling into battle with.



Argothian Enchantress
Femeref Enchantress
Kor Spiritdancer
Mesa Enchantress
Verduran Enchantress

- Simple, obvious card advantage. Gotta do something to compensate for the two-for-ones I’ll be giving my opponents.

Other Enchanters

Academy Rector
Faith Healer
Hanna, Ship's Navigator
Sovereigns of Lost Alara
Totem-Guide Hartebeest
Umbra Mystic

- Just some Enchantment-specific utility creatures. Some find Enchantments, some recur them, and Faith Healer is the all-important sac outlet. Faith Healer + Rancor + any Enchantress = “G: Draw a card and gain 1 life.” Fun!

Other Creatures

Cephalid Constable
Dauntless Escort
Drift of Phantasms
Drogskol Reaver
Eternal Witness
Frost Titan
Jenara, Asura of War
Rafiq of the Many
Sun Titan

- These are either non-specific utility creatures, or plausible targets for buff auras. Or both.

Auras - Buffs

Angelic Destiny
Armadillo Cloak
Bear Umbra
Eldrazi Conscription
Gaea's Embrace
Rancor Shield of the Oversoul
Steel of the Godhead
Favor of the Overbeing
Spirit Mantle

- This is the one section I’m not 100% happy with, but it’ll work for now. Favor of the Overbeing is their just to complete the cycle, while Spirit Mantle made it in mostly because I set 10 as the minimum number of “buff” Auras I was willing to run. Any less and I’d have to consider cutting Kor Spiritdancer, which was something I wanted to avoid.

Auras - Answers

Cage of Hands
Faith's Fetters
Volition Reins

- These are Auras you typically don’t want to put on your own guys! They’re more for dealing with things that I’d rather not have to deal with. Lignify is a great way to shut down problematic Generals, since killing them just means the player can recast them later. Fetters also does this job well, and can also turn off Planeswalkers or annoying lands like Volrath’s Stronghold. Cage of Hands is mediocre, but it’s reusability makes it a potential draw engine with an Enchantress out.


Aura Shards
Copy Enchantment
Enchanted Evening
Enchantress's Presence
Finest Hour
Fertile Ground
Holistic Wisdom
Karmic Justice
Land Tax
Mirari's Wake
Oblivion Ring
Rhystic Study
Sigil of the Empty Throne
Sterling Grove

- I made a last minute decision to put Finest Hour in, in place of True Conviction. Ideally, I’d like to have both, but space issues didn’t allow for that. Also missing Martyr’s Bond, but with Karmic Justice already in, I felt like it was an acceptable loss.

Other Spells

Cleansing Meditation
Creeping Renaissance
Eladamri's Call
Enlightened Tutor
Idyllic Tutor
Sol Ring
Three Dreams
Wrath of God
Winds of Rath

And, these are the only 10 cards that aren’t a Creature or an Enchantment. I wanted to keep this category as low as possible, but there were some obvious cards here that were just to crucial to pass up. Replenish might just be one of the most important spells in the deck, considering how fragile my game plan really is. Winds of Rath is hilariously techy, and I hope it actually works out. It could be a dud, but we’ll see…


Serra's Sanctum
Kor Haven
Mistveil Plains
Secluded Steppe
Halimar Depths
Tolaria West
Lonely Sandbar
Llanowar Reborn
Yavimaya Hollow
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 Harbor
Plains x4
Island x4
Forest x4

Closing Thoughts…

Enchanted Evening is in the deck, for now at least, to combo with Aura Shards and more importantly Cleansing Meditation. With Enchanted Evening in play, Cleansing Meditation will destroy ALL permanents in play, then if I have threshold (and I almost certainly will at this point!), I return all of MY permanents destroyed this way to the Battlefield.

There is some slight anti-synergy with that play, because any Auras returning to the battlefield will be returning AT THE SAME TIME as any creatures returning, and because they’re happening simultaneously, the Auras will not be able to target the creatures, as the creatures aren’t technically on the battlefield yet.

For this reason, and others, I considered Retether as well, but couldn’t find room. Should playtesting reveal any cards that need to be replaced, Retether is at the top of the short list for adding in later.

That’s pretty much the deck in a nutshell. Play Enchantments, draw cards, stick a suitable threat, and go to town.



  1. A beautiful deck design! You outlined your philosophy and followed through.

  2. Thanks, it wasn't easy at all, but I feel like it was a success even if the deck ends up being awful at winning.