From the journal entries of an unknown nethermancer…
“Day one: I have landed upon a very strange plane, unlike any I have ever seen. Magic warps the land in indiscernible ways. There are no settlements within sight in any direction, and no signs of life anywhere. I dread that I have discovered a new, terribly dull plane and will take my leave before the fortnight.
Day two: ULTIMATE POWER!!! I am uncertain the exact means, but I am able to call upon the void in ways only the most epic of nethermancers have touched! Today, I bested an impossible hydra, sporting one hundred twenty-two heads – a terror unfathomable, and vanquished effortlessly with my new, sudden power. I may never leave this plane.
Day three: I must leave this plane as soon as possible. I, who gaze into the abyss twice before breakfast daily, have not been so horrified since completing my basic nethermancy studies. I have realized today that I am not alone upon this plane. There are others. Other planeswalkers – and I must assume this plane gives them the same incalculable power that I possess. I have always known that I am never alone, but today? Today, I properly fear that knowledge.
This is a concept deck, one I never put together myself for two reasons: one, it was cost-prohibitive. Two, the deck is based around a single card, and though it has the ability to retrieve, play, and protect that card consistently, that’s just not my personal style.
A QUICK DECKBUILDING NOTE
This is, quite obviously, not a budget deck. In fact, the TCGPLayer.com optimizer settings I use to calculate the cost of my budget decks puts this one at $437.17. And yet, you’ll note that there aren’t any single cards jacking up that price to an insane degree. No Imperial Seal, Grim Tutor or Revised dual lands.
I’m not going to set any hard rules regarding the decks I brew up on this blog. You won’t see me say, “Absolutely no card over $50.” However, I don’t want to include single cards in my decks that are that expensive unless they’re a crucial part of a theme or engine. No mana-generating land is ever that crucial, so you won’t see me using Revised duals ever, unless I need something like a Plateau in a deck that cares how many Mountains I have.
If, however, you like one of my decks and want to build it yourself, and have those expensive cards? Run them! If you’ve got a full set of Revised Duals, Zendikar/Onslaught fetchlands, and all ten shocklands, go ahead and run that perfect mana base! I’m not going to be offended, I promise.
HOW DOES THIS DECK WORK?
Simply put, this is a Doubling Season deck.
We want to tutor it up as quickly as possible, cast it, and protect it. Why do we want to do this? Well, because with Doubling Season in play we can do some utterly ridiculous things. What kinds of things, you ask?
Well, for example, we have 18 planeswalkers in this deck that can use their ultimate ability the turn they come into play as long as Doubling Season is in play. That means for four mana, Elspeth, Knight-Errant gives you an emblem making all your lands, creatures, artifacts, and enchantments (like Doubling Season) Indestructible. For four mana Ral Zerek lets you take anywhere between zero to five extra turns, depending on how good your luck is. This is only two of the eighteen insane effects you can cause from our planeswalker army.
Okay, so that’s planeswalkers. Let’s talk hydras now, and use one of my favorites, Primordial Hydra, as an example. With Doubling Season in play, you cast Primey with X=5. He comes into play with 10 +1/+1 counters. During your next upkeep, he becomes a 30/30 trampler. Next upkeep? 90/90. The upkeep after that? 270/270? After that? 810/810. He just keeps growing!
Of course, there are more subtle methods of Doubling Season debauchery. Say you cast Orochi Hatchery with X=5. It comes into play with 10 counters, and every time you activate its ability, you get twenty 1/1 snake tokens.
Saproling Burst comes into play with 14 fade counters. Remove a fade counter, and you’ve got two 13/13 saprolings. Remove another, and you’ve got four 12/12 saprolings. Remove yet one more, and you’ve got six 11/11 saprolings! So on, and so forth.
PROTECTING DOUBLING SEASON
Well, first thing’s first – you have to not die. This deck doesn’t run much in the way of creatures or tax effects, so your face is rather vulnerable. So, the deck packs seven sweepers and Storage Matrix for this purpose.
Once Doubling Season is in play, we really want it to have Shroud and/or Indestructible. Sterling Grove, Greater Auramancy, Privileged Position, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, and Avacyn, Angel of Hope will do that for us.
If there’s a chance of Doubling Season getting countered, then it’s time to tutor up Negate and/or Dispel. If your meta is particularly counter-heavy, then you may need to pull a couple sweepers for more counterspells, and adjust your mana base accordingly.
Well, that’s it for this week’s concept deck! Stay tuned for more decklists in the future!