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Decks Inspired by Oath of the Gatewatch

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Hello, folks! The Eldrazi have doubled down on the number of big bads assaulting the area, Ob Nixilis is doing his Demon best to smash up the place, and our good team of Avengers Gatewatch have assembled to take them down. Are you ready?

A few cards have jumped out to me during spoiler season that inspired a few deck ideas in this ol’ brain of mine. So I tossed together a trio of decklists for you. These are all designed as primers to spark your own deck-building frenzies—and not as a holy writ that is intended to be copied whole.

So let’s hit up these decks!

When I saw the Vile Redeemer, the first thing I thought of was how much it resembled an Eldrazi take on the classic Caller of the Claw. Both have flash, both will churn out some tokens equal to the number of nontoken dorks that died this turn from your side, and both are really interesting foils to mass removal. They also work well with a deck that is intentionally looking to sacrifice stuff.

I decided to grab some cards like Goblin Bombardment so you can sacrifice your creatures to it. When you do, you can load up a large army with your Caller or Redeemer. (And then either add a load more of sacrifice options or just use it as a post-death army.)

This deck needed an engine to really push it. Enter Verdant Succession. Verdant Succession used to be a major player in Standard. And you had cards with it like Ravenous Baloth and a bunch of Elves. In an homage to that era, I tossed in the Baloths. Sacrifice them for 4 life to themselves to start the chain. They can swing or join your sacrifice engines. (The same is true of Sakura-Tribe Elder—sac it to fetch a land, get another, sac it to fetch a land, and do that four times. And you have four deaths for Caller or Redeemer to exploit in addition to your four-land advantage!)

Check out Protean Hulk! No, I don’t have an infinite-Hulk combo in here; go away. Sacrifice it to Goblin Bombardment, and then grab something like Deranged Hermit and Boreal Druid or Ravenous Baloth and Sakura-Tribe Elder or Caller of the Claw and Caller of the Claw. And if you have Verdant Succession out at the same time, whoa! Get ready for a daisy chain!

If you want to push this concept into an infinite-winning combo, add in four copies of Nantuko Tracer. That’s a common creature you may not have heard of before. Sacrifice a Nantuko Tracer that’s in play to any sacrifice effect, such as the GBB above. Then, use your Succession to grab another Tracer from the deck and drop it onto the battlefield. Use the trigger from your newly minted Tracer to place your recently deceased Tracer back into your library. After that has happened, sacrifice the second Tracer and repeat until you win the game. You have any number of sacrifices. So you can sacrifice it to GBB and kill every player at the table. If you want to head that route, add in the Tracers.

I like the pain lands for a place to start with mana bases for colorless mana. Obviously, we’ll need some time to shake things out with it. But they tap for colorless for no damage, so Karplusan Forest can tap to fulfill the requirements of a card like Vile Redeemer’s enters-the-battlefield trigger. (Check out Grand Coliseum as well. You can make all of the colors of mana you need, such as with City of Brass or Mana Confluence, but you can also tap for that precious colorless mana as well.)

This deck was inspired by Deceiver of Form. I had initially wanted to slide the Deceiver into the various shells that already exist from decks that manipulate the top cards of their libraries to generate triggers with stuff like Arbiter of the Ideal or Domri Rade. However, as I began to explore some of the synergies of the deck, I noticed I already had almost twenty cards, and all of them were artifacts or colorless creatures. So I just decided to push that theme of Eldrazi deck manipulation, and this is what’s left.

I could have chosen to append this theme onto any color, but I liked green because of Ancient Stirrings and From Beyond. They both just fit smoothly into the colorless shell and give me a tutor and token-maker on one side. As the only sorcery or instant in a colorless deck, the Stirrings will always essentially Impulse five cards down (and clean off the top of your deck for more Sensei's Divining Top– and Scroll Rack–friendly shenanigans).

All right, so let’s take a closer look at the deck’s synergies. Deceiver of Form can make everything that’s not it a copy of the creature. So some amount of library manipulation will work wonders here in making sure you gain a nice boost. I also wanted to toss in some token-making cards here and there to give us a few small fries that could swell with the right flip. Meanwhile, don’t sleep on the Deceiver’s 8/8 size. Then, we have a few midrange creatures to turn the team into, such as Endbringer and Blight Herder.

After that, we move to deck manipulation. Beyond the obvious Top and Rack, the next places to look are at the Millikin. This is a great 2-drop for the deck. You tap one for a colorless mana, so it can pay for colorless costs on your stuff. It can also mill your deck just a bit, so it clears off the top card if it sucks. And Millikin counts as creatures so you can make a Millikin pretty big if you hit on that Deceiver trigger. Check out the other 2-drop in Eldrazi Mimic as well. It plays nicely with the deck’s design, too.

Coming from way-back machines are tricks like Lantern of Insight or the modern Pyxis of Pandemonium. I’m sure you can see the ways they help out. I like Temporal Aperture as a way to shuffle your deck and then gain a free card as well. You can’t stack the Aperture since it shuffles your deck, but it still works as a free card and a way to shuffle your library to bring you a new slate of cards or to bring the cards you placed on the bottom with something like Ancient Stirrings back into play.

This deck was inspired by the hijinks of Endbringer. It has multiple tap abilities so, you can gain good flexibility, and then you can untap it in other turns. Maybe you want to tap it again and again for more abilities, or perhaps all you want to do is swing with the 5/5 body and then untap later. But whatever your desire, the card works.

So I decided to throw in into a common tap-stuff shell. There are a number of cards in Magic that help out the theme. From Rings of Brighthearth giving you the option to duplicate their tappage to untapping with Puppet Strings and Magewright's Stone, there are a lot of sandwiches in the picnic basket.

After grabbing stuff to build around, I delved into useful creatures. I knew that I wanted Arcanis the Omnipotent in my deck. So blue was the color of choice. Since I spent a lot of my card slots on noncreatures already building up the various themes, I decided to have every other card in the deck either be a land or a creature to use. I didn’t want to have eleven cards in the deck that untapped my stuff and worked with activated abilities only to find myself with just thirteen creatures. And every creature should tie into this tapping theme as well, from utility creatures like Silver Myr and Civilized Scholar through the nasty stuff.

So we can tap opposing creatures down, make mana, draw cards, mill opposing libraries, and even trigger the inspired of Arbiter of the Ideal. So let’s take a moment to drill down into one of the zonkiest cards you are ever going to see in Magic.

Enter Musician.

Musician
Musician taps and then places a music counter on a creature. That creature also gains the ability that forces it to pay a generic mana each upkeep for every music counter on it or be sacrificed. Now, your Musician has cumulative upkeep, so it never stays around for long. But the counters and the abilities it places last even after it dies. Now, if you can accelerate the pace at which the Musician doles out the music counters, it suddenly becomes a nasty card from Ice Age that will shock your opponents when you unleash it on them in this deck.

With a deck of Musicians, Arbiters, Scholars, and Bringers of the End, it’s a fun time for casual play.


Spoiler season is here, and we have new cards. New cards! Yay, new cards! There’s always a lot of inspiration to head back to the drawing board and build some new decks. Did any of these decks speak to you? Is there anything here that you take away? I hope so!


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