In this experiment, we ignite the dread of our opponents.
Chandra's Ignition. This card looks like a clunky Wrath of God effect—or like a Blasphemous Act if you happen to control Ludevic's Abomination.
My question was how to elevate Chandra's Ignition from just being a situational Wrath. I want to make that creature and that damage do special things. A couple obvious first steps are lifelink and deathtouch: If the creature we target has lifelink, we’ll gain a bunch of life, and if the creature we target has deathtouch, we’re virtually guaranteed a Duneblast.
Of course, the lifelink portion of that requires a bunch of creatures to be in play to be effective, and with deathtouch, we’re again relegating Chandra's Ignition to being a Wrath of God effect. So what else can we do?
Well, some creatures trigger when they deal damage. The most common variant of this is Sengir Vampire, which grows every time it kills something. Imagine targeting that with Chandra's Ignition, killing four other creatures to gain four counters, and then attacking for 8. That’s not too bad.
But I spotted Dread Slaver, and I knew what I was going to be igniting.
So now we have a more proactive plan: When we cast Chandra's Ignition on Dread Slaver and kill a bunch of things, we’ll then put those things onto the battlefield under our control. Incidentally, they’ll also become black Zombies. Now when we add deathtouch, instead of guaranteeing the Wrath, we’re guaranteeing a mass Mind Control. And when we add lifelink, we’re guaranteeing . . . a bunch of life, which I happen to enjoy.
Death Baron — This will give Dread Slaver +1/+1 and deathtouch, and it will also share those powers with all of the other creatures the Slaver returns. It’s worth noting that Death Baron will die when we ignite the Slaver, but it will also come back. Dread Slaver doesn’t say anything about the creatures it returns having to have been opponent’s creatures!
Whip of Erebos — For lifelink and for last-ditch efforts, we have the Whip around.
Soul's Fire — This provides a way for Dread Slaver to shoot something and then give us control of it—kind of an instant-speed Mind Control for things with 3 or less toughness. Also, I made sure to choose the variant of this effect that lets us save our Dread Slaver at instant speed: In response to removal, if the Slaver has deathtouch, we can have the Slaver target itself, dying and then coming back to its own ability.
Eternal Witness — And this is the most interesting one. When the Witness dies to the Slaver and comes back as undead, it will also let us return a card from our graveyard to our hand. We could choose Chandra's Ignition, ready to repeat the process on demand.
Blood Artist — Blood Artist will die, but it will also come back, ready for a bunch more triggers as we repeatedly cast Chandra's Ignition turn after turn. That’s assuming, of course, we can’t just attack for lethal with our Zombies against an empty board, but it’s worth noting.
Hornet Nest — This one is a great defensive play early while we’re setting up—who wants to attack into a Hornet Nest? But when it dies to the Slaver, we’ll make three or four hornets. They might just die if we’re repeating Ignitions, but we could attack with them first. Or they can hold off attackers that didn’t die to Ignition. Or we could just be happy with them dying to Ignition because we have a Blood Artist or two on the battlefield. And it’s not as though we lost anything since the Nest is just coming back anyway.
Murderous Redcap — The Redcap has its own built-in recursion, but if we bring it back with the Slaver instead, it will be a Zombie and be eligible for benefits from Death Baron so the Redcap will do more damage. In addition, it will be sans one -1/-1 counter so it can still persist later if need be.
Yet More Dread
Let’s take a look at the rest of the cards, which I was unable to assign to either of the above categories!
Ichor Slick — I wanted a little bit more removal and a little bit more card-draw, and I also wanted it to be inexpensive. Something like Slay might work if we knew our opponent, and something like Annihilate might work if I didn’t want a cheaper spell, but I settled on Ichor Slick. It circumvents indestructible creatures, which would be among this deck’s weaknesses, it’s relatively cheap, it lets us turn it in for a card if we don’t need it, and it lets us kill something and draw a card if we pay enough for it. Also, we can combine it with Chandra's Ignition much later in the game in order to shrink something down and then steal it with Dread Slaver (assuming we don’t have Death Baron around).
Stuffy Doll — This seems like the obvious first choice for a Chandra's Ignition deck. It doesn’t have the high power we want for an ignited creature, but it does survive whatever we throw at it. It helps hold off opponents while we set up, it does incremental damage over time, and it turns Ignitions into extra damage to our opponent’s face.
Erebos, God of the Dead — Erebos is another indestructible creature—when it’s even a creature at all. If we’re trying to bleed our opponent dry with Blood Artists, Stuffy Dolls, and increments of Chandra's Ignition, the no-life-gain superpower may end up relevant, but otherwise, Erebos can be a last-ditch Ignition target. Ironically, the pips we had to bring Erebos online will invariably disappear after he’s ignited, but if two of those pips were from Whip of Erebos, not all is lost. Also, Erebos can offer us a bit of card-draw and something to do with the life we’re hoping to gain from Blood Artist.
Dread Ignition ? Casual | Andrew Wilson
- Creatures (26)
- 3 Death Baron
- 3 Murderous Redcap
- 4 Blood Artist
- 4 Dread Slaver
- 4 Eternal Witness
- 4 Hornet Nest
- 2 Stuffy Doll
- 2 Erebos, God of the Dead
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