It's probably no secret by this point that I'm a big fan of Lingering Souls. With the right cards to help out, it can be a powerful threat as well as a tremendous source of card advantage. Thanks to Magic 2014 Core Set, it can also kill your opponent out of nowhere. Casting and flashing back Lingering Souls with an Ogre Battledriver on the board makes for a pretty insane amount of damage out of nowhere, and playing red also gives you access to Young Pyromancer, which means free tokens to go with your tokens. Here's the list I put together to take advantage of this combination.
- Spells (27)
- 3 Rally the Peasants
- 4 Midnight Haunting
- 4 Searing Spear
- 4 Gather the Townsfolk
- 4 Krenko's Command
- 4 Lingering Souls
- 4 Intangible Virtue
Young Pyromancer seems pretty good in any deck playing a large number of instants and sorceries, but it's especially effective here. The deck is designed to take advantage of tokens, and with twenty-three spells that trigger Young Pyromancer, you're sure to be making several over the course of a game.
Casting Krenko's Command or Gather the Townsfolk on turn three is a much better play when you're making three tokens, which also makes it easier to handle so many of the lands entering the battlefield tapped. If you don't have Young Pyromancer, these help you put down some creatures early to start the beatdown.
Lingering Souls can put a lot of damage on the board when combined with Ogre Battledriver, Intangible Virtue, Hellrider, or Rally the Peasants. Although you have to be a bit more careful about flashing it back thanks to the increased presence of Scavenging Ooze, even just making two Spirits for 3 mana isn't a bad deal at all.
Midnight Haunting isn't nearly as powerful as Lingering Souls, but it does give you another evasive threat. Flying is quite relevant in the current Standard format, especially with the power boosts from Ogre Battledriver and Rally the Peasants helping you punch through large amounts of damage.
Ogre Battledriver becomes pretty silly in this deck, enabling you to attack for lethal damage out of nowhere, especially with Young Pyromancer on the board. With both out, casting any two token-making spells on turn five—or a token-making spell and Rally the Peasants—will allow you to immediately attack for over 20 damage. Even with just the Ogre, a Lingering Souls will put out 12 damage in the air. If your opponent allows Ogre Battledriver to survive until your turn, the chances of him surviving your attack start looking pretty slim.
Hellrider doesn't have quite as massive an impact as Ogre Battledriver does, but what it does have is haste. Whereas the Battledriver can kill your opponent with spells you haven't cast yet, Hellrider makes the most of the creature you already have on the battlefield. With the number of token-producing spells in this deck, the triggers from Hellrider can often deal as much damage as the actual creatures.
Intangible Virtue is the number-one card that makes token decks tick. Doubling the power of most of your creatures for 2 mana is absurd, and giving vigilance to flying Spirits makes victory come much more easily.
Searing Spear kills pesky creatures like Olivia Voldaren that could throw a wrench in your plans, and it can be used at instant speed to stop creatures with an immediate impact, like opposing Hellriders. Feel free to customize your removal here, perhaps switching to Pillar of Flame if you find yourself facing mostly small creatures—or switching to Mizzium Mortars if you're worried about Blood Baron of Vizkopa.
Rally the Peasants is quite a nasty surprise for an unsuspecting opponent, often stealing victory out of nowhere. Although it can be tempting to hold on to this card until it will outright kill your opponent, remember that it also has flashback, so if you think you can kill your opponent in two boosted swings, it's usually best to go for it rather than further build your board presence.
Rest in Peace makes things a little harder for decks playing Unburial Rites, but where it really shines is against decks such as W/B Humans and The Aristocrats. By shutting down Blood Artist, Xathrid Necromancer, and Skirsdag High Priest, you can clog up your opponent's hand with dead cards while the only things affected on your side are the second halves of Lingering Souls and Rally the Peasants.
Celestial Flare does a wonderful job of fighting the increasingly popular Bant Hexproof decks. While many versions of these decks use creatures such as Avacyn's Pilgrim and Voice of Resurgence to ensure that a Devour Flesh won't hit Geist of Saint Traft, Celestial Flare makes it much harder. Just make sure you cast it at the right time. If the creature is Geist, you'll need to cast the Flare with the Angel trigger on the stack so your opponent can't just sacrifice the token. If your opponent is suiting up another creature and is playing around Celestial Flare by attacking with another creature, you can kill the second creature in combat and cast the Flare at the end of the combat phase. Your opponent will be forced to sacrifice his remaining attacker, ensuring it won't be hitting you again next turn.
Oblivion Ring can also be used against Bant Hexproof to get rid of major Auras such as Unflinching Courage, but it also functions well against decks playing hard-to-deal-with threats such as Predator Ooze, Wolfir Silverheart, and various planeswalkers. If Searing Spear isn't going to cut it, you can count on Oblivion Ring to get the job done.
Rootborn Defenses makes it harder for your opponent to take over the game with a well-timed Supreme Verdict or Bonfire of the Damned, and as an added bonus, it works against Ratchet Bomb as well should your opponent have those in his sideboard. In fact, it works particularly well against Ratchet Bomb because most players, having been told endlessly that it's better to wait as long as possible to cast an instant or activate an ability, will wait until you attack them to sacrifice the Bomb. This means that even if you're tapped out, your opponent will often give you the opportunity to not only untap, but potentially draw Rootborn Defenses if you didn't have it already. Don't count on this working against very skilled players or opponents who have seen your Defenses, but do take a little joy in making your opponent look silly now and then.
Pillar of Flame can help you deal with Voice of Resurgence effectively, and it also gives you a bit more fast removal to put in against aggressive decks. With no 1-drops, this deck isn't the fastest thing out there, and if you find yourself playing defense, having a few extra ways to pick off the most important creatures is always a good thing.
Jund – Game 1
Mountain, Plains, Evolving Wilds, Hellrider, Ogre Battledriver, and Intangible Virtue. I played Evolving Wilds and sacrificed it for a Mountain. My opponent paid 2 life for Stomping Ground and cast Arbor Elf before passing the turn. I drew Intangible Virtue, played my Plains, and cast it. I ended my turn.
My opponent cast Farseek for an Overgrown Tomb and then played a Blood Crypt tapped and passed the turn. I drew Rally the Peasants and cast Lingering Souls before ending my turn. My opponent played Kessig Wolf Run, cast Thragtusk, and passed the turn.
Plains, played it, and attacked for 4 with my Spirits. I cast Ogre Battledriver and passed the turn. My opponent attacked with Thragtusk, and I took the 5. He cast Scavenging Ooze and exiled my Lingering Souls and then played Blood Crypt and ended his turn.
I drew Midnight Haunting and cast it. I attacked with my Spirits for a total of 12 damage, dropping my opponent to 7. I passed the turn. My opponent cast Bonfire of the Damned for 2 and then knocked me down to 8 with Thragtusk. He ended his turn, and I drew another Midnight Haunting. I cast it and attacked for the win.
Plains, Evolving Wilds, Young Pyromancer, Gather the Townsfolk, Intangible Virtue, and Ogre Battledriver. My opponent opened with Stomping Ground into Arbor Elf again, and I drew another Intangible Virtue. I grabbed a Mountain with my Evolving Wilds and passed the turn.
My opponent cast Farseek for Blood Crypt and played an Overgrown Tomb before ending his turn. I drew Rootborn Defenses and played my Plains. I cast Young Pyromancer and passed the turn. My opponent played Woodland Cemetery and cast Garruk, Primal Hunter. He made a Beast token and ended his turn.
I drew Boros Guildgate, played it, and cast Intangible Virtue. I passed the turn, and my opponent attacked for 3 with his Beast. I took the damage, and he cast Thragtusk to go up to 23. He made another token with Garruk and ended his turn. I drew Midnight Haunting, played my Plains, and cast Ogre Battledriver. I passed the turn.
My opponent played Dragonskull Summit and cast Bonfire of the Damned for 3, killing my creatures. He attacked with everything, dropping me to 3, and passed the turn. I drew Krenko's Command and cast my second Intangible Virtue. I cast Gather the Townsfolk to put five Human tokens onto the battlefield and then ended my turn. My opponent played Kessig Wolf Run and trampled over for the win.
Boros Guildgate, Swamp, Evolving Wilds, Young Pyromancer, Gather the Townsfolk, and Ogre Battledriver. I opened with the Guildgate, and my opponent played a Forest before passing the turn.
I drew Ogre Battledriver, played my Swamp, and cast Young Pyromancer. I ended my turn. My opponent played Woodland Cemetery and cast Farseek, fetching Stomping Ground. He passed the turn, and I drew Midnight Haunting. I cast Gather the Townsfolk, creating two Humans and an Elemental, and then attacked for 2 with the Pyromancer. I played Evolving Wilds to grab a Mountain and ended my turn.
My opponent cast Doom Blade on Young Pyromancer and then played Dragonskull Summit and cast Scavenging Ooze. He passed the turn. I drew Searing Spear, cast it to kill the Ooze, and attacked for 3 with my tokens. I ended my turn, and my opponent played a land and cast Thragtusk, going back to 20.
Gather the Townsfolk, cast it, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked for 5 with Thragtusk, and I blocked with a Human. He passed, and I cast Midnight Haunting at the end of his turn. I drew Young Pyromancer and attacked with my Spirits. I cast the Pyromancer and ended my turn.
My opponent miracled a Bonfire of the Damned for 5, dropped me to 10 with Thragtusk, and passed the turn. I drew Krenko's Command and cast it to make two Goblins. I ended my turn. My opponent attacked with Thragtusk, and I blocked with a token. He cast Scavenging Ooze and exiled my two Young Pyromancers for counters before passing the turn.
I drew a Mountain and cast Ogre Battledriver. I ended my turn. My opponent played Dragonskull Summit and attacked with both creatures. I blocked Thragtusk with my Goblin, and my opponent exiled the Scavenging Ooze in his graveyard to pump the one on the battlefield, hitting me for 5. I drew Searing Spear and cast Gather the Townsfolk for five Humans. I attacked with everything for 18 and then cast Searing Spear to seal the deal.
This deck really showcases the power of Ogre Battledriver, which was key in both of my wins. Giving your tokens haste as well as a free Rally the Peasants is crazy-good, and it allows you to kill your opponent instantly when you do things like cast Gather the Townsfolk with fateful hour. I'm a bit disappointed Young Pyromancer wasn’t able to strut his stuff a bit more, but I'm still quite confident it will prove to be a great card for the deck. If you're looking for something that can really keep your opponent off-balance, give this deck a try.