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X Marks the Spot

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Welcome back, foolish mortals. Today, we venture into uncertainty. Some of the spells here grow and change as you put more of your power into them—even becoming strong enough to kill your opponent in a single blow. If you wish to harness the incredible power of the X, look no further, but if you fear the power you might unleash, turn back now. You may not be able to once you see what lies ahead.

 


 

Devil's Play is the newest addition to the long line of Fireball variants. The ability to cast it a second time for only an extra 2 mana is very powerful. It lets you burn out a creature early in the game without the fear of not having the spell when you need it later.

Comet Storm is quite possibly the best of the Fireball variants, letting you kill multiple creatures (or multiple opponents) for a fairly low cost. With enough mana, you can kill everyone else at the table in a single shot.

Savage Twister is a great tool for keeping creatures under control—especially swarms of tokens. It has the ability to hit flying creatures, which is something most spells of its type lack, and as an uncommon with multiple reprints, it should be fairly easy to find. If you're willing to invest a little more in the deck, Starstorm is a great upgrade that gives you the ability to cast it at instant speed and cycle it away when you don't need it.

Fork has always been among the best tools for copying spells, and its recent reprint—in the form of Reverberate—makes it much easier to find a few copies. Use this on a well-charged X spell and you can deal double the damage for only 2 mana. In fact, copying a giant X spell to deal 20 damage will be the main win condition in this deck.

Chandra, the Firebrand is a very powerful planeswalker, but her lack of strong tournament performances has caused her price to plummet to a much more affordable level. Although easier to disrupt than Reverberate, she lets you pump every last mana into that crucial X spell. In addition, she can do quite a bit of damage on her own if allowed to reach her ultimate ability.

Rampant Growth and Sakura-Tribe Elder provide key mana acceleration on turn two. Each will give you the boost you need to have 4 mana on turn three, at which point you can play Explosive Vegetation or Rosheen Meanderer to accelerate you even further.

Awakening Zone can help hold off early creatures if necessary, but its main purpose is to build up a horde of Eldrazi Spawn tokens that you can sacrifice to power out a massive X spell. Unfortunately, a Savage Twister will kill all these tokens, so we can't afford to play too many copies.

Heartbeat of Spring and Mana Reflection will each double up our mana for a huge X spell. Although Heartbeat of Spring allows an opponent to cast all of his best creatures, it won't matter when you hit him with a 20-damage Devil's Play on your next turn. Mana Reflection's initial cost is much higher, but if you have multiple opponents, or if you're worried about someone killing you with the extra mana before you have the chance to burn him out, it's a much safer option.

Throw in whatever R/G dual lands you have lying around, and you should end up with something like this:

[cardlist]

[Creatures]

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder

2 Rosheen Meanderer

[/Creatures]

[Planeswalkers]

3 Chandra, the Firebrand

[/Planeswalkers]

[Spells]

4 Comet Storm

4 Reverberate

2 Savage Twister

3 Devil's Play

3 Rampant Growth

4 Explosive Vegetation

2 Awakening Zone

2 Heartbeat of Spring

2 Mana Reflection

[/Spells]

[Lands]

10 Forest

7 Mountain

4 Gruul Turf

4 Rootbound Crag

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

 


 

Mikaeus, the Lunarch has an intriguing pair of abilities. He can put a +1/+1 counter on each of your other creatures at the cost of one of his own. He can then take a turn to reload and be ready to distribute counters again. But what if you didn't have to reload? What if you could just keep building up more and more counter on all your creatures? Fortunately, there are a few ways to accomplish that.

The most obvious way is to Proliferate. Contagion Clasp and Contagion Engine will make sure Mikaeus never runs out of ammo while adding another counter to each other creature as well. When all your creatures are receiving two counters each turn, things can get out of hand quickly.

Spike Breeder can give one of its counters to Mikaeus only to have him give it back. Of course, all your other creatures have gained a counter in the process. Speaking of other creatures, Spike Breeder can make those for you as well. These baby Spikes can quickly grow into significant threats with the help of the Lunarch.

Spike Weaver can perform the same counter-moving trick as the Breeder, and its Fog ability will make sure you don't die while you're putting things together. Between Proliferate and Mikaeus, you should never run out of counters.

Twilight Drover will gladly accept a +1/+1 counter from Mikaeus—only to turn it into two 1/1 Spirit tokens later. Of course, once Mikaeus is activated again, those tokens will grow larger, and the Drover will make two more to join the fray. Even better, if any of them dies, a little mana will get you back twice as many tokens as your opponent killed.

Cultivate will make sure you find enough mana to use all of these activated abilities each turn—while also fixing your colors if necessary. If you have a bit of extra mana, Eladamri's Call will fetch Mikaeus or any of his friends—plus a few one-ofs that can add some spice—and some extra power—to your game.

Spike Tiller can turn any extra land into a 2/2 creature and load it up with a +1/+1 counter, ready to Proliferate. It can provide valuable threats when you're running low on cards.

Triskelavus can remove its counters to make creature tokens—like Twilight Drover and Spike Breeder. However, these tokens can team up to take down any opposing creatures that may be giving you trouble. They can also serve as a relentless source of damage if attacking isn't doing the job.

Sekki, Seasons' Guide is a giant threat that will quickly pump out an army of Spirit tokens if it blocks or becomes blocked. Since it can keep reloading on counters from Mikaeus and Proliferate, you'll usually end up with far more than eight Spirits by the time it dies. At that point, you can bring it back to the battlefield for another go, ready to pump out even more Spirit tokens.

Phantom Nishoba becomes nearly invincible when combined with Mikaeus and Proliferate, and it becomes a relentless source of damage and life-gain. When you're gaining 7 life per turn, your opponent will have a very difficult time keeping up.

Here's the list after you add in a few lands:

[cardlist]

[Creatures]

1 Phantom Nishoba

1 Spike Tiller

4 Spike Breeder

4 Spike Weaver

4 Twilight Drover

1 Triskelavus

1 Sekki, Seasons' Guide

4 Mikaeus, the Lunarch

[/Creatures]

[Spells]

4 Eladamri's Call

4 Cultivate

4 Contagion Clasp

4 Contagion Engine

[/Spells]

[Lands]

10 Forest

6 Plains

4 Selesnya Sanctuary

4 Sunpetal Grove

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

 


 

If you enjoyed this visit to the dungeon, be sure to come back in three weeks when we go deeper into the depths of this cavernous castle.

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