Recently at my local game store I stumbled upon this hilariously awesome deck that I just had to share. It’s a very unusual deck in that it aims to give the opponent a ton of creature tokens which in turn drain the opponent for a single life point, repeatedly, until they are dead. Just take a look at this list…
This deck was designed by my friend Brandon Wallace who has been working on this idea for quite some time. Most of the cards in the deck seem very odd or out-of-place when you look at each of them individually. However, as you begin to pair the cards together with one another you can start to admire the beautiful synergy of his card choices. Let’s take a look at what makes this deck tick.
The primary goal of the deck is to turn Forbidden Orchard into a repeatable source of damage that benefits us more than the opponent. This is accomplished by turning the “downside” of giving our opponent a creature into an “upside” with the help of Trespasser’s Curse and Suture Priest. With either of these two cards in play, tapping an orchard causes our opponent to lose life. It doesn’t stop there, however, as we can mitigate the downside even further by playing with Illness in the Ranks and Virulent Plague. These enchantments destroy the creature as soon as it’s created, preventing the opponent from ever getting to use it at all. I actually find this aspect of the deck the most hilarious: we’re forcing our opponent to create creature tokens which not only hurt them but also just die immediately, all completely out of their control.
A very similar combo has actually started seeing play in Standard in the form of a deck named Dagger Burn. It aims to enchant the opponent with Trespasser’s Curse, then play a Panharmonicon, and follow it up with a Dowsing Dagger to create four plant tokens under the opponent’s control which triggers the curse twice for each one, a total of eight life drained by playing a single card. While I did consider these cards as additions to this deck, there are actually bigger and better payoff cards in the Modern card pool.
Now for the really good stuff! To get maximum value from this combo, the deck also includes some incredible heavy hitters. Hunted Phantasm and Hunted Troll are the ultimate payoff card in that they create a whole bunch of 1/1 creature tokens under our opponent’s control against their will. Add in any curse or priest effect and that’s a whole bunch of life we get to drain from them. Then, if we have an Illness in the Ranks in play they don’t even get to keep the tokens! Hunted Troll is the biggest troll there is, giving our opponent creature tokens that cause them to lose 5 life and then die off instantly, leaving your troll to bash in for 8 uncontested.
Sylvan Scrying may seem like an odd addition but it actually plays an important role. Normally this card sees play in GR or GB Tron decks to help assemble the full set of Urza’s lands. In this deck, however, it’s used primarily to fetch out Forbidden Orchard which not only sets up for our combo but it also fixes any mana issues we may run into with this four-color deck. Having a land that can produce any color of mana allows this deck to play all of the necessary cards required to support such a combo.
Blood Artist is another card that looks similar to Suture Priest and Trespasser’s Curse, except it works a bit differently. The artist requires a creature to die for you to get the drain life effect, which is a bit harder to setup than simply triggering when a creature enters the battlefield. You’ll have to pair Blood Artist with either Illness in the Ranks or Virulent Plague to turn a profit with any token producing combo cards. While the extra effort in setup may seem like a pain, it’s definitely worth it to keep compounding the drain life effects on top of each other, making each and every Forbidden Orchard activation all the more powerful.
Beating Leyline of Sanctity
One obvious flaw of this deck might be the fact that each of these token producing cards and most of our drain life cards target the opponent. So yes, it’s true that the popular Modern sideboard card Leyline of Sanctity does stop our ability to force the opponent to create creature tokens. But don’t worry, Plan B is just as awesome.
Assuming the opponent is untargetable, this means that tapping Forbidden Orchard for mana doesn’t cause the opponent to get a creature token. Having a land that naturally produces all five colors of mana with no downside is actually pretty sweet. To top it off, when we summon Hunted Phantasm or Hunted Troll we’ll get a powerful under-costed creature and our opponent won’t get any creature tokens at all because the triggered ability targets; we can’t select an opponent to give the tokens to.
Well I hope you enjoyed this weeks brew. As always, if you have any questions or comments you can find me on twitter @UTDZac or leave a comment below.