Magic : The Gathering About that Orzhov Deck

Obzedat, Ghost Council

Obzedat, Ghost Council

Obzedat, Ghost Council

Just the week before Christmas 2014 I got back into playing Magic: The Gathering. I dusted off my two old decks and after several painful defeats reworked them, taking out some old cards and putting in some new ones. I’ve been having so much fun I decided to make a new deck with all new cards.

I started with a couple cards I knew I wanted to play and then as I chose cards that I thought went with them I began to think about what I wanted the deck to do. With my Rakdos deck it’s all about sacrificing creatures and bringing them back from the graveyard. With my Azorius deck it’s about casting large flying creatures. As I began to look at the cards I was drawn to for my Orzhov deck I found that life gain and life drain seemed to be the way the cards were going so that became the focus of the deck.

Erebos, God of the Dead

Erebos, God of the Dead

It’s awful to say but I began to look at the cards I was considering and trying to see how I could make the deck such that every time I did something, my opponent was punished for it. No card does just one thing with the exception of basic land. I still managed to get some cards in the deck that I just like too. There’s always room for some cards you just like. Having a defined focus for the deck led to me building one of the best decks I’ve ever put together and it was good from the beginning.

Often times when a deck is first put together it goes through a period of tuning and refinement as a player discovers what works and what doesn’t in the deck. For my Orzhov deck that was not the case. I still fine tune it but it has worked from the first game.

Ashen Rider

Ashen Rider

Here is the card list for my Orzhov deck:

4 Tithe Drinker (I know, I actually put 4 of something in a deck that isn’t land)
3 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Vampire Hexmage
2 Butcher of Malakir (extremely ugly but too good not to put in the deck)
2 High Priest of Penance
1 Angel of Despair (I’ve been trying to get her in a deck since I got her)
1 Deathpact Angel
1 Obzedat, Ghost Council (awesome and I love the way Obzedat rolls off the tongue)
1 Erebos, God of the Dead (Ya bruh)
1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
1 Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath
1 Ashen Rider (this is the bad boy that started this whole deck)
1 Shriekmaw (a personal favorite)
1 Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
1 Blood Artist (I should pick up another one of these)
1 Child of Night (foil)
1 Pulse Tracker (also foil)
1 Crypt Ghast (I need another one of these)
1 Whip of Erebos
1 Sol Ring
1 Profane Command (This card is amazing)
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Syphon Mind (I’m thinking of making this a sideboard card)

Profane Command

Profane Command


1 Victimize
1 Utter End (I need another one of these too)
1 Grasp of Darkness (foil)
1 Zealous Persecution
1 Mortify
4 Isolated Chapel
2 Vault of the Archangel
1 Orzhov Guildgate
1 Arcane Lighthouse
1 Ghost Quarter
10 Swamp
7 plains

This deck is really a lot of fun to play and it’s competitive enough to win its fair share of games.

Magic: The Gathering –Speaking of Johnny Decks

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Last time I wrote about my Fallen Angel deck, now named Rakdos. I seem to recall that I promised I’d write up my Angel deck, now called Azorius (Blue and White). This is my slowest deck. The mana threshold went up from 5 to 7 when I rebuilt it and there is very little acceleration to be found playing Blue or White. I also didn’t want to dilute the deck by putting too many counter spell type cards in it. I had to use some countering abilities though, since I cannot speed up the deck, my only hope is to slow down my opponents.

The real crux of my Azorius deck is that if I don’t miss a land drop and don’t get defeated before turns 5 to 7 I can and will cast a large flying creature every single turn after I hit the peak of my mana curve. It’s a dicey strategy since a lot of decks, even casual ones, if they get a good opening hand, can take me down before my deck gets going. If I, somehow, manage to survive though, the angels are amazing.

Archangel

Archangel

I’ve tried to select angels that multi-task. Gone completely are the classic Serra Angels of yore that used to be the backbone of the deck. Gone too are the Archangels that used to be my big closers. Now I have Akroma, Angel of Wrath and Avacyn, Angel of Hope among others. It was a difficult choice to remove the Serra Angels and Archangels but the deck is slow, I need for the Angels I play to give me bonuses of some kind.

Iridescent Angel

Iridescent Angel

Of the Angels I have in the deck the two that seem to cause the greatest gnashing of teeth and wailing from my foes are the Iridescent Angel and Reya Dawnbringer. The Iridescent Angel has protection (pro) from every color and Reya Dawnbringer allows me to return target creature card from my graveyard to play during my upkeep. I find them quite useful.

One of the other things I look for in cards and in a deck is that it is pretty. There is enough Magic: The Gathering art out there, and variant art for individual cards that I can usually find something I like or that fits with the visual theme of the deck as I build it. My Azorius deck is the most beautiful deck I’ve ever been able to put together. With a very few, notable and very practical exceptions, every card is simply gorgeous. Yes art matters.

There are still some angels I would like to get for this deck and a few cards I’m not too certain about keeping in there. This deck, of all my decks, is my favorite, it contains the remnants of the first deck I ever made and it is the one that I’m most particular about. Unlike my Rakdos deck or my Orzhov deck it is not quite right yet, it doesn’t have quite the right feel to it.

Angel of the Dire Hour

Angel of the Dire Hour

Here is the current breakdown for my Azorius deck:

1 Seraph of Dawn
1 Platinum Angel
1 Battlegrace Angel
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence (new addition)
1 Angel of the Dire Hour
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
1 Avacyn, Angel of Hope
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Angel of Salvation
1 Angel of Jubilation
1 Angel of Serenity
1 Reya Dawnbringer
1 Shepherd of the Lost
2 Sunblast Angel
2 Archangel of Thune
2 Serra Avenger
2 Lightkeeper of Emeria
3 Iridescent Angel
2 Wall of Omens (cheap and card drawing but I’m iffy about these in the deck)
1 Noble Stand
1 Moat
1 Concentrate
1 Timely Reinforcements (iffy)
1 Remember the Fallen
1 Iona’s Judgment
2 Dismiss
1 Erase
1 Cyclonic Rift (so useful but I resist it in this deck)
1 Comeuppance (useful but kind of ugly)
1 Sphinx’s Revelation (not right for this deck but card drawing is so good)
1 Return to Dust
1 Loreseeker’s Stone (iffy)
1 Sol Ring
2 Pearl Medallion
1 Elixir of Immortality (Doesn’t seem right for the deck)
1 Maze of Ith
1 Seraph Sanctuary
1 Prahv, Spires of Order
1 Emeria, the Sky Ruin
2 Azorius Guildgate (we have a name, folks)
2 Glacial Fortress
4 Tundra (Did I mention the remnants of my first ever deck?)
2 Island
18 plains

Sunblast Angel

Sunblast Angel

Whew! That’s quite a list to type up. I’m currently looking to pick up some other angels to swap out for some of the questionable stuff, like a Baneslayer Angel. I really like this deck but it is not the fastest deck to play, it’s really more of a style thing and it does need some improvement. I’m very happy that there are so many angels to choose from that I can really make something close to competitive using angels.

Next time I think I’ll write up my Orzhov deck, which is actually quite good and may be second only to my Rakdos deck. K