ello and welcome back to the Lab. This week I've got a mixed bag of sorts for you all. The most obvious party favor in the bag is exalted, the given theme to this week's website coverage. However, I have a lot more Omniscience decks in my inbox that I think deserve a mention, so the second half of today's column will be dedicated to those.
Thundermaw Hellkite | Art by Svetlin Velinov
Exalted isn't exactly bursting at the seams with interactions in the first place, so I think I can safely splice my column so. I'm not knocking the mechanic, fresh with attention due to its inclusion in Magic 2013. Attacking alone has its own savory rhythm, one that I feel a certain kinship with. I liked the mechanic back in Shards of Alara and this summer it has bled into a fourth color. Throw Lunk Errant into the mix, and exalted seems to cover the whole color pie!
I have two decks to present based around exalted today. One comes from a reader named Bryan, and the other is my take on Sublime Archangel. Lets sally forth!
I knew I wanted to touch on black exalted today, and Bryan's idea was relatively straight-forward. In his words: "Essentially the deck started as a way to try to capitalize on the ability of Thundermaw Hellkite to swing in and hit unimpeded. It then grew to incorporate flying haste creatures, with a backup of black exalted to punch through."
I love the idea of enabling a huge exalted Thundermaw Hellkite! Lots of disruption and removal complement the deck's aggressive forces.
Alright, onto Sublime Archangel. Leave it to a mythic rare to vastly expand the potential of exalted. I don't think I've ever read the phrase "each triggers separately" with such reverence. (Sorry, Cavalry Master.)
Sublime Archangel | Art by Cynthia Sheppard
Sublime Archangel makes sense in a deck with a ton of creatures. That way, she'll give them all exalted and thus pump up a future solitary attacker. And if all those creatures themselves had exalted? Double the bonus!
And if all those creatures were also Sublime Archangels? Um, that's a lot of exalted damage. And that situation isn't actually that unlikely, once you introduce a little bit of infinite. Infinite Reflection, that is.
With merely four creatures on the board, one of which being a Sublime Archangel, a Reflection targeting it will leave you with four Archangels. They all have exalted (four triggers) and all cause the others to have more of it. When the libertarian dust settles, a single incoming Sublime Archangel will be exactly a 20/19.
Of course, with all the Bant-flavored aggro in the deck, you should be able to whittle your opponent down somewhat before an Infinite strike. Akrasan Squire, Aven Squire, and Sigiled Paladin get the party started. The cascading Ardent Plea will hit one of those creatures while providing another exalted boost.
Oblivion Ring is a solid problem solver, and Silent Arbiter is a wonky way to turn your exalted strategy into a solid defense plan. You don't mind swinging with just one creature, but your opponent might.
Alright, onto the other Omniscience decks. Again, these are just fun decks that I thought were worth a mention, even if they crowd exalted's spotlight a bit this week.
Michael Jeffery sent in a list with an admirable plan: dome your opponent with multiple Searing Winds. With Eldrazi backup. He wrote:
Omniscience | Art by Jason Chan
My deck's game plan is pretty simple: ramp to ten mana with artifacts, chain a bunch of draw spells together, and kill my opponent with a few Searing Winds.
The artifacts I chose are ones that have a use besides making mana, after all once Omniscience hits the battlefield we don't really need mana anymore. Dreamstone Hedron and Mind Stone both can be sacrificed for more cards. Composite Golem is here because once he is on the field we are pretty much guaranteed to get ten mana on the next turn. I also included Crystal Vein, Dwarven Ruins, and Svyelunite Temple in the deck. Each can sacrifice for two mana, so they're great in this scenario where all we need to do is hit ten mana and then we never need lands again. They allow for some pretty explosive draws, allowing you to get Omniscience out as early as turn four.
In a similar vein I have included a few copies of Devastation. Blowing up all lands doesn't bother us after we have Omniscience out and the deck has so few creatures that the spell has virtually no effect on us. On the other hand, it will completely reset our opponent's board, giving us breathing room to advance our game plan.
And what a wonderful plan it is. Once Omniscience is out and our opponent is helpless we can play draw spell after draw spell after draw spell after draw spell until we have the tools to we need to win. Two Searing Winds to the head will kill our opponent dead, while a Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn running into the red zone will do the same thing in short order but with more style. Seriously, in a deck designed to cast big bad spells, how could anyone resist including Emrakul?
Jamison VanLoocke sent in a fun Standard green-blue deck. He wrote, "The Revives make a loop, which is pretty fun with Talrand. Make a Wish can grab Snags and Archaeomancer's back, if not more Revives."
Jamison VanLoocke's Green-Blue Omniscience
For some reason, I really like these lists with just a single Omniscience in them. It just... feels right to me.
Finally, Aaron Golas continues the Standard bent with his blue-black idea. He wrote:
First, we want a bit of mana ramp to kick things off. Palladium Myr and Gilded Lotus fill this role with support from Phyrexian Metamorph, letting us cast our biggest spells (including Omniscience) as early as turn five.
Rune-Scarred Demon is a powerhouse, and even better when he's free. The most obvious thing to fetch with the Demon is another Demon (or a cheap Phyrexian knockoff), putting a ton of power in the sky at once. He can also grab his big brother Griselbrand for even more card-drawing power.
But if we want to get tricky (and we do), we add Archaeomancer and Ghostly Flicker to the mix. Ghostly Flicker can reset Metamorph to something more useful and gets extra tutoring out of a Demon. Meanwhile, flickering Archaeomancer lets us return Ghostly Flicker to our hand, turning him into a variation on Deadeye Navigator.
Thus we come to the combo. A flight of Demons is pretty saucy, but what if we don't want to wait for our attack step before we close out the game? Omniscience + Rune-Scarred Demon + Ghostly Flicker + Archaeomancer = tutor for our entire library, cast Laboratory Maniac and Amass the Components for the win. Now that's true Omniscience!"
Again, well done! Hope you enjoyed. Until next time!