elcome back to the Lab! Today I have two decks to share with you all. These decks are respectively based around two green rares from Rise of the Eldrazi. This first theme week after the release of Rise of the Eldrazi has presented a challenge. You see, I already used up a bunch of good Eldrazi-related deck ideas last week. (Oops.) You can check out last week's article for themey goodness, but that still leaves me wondering what to write about. Fortunately, I don't have to wonder too hard, as a plethora of new deck-building options is now on the table. And Rise of the Eldrazi certainly has some Johnnytastic "reject rare" potential.
Of these, I was drawn to four in particular for today's article. Two of these rares are cool enough that I can't just write about them once and be done with it. So I'm doing something slightly different today, by asking for any reader input on Renegade Doppelganger and Thought Gorger. These cards are quite extraordinary, and I want to write a column (or at least a deck list) that does them justice. So if you have a neat idea about one of these cards, please share! Shapeshifters always seem to confuse me (I was similarly stumped with Cemetery Puca), and Thought Gorger looks on the surface like a Spiraling Embers type of victory condition, but I'm sure it could be much more.
This request should not dissuade you from writing in about any other spicy Rise of the Eldrazi card! Feel free, as always, to drop me a line. (Or email.)
So, by crossing off those two cards from my quartet of rares for today, I was left with two green ones: Gigantomancer and Momentous Fall. Let's go for it!
Hey Paul, Let's Have a Ball
At first, Gigantomancer's name is pretty straight forward. He's a mancer ... who makes things giganto. But when you take a peek at the card artwork, you'll see pretty big insect beside our stoic Human Shaman. Almost like a big ... mantis. Almost like a ...... GigantoMantis! I see what you did there, uh ... Chippy!
Okay, so that's theory isn't exactly ... tangible. But Gigantomancer can help with that! In fact, he can help with a lot of things. Transforming something into a 7/7 for a measly one colorless mana is nothing to sneeze at. I personally think it's funny that Gigantomancer is an eight-mana 1/1, joining the ranks of Scornful Egotist.
So how to build around this card? There are multiple ways, but I think I want to start off by using the 7/7 ability as fast as I can. Mana acceleration is a possibility, of course, but I think I'll go with something a bit more obscure. Something like Skill Borrower.
Landing a Gigantomancer on the top of your library with a Skill Borrower on the battlefield means you have the ability online five turns faster then you normally would. Ponder, Sage Owl, Worldly Counsel, and even Liliana Vess are some methods of landing the Human Shaman in that position. Nulltread Gargantuan can even put it there from the battlefield later on.
What creatures in Standard wish more than anything to be 7/7? Well, besides most of them, I guess. Bramblesnap would probably enjoy it. Jhessian Infiltrator could turn into a 7-point unstoppable bomb. Spearbreaker Behemoth and Mosstodon can give bonuses to your new fatty.
Ooze Garden is a fun trick. Even though Gigantomancer's effect only lasts until the end of your turn, you can sacrifice your new 7/7 after to create a permanent 7/7 Ooze creature token.
Dreamstone Hedron is a fun artifact use with Skill Borrower, either amping up to Gigantomancer mana levels or sacrificing a useless 1/3 to draw three cards.
Ant Queen was the centerpiece of the deck. The mostly forgotten Magic 2010 rare is a 5/5 body that produces tons of little Insect tokens, which if Gigantified could overwhelm the opponent. Skill Borrower loves seeing the Queen on top of your library as well. Besides, it's fun!
Have a Nice Trip, Won't See You Next Fall
Let me officially sign up for the Momentous Fall Fan Club. The nifty green instant is winning a lot of fans for its versatility and all-around usefulness. Let's put things into perspective. Soul's Majesty (from Conflux) lets you draw X cards, where X is the power of one of your creatures. Soul's Grace (from the preceding set, Shards of Alara) lets you gain X life. Momentous Fall accomplishes both feats in one card, at instant speed. ("Um, I'd just like to say that Soul's Grace is based on the creature's power. Not toughness. Idiot." There. Now you don't have to send that email. Think of the time I've saved you!) Sure, you have to sacrifice the creature, but the flavor wouldn't make too much sense otherwise, would it?
While gaining life is great, drawing cards is often much more enjoyable. At , I think I'm going to aim for creatures with power 4 or greater to outdo Harmonize.
Good thing I opened my inbox one day to find this spiffy decklist. The author was Steffen Hagen, a surefire and steady contributor to From the Lab (check out his cool ideas on landfall and a certain Vampire-theme Equipment.) Since his email began with the decklist and then dove into it, I'll do the same. Try to figure out the synergies!
The Harder They Fall
Steffen says, "Wall + Fall was what inspired the deck, and it's sick. Rest fell into place. All the set pieces interact in uncountable ways; come turn 6 or so, you're busy generating massive positive feedback loops and win along the way. Fun!"
Indeed, Wall of Blood and Momentous Fall are quite the duo. At the end of your opponent's turn, pay almost all of your life to the Wall of Blood, then give it a Momentous Fall. You'll wind up with more life than you started with, and a boatload of cards in your hand. Follow that up with a Spontaneous Generation, and you're well on your way for turn five.
Nest Invaders are fun, sacrificeable little guys, and Overgrown Battlements defend from threats while accelerating your mana. Vampire Aristocrat can eat all your generated Saprolings to swing for a lot. Eternal Witness brings back your big spells for round two. Marrow Chomper is a fun way to use those Saprolings. With all those creatures cards in your hand, Skyshroud Vampire could go all the way. Symbiotic Wurm is the perfect fatty here; imagine casting Momentous Fall on it! Rite of Consumption is another way to use Wall of Blood for victory. (You'll need more life than your opponent, but in this deck that usually isn't an issue.) Pattern of Rebirth is a fun card that replaces your sacrificed creature (and Steffen notes that it's the ultimate anti-annihilator card: "Gilded Drake, much?") Finally, Plunge into Darkness gains life, finds things, and sacrifices tokens.
I love synergistic decks like this. If I would change something, I might add another Spontaneous Generation just to maximize its potential. The Vampire Aristocrats could be subbed out for the cheaper Bloodthrone Vampires. Finally, some reanimation like Doomed Necromancer or Dread Return could be fun.
That's all for today! Write me on those puzzling cards from the introduction—Renegade Doppelganger and Thought Gorger—and we'll see each other next week.