Full tilt spicy! The power and privilege of powerful mana is an allure too strong to ignore. Here's what it looks like:
Bayou, Godless Shrine, Grasslands, Krosan Verge, Marsh Flats, Overgrown Tomb, Savannah, Scrubland, Temple Garden, Verdant Catacombs, Windswept Heath
||The standard package of true dual lands and the land-based ways to find them at will.
Brushland, Caves of Koilos, Fetid Heath, Golgari Rot Farm, Isolated Chapel, Llanowar Wastes, Orzhov Basilica, Selesnya Sanctuary, Sunpetal Grove, Tainted Field, Tainted Wood, Twilight Mire, Wooded Bastion, Woodland Cemetery
||While they aren't as obviously powerful, these "second tier" dual lands smooth out any casting requirements our deck can dish out.
Command Tower, Darksteel Ingot, Vesuva
||Despite a well-put series of dual lands, a dash of any-color options are a fine insurance policy to layer on.
Crop Rotation, Crucible of Worlds, Expedition Map, Knight of the Reliquary, Oracle of Mul Daya, Primeval Titan, Realms Uncharted, Reap and Sow, Sylvan Scrying, Wood Elves
||Surgical strikes to achieve the perfect mana set takes specific spells, but the payoff is well worth it.
Mana mana everywhere, so we don't have to think! The ease provided by powerful lands is never to be underestimated, and the options they provide are phenomenal:
Primeval Titan and Realms Uncharted can grab multiple copies of lands that provide the same colors.
Crucible of Worlds and Oracle of Mul Daya help us ramp mana either from the graveyard (just replay a Verdant Catacombs or similar land!) or the top of the library (which will constantly change thanks to the variety of effects that force us to shuffle our deck).
Vesuva not only plays nicely with making our mana better, but also lets us double up on a more interesting land if the opportunity presents itself!
With the mana base of out the way, it's time to turn our eyes to the general theme of the deck. Ghave, Guru of Spores comes with two immediate ideas, each synergistic with the other.
The first theme focus is token generation. Headlined by Rhys the Redeemed, Ghave and the assorted spells played with it can create a very large number of tokens with relative ease. This is awesome for several reasons:
- Tokens traditionally swarm other players quickly while providing protection from many frontal assaults.
- Creating lots of little creatures makes it possible to use certain types of board-clearing effects to our favor, along with many other beneficial side effects.
- There are many ways to create a permanent source of token creation, helping you get back on your feet after taking a powerful blow to the battlefield.
While I've built and played many token-based decks before, the additional benefit and complexity of using black is an exciting depth I haven't plumbed fully... yet. And while Rhys is on board with joining the action, Ghave will make the most of plenty of extra creatures to go around!
But that's only half the story. Pulling an army out of a can is a noble choice, but the darker side of Ghave speaks to a theme of sacrifice effects. Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter is a counterpoint to the all-upside Rhys. While generating lots of creatures is great, sacrificing them for various effects (all beneficial and cool things to do) is a sneakier way to play:
- Tokens traditionally can be converted into numerous other resources, such as extra cards, mana, and removal spells.
- Creating lots of little creatures through other creatures themselves enhances graveyard effects to be both powerful and on-theme.
- There are ways to set up looping effects of sacrificing a creature, only to end up back in the same position with more (arbitrarily large loop of effects, as desired).
I've hinted at the power and potential of recursive creatures and sacrifice effects, and my love affair with Kresh the Bloodbraided demonstrated clearly how slick it is to dump bodies through a few juicers.
Which way we go it entirely up to you!