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Magic the Gathering Political Decks pt. 3

Updated on September 28, 2012

This hub is about a Magic the Gathering deck type. To learn to play click here

In magic parlance, decks are boiled down to four types: weenie, beatdown, tempo, and control. This works fine for duels, but in the chaos multiplayer format (where all sides are at war with everyone else) there are decks that use the metagame as their major weapon. I call these decks poly (short for political) decks. They can take many different shapes. In previous hubs I have discussed using the metagame to hide/confuse (part one) and manipulating others with the threat of helping other opponents ( part 2). This current article is committed to beating others with gifts.

As anyone who has played many multiplayer games should know, about the best way to stay alive is to have a Howling Mine (or some variant) in play. Howling Mine effects have all players draw more cards. Some players like Howling Mine effects so much that they actively antagonize anyone who threatens the player that controls them. In addition, when Howling Mine effects start to stack players encounter the threat of losing by running out of cards. I had a friend with a deck like this that he called Turbo Fog. The deck would quickly get players drawing four or five cards a turn. Which he did likewise. But then he loaded the deck up with fog effects that negated combat damage. Because he drew 4 or 5 cards a turn, he always had enough fogs to stop attackers, especially if they didn't grasp that the proper response to Turbo Fog which is for every player to gang up on it immediately. I forget the exact build, so I'll give an approximation: (Check http://gatherer.wizards.com for unfamiliar cards)

Howling Mine Effects  Fog Effects      Other Cards
4 Howling Mine        4 Fog            4 Words of Worship
4 Rite of Flourishing 4 Tangle         4 Oblivion Rings
4 Anvil of Bogardan   4 Holy Day       12 plains
4 Walking Archive     4 Ethereal Haze  10 forests
                                       2 islands


The key card to understand is Words of Worhsip. The enchantment lets you pay one mana to not draw a card and gain 5 life. Once this hit the board the game was pretty much over. The damage prevention and life gain grew so massive that four players could not stop it even if they attacked with everything, every turn. Moreover, it assured him that he wouldn't draw himself to death. This deck really only died when hit with massive direct damage before everyone's decks started drawing five cards.

What a beautiful statue! It could really help us decorate our secret headquarters.
What a beautiful statue! It could really help us decorate our secret headquarters.

Of course a massive life gain/damage prevention isn't the only setup that works well in a what I would call a massive boon environment. The reaction of most players to a boon environment is great for other setups as well. In a boon environment most people play everything they have. They see powerful cards in their hands and they naturally seek to put them in play. Players also usually hate discarding cards even if they're useless. This means a lot of stuff is going to be onboard and the love from the Howling Mines means you can save your resources for later. When the board is clogged without relief, it is an excellent place to put a huge boardwiper into play. This is a great environment for a card like Living Death (since discarding extra cards can get a good graveyard) or any card or combination of cards that greatly benefits from a huge boardwipe (Damnation and Bitter Ordeal for instance). Also effective is to finish people off with cards that just deck people like Glimpse the Unthinkable, Hedron Crab, all of blue's new milling options in Standard, and of course Jace. (the perfect addition to this kind of deck) After all, if you deck someone they die on their draw step, well before they have the chance to attack back. Then you can laugh hysterically (on the inside) when they fail to see a card to draw. Beware of Greeks bearing Howling Mines.

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