Tag Archives: black

On to the next: Damia, Sage of Stone

OK so having built Garza Zol – a deck I had no idea about what I wanted to do – I’m moving on to something I’ve been thinking about for a while – Damia. Lets have a look at her:

This one is going to be reasonably straightforward; assuming I can keep her in play, I want to dump my hand every turn and refill, and simply overwhelm the board with card advantange. To that end this deck is going to revolve around a few core concepts:

  • Mana acceleration. To be able to cast multiple cards per turn, I’m going to need a lot of mana. On the plus side (and not exactly a side effect, but another bonus) Damia costs 7, so I’d need some anyway
  • Spells with alternate mana costs – in particular “pitch” spells like Commandeer, Sickening Shoal, and Allosaurus Rider, but also “you may play this for free” spells like Massacre. Other things which fall broadly into this category are Suspend spells like Errant Ephemeron and Pfthisis and Retrace spells like Spitting Image or Worm Harvest (giving me something to do with the extra lands I’ll no doubt end up with). Dream Halls is a no-brainer – although it gives the ability to all your opponents as well, which isn’t so good.
  • Cards or abilities which let you “store” cards for later. This is a much harder ability to pin down, but the King of all these cards is Ice Cauldron. Go ahead, read the card. For bonus points, read the actual card text, then the oracle text, then all the explanations of the oracle text, then read the card again :D. The cliff notes version of Ice Caudron is this:
                 Tap: Exile a card from your hand. You may play that card as long as it’s exiled.
    The rest of the abilities (and explanations) pretty much deal with adding mana to, or removing mana from the Ice Cauldron. The really important bit is you can still cast the spells from exile, even if Ice Cauldron is destroyed. The tricky thing is that you can only exile one card every two turns without help, since you need to get rid of the charge counter on Ice Cauldron before you can activate it again. But I digress… There are some other cards which let you store cards for later – you could argue the Suspend mechanic does it – but something that sorta fits is Bottled Cloister. It means you have no hand for all of your opponent’s turns – which is a pretty major disadvantage – but if it survives until your next upkeep and your stack the triggers properly, you draw 7 off Damia, then get your hand back and draw an extra card.
  • There are a few more bits and pieces I’ll be throwing in too (hint: Spellshapers) but I’ll get to them when I type out the list
  • Something I haven’t been able to think of a way to abuse is the “skip your draw step” ability – is there anything I can cram in there?

So I have heaps of ideas for this one – except I have hardly any of the cards (apparently I own zero Pfthisisisisesesisises) so the first build will be interesting…



Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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Garza Zol, Plague Queen: Finished List, Mk I

As I threatened to earlier, I’ve put this together with the cards I can find, and will give it a whirl in the next few days. I mananged to squeeze in all the themes I wanted (Vampires, Royalty, Mind Control, and just a touch of plague, er Pestilence).

You can see a breakdown of the deck here

The decklist:

// Chief Bloodsucker and Queen of the Damned
1 Garza Zol, Plague Queen

1 Anowon, the Ruin Sage
1 Blood Seeker
1 Blood Tyrant
1 Bloodlord of Vaasgoth
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Chancellor of the Dross
1 Crossway Vampire
1 Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
1 Falkenrath Marauders
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 Kalastria Highborn
1 Malakir Bloodwitch
1 Rakish Heir
1 Screeching Bat
1 Sengir Nosferatu
1 Sengir Vampire
1 Skeletal Vampire
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Vampire Outcasts
1 Viscera Seer

//Sucking the Blood
1 Barter in Blood
1 Blood Tribute
1 Bloodchief Ascension
1 Corrupt
1 Cruel Ultimatum
1 Sign in Blood
1 Pestilence
1 Vampiric Fury

//The Machines that go “PING”
1 Arcane Teachings
1 Fire Whip
1 Flame Fusillade
1 Hypervolt Grasp
1 Lavamancer’s Skill
1 Viridian Longbow

//Your mind is weak…
1 Dream Leash
1 Enslave
1 Mind Control
1 Persuasion
1 Ray of Command
1 Traitorous Blood
1 Word of Seizing

//I say what is allowed in my domain
1 Condescend
1 Hinder
1 Rewind
1 Spell Crumple

//The Royal Court
1 Aura of Dominion
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Crown of Empires
1 Scepter of Empires
1 Throne of Empires
1 Royal Assassin

//Minions, Schemes and Tricks
1 Altar’s Reap
1 Avatar of Woe
1 Blight Sickle
1 Clone
1 Crystal Ball
1 Dimir Signet
1 Garza’s Assassin
1 Nicol Bolas
1 Soul Manipulation
1 Terminate
1 Traitor’s Roar
1 Vesuvan Shapeshifter

//Making the Mana
1 Barren Moor
1 Steam Vents
1 Blood Crypt
1 Temple of the False God
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Tresserhorn Sinks
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Lonely Sandbar
1 Jwar Isle Refuge
1 Frost Marsh
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Dreadship Reef
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Graven Cairns
1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
1 Stensia Bloodhall
12 Swamp
2 Island
1 Mountain

There are a number of changes I’d make immediately if I had the cards/could be bothered moving them from other decks, most notably Basilisk Collar, Death Pits of Rath, and Thornbite Staff. But in the meantime I’ll play it like this and see how it goes. I was a little worried that the curve for this deck would be too high and I’d spend the first few turns doing nothing, but I was surprised at how many playable vampires there are in CMC 1-3, so I may be able to put early pressure on. After I’ve played a couple of games I’ll give all y’all my impression of it.


Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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Garza Zol: A journey of a thousand miles…

…begins with one step, apparently. Since I’ve hit a bit of a wall when it comes to ideas for Ms Zol, I’ve decided I’m just going to build the damn thing and then tweak it from there. I’m going to go with a Vampire/damage dealing/grow-a-creature type strategy, with a little “you work for me now” vampire charm (<– see what I did there?!) thrown in and see how strong (or otherwise) it turns out to be. So, to the cards!


Cards in Italics I don’t own and will have to try and trade for. Further broken down by:

Vampires that grow themselves or other Vampires

Baron Sengir (this guy is expensive, I probably have no chance of getting one)
Blood Tyrant
Bloodcrazed Neonate
Bloodlord of Vaasgoth
Falkenrath Marauders
Mephidross Vampire
Mirri the Cursed
Nirkana Revenant
Rakish Heir
Repentant Vampire
Sengir Vampire
Stromkirk Noble
Vampire Nocturnus
Vampire Outcasts
Vampiric Dragon
Vein Drinker

Vampires that take control of other creatures

Krovikan Vampire
Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet (kinda)
Soul Collector

Vampires that do both

Captivating Vampire
Olivia Voldaren

Other Vampires

Anowon, the Ruin Sage
Ascendant Evincar
Blood Seeker
Bloodghast (I have one but it’s in a deck that actually cares about it coming back. It’ll probably stay there) 
Bloodline Keeper // Lord of Lineage (would you believe I had two of these and traded them both? I so smart…)
Butcher of Malakir
Chancellor of the Dross
Crossway Vampire (probably weak, but nice boobs art, and helps to get other guys through)
Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
Falkenrath Noble (wrath punishment)
Gatekeeper of Malakir
Kalastria Highborn
Malakir Bloodwitch
Skeletal Vampire
Screeching Bat // Stalking Vampire
Vampire Hexmage
Vampire Nighthawk

Doin’ Damage, direct-styles

As well as crashing into other people in the combat phase, there’ll be a few cards which help the Vamps “ping”. Unfortunately most of them are Auras, so are pretty bad, esp since you can’t move them from creature to creature very easily. The best of them (cheap, or more resistant to removal) are:

Arcane Teachings
Fire Whip
Flame Fusillade (I like this card 🙂 )
Furystoke Giant (like this one too)
Hermetic Study
Hypervolt Grasp (One of the few that I can get back)
Lavamancer’s Skill
Power of Fire
Psionic Gift
Thornbite Staff (expensive to activate)
Viridian Longbow

There are other things in this category too like:

Warstorm Surge

But generally speaking these effects are pretty bad…. I’ve done a couple of searches and turned up some others, but they all seem to only effect one creature, or are a one-shot (instant or sorcery). I do like the imagery of a flock of Vampires (what else are you going to call them?!) descending on a poor unsuspecting Primeval Titan and biting him to death…

Taking Control

A much-hated part of blue’s colour pie (especially by me!), taking control of other people’s creatures is a pretty strong strategy. I do try and avoid it in my decks, but in a Vampire deck it fits the theme as well as being good, so I’m going to chuck a few of them in – but only if the name and flavour of the card fits! No Bribery here, we Vampires are much too sophisticated to resort to mere coin! At the moment I’m looking at:

Control Magic
Mind Control
Ray of Command
Scythe of the Wretched
Slave of Bolas
Traitorous Blood
Word of Seizing

 Other Stuff

Some of this interacts with the other themes; some of it is goodstuff inclusions, and some of it is just things I’ve wanted to put in a deck…. 😉

Avatar of Woe
Backlash/Traitor’s Roar
Basilisk Collar (I have one, but it’s in another deck. I could see moving it to here though)
Beacon of Unrest
Blade of the Bloodchief
Blight Sickle
Clone/Metamorph/Vesusvan Doppelganger etc etc etc
Fang Skulkin (probably not…)
Fists of the Demigod
Gorgon Flail
Hinder/Spell Crumple
Phyrexian Arena
Quietus Spike
Rite of Replication
Vesuvan Shapeshifter

Well, that’s a… pile of cards…

I think I’ll throw this together with the cards I have, add some more draw and removal, and call it a deck. I’m still not too happy about how this ended up, but maybe it’ll be more fun to play than it looks. I’m definitely going to revisit this deck in the very near future – one thing I haven’t mentioned yet that keeps popping into my head is a Proliferate subtheme – I have some proliferate cards in Animar and they’ve been surprisingly useful.

Comments, as always, are welcome – but be gentle with me! This doesn’t look much like a deck to me, at least, not at the moment!


Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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Brainstorming: Garza Zol

OK so straight on to the next one! My next general is Garza Zol, Plague Queen:

I’m going to break this bad girl down and see what jumps out at me; I really don’t know what kind of deck she wants to be the general for….


Garza Zol, Plague Queen. Not too much to work with there… maybe some reference to plague? A quick search reveals there are 15 cards with Plague in them; all black apart from Ms Zol herself. And some of them are awful (looking at you Plague Fiend). Bonus points to me if I get some plague cards in there though… As for Queen; well Royalty is a harder search to pin down, but off the top of my head you have things like Royal Assassin, Decree of <X>.

Sidebar: I just did a search for “King” and it turns out two of the Kings in Magic (Sol’Kanar and Sedris) are in the same colour combination… coincidence? (Aside from Darien, but that guy’s a masochistic jerk 😉 ). See also Prince of Thralls and Princess Lucrezia…. this is getting downright weird…

Mana Cost

4UBR, also known as 7. Seven mana is a lot, even in EDH, even for a general. The problem with 7 to cast generals is that – when you’re not in green – you’ll only cast them once or twice before the game is over. They have to be very good, or effect the board immediately.

Sidebar number 2: My generals in my 13 decks so far (wow…) are CMC 2 (1 general), 3 (6), 4 (4) and 5 (1) and 6 (1). That’s actually surprisingly low for me, since I like my big dumb guys 🙂

UBR obviously sets my colours, and up to a point tells me what I’m going to do with the deck. Card draw and counters and fliers for blue, killing stuff for fun and profit in black and damage and haste in red, to generalise.

Creature Type

Vampire. Not a lot to work with here either – my first thought was to build a Vampire tribal deck. Up until Innistrad there were 62 vampires in Magic – 1 White/Black (Vish Kal), 1 Red/Black (Vampiric Dragon), 2 Blue/Black (Szadek and Morioii) 2 Blue/Black/Red (Garza and Blood Tyrant), and 56 mono-black. Kind of defeats the purpose of a multicolour EDH deck. Innistrad has kind of added 14 Vampires; 6 Red, 5 Black (one of which gets counted twice since it’s a transform card with Vampire on both sides), 1 Red/Black (Olivia Voldaren), and one which is a Vampire only when it’s transformed (Screeching Bat//Stalking Vampire). Still not a lot to work with, although some of them are quite appealing (Falkenrath Marauders and Rakish Heir seem pretty good). I may still have quite a few Vampires in the deck, but it looks like not enough to have cards that key off certain creature types.


Flying, Haste. Haste is a pretty good ability in my playgroup, especially at the time when Garza’s likely to be played – in the later stages of most of our games creatures tend to get wiped every other turn so you’re lucky to be able to swing with non-hasty creatures at all. So on one hand it’s nice to have haste and be able to swing; on the other hand if Garza gets wrathed away as soon as she hits recasting her could be a problem. Flying severely limits what can stop her getting through when she does swing, although again by that stage there are more likely to be Dragons and Demons and Big Things With Reach on the battlefield, which makes the flying less relevant than it would be earlier.

Whenever a creature dealt damage by Garza Zol, Plague Queen this turn dies, put a +1/+1 counter on Garza Zol.
Whenever Garza Zol deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.
OK so technically this is two abilities but they’re linked (in my twisted little mind) as one triggers when she is blocked and one triggers when she is not blocked. But hang on there Tiger, lets read that first ability again;
Whenever a creature dealt damage by Garza Zol, Plague Queen this turn dies, put a +1/+1 counter on Garza Zol.
What that doesn’t say right there is “combat damage”… A little Arcane Teachings, maybe? Arena, perhaps? Triangle of War, hmmm? (Okay so I’m… probably… kidding about Triangle of War) Warstorm Surge and possibly Electropotence. Flame Fusillade with Garza and Sengir Vampire and Rakish Heir seems fun…

The second ability does have that pesky “combat phase” wording, but will come in useful, especially with the flying and the haste.

What direction do you fine folks think I should go? Comment away!


Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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