In the Lab – Orzhov Beatdown

Just for fun, I thought I’d try something different than the usual ‘Hey, here’s this cool thing going on!’. So, here’s a Magic: the Gathering deck I’ve been brewing on for a bit that I might bring out for one of our Friday Night Magic or Wednesday Standard tournaments: Orzhov Beatdown, listed below the cut.

(oh, and just so you know, ‘Orzhov’ is the name of the White/Black color combination, given that name from the eponymous Ravnica guild. Lots of folks in the M:tG Web community have been decrying the usage of decknames such as ‘Magical Christmasland’ that don’t necessarily describe the deck, so there ya go!)

Main Deck:
4 Abyssal Persecutor
4 Arrogant Bloodlord
3 Gideon Jura
4 Tidehollow Sculler
3 Transcendent Master
3 Vampire Hexmage

3 Consuming Vapors
2 Eldrazi Monument
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Path to Exile
4 Sign in Blood

4 Arcane Sanctum
2 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Marsh Flats
7 Plains
7 Swamp

Sideboard:
3 Deathmark
2 Identity Crisis
4 Kor Firewalker
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Vampire Hexmage
4 Zealous Persecution

Why this deck, right now? Well, the overall metagame for Magic (the popular decks played at larger tournaments) are filled with lots of variants of U/W Control, U/G Polymorph and U/W/r Planeswalkers. This deck is designed to have favorable matchups against them – For U/W, it takes away precious counters or Planeswalkers via Tidehollow Sculler, and destroys their big threats – such as Sphinx of Jwar Isle, Iona, or Baneslayer Angel with Consuming Vapors. Meanwhile, it’s simply outclassing the creatures they can field – and Transcendent Master can become a massive threat, slipping in below counterspells unless they want to set themselves back a turn with Deprive.

For Polymorph, Consuming Vapors is again an All-Star, even getting past Progenitus, and the deck packs Oblivion Rings that can hose Emrakul. Post-board, it can bring in a second removal color to blow up Pelakka Wurm or Khalni Garden tokens.

For U/W/r Planeswalkers, the deck packs six ways to destroy them, and even more after boarding, including two Identity Crisis to wreck their hand after the appropriate mana’s paid. Its biggest threat – Gideon – can even be dealt with via the Legendary rule if absolutely necessary.

As far as what the deck can do itself, it’s very inspiring. Tidehollow immediately generates advantage on the field, and Hexmage stops early threats dead in their tracks. Turn three, you can drop either a beefy guy – a 4/4 with a drawback that, at the very least, will result in a trade, or use a removal spell, OR drop a guy that gets in below counters, carries a very fair power/toughness ratio for its cost and can, unchecked, destroy an opponent singlehandedly. Come turn four, you’ve got tons of options – start blowing up their board with Consuming Vapors, swing in with your team plus a Creeping Tar Pit, or drop a bomb in the form of Abyssal Persecutor. Now, Persecutor gets a lot of heck for his drawback, but you’ve got no less than *14* ways to get him off the board, seven of which – Consuming Vapors, Eldrazi Monument and Gideon – are persistent.

Let me know in the comments what you think!

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