Deck Spotlight: Doom and Gloom

Tormented Hero

Tormented Hero, a card from the Theros block of Magic: The Gathering. Art by Winona Nelson.

Ahoy, fellow adventurers! This is the first of several Magic: The Gathering deck spotlights I plan to write for 3-Sided Die. Allow me to begin our journey with my current headliner build, a black/white brew I’ve dubbed “Doom and Gloom.” I’ll share the deck list, discuss the key cards and strategies I’ve developed, and offer some suggestions on how the build can evolve when rotation happens next week.

“Doom and Gloom” Decklist

Creatures (23):

Instants (4):

Sorceries (2):

Artifacts (1):

Enchantments (8):

Lands (22):

Sideboard (15):

Torment Them with Your Heroes

One of the key themes of this deck is immediately obvious: life loss/life gain. I love how black/white decks can start a gradual decay in your opponents’ life totals that can get quite out of hand with certain card combinations. One of my favorite pairings in this deck is pulling Congregate while Sanguine Bond is on the battlefield. The look on your opponent’s face as you fatally drain them for 18 life while they have a veritable army on their side of the field is priceless. Until you get to strike that killing blow, Tormented Hero, Hopeful Eidolon, and Soldier of the Pantheon help swing the scales in your favor. Whip of Erebos pinch hits for extra support in getting even more edge over your foes.

Putting 2/1s on the battlefield on turn one is a superb starting point for this deck, which tends to list more towards the aggressive end of the spectrum. For turn three, Banisher Priest is a solid, square-stat creature that can easily remove evasive threats and throw in a few blows of its own, while Agent of the Fates keeps the tension high and provides lethal defense. I love the versatility of Hopeful Eidolon as a chump blocker or Heroic enabler for the Hero and Agent. Enchanting the Eidolon with stacked Ethereal Armors is efficiently brutal; swinging with a turn three 7/7 first strike lifelinker is an effortless task with 4-ofs of both in this deck.

Remove All Doubts

Erebos, God of the Dead stops life-gain shenanigans from your opponent cold, and, with your own means of getting life, the card draw option becomes a no-brainer. The pair of Obzedat, Ghost Council drive home a fierce and tough-to-eliminate threat that just adds to the life loss misery on the other side of the table.

Angelic Accord adds insult to injury for your foes by giving you 4/4 flyers to sweeten your ever-increasing life total. Hero’s Downfall adds more pinpoint removal to keep the field clear of whatever your Priests and Agents couldn’t handle. I personally prefer to always have artifact and enchantment removal in my mainboard, and the reprint of Revoke Existence fits the bill nicely, taking care of Theros-block gods and other annoyances with ease.

Finally, the playset of Temple of Silence in your mana base helps preview your choices as you move along. Being able to plan ahead, to me, offsets the “enters the battlefield tapped” downside.

Banish Their Hopes

As I mentioned before, this is intended to be a fast, aggressive build. Press the point and don’t let up.

Between the Priests, Agents, Downfalls, and Revokes, you’ve plenty of removal options at your disposal. Abuse the stacking nature of the Armors to their absolute fullest; you have four of them, so don’t worry too much if the enchanted creature gets nixed (or, should I say, Nyxed?).

In mirror matches, you may choose to swap in the Glare of Heresy and/or the Dark Betrayal in the sideboard for more precise kills.

We Are the Warriors

As I write this essay, we are days away from rotation for Return to Ravnica and the Core 2014 set. Keeping this deck Standard-friendly means losing the Armors, Priests, and other key cards.

A possible evolution could be to move this into the fast-moving black/white Warriors tribal suggested by the dynamic duo Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale from Khans of Tarkir. I would likely start with two of each in the mainboard with the other pair in the sideboard to vary the aggressiveness of the deck. Tormented Hero fits quite nicely in a Warrior build. Other one-drop options could include Disowned Ancestor for early defense or Mardu Hateblade for killing blows. Herald of Anafenza, while itself a Soldier, puts out Warrior tokens, as does Mardu Hordechief and the instant Take Up Arms.

The good folks at PucaTrade posted a “budget brew” article today that provides an excellent framework for this build. I’d highly recommend referring to this post if you decide to move down the black/white Warriors path.

Now, if you choose to keep the life gain/life loss theme, you may want to switch to an Abzan/Heroic build to take advantage of all the +1/+1 counter interactions in Khans. Many of the Abzan cards grant bonuses to creatures with counters, but look for others, such as Seeker of the Way, who gains lifelink whenever you cast noncreature spells that would trigger Heroic on other members of your team.

Since Artifacts appear to be less of an issue in Khans block thus far, I’d suggest swapping the Revokes for Erase, which rejoins Standard after its last appearance in Core 2013. Suspension Field, while limited to targeting creatures with toughness 3 or higher, can put the brakes on beaters your team can’t handle, as well as Banishing Light, which duplicates the effects of the Priests without the body.

Congregate in the Comments!

That’s all for this installment of Deck Spotlight! I hope this deck list and analysis have been enjoyable and informative, whether you’re a casual player or hitting the Friday Night Magic circuit. I welcome all feedback and variations on a future version of “Doom and Gloom” in the comments below.

About brightmatrix

brightmatrix is a long-time casual gamer. His gaming journey has included Magic: the Gathering, the first, second, and fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons, and the first wave White Wolf games from the late 90s. If you are a denizen of the Twitterverse, you can read his posts on Magic, web development, puns, and other shenanigans at @brightmatrix.