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CardShark Content - Dennis N Santana (8/3/2005)

Welcome to the latest article in my two-part series exploring Ballom and Alcadeias, two sides of a single coin, just as Angels and Demons are. I'm sorry I couldn't finish this sooner. I'm going back to school on the 3rd and this left me with little time for other things (even sleep). Now that I've put my excuse forward, let's try to make this work!

Ah, Ballom and Alcadeias. The similarities between these two are easy to see. They both evolve from the big boys of their civilization, the Angel and Demon Commands. These species are both expensive, powerful and have many, many bad representatives that do little good when played. They both have absurdly high power to cost ratios, and they both have devastating abilities that are useless in the mirror.

Alcadeias is helped by being part of a civilization that is great at stalling for time. They have one of the best tech cards in the game, in my opinion: Holy Awe. Holy Awe kills a lot of decks on sight. Aggressive decks get completely shut down by a shield triggered Awe and are left sitting naked in the rain and Stall decks suddenly have no defenses when a Holy Awe is triggered or played. Holy Awe triggered stops everything for one turn. Except for you.

Thus, it is MUCH easier to achieve Alcadeias with enough life left in you to push through than it is to achieve a Ballom. Darkness and its inhabitants also don't play very nice with Nature, blowing up Elf X, Tribe and every source of acceleration you could think of after Ballom is achieved.

So, here's the decklist:

Creatures (26)

3: Alcadeias, Lord of Spirits
3: Urth, Purifying Elemental
3: Aeris, Flight Elemental
3: Emerald Grass (Or whatever 2 mana blocker you want)
4: La Ura Giga, Sky Guardian (Or whatever 1 mana blocker you want)
3: Senatine Jade Tree (Or whatever 2-3 mana blocker you want)
4: Bronze Arm Tribe
3: Elf X

Spells (14)

3: Faerie Life
4: Dimension Gate
3: Natural Snare
4: Holy Awe

This deck stalls out until it can pull out Alcadeias or Urth. Alcadeias does weird things to decks, such as shutting down pretty much all their removal. About the only things you'll have to worry about are Holy Awe and ´´I-Kill-Things´´ Worm; Terror Pit, Natural Snare, Death Smoke, Proclamation of Death, Crisis Boulder, Spiral Gate, Brain Serum, Crystal Memory; loads of good cards (and better: loads of good SHIELD TRIGGERS) are shut down immediately by Alcadeias, leaving you to swing away. However, keep in mind this shuts down your own cards, so all your nature spells are gone.

So why are they there? Because they help you get Alcadeias out, and afterwards, they're just mana drops for the turn. Faerie Life and Gate will pull him out, Natural Snare will get things out of your way, and the one spell in the deck that Alcadeias won’t ruin will ruin everything else: Holy Awe. It has a truly fitting name: Holy Awe will screw with other decks in ways you never thought possible.

The deck throws my usual ratio off, mostly because Alcadeias hoses non-light spells, and Holy Awe, Sundrop Armor (which I didn't use) and a few random personal choices I won’t delve into, are about the only good ones. Creatures, since Alcadeias can't hose those, are in good supply, but your mana curve is whack. About half of your deck is unusable before turn 4 with normal mana dropping. Ouch.

Thankfully, you have loads of mana production and stall occupying the rest of your slots, so if you're lucky, you can get off the ground quickly or stall the ground until you can win. Holy Awe is there for Deus Ex Maquina type craziness, so you have a good chance.

And hey, at least the deck isn't as self-destructive as the Ballom deck is, so all your work WILL go into something.

As for your angel commands, you really only have 3 to fall back on: Urth. Aeris is there because it's cheaper than Urth, so it allows you to pull a spot-on turn 6 Alcadeias on the off chance you didn't draw into Elf X and lots of mana production in your early turns. However, for everything else, it's pretty worthless. Urth, on the other hand, is a decent beatstick that can't get Death Smoked or killed in battle, which I guess is a plus. I personally traded my Death Smokes for
proclamations (personal choice) so I wouldn't know. I see them both used about the same. And dying in battle is never really my worry choosing a creature to use. Giant blockers can still smite Urth anyway.

This deck shares the same weaknesses as the Ballom deck, except it has Holy Awe and its little guys will hang around after the big boy hits, so Elf X will continue to make your creature light on the mana. You also have access to blockers that stick around. You have a better chance against fast decks, but darkness decks that can disrupt your hand and pull out bigger creatures than you via Shadow Moon have a good chance against you. Especially if they have Chaos Worm. It's one of the few things Alcadeias has to watch out for and can make all your work go away in seconds. Water decks have Crystal Paladin, who will make everything you have going for you go away. He also comes out much earlier than any creatures you have of the same quality. Hope for Holy Awe in every game.

I don't really have any specific ideas on what I want to do in the coming week(s). If you have any suggestions for interesting decks, or want to see my rendition of an established decktype (don't use any funny names describing it though, it confuses me with Magic all the time) email me and I'll see what I can do. Thanks for sticking around and until next time, may Holy Awe help you swing for 12500.

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