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CardShark Content - Michael Shiver (4/3/2005)

Part of the joy of Magic is finding out new, interesting, and usually flashy ways to use cards that most people don’t think much about, often in combinations that are completely unexpected. Especially if they involve huge, unwieldy creatures, or the much-maligned “crap rare.” I’ve seen Conspiracy
Conspiracy
ConspiracySet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
127
Artist:
Jeff Easley
Text:
As Conspiracy comes into play, choose a creature type.Creatures you control and creature cards in your graveyard, hand, and library are of the chosen type.
used to great effect, heard someone name “Monster” for Riptide Shapeshifter
Riptide Shapeshifter
Riptide ShapeshifterSet: Onslaught
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Shapeshifter
Rarity:
U
Number:
109
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
2UU, Sacrifice Riptide Shapeshifter: Choose a creature type. Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a creature card of that type. Put that card into play and shuffle the rest into your library.
(Tidal Kraken
Tidal Kraken
Tidal KrakenSet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
8
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Monster
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Tidal Kraken is unblockable.
), seen Gemini Engine
Gemini Engine
Gemini EngineSet: Darksteel
Cost:
6
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Nottsuo
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Whenever Gemini Engine attacks, put an attacking Twin artifact creature token into play. Its power is equal to Gemini Engine's power and its toughness is equal to Gemini Engine's toughness. Sacrifice the token at end of combat.
on a Soul Foundry
Soul Foundry
Soul FoundrySet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
246
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Text:
Imprint - When Soul Foundry comes into play, you may remove a creature card in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.) X, T: Put a creature token into play that's a copy of the imprinted creature card. X is the converted mana cost of that card.
, and have even been killed by a crew of Aurochs
Aurochs
AurochsSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Aurochs
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Steve White
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
Trample If Aurochs attacks, it gets +1/+0 until end of turn for each other Aurochs that attacks.
. Nemesis had a very interesting “crap rare” that got next to no popular attention, and also wasn’t even “bad” enough to get any hatred, either. Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.
has each player reveal a card from his or her hand. Then whoever revealed the creature card with the lowest cost gets to put it into play right then and there (ties make all the tied creatures come into play). A Red hand-peeking trick? A way to make 3-cost creatures 1 cheaper? It was certainly a strange one.

It was when Prophecy
Prophecy
ProphecySet: Homelands
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Reveal the top card of target opponent's library to all players. If it is a land, gain 1 life. That opponent then shuffles his or her library. Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.
came out that I first heard of people trying to compete with Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.
decks, backed up with Black discard power (anecdotal aside: that was also when I first heard rumors of a card described to read exactly as Disrupting Shoal
Disrupting Shoal
Disrupting ShoalSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
R
Number:
33
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
You may remove a blue card with converted mana cost X in your hand from the game rather than pay Disrupting Shoal's mana cost. Counter target spell if its converted mana cost is X.
appears today; speculate on that for a minute). It was about two years ago that I decided to try to make a deck of my own. The Gambits were easy enough to procure (who would play with that crap, anyway?), but they ended up sitting in my binder for quite a while. The cards I needed to support the deck, and to really make it good, were already in other decks, and I didn’t want to almost incapacitate two or three good decks just for an experiment. It was about a year ago, though, that I heard about a “Type 0” tournament nearby that even allowed three proxies per deck! [Editor's note: A ´´Type 0´´ or ´´Typeless´´ tournament is an event that follows absolutely no banned or restricted list, thus the four Strip Mine
Strip Mine
Strip MineSet: Fourth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
T: Add 1 colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Sacrifice Strip Mine to destroy target land.
s you'll see in a minute. The only real rule when it comes to card selection is the four-per-deck rule.] I decided to pull up the cards and build the deck just for that event (proxying three Demonic Tutor
Demonic Tutor
Demonic TutorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Search your library for one card and take it into your hand. Reshuffle your library afterwards.
s; I didn’t want to waste the spaces, but didn’t want to be a total jerk). I can’t remember exactly what was in it that time, but I know that there are some rather significant differences between it and the version below. The latest incarnation was also built for a “Type 0” event, but I decided to keep it around another week or two to see how it fared against my friends. In a nutshell, the deck uses discard and spot control to rid an opponent (just one; no good in multiplayer) of creatures and creature cards, and then play something very ridiculous for very cheap with the marquee card, Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.
.

Let’s begin.

Lands (22)
9: Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.

5: Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.

4: Strip Mine
Strip Mine
Strip MineSet: Fourth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
T: Add 1 colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Sacrifice Strip Mine to destroy target land.

2: Tainted Peak
Tainted Peak
Tainted PeakSet: Torment
Color:
Land
Type:
land
Rarity:
U
Number:
142
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. T: Add B or R to your mana pool. Play this ability only if you control a swamp.

1: Lantern-Lit Graveyard
1: Sulfurous Springs
Sulfurous Springs
Sulfurous SpringsSet: Fifth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Add B or R to your mana pool. Sulfurous Springs deals 1 damage to you.


Uncastable (4)
1: Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Akroma, Angel of WrathSet: Legions
Cost:
8
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
1
Artist:
Ron Spears
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying, first strike, trample, haste, protection from black, protection from red
Attacking doesn’t cause Akroma, Angel of Wrath to tap.

1: Fungal Shambler
Fungal Shambler
Fungal ShamblerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
7
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
6
Toughness:
4
Text:
Trample. Whenever Fungal Shambler deals damage to an opponent, you draw a card and that opponent discards a card from his or her hand.

1: Living Hive
Living Hive
Living HiveSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
8
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
R
Number:
124
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Trample Whenever Living Hive deals combat damage to a player, put that many 1/1 green Insect creature tokens into play.

1: Plated Slagwurm
Plated Slagwurm
Plated SlagwurmSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
R
Number:
127
Artist:
Justin Sweet
Power:
8
Toughness:
8
Text:
Plated Slagwurm can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.


Artifact and Multicolor (8)
4: Talisman of Indulgence
Talisman of Indulgence
Talisman of IndulgenceSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
255
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
T: Add 1 to your mana pool. T: Add B or R to your mana pool. Talisman of Indulgence deals 1 damage to you.

4: Terminate
Terminate
TerminateSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.


Black (17)
4: Hymn to Tourach
Hymn to Tourach
Hymn to TourachSet: Fallen Empires
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
12
Artist:
Susan Van Camp
Text:
Target player discards two cards at random from his or her hand. If target player does not have enough cards, his or her entire hand is discarded.

4: Pulse of the Dross
Pulse of the Dross
Pulse of the DrossSet: Darksteel
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
50
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player reveals three cards from his or her hand and you choose one of them. That player discards that card. Then if that player has more cards in hand than you return Pulse of the Dross to its owner's hand.

2: Cabal Interrogator
Cabal Interrogator
Cabal InterrogatorSet: Scourge
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Tony Szczudlo
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
XB , T : Target player reveals X cards from his or her hand and you choose one of them. That player discards that card. Play this ability only when you could play a sorcery.

2: Nezumi Shortfang
Nezumi Shortfang
Nezumi ShortfangSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Rat Rogue
Rarity:
R
Number:
131
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
1B, T: Target opponent discards a card. Then if that player has no cards in hand, flip Nezumi Shortfang. ----- Stabwhisker the Odious Legendary Creature - Rat Shaman 3/3 At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, that player loses 1 life for each card fewer than three in his or her hand.

2: Suppress
Suppress
SuppressSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
52
Artist:
T. Nielsen & T.M. Baxa
Text:
Target player removes all cards in his or her hand from the game face down. At the end of that player's next turn, that player returns those cards to his or her hand.

1: Demonic Tutor
Demonic Tutor
Demonic TutorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Search your library for one card and take it into your hand. Reshuffle your library afterwards.

1: Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic TutorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
129
Artist:
Rick Farrell
Text:
Search your library for a card, and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

1: Volrath the Fallen
Volrath the Fallen
Volrath the FallenSet: Nemesis
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
75
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
6
Toughness:
4
Text:
1B, Discard a creature card from your hand: Volrath the Fallen gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the discarded card's converted mana cost.


Red (9)
4: Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.

2: Magnivore
Magnivore
MagnivoreSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lhurgoyf
Rarity:
R
Number:
204
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Haste Magnivore's power and toughness are each equal to the number of sorcery cards in all graveyards.

1: Avatar of Fury
Avatar of Fury
Avatar of FurySet: Prophecy
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Avatar
Rarity:
R
Number:
82
Artist:
rk post
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying If an opponent controls seven or more lands, Avatar of Fury costs 6 less to play. R: Avatar of Fury gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

1: Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire ColossusSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
[R], Sacrifice Bloodfire Colossus: Bloodfire Colossus deals 6 damage to each creature and each player.

1: Butcher Orgg
Butcher Orgg
Butcher OrggSet: Onslaught
Cost:
7
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Orgg
Rarity:
R
Number:
192
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
You may divide Butcher Orgg's combat damage as you choose among defending. player and/or any number of creatures he or she controls.


Sideboard (15, duh)
4: Dark Ritual
Dark Ritual
Dark RitualSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Add BBB to your mana pool.

4: Devour in Shadow
Devour in Shadow
Devour in ShadowSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
46
Artist:
Thomas M Baxa
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated. You lose life equal to that creature's toughness.

2: Browbeat
Browbeat
BrowbeatSet: Judgment
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
82
Artist:
Mark Tedin

Text:
Unless a player has Browbeat deal 5 damage to him or her, target player draws three cards.

2: Coffin Queen
Coffin Queen
Coffin QueenSet: Tempest
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Kaja Foglio
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
You may choose not to untap Coffin Queen during your untap phase.2B, T: Put target creature card from any graveyard into play under your control. Remove that creature from the game if Coffin Queen becomes untapped or if you lose control of Coffin Queen.

1: Benthic Behemoth
Benthic Behemoth
Benthic BehemothSet: Tempest
Cost:
8
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Serpent
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
7
Toughness:
6
Text:
Islandwalk (If defending player controls any islands, this creature is unblockable.)

1: Platinum Angel
Platinum Angel
Platinum AngelSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
228
Artist:
Brom
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying You can't lose the game and your opponents can't win the game.

1: Sabertooth Nishoba
Sabertooth Nishoba
Sabertooth NishobaSet: Invasion
Cost:
6
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
268
Artist:
Gary Ruddell
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Trample, protection from blue, protection from red



Land

Black is vital to the deck, contributing discard and creature control, and Red is for the Gambits, of course. The actual color mix being close to 2:1 suggested the basic land ratio listed above, and the dual-producing lands were obvious choices (wish I had more of them, though). Strip Mine
Strip Mine
Strip MineSet: Fourth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
T: Add 1 colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Sacrifice Strip Mine to destroy target land.
wasn’t in the original version of the deck, but I put it in the second try (this most recent one is actually the third incarnation), and really appreciated the interesting versatility it allowed. It was usually used for locking an opponent out of a color, and sometimes to put further pressure on someone who was down on lands because he or she had to discard some of them in the early game. Also useful for getting rid of those annoying nonbasic lands of various shades.


Uncastable

This subclass of cards in the deck warrants its own explanation. The presence of these cards is what makes the true power of Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.
truly shine.

Akroma with Gambit is cheap beatings at its sickest, in my opinion. Flying – check. Haste – check. Trample – check. Other ridiculous abilities – check. Huge – check. The difference between Akroma here and her appearances in reanimator decks is that I’m more than happy to actually draw her.

Fungal Shambler
Fungal Shambler
Fungal ShamblerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
7
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
6
Toughness:
4
Text:
Trample. Whenever Fungal Shambler deals damage to an opponent, you draw a card and that opponent discards a card from his or her hand.
is huge and strange, but his ability also helps the deck along. A discard effect without having to spend extra spells or mana, and then a draw to speed things along, all wrapped up in a big kick to the face for my opponent. Great!

Living Hive
Living Hive
Living HiveSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
8
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
R
Number:
124
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Trample Whenever Living Hive deals combat damage to a player, put that many 1/1 green Insect creature tokens into play.
is here to increase the amount and methods of fun I can have while winning. Sure, attacking with big creatures is great, but so is attacking with a whole crowd of them. Also, two unblocked attacks from a Living Hive
Living Hive
Living HiveSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
8
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
R
Number:
124
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Trample Whenever Living Hive deals combat damage to a player, put that many 1/1 green Insect creature tokens into play.
and its Insect spawn is a total of 18 damage. That’s fun, too.

Plated Slagwurm
Plated Slagwurm
Plated SlagwurmSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
R
Number:
127
Artist:
Justin Sweet
Power:
8
Toughness:
8
Text:
Plated Slagwurm can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.
is the ultimate answer to spot removal. He can’t be burned for extra after combat, so if he’s going to be killed by damage, it needs to be either a very large Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.
or most of the opponent’s team sacrificing themselves for the greater good. Wonder
Wonder
WonderSet: Judgment
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Incarnation
Rarity:
U
Number:
54
Artist:
Rebecca Guay

Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying As long as Wonder is in your graveyard and you control an island, creatures you control have flying.
ful.


Artifact and Multicolor

Talisman of Indulgence
Talisman of Indulgence
Talisman of IndulgenceSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
255
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
T: Add 1 to your mana pool. T: Add B or R to your mana pool. Talisman of Indulgence deals 1 damage to you.
is acceleration, pure and simple. Some of these discard spells and effects are a little mana-intensive, but playing as many of them a turn as possible is a must. The Talismans were always welcome.

Terminate
Terminate
TerminateSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.
, in my opinion, is by far the best creature-removal spell, period. One dead creature for two mana, no questions asked. Lucky me: it’s Black and Red.


Black

Hymn to Tourach
Hymn to Tourach
Hymn to TourachSet: Fallen Empires
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
12
Artist:
Susan Van Camp
Text:
Target player discards two cards at random from his or her hand. If target player does not have enough cards, his or her entire hand is discarded.
is another one of those best ever cards. When playing any kind of discard strategy, it’s best to let opponents have as little control over their losses as possible. Hence, the popularity (and infrequent printing) of random-discard effects. This one can also hit early enough to take out a crucial land or two, generally ruining the opponent’s day in the process. Efficiency, my name is.

Pulse of the Dross
Pulse of the Dross
Pulse of the DrossSet: Darksteel
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
50
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player reveals three cards from his or her hand and you choose one of them. That player discards that card. Then if that player has more cards in hand than you return Pulse of the Dross to its owner's hand.
is a new addition to the deck. In the two previous builds, these spaces were devoted to 4 Wrench Mind
Wrench Mind
Wrench MindSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
84
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Target player discards two cards from his or her hand unless he or she discards an artifact card from his or her hand.
. Wrench is efficient, but it leaves everything up to the opponent, including how many cards they actually have to discard. The Pulse puts the ball back in my court. Though the opponent chooses the three cards to reveal, that’s not much of a true disadvantage in the grand scope of things. If his or her hand is relatively depleted, the three cards revealed represent most (if not all) of it. If his or her hand is relatively full, the Pulse’s “built-in-buyback” will probably kick in, and you’ll get another use out of it. In all the matches I played, I was very glad to have it fighting for the home team.

Cabal Interrogator
Cabal Interrogator
Cabal InterrogatorSet: Scourge
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Tony Szczudlo
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
XB , T : Target player reveals X cards from his or her hand and you choose one of them. That player discards that card. Play this ability only when you could play a sorcery.
has everything going for it that the Pulse of the Dross
Pulse of the Dross
Pulse of the DrossSet: Darksteel
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
50
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player reveals three cards from his or her hand and you choose one of them. That player discards that card. Then if that player has more cards in hand than you return Pulse of the Dross to its owner's hand.
has. It ends up being more expensive, but the 1 extra mana per card viewed is a small price to pay for the ability to reuse the effect. True, the Interrogator is a tiny, fragile guy, but being Black helps his case when it comes to removal, and the sheer control power of the deck is usually more than enough to keep him safe for quite a while (alas, he doesn’t deal with topdecks very well).

Nezumi Shortfang
Nezumi Shortfang
Nezumi ShortfangSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Rat Rogue
Rarity:
R
Number:
131
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
1B, T: Target opponent discards a card. Then if that player has no cards in hand, flip Nezumi Shortfang. ----- Stabwhisker the Odious Legendary Creature - Rat Shaman 3/3 At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, that player loses 1 life for each card fewer than three in his or her hand.
is another new addition to the crew. In the first and second builds of the deck, there were 2 Abyssal Specter
Abyssal Specter
Abyssal SpecterSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Specter
Rarity:
U
Artist:
George Pratt
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying If Abyssal Specter damages any player, he or she chooses and discards a card.
standing (swooping?) in this spot. They, however, are slow. Nezumi Shortfang
Nezumi Shortfang
Nezumi ShortfangSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Rat Rogue
Rarity:
R
Number:
131
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
1B, T: Target opponent discards a card. Then if that player has no cards in hand, flip Nezumi Shortfang. ----- Stabwhisker the Odious Legendary Creature - Rat Shaman 3/3 At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, that player loses 1 life for each card fewer than three in his or her hand.
is cheap, cheap, cheap, and has the much-coveted instant-speed-discard within his grasp. The real bonus of his flip-trigger is that the opponent doesn’t have to have any cards when his ability is activated. Shortfang’s own ability, along with the rest of the deck, usually means a clean board, so once he turns into Stabwhisker the Odious, he starts handing out beatings like there’s no tomorrow (there often isn’t).

Suppress
Suppress
SuppressSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
52
Artist:
T. Nielsen & T.M. Baxa
Text:
Target player removes all cards in his or her hand from the game face down. At the end of that player's next turn, that player returns those cards to his or her hand.
does two things: combos nicely with Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.
(whatever I want for 3BR), and often acts as an early game Time Walk
Time Walk
Time WalkSet: Alpha
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Take an extra turn after this one.
(opponent probably can’t play the one card he or she drew right away, probably doesn’t have much of a creature base to speak of yet, and pretty much has to say “go”). They were a little more essential to the first build than they are to this particular image, and I might start maindecking Browbeat
Browbeat
BrowbeatSet: Judgment
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
82
Artist:
Mark Tedin

Text:
Unless a player has Browbeat deal 5 damage to him or her, target player draws three cards.
and leaving Suppress
Suppress
SuppressSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
52
Artist:
T. Nielsen & T.M. Baxa
Text:
Target player removes all cards in his or her hand from the game face down. At the end of that player's next turn, that player returns those cards to his or her hand.
in the sideboard in future versions. We’ll just have to see.

Not much explanation for the Tutors needs to be given. If I need something, I can just go get it. If I ever get around to procuring more of them, more will go in the deck.

Volrath the Fallen
Volrath the Fallen
Volrath the FallenSet: Nemesis
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
75
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
6
Toughness:
4
Text:
1B, Discard a creature card from your hand: Volrath the Fallen gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the discarded card's converted mana cost.
is a big scary homeless man that can be Gambited into play just like anyone else, but it’s also not very difficult for this deck to cast him. The synergy of his ability with the theme of the deck is beautiful. The times he swings in the 18-20 damage range aren’t all that uncommon. He’s definitely worth every mana.


Red

Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.
, of course, is the point of the deck. Most of what can be said about it either has already been mentioned, or is pretty obvious. Wait until your opponent has no creatures in hand, and then throw something ridiculously large and/or powerful into play for 1R. For the opponents I played against that ran a very low creature count, I was even able to get away with a very early, very risky Gambit play in situations where I wasn’t yet completely sure of what they were holding. Those times felt even more fun, since they were more in the spirit of what “fair” usage of the card is supposed to be like.

Magnivore
Magnivore
MagnivoreSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lhurgoyf
Rarity:
R
Number:
204
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Haste Magnivore's power and toughness are each equal to the number of sorcery cards in all graveyards.
is a fun guy to have around. I’m playing discard, and my deck is based around a Sorcery, so they’re always a respectable size. The Haste factor fits in nicely with the whole “surprise, big creature!” thing that the deck has going, as well. In terms of power to cost ratio, he’s priced very aggressively even at 2RR. In quite a few of the times when the real point of the deck wasn’t working out for me exactly how I wanted it to, it was Magnivore
Magnivore
MagnivoreSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lhurgoyf
Rarity:
R
Number:
204
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Haste Magnivore's power and toughness are each equal to the number of sorcery cards in all graveyards.
rolling to victory in the end.

Avatar of Fury
Avatar of Fury
Avatar of FurySet: Prophecy
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Avatar
Rarity:
R
Number:
82
Artist:
rk post
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying If an opponent controls seven or more lands, Avatar of Fury costs 6 less to play. R: Avatar of Fury gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
is an excellent Gambit choice any day. His evasion, hugeness, and “firebreathing” make him very, very dangerous early game. One particular great big bonus is that once your opponent gets enough land, the Avatar brings his own Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.
to the party.

Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire ColossusSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
[R], Sacrifice Bloodfire Colossus: Bloodfire Colossus deals 6 damage to each creature and each player.
blah blah big blah blah damage blah blah Gambit. Also playable later in the game, his ability can either clear the board or be used to push in the last few points of damage needed to seal the deal. Wins games.

Butcher Orgg
Butcher Orgg
Butcher OrggSet: Onslaught
Cost:
7
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Orgg
Rarity:
R
Number:
192
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
You may divide Butcher Orgg's combat damage as you choose among defending. player and/or any number of creatures he or she controls.
is another big aggressor that, like the Colossus, is actually a control freak at heart. Though he does usually push through “unblocked,” he’s also often very useful for clearing the way for himself and a few of his buddies next turn. His price of 4RRR is actually a pretty fair deal, considering what he does, and playing him fair and square, when it happens, is never a waste of time or energy.


Sideboard

Admittedly, this was sort of thrown together at the last minute. I was still sitting in the floor with all my cards, the deck only almost built, but I still needed to get some dinner before I got over to the card shop just in time to sign up for the event. These are mostly cards I was thinking about maindecking, but couldn’t find space for.

Dark Ritual
Dark Ritual
Dark RitualSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Add BBB to your mana pool.
is black’s steadfast accelerator. I ended up playing a number of decks with few creatures, so these replaced Terminate
Terminate
TerminateSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.
in the second game of those matches. Aside from Devour in Shadow
Devour in Shadow
Devour in ShadowSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
46
Artist:
Thomas M Baxa
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated. You lose life equal to that creature's toughness.
(maybe), these were the only sideboard cards I actually ended up using.

Devour in Shadow
Devour in Shadow
Devour in ShadowSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
46
Artist:
Thomas M Baxa
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated. You lose life equal to that creature's toughness.
is here in case I get swarmed by tiny dudes and need some extra removal. I really can’t remember if I subbed these in for any games. Oh, well.

Browbeat
Browbeat
BrowbeatSet: Judgment
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
82
Artist:
Mark Tedin

Text:
Unless a player has Browbeat deal 5 damage to him or her, target player draws three cards.
, as mentioned above, was very close to making the maindeck. I never got into a matchup where it looked like I needed the extra speed, but I think that having them in there would only help. If that happens, Suppress
Suppress
SuppressSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
52
Artist:
T. Nielsen & T.M. Baxa
Text:
Target player removes all cards in his or her hand from the game face down. At the end of that player's next turn, that player returns those cards to his or her hand.
will sit in the sideboard and come out against combo decks, I guess. We’ll see.

Coffin Queen
Coffin Queen
Coffin QueenSet: Tempest
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Kaja Foglio
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
You may choose not to untap Coffin Queen during your untap phase.2B, T: Put target creature card from any graveyard into play under your control. Remove that creature from the game if Coffin Queen becomes untapped or if you lose control of Coffin Queen.
was in the very first build of the deck. I think it was because I also ran Strongarm Tactics
Strongarm Tactics
Strongarm TacticsSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
173
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player discards a card from his or her hand. Then each player who didn't discard a creature card this way loses 4 life.
to help rid the opponent’s hand of creatures. There was a match back in that very fist tournament where the opponent thought I was playing some weird reanimation deck all the way up until my very last play of the last game, when I actually got a chance to draw and cast Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.
. Here, she’s a “just in case” kind of card.

Benthic Behemoth
Benthic Behemoth
Benthic BehemothSet: Tempest
Cost:
8
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Serpent
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
7
Toughness:
6
Text:
Islandwalk (If defending player controls any islands, this creature is unblockable.)
is huge and has Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.
walk. I thought that was pretty funny. However, the decks with blue that I was up against were also the decks that hardly ran any creatures, so his ability was pretty irrelevant in those cases.

Platinum Angel
Platinum Angel
Platinum AngelSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
228
Artist:
Brom
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying You can't lose the game and your opponents can't win the game.
is another “just in case,” but for what, I have no idea. Come on, it’s a Platinum Angel
Platinum Angel
Platinum AngelSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
228
Artist:
Brom
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying You can't lose the game and your opponents can't win the game.
! How could I resist?

Sabertooth Nishoba
Sabertooth Nishoba
Sabertooth NishobaSet: Invasion
Cost:
6
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
268
Artist:
Gary Ruddell
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Trample, protection from blue, protection from red
was chosen because he’s a big guy with protection from two different colors. Strangely enough, I didn’t switch him in against the blue/red deck that I played. It was basically because the first game was a real walk in the park. The Rituals that I did move into the deck between games made the second one even smoother.


So there you have it. This deck is so very fun to play, and it’s extremely entertaining just to watch it do its thing. I’ve only ever gotten the most earnest of compliments on its originality, consistency, and overall high level of competitiveness (well, some people did complain about Strip Mine
Strip Mine
Strip MineSet: Fourth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
T: Add 1 colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Sacrifice Strip Mine to destroy target land.
, but I agree with them; it’s pretty messed up). Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets, because it’s time to play the Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold Gambit
Stronghold GambitSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of the creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts that card into play. If two or more creature cards are tied for lowest cost, those cards are put into play.
! Until next we meet…


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