Whispers of the Muse: Tegan D’s ‘Unnatural Schemes’ (Alara Reborn)
Welcome once again to another edition of Whispers of the Muse, our occasional deckbuilding advice column! Unlike many advice columns, this one isn’t just a two-way conversation between reader and author, but rather gives all of our Ertai’s Lament readers the opportunity to offer their sage wisdom and experienced counsel on how to improve a deck.
Today’s deck was submitted by Tegan D, and takes us back to Alara Reborn.
Tegan had a lot on his mind surround this deck, and here’s what he had to say:
I’m new to Magic the Gathering (the only experience I have is playing Duels of the Planeswalkers on PS3). I decided to go with Unnatural Schemes as my first deck for a few reasons. First, because it seems like a pretty solid control type deck, which was fun to play in DotP. Second, unlike all of the decks in DotP, which all focus on dealing massive amounts of damage, Unnatural Schemes has the option of winning by forcing the opponent’s library into the grave yard. That appeals to me because the regular beat down strategy is a little bit boring. Third, because out of the box Unnatural Schemes comes with only 41 cards, which means there is some leeway to augment the deck without altering the overall strategy.
Tegan went on to add:
For the most part I want to make it so that the deck focuses more on the deck drain strategy but without sacrificing its beat down potential, all the while remaining a control type. Off the bat the first thing I’d like to do is add some mana so that I can maintain a good mana curve. I’d also like to make it so that the deck only has zombies, artifact creatures and horrors, which means getting rid of Architects of Will, Phantom Warrior and probably the Nantuko Husk since I’d rather not sacrifice any of my creatures. I’d like to add some Silver and Leaden Myr to help put mana on the field, as well as a couple Gravediggers to help keep the Nemesis of Reason in play and augment Lich Lord of Unx’s special ability. I also want to add some Metathran Zombies so that I can have at least a few blocker zombies that have a good chance of staying on the battle field, I’ll also be adding another Lich Lord of Unx. A sorcery that I’d like to add is Traumatize to help with the deck drain strategy. I’d like to have some enchantments, artifacts or sorceries that make it easier to keep as many creatures, particularly the Nemesis but at least zombies, in play, but I don’t know what they would be. The only big creature in the deck is the Grixis Slavedriver, which I don’t really think is enough. I also need more fliers. I was thinking of Thrummingbirds but I don’t think they’d be helpful in this deck. What i’d definitely like to do is add one or two more horrors. I have Nether Horror but it’s lack of special effects is off putting. I’m thinking of adding an Infectious Horror and Murkfiend Liege but the latter would only be half as useful as it would be in a U/G deck. I’d like to keep this a U/B deck though.
As a side note, it would be nice if I could add one or two instant win strategies but I don’t want to over extend my deck and make it useless.
A few days later, Tegan followed up with some more revisions- this was a deck in progress!
Since I emailed you last I’ve been mulling over ways to improve my deck.
Great! That’s what we like to see. Tegan removed the following cards:
And these were added:
- 4 Islands
- 4 Swamps
The cards I removed don’t really seem conducive to what I’m trying to do with the deck, so they’re out.
I don’t have a whole lot of money to spend on MTG, so this will probably be the only deck I have for a while. That being said, I really have no idea what legal standard, extended, legacy etc., are. Ideally, I’d be able to play this deck in as many venues as possible, or at least the most popular venue.
I have a list of cards that are candidates for my deck, but I don’t have them yet. As I said I don’t have a lot of cash to spend, so it might take a while to put my deck together. I’ll give you a list of cards I have and cards in my wish list that I think would be good for my deck.
Tegan then enclosed one last list.
Cards already owned:
- 1 Mistvein Borderpost
- 1 Etherium Abomination
- 1 extra Lich Lord of Unx
- 1 Hand of Death
- 1 Arsenal Thresher
- 1 Nether Horror
- 1 Traumatize
- Sewn-Eye Drake
- Mind Funeral
- Memory Erosion
- Glimpse the Unthinkable
- Keening Stone
- Tome Scour
- Archive Trap
- Mindleech Mass
- Sphinx Summoner
- Metathran Zombies
- Leaden Myr
- Silver Myr
- Reliquary Tower
- Grixis Grimblade
- Mask of Riddles
- Dralnu, Lich Lord
Tegan stressed that these were just ideas, possible ways the deck could go. Some final thoughts on the deck…
One of the aspects I think is essential to add to my deck is acceleration, since most of the spells and creatures I want to play a fairly expensive. I’m not entirely sure how I should handle that though. Should I have a pair of Leaden and Silver Myrs in addition to a couple of Mistvein Borderposts or should I have a playset of Mistvein Borderposts and a Reliquary Tower? Or something else altogether?
Another thing I’m concerned about is my mana curve. A lot of the creatures I want to use, such as Dralnu, the Metathrans, Grixis Slavedriver, Etherium Abomination and the Lich Lord of Unx require mana to activate the special abilities, It seems like I’d be paying more to activate these abilities than I would to play new creatures or spells.
Very detailed, thanks Tegan! We’ll enclose a list of the stock deck to see what we’re all working with.
Now who has some suggestions for Tegan’s “Unnatural Schemes?”