Duel Decks: Blessed vs. Cursed

Posted in Feature on February 15, 2016

By Katie Allison

Katie is a copy editor and occasional writer for DailyMTG, as well as a longtime Magic player with a fondness for giant green creatures. She especially loves Commander, despite having the patience of a fruit fly, and might glare at you if your turn takes too long.

I am super excited to return to Innistrad. It's not a dignified kind of excitement, either; more like a little kid on a sugar rush who just got three puppies. Classic, creeping horror, layers of mystery shrouding every corner of the world, dark figures of unknown intent lurking in the night—who could resist?

So I'm delighted that my first article for DailyMTG is a preview of the upcoming Duel Decks: Blessed vs. Cursed, designed to showcase the growing chaos on Innistrad.

Senior Copy Writer Gerritt Turner was the first brave volunteer to take up a side of this cryptic conflict, and to my surprise he elected to pilot the blue-black Cursed deck. (He always seemed so nice!) Having played a lot of Eldrazi decks lately myself, I was happy to side with the good guys for a change.

I decided to keep a land-light hand because it contained both of the Blessed deck's colors (blue and white), along with this intriguing Wizard, which did indeed prove crucial to my survival.

In short order, we both had formidable board states built up, with my growing army of Human tokens (courtesy of Gather the Townsfolk and Increasing Devotion) glaring suspiciously at Gerritt's motley crew of monstrosities. Apparently this one brave and prolific farm family was responsible for supplying almost the entire militia for our beleaguered town.

The flaw in this plan was exposed in spectacular fashion when Gerritt cast Sever the Bloodline, exiling every last one of my brave septuplets—even the one that had been given counters by an Elder Cathar! The Zombies feasted on my undefended brains for a couple of turns before I could recover.

I'd worked hard to rebuild my defenses, even recruiting some Angels and Spirits, when Gerritt dropped this terrifying creature:

It was a risky play, as his graveyard was empty at the time, and the brand-new delirium mechanic requires four different card types in the graveyard. But amazingly, the four cards Gerritt milled comprised a land, a creature, an instant, and a sorcery, giving him delirium and removing the downside from the Demon. Yikes!

Bolstered by Mindwrack Demon's menacing presence, Gerritt's Zombie horde attacked en masse the next turn. I had enough creatures to block the bulk of the damage, but I could ill afford to lose so many of them—luckily, I had a pretty big trick up my sleeve.

My forces flung themselves in front of the monsters with suicidal courage...and then simply vanished, leaving lots of gross Zombie hands clawing at empty air. The good guys reappeared during Gerritt's end step looking smugly healthy, and the momentum finally swung my way.

My good buddy Captain of the Mists used his fog magic to keep the Demon tapped while my shiniest Spirit friend went to work. Geist of Saint Traft (pretty new art, same awesome ability!) conjured Angel after Angel, which I soulbonded to Tandem Lookout, and the cards I drew included enough Humans to untap Captain of the Mists repeatedly. (Score one for synergy!) That gave me the edge I needed to crush Gerritt and his evil minions once and for all.

Next up was Copy Writer Michael Yichao. I wanted to pilot the Cursed deck this time, so I tried to get into a shady, necromantic headspace. (Don't worry, I mostly got back out of it later. Mostly.)

He started off with a turn-one Champion of the Parish, followed by an Elder Cathar, while my Zombies took their sweet time crawling from the grave. And my Scrapskin Drake quite rudely refused to block any of Yichao's ground-dwelling creatures, but luckily its cousin, Stitched Drake, had no such qualms.

Just as I thought Yichao might be running out of gas (how many creatures is one person even allowed to play?), he found a mysterious journal and replenished his mental reserves.

Sometimes nerds are the scariest opponents.

The blessed forces were getting pretty intimidating, but then I played this helpful creature:

Suddenly, not only were my Zombies bigger, but they also took my opponent's life with them when they died. Sweet. And then, incredibly, I drew another Diregraf Captain and doubled the effect. (Yes, they are both captains. Zombie chains of command are weird.)

For a few turns, Yichao attacked only with his Elder Cathar, trying to bait me into killing it so he could use its counters. But I refused to fall for his tricks, and I just let that old man poke me with his sword while I called up some very scary friends.

My own Mindwrack Demon wound up dealing a total of 8 damage to me before I achieved delirium—but that just meant it felt even better to cast Compelling Deterrence, bouncing Yichao's counter-laden Champion of the Parish, forcing him to discard, and achieving delirium at last. (Insert evil laugh here.)

And since one Demon is never enough (just ask Liliana), I invited Harvester of Souls to the party. It was hungry for death, and I was happy to feed it.

For some reason, one Human also decided to lurk around in the shadows with us—and frankly, I can kind of see why he didn't fit in with the others:

Just look at that face he's making, not to mention, you know, the giant tray of teeth he's carrying. Thanks to finally having delirium, I was able to use this freak's very particular talents to defang Yichao's troops (heh). The Tooth Collector amassed quite a gruesome bounty.

Despite the stealthy efforts at sabotage from a delirious Topplegeist, eventually my Zombie army and its Demon vanguard grew too big to stop. Like a disgusting tidal wave, they crashed over, under, and through the blessed forces, taking heavy casualties with glee and crushing Yichao once and for all.

My only regret is that I didn't get to play one of the most magnificently flavorful cards of all time: Appetite for Brains. But at least I lived up to the spirit of the deck.

After sampling both sides of the conflict on Innistrad, I'm no longer sure who to cheer for. Both sides are obviously very synergistic, both have access to a variety of sneaky tricks, and both carried me to sweet, sweet victory.

You can try them out for yourself and decide whose side you're on when Duel Decks: Blessed vs. Cursed comes out on February 26!


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