Here Comes the Onslaught

Posted in Feature on October 3, 2002

By Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar

If you paid attention to any of my previous articles and if you've opened a booster pack from the most recent Magic set, you can probably guess that Onslaught is, without a doubt, my favorite Magic expansion of all time.

I knew it when Mark Rosewater first told me about the Onslaught expansion's focus on creature themes. He was babbling about cycling coming back when my mind started whirring. Creature themes? I love creatures! I love themes! I love creature themes!

I knew it when I first saw the cards themselves. I tried making a top ten list of cards I wanted to build Standard decks around and gave up when I couldn't limit the list to thirty. I then tried to make a list of cards I abjectly hated and found . . . none. In addition, there weren't any complicated storylines bogging down the cards, but rather a setting in which the cards lived and breathed.

I knew it when Pro players started publicly analyzing the relative merits of Goblin decks and the viability of Silvos, Rogue Elemental.

And you know what? I haven't even begun to explore the set. In fact, I have been intentionally holding myself back so that you, O lover of Magic, can make my eyes light up with some of the terrific cards that Onslaught contains.

So here it is: Deck Challenge 3. Show me that Onslaught is as cool as I think it is.

The rules are simple, but, please, follow the rules.


1. One deck per person

Like the first two Deck Challenges, I'm the only one sorting through the submissions. To save me a lot of time and to help ensure your deck is a keeper, send me your single most creative deck.

2. Onslaught cards ONLY

Your deck can contain only cards from Onslaught. No Birds of Paradise. No Mogg Fanatic. No Intruder Alarm. No "new" Standard. No "new" Extended. Just Onslaught.

3. Normal Constructed guidelines apply

Sixty-card minimum deck, maximum of four of each card other than basic land, yadda yadda yadda. Sideboards are not necessary and I don't look at them.

4. Send a brief description

Don't give me a novel. Don't give me a sentence. Show me you care about the deck you made and explain any card choices or interactions that might not be obvious.

5. Use the submissions form below

If you email me your deck, I'm going to either delete your email or tell you to use the form. By the way, I don't give feedback on decklists people send me, Deck Challenge or not (though, I do like reading the emails). Both rule #1 and rule #5 are the big ways I'm hoping to save time. Saving time means I can do these Deck Challenges more often.

6. Deadline for submissions is October 10.

That's it.

Remember, this is not a contest. There are no prizes other than the recognition of seeing your name and decklist on and having me think you're pretty clever. These Deck Challenges are for the fun of deckbuilding and the excitement that a new set brings to the mad deckbuilding scientist in you.


After two of these Deck Challenges, my one piece of advice is to avoid sending your first idea for a deck. You get only one shot at this, so take a few minutes to think about why your one deck is cool and why I'll notice it. In the first Deck Challenge I didn't pick a single monoblack all-Torment deck to feature. In Deck Challenge 2, no "Phantom" decks got featured, even though they were the most popular deck type.

"House of Cards" is about creativity and pushing you to think innovatively about deckbuilding. Come up with a deck idea that makes you giddy, and then somehow make that idea work using the cards.

Inevitably, I will end up picking a few decks to feature because they look very, very solid. Building a powerful, stout deck may catch my eye, but past results have shown that I am far more likely to feature a deck with flaws if the idea behind it is cool. This doesn't mean that you should be sloppy in your card choices, but it does mean that your first idea is probably going to get lost in a pile of submissions that are just like it.

Ready? Go ahead and dive into Onslaught! I can't wait to see what you can do.

Don't forget! Use the submissions form and send your Onslaught-only deck by October 10th! Results in two weeks!

Next week: The Goblinablers.


Form removed. Thanks for participting!


Aaron told me I should include some decks today because, in his words: "'House of Cards' with no decks is like . . . well, it should have decks." Well, the deadline for submitting decks for this year's Auction of the People at the Magic Invitational just passed, and I'm pretty sure my submissions will rightfully get shredded, (especially since I helped Mark hammer out the format for this year); however, that hasn't stopped me from creating a small flood of alphabet decks. So, I'm listing the decks I submitted in hopes that they'll jog your creativity enough to start thinking of Onslaught-only decks. This deckbuilding stuff is a sickness, I tell you.

Hit Or Myth

Download Arena Decklist


Download Arena Decklist


Download Arena Decklist
Creature (8)
4 Sage Owl 2 Scalpelexis 2 Scrivener
Sorcery (4)
4 Sleight of Hand
Instant (9)
3 Remove Soul 4 Spelljack 2 Syncopate
Artifact (4)
4 Sky Diamond
Enchantment (7)
2 Future Sight 4 Standstill 1 Steal Artifact
Land (24)
18 Island 4 Salt Marsh 2 Swamp
Other (4)
4 Spite/Malice
60 Cards

Wall of Bears

Download Arena Decklist
Sorcery (4)
4 Wrath of God
Artifact (4)
4 Tsabo's Web
Enchantment (6)
3 Words of Wilding 3 Worship
Land (22)
9 Forest 9 Plains 4 Windswept Heath
Other (4)
4 Wax/Wane
60 Cards

Y? Why????

Download Arena Decklist
Enchantment (10)
10 Fires of Yavimaya
Land (24)
12 Forest 12 Mountain
60 Cards
Jay may be reached at

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