Let's Make a Deal

Posted in Reconstructed on June 30, 2015

By Gavin Verhey

When Gavin Verhey was eleven, he dreamt of a job making Magic cards—and now as a Magic designer, he's living his dream! Gavin has been writing about Magic since 2005.

Demons love to make deals.

Some bargain for your soul; others draw up a contract for your mind. Even more will barter for your blood. If there's a favorable agreement that can be etched, a demon will find it.

But how about a deal for a 5/5 flyer?

Liliana struck a pact for her youth. A 5/5 flyer should be much easier to strike a deal for.

Is that something you might want? If so, I know a guy:

Costing 5 mana for 7 power—with 5 of it flying—this card hits hard!

Drawbacks? Really, just one minor drawback. Paying 2 life per turn isn't even that bad, right? That will take a long time to actually kill you off.

Perhaps more importantly, note that the drawback isn't actually on the token. The drawback is on the creature!

So let's put it this way: If you play this and your opponent attacks, you can just block with the Priest and suddenly you have a pain-free 5-cost 5/5 flier.

Even better, if you're playing a more aggressive deck, you can just keep attacking with the Priest. Either your opponent blocks and this reoccurring source eating away at your life total vanishes, or they keep up with the pace of your life loss and also take 2 damage!

The true "deal" this card makes is to put your opponent in a rough spot with no good options.

Where might this card fit into Constructed? Let's look at a couple possible options!

Pitch Black

What's one of the best ways to deal with losing 2 life each turn? Just don't worry about a little life loss!

So, how about a pretty fast mono-black deck that can follow up any early game disruption with the 7 power for 5 mana that Priest of the Blood Rite provides?

Check this out:

Gavin Verhey's Blood Rite Black

Download Arena Decklist

You're going to deal some damage to yourself with this deck—but remember that the only point of damage that counts is the last one. If your opponent hits 0 while you still clutch onto a single life point, then you've succeeded. And even if your cards beat you up a little, it's nothing compared to how much they're going to beat up your opponent!

Starting off the curve with ten 2-power 1-drops means your opponent is likely going to soak up some early damage. And if they manage to fend that off, Herald of Torment, Pitiless Horde, and Priest of the Blood Rite can mop up the rest.

While a card like Gray Merchant of Asphodel loses value if the other side of the table manages to clear your board with, say, an Anger of the Gods, Priest of the Blood Rite will always hit hard and be a huge threat.

Of course, sometimes it's nice to gain that life back. A singleton Demonic Pact, from which you have no out, can be used in situations where you just need a tiny bit more gas to win the game. But as always, Pact responsibly.

Whip of Erebos is perhaps the most interesting card here. Not only can it gain you plenty of life back, it can also return the Priest from the graveyard—netting you another 5/5 token while the Priest goes away forever. Now that's a deal I can get behind!

One big difference between Priest of the Blood Rite and simply a 7-power creature for 5 mana comes from reusing its ability like that. If this deck were also red, you could use cards like Flamerush Rider to create more and more 5/5 tokens. There are plenty of ways to pull similar tricks. In fact, there's an entirely different deck to be made that just uses that interaction!

Blood Rite Blink

One 5/5 flyer is pretty good. Two are even better. But how about four 5/5 flyers? I'll take that!

An army of 5/5s (and also a legion of enters-the-battlefield triggers) is exactly what this deck aims to create.

Gavin Verhey's Blood Rite Constellation Control

Download Arena Decklist

Don't blink, or you'll miss just the kind of flickering this deck can pull off.

It sets up like many control decks, using removal spells to try and hold off the early threats. However, in this case the removal spells are enchantments. Why?

Well, constellation, of course! This Journey to Nyx ability means that you'll be triggering all kinds of effects every time you cast an enchantment. And chief among them? Skybind!

Every time you play an enchantment, you'll get to "flicker" something out. Might I suggest Priest of the Blood Rite?

Before you know it, you'll have an army of 5/5 flying demons at your command. Underworld Coinsmith helps to mitigate some of that life loss from the Priest, and Jeskai Barricade lets you reuse a Priest. You can use Skybind again and again by flickering out the Barricade, which in turn lets you return an enchantment creature to your hand. If you get two Skybinds rolling, you can generate tiny bits of advantage this way.

Another especially tricky play with Skybind is in conjunction with Mastery of the Unseen. If you have a face-down enchantment, you can still use Skybind's ability to target that face down enchantment—which will then trigger Skybind again when it enters the battlefield! It's certainly a tricky way to make a Banishing Light pop out of nowhere.

Athreos, God of Passage even fits in here, forcing your opponent to keep paying life for your dying creatures—lest you use their enters-the-battlefield effects time and time again.

The primary win condition of this deck is certainly 5/5 demon tokens, so have them at the ready. Thanks, Blood Priest!

ReConstructed Rituals

That's it for my Origins preview cards! This week and last week I've shown you a couple cool new options—and now it's time to take a look at what you can come up with!

Build up the most exciting post-Origins Standard deck you can and send it my way!

Format: Standard (After Magic Origins)

Restrictions: Your deck should prominently feature at least one Magic Origins card

Deadline: Tuesday, July 7, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

Submit all deck lists by emailing me at reconstructeddecks@gmail.com.

Deck lists should be submitted with YOURNAME's DECKNAME at the top. Underneath should be one card per line, with just a leading number. For example:

12 Mountain

4 Satyr Firedancer

3 Ash Zealot

4 Lightning Bolt

. . . and so on. Please don't use anything but a space to separate the card numbers and names—don't write "4x Lightning Bolt," for example. Well-formatted deck lists have a much better chance of being read and making it into the column. Poorly formatted deck lists are more likely to be ignored. If I can't read your list, I certainly can't talk about it!

I'm giving you a bit of extra time by extending until Tuesday, so you'll have time to look at the full card image gallery as it goes up in just a few days.

Magic Origins is unlike any other set we've ever made. It touches ten worlds and has two new mechanics, five transforming planeswalkers, and plenty of oddball cards. I can't wait to see what you come up with! It should be plenty wild.

In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions on this article, feel free to send me a tweet or ask me a question on my Tumblr and I'll be sure to take a look. It's always great to hear what you think!

Have fun building with Origins—I know I certainly have!

Talk with you next week,




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