Weapons of War

Posted in Serious Fun on March 8, 2011

This week is Living Weapon Week, a perfect opportunity to explore what the Phyrexians cooked up for war on Mirrodin. Living weapons are pretty darn spiffy. And that's not just the oil talking.

While casting Equipment that enters the battlefield attached to a creature already has some obvious benefits, it's the fact that living weapons are Equipment that makes me appreciate them so much more. I'm an adamant supporter of swinging with creatures, and the stuff of Rancor, Stonewood Invocation, and Overrun fills me with delight.

Living weapons are no different.

And with an excellent excuse to use all five weapons in their own ways, I present to you five different decks, each one using a different living weapon for different reasons.

    Flay the Flesh from Your Bones

I love "Pauper" Magic—playing with all common cards. Maybe it's the creative restrictions of excluding rarer cards, or the general sense that attacking with creatures will be happening a lot, but working with the most frequently encountered cards is something I enjoy.

Flayer Husk is the lone common representative from among the living weapon cards, and when I stopped to consider what I'd want to do with it there was only one thing that came to mind.

Brittle Budget Beatdown

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BASH! Thwack! This just the kind of deck that's starting to see play now, thanks to Signal Pest (omitted here for obvious reasons): throw down as many creatures as possible, then pound across the battlefield. Thanks to some card-drawing capability through Thoughtcast and Rush of Knowledge, you can constantly fill your hand up and dump it away again, with the two Spheres providing some additional draws along the way.

Ultimately, Somber Hoverguard or Myr Enforcer drops in and starts to really pound away. Flayer Husk is exactly the kind of card I like here because it's both a creature and an Equipment, dropping in early to help power out our baddies and blocking anything incoming, then jumping aboard the biggest body on attack.

    I Hate Flying

One of my favorite creature types, among the many available, is Spider. Spiders, in Magic terms, often eat things with flying. Whether it's little guys like Grappler Spider or massive beaters like Goliath Spider, I love 'em. There aren't too many Commander decks where I don't have a Spider of some sort handy.

While I actually enjoy most creatures with flying (as I don't want to anger the Dragon circling about that thinks I'm crunchy and tasty), sometimes I just can't be bothered to field any of my own. Sometimes, it's Spiders that just want to have fun.

Spiders Just Want to Have Fun

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Alright, so there's more than just Spiders here, but you get the point: if it flies, it dies. Deadly Recluse and Thornweald Archer take out anything in the sky, and a kicked Oran-Rief Recluse does the trick without any blocking required. Arashi, the Sky Asunder and Silklash Spider can wipe up aerial antagonists in a hurry.

Sylvan Ranger and Rampant Growth help pull the deck along, with Goliath Spider and Overrun serving as the coup de grâce. For tricks and giggles, Flight Spellbomb gives an airlift to anything you want to knock down permanently, and in a real pinch can send a Spider on its once in a lifetime journey in the sky.

Strandwalker is little piece to the puzzle that makes everything fit: it turns small fries like Sylvan Ranger or Thornweald Archer in big butts while also serving as a bizarro mechano-Spider that fits right in. Don't let the whirring of gears and grinding of plates fool you: it's a Spider through and through.

    Pod People

Kresh the Bloodbraided was one of the first Commander decks I showed to you. What I liked about my deck the most was the kick I got out of just throwing my creatures away. Kresh would get bigger, libraries would get smaller, cards would be drawn, and so much more.

Mortarpod may be one of the really sweet Equipment to open up for anyone looking to play infect in Draft or Sealed, but I think it's got a few more tricks of its sleeve... er, pod... for decks.

Zubera Zappers

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It's a Zubera deck! It's a Shapeshifter deck! It goes KABOOM! There's a little something for everyone here. The plan is simple: make Zuberas. Whether we're dropping down the regular old "Zubera Spirit" versions or making copies with our Shapeshifters, amassing a pile of Zuberas is a fine thing to do.

Helping us along the way is a plethora of mana ramping. But, oddly enough, all of our creatures are cheap. Why would we want a lot of mana too? Mortarpod, of course! Thanks to the Zuberas' triggers looking at the total number of Zuberas put into the graveyard that turn, we can use Mortarpod to fling some damage around and rack up the points.

Drawing cards, making additional Mortarpod fodder, or dealing even more damage is easy to do. And in a tricky spot, our Shapeshifters can become something awesome the opponent has. Either way we've got this!

    Town Demolition

Last year was the year of the Eldrazi, the otherworldly creatures once imprisoned on Zendikar. When they broke loose I shared with you Godzilla, a way to play with massive creatures and points for deck building.

Zendikar isn't the only plane with the power for world-crushing fun. Mirrodin, too, has a few friends to share in the battle of the god-beasts.


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Same great plan, more great creatures. Godzilla is all about being bigger: the deck and creature requirements ensure that size matters. In our case here I went the route of putting as much mana ramping into the big fatties I wanted to bring, specifically Krosan Tusker, Seedguide Ash, and Silverglade Elemental.

Continuing the "use permanents" idea, I put in Genesis Wave and a sampling of artifact mana to help round things out. Good stuff like Defense of the Heart, Greater Good, and Concordant Crossroads (an especially spicy combination all together) and a bevy of hard-hitting frontline movers flesh out what you can expect from most Godzilla decks. For an added treat, Fangren Marauder lets us cash in on nice chunks of life at the same time we're throwing away artifacts to draw cards.

Then there's the oddball of the bunch, Skinwing. Thanks to our late-game plan to have approximately all the mana we can muster available, the equip cost of six mana is easy as pie. Imagine a 10/10 Liege of the Tangle with flying. How about an 11/11 Terastodon with flying? Even a little 4/4 guy like Silverglade Elemental can pull off a Dragon impersonation as a 6/6 with flying.

Even better, Genesis Wave will dump it onto the battlefield for us, effectively working as another creature right of the bat. That's a deal I can definitely stand behind.

    This Town Is Big Enough

Lhurgoyf was one of the early classic critters and is still loved today; getting as big as the piles of bodies lying all around can be quite the handy thing after all. While I have a few friends who have (or currently still are) tinkering with their own versions, here's a take on stomping with the graveyard in full swing.

Graven Beats

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This is seriously dirt(y) business. Lhurgoyf and Mortivore are related cousins, with Lord of Extinction in the family tree somehow. They all care about cards in graveyards, particularly creature cards, and this deck is ready to fill the bin up.

While Sakura-Tribe Elder and Fertilid are always nice to have, and Yavimaya Elder is a well known land-and-card-grabber, it's Yavimaya Granger that has a chance to shine here: echo means that it will automatically go to the graveyard at the beginning of your next upkeep without any extra effort! Borderland Ranger, step aside. And if Phyrexian Tower pops up, you have another way to power out our monstrosities and get our critters on the battlefield put away where they mostly belong.

The obvious living weapon for this deck is Bonehoard, a clinking and clacking Equipment that turns any creature into Lhurgoyf. If your normal bad boys of body building are getting the beat down from opponents, even a lowly Diligent Farmhand can become the next champion of your side. All said, there are sixteen different Lhurgoyf-like things going on in here. Multiplicity at its finest!

    You Are the Blade

Of course, these are just my takes on getting the most for our "Weapons alive!" friends. What I'm more interested in is what you've been doing with our colorless creature-like companions. Have a sweet deck that drops in our Phyrexian tools? Did you find the perfect use for the latest Equipment cards?

Share your living weapon (or generally Equipment- and weapon-related) decks through email or the Wizards Community message boards, and next week I'll point out some of the awesome things the rest of you are doing! See you then!

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