Speaking Casually: The Harbingers of Doom

Emrakul the Promised End art

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Arcane Sanctum. I can’t believe we’re already in October, and (as of this writing) approaching Halloween rather quickly. Halloween brings with it a rich history of stories providing many traditional fantasy elements, as well as horror. Magic: the Gathering also brings with it many of those same things.

Today we’re going to do a little something different with the Speaking Casual series that you, and your friends, may enjoy. October is the month that Fall truly sets in, and all things frightening are  en vogue.

As many of you may know when Battle For Zendikar came out, and the Nephilim colored manabases were running rampant I quit Standard. It sucks because I really enjoyed Esper Dragons, however at the time there was the 16th month rotation plan (good thing that went away), and I played Modern way more often anyway. I did come back to Standard though for a brief moment when Eldritch Moon came out thanks to this pair:

Bruna, the Fading Light as well as Gisela, the Broken Blade are the two that brought me back (as brief as it was at the time). Being able to merge them into one giant creature via the Merge ability was an awesome idea, and I wanted to be the one to bring this horror to the battlefield. My thoughts then turned to the one who brought forth the destruction witnessed on Innistrad, Nahiri herself.

Nahiri, the Harbinger

Nahiri, the Harbinger was the key to this whole deck. I had been playing with this card in Modern a little bit (the Jeskai Harbinger deck), but was not a fan of it there. I had been reading her story a little bit, and with the release of Eldritch Moon a lot of things in the story came together. My first thoughts with these cards was to have a Gisela, the Broken Blade on the board, have Nahiri at 8 counters, and then use her ultimate to bring in Bruna from the deck. There would be 2 triggers, one from Gisela as well as the trigger from Nahiri’s ultimate. You can stack them in a way where you wind up getting Brisela, Voice of Nightmares as your turn ends.

However I wanted more.

Emrakul the Promised End card

13 is A LOT of mana though. How could I cast this card, and how could this fit in a deck where I’m trying to meld angels together?

…Delirium. That’s how.

…but how exactly to do it? This is where the Mardu colors came in. I wanted to have discard effects, unconditional removal, and card draw. These are things that black can provide, however what can be done with the manabase?

As the sets kept rolling out more land cards in the colors needed became available, and I was able to construct this:

The Deck

Nahiri Casual Visual deck

Creature (14)
4 Gisela, the Broken Blade
3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
3 Pilgrim’s Eye
2 Emrakul, the Promised End
2 Bruna, the Fading Light

Planeswalker (4)
4 Nahiri, the Harbinger

Enchantment (3)
3 Cast Out

Instant (7)
4 Lightning Strike
3 Immolating Glare

Sorcery (8)
3 Collective Brutality
2 Read the Bones
2 Cut//Ribbons
1 Runious Path

Lands (24)
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Concealed Courtyard
3 Plains
3 Swamp
3 Shambling Vent
2 Field of Ruin
1 Mountain

4 Authority of the Consuls
4 Duress
2 Fumigate
2 Forsake the Worldly
2 Lost Legacy
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

How the deck operates

You’re primary way of winning is assembling Brisela, Voice of Nightmares to lock the opponent out of smaller spells while having the largest creature on the board. There will be games where you are just on the beatdown plan with Gisela, Kalitas, and zombies. That’s ok too. Sometimes in Magic things don’t always go as planned.

This deck is mainly an Orzhov midrange deck splashing Red for a few cards. One of the key ways to approach a 3 color midrange deck is to focus on 2 colors while splashing a 3rd. With Nahiri being the main card adding Lightning Strike as well as another win condition in Cut//Ribbons. Every other card is a solid Black or White card meant to either provide a threat, or control the board in some manner.

When looking at the total card types in the deck here is the breakdown:

24 Lands
14 Creatures
8 Sorceries
7 Instants
4 Planeswalkers
3 Artifacts* (these are also creatures)
3 Enchantments

It is not unreasonable to be casting Emrakul, the Promised end for 6 to 8 mana which will then allow you to take the opponent’s next turn. While the creature base is mainly chock full of Legendary creatures the extra ones you draw will not be dead in hand when you have Nahiri, the Harbinger in play, and if you do not have her you can pitch one to escalate Collective Brutality possibly removing a key removal spell from the opponent’s hand.

With introducing Cycling back into Standard we were given one of the best White spells in a long time in Cast Out. This card allows you to cycle early, and along with fetchlands you can build a high Delirium count rather early.

While Pilgrim’s Eye doesn’t look scary the fact this is both an Artifact AND a Creature also helps build that count, ramps you into your 4 drop spells, and can be a blocker for Nahiri if needed.

The sideboard is more of a collection of overall good cards vs Control, Aggro, and Combo decks. The fact that this is a midrange deck gives us the flexibility to make those changes going into games 2 & 3 with the opponent while not interfering with our overall strategy.

Keeping it casual, or…

The deck is primarily constructed for you to play with your fellow Kitchen Table League friends, and honestly all decks in the Speaking Casual series will do just that. However if you want to bring the story of Innistrad’s destruction to your FNM by all means do so, and share your experiences. Sure some of these decks are a little pricy, but if you have been playing Standard these last few years (and have not sold your cards when they rotated) you may have some (if not most) of these lying around waiting to be put to use.

The deck started out as an idea, and when Duress & Lightning Strike left the format (when both Dragons of Tarkir as well as Magic: Origins rotated out of Standard) it was shelved. I enjoyed playing with it the few times I did as no one had seen something like this before, and it gave players at FNM something new to see than the usual decks they encounter. While all of the cards mentioned above (give or take a few lands and spells) are no longer Standard legal I thought this month would be a good one to take a few moments to speak about a deck filled with creatures wanting to cause some type of horror on the battlefield.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and please take a moment to comment or share with your friends. Make sure to follow me at MTGPackFoils on Twitter & Facebook as well.

Until next time…TAP MORE MANA!!!


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