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Spellslingers Deck Recap: Day[9] vs. Alison Haislip

Another season of Spellslingers may have come and gone, but there’s no reason to put away the cards just yet. Each week, I’ll be posting a pair of decks from an episode of Spellslingers, and going through some of the strongest cards, synergies, and win conditions for both of them. Perhaps it’ll inspire some new ideas in your own deckbuilding!

This week, we’re looking at Sean’s game against Alison Haislip.

Alison was playing with a Red-Green Ramp deck, which you can check out at the end of the article. The “big picture idea” with Alison’s deck is to get land out quickly and use it to put massive threats onto the battlefield. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “ramping”, that’s what it means: to build or “ramp up” your resources and threats at an accelerated rate. This makes Animist’s Awakening one of the stars of the deck, with its potential to draw and instantly play several land cards at once. Leaf Glider and Meteorite are also efficient ramping cards; they can be used to add mana but also serve as cheap plays in the early game that can destroy your opponent’s creatures.

The stalling aspect of this deck is important, as it will traditionally not have a strong start. There are only a few cheap creatures, most of which serve alternate purposes, like Elvish Visionary’s card draw. You will likely have to use the several damaging sorceries and instants in the deck to complement your weak board presence and destroy your opponent’s early creatures. You’re rewarded for using these spells early and often in another way: Spell Mastery. This keyword, which many cards in the deck have, means that if you’ve already played two sorcery or instant cards, the card you’re playing becomes much more powerful.

If you’ve drawn and played well, you should be set to unleash your big creatures after exhausting your opponent’s resources. Gaea’s Revenge especially, with its Haste and inability to be countered or be targeted by non-green spells, will be difficult to stop once it hits the field with an impressive 8 damage. If your opponent still has some big blockers, a well played Seismic Elemental will allow you to bypass them.

Beyond the raw power of big creatures, the deck’s potential to gain land fast and in bulk pays off in two of its most powerful synergies. Zendikar’s Roil is an enchantment that spawns 2/2 tokens with every land played, and if it can’t be removed quickly, it is easy for those tokens to get out of control. Every land you have on the board will also buff your Zendikar Incarnates, who easily come out as 6/4 or 7/4 in the late game. For those who want to tempt fate, a risky but powerful play could see Zendikar’s Roil followed up with Animist’s Awakening, potentially placing an army of 2/2s all at once!

Meanwhile, Sean opposed Alison with a White-Black Enchantment deck, which is both powerful and simple in its concept. Your main goal is to get many small creatures on the board, attack aggressively with them, and keep them safe and alive with buffs. The best way to do so is with the deck’s many enchantments, which also have the potential to bring a host of tokens into play on your side. Perhaps the most exciting card in the deck is Sigil of the Empty Throne, which brings 4/4 Flying Angel tokens onto the board for every other enchantment you play. An early Sigil of the Empty Throne can be almost impossible to come back from.

Other great enchantments offset the loss of your creatures with a positive impact on your game. Murder Investigation does so by putting out 1/1s equal to the dead creature’s power, while Shadows of the Past lets you scry 1 for each creature death. There are also enchantments that can cripple or even destroy your opponent’s creatures. Weight of the Underworld is a fairly damning -3/-2 to a creature, while Supression Bonds gives your opponent the hell of not actually being able to do anything with their best creature. A major key to success with this deck is knowing when to play these “negative” enchantments, as they can turn the whole game around.

Many of the creatures in this deck are small and not particularly powerful, but have power in numbers. A few, however, are particularly useful in destroying your opponent’s defenses. Fetid Imps might be 1/2s but, with 1 Black mana, can gain Deathtouch and destroy any blocker or attacker. In combination with their Flying, the imps can be incredibly tricky to play around. The Fleshbag Marauder can force your opponent to make a tough decision if they have just a couple big creatures on the board. Of course, the most exciting creature is the Totem-Guide Hartebeest, which brings an enchantment from your deck to your hand in addition to a solid body on the battlefield.

Alison’s Deck Sean’s Deck
1 Animist’s Awakening 2 Auramancer
3 Leaf Gilder 2 Blessed Spirits
3 Nissa’s Pilgrimage 1 Totem-Guide Hartebeast
1 Vastwood Gorger 2 Blightcaster
2 Zendikar’s Roil 2 Blood-Cursed Knight
2 Skysnare Spider 1 Anointer of Champions
1 Gaea’s Revenge 2 Charging Griffin
2 Elvish Visionary 3 Cleric of the Forward Order
2 Hitchclaw Recluse 1 Yoked Ox
1 Somberwald Alpha 2 Stalwart Aven
2 Orchard Spirit 1 Shambling Ghoul
2 Zendikar Incarnate 1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Meteorite 1 Grasp of the Hieromancer
2 Chandra’s Fury 1 Murder Investigation
1 Volcanic Rambler 2 Knightly Valor
1 Conclave Naturalists 1 Sigil of the Empty Throne
2 Fiery Impulse 2 Suppression Bonds
2 Boggart Brute 1 Shadows of the Past
1 Lightning Javelin 2 Fetid Imp
1 Seismic Elemental 1 Infernal Scarring
1 Magmatic Insight 2 Reave Soul
1 Ravaging Blaze 1 Priest of the Blood Rite
1 Evolving Wilds 1 Weight of the Underworld
13 Forest 1 Evolving Wilds
11 Mountain 12 Plains
12 Swamp

Are you going to try either of these out? Have suggestions for other great strategies and synergies you can use with these decks? Get some all-new deck ideas? Let us know in the comments!

Image credits: Wizards of the Coast

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