Magic the Gathering : A look at the Avacyn Restored event decks

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Are you looking to join your friends at at your local FNM events? Maybe you are sick of my tweets and have decided to come and show me what for?

Event Decks are a great place to start your journey, especially if they showcase the deck archetype or colour combination that you enjoy playing. The two new Event Decks, which showcase mechanics from Avacyn Restored might just be what you have been waiting for.

Humanity’s Vengeance

This blue white soft control deck showcases flicker effects, the momentary exile of creatures (or permanents) and how they can be used to manipulate the board for your own advantage. It also makes cunning use of the soulbond mechanic, something new to Avacyn Restored. Soulbond creatures pair with another creature, of your choice, to give both cards an added benefit. Fighting in numbers is even more dangerous now. The flicker effect also allows you to unpair soulbound creatures to establish a bond with a better, stronger creature.

I find it odd that we have another white deck showcasing humans. Why so much human love? Not that I am complaining too much, because it enabled me to complete my set of Mirran Crusaders, a card that causes many opponents to sigh when he enters the battlefield.

Mirran Crusader Tandem Lookout

What do you think of his friend? Tandem Lookout, if paired with a Mirran Crusader, makes the soulbond ability activate twice if the Crusader hits the player! Card draw comes in really handy when you are playing a deck with cheap casting costs. Flood the board with cheap creatures, or go find your counterspells. Oh wait, they are all in the sideboard still.

The arrangement of the sideboard is a bit confusing to me. While I understand that counter magic is currently seeing a lot less play thanks to Cavern of Souls, making it a great sideboard answer, Cloudshift belongs in the deck, due to its multiple uses.

Cavern of Souls Nephalia Smuggler

Cloudshift achieves the same results as the Nephalia Smuggler. Both allow for the re-pairing of soulbond creatures, avoiding combat damage and dodging targeted removal.

Cloudshift Fiend Hunter

This next bit may get a bit complex, so pay attention. How does Cloudshift dodge the removal, I hear you ask, the creature is still there when the removal resolves? If I Cloudshift in response to my opponent casting Doom Blade, the Doom Blade spell sees its target leave the battlefield, meaning it no longer has a legal target. When that creature returns to the battlefield, the spell doesn’t magically know that it is the same creature returning, so it remains without a target and fizzles. If you are still with me, look at the combo above. Can you see it?

While it may not be visible at first, listen to this: what happens if Fiend Hunter leaves the battlefield before its first ability resolves? With the exile ability on the stack, cast Cloudshift. Fiend Hunter leaves the battlefield, triggering its second ability. This will resolve, doing nothing (no creature was exiled with Fiend Hunter yet.) Then the first ability resolves, exiling a creature permanently. Then a ‘new’ Fiend Hunter enters the battlefield, triggering the first ability. Pretty awesome, yeah?

While I enjoy the theme of the deck it doesn’t really showcase the power of humans.

There are no human-only equipments or buffs and one of my favourite humans, Champion of the Parish, is nowhere to be seen.

Bladed Bracers Champion of the Parish

Bladed Bracers add some aggressive defence to your deck, giving your creatures vigilance and making them harder to kill. The Champion of the Parish is a must-add to this deck. He can easily become the largest creature on the board if not dealt with. Even though they aren’t human, white also has access to two other useful creatures to bounce in and out of the battlefield, one of which is included in the sideboard.

Inquisitor Exarch Stonehorn Dignitary

The Inquisitor Exarch allows you to waylay the advances of a burn deck, or use him to drop your opponent’s life total by 2. The Stonehorn Dignitary can immobilise your opponent, especially if you can flicker him every turn. A most crippling tactic if left unanswered.

Venser, the Sojourner Silverblade Paladin

If you need more control in your deck, or wish to bounce permanents more often, add Venser, the Sojourner to your deck. If you want the deck to be even more formidable and aggressive, the Silverblade Paladin is a great way to turn unassuming creatures into formidable threats.

Here is the decklist for Humanity’s Vengeance.

Main Deck

60 cards

Glacial Fortress
Island
Moorland Haunt
12  Plains


24 lands
Blade Splicer
Fiend Hunter
Gideon’s Lawkeeper
Mirran Crusader
Nearheath Pilgrim
Nephalia Smuggler
Phyrexian Metamorph
Porcelain Legionnaire
Tandem Lookout
Wingcrafter


25 creatures

Dismember
Divine Deflection
Mental Misstep
Oblivion Ring
Righteous Blow


11 other spells

Sideboard

Cathedral Sanctifier
Cloudshift
Inquisitor Exarch
Mana Leak
Negate
Pacifism


15 sideboard cards

Death’s Encroach

If you are looking for a more direct way to kill your opponents, or enjoy the shambling might of hordes of Zombies, this deck is for you. This mono black deck showcases the undying might of zombies and the harshness of dark magic. This deck has a more direct approach: attack everything and destroy all threats.

Gravecrawler Altar’s Reap

Meet the Gravecrawler, one of my favourite zombies. This pest doesn’t know how to stay dead, allowing for some fairly aggressive and dastardly tricks. Kill the Gravecrawler with Altar’s Reap to draw two cards. If you have a zombie in play, cast Gravecrawler from your graveyard. Not a bad way to fill your hand with more threats!

Highborn Ghoul Geralf's Messenger

If cheap and scary are what you need, meet the Highborn Ghoul. So vile that only artifact creatures and other denizens of the dark will block him, he will steadily decrease your opponent’s life total. Geralf’s Messenger is a real thorn in your opponent’s side. From the moment he enters the battlefield, his noxious vapours start to wither his prey. Combine this with the fact that he can come back from the grave, causing loss of life again and you have one steady threat.

In case you missed the previous block, this Event Deck includes some of the best removal that black has at its disposal.

Dismember Surgical Extraction

Phyrexian mana is a great way to keep your opponent guessing. For one mana and four life, Dismember can stop a combo or get rid of a large threat. Once you get their favourite card into the graveyard, cast Surgical Extraction and get rid of his other copies of the spell, while taking a look at his hand and his library.

Gloom Surgeon Lashwrithe

The Gloom Surgeon is a great blocker and also acts as a real aggressive attacker. At the cost of cards in your library going into exile, this spirit keeps fighting until your opponent uses a spell or ability to deal damage. Lashwrithe is perfect in any mono black deck, as the number of swamps will always be high. For four mana and four life, one of your creatures just grew by +4/+4. Or, just use it as a blocker, thanks to living weapon, then equip it later.

Appetite for Brains Despise

Appetite for Brains makes sure that your opponent never gets to cast that massive creature or spell, which is rather dastardly considering you only paid one mana to stop him. Despise does a similar thing, getting rid of those pesky Mirran Crusaders and hexproof threats.

Geth's Verdict Call to the Grave

To improve this deck, why not try get more copies of Gravecrawler and Geralf’s Messenger? If hexproof is an issue for you, add a complement of Geth’s Verdict to get rid of them, or get Call to the Grave, which is a great way to paralyse the board.

Dread Slaver Undying Evil

If you enjoy larger threats, Dread Slaver is a not only a great blocker, but many players would rather take the damage than watch their creatures rise up under your control. Undying Evil allows you to protect your creatures without undying, foiling your opponent’s attempts to reduce the size of your horde. Otherwise, confuse your opponent with the evil, indescribably horrible and terrifying….

Black Cat

Black Cat!

Here is the decklist for Death’s Encroach.

Main Deck

60 cards

24  Swamp


24 lands
Cemetery Reaper
Crypt Creeper
Diregraf Ghoul
Geralf’s Messenger
Ghoulraiser
Gloom Surgeon
Gravecrawler
Highborn Ghoul
Skinrender


21 creatures

Altar’s Reap
Despise
Dismember
Doom Blade
Go for the Throat
Lashwrithe


15 other spells

Sideboard

Appetite for Brains
Crypt Creeper
Deathmark
Despise
Distress
Ghoulraiser
Surgical Extraction
Triumph of Cruelty


15 sideboard cards

Look out for more soon – when we pit these decks head to head to see which comes out victorious!

Last Updated: January 3, 2017

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