M13, the new core set (a great place for beginners or those just getting back into Magic) has some drastic changes from previous core sets. The titans were not reprinted, so players will have to explore other options for ramp and control decks. Cantrips (low cost cards whose effects include drawing a card) such as Ponder are also cycling out, meaning blue mages need to look for other ways to hunt for cards and plan their turns.
As with other core sets, the keyword is one from a previous block, this time it is exalted. Take a look at one of the five new intro packs in M13. 60 card ready to play decks that come with two boosters for alterations and trading.
Sole Domination is a white black deck that wins a war of attrition. This M13 intro pack arms you with the power of the exalted mechanic. Exalted triggers when a creature you control attacks alone, giving that creature +1/+1 for each permanent you control that has exalted. This means that of your horde of creatures, only one attacks, normally with a large benefit. The rest hang back, protecting you from harm. To make things even worse for your opponents, cards like Angelic Benediction grant additional effects when a single creature attacks. In this case, you can tap one of your opponent’s pesky blockers. If the creature attacking alone happens to be Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis, your opponent has to sacrifice a creature as well. All in all, the exalted mechanic can create a host of problems for your opponent. Creatures like the Vampire Nighthawk take full advantage of the exalted mechanic, bloating your life total while flying over your opponents.
This deck also includes a number of other creatures that take advantage of the fact that you will usually just be attacking with a single creature. Naturally, your opponent will want to block that creature, so unless your creature happens to have trample (unlikely in a white black deck), you won’t hurt your opponent at all. To help with this obvious flaw, there are a number of unblockable creatures in the deck, as well as some flyers, making the chances of your creature getting through to deal damage to the player just that much higher. The Aven Squire, Tormented Soul and Bloodhunter Bat all improve your chances of getting damage through to your opponent.
Defensively speaking, your creatures aren’t all that great. Most of them are small, with only 1 toughness, making them hopeless as blockers. Without the exalted mechanic to buff (which only occurs when attacking), they are pretty weak. Each time you are forced to block and probably lose one of your exalted creatures, your next attack will be that much weaker. As such, the deck makes use of trusty black removal spells like Murder to destroy creatures, and Pacifism to make them useless. Cower in Fear handles those pesky token strategies, destroying vast hordes of little creatures.
Exalted is a mechanic that was first used in the Shards of Alara block, and hasn’t been seen since. It’s nice to see the return of such a fun and interesting gameplay option. This is also the first time black exalted cards have been printed, adding a host of new options for deckbuilding.
The other rare card in the deck, the Xathrid Gorgon, petrifies other creatures, turning them into lowly blockers and stripping them of their activated abilities. Blood Reckoning punishes your opponent for attacking you, making them bleed for every attempt on your life. The Ring of Xathrid not only makes the creature it is attached to larger each turn, but also allows you to regenerate it, allowing you to keep your important creatures alive.
There are many other cards in the M13 set that could enhance this deck and make things even more horrible for your opponent. Including more copies of your favourite exalted cards is always an option, or you could include some that aren’t already in the deck. Cathedral of War is a new land card that produces colourless mana, and is exalted. You could also include Isolated Chapels from the Innistrad block. These lands produce either white or black mana, which will help if you’re struggling with playing a two-colour deck. And let’s not forget Sublime Archangel, a beautiful exalted flyer who just happens to give all your creatures exalted, whether they already are or not, and yes, it does stack. With her on the board, you could end up attacking for an unsettling amount of damage. Oblivion Rings are a favourite, as they can deal with those pesky artifacts, planeswalkers and enchantments too. Personally I want another Nefarox in the deck, because a 6/6 flying creature who makes your opponent sacrifice a creature every turn is a really hard pill to swallow.
|1 Evolving Wilds
|1 Angelic Benediction
1 Blood Reckoning
2 Cower in Fear
1 Mark of the Vampire
1 Ring of Xathrid
10 other spells
Last Updated: January 3, 2017