Constraints... they are an important concept in Magic. Heck, the color pie itself is the main constraint that we all work around when we play. Formats are another example, limiting the pool of cards or the number of copies of each card that you can work with. Last week I showcased a deck that was built solely with Limited Edition Beta cards as a love letter to the game. This week I wanted to share with you another deck that has some self-imposed limitations. This is the type of exercise that makes the game fun for me and gets my creative juices flowing. Welcome to crazytown... Population one. Modern creatureless control.
Waaay back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and Legends was the newest Magic expansion, I was rocking a creatureless deck that was built around Takklemaggots, Jade Statues and The Abyss. It was not a fun deck to play against, but it wasn't as cruel as a lot of decks of the day (land destruction, Stasis/Winter Orb), so my playgroup tolerated it. By "tolerated" I mean "you can play it one game a night and when we figure out you are playing it we are going to team up and try and take you down". I loved that deck, but over time it just kind of dated itself. It now sits unplayed in a box (without the power nine cards which have moved into my cube). It is now just a part of my Magic history.
Recently I have been trying to reclaim the impossible dream of a creatureless deck - this time in the Modern format. It is a bit more of a challenge today; the format is super fast and you are likely to get run-over by your opponent before you stabilize the board. I just can't stop chipping away at this idea though. I love placing constraints on myself in Magic, and this one is a doozy. Here is a link to the complete deck that I have so far... but here on the site I like to highlight card choices in threes, so lets look at the three cards that I think make this deck sing.
Blind Obedience - This enchantment will bring all your opponents creatures and artifacts into play tapped. It is great for slowing the early game while you build up your mana base, putting the breaks on haste creatures and artifact activations. The Extort ability is also a nice bonus once you have excess mana in play, providing a small life swing each turn.
Porphyry Nodes - a quirky cards that calls back to Legend's The Abyss (as seen above). This is a great mid-game drop when your opponent has a few creatures on the board. Cheap at one white mana and fits the theme (along with a helping of nostalgia).
Narset Ascendent - The reason I started this little project. She comes with a pretty great +1 ability for this build and 6 loyalty. This puts her three turns away from a soft board lock in combination with the many anti-creature cards at your disposal. This sets the stage for the win. Once you have the game locked down, or have disposed of all of their creatures swing in for the win by activating your lands and Myth Realized.
The deck is very beatable, but it is a blast to play - especially in multi-player if you can get the table to forget about you for a few turns. If you are playing a best of three match it is fun to watch your opponent madly side-boarding in a wad of cards after game one. With no creatures in the deck a lot of tournament caliber decks rely on creature kill - but they are "dead draws" against this madness. A lot of players that "netdeck" couldn't build a sideboard if their life depended on it, so while you may not win the match, it may make you smile a bit between rounds.
More important than the deck's overall performancethough , is that it made me think outside the box - and I had a lot of fun brewing it up. Next time you are building decks, give self imposed constraints a try. You may be surprised at the result.