General: Xiahou Dun, the One-EyedCreatures-Butcher of MalakirPestilence DemonMaga, Traitor to MortalsRune-Scarred DemonSolemn SimulacrumInk-Eyes, Servant of OniCoffin QueenNezumi GraverobberWithered WretchHarvester Of SoulsMagus of the CoffersNirkana RevenantBloodgift DemonMassacre WurmKagemaro, First to SufferSheoldred, Whispering OneReaper from the AbyssSpells-Insidious DreamsDemonic CollusionDemonic TutorVampiric TutorMoonlight BargainSyphon MindSensei’s Divining TopAncient CravingAmbition’s CostNight’s WhisperPromise Of PowerSkeletal ScryingPhyrexian ArenaGrave PactDawn of the DeadPhyrexian ReclamationBeacon of unrestReanimateDance of the DeadRise from the GraveAnimate DeadNecromancySuffer the PastSins of the PastTemporal ExtortionExsanguinateBloodchief AscensionPolluted BondsExquisite BloodCrucible of WorldsOblivion StoneSpine of Ish SahGate to PhyrexiaNim DeathmantleMimic VatNull RodWitchbane OrbTragic SlipBarter in BloodProfane CommandPhthisisDecree of PainLife’s FinaleBlack Sun’s ZenithConsuming VaporsDamnationMutilateCorruptConsume SpiritDrain LifeGauntlet Of PowerLiliana of the Dark RealmsJet MedallionSol RingBlack MarketCaged SunLands-
Reliquary TowerBojuka BogPolluted MireWinding CanyonsVesuvaStrip MineCabal CoffersMystifying MazeBarren MoorHigh MarketVolrath’s Stronghold Lakeof the Dead of the False God Temple27 x Swamp
Hello! Long time reader, but this is my first time writing…er…in. Love what you do, keep up the good work, and so on. You guys totally deserve to have your website bought out by Wizards of the Coast for seven figures, and start getting to reveal spoilers for the new sets, and maybe get like a personal chef on-site and a hot tub and laundry service and maybe theme music that plays when you enter the room. (Just tossing some ideas out there.)
DJ also looks like the kind of guy who should be given a new Porsche for his troubles. Probably a black-on-black 911 Turbo with a GDC logo monogrammed in to the headrests, although I’m sure he’s not picky.
(Actually now that you mention him, DJ does complain a lot. You might work on that a bit. No offense!)
Anyway, I’ve been…er…following your recent series on building a Xiahou Dun deck, and I was hoping that I could write in with my own list to see if you could help me out a little.
(Well, kind of recent. DJ is really bad about staying on topic, isn’t he? No offense, of course. But I was looking forward to seeing a list sometime before we switch decades here…)
Here’s what I have right now:
WHAT DOES IT DO WELL?
It works well as a control deck. It has a billion board sweepers and ways to gain synergy through things like Grave Pact to add to the removal pile. It’s also great at really irritating people with cards like Temporal Extortion and Exsanguinate. Xiahou Dun himself is a great tool, and there are a ton of cool effects that play into him leaving the board and coming back over and over. (I’m really digging on Harvester of Souls and Nim Deathmantle, for example.)
WHERE DOES IT FALL SHORT?
Well, it doesn’t seem to have a great identity other than being a mono-black good stuff deck. It kind of makes a half-assed stab at being a reanimator deck, and there are some good synergies there (Ink-Eyes and Xiahou Dun play really well together, for example), but for the most part, that strategy is pretty uninspired and under-developed.
It has issues setting up sometimes. I’m not typically a fan of just sitting back and drawing cards and playing lands for the first eight or so turns, but if it misses a key accelerator, that’s what this deck wants to do. There’s not a ton of interactivity at instant speed, and I’m totally with DJ…that’s the key to a fun deck.
Also, I can’t count for crap. The deck is heavy several cards.
And did I mention graveyard hate? Witchbane Orb helps out a little, but man…it’s not pretty if I can’t keep playing out of the ‘yard.
WHAT WOULD I LIKE IT TO DO BETTER?
Synergy! I spent the morning re-reading the other exploratory Xiahou Dun articles, and your totally incredible readers have been really good suggesting awesome things that should go in the deck to make it work better with itself…cyclers and things like cantrips and whatnot. Maybe some more focus on the sacrifice theme? Good strategies like that. If I didn’t completely suck as a deckbuilder, I’d probably figure out how to correctly fit all of that stuff in, and I’d be better at pulling out some current includes to make room.
I guess I’m just really bad at subtleties, and I go heavy on power cards. I have to work on that.
It’d be great if it could create card advantage better, and I’d love it to be able to play better at instant-speed one way or the other.
WHAT’S THE DESIRED OVERALL LEVEL OF POWER HERE?
I tend to put most of my decks on the competitive side of casual. In fact, if I had to characterize myself, I’d say I’m probably about in the same (ahem…exact same…) place as DJ is as far as personal preferences. I don’t want infinite combos or mass land/hand destruction, but I want a good game. I want to be able to stand up to the field out there and have good games, and maybe win a few here and there. I’m okay with playing rough, as long as I’m still playing fair.
WHAT HAS TO STAY IN THE DECK?
I’d really like the core of the Xiahou Dun engine to stay; that means things like Dawn of the Dead and Phyrexian Reclamation. Stuff that drives the deck. Grave Pact would make the list too. Otherwise, I’m okay with any changes that help this thing work better.
So yeah…that’s really it. I’m hoping that you and your readers are better about this than I am, so please help me out. It’ll be nice to get this thing up and running as soon as possible.
Thanks again! I love what you do, and you should really be on the Wizards of the Coast payroll by now so that you don’t have to continue working a tiring 9-to-5-er and you can just get paid to play and talk about Magic all day. Not that I know first hand or anything about what you do or anything.
Anyway, I have to go right now, so good luck finally finishing up your Xiahou Dun series too. I hope you can put it to bed, because I’d like to see some play results sometime soon, and also because while I dig your site and all, I’m worried that you might be terrible at finishing things that you start. (I mean, come on…you started work on this thing like two months ago!)
While we’re on topic, you need to tell DJ to stop with the crazy suggestions like Dark Depths and Elbrus. If I may ask, is he properly medicated?
Well, thanks for listening to me. And I’m really pulling for the seven figures and the Porsche!