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April 8, 2016

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Bad Brews: Falkenrath Gorger

Hello and welcome back to Bad Brews!

Okay… so two weeks ago I lied. I said I was coming back last week with a Bad Brews for Khans of Tarkir. Then I opened a Siege Rhino, and everything went to hell. Or is going to hell, depending on your perspective. You see, we are so close to rotation that I don’t feel comfortable brewing up something based on one of the best cards in the format, especially considering that it is about to rotate out. And that makes me a liar. So there.

But I am back this week, and thanks in part to good luck at the prerelease over the weekend, I am about to brew up a deck using a pack of Shadows Over Innistrad. Thats right, we get to see a deck that is only legal as of today.

Things are a little different in a pack of Innistrad, thanks to the fact that we are seeing a return of the flip mechanic that was first introduced to us back in 2011. Cards that have a flip have two sides, each with their own effects. The first thing to note about flip cards in game is that because they are the same card, flipping them does not cause them to have summoning sickness. They have still been in play since your last upkeep and can attack on the same turn that they flip. As for how they appear in booster packs, you can expect to get one per pack, unless you open a rare one, in which case you get two flip cards (and two rares for that matter).

With that little bit of explanation out of the way, let’s start off strong by cracking our first pack. Inside we find…

As for the rare card, we have…

Which leads us to our flip card…

For the purposes of Bad Brews, let’s go ahead and say that whenever we get a flip card we have to use it. In this case it isn’t that hard since it is the same colour as our rare, but this new rule is still a good one to have in place.

Now, let’s take a closer look at our rare card. Falkenrath Gorger is a great card to open, while it isn’t all that powerful, it is still a 2/1 for one mana, which is nothing to scoff at. Better yet, it gives all our vampires Madness. What is this Madness? You might ask, and rightly so, since it will be important to making our deck. Madness is the mechanic that allows you to cast a card that you have discarded for its Madness cost. An alternative casting cost that is usually printed on the card. In the case of all vampires in your deck, thanks to Falkenrath Gorger, its Madness cost is equal to its mana cost. This might not sound like much of an advantage until you realize that you can cast cards exiled to Madness at instant speed. Which allows you to cast your vampires, and any other Madness card, at any time you could legally discard a card. This is an important thing to note, as you cannot simply choose to discard a card at random intervals. A card or game state must trigger you to do so.

Gatstaf Arsonists are going to go into this deck as well. They are a big beefy creature on the one side, but don’t do much beyond that until they flip. However, when they do flip, they become a 6/5 Menace creature. Menace will keep our opponent’s either unwilling or unable to block, which will be useful to us in the late game.

Looking simply at the other cards in the pack, we see that we have a lot of cards in red that will be helpful to making a working deck. So for this week, I am going to try to keep this deck mono coloured, if only to see if it can be done effectively.

Sanguinary Mage is a 1/3 with Prowess that we can play as early as turn two. As long as we are casting noncreature spells, it will get a nice little pump. A 2/4 for two mana is nothing to scoff at.

Turn three we hope to rely on the enchantment Stensia Masquerade to do some work for us. Not only does it give our attacking creatures first strike, a nice shot in the arm for many of our weaker creatures, it also pumps vampires every time they deal combat damage to a player. Clearly this deck is going to be vampire tribal, based only on the first few cards we used. As an added bonus, Stensia Masquerade is a Madness card itself, which means if properly set up, we can cast it on our opponents turn.

Bloodmad Vampire will also be handy in our deck. Its a 4/1 that will get first strike thanks to Stensia Masquerade, which means it will take a lot of damage before it ends up trading with an opponent’s creatures. It also has Madness naturally, which doesn’t have us relying on Falkenrath Gorger to cast it by discarding.

Insolent Neonate will be a helpful madness engine in our deck, allowing us to both discard and draw a card, therefore replacing it self even though we have to blow it up to do so. Assuming we have enough mana on any turn to cast our Madness vampires, we will be doing this a lot and early as the ability doesn’t require us to tap in order to activate the ability. Early game it will also be helpful as it can only be blocked by two or more creatures.

True-Faith Censer is less helpful in a vampire tribal deck, but it still has its uses, most notably in helping our Gatstaf Arsonist flip by not casting a spell but still pumping our creature.

Now that we have pooled in all the cards from the pack that we are going to be using, let’s stop and take a look at cards from outside that pack that will beef up our deck.

Lightning Axe pulls double duty in this deck. Both dealing damage to a creature, thus clearing the board a little bit for us, and being a madness engine, allowing us to play our vampires whenever we damn well feel. That’s right, its an instant that will allow us to discard a card.

Tormenting Voice gives us card draw as well as allowing us to have a Madness engine. Basically a must have for all madness decks out there. When playing this card be sure to keep some mana open to cast a vampire. Just saying.

Mad Prophet is a three drop Haste that will let you pump off Madness card once per turn at no downside. The best part, as it has haste, you can get them out the first turn you see your Mad Prophet. Worst case you will be able to drop a dead card from your hand in order to get some advantage.

Ravenous Bloodseeker gets a nice little pump every time you discard a card. With Stensia Masquerade out on the battlefield you will be able to use this as a really great combat trick. Taking out small threats with a first striking 3/1 is good all around.

Malevolent Whispers allows you to take control of a creature your opponent controls. It also gives a nice buff, and can be cast for madness, making it basically an instant card in this deck. Sure you have to trigger madness, but with all the engines in this deck that won’t be hard to do.

Bad Brews: Falkenrath Groger

Creatures: (23)
Bloodmad Vampire
Falkenrath Gorger
Gatstaf Arsonists
Insolent Neonate
Mad Prophet
Ravenous Bloodseeker
Sanguinary Mage

Instants: (4)
Lightning Axe

Sorceries: (3)
Malevolent Whispers

Enchantments: (4)
Stensia Masquerade

Artifacts: (2)
True-Faith Censer

Lands: (24)
24 Mountain

Basically, this deck is all about the Madness. Anytime you can discard a card and cast it, you should be doing so. It allows you to play cards on your opponent’s turn, allowing you to swing in with bigger creatures every time you attack. Keeping your opponent on his toes will be the key to making this deck work.

Well, that’s it for this week’s Bad Brews. Did I miss a better madness engine in red? Should I have gone more than one colour for this deck. Let me know in the comments below, and I will see you next week when we crack open another pack of Shadows Over Innistrad hoping for the worst!