The Scoop: Casual Contemplation – Israfel Eldrazi

Casual Contemplation

Deceptive Tactics

I have a weakness for beautiful cards with unique abilities, even if those abilities are so absurdly difficult to use, they make the card virtually unplayable, especially in any competitive vein. Yet, I love to take those cards and do everything I can to make a functioning deck around them, even if it can’t wiggle its way out of Casual play. This is Casual Contemplation. Today’s card we will be taking a look at is:

Deceiver of Form

Image result for deceiver of forms


I absolutely love this card for so many reasons. Obviously, the randomness of its ability and high CMC scares away all Modern pros who are looking to build a top-8 deck. And who can blame them? The ability requires the deck to be built around it and it takes 7 mana to get the deck’s engine out. No thank you! But…it’s such a beautiful card…reminds me of the angel Israfel from Neon Genesis Evangelion that could split into two beings…Plus, the ability is devastating when used effectively. So how do we get Deceiver of Form’s ability to function properly?

Remember this, guys?….Guys….?

I have a knack for using cards I have available on-hand, and then likely seeking out “upgrade replacements” to a card that isn’t quite getting the job done. Bear in mind that for the most part, value trumps cost. Here is the decklist as it stands:

  • Creatures
    • Deceiver of Form x4
    • Elvish Visionary x4
    • Elvish Mystic x4
    • Nest Invader x4
    • Blisterpod x4
    • Brutalizer Exarch x3
    • Conduit of Ruin x3
    • Breaker of Armies x1
    • Eldrazi Devastator x1
    • Ulamog, The Ceaseless Hunger x1
    • It That Betrays x1
    • Pathrazer of Ulamog x1
    • Ulamog’s Crusher x1
    • Bane of Bala Ged x1
  • Instants and Sorceries
    • Ranger’s Guile x4
  • Lands
    • Forests x17
    • Colorless Mana x6

The goal of this deck is to get Deceiver of Form out quickly and begin using its effect as soon as possible. Using Visionaries, cheap mana ramp and creature tutors, the deck [hopefully] becomes an engine to the Deceiver machine.

The deck is entirely green with the exception of the occasional colorless-required Eldrazi. I have a couple of Colorless Mana in the deck should the option arise of hardcasting an Eldrazi.

Elvish Visionary is used to “cycle” the deck faster and provide fodder for our Eldrazi army later on. Nest Invader and Elvish Mystic supply our mana ramp. Nest Invader is particularly useful, because the Eldrazi Spawn can be used for needed mana or for our coming army. The Ranger’s Guiles are used to protect Deceiver of Form while it is on the battlefield.

The Brutalizer Exarch and Conduit of Ruin are our creature tutors. They are the perfect cards for this deck because they don’t put the tutored card on the battlefield or in your hand, but rather on top of your library, which is right where we want our creatures to go. Both cards can be used to tutor a Deceiver when absolutely necessary and Conduit of Ruin can help hardcast Eldrazi should the match require such a move.

Finally, we have the heavy hitters of the deck. The Eldrazi used are just a grabbag of devastating creatures from every Eldrazi set. This is entirely your preference on what to use, but the creatures should have a mana cost of 7 or more (for Conduit of Ruin’s ability), and for the most demoralizing hits, Annihilator and the like.

It doesn’t matter what Eldrazi you use, as long as they’re big and scary.

Ideal Scenario

  • Turn 1: (Forest) Elvish Mystic
  • Turn 2: (Forest) Nest Invader
  • Turn 3: (Forest) Elvish Visionary, Blisterpod
  • Turn 4: (Wastes) Elvish Mystic
  • Turn 5: (Forest) Deceiver of Form
  • Turn 6: Brutalizer Exarch, tutor It That Betrays to top of library, enter combat, reveal top card of library (It That Betrays), swing with 6 11/11’s with Annihilator 2.

Obviously, there are some MAJOR weaknesses to this deck. The starting hand of Visionaries and Mystics is crucial. Drawing into a Deceiver of Form is a requirement to keep the deck from stumbling. You can draw Eldrazi that begin eating up your hand. The mana ramp isn’t fast enough to keep up with your opponent and you have to start deciding between sacrificing your future Eldrazi copies (your weenies) or taking major hits to your life total.

Of course, this deck is designed to finish an opponent in one turn, but it is vulnerable to fast, aggressive decks and stacked control decks, and its own “luck curve” for that matter. But when this deck triggers properly, there is no greater feeling.


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