The Scoop: Casual Contemplation – Who Goes There?

I named this deck Who Goes There?, after the novella by John W. Campbell Jr., which was of course adapted into the film The Thing From Another World in 1951, and chiefly John Carpenter’s The Thing in 1982. The deck is based around the Blue Transform card Thing in the Ice, which is definitely on my “desert island” list of MTG cards.

Giant monster encased in ice…Let’s bring it to port! What could go wrong?

The deck is incredibly simple. It only has 10 creatures in it and the rest are instants and sorceries. It has one of the smallest average CMCs of any deck I’ve built at 2. Only Dream Fracture and Chasm Skulker cost 3, everything else is 2 or less. It’s fast and fun, and happens to use two of the more intimidating monsters Blue has to offer, both in look and abilities.


  •  Creatures
    • Thing in the Ice x4
    • Chasm Skulker x4
    • Hex Parasite x2
  • Instants and Sorceries
    • Ponder x4
    • Turn Aside x2
    • Peel From Reality x2
    • Preordain x4
    • Rapid Hybridization x4
    • Dream Fracture x2
    • Arcane Denial x2
    • Brainstorm x4
    • Gitaxian Probe x4
  • Lands
    • Islands x22

The deck is centered around playing cards fast and often to get Thing in the Ice and Chasm Skulker out quickly and trigger their abilities repeatedly. Ponder, Preordain, Gitaxian Probe and Brainstorm are used to cycle the deck to the two creatures and then activate Thing in the Ice’s instant and sorcery trigger and Chasm Skulker’s draw trigger simultaneously.

Don’t worry…it only wants to murder your opponents.

Turn Aside, Peel From Reality, and Rapid Hybridization round out the deck as the control, while Dream Fracture and Arcane Denial fulfill both control and draw needs. Turn Aside gives both creatures the opportunity to survive some removal, and Rapid Hybridization’s 3/3 creature for the opponent is far less of a downside when you’ll be sending them off the board when Thing in the Ice transforms. Peel From Reality offers a little control of the opponent’s board while also providing the ability to recast/trigger Thing in the Ice if you haven’t hit a second copy of it in your deck.

I once ran 4 Hex Parasites in the deck, but I found there was a greater benefit to the efficiency of the deck by adding in a couple more instants and sorceries that can benefit Chasm Skulker and Thing in the Ice at the same time. However, I have found the deck can be efficient playing 0 or 4 Hex Parasites, depending on how you want to operate.

In case it isn’t obvious, Hex Parasite is used to remove all of Thing in the Ice’s counters without relying on instants and sorceries to do the job. The Phyrexian mana means we don’t have to splash Swamps unless we really really want to. I personally don’t bother, since I likely won’t be activating the ability more than twice a game. Hex Parasite is also a nifty piece of planeswalker hate if your opponents tend to build decks that run planeswalkers frequently.

Ideal Scenario

  1. (Island) Ponder
  2. (Island) Thing in the Ice
  3. (Island) Chasm Skulker
  4. (Island) Ponder/Brainstorm/Gitaxian Probe
  5. Ponder/Brainstorm/Gitaxian Probe, transform Thing in the Ice, swing with Awoken Horror and Chasm Skulker

This scenario implies your opponent isn’t pushing other decisions, but the deck has built-in flexibility. For example, you can delay Chasm Skulker and begin triggering Thing in the Ice early to wipe the field. You can target your Chasm Skulker with a Rapid Hybridization to create a horde of 1/1’s and a 3/3. You can focus early on control to keep the opponent wasting mana while you build your hand/field presence. In the end, the deck wins a majority of matches because of the low average CMC and the malleability of its actions.

If you or your crew are sticklers for the rules, i.e. banned cards, you can find a replacement for Ponder in the form of Anticipate or something similar. The downside to Anticipate beyond the increase in CMC is it won’t trigger Chasm Skulker since you aren’t technically drawing, but it does help with Thing in the Ice and cycling your deck. Divination, despite the CMC, is another option that may work well, or increasing your number of Arcane Denial and Dream Fracture.

— Dalton


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