Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thinking about: Hellcarver Demon

Now, this guy has seen casual play in non-standard formats for the ability to combo off with Doomsday.  However, he has absolutely no use in competitive play due to the fact that he's extremely vulnerable to removal of any non-Terror kind.  If you manage to resolve him and successfully damage your opponent in a deck thinned out by combo pieces, you should have easily been able to beat them with any other deck.  However, something funny has been recently brought to my attention and I can see a deck with it doing well at FNM on occasion.

A local player, one who is absolutely horrible, has his mind set on building a deck with four Emrakuls and four Hellcarvers.  The idea is that if you hit an opponent successfully and reveal an Emrakul, you get to cast him and take another turn.  One more swing should bring their life down to zero.  Of course, the way this unnamed local player wants to build the deck, he has no budget whatsoever.  But in the realms of Jace, anything is possible.  But the question is, if you're already going U/B, why not just go with one of the lists from worlds and not run something that scoops to Memoricide-Emrakul?  It's the reason why I'm not building a full deck for this combo.

However, I did think of something that would make for a fun deck, but whether it actually works remains to be seen.  The idea is to run B/R, and use Liliana to put the stupidly funny below card on top of your library.  Although it may not be as strong in B/R as opposed to U/B, if you have the Jace money then you'd be better off, as I said, building a deck from Worlds anyways.  So since there's no point in building the good version of this combo, I give you this:

World at War and Hellcarver Demon: Cascade from Hell

The idea is actually quite simple: Use Haste creatures to drop early aggro and hope that your opponent uses all their answers for you to drop a Hellcarver and it sticks.  Then, either before combat or from hellcarver hitting the opponent, World at War is cast and you get to do it again.  Unfortunately, there are a few side effects to this version.

1) World at War only alters the turn order before the first postcombat main phase of the turn.  Multiple World at Wars cast before this happens means that you can have three or more combat phases, but If you hit during the second or third combat phase with a Hellcarver and hit World at War, you don't get the extra attack.  Fortunately, however, it still gets rebounded, so it's still worth casting.

2) World at War only untaps creatures that attack.  In other words, creatures with both haste and tap abilities won't get untapped if use the ability instead of attacking, such as Cunning Sparkmage.

3) World at War does not grant haste.  To build this deck, you need to have all your creatures have haste for it to be effective.  Also, this means that if you cast a second Hellcarver Demon off the first, you wouldn't get to attack with it.  But unless it would cause lethal damage, you wouldn't want to anyways, since they would have to sacrifice each other.

4) Hellcarver Demon prevents you from playing lands.  So, to get the most out of Bloodghasts, you need to draw into lands off your deck instead of just having fetches like most decks would.

Now, there are some obvious cards for this deck, things like Goblin Guide, Lightning Bolt, Elemental Appeal, Bloodghast, Liliana Vess, and of course you can still run Emrakul.  Then there's Arc Runner, Blood Tribute, Dead Reckoning, Doom Blade, Goblin Ruinblaster, Grim Discovery, Hideous End, Liliana's Specter, Mark of Mutiny, Staggershock, Traitorous Instinct, Tuktuk, the Explorer, and Wurmcoil Engine.  That's quite a pool to pick from.  Of course, there's also a possibility of running uncastable Vengevines, assuming any put into your hand will be discarded anyways.

Vengevine: Because Cascade from Hell isn't ridiculous enough.

So I'm just going to pick some of my personal favorites here and build a list...

4 Goblin Guides, for being awesome.
4 Lightning Bolts, for also being awesome.
4 Bloodghast, for having wannabe haste.
4 Doom Blade, for killing whatever wants you to lose before Hellcarver resolves.
4 Arc Runner, for being a Lightning Bolt on a Stick and for not having Ball Lightning in the format.
4 Staggershock, for killing them pesky blockers or alternatively for lighting their face on fire.
4 Mark of Munity, for stealing dudes only for them to be sacrificed to the demon after combat.
2 Tuktuk, the Explorer, for being legendary.
3 Vengevine, for not being castable
3 Liliana Vess, for pulling the pieces.
4 World at War, for being ridiculously jank.
4 Hellcarver Demon, for granting six cards worth of jank.

So how much is that... 44 cards.  F**k.

Let's see... -2 Tuktuk, the Explorer, -1 Vengevine, -3 Mark of Mutiny, -2 Staggershock makes 36 cards.

That makes it look like this:

Creatures (18):
4 Goblin Guide
4 Bloodghast
4 Arc Runner
2 Vengevine
4 Hellcarver Demon

Spells (18):
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Doom Blade
2 Staggershock
1 Mark of Mutiny
3 Liliana Vess
4 World at War

Lands (24):

4 Lavaclaw Reaches
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Blackleave Cliffs
4 Tectonic Edge
4 Mountain
4 Swamp

It looks fun to play, but I don't think that there's enough board presence in it to make the opponent drop all their removal before the hellcarver hits play.  My honest opinion is that it should be able to go game for game at a FNM event, but unless Scars brings some great haste effects it won't go far beyond that.  Basically, what the deck needs is a Fervor, and without a decent card by itself that can grant haste to the Hellcarver, the deck has no future.  Sure, there's Battle Rampart, but that's just another card that'll be terrible to be in the top six revealed.  The deck can still do well against decks that rely on Doom Blade/Grasp of Darkness for removal, but even then they have access to Memoricide, which royally screws this deck.  Future sets may have something that turns Hellcarver into a much more relevant creature, but for now he won't see play past FNM, at least not in B/R.  He might be run in some boards of U/B to use with Emrakul so a Memoricide/Frosty won't work, but I doubt it.

1 comment:

  1. looks lik a fun deck for fnm. maybe ill try it out next week.