I was involved in a cult once. Usually quite a calculated and reasonable man, one day I learned it was the will of Zedruu that I must submit to. Of course things began harmlessly enough:
It is the will of Zedruu that you have… this Pentad Prism.
It is no longer burdened by counters. Enjoy.
I will be over here drawing a card.
It is the will of Zedruu that you have… this Impulsive Maneuvers.
You’ve been promoted to master of all coin flips!
While you’re busy with that I’ll gain some extra life.
Zedruu sees your suffering and it is her will that you have… this Rest in Peace.
You have my thoughts and prayers.
Life and cards for me.
Perhaps you too see the subtle allure that drew me into the cult of Zedruu the Greathearted. However, as these things tend to go, eventually the over-sized Zedruu I used during games began to will that I give away far less savory things. I recognized the threat to my future in EDH, made an escape from the cult lifestyle, and I tried to forget about the time I spent developing Zedruu’s Free Range Organic Sticker Collection.
This time in the Burning Inquiry we call on Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist and Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa as we design a deck so dysfunctional that our main goal is to let our opponents try and play with it themselves. Though the deck aims to be obtuse, there will be inherent synergy between the cards included in the list as well as the partners we have chosen to corral them. Ludevic rewards players for taking early opportunities to strike each other while Sidar Kondo allows for casual access to these opportunities by encouraging low-power creatures to attack without fear of being blocked. Meanwhile, in the style of a Zedruu deck we’ll be recruiting our opponents into our cult by merrily passing obnoxiously sleeved cards around the table for others to use.
Inquiry #1: How do we gain and influence followers?
A growing cult thrives when the masses are confused and coerced into acting unreasonably. It is to this end we’ll include cards that force our opponents to do things they wouldn’t normally intend. Consider your friend who has spent the last few weeks crafting a very synergistic Kefnet the Mindful list. While he explains the deck’s calculated intricacies we burn inside to tell them about our spiritual awakening. And when we put a card like Curse of Echoes, Possibility Storm, or Psychic Battle onto the battlefield we’ve found a great way to initiate them into a conversation about how their reasonable world is a great big lie.
Perhaps another possible disciple at the table has brought a very established Kaalia of the Vast deck to play with. Imagine the lessons we can teach them when they put an Avacyn, Angel of Hope into play and a Confusion in the Ranks insists they trade her for our Wandering Eye. We have much to teach you about hope, brother. Sit down, be humble.
Still, lest we forget a third future member of our flock. They have been excited to play The Locust God ever since it was spoiled. Drawing cards from their deck is literally all they ever want to do. Let us reveal the idolatry taking over their life while they read the text of Shared Fate. In fact, let us all share in witnessing our own selfish desires driven out! You wished to sit down for a game of EDH and play your own deck? Shame on you! Repent and join the cult of Ludevic and Sidar Kondo.
Inquiry #2: How do we stupefy our followers?
Moving forward, if we’re going to be passing our cards around the table, it will be important to remember that we need to play a deck full of things our opponents don’t really care to use. One of the tricky things back when I played Zedruu was that I primarily only wanted to donate non-creature permanents. While I would have run a deck full of hate bears with static universal effects, I was forced to refrain as it was important that whatever I gave away stayed on the table to reap the benefits of her upkeep trigger. This will not be the case with the deck we design here. One reason for this is that Sidar Kondo’s passive ability creates dilemmas for our opponents if they wish to forsake gifted creatures via combat. Another reason is that Ludevic tempts our opponents to use any small creatures we give them to attack each other for a card draw trigger. We’ll further supplement this desire with Edric, Spymaster of Trest and at times force the issue with Grenzo, Havoc Raiser. Another method of conversion is evoking politics by, say, giving anybody but the Omnath, Locus of Rage our Tunnel Ignus.
So let’s take a look at who we’ve recruited into our cult of dysfunction. In the past we might have included a simple card like Meekstone to weaken certain urges of others at the table. However, now our dogma can also be perpetuated through creatures such as Marble Titan in pious combination with Imposing Sovereign, Thalia, Heretic Cathar, and Loxodon Gatekeeper. A Hushwing Gryff can act as a second Torpor Orb nullifying so many cards our opponents might be playing. Formerly including a card like Stranglehold felt a little narrow but now we have purposeful options like Leonin Arbiter and Aven Mindcensor to ensure the singleton format our supreme leader desires.
Our chaste beliefs also prohibit one of the most common deckbuilding practices out there: graveyard recursion. Assuredly our opponents that sinfully play with dead things never like seeing Grafdigger’s Cage, Ground Seal, or Rest in Peace, and they’ll feel even more washed when we supplement with cards like Dryad Militant, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, and Containment Priest. To keep our opponents from interrupting our cleansing rituals we have justifiable compliments to Defense Grid and City of Solitude in Wandering Eye, Stoneshaker Shaman, and Dosan the Falling Leaf.
Though it seems blasphemous, we are not running our hallowed minotaur-mother due to the fact we are fervently seeking initiates that counter activated abilities. Cards such as Harsh Mentor and Phyrexian Revoker in chorus with Damping Matrix, Null Rod, Cursed Totem, Suppression Field stop our opponents from trying to do forbidden things. You’ll notice that some of these hate cards even lock out mana from artifacts and creatures, which can further intensify our weary opponents’ necessity to come to us for sustenance.
In Solemnity you may behold the commandments of our sect:
Thou shalt not untap powerful creatures.
Thou shalt not rush to attack or use lands.
Thou shalt not trigger enter the battlefield abilities.
Thou shalt not search through your libraries for cards.
Thou shalt not revel in death and resource your graveyard.
Thou shalt not interrupt other player’s turns.
Thou shalt not activate abilities.
Thou shalt not use dice.
Now, usually after a deck list is compiled it is here that I would sign off and unleash you to spread the message to your playgroups. However, I’m lead by the spirit to confess something: my thoughts have been wracked by the concept behind this deck. If you survey the list above you may notice a small theme in land auras such as Fertile Ground or my favorite card I never get to play Trace of Abundance. These help to fix our demanding mana requirements, plus they are naturally inconsequential permanents to donate to opponents. But what has captivated me further is the possibility of using an absurd amount of these auras to elevate our extreme devotion beyond what I had originally considered.
Inquiry #3: How do we barricade the doors during our occult ceremonies?
The presented list condemns a lot of things most players want to be doing during a game of EDH. Though there are other practices we could define as immoral… such as using lands. How unnatural! Hokori, Dust Drinker, Winter Orb, and Rising Waters limit this behavior to one land a turn, and we’ll just make sure that our land is loaded with mana producing auras. Still we must purge our opponents’ fetish for playing nonbasic lands. What an abomination! Remedy awaits when we apply Back to Basics, Blood Moon, and Ruination, or possibly move into a darker realm with Contamination and Destructive Flow. We’ll get by with a mana base of nothing but Forests. Yes, only Forests and lots of mana altering enchantments.
I won’t say that I’ve worked out all the details, but I have begun exploring the path; a path that you can join me on! Contact me for information on simple payments you can make to begin receiving enlightening literature. Here’s a sample from the sacred text:
“While I was living out in the world, I once awoke from a fevered dream. Reflection lead me to incessantly seek the wilderness. ‘Forests! Forests!’ the call resounded in my consciousness. It is my will that you have… no friends.”
Cheers to the brewers!