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20 November, 2006

Battle of the Nephilim : Yore Tiller

Yore Tiller

By Mark Pinder

Yore-Tiller Nephilim  Creature - Nephilim W U B R
Whenever Yore-Tiller Nephilim attacks, return target creature card from your graveyard to play tapped and attacking. 2/2

This opens up the possibility for a bit of graveyard manipulation and the thought of a re-animator deck is first thing to cross my find. The second is that Nephilim’s are four colour and the mana base is by far the hardest area to solve. Shock Lands are out for a start so dropping down we look at other choices, bounce lands are a credible option but slow. Signets for mana fixing may also need to be considered. The answer hit me from Dissension, Pillar of Paruns as it is not an expensive rare if you look around, with the deck running of multicoloured land it will be a god send but useless on the single colour spells. Looking at the guild lands Sunhome, fortress of the legion may be of use for the double strike potential. However, with problems on mana as it is do you need a colourless land in the deck. Okay, the deck has to be playable which means fixing the mana base is they key concern, mana screw is probably the greatest problem the deck needs to solve, or a way to stay alive long enough for the deck to engage.

Blessing of the Nephilim  Enchantment - Aura Enchant creature W
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 for each of its color.

I feel this enchantment has to come into the deck as we are building a Nephilim deck and it will increase the Nephilim survivability when it attacks. Also with this in mind I think Galvanic Arc will be a nice addition to the deck, it can deal 3 damage to a creature as its come into play effect and then can give the Nephilim first strike.
The deck can use Lightning Helix to great effect to sweep or finish an opponent, works with the colours being played very well. Lightning Helix also gains the player some life. Likewise Mortify will be sustainable for creature and artefact removal. Whilst Mortify and Helix are top end uncommons they should normally be available to the casual player.

Of course the deck now has a feel of a tournament deck with slaughtering removal everywhere potentially three removal spells. Maybe that is too much on the removal side. Evasion, the deck lacks evasion and how can we pull through the deck. Dark Confidant is out, its too expensive for casual and no good if we go casual multi player, blue has the answer and Flight of Fancy. Bit of flight and card draw anyone. It is also an enchantment. Still the worry now is that all the colours are being played increasing potential for mana screw despite the usefulness of the spells. The various magemarks could help the deck but which one is best, Guardian mage mark now has Flash, Infiltrators magemark would be good with blue.

At this point a Vigor Mortis may be an idea to protect the Nephilim although not playing green could be an issue for the +1 +1 counter. Depending how serious we are going to put the deck Debtor’s Knell becomes an interesting choice. The deck has graveyard manipulation itself and can empty the opponents graveyard too. However, is adding a knell just adding a good card to the deck without actually strengthening the deck.
Bright Flame is a good spell in the limited environment and if it hits the Nephilim
Thoughts now go to running B W R with the U as a splash for the Nephilim.

Creature wise I feel Celestial Ancient is a nice cheap rare that makes the deck as works well with the enchant philosophy of the deck.

Azorius Guildmage is a nice cheap cost creature with a nifty tapping ability to try to keep the Nephilim on the table.

Lurking Informant can now make an appearance, it can help to put creatures into the graveyard for the Nephilim.
Boros Swiftblade is a good choice I feel for the deck with his double striking potential. Drop a Blessing of the Nephilim on him and he becomes 3 / 4 capable of surviving a lot of effects.

Jagged Poppet will fit in and has two uses, it can wipe out the opponents hands and can also allow high cost creatures to hit the graveyard for re-animation.

Centaur Safeguard also crossed my path after my first draft of the deck, I had discounted it because of the green element but can be played from the white side and with the potential for replay from the Nephilim it becomes interesting. Life gain isn’t normally a sound strategy but with a 3/1 creature it can kill most creatures and be brought back.

Until now I had discounted playing green but with the enchantment theme to the Nephilim maybe I should consider Dousing Shaman supported by bounce lands ? Maybe a five colour deck is workable. No, where possible Hybrid cards are to be used to lessen the chance of mana screw.  Dowsing Shaman isn’t going to make it.
Mana curve so far is potentially high, Boros recruit is playable and is a solid turn one drop. If it gets Blessing on it, then it will shine at 3/3 first strike.

Blind Hunter, if it wasn’t for the haunt effect removing it from the gain the life/loss gain would be interesting, if only it could be returned. Hardly worthy of splashing green for Research/Development.
Surveilling Sprite, hits the graveyard and draw a card. This could be cycled a fair bit though. However, is card draw that much of an advantage in this deck.

Mourning Thrull, a nice hybrid flyer and one that will beef up nicely.

Rakdos Guildmage, nice little abilities and one of my favourite guildmages.

Boros Guildmage, do creatures need first strike and haste ? Galvanic Arc deals with the first strike, or even the sun home fortress.

Hellhole Rats, okay they have haste and can be brought back with the Nephilim to create discard chaos
At this point I am torn, this is a casual deck and whilst on the whole the deck has been done cheaply it lacks something, of course it is the bomb ! Angel of Despair is my first choice as it fits the colour scheme and is just typical of a casual deck. However, it also doesn’t tend to be cheap in acquiring them but no reason why a fun player wouldn’t have one in their collection. Razia, Archangel is also a nice cheap rare with decent stats and abilities, the damage prevention may also keep the Nephilim alive. I would like to actually play a Ghost Council at this point, with creatures coming back from the graveyard with the Nephilim they would make excellent sacrificial lambs.

Finally, have to decide on the actual deck list and decide that sometimes the best ideas are your first ones, you have to see the wood for the trees. As a result Pillars will help to support the mana base, also blue is going to come from the Pillars and Signets. Deck will mainly run off the three colour black – red – white.

Mana base

4 Pillar of Paruns
3 Boros Garrison
3 Rakdos Carnarium
3 Orzhov Basilica
3 Mountain
3 Swamp
3 Plains
1 Sunhome, Fortress of Legion

1 Azorius Signet
1 Izzet Signet
1 Dimir Signet


4 Blessing of Nephilim
4 Lightning Helix
4 Mortify
1 Bright flame


3 Boros Recruit
3 Mourning Thrull
3 Boros Swiftblade
3 Rakdos Guildmage
2 Centaur Safeguard
1 Angel of Despair
1 Razia, Boros Archangel
1 Firemane Angel
4 Yore Tiller Nephilim

Why the final choices, the Blessing of Nephilim follows in the philosophy of the deck, this is a casual deck and we should always remember fun with what is a theme deck. The removal stays with Lightning Helix, Mortifies and lone Bright flame.

Creatures, being a Linkin park fan I thought a Hybrid Theory was in order. Besides every card with the exception of blessing is now multi-coloured which gives nice synergy to the deck. May not be the strongest deck, and whilst is always enjoyable I would like to think this little deck can cause mayhem. We have the Boros Recruit at one mana at the bottom of the curve and then has the early drops from Thrulls, Swiftblades and Guildmages. The centaurs again can gain from the Blessing so are worthy of their slot. Of course we have the Yore Tiller but as it is a casual deck you have to include the rogue bombs that always appear with an Angel of Despair, Razia, Boros Archangel and as a last minute addition a Firemane angel that aids life gain no matter where if it is in play or the graveyard to come back into play.

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