Strategy Porting, part 2: The Card Hunt

In my introductory post about strategy porting, I talked about wanting to port one of my old Yu-Gi-Oh! decks into Magic: the Gathering–specifically, I wanted to recreate a very control-based deck that worked around getting a bunch of Flip-Effect monsters into the graveyard so that Shadow Ghoul and Chaos Necromancer could be bigger attackers.

This has proven to be much harder than it first seemed. 😛

Problem #1: No Flip-Effect Creatures in Magic

The Morph mechanic does exist in M:TG, but for what I want the creatures to do, there’s not really any Morph cards that do the effects for any kind of reasonable cost. Plus, the ability of Flip-Effect monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh! to block an attack and THEN have an effect go off is hard to replicate in Magic anyway.

Problem #2: No One Color Does It All

If you want “destroy creatures” and “sacrifice creatures” effects, you look to Black. If you want “return creatures to owner’s hand” and “mill top four or five cards,” you look to Blue. If you want “sacrifice this creature to gain a bunch of life,” you look to White. See where I’m going with this?

With Yu-Gi-Oh!, you don’t have to worry about being able to play your creatures with specific colors of mana. This enables you to have a toolbox-style deck like the one I’ve assembled. But with Magic, if I want to have a deck that is able to play what it needs to play, I have to make sure I’m not running a crazy five-color deck where I’ll never get the amounts of mana I need.

Problem #3: Might Not End Up Being the Same Kind of Deck

While the surprise effects of a Flip-Effect monster in Yu-Gi-Oh is almost impossible to match in Magic, there is something that does match the surprise factor: instants. Casting an instant in response to another player’s attack can give the same net effect as a Flip-Effect monster.

However, if I start building the deck with all instants and sorceries instead of creatures, the strategy won’t be quite the same. No longer will I be able to amass a creature-filled graveyard and mow down people with the Magic equivalent of Chaos Necromancer, Mortivore. Instead, it will be almost a creatureless deck…not exactly what I intended.

Some Light at the End of the Tunnel

I agree, there are problems with porting a strategy…but there is hope. Going through the card database available on Gatherer, I was able to find at least some cards that matched up to what I’d like to replicate from my old deck. A partial list appears below, sticking to Blue and Black as the main colors of the deck:

Creature-Destroying Creatures

  • Blind Zealot
  • Shriekmaw
  • Necrite
  • Wall of Corpses

Creature-Destroying Spells

  • Bone Splinters
  • Chainer’s Edict
  • Witch’s Mist
  • Wretched Banquet

Creature-Bouncing Creatures

  • AEther Adept
  • Barrin, Master Wizard
  • Man-O’-War
  • Waterfront Bouncer

Creature-Bouncing Spells

  • AEther Spellbomb
  • Peel from Reality
  • Unsummon
  • Seal of Removal

Card-Milling Creatures

  • Hedron Crab
  • Cathartic Adept
  • Merfolk Mesmerist
  • Riddlekeeper

Card-Milling Spells

  • Brain Freeze
  • Vision Charm
  • Horrifying Revelation
  • Memory Sluice

Damage-Preventing Creatures

  • Fog Bank
  • Cephalid Illusionist

Damage-Preventing Spells

  • Darkness

Life-Loss/Direct Damage Creatures

  • Bile Urchin
  • Death Cultist
  • Blightspeaker
  • Cabal Archon

Life-Loss/Direct Damage Spells

  • Ebony Charm
  • Geth’s Verdict
  • Misery Charm
  • Hideous End

Card-Drawing Creatures

  • Sage of Epityr
  • Hapless Researcher
  • Drowned Rusalka
  • Alchemist’s Apprentice

Card-Drawing Spells

  • Accumulated Knowledge
  • Brainstorm
  • Visions of Beyond
  • Thought Scour

Life-Gaining Creatures

  • Deathgreeter
  • Child of Night
  • Vampire Nighthawk
  • Gutless Ghoul

Life-Gaining Spells

  • Douse in Gloom
  • Plunge into Darkness
  • Devour Flesh
  • Crypt Incursion

How to Do a Search Like This for Yourself

  • Search out the abilities you need, narrowing the focus by colors, then type of card.
  • If you’re trying to build within a certain format (such as Standard, keep set printings in mind as you search.
  • Be open to new ways to include an effect (such as finding life-gain in Black rather than White).

On to Part 3: Playing by Proxy!

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