The Tribal Throwdown — Building the Surprise Entrants, Part Three


It’s no secret, I’ve always liked Magic tournaments. The thrill of doing well is a natural high, and it’s always fun to see who can do the best.

We have a tribal EDH tourney called The Tribal Throwdown coming up on the horizon, where we’ll be smashing the various tribes of MTG (Zombies, Elves, Merfolk, etc) together to find out who is the best tribe, and which tribe will come out on top.

As I’ve done for each of our other tourneys, I’ve built a number of surprise entrants for this one. Today, we’ll be looking at the latest batch of these entrants, and discuss them in some detail.

Let’s take a look!


• To read the intro to The Tribal Throwdown, click here.
• To read about the first surprise entrants, led by Brion Stoutarm (tribal Giants), Daghatar the Adamant (tribal Warriors), and Kodama of the South Tree (tribal Spirits), click here.
• To read about the surprise Insect tribal deck, led by Thriss, Nantuko Primus, click here.

At this point, I knew that I wanted to set up a few tribal decks that didn’t have any Lords, or tribal support printed for them. These would be completely unexpected, and would be some off-the-wall tribes for my friends to face.

Hence, the latest tribe I looked at was mono-black, evil, and totally horrifying.

Mono-black Horrors decklist:

General (1)

Creatures (33)
Despoiler of Souls
Sinuous Vermin
Hunted Horror
Boneshard Slasher
Hidden Horror
Necrogen Scudder
Flesh Carver
Phyrexian Rager
Plague Spitter
Dross Harvester
Childhood Horror
Grim Strider
Thought Gorger
Shambling Swarm
Sewer Nemesis
Greater Harvester
Dread Slaver
Morkrut Necropod
Cosmic Horror
Dark Hatchling
Laquatus’s Champion
Phyrexian Gargantua
Netherborn Phalanx
Void Maw
Devouring Strossus

Other threats (1)
Phyrexian Totem

Card drawing spells (8)
Moonlight Bargain
Bitter Revelation
Ambition’s Cost
Read the Bones
Night’s Whisper
Sign in Blood
Phyrexian Arena

Wraths and removal spells (9)
Life’s Finale
Decree of Pain
Consume the Meek
Dregs of Sorrow
Flaying Tendrils
Dakmor Plague

Recursion (4)
Phyrexian Reclamation
Tempt with Immortality
Reaping the Graves
Aphetto Dredging

Other spells (4)
Cover of Darkness
Konda’s Banner
Key to the City

Land (40)
Temple of the False God
Blighted Fen
Terrain Generator
33 Swamp
Polluted Mire
Barren Moor
Bojuka Bog


This is quite the decklist, and it all came about just because I wanted to play this little guy in the tribal tourney:

There are an awful lot of tribes in this tourney with decks that are just chock-full of tiny creatures, from 1/1 Goblins, to Elves, to Birds, to Wizards, and everything in between. Ever since waaaaaay back in Invasion block, Plague Spitter has been fantastic at killing off hordes of smaller creatures, so I asked myself, “What if I built around whatever tribe that card is now in?”

Well, it turns out that the Spitter is still part of the Horror tribe, a tribe that I’d found very notable back when I was brainstorming surprise entrants, because there are a whopping 193 Horrors in Magic! That is a huge number for such a random tribe, and so I was definitely looking at building this tribe for the tourney.

And randomly, it turns out that the Horror tribe has a theme of sorts that I could build around!

In this case, pretty much every Horror creature ever printed has a large drawback, but they all tend to be massive creatures (4/4 or bigger), and often for very cheap mana costs. I had a horrifying idea that was stunning in its simplicity… what if I was to build the deck around killing off little creatures every turn with sweepers and Infest effects, and thus leaving my bigger badder Horrors alive and kicking ass? Could that work?

In a tourney full of smaller dudes, I had a hunch that this plan would actually work very, very well.

There are a number of mini-themes at work in here. As I’d mentioned, I have pretty well every version ever printed of Infest, letting me sweep away small creatures at will, but keep my large Horrors in play. There are also a subsection of Horrors such as Childhood Horror or Frightcrawler that, when you have threshold, each get big enough to survive an Infest (and this mini-theme by itself was enough to make me want to build the deck!) Finally, part of the card drawing spells are spells that will let you dump cards into your graveyard, thus getting the deck to threshold.

This isn’t a simple plan at all, but it may just work!

Final thought: I won’t lie, I’m more than a little sad that I couldn’t find my Legends copy of Horror of Horrors anywhere. If I’ve traded it away, that’s a shame; it would have finally had a place to shine!

This deck should be an interesting one to play in the Tribal Throwdown. In theory, it should be able to kill off smaller swarms of creatures with ease, and win through larger Horror beatdown; what happens, however, if the deck is matched against one of the decks with larger tribal creatures, such as Darby’s Eldrazi, or Brianna’s Angels, or my own Giants?

We shall see just how this deck ends up doing, and I for one am looking forward to it!


One thought on “The Tribal Throwdown — Building the Surprise Entrants, Part Three

  1. Large black creatures with drawbacks have been my casual favorite since Lord of the Pit. I’ll be rooting for the horrors in this tournament!

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