What Is This?

This is a not-so-great multiplayer deck I've been piloting to mediocre success since the late 90's. While everyone else develops their board, this deck wants to play lands, play a few enchantments, and play dead as long as possible. When the time is right, hit the panic button to send everything to the graveyard. Then use your Lhurgoyf(s) and start picking people off.
This is one of the first decks I built that was halfway decent. Ok, halfway decent is probably an overstatement, but it's much better than anything else I built at the time. It's a casual multiplayer deck that wants your opponents to play a lot of creatures. In my experience it works pretty well if people haven't played against it before, but it gets harder to play dead once everyone knows what's coming.

This deck gets better the more your opponents are relying on creature-based strategies, which was how most multiplayer games went back in the day (at least in my experience). The deck aims to do very little in the early game, while everyone else developes their board. The goal is to survive as long as possible, while playing a few helpful enchantments and hopefully a Yavimaya Elder or two. The lands you get when it dies, along with some of our enchantments means we can rebuild and get out our Lhurgoyfs quickly, if not immediately.

When you can't survive any longer, or the game is sufficiently developed, hit the panic button in the form of Jokulhaups. Ideally you'll do this when you'll also have access to , or a creature in play with Pattern of Rebirth on it so you can get Lhurgoyf into play right away. If you're really lucky, you might even get more than one. Depending on the number of people (and creatures) in the game it's usually a one-hit-kill from Lhurgoyf at this point.

Fortunately, Jokulhaups leaves all of the enchantments in play as well, so they continue to provide some ramp or protection in case your opponents start to rebuild.

The Scenario

It's December 31st, 1999 and you're sitting around the kitchen table slinging spells with a group of friends. Intergallactic by the Beastie Boys is playing on the radio (because what even is a Spotify?) and the 90's are almost over. It's the first game of the evening and the conversation is flowing.

"Have you seen that new Two-Headed Dragon? That thing is unbeatable!"

"Forget that, give me Tidal Kraken any day! I pulled a 'foil' one last week!"

"I'm not sold on those shiny cards. Clearly Magic is going down hill fast if Wizards is resorting to gimmicks like that to sell packs..."

Everyone is playing their spells and creating threats in the usual buildup of the game. All except for you, who seems to be struggling. You've played a few lands and some inconsequential creatures, but You're no threat to the others. They look at you and see defeat in your eyes. But on the inside you're smiling, knowing you probably won't win another game that night because the trick only works once. But this game... it's as good as won already...

How it works

This isn't too hard because the deck doesn't do much, but it helps if you can play it up a bit with some heavy sighs as you play a land and pass your turn. Tinder Wall mostly looks like a defensive play, and everyone typically expects you to sacrifice it quickly to ramp/fix, so they tend to forget about it after a couple of turns. Darkness, Fog and Lull neutralize attacks from your opponents without being aggressive, so you won't antagonize anyone into attacking you. No Mercy is also another defensive deterrent. Terror is great spot removal, but be sure to only use it if you're attacked. We don't want to give anyone any reason to attack us.

It's very important to build slowly and not look like a threat. Dropping things like Exploration, Gaea's Touch, and No Rest for the Wicked too early will signal that you're actually up to something. Likewise, be careful running out Yavimaya Elder and Pattern of Rebirth until you're ready to hit the panic button.

Yavimaya Elder is not meant to help us ramp early, but to rebuild after Jokulhaups. Ramping early will make us too much of a target and we can't really survive that. Playing out the Birds of Paradise is fine since it will either get bolted and everyone will think your plan has been thwarted, or it'll stick around and everyone will realise you have nothing to do with the extra mana.

There's a few cards we'll be looking to play before we reveal our master plan. How much pressure we're under will dictate how quickly we get these out, but ideally we'll play most of them just a turn or two before Jokulhaups. In a perfect world we'd be able to wait until the turn we play Jokulhaups for maximum surprise, but that's not too common.

We're looking to land a Lhurgoyf (or two) after hitting the panic button, so having a creature out with a Pattern of Rebirth on it will be very helpful. Having Yavimaya Elder in play will allow us to get lands back into play quickly so we can play the goyf the 'fair' way in a turn or two, hopefully before our opponents are able to rebuild. Gaea's Touch will also help pay for Lhurgoyf quickly. With the lands from Yavimaya Elder and the sac ability of Gaea's Touch you've already got the mana you need. Be sure to use the extra land drop from Gaea's Touch before sacrificing it so you can play Lhurgoyf in the same turn as Jokulhaups.

Playing Orcish Lumberjack the turn before hitting the panic button can be risky because it'll draw attention, but if you can pull it off without being targeted it has a huge upside. Activating it before playing Jokulhaups means you can wipe the board and play Lhurgoyf in the same turn with three fewer lands. You can keep the extra lands in your hand to play after the fact, in case the game lasts longer than expected.

Whichever method you use, you should be able to get a Lhurgoyf into play the same turn as hitting the panic button a large percentage of the time.

Our other enchantments will also provide some utility if we can get them down ahead of time without arousing suspicion. No Rest for the Wicked can get back our smaller creatures to make sure we have things to play on our subsequent turns. No Mercy and Pestilence help make sure the board stays clear.

This is the easy part. When you can't play dead anymore, or once your opponents have played most of their resources, play Jokulhaups. You'll also want to cross your fingers no one else is deploying an enchantment strategy since the panic button doesn't remove those and their strategy is likely to be better than ours.
Once you've cleared the board with Jokulhaups you'll want to get Lhurgoyf (two or three if possible) into play as quickly as possible. We accomplish this through either Pattern of Rebirth or abusing Orcish Lumberjack. We can also rebuild and play it the honest way with the help of Yavimaya Elders and Gaea's Touch/Exploration.

In the late game with multiple opponents a Lhurgoyf should be a one-hit-kill to most opponents, so pick them off one-by-one starting with the most threatening. Also, make sure you take life total and goyf size into account since Lhurgoyf will shrink as other players leave the game (and take their graveyards with them).

On the off chance Lhurgoyf isn't up to the task, you can get get the smaller but much more resilient Spirit of the Night. I highly recommend only doing this with Pattern of Rebirth since the mana requirement is a bit steep. Spirit of the Night doesn't look quite so mean these days, but back in the day he was an evasive beater who was pretty tough to get rid of, making him a decent finisher.

Sometimes our opponents play good creatures, so we have Reanimate and Animate Dead so we can make use of them. This hasn't come up too often, but I like the option.

Notes

If you made it this far, thanks for joining an old-timer on this nostalgia trip! This is the concept for the first multiplayer deck I ever built, long before Commander was the go-to format. Much like Y2K, this deck has quite a bit of buildup and in the end doesn't really do much, but I still enjoy playing it.

It has changed quite a bit over the years, but I've always kept it locked in time and only used cards from 1999 or earlier. It's not the greatest deck and it really doesn't work more than once (even with the sideboard), but I'll never forget the first time it actually worked and I took out the entire table with two massive Lhurgoyfs.

This current build only uses cards I own since I do actually still play it from time to time. That's why there's some odd 3-ofs and 1-ofs. I know I could smooth it out by buying the missing cards, but the awkward numbers make the nostalgia even stronger. I could also stretch into other colours to make it better, but I like it being and I'll sacrifice a bit of quality to keep it in the colours I like.

I used to splash to run Bazaar of Wonders and lock other players out of the game after playing Jokulhaups. Bazaar of Wonders is one of my favourite cards in Mirage, but it ultimately got in the way more than it helped so I dropped it.

Thanks again for reading through this saga, I hope you enjoyed it! Suggestions are always welcome, but I'll only add cards from 1999 or earlier and only if I already own them :)

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Date added 3 weeks
Last updated 4 days
Legality

This deck is Casual legal.

Rarity (main - side)

22 - 8 Rares

9 - 3 Uncommons

17 - 4 Commons

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.45
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