My favorite phrase to read on a card is “you lose the game.” Note that I did not say it was the most powerful phrase a card can have printed on it; that title likely goes to “draw a card” or “take an extra turn.” But with a little finesse, it can be even more potent. My deck today is only one example, and while today we will be taking a trip into Silver-Border Land, make no mistake that there are plenty of black-bordered cards with those beautiful four words printed on them. An article for another day perhaps.
The usual disclaimers apply, this is a casual deck which contains cards which are not legal for tournament play.
What I have called the “Chaos Deck” has existed in my box of decks for almost as long as I’ve had a box with decks in it. Once upon a time, it was a beatdown deck, then a combo deck featuring The Cheese Stands Alone, then back to a beatdown deck, and eventually became the brew you see. Silver border decks rarely lend themselves to typical play, and depending on what your opponent brings to the table, control, combo, aggro and midrange are all viable options for this deck.
Really though, you just want to push a Form of the Squirrel, or a Super-Hasted Rocket Powered Turbo Slug to your opponent. You’ll notice that those are the two cards I mentioned earlier with those four magical words, “you lose the game.” Normally, these two cards are somewhere between mediocre and catastrophic to play, though there are certainly game states that can take advantage of them. If you happen to play either one while Confusion in the Ranks is in play, and there are things to trade, then your opponent is the one who turns into a (very easy to kill) squirrel, or has to pay the Super-Haste cost on the slug or risk losing the game.
Of course, there are those games where your opponent just refuses to play along. Maybe they aren’t dropping creatures (or they are dropping hexproof creatures) or they don’t have an enchantment to trade. Also, with so many 2 and 3 ofs in the deck, you might not always find your pieces. This is where Mine, Mine, Mine! and Incoming! shine. Mine, Mine, Mine! puts each player’s library into their hand, the tradeoff is that nobody can play more than one spell per turn. Do bear in mind that if you cast Mine, Mine, Mine!, you have played a spell that turn, and Mine, Mine, Mine!’s ability will prevent you from playing another (Vedalken Orrery could potentially ease this restriction.) Incoming! plays a similar role, except that it just drops permanents from each player’s library, and is harder to cast.
Even, after all that, your opponent still refuses to play stuff you can trade for, it is very powerful to drop Form of the Dragon and Form of the Squirrel at the same time. I’m no Vorthos, but I think it’s probably a flavor fail to be a 5/5 Dragon and a 1/1 Squirrel at the same time. I don’t care though, it’s totally worth it. S.N.O.T. is also an option for beating down early or defending, although it’s usually not fantastic until you’ve got a 3rd copy attached, and at that point it’s easy to get blown out by a lone kill spell.
Decree of Annihilation offers some interesting lines of play as well; depending on how you time it, you can deprive your opponents of all the lands they found off of Incoming! or Mine, Mine, Mine!, it can reset a complicated board state, and in some cases, can create a game state that no one can win from (Decree of Annihilation hits hands, which is devastating after Mine, Mine, Mine!.) Also note that Decree doesn’t hit enchantments, so any Form of the Dragons you have will stick around on the newly cleared battlefield. Form of the Squirrel says you can’t play spells, so you’re not likely playing Decree while it’s under your control.
Also In the removal suite, we have Mizzium Mortars, which plays double duty as spot removal and sweeper. Tangle Asp can trade for just about any other creature in combat, and if you happen to throw a Lure on it, the Asp will take all of your opponent’s blockers with it.
Finally, you may have noticed that there are a lot of high cost spells, so there are some efficient ramp elements to drive you toward your action. Conveniently, the ramp spells also happen to be creatures, so they can block in a pinch, and they aren’t dead in the late game, because of Confusion in the Ranks. The Llanowar Elves aren’t always ideal to trade away to your opponent, since they do produce mana even if the 1/1 body isn’t useful, but Wood Elves becomes an all star, since the fetch-a-forest ability will resolve for you even if you trade away your pathetic 1/1 for your opponent’s best creature.