Grandeur / Incarnations

Written by squinty_eyes

Johnny’s Quest is a weekly deckbuilding challenge for Magic: the Gathering that encourages players to build new decks while adhering to sometimes strange restrictions. Each week, we vote on which submission we liked the best of the previous week, while also submitting new decks to be put up for voting the following week. This is a fairly recent weekly challenge, partly designed to add new content to the Front Page. And because of that, for the first few weeks until we catch up with the most current contest, I’m going to be posting two week’s winners per article so we don’t miss out on any of the great decks submitted so far.


Card: Grandeur (Oriss, Samite Guardian, Linessa, Zephyr Mage, Korlash, Heir to Blackblade, Tarox Bladewing, or Baru, Fist of Krosa)


Choose one card with Grandeur.
There must be four copies of the chosen card.
The total cost of the decklist must come in under $300, based on’s Average Price.
The decklist must be Legacy Legal.
Please include a unique name for the deck.


by squinty_eyes

4x Korlash, Heir to Blackblade
4x Liliana’s Shade
4x Nightmare

4x Liliana of the Dark Realms

Instants / Sorceries
4x Mutilate

Artifacts / Enchantments
4x Bad Moon
4x Lashwrithe
4x Nightmare Lash
4x Quag Sickness

24x Swamp


My thoughts on building this deck:


There wasn’t a whole lot of difficulty in designing this deck.  The honest truth is, that most of the cards were pretty obvious for it.  Korlash demands Swamps, and so I went with everything that seemed good that focused on it.  I particularly enjoy decks with themes, decks that stick to ideas more than pure efficiency.  Maybe that’s because I play Casual mostly.  I always try to build decks that interact with the board, have some removal, and a simple core to it that runs throughout the entire list.  Swamps, swamps and more swamps seemed like as good a theme as any.  I felt like the only parts to the deck that really required timing and choice while piloting it are Mutilate and Bad Moon, which you need the Moon to keep your own Korlash and Nightmare alive and well through the board wipe.  Aside from that, it’s a great big stompy black deck that is really fun to run in a Casual setting.

I suppose the biggest part of this deck and why it won was because I really stuck on theme and made my Grandeur choice the focus of the deck.  There’s plenty of ways to incorporate a single card into a good deck, but the challenge each week is to try and find a way to make the theme shine through as best you can.



Card: Incarnations


Choose one card with the subtype of Incarnation.
There must be four copies of the chosen card.
There is no budget this week.
The decklist must be Legacy Legal.
Please include a unique name for the deck.

Show Me How To Lie

by Tevish Szat

4x Flooded Strand
4x Marsh Flats
4x Polluted Delta
4x Scrubland
4x Tundra
4x Underground Sea

4x Guile
3x Blood Funnel
3x Nether Void

4x Elusive Spellfist
4x Talrand, Sky Summoner
3x Sphinx-Bone Wand

4x Show and Tell
4x Enlightened Tutor
3x Cruel Tutor
4x Grim Tutor


I reached out to Tevish Szat and asked if they wanted to write anything about their deck, and this is what I got:


Show Me How To Lie
The theme for this week was “Incarnations”. And what a theme that is! There are 13 creatures with the Incarnation type (5 Elemental Incarnations from Lorwyn, 7 Incarnations from Judgment, and Personal Incarnation from Alpha) and basically all of them lend themselves to this sort of challenge. Naturally, I picked Guile, mostly because it just had the most Johnny-exciting words for me: “Without paying its mana cost”. There’s so much you can do with that!

You’re Getting Better All The Time
One of the things I love about Magic: the Gathering that doesn’t come up in many if any of its imitators is the ability to use something profitably counter to its intended purpose, or even what would seem like its basic intended function. For instance, I recall at the Theros launch party enchanting an opponent’s creature (that I couldn’t block anyway) with Aqueous Form, much to the bafflement of my enemy. But I had no good creatures on my board, and either getting the scrying or stopping the damage was a win for me. And in abstract there are countless corner cases in which you might want to buff your opponent’s creatures or point Murder (or Oblivion Ring!) at your own. It’s why Sign in Blood is better than Night’s Whisper, and part of, again, why M:tG is just better

This deck is all about that sort of interaction. Blood Funnel is supposed to be a pricey discount, or Nether Void a tax that you suck it up and pay. After all, why would you cast a spell just to see it countered? Guile has the answer. Guile lets you cast it again, and again, and again. It takes punching yourself in the face and turns it infinite. It doesn’t take much after that to make it productive.

Another “Clever” Word
The funny thing about this deck was actually how hard it was to figure out the engine! I knew I needed everything to get countered if I hoped to recast it with Guile, but initially I was trying to work around the limitations of Decree of Silence. That would have not been very clever – an 8 mana enchantment you have to donate and control counters on in order to make it work? Forget it. Luckily M:tG has enough variety that if you want to perform an action that would normally be “screw yourself over” you can do it. Somewhere. Somehow.

A Mob Jumps To Their Feet
Like a lot of people who make victory speeches, I was honestly surprised to be here. Not totally shocked, since there had been some support for the deck on its submission thread, but there were a lot of strong contenders this week, and I’d like to thank all of them for giving me and my deck a serious run for our money. This contest, and really these forums are better off when we’re all creating somewhere at the intersection of brilliant and insane.



Next week we’ll have decks where only Rares are allowed, and some Immortal Servitude!

And don’t forget, there’s always time to join in on this week’s challenge here!  And this week, we’re working with Meekstone!

Comment on this article on the forums.