Feeling a bit blue today? Well this color isnít represented in todayís deck. But I hope you get a kick out of this one so it may cheer you up.
Can you kick it?
4 Urborg Volcano
4 Mirrodinís Core
4 Aphetto Dredging
4 Hate Weaver
4 Shivan Emissary
4 Thunderscape Battlemage
4 Nightscape Battlemage
As you can see Invasion has a lot of Wizards (and not only in Red and Black). What I really like about this deck is that you would expect a Blue deck when playing with Wizards. It will take players a while before they will realize your deck is Tribal deck. And these Wizards pack quite some punch! The Battlemages have interesting kicker abilities which you can choose to pay for. And if their kicker abilities arenít useful you just donít pay for them.
Fireslinger is a cheap shooter. It can halt a weenie x/1 hoard in its tracks and you can play it before someone plays their Prodigal Sorcerer (Vulshok Sorcerer and Razorfin Hunter can thwart your early control, however). Hate Weaver is another early drop that has an interesting ability. Because of him your Shivan Emissary can still be frightful after its Ďcome into playí ability. Note that you can also target blue and red creatures of opponents. Look for nasty situations where 1 or 2 additional damage can take out some fattie or even an opponent. I have interrupted quite some combat phases with this little guy. I guess it really lives up to its name.
While Fireslinger is a mana cheaper than the benchmarking Prodigal Sorcerer, Embermage Goblin costs a mana more. For that price you tutor your next one. Quite handy as you can increase your potential damage and start taking out 2 or even 3 toughness creatures. Shivan Emissary is just a little bit too expensive to cast but it can take out the big (nonblack) creatures. Besides, the artwork is awesome: Iím always happy to play it kickered.
The other creatures are the black and red Battlemages. Their multiple kickers give you, bounce, land destruction, discard and enchantment destruction. That is, I you can pay the required color mana. Bouncing two creatures can mean a huge tempo loss for your opponent (or that way you can replay your Shivan Emissary). With all the interesting non-basic lands printed in recent sets, the land kill is often useful. And sometimes it is really beneficial to prevent an opponent from amassing too much mana. There are quite some enchantments that make a huge impact on the game and having a way to take them out with a red/black deck (ok, ok and green mana) feels really good.
To really enhance the flavor of a Wizard tribe of this deck, I used Lavamancers Skill at first. The deck has enough shooters as it is, however, and enchanting a 1/1 or 2/2 creature always resulted in card disadvantage (a.k.a. the enchanted creature got destroyed). I replaced the enchantment with Neko-Te. This piece of equipment is really interesting with the shooters of this deck. It doubles their damage against an opponent and you can tap down the big fat creatures. Whatís not to love? It is also amusing to see an opponent ponder if he is going to block an attacking weenie with Neko-Te on it or not. Both choices have a disadvantage for your opponent
A really tribal flavored card is Aphetto Dredging. It refills your hand and lets you replay all those wizards with their nice Ďcome into playí abilities. There are other good black cards to return you creatures to you hand, but I really like to play this one when itís a tribal deck. It just feels right.
Finally, Void is a remarkable card. For only five mana you devastate the board with pin-point precision. It canít destroy everything, but it can still remove the most annoying creatures and artifacts in play, to your liking. And sometimes you even get to wreck an opponent by discarding multiple cards from his or her hand.
Mana base and Tribal considerations
The only rares are Void and Neko-Te. The equipment isnít too expensive, Void may cost a little more. Itís an Invasion rare, so because of that it may be harder to obtain, but it is certainly worth the effort!
Although I only had 4 lands in this deck that can generate blue or green mana for the Battlemagesí kicker ability, I didnít find it a problem. It just meant that I had to wait some more before the blue or green kicker ability comes Ďonlineí. But Urborg Volcano really should be something like City of Brass or Grand Coliseum (or perhaps Yavimaya Coast). While Mirrodinís Core might not be the best mana-fixer available in Magic, they work good enough and are a good budget choice.
There are more than enough other wizards in red and black to choose from. Notable red wizards include: Reckless Embermage for multi pinging (just use its ability during each players turn), Wojek Embermage for massive damage assignment and Anarchist to return Void and Aphetto Dredging (which make an expensive, but interesting loop).
Black wizards that may be interesting: Shadow Guildmage could replace Fireslingers, Dark Confidant is interesting (and drop everything which costs 4 or more), Urborg Emissary for some additional bounce, and Coffin Queen is quite good in multiplayer (repeatedly using someoneís Sakura-Tribe Elder really thins your deck).
To sum it up enough options to create a Wizard deck with Red and/or Black. Have you ever played a non-blue Wizard deck? What do think of the Invasion Battlemages? Iím a fan of Goblin Embermage and have used them in several decks. Am I insane?!
Thank you and as always your response is appreciated!
Arjan van Houwelingen (Jorael)