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Tribal Tribute: Call of Duty
By Arjan van Houwelingen
Itís been a while, but I have returned with a vengeance, Akromaís Vengeance.

This rare plummeted in price after Onslaught block left the tournament scene, but itís usefulness during a multiplayer game hasnít diminished a bit. It has been a while since Mirrodin block, but some players will still use the artifact lands occasionally. Akroma will punish them severely. Anyway, this weeks Tribute isnít about Akroma or any other angel for that matter. No, this week is about all those creatures who answered the call of duty.


quote:
Command and Conquer
4 Daru Encampment
4 Secluded Steppe
4 Drifting Meadow
13 Plains

3 Death or Glory
4 Akromaís Vengeance

4 Stoic Champion
4 Whipcorder
4 Descendant of Kyomaro
4 Radiant Dragoons
4 Enlistment Officer
4 Gempalm Avenger
4 Noble Templar


Brothers in Arms
This deck does not use any blitzkrieg tactics; instead it tries to slowly but certain overwhelm an opponent by its card advantage. Wiping the board with Akromaís Vengeance is an import part of this. The other part is slowly filling your graveyard with creatures and casting Death or Glory to bring in the reinforcements. Add a bunch of soldiers and presto!

Your opponents will most probably kill off some soldiers, but the deck also has other ways to fill up the graveyard. Noble Templar fixes your mana, thins your deck and is a great creature to have in play late game. Gempalm Avenger also cycles and it is a respectable creature to get back after playing Death or Glory. When you cycle the Avenger he changes your small creature horde into a meat grinder. The fact that most players wonít expect you to play this soldier really adds to the surprise. It can really screw up the combat math. Besides the Avengers I also included Daru Encampment to boost morale.

One soldier that really benefits from all that cycling is Stoic Champion. That makes it an excellent turn two drop. To support his usefulness I added eight cycling lands. This way you can give the Champion even more oomph. A few mana open and this creature ready to block can be a real deterrent. An opponent will have to guess how many spells you can cycle.

Whipcorder is another two drop that makes sure you wonít get overrun. It gives you a way to temporary neutralize early game fatties. I say early game, because Akromaís Vengeance will take care of all kind of fatties eventually. Should you on a rare occasion face a Darksteel Colossus, whipcorder can hold it off.

If that isnít enough and you are getting outgunned, then luckily some other soldiers can give support and save your skin. Descendant of Kyomaro is a great card if you keep your hand size greater than your opponents. It is a great creature to go offensive with, as it will boost your life total when dealing damage. This creature is showing up in tournament decks these days and rightly so. Three mana for a 3/5 spirit-linked creature sounds efficient enough to me.

Radiant Dragoons plugs any holes shot in your life total. The echo makes the Dragoons an expensive card, but I usually pay it. That way you have a respectable blocker and not playing anything else that turn will keep up your hand size. Descendant of Kyomaro likes that. And there is nothing wrong with going turn four Dragoons, turn five echo, turn six Akromaís Vengeance.

Another way to keep your hand filled is to enlist more soldiers. Enlistment Officer gladly recruits more soldiers for your cause. And with 28 soldiers in this deck it is very likely you will fill your hand with a few more cards when it comes into play. This makes sure that you can keep your soldiers coming and Descendant of Kyomaro keeps its respectable status.

Close Combat
White has more than enough to offer for any soldier deck. Cards that I am still considering for this deck are Intreprid Hero, Aven Warhawk and Eiganjo Free-Riders.

Intrepid Hero is good at killing fatties, but when your deck already contains four reset buttons (Vengeance) it doesnít add that much to the deck.

Aven Warhawk is tough one. Amplify is an interesting ability but the Warhawk costs five mana to play. By that time you probably already played many of your soldiers. This deck usually doesnít, however. A 5/5 or 6/6 flying creature is a good thread, but a 3/3 flyer or less for five mana is a bit disappointing.

Eiganjo Free-Riders looks very promising. It is always a 3/4 flyer. His upkeep is a tricky one, but can be used to your advantage. It would allow you to recast the Dragoons or Enlistment Officer. Together with the Free-Riders creatures like Frontline Strategist, Icatian Javelineers and Honorable Scout become very interesting.

Instead of a mono-white deck you could add another color. Blue gives you access to Benalish Heralds, additional cycling soldiers (Shorline Ranger, Keeneye Aven) and a wide variety of cards that allow you to filter your deck which make Death or Glory more potent (e.g. Ideas Unbound, Compulsive Research, Read the Runes). Other colors also offer a bunch of interesting soldiers (especially red), but blue offers cards that work well with the general idea of this deck.

Medal of Honor
I hope you liked this tribal control approach. I will certainly write about soldiers again, but next time I will write about my escapades with some other tribe. Perhaps you have played a soldier deck thatís worth a medal? Which kind of reset buttons have you played in tribal decks? Which kind of creatures have you used with Eiganjo Free-Riders?


As always, feedback is appreciated!

Arjan van Houwelingen (Jorael)

Read More Articles by Arjan van Houwelingen!

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