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Type Fun's Overburden
By Stephen O. Bahl
Because I haven't been playing Magic very much lately, I haven't been building new decks much either. On top of that, back when I was playing frequently, I considered myself a skilled player (able to pick up almost any deck and play it optimally with little practice), but a mediocre deckbuilder. Most of my original ideas were unimpressive and fine-tuning a decklist was tricky for me. Some decklists I came up with years ago are still around in some form (most I lost or simply never wrote down). These will be very easy to update with, so I'll post about them when I don't feel like updating with something that requires more effort.

The first deck showcased in this series will be my Overburden deck. It came about as a result of a deckbuilding contest on the Casual Players Alliance message boards. The prompt was simply, "Overburden. Goal: use 4 in a deck."

Like everyone else on the board, I saw the challenge in building a deck around this enchantment: the fact its effect is symmetrical and not even particularly useful on its own. Here was what I said: "The problem with this card is in order for it to affect a player, he or she must play creatures. There are also combos involving an opponent receiving your creatures, but that doesn't seem likely to work all that well for deckbuilding purposes. It is possible to build a deck using Overburden, and only caring about the creatures YOU play. But then we run into another problem. Its effect isn't all that important. Bouncing a land doesn't do much harm or much good, except in very extreme situations. I'm still not sure how to implement such a situation without great difficulty..."

The obvious answer was some sort of combo. One of the members toyed with the idea of Astral Slide, until we realized that Astral Slide would actually be very bad with Overburden (your opponent's creatures are being put into play by something you control, so Overburden forces you to bounce a land, rather than your opponent as one might expect). I took a different approach. I figured that Mana Breach and Overburden together would greatly hamper opponents because they'd have to keep bouncing lands. I could get around this with artifact mana and close the deal by making the rest of the deck out of cards that bounced stuff. My deck used literally no lands, making it immune to Overburden and Mana Breach. But it was pretty bad.

Then someone suggested the combo of Overburden with Nature's Revolt. That led me to revise my deck, and the result was this...

Lands:
3x Underground Sea
3x Bayou
3x Tropical Island
4x Polluted Delta

Some black sorceries for winning the game before being killed:
4x Innocent Blood
4x Night's Whisper

Artifact protection/hate:
2x Hurkyl's Recall

Mana Acceleration:
4x Talisman of Dominance
4x Dark Ritual
4x Gilded Lotus
4x Thran Dynamo
2x Chrome Mox
2x Mox Diamond
4x Lotus Petal

Win Condition:
1x Soldevi Digger

Combo:
4x Evacuation
4x Nature's Revolt
4x Overburden

When both Overburden and Nature's Revolt are in play, all lands are creatures. This means playing a land bounces a land. Both you and your opponent are stuck with however many lands you have out when the combo hits, and any creatures played (this deck has none) will make it even worse. A second or third Overburden will make things even worse, bouncing multiple lands with each creature that comes into play. Note that Living Plane produces this same lockdown and costs one mana less than Nature's Revolt. I didn't use it instead because Living Plane was considerably more expensive monetarily at the time (this isn't really true anymore) and was difficult to find. On the other hand, Nature's Revolt does make your lands better blockers during the midgame when that might matter. Use whichever card you prefer, it's not important.

Although this locks the opponent down so that playing new creatures is difficult and potentially impossible, the lack of blockers means that those creatures can eventually kill you. This deck deals with that in two ways. Firstly, it uses Innocent Blood and its own lands as blockers to keep itself alive. But ultimately, the plan is to cast Evacuation. All creatures, including lands, are bounced. If the opponent is using artifact mana too, Hurkyl's recall will bounce that. The opponent is left with no mana sources and no way to get more than one mana per turn. That's the lockdown. You have artifacts to produce mana. Your opponent has no creatures, no artifacts, and no lands. As you can see the "win condition" for this deck is simply Soldevi Digger. You'll be drawing and discarding cards, as will your opponent. But you'll be putting them back into your library. Your opponent is decked.

It's far from perfect. It can be outraced, especially because Nature's Revolt is expensive. Opponents that play cheap artifacts like Sol Ring or Mox Diamond can potentially have the mana to start playing other artifact mana, then some attackers. Opponents that play a lot of one-drops can still play them. It also can't deal with opposing enchantments (although it could be edited to do so). Something as simple as Necropotence can prevent a decking without this deck ever being able to do anything after Evacuation has been played. It won't ever be the next deck to beat and I'd never bring it to any sort of tournament. But it is a fun idea that can force opponents to concede (or wait to be decked, which will take a while). And they won't see it coming until it's too late.

Read More Articles by Stephen O. Bahl!

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