A good Altar-Kobold…

Have you ever experienced your subconsciousness to wake you in the middle of the night, because it really wanted you to be awake to get the awesome ideas it was bestowing on you? I guess you have. Have you tried it, when said ideas was some deckbuilding spicy brewery of the top shelf? No? Okay, I have. It is not often that I am awaken by the fact, but I often get ideas right before I go to bed. Sometimes I discard them readily, sometimes I have to make a note of the idea somewhere, so that I am sure I will remember it when I wake up the next day.

I guess that is part of the everlasting quest to build enjoyable decks, that are also a little bit different than the others, and maybe even capable of winning a game or two.

Okay, so you may not have been woken by your annoying subconsciousness, but I guess less can do it. If you enjoy to brew decks and think up new potentially-powerful synergies or even combos, you know the feeling. The feeling that this may just be it. This could be the actual new great deck of the format, or at least a forerunner for a new strong deck. Your creation seems perfect. Every odd and end has been assembled, and on paper this is a creation of strength and beauty.

The deck is not only beautiful, it utilizes cards that is often overlooked, it even entails synergies and combos that have not yet been widely played. And you are probably also using a single or two of your absolute favorite cards – because why else, would you venture into the world of brewery?

And then you get to goldfish it a little – oh boy! This works! A little change of cards here, some improvements of strategy there – you now have a killer combination of 60 (-ish) cards! Everything lines up perfectly. Your lock is hard, your combo is swift, your control is omnipotent.

The deck is ready for real testing.

Kobold Lich

I present to you a thing of such immense beauty, that I have actually forgiven my subconsciousness for denying me sleep for the couple of minutes it took to write down the overall strategy and central cards for this deck. The Kobold Lich combo deck:

Yes, it is 61 cards, because I was able to add to it’s beauty by adding the last card…

Right, if I can just get your attention again – I know it is a tall order considering the extremely sexy 61 (!) pieces of cardboard I have just shown you, but please, read on – you can always go back to look more at the photo, when you have read the remaining words of this deck tech article.

See, last year I was foolish enough to trade into two copies of Lich from the Beta edition. “Foolish” is of course a strong, and in this case, rather wrong word, to use, as it should be any collectors, combo-players or simply brew-masters dream to own these two. And I traded away a bunch of newer, foil cards for them anyway.

All is good.

Anyway, seeing as I am now the proud owner of two beautiful copies of one of the most legendary cards from the first editions, I thought it was important to actually brew something with them – make them see some battle. Gods will know, that many of the Liches in existence spend their time in binders or cases. What a horrible world to live in!

There are already a number of Lich combo decks out there – I am especially fond of the EurekaLich deck, that is really cool, but unfortunately I don’t own any Eurekas. Yet.

I feel the potential of Lich has not yet been depleted, so I have decided to try to create a few new uses of the legendary piece of evil cardboard.

Basically Lich is easy to build around: Play it, protect it, “gain life,” profit. Of course this may not be easy to do in practice because there is always those pesky, meddling opponents with their Counterspells and Disenchants.

But this is my first take on a new way to play Lich.

The plan is (rather) simple: build a bit of board presence including kobolds, Birds of Paradise and Ashnod’s Altar, play Lich, sacrifice your board to Ashnod’s Altar to play an enormous Stream of Life, draw your deck (or a huge portion of it), play more dudes, sacrifice them and burn your opponent to ashes with a Fireball.

Okay, I see there are some hoops to jump through there, but this is a combo deck in the Old School format, we don’t exactly play one-card combos here!

Of course the deck has the possibility to also just beat down the opponent with Su-Chis or simply Fireballing them without going through any Lich-Stream hoops. Any good combo deck needs a back-up plan.

So is this a good combo deck?

Playing the deck

Well, no. Not by any standards, unfortunately. Of course I shouldn’t really be surprised, and I wasn’t, but I just really liked the idea to Altar-Sacrifice all these little, shitty red creatures, in order to make the Lich happy.

And let me just tell you this: I really love Stream of Life. I have an unnatural affinity for the card, and just want to make it good. What better way to make it good, than by drawing a card for each life you get?

But obviously the aforementioned amount of hoops necessary, makes the deck very fragile. When also wanting to play a lot of different cards, and meme in eight Kobolds, there is no room for relevant cards like Mind Twist, Chaos Orb, Red Elemental Blast or Avoid Fate. Not even Mana Drain has a spot here!

I know it is not optimal, but the main combo of creatures, Altar, Stream and Lich simply take up so much space! One could of course remove the Kobolds entirely (as both Birds and Su-Chi serve other important purposes than being sacked to Altar), but that would both destroy one of the points of the deck (playing Kobolds), and – believe it or not – make it fizzle the Altar-Stream plan more often.

You must excuse Robins extended middle finger. I guess it is his opinion of the deck. You must forgive him, he knows not what he is doing… Who could not love this boardstate and the fact that I have played three Stream of Life?

None of this was about to stop me, so I assembled the deck, and took it for a spin against my Wednesday Wizards playgroup. As I have mentioned earlier, this is primarily a power nine-free zone. This, of course, means a lot with regards to what cards you can meet, and what you should prepare for. I did not do anything to prepare specifically for such a metagame, though. Except for building a deck that would have zero chance against most tier 1 decks of the format.

The KoboldLich did… okay? I guess. It wasn’t exactly a power-house, but I did manage to win some games. I think I lost more, though. But even losing with this deck, can be a treat. Just go back and look at the deck pic once more, and I think you will know what I mean?

Lots of fun board-states though. And unless you specifically tell your opponent what is going on, they will have no idea.

From the little testing I have done thus far, I have managed to:

  • Play five Kobolds, a Mirror Universe and a Fastbond all in the same game!
  • Beaten my opponent to death with a couple of Su-Chi, backed-up with a Fireball to remove blockers
  • Playing Stream of Life twice to live long enough to play two Fireballs x=10
  • Played out my hand only to draw Kobolds off the top for three consecutive turns. Not winning that one
  • Activating Mirror Universe and still lost
  • Played Lich, Mirror Universe and Time Walk all in the same turn (thanks to three kobolds each netting me two colorless)
  • And then this, or something similar, also happened more than once:
25 mana on the board!

In conclusion: I admit this is not the new tier 1 deck of the format, but I also claim that this is a very fun deck to wield. If one wants to keep all the different strange parts of the deck together, I think it is almost impossible to find room to do much else. Su-Chi can be excluded, but they are insane when netting six mana out of nowhere. And sometimes playing a Su-Chi in turn two, is enough to get your opponent to 12 – that is close to Fireball range!

Try it out. Take it for a spin! Lich deserves to be played. Kobolds deserves… to… be… naah, not really. But Stream of Life certainly deserves to be played! Especially when you can hitch a Braingeyser to it! That makes for very good times…

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