Building Tribal Canlander decks!

As I told you some time ago (LINKLINKLINK), I have diverted a bit of focus from Old School to Canadian Highlander. Despair not, I will still – of course – primarily write about Old School on these pages. But bear with me, I have just one more – for now at least – piece I wanted to write on this strange 100-card, singleton, no-gloves, man’s man format!

Because, as I mentioned the last time, playing stupid, degenerate combo showed to be not exactly as rewarding and fun as I had imagined. What is the world coming to?!

I wanted to try and built something not quite as insanely, glass-canony, so I decided to start out green…

Little green men…

I made an elves deck!

Remember this is a 100 card singleton deck, so often you have to go quite deep in the cesspools of crappy uncommons and commons to complete a tribal deck. But not really with elves, you don’t!

I have always loved playing elves, unfortunately they are not very greatly supported in Old School, where we don’t have that many. Actually, the complete list of creatures with Elf as their type is seven (Swedish rules). Can you mention all of them? Probably not. If you can, I owe you a beer!

I was actually surprised to find, that there were more than four – Llanowar Elves, Elvish Archers, Elves of the Deep Shadow and Savaen Elves. Maybe you are too? Listen to this, then. Elven Riders is also an elf. Maybe not the biggest surprise, but so are Lady Caleria and Marhault Elsdragon. Initially I thought there was no reason in building an Old School Elves Tribal deck, but now that I realize it would be home to my Marhault Elsdragon, I may reconsider!

Anyway. In Canadian Highlander things are a bit different. Even though Llanowar Elves is still strong enough to deserve a spot, a lot has happened in this tribe, the last 30 years!

Just look at some of this ridiculousness:

Okay, so we have the tribe covered, but what to do with the rest, then. Well, one word: Craterhoof.

Okay Actually two words: Craterhoof Behemoth. He is by all means the real deal. And seeing as this is a gloves-off format, lets cheat:

As you may imagine, this dude is quite nasty in a deck, that focuses on playing a lot of little critters, that makes mana. But let’s not play him fair.

Yep. Just because it is a singleton format, doesn’t mean you have to suffice with a single copy of everything. Or, well, actually it means exactly that, but you can raise your chances of finding and playing said card.

Craterhoof Behemoth is very central to the deck, but we also need another wincon. We have a lot of creatures, and they have a tendency of strengthening each other. But what about blockers on the other side of the table! Should we play… removal?

Well… Kind of. Let’s splash some colors and play these:

Aaaah yes, an Oppo-Hoof deck. That hits several sweet spots, and just to be sure, that every little part of me is tingling, I added some more fun stuff that have some synergy in this kind of deck:

I know, I know – I should probably seek professional help at this point. But Paradox Engine is just way too much fun to leave out – same goes for future sight! Especially in a deck where half your cards have a tap-for-mana effect.

Oh, and let me just tell you, if you have never played Skullclamp in a deck designed for it, do it as fast as possible. That is some explosive, crazy action right there!

And just to round things up, I found that I was playing blue and a lot of fast mana, so why not do this:

Apparently I have enough friends…

Find the complete approximate list right here:

But wait! There is more. I assembled another deck – also tribal. Can you guess what it is?

Putting tribal in tribal!

Did you guess yet? No?

Could it be a druid deck? Or something with Eldrazi? Maybe dwarves?!


A removal tribal, then?

Almost, but wrong again!

Of course, it should be an Enchantress tribal deck!

Naah, not really. No, not this time! But we are getting closer fast…

See, even though all of the above are parts (except for the Dwarves and Eldrazi) of the deck, I wanted it to be even worse. So the real tribe here, is this:

That’s right! Shrine tribal my dear reader! For those of you who do not know, the shrine sub-type is a type of cards that is rather ancient in this game, but only recently has seen a lot of new printings. Shrines are legendary Enchantments who are dependent of each other, to function better. The more shrines you have in play, the greater the advantage.

Now, okay, Shrines had a bit of a splash in rather recent Standard and Historic on Magic Arena, but as to my knowledge it never really took off. I can understand why. Many of the cards are weirdly and expensively costed, because the designers has had to take into account, that all of these cards can potentially go completely nuts, given enough other shrines around.

There are a total of 17 different shrines printed. Three different cycles and two “Over-shrines”: Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin and Sanctum of All. For the deck to work, we would like all 17 of these in the pile. That already accounts for almost a quarter of the deck, and they are all Enchantments, so what in the world would be more natural, than to slam in a lot of Enchantresses? I did that exactly.

And then filled the rest of the slots with counters, removal, ramp and a lot of lands.

You can find the approximate complete list here:

The plan would then be to try and play the control game for the first two-four turns, and then start playing Shrines to overtake the game and kill the opponent with… Well… Shrines!

Playing some hands against an old friend visiting!

See, I told you that my good friend Robin has moved from Scotland back to Denmark close to me. Greatness! He is the reason why I play Canadian Highlander at all, but another one of my friends – this one living in Malaysia! – came by to visit a couple of weeks ago.

Besides having the great pleasure of meeting his beautiful, great daughter for the first time ever (she is seven years old! Where the hell did time go!) and seeing his lovely wife for the first time in eight (!! Again! Time!?) years, Mathias had brought his cards with him, all the way from Asia.

It was on.

And he pummeled me, and crushed my dreams. Yep. That’s the complete story. Or, I mean, you know me, of course it is not the complete story. Here goes in some more words:

We played maybe around seven or eight games all in all, and when I started out with my Shrine deck – hoping my opponent would play something slow without counters – he found his Blue Green Red counter aggro tempo deck. He didn’t know what he was up against, but still, it was quite unfortunate for me.

On to the next matches. Me now on my aggro-combo creature deck. Let’s hope he doesn’t have too much removal… Enter Mathias’ Black White Death and Taxes Mono-Tribal-Removal deck featuring Umezawa’s Jitte. Again, unfortunate. After being beaten so severely I couldn’t stomach the courage to make the switcheroo, playing my shrine deck against his removal deck or the other way round. I went to bed instead.

But – and this is an important part! – It was in many ways more fun to play each of these decks, than it was playing the degenerate combo decks I usually field. Even though I lost most matches horribly, I lost through actual games. Not just from fizzling.

And even though I never landed a Craterhoof on the table, it was great playing elves. And I did win one game because of Opposition. Damn that is a great card!

I also won a game with my shrine deck, so that – of course – ensures that I will now twist and tweak and built and change things for the coming months.

Because it is shrines!

They are so beautiful when put next to each other!!!

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