One on one Magic games are no place for bargaining, quid pro quo’s and giving and taking. Both players want to win and every compromise or sacrifice you make can be advantageous to your opponent. In multiplayer however, bargaining can be an effective way towards neutralizing creatures or other threats. There is even a mechanic with this as its base: extort. For a little extra mana, the extorting player lets all of his or her opponents lose a life and gains an amount of life equal to the life lost.
For a long time I wondered if I could make a deck for multiplayer with which I could chain together enough spells in a turn with an extort activation to win at once. This proved no easy task. In a game of Magic everyone starts at twenty life and that would mean that I would have to activate twenty extort triggers in one single turn. Every extort activation needs a black or white mana, in total that would be twenty mana excluding the mana for the spells you want to play. That is a lot of mana.
Next I would need twenty spells to play with extort with one extort source, one spell with twenty extort sources or something in between. Aside from mana, that requires an awful lot of cards. Quite a challenge, but I like that. Challenge accepted!
Make total extort
In a deck revolving around extort, the deck needs cards that actually extort. For the most efficient use of extort you don’t want to many sources with it in play. For extort to work the best, playing spells are more important than extorting a lot at once – at least in this deck, but more on that later. Tithe Drinker is cheap to play with a mana cost of just a white and a black mana. You can get it down early and once the mana chain is running, it is easy to play it with extort. It also has lifelink and two power, so it can also ‘just’ attack.
As said earlier, a deck like this needs mana and a lot of it. Not only does Crypt Ghast have extort, it also lets all your swamps tap for an extra black mana. You want to play one as soon as possible because of this.
Storm decks are well known to be able to quickly generate mana and chain spells together. A lot of those decks use red rituals – spells that make more mana than they cost, dubbed ‘rituals’ after Dark Ritual, the original ‘ritual’ – , but since I’m in black and white, I’m not using those. However, I can play Dark Ritual, as well as Cabal Ritual (generating only one mana without threshold, but five with seven cards in my graveyard) and Bubbling Muck. While this last one doesn’t directly generate mana, it is both cheap – which makes it easier to extort onto – and helps make more mana with the Swamps you have. It is basically a cheap Crypt Ghast for one turn.
Skirge Familiar might not be a natural choice for a deck: a 3/2 flying for five mana that doesn’t have extort is not good. However it is able to transform leftover cards into mana and that is very valuable. It can make sure you can extort that last spell an extra time or start up a whole new chain of rituals. And it gets even better with the next card…
That’s were the card draw machine of the deck comes in. I present to you: Null Profusion!
The colourshifted version of Recycle is not your ordinary combo engine, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Sure, six mana is quite a lot, but with the arsenal of ritual spells it should be no problem playing it. From there it draws you a card for every card you play, even when you play a land! Cards you’ll have to discard at the end of your turn because of your maximum hand size of two can be discarded to Skirge Familiar to get extra black mana. In playtesting the deck the Profusion proved itself to be essential for the deck to work.
Null Profusion is not the only source for new cards. Black has quite some spells that draw cards at the cost of paying some amount of life and since the deck wins by draining your opponents and gaining you life that is no problem.
Sign in Blood is a relatively cheap draw spells at two black mana. Early game it can easily get you the cards you need and once you start chaining spells you can play it with extort.
Infernal Contract is a little bit trickier than Sign in Blood. Half your life for four cards is pretty intense, but drawing four cards at once is pretty sweet to start the combo or if you need extra fuel mid combo.
Making it multiplayer
Combo’s are nice, but I want to make the deck fun to play in multiplayer. To make that possible I need some interaction with my opponents if I want to be able to survive until I can ‘combo off’. I want my opponents to be a little scared of me so they don’t attack me. Vampire of the Dire Moon does just that: opponents don’t want to lose important creatures to a mere 1/1 with deathtouch and lifelink to boot.
But what if the Vampire is not able to remove an attacker? Path to Exile helps to clear away any creature that I want to get rid off. In addition, it is cheap to play, so ideal to load some extort activations on.
Lastly, I want to add Angel of Despair for several reasons: it is a big flyer, it can remove anything I want and it’s a cool card. Yes, the seven mana investment of which two need to be white may be more that this deck can pull off, but time will tell.
Swamps, errrr, I mean lands
This deck mostly wants black mana and because the deck plays both Crypt Ghast and Bubbling Muck that both boost the mana production of Swamps, it would be a shame if I didn’t have enough Swamps in play to start a storm. One Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth makes all my lands Swamps. I also need some white mana and Tainted Field can give me that if I have a Swamp in play, but that won’t be very hard in this deck. Some extra Plains provide all the white I might need with the deck.
|WB Extortion Profusion Inquisition|
|4 Vampire of the Dire Moon|
4 Tithe Drinker
4 Crypt Ghast
2 Skirge Familiar
2 Angel of Despair
|4 Dark Ritual|
3 Bubbling Muck
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Path to Exile
4 Sign in Blood
4 Infernal Contract
3 Null Profusion
|4 Tainted Field|
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
And that is hopefully a fun multiplayer extort deck with some combo elements in it. I hope you think it is a cool deck and if you have some suggestions for it, let me know! See you at the next sixty!