Achievement Unlocked – No Chants In Hell

I couldn’t build the deck fast enough.

One of the (now few) podcasts I listen to regularly is [card]Brainstorm[/card] Brewery. The guys have a good chemistry, I dabble in finance in addition to being a brewer and I just enjoy their content. If you have any interest in the financial side of Magic, even if it’s just to make sure you don’t get fleeced in trades, I suggest giving it a listen.

They’re not always right though. Many (if not all) of the show’s hosts jumped on the [card]Séance[/card] bandwagon a few months ago, based on some success a couple of them had seen with the deck. L2 judge and Twitter personality Arthur Halavais (@ahalavais) also built around it. I tried it not long after Dark Ascension came out but was too nervous to go in too deep on it, only playing two in a deck and often siding it out. You can see that deck here. I did OK with it, but even then I recognised that [card]Séance[/card] was powerful…just not powerful enough to build around entirely.

So what happened to change that? [card]Deadbridge Chant[/card] happened. Another card targeted by the guys on the Brewery, I was sold on its power more or less right away. When I noticed that Owen Turtenwald was playing it in the sideboard of Jund I was even more convinced that I had this one right. So, Chant and [card]Séance[/card]. Where does that lead us?

Battle Plan

A quick review of the Durdle’s Guide entry for [card]Deadbridge Chant[/card] gives me my first achievement goal:

Target 1: Have both [card]Séance[/card] and [card]Deadbridge Chant[/card] in play The main reason for putting this together. As I said in my review, hawing these two together just doesn’t feel fair in the slightest. The amount of things that happen in your upkeep can sometimes make you forget to draw a card it’s that good.

Target 2: Populate an [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] token Pretty much as disgusting as it sounds. Clearly if we’re running a graveyard strategy in Junk colours we’re going to be playing the Angel, and bringing it in with a [card]Séance[/card] while you have Trostani out is basically a nasty lock against any creature deck.

Have two Chants in play together Because THAT’S fair.

A little short on the targets to start with, but the decklist might yield some more.

Weapon Selection

My aim was to take what the Junk Rites decks were doing and give my build some more staying power with the Chant-Séance engine. That meant playing [card]Mulch[/card], [card]Grisly Salvage[/card], [card]Lotleth Troll[/card] and [card]Deadbridge Chant[/card] itself to fill the yard, with a couple of [card]Unburial Rites[/card] to bring back the beef in addition to my main engine. Trostani has great synergy with [card]Séance[/card] and also allows us to hit one of our achievements, but we have to be careful with her so as to make sure we don’t randomly bring one back with [card]Deadbridge Chant[/card] when we already have one in play. She also makes [card]Armada Wurm[/card] our 6-drop of choice, as populating a 5/5 is almost always great.

[card]Thragtusk[/card] is a mainstay in almost any green midrange deck these days, and this one is no different. He gets you good value off [card]Séance[/card], coming back in your opponent’s upkeep and leaving you a [card]Beast[/card] to attack with on your turn. [card]Acidic Slime[/card] is similar value on the opponent’s upkeep, destroying something important AND providing a powerful blocker. Both of these become plain disgusting if you also have a Trostani in play. With the singleton [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card] we also have a way to just win out of nowhere, and also to go after a couple of achievements…

Target 3: Populate a Craterhoof Behemoth Overkill? Maybe, but in a Junk mirror or against Jund where life totals can get crazy, it might be required.

Target 4: Attack for triple-digit damage Difficult but very possible, especially after boarding.

For utility I went with a 6 mana dork package of 3 [card]Arbor Elf[/card] and 3 [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card]. With [card]Overgrown Tomb[/card]s and a couple of basic forests in the deck, plus some early spells needing black, I wanted the ability for my one-drops to make me more than just W. Deathrite can also help make [card]Deadbridge Chant[/card] a lot better by eating the things I don’t want back. [card]Garruk Relentless[/card] is very much a hole-filler, though he does give me a tangible threat against control and a use for those [card]Séance[/card] tokens if I don’t have Trostani. Of course, the non-having of Trostani will end very soon after that…

The list:

[deck title=Séance Chant by Chris Lansdell]
[Lands]
4 Temple Garden
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Godless Shrine
4 Sunpetal Grove
3 Isolated Chapel
3 Woodland Cemetery
1 Vault of the Archangel
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
3 Deathrite Shaman
3 Arbor Elf
2 Lotleth Troll
3 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
3 Thragtusk
2 Acidic Slime
2 Armada Wurm
3 Angel of Serenity
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Mulch
3 Grisly Salvage
3 Séance
2 Garruk Relentless
2 Unburial Rites
2 Deadbridge Chant
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
2 Vraska the Unseen
2 Liliana of the Veil
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
3 Centaur Healer
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Barter in Blood
2 Golgari Charm
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

The board is basically built for three things: aggro (Healers and Sorin), graveyard hate and control (walker package) and Hexproof ([card]Golgari Charm[/card]s, Liliana and Barters). In theory this deck feels like it should be able to outlast the Junk Rites decks while not giving up any percentage points in the matches in which the stock lists are best. Let’s see if I’m right.

War Report

Let me start with an apology: this article is about a month old at this point. Unpacking from a move, writing the Durdle’s Guide and just generally settling my personal life down after about 4 solid months of constant upheaval. I took notes but there’s none of the usual banter around the matches. There’s enough here though to give you an idea of how the deck played and how I did with it, so let’s dive in.

Round 1 – Stephen Jeffers with RG Aggro
Game 1 his deck did what it does and stormed out of the gates, getting me to 6 in a hurry. I had done nothing but stock my graveyard at this point but I did have [card]Séance[/card] in hand…and [card]Armada Wurm[/card] in the yard. I dropped [card]Séance[/card] and in his upkeep brought back the Wurm, much to his surprise. This would be the first of many times through my experience with this deck that opponents were surprised that [card]Séance[/card] triggers on EACH upkeep. People are used to me playing “bad cards” and dismissing them as such, and [card]Séance[/card] was no different. Invariably when I would pull something like this, opponents would be surprised, then despondent, then pull on a veneer of superiority that was sadly transparent as this “bad card” was destroying them. Stephen is nowhere near that cocky but he was certainly surprised at the pair of 5/5s showing up in his upkeep. When the next draw phase yielded a [card]Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice[/card] and it survived that next turn, I had managed to stabilize and game 1 was in the bag.

Game 2 saw some Reckoners come to the party, which I hadn’t seen at all in game 1. I had brought in Sorin and his Vampire tokens were able to keep me alive with some help from Trostani. More important, they enabled Sorin to hit 6 counters and ultimate, stealing his Reckoner and I believe a [card]Flinthoof Boar[/card] and leaving Stephen with no board. Despite a pair of [card]Traitorous Blood[/card]s on my own Trostani I was able to take this one down. Considering my record against aggro I was glad to have a win under my belt against it early.

1-0

Round 2 – James Randell with Bant Control
In one of my first Achievement Unlocked columns I mentioned that JamRand always plays control. Every time. With no Caverns in my deck I figured this would be tough, as James tends to play at least 6 counters plus Snapcasters. [card]Dissipate[/card] and [card]Syncopate[/card] are rough on any graveyard deck.

Game 1 started well as I came out with a pair of [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card]s to eat away at his card draw spells. That worked until he found a [card]Supreme Verdict[/card], and from then on I couldn’t get a threat to stick. His [card]Garruk, Primal Hunter[/card] would flood the board with giant Wurms a few turns later and I scooped them up.

Game 2 was all about poor sideboarding on my part. I expected [card]Rest in Peace[/card] and so sideboarded out a lot of my reanimation cards for planeswalkers, but James just brought in [card]Negate[/card]s and destroyed me. Turns out he actually didn’t have any graveyard hate. I don’t know that the matchup is a good one anyway, but the sideboard error certainly made it close to unwinnable.

1-1

Round 3 – William Bradford with BR Control
Game 1…well, it actually wasn’t a game. [card]Séance[/card] came down on turn 3 but had no fuel for a while. Garruk ate a [card]Dreadbore[/card] but I was able to draw into a couple of [card]Thragtusk[/card]s. They too got removed but a [card]Deadbridge Chant[/card] would put me in card advantage heaven. William’s deck meanwhile just did…nothing. Not much can keep up with that sort of grind though, so it wasn’t terribly important. And hey…

image00

The second game came down to a case of what would happen first: him hitting red mana or me finding reanimation. [card]Unburial Rites[/card] off the top let me bring back [card]Armada Wurm[/card], and Trostani soon thereafter would mean a very short clock. William never saw any removal this time around, and 5/5 Wurms can make short work of any opponent in that situation.

2-1

Round 4 – Nick Crocker with EnBantments
What can I say? I got arrested by the Fun Police. Even though I managed to pull out game 2 thanks to a risky keep by Nick and a strong start on my part (Garruk traded with his suited-up [card]Fencing Ace[/card] and he couldn’t find a second creature before I stabilized), the match was never really close. Subsequent builds of the deck have two Liliana in the main deck with a third in the board AND a [card]Ray of Revelation[/card] in the board to go along with the [card]Golgari Charm[/card]s and [card]Barter in Blood[/card]s. It’s safe to say this is my worst matchup, but one that is winnable if you mulligan aggressively.

2-2

Round 5 – Michael Warr with Jund UWR
I’ve faced Mike multiple times and he’s almost always on Jund, but this week he was doing something different. “You can’t cast Olivia with that!” was my remark on seeing his turn one [card]Hallowed Fountain[/card], and it actually did throw me for a momentary loop. I ran out a turn 2 [card]Lotleth Troll[/card] fully expecting it to eat removal, so when it survived I was pleasantly surprised. Michael would proceed to [card]Supreme Verdict[/card] it away…when I had black mana up. [card]Armada Wurm[/card] joined the party and we were a game up.

Game 2 showed me the full power of Trostani, as I was able to keep populating [card]Acidic Slime[/card] from [card]Séance[/card] to keep him off double white mana. [card]Deadbridge Chant[/card] dumped an [card]Armada Wurm[/card] in the yard which I reanimated with [card]Séance[/card] to allow me to populate the main token (thus getting two more instead of just one per turn), then returned a [card]Grisly Salvage[/card] with Deadbridge. At 60 life, with 24 power on the board and with [card]Salvage[/card] revealing an [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] for the next turn, Mike scooped.

3-2

Aftermath

Despite only hitting one achievement and having something of a disappointing record, this deck is amazing. It’s actually a strong build, it is crazy fun to play and at times you just feel like you can’t possibly lose. With this deck I actually went out of my way to play in more tournaments just so I could play it more. I have since managed to populate both [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] AND Craterhoof, and neither is fair. The Garruks have been cut in favour of an extra Slime and the fourth [card]Thragtusk[/card].

People still look at the deck and scoff. “Séance is so bad,” they all say without ever having tried it. Interestingly enough, nobody who’s been beaten by the deck scoffs at it any more. It beats the stock lists of Junk Rites but does have a slightly harder time against the hyper aggro decks due to the lack of [card]Lingering Souls[/card] and [card]Restoration Angel[/card]. With that said, it’s fun enough that you won’t care much.

I did have to side out [card]Deadbridge Chant[/card] against the faster aggro decks because if you reach six mana, you really don’t want to be tapping out unless you are drastically affecting the board. In any other matchup though the card is amazing…unless you mill them both with [card]Mulch[/card] or [card]Salvage[/card].

Give this one a spin. You won’t regret it.

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