Building_on_a_Budget

A reader challenge built around a card with a serious anger management problem.

Deckbuilding Challenge: Hostile Intentions

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The letter H!ello everyone, and welcome back to Building on a Budget! This week's article is going to deal with Hostility. No, not me being angry at everyone (Bleiweiss Smash!)—the red Elemental Incarnation from Lorwyn. Hostility is a 6/6 hasty Elemental with the ability to turn the pain into even more pain. This week's column is also special in that it's my second Building on a Budget deckbuilding challenge!

Oaken_Brawler A few months back I ran a challenge where I gave you, the reader, a list of cards and ticket costs, and then challenged you to build a fantastic dredge deck. You came up with tons of creative decks, and I narrowed the field down from twelve finalists to one last deck, which I evolved over the next couple of weeks. This time, the challenge is centered around one specific card (Hostility) and not a mechanic (dredge).

In order to let you guys build a Hostility-based deck, I need to give you some tools: a goal, a list of cards that you are allowed to use, and some prices for those cards. You see, this is Building on a Budget—you have the same restrictions that I do when it comes to building a deck! Otherwise, this wouldn't be much of a contest, would it? Here's the rules:

  1. All decks must cost 30 tickets or less, using only cards from the card pool I list, using the prices I list for those cards. If I don't list a card on my list, it isn't allowed!
  2. All decks must be posted to the forums of this article to be considered for contention. The winning deck will be the version of Hostile Intentions that I evolve in the follow-up to this column! Other decks will also be discussed in that column. Be creative!
  3. All decks must be Standard-legal (no more than four copies of any card other than basic land; Tenth Edition, Coldsnap, Time Spiral, Planar Chaos, Future Sight, and Lorwyn are allowed).

That's it for the rules! Now, let's generate a card list, shall we?

Step One: Identify What You Want the Deck to Do!

Hostility is a pretty straightforward card. It is a 6/6 Elemental with haste for 3 ManaRed ManaRed ManaRed Mana. While it is in play, every point of damage you do with spells is prevented, and you generate a 3/1 haste creature for each point prevented. If it is put into a graveyard from anywhere, it is shuffled back into your library. Let's take a closer look at these three facets of Hostility.

6/6 haste elemental for 3 ManaRed ManaRed ManaRed Mana: Hostility is a pretty solid beater, even without any of its other abilities. Rorix Bladewing was a 6/5 haste flyer for 3 ManaRed ManaRed ManaRed Mana, and Rorix saw a lot of play as a finisher in Red decks. While evasion matters a lot, a hasted 6/6 attacker is a hasted 6/6 attacker. Moreover, Hostility is an Elemental, meaning that he can fit into a tribal deck as the top end of a curve.

Turn spell damage into 3/1 haste Elementals: Or, as printed: "If a spell you control would deal damage to an opponent, prevent that damage. Put a 3/1 red Elemental Shaman creature token with haste into play for each 1 damage prevented this way." It is important to note that Hostility's ability replaces spell damage. From the comprehensive rules:

200.5. A spell is a card, or copy of a spell or card, that's on the stack. (See rule 213, "Spells.")

In short, sorceries and instants are what we're after here. Creatures with comes-into-play abilities are already permanents once their abilities trigger, so Bogardan Hellkite won't work with Hostility. Neither will Pandemonium (triggered ability from a permanent), Seal of Fire (already a permanent), or Keldon Megaliths. Remember also that loss of life is not damage, so Profane Command will not work well with Hostility, at least for making 3/1 creatures.

Elemental Shaman Hostility can potentially triple the damage done by any direct damage spell. Shock turns from 2 damage to 6, in the form of two 3/1 Elemental Shaman creatures with haste. Note that these creatures do not go away at end of turn—they stick around until killed. Hostility will replace the damage dealt by any spell that damages an opponent, including mass-removal spells such as Molten Disaster.

When Hostility is put into a graveyard from anywhere, shuffle it into your library: While this ability is great for not getting decked, it's not-so-great if you wanted to go with a reanimation strategy. Therefore, reanimation is out, from Dread Return to Horde of Notions.

Given these notes, the most straightforward uses for Hostility are in an Elemental tribal deck or in a burn deck. In order to cement this, let's go on to step two!

Step Two (How Convenient!): Identify the Card Pool Available

I went to Gatherer, and listed every card available in Standard. I wrote down every card which caught my eye for a potential Hostility deck, even if I thought the card might be too expensive (ticket cost) in the end. After I was done making the lists, I made the following cuts:

  1. White and black were out. Green, blue and especially red (this is a Hostility deck, right?) had plenty of Elementals and direct damage spells. White and black had a handful of each, but not enough to make a full theme. While it would have been nifty to make a Soul Spike / Hostility deck, in the end it was a decision to have this deck challenge contain a more controlled number of colors and a smaller (but still relatively large) card pool.

  2. In the last deck challenge, I only cut two cards from the potential list of candidates due to price: Tarmogoyf (12 tickets at the time) and Ohran Viper (10 tickets at the time). This time around, I cut only one card from the list due to cost: Garruk Wildspeaker (8-10 tickets). If you want to run 4x Birds of Paradise for 20 of your 30 tickets, feel free—just expect to have a lot of commons / uncommons in your deck!

Step Three: The List!

Here's the list of the cards you can use for the challenge! Remember, the deck must cost 30 tickets or less using the prices listed below. Please try to keep your deck at (or as close to) 60 cards as possible—unless you have a good reason to run a deck with more than 60 cards, chances are that I will count that 61st (or later) card against you! Have fun with this, and I look forward to seeing what decks you guys come up with in the forums!

Blue Green Red Red (cont.) Artifact
Æthersnipe (0.1) Birds of Paradise (5) Arc Blade (0.1) Incendiary Command (0.5) Coalition Relic (5)
Air Elemental (0.1) Briarhorn (0.1) Ashling the Pilgrim (0.5) Incinerate (0.25) Coat of Arms (2.5)
Brine Elemental (0.1) Changeling Titan (0.25) Beacon of Destruction (0.5) Inner-Flame Acolyte (0.1) Coldsteel Heart (2)
Cancel (0.25) Civic Wayfinder (0.1) Blaze (0.1) Inner-Flame Igniter (0.1) Deathrender (1)
Careful Consideration (0.25) Cloudthresher (1) Bogardan Firefiend (0.1) Lash Out (0.25) Gauntlet of Power (1)
Cloud Elemental (0.1) Commune with Nature (0.1) Bogardan Rager (0.1) Lava Axe (0.1) Howling Mine (2.5)
Delay (0.33) Edge of Autumn (0.1) Braid of Fire (0.5) Lavacore Elemental (0.1) Lotus Bloom (2.5)
Familiar’s Ruse (0.25) Fertile Ground (0.1) Browbeat (2) Lightning Elemental (0.1) Loxodon Warhammer (2)
Fathom Trawl (0.5) Force of Savagery (0.33) Caterwauling Boggart (0.1) Lightning Serpent (0.5) Mind Stone (0.5)
Fog Elemental (0.1) Gaea’s Anthem (2) Ceaseless Searblades (0.1) Lightning Storm (0.1) Mirari (1)
Foresee (0.1) Gemhide Sliver (0.25) Chandra Nalaar (3) Molten Disaster (4) Prismatic Lens (0.25)
Guile (2) Groundbreaker (1.5) Changeling Berserker (0.1) Nova Chaser (1) Springleaf Drum (0.1)
Looter il-Kor (0.1) Harmonize (1) Char-Rumbler (0.1) Orcish Cannonade (0.1) Wanderer’s Twig (0.1)
Merfolk Looter (0.1) Hurricane (0.33) Coal Stoker (0.1) Pyromancer’s Swath (0.33)  
Mistform Ultimus (0.25) Joiner Adept (0.5) Cone of Flame (0.1) Reiterate (0.33)
Mulldrifter (0.1) Krosan Grip (0.25) Conflagrate (0.1) Rift Bolt (0.25) Land
Ponder (0.1) Llanowar Elves (0.5) Demolish (0.1) Rift Elemental (0.1) Arena (0.33)
Psionic Blast (4) Might of Old Krosa (0.25) Disintegrate (0.33) Rite of Flame (1) Forest (FREE)
Rune Snag (1) Naturalize (0.1) Earth Elemental (0.1) Shock (0.1) Fungal Reaches (0.1)
Sage of Epityr (0.1) Quirion Dryad (3) Faultgrinder (0.1) Skizzik Surger (0.1) Ghitu Encampment (0.25)
Sage Owl (0.1) Rampant Growth (0.1) Fiery Temper (0.5) Smokebraider (0.1) Grove of the Burnwillows (4)
Shapesharer (0.33) Recollect (0.1) Fire-Belly Changeling (0.1) Soulblast (0.33) Highland Weald (1)
Spellweaver Volute (0.33) Rites of Flourishing (0.5) Flamecore Elemental (0.1) Soulbright Flamekin (0.1) Island (FREE)
Telling Time (0.25) Scryb Ranger (0.25) Flamekin Bladewhirl (0.5) Spark Elemental (0.25) Karplusan Forest (4)
Think Twice (0.1) Seal of Primordium (0.1) Flamekin Brawler (0.1) Sparkspitter (0.25) Keldon Megaliths (0.25)
Tidings (0.25) Search for Tomorrow (0.1) Flamekin Harbinger (0.25) Storm Entity (0.1) Mountain (FREE)
Time Stretch (0.5) Seedborn Muse (1) Flamekin Spitfire (0.1) Subterranean Shambler (0.1) Shimmering Grotto (0.1)
Twincast (2) Spectral Force (1) Furnace of Rath (0.5) Sudden Impact (0.25) Shivan Reef (5)
Vesuvan Shapeshifter (3) Squall Line (0.33) Ghostfire (0.1) Sudden Shock (0.5) Spinerock Knoll (0.33)
Wipe Away (0.25) Sylvan Scrying (0.25) Giant’s Ire (0.1) Sulfur Elemental (0.5) Terramorphic Expanse (0.25)
  Timbermare (0.5) Glarewielder (0.1) Sulfurous Blast (0.25) Vivid Crag (0.25)
Upwelling (0.33) Goblin Lore (0.25) Surging Flame (0.1) Vivid Creek (0.25)
Verdant Force (1) Grapeshot (0.1) Tarfire (0.1) Vivid Grove (0.25)
Vigor (1) Greater Stone Spirit (0.1) Tectonic Fiend (0.1)  
Wild Pair (0.5) Grinning Ignus (0.1) Thick-Skinned Goblin (0.1)
Woodland Changeling (0.1) Guerrilla Tactics (0.25) Thunderblade Charge (0.33) Gold / Split
  Hostility (Duh!) (1) Tribal Flames (0.5) Assault // Battery (0.33)
Ignite Memories (0.25) Wheel of Fate (0.5) Radha, Heir to Keld (0.5)
Incandescent Soulstoke (1.5) Wild Ricochet (0.5)  

 While Ben is waiting for to see the Hostility decks posted to the forums, which format would you most like to see him play?  
Prismatic! I love large decks and I cannot lie! (More info)
Vanguard! Let's change the rules all over again! (More info)
Singleton! There can be only one! (More info)
Classic! Let's put those Masters Edition cards to use! (More info)


Don't forget to post your decks to the forums—any decks sent via email will unfortunately have to be disregarded. Non-deck-related e-mails will be great to receive! Also, don't forget to vote on the above poll—the choice that wins will be the format of next week's column! Prismatic! Vanguard! Singleton! Classic! I love it all, but let's see which one gets the most love from the budget crowd.

Ben

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