If you are looking for an abrupt ending to your evening of Magic - play this with your friends.
Your definition of casual may differ from mine. For this second installment of "The Kitchen Table," I am bringing you a grinder. This is the type of deck that can destroy friendships. Of course, if your friends are anything like my friends, and you are sitting down to regular casual games, then decks like this are expected. I have versions of this lock down deck that run power 9 and Black Vise, with a sprinkling of blue.
This version of a deck I named, "The Long Run," showcases a number of accessible yet expensive cards. I would highly recommend that if you don't have access to these cards that you proxy them generously.
Let's look at the deck list and talk about the options and "lack thereof" for our opponents.
This deck is Banned...from your friends house.
Sensei's Divining Top is one of those cards that may have skirted the radar during initial development. Even when viewed from a contemporaneous perspective, this card bleeds power and utility. This little samurai toy is banned in Modern and Legacy - legal in only Vintage and Commander formats. So, it is no surprise then that we are running four copies in our kitchen table games. What says "fun with your friends" like banned cards? Nothing. One colorless mana before our draw step, or on our opponents endstep lets us dig for three and set up our next draw. If we need to produce some tempo, we can do it again on our turn and grab our next piece. The top is best used in conjunction with occasional shuffling, and we get to shuffle in various ways with our list.
The Long Run...
At points the cheese of this deck can become overbearing, and you may have already stopped reading after seeing the deck list, you may feel like these are not your types of Kitchen Table decks, and that's okay. Follow-up installments to this series may be cheaper or more accessible, and always for the lolz. I have since forever had palpable affection for the Leylines. Leyline of Sanctity is just a big wall of frustration to set down in front of our opponents, and beginning the game by giving ourselves hexproof is powerful indeed.
We want to continuously utilize our instant speed spells in this deck, and I will get into the core combo and an explanation for the namesake in just a moment. Wheel of Sun and Moon provides us with the ability to bottom-deck cards that hit our graveyard - it is only part of the set up, and a critical part of us winning the game in "the long run." Elixir of Immortality has not been printed since M14, and I think that's understandable. We get to recursively gain 5 life padding our life total, then we get to shuffle away a bad top three cards for a better peek with the Divining Top. Wheel and Elixir are perfect for our strategy here.
A Hard-ish Lock...
Would you be upset if I told you that the goal of this deck is to hard lock our opponent's (to the extent that it is actually possible), and either get them to scoop or eventually mill them down to nothing through discard at the endstep? Depending upon your opinion, you may think that is lame or really cool - I am of the latter opinion. Showcasing our nerd power to completely dominate a table game in a 1-on-1 scenario is important; we are after all going for bragging rights, street cred, and notoriety for building decks to be feared. Would you fear a deck that could permanently lock you out of playing any spells except for instants during your upkeep? If not, sit on the other side of this combo and try to avoid having a change of heart.
Cards like Orim's Chant and Silence are just flat-out busted. Having 4 copies of each is bad enough, but when we can leverage Isochron Scepter to cast one of either spell turn after turn, we hard-ish lock our opponent out of any meaningful interactions in the game. In the event we do come up against a deck that can instant speed remove our artifact during our opponents upkeep then Wheel of Sun and Moon and Elixir of Immortality just shuffle the Scepter back into our deck. Exile is a different story, but not all that oppressive given our other defensive options in the deck. 4-sets of these three cards included in any white deck with other options and strategies is brutal. I have just chosen a very long and drawn out win-con here. You have the ability to modify this list in whatever way you see fit.
Exiling and Finding Stuff...
During those rare instances when we need additional time (bad draws or greedy starts) to find our combo pieces for the lock, we have built in some of the best cards in the history of white mana: Oblivion Ring and Runed Halo. Oblivion Ring is great for an answer you may need to just about any permanent on the battlefield, and in the off chance our opponents are able to respond through the lock, we will just bottom it to our library, pop a shuffle and draw it again - tee-hee! We get most cheeky when we are abusing our lock during our opponent's upkeep, Silence and Orim's Chant do not punish the stack. So, we cannot affect spells already on the stack and resolving - resolving is not casting - we need support to achieve "full cheese."
Along the same line of thought (in being prepared for the worst), we have Runed Halo to take care of pesky critters, enchantments, spells, and general malfeasance. We want to be able to buffer ourselves from game loss by creating stagnation and obstacles for our opponent to hurdle. The enchantment itself is not indestructible, but we have several ways to stifle a board state with a card that protects us from "named permanents." The recursive capabilities of our deck make it so we are able to bring back these enchantments again and again if our opponents have answers. Runed Halo is an expensive card ($). Hopefully, you have been playing for 15+ years and have a few of these lying around to pop in a list and troll your friends.
Short of our 8 instant speed spells, everything in our deck can be tutored with an Elightened Tutor. This card finds our combo pieces, our answers, and just rocks in general. In the blue-white version of this deck, we get to run both Enlightened Tutor and Mystical Tutor. It makes for some simplistic setups of the lock, and expedites the kill using Black Vise. Keep in mind the purpose of our mono-white list here - to lock our opponent and force a scoop. While we are on the subject of Elightened Tutor, do you folks ever believe we will see instant speed tutoring like this Standard again? I certainly don't; if anything these types of cantrips seem to be becoming more and more a thing of the distant past. At any rate, I'd love to discuss - let me know what you think.
If Your Opponent Wants to Play Again...
We have included a number of sideboard options that are creature specific, and one that takes our "locking mechanisms" up a notch in total security. Game one should be all about the spell lock, using Orim's Chant and Silence on an Isochron Scepter to lock our opponents out of anything that is not instant speed interaction. Game two (if you get there) is about tailoring our deck for a response:
Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile both slot in perfectly over Orim's Chant and Silence, depending on the direction you want to take the deck, you may also elect to drop our enchantment control and pop in a couple of these spells to take the "Scepter game" further. Planar Collapse is a great answer to token strategies, which inconveniently enough, can be passive and tricky and apply pressure to our life total in table games. Greater Auramancy helps us ensure our cyclical solutions are not trifled with when your opponent displays the ability to hit your enchantments. Greater Auramancy is just another layer in a defense-in-depth strategy and should be used as a consideration.
I am not responsible for any loss of friends that this deck may generate for you. I was not the first to discover these combos. This deck may not be fun for you to play, but on the upside I want to open the Kitchen Table to you for submissions as well. I would like to see your most broken decks and creations. Not necessarily rage inducing decks, but those are also welcomed. Only the creative and fun-loving need apply.
I am looking to continue this series well into the future, and hopefully generate conversations with you regarding your table games and favorite decks. Maybe one day we can all share a pizza and a case of soda in the spirit of good rage inducing fun!?
Time will tell.