MTG Intro Pack Battle! Ghostly Tide vs. Vampiric Thirst

magic the gathering

Enough cannot be said how for excited we are with the Shadows Over Innistrad set. The flavor, the mechanics, and the cards themselves are awesome. We simply cannot get enough of this set. Fellow Nerd Reactor writer, Eddie Villanueva, and I were given a pair of intro packs from the new set. Eddie decided to go with the Vampire tribal deck with heavy emphasis on the ‘Madness’ mechanic called ‘Vampiric Thirst’. I, on the other hand, decided to go with the ‘Ghostly Tide’ spirit themed deck. Based on the strength of spirit decks last time, we visited the plane of Innistrad back in the Dark Ascension block. We decided what better way to test and review the decks than by pitting them against each other in an all out grudge match. As we know when trying to determine the strength of a deck in the game of Magic, the answer lies in the heart of battle. Well we put both of these decks through their paces with absolutely no modifications, and it was essentially a one-sided beatdown as the Black/Red Vampires laid waste to the White/Blue Spirits in every single match without much effort.

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Vampiric Thirst

Played/Reviewed By Eddie Villanueva Jr.

I’ve always been a fan of aggressive decks, utilizing powerful monsters that accumulate on the battlefield for one purpose: to launch an attack of insurmountable damage that causes utter and malicious defeat to the opponent. Most of the time, however, decks like this, unfortunately, rely little to no full usage of what MTG fully offers as strategies and unique play aspects; it’s just usually WHAM BAM and that’s it. If you didn’t get them the turn you’ve been playing towards, your goose is cooked. The unique thing about Vampiric Thirst, Shadow over Innistrad’s Red and Black Vampire deck, is that although it is merely an intro deck, the opportunities it takes to be more than just a beat-em-up style deck was surprising. The idea that as a deck, you can build a strategy and battle plan that incurs more than just the notion of hit and run, is a bit of unknown territory for me, but I found myself loving the deck in the end.

The deck uses the mechanics Discard and Madness, which in a few words is this: if you discard a creature, instant, sorcery or enchantment that has a Madness cost, you can cast it for that cost instead of the original Mana cost. At first, I wasn’t sold on the idea. You want me to discard stuff out of my hand?! What, are you nuts?? But as the game continued, I began to see the genius in the plan. The idea that if I were to discard on my end step, or an instant or sorcery were to allow me to discard, I could cast a formidable creature at, sometimes, a fraction of the cost. I say sometimes because there were a few sorcery cards whose Madness cost was the same as the Mana cost, such as Malevolent Whispers. With the deck, I was able to surmount a strong battlefront, using Twins of Maurer Estate, Bloodmad Vampire, Incorrigible Youths, and more, by the function of discarding with Mad Prophet, paying the Madness cost to cast the creatures, and replenishing my hand by drawing a card. Before long, the use of casting spells wasn’t a burden, and allowed me to use the few sorcery and instant cards I had.

All in all, the deck is a great starting point for a Red/Black Tribe deck, and with the addition of a few more bounce spells, and possible a win-condition creature, such as Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, the deck will become the sure-fire winner of Standard tournaments around the world…or at least, at your local card shop

 

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Ghostly Tide

Played/Reviewed by Cory Vincent

As I had mentioned before, I was most excited about the Ghostly Tide spirit deck due to my great experiences with spirits during the Dark Ascension block a little over 5 years ago. Unfortunately, while spirit decks may still be effective in some capacity in Shadows Over Innistrad, this intro pack iteration when placed in direct competition with ‘Vampiric Thirst’ was absolutely no match and at some points of the game incredibly frustrating. While getting spirit tokens onto the field was not a problem, it was just never able to scale quick enough to deal with the aggressive nature of the vampires. I often had my arm twisted into using my 1/1 flying spirit tokens as chump blockers and even when I had the room to breath, I could only chip away one of my opponent’s life points at a time. Only three creatures in the deck cost two mana, and with my defensive cards like Silver Strike and Sleep Paralysis costing four lands and the sole counter in the deck, Deny Existence, costing 3, I was rarely in a position to cast a creature and still reserve enough mana to defend myself with instants on my opponent’s next turn. Life gain was also a minor strategy of the deck, but this was actually more of an inconvenience as it only prolonged my beatdown.

While the deck as it is packaged left me battered and bruised, with some tweaking I believe this deck is salvageable. I think I would add at least two more ‘Rattlechains’ to the deck for starters adding some more low-cost hexproof protection, not to mention the awesome ability of giving all of your spirit creatures flash. I was not a fan of and would likely remove the marquee ‘Drogskol Calvary, due to its excessive mana cost. I would probably dispatch all of the life gain cards as well in exchange for more low mana cost control style instants to help dictate the pace of the game. Ultimately a win condition needs to be added to this deck. In the past Innistrad set, the spirit strategy was usually partnered with a human tribal theme. I feel like the spirits as presented by this intro pack for Shadows Over Innistrad just fall flat by themselves.

 

These are just two of the awesome Intro packs available for the latest set of Magic the Gathering. You can check out the complete decklists and descriptions right here. What do you think everyone? Are you surprised by our results? Have you had a much different experience?

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Cory Vincent
Cory Vincent 434 posts

Forged in the crucible of awkwardness and self loathing, Cory somehow manages to get himself out of bed each day and make it a priority to spend life killing Beef and going H.A.M.

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