Today is All Saint’s Day in the Philippines and it’s a holiday for people to visit their departed love ones in the cemetery. It’s also a common tradition for people to do a stop over before going home to leave behind spirits that might follow them home.
They say that if you’re not careful, you might get cursed if you step on the grave of a disturbed soul, or accidentally leaned or sat on a tombstone. Call it superstition but that’s how it is in the Philippines.
Speaking of curses, Innistrad introduced a unique enchantment aura called Curse that you latch on to an opponent. Once attached, these curses would punish the opponent throughout the course of the game. It was an awesome mechanic for limited and some of the curses did see constructed play, like Curse of Death’s Hold to keep token decks at bay.
In today’s standard we don’t have a plethora of curses to choose from but we do have some good ones in black which looks well position in today’s meta.
Trespasser’s Curse punishes the opponent for playing creatures, similar to how Rampaging Ferocidon works but with an upside of gaining us 1 life for each creature entering the battlefield.
Torment of Scarabs puts a painful clock on the opponent unless he discards a card or sacrifices a nonland permanent on his upkeep step. These curses stack on top of each other so the more copies you have in play, the more brutal the effects are for the opponent.
We will mainly use Torment of Scarabs as our win condition so we need to make sure the opponent either has:
- No cards in hand
- No nonland permanents in play
Plan #1, attack the hand.
Duress hits at least 1 thing against any deck in the meta right now.
- Temur – Attune with Aether, Harnessed Lightning, Abrade, Chandra
- UW – Approach, Glimmer, Censor, Supreme Will, Search for Azcanta
- Tokens – Anointed Procession, Hidden Stockpile, Vraska
- UB – Search for Azcanta, Counter spells
- Ramunap – Lightning Strike, Abrade, Magma Spray
Same goes with Lay Bare the Heart except we can’t hit The Scarab God, Hazoret, and Planeswalkers. But it can hit creatures which is good. Lastly we have Doomfall which offers great flexibility to control both hand and board.
What do we do if thing do hit the battlefield, which will happen. Remove them, that’s what!
Plan #2, clean the board.
Fatal Push is still our premier early removal so we’ll play all four copies. We will also play Walk the Plank which is almost an unconditional removal. We will also play Fumigate because we always want a panic button if we get overwhelmed. Fumigate is also a great way to reset the board and force the opponent to discard once we get Torment of Scarabs in play.
For noncreature permanents we can Fumigate away, we will play Ixalan’s Binding and Cast Out. Unlike Thopter Arrest that keeps the permanent on the battlefield, exiling them prevents the opponent from sacrificing them to Torment of Scarabs.
For some card advantage we’ll play Arguel’s Blood Fast to refill our hand. We won’t have any use for its flipside unless we sacrifice our one and only creature.
Noxious Gearhulk will help us gain back some life and the Menace is actually relevant since we’ll be ensuring our opponent won’t have much creatures in the battlefield to block it.
Here’s my Halloween Brew: BW Curse Deck
3 Noxious Gearhulk
4 Torment of Scarabs
3 Ixalan’s Binding
2 Cast Out
2 Arguel’s Blood Fast
Discard Spells: 12
1 Harsh Scrutiny
4 Lay Bare the Heart
4 Fatal Push
3 Walk the Plank
4 Concealed Courtyard
1 Scavenger Ground
4 Ifnir Deadlands
3 Harsh Scrutiny
3 Forsake the Wordly
3 Trespasser’s Curse
3 Never // Return
3 Gideon’s Intervention
The sideboard is mainly to tweak and tailor fit our main board against a particular enemy.
Against creature heavy decks like Ramunap and Temur Energy, we might need to swap out Duress for Harsh Scrutiny. Not only does it take a creature we otherwise have problems taking down like Hazoret and Glorybringer, we also get to scry and fix our draws.
Versus creature and token decks that can go beyond our removal, we side in Trespasser’s Curse to buy us time and punish them in the process.
In case our curses gets exiled by opposing Ixalan’s Binding, or we end up losing to a flipped Search for Azcanta, it’s always good practice to pack some artifact and enchantment hate. Cycling it in case we get to Duress what we’re supposed to exile is also a nice option to have.
Lastly, we want some unconditional removal so Never is great against creatures and walkers. Return can also be very useful if we want to remove Aftermath cards, or Gods.
For thing we can’t interact with like Approach of the Second Suns, Gideon’s Intervention does a great job stopping anything we don’t to bother with later in the game. It’s pseudo-removal because it also negates the damage that creatures, artifacts or planeswalkers would deal.
The deck looks pretty solid, easy to build and very affordable. Try it out at your next FNM and let me know in the comments section!