Weekly Random Brew #1: Daggerdrome Imp

In this series, I discuss the deckbuilding process while building casual 60-card decklists based on cards chosen by Scryfall's Random Card function. This is intended as a creative exercise, to give new players a sense of how deckbuilding works while giving more experienced players examples of the kinds of brewing challenges they might encounter in Limited formats. The decks in this series will not be optimized for competitive play, especially when the random seed is not an especially powerful card. My goal is to use the properties of those seeds to make interesting decks.

This week's seed is the Return to Ravnica printing of Daggerdrome Imp.

Card features

The vast majority of cards have some interesting feature that can be used as the basis for a decklist, or at least to set some useful constraints on deckbuilding. Daggerdrome Imp is a small black common creature with flying and lifelink. It would be interesting to assemble all the black flying creatures I can from Ravnica sets, and see how the curve looks. Or maybe just any Ravnican flying creature without a guild watermark. You know what? Let's go with both!

Choosing creatures

There are 18 black flying creatures from sets on Ravnica that don't belong to a guild. I think the most exciting ones are The Haunt of Hightower and Necropolis Regent, which make your creatures bigger, and Desecration Demon, which forces your opponent to choose between keeping their blockers and giving you even more +1/+1 counters. Smog Elemental also looks useful, since it makes your opponents' flyers less able to block yours, but since your fliers will be getting bigger anyway, I don't think it's worth the mana. At the low end, Pilfering Imp gives you a first-turn play and possibly a head start on attacking, and Spire Mangler can provide a surprise buff to any of your creatures.

Choosing noncreature spells

Black isn't a color known for caring about +1/+1 counters, so most of what I'm looking for here is removal and/or discard to protect my creatures, or spells to bring them back if they die.. Again, I'm going to stick with black cards from Ravnican sets and try not to use any that have watermarks. Kaya's Ghostform will be useful for protecting creatures, especially the big ones; Dead Weight will slow down your opponent reliably, as long as they're working under similar creative constraints to you. Sinister Possession is just a card I really want to try out. I'm going to avoid spells that require me to sacrifice creatures, since I don't have a good way to profit from sacrificing creatures. This deck is just about swinging in with flying things.

Choosing lands

Ravnica is not known for its interesting monocolored lands, so I'm going to use all Swamps for this deck to keep the flavor consistent. You may want to look a little farther afield for lands that fit your strategy, such as Mortuary Mire and Memorial to Folly, which can reanimate your creatures.

Moon Market
Approximate Total Cost:

Another option

Daggerdrome Imp is a common, so you could also focus on that and build a Pauper deck around it. For this deck, I'm going to focus more on the Imp's lifelink instead of its flying to make a deck based around draining life from your opponent.

Hard Knock Life
Approximate Total Cost:

This deck can kill your opponent by attacking, but what it really wants to do is resolve multiple Inheritances or Gray Merchants to deal a lot more damage at once. I've decided to splash white for Final Payment, since it's among the cheapest kill spells in Pauper, and you should be able to use the life you've gained to pay the additional cost. I've also included Scoured Barrens as the multicolored land, since it gains you life. If you're concerned about getting the life or the white mana consistently, though, you may want to replace it with Murder.

Let us know what other decklists you come up with for this seed, or if there's a card you want us to try building around. Happy brewing!

Comments
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That Pauper deck looks like fun. Final Payment does good work there.
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