Weekly Random Brew #6: Orcish Captain
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 Fallen Empires printing of Orcish Captain.
Orcish Captain is a 1/1 red creature that costs one red mana, so it would fit in well in a red-heavy aggressive deck. I feel like I've made a lot of aggressive red decks recently for this series, though, so I'm going to try to build my decks based on other features. It has a triggered ability that references other Orcs, which lends itself to Orc tribal; but it's not a very powerful ability, since it relies on a coin flip to determine whether the target gets more or less powerful. Coin flipping is an interesting mechanic, though, and maybe I can turn that into a deck. I could also build a deck themed around Fallen Empires, the set this card comes from.
Let's start with the Orc tribal deck. There are 54 orcs in Magic, but some of these reference Pirate and Warrior tribal, rather than Orc tribal, and will therefore be less useful in an Orc tribal deck. One thing a number of the remaining creatures have in common is a sacrifice theme, so I'm going to build a deck around sacrifice outlets like Orc General and Orcish Bloodpainter. I'll avoid any of the cards with restrictions on how they can attack or block, and fill out the list with orcs that do interesting things when they die, like Orcish Hellraiser.
Choosing Noncreature Spells
Since I've chosen my creatures to fit a sacrifice theme, I'm going to have to choose my noncreature spells to increase my sacrifice payoff. Grave Pact and Furnace Celebration reward you for sacrificing your creatures. Quest for the Gravelord also rewards you for killing your opponents' creatures. And Angrath, the Flame-Chained may not be a minotaur, but he's a personal favorite to include in sacrifice decks because he can give you extra death triggers by stealing and sacrificing your opponents' creatures.
This deck has a low curve, so I'm going to prioritize multicolored lands that can enter the battlefield untapped. The sacrifice theme means it'll play more slowly than an aggressive deck, but I still want to be able to cast my spells on curve.
4 Orcish Captain
4 Orcish Hellraiser
4 Orc General
4 Orcish Bloodpainter
4 Pitiless Horde
2 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
Another Option: Fallen Empires Constructed
Orcish Captain's coin-flipping ability doesn't combine with other cards that flip coins in an interesting way, so I'm going to see what I can come up with out of Fallen Empires, the set this card came from. Fallen Empires was built around ten monocolored factions from the Dominarian continent of Sarpadia; each color had an establishment faction which was under attack from a new faction. Orcs come from the new red faction, which also includes goblins and destroyed Sarpadian dwarven civilization.
This set comes from a time when creatures were not very powerful, and Fallen Empires is a very small set. I'm still going to build something silly that passes for an aggressive orc-and-goblin invasion.
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!