Weekly Random Brew #9: Cabal Therapy
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 Eternal Masters printing of Cabal Therapy.
Cabal Therapy is a one-mana uncommon black sorcery. It allows its caster to guess one card that might be in their opponent's hand, and then look at their opponent's hand and make them discard all cards with that name. The card has a reputation for disrupting players' plans when the caster makes an especially lucky guess, but even if they guess wrong, looking at their opponent's hand gives them a lot of useful information. It has a Flashback cost that involves sacrificing a creature, so it might fit into a sacrifice deck.
Since Cabal Therapy takes cards out of your opponent's hand, let's start with a hand attack deck. The goal of this deck is to prevent your opponent from doing anything by causing them to discard all their cards before they can use them.
All the creatures in this deck either cause your opponent to discard cards, like Rankle, Master of Pranks and The Haunt of Hightower, or profits from your opponent discarding cards, like Abyssal Nocturnus. I'm also including Cabal Therapist, a creature from Modern Horizons that has Cabal Therapy's ability. Even if you guess wrong, it still has menace, which allows you to do quite a bit of damage early in the game.
Choosing Noncreature Spells
The noncreature spells in this deck punish your opponents both for discarding cards and drawing cards. Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage deals damage to your opponent if they have 1 or fewer cards in hand, and Underworld Dreams, Curse of Fool's Wisdom, and Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted all deal damage to your opponent when they draw cards, with Ob Nixilis forcing them to draw extra cards.
There aren't a lot of lands that interact with the hand attack strategy, but you may want to include Geier Reach Sanitarium, since it causes your opponents (but also you, so be careful how often you use it) to both draw and discard.
4 Cabal Therapist
2 Pilfering Imp
4 Abyssal Nocturnus
4 Fell Specter
2 Rankle, Master of Pranks
2 The Haunt of Hightower
2 Urgoros, the Empty One
2 Cabal Therapy
Another Option: Artist Constructed
This particular printing of Cabal Therapy has art by Raymond Swanland, who has art on over 150 Magic cards. Sadly, none of them are basic lands, so this isn't technically an Artist Constructed deck, but all of the spells and nonbasic lands in this deck have Swanland art. It uses the creature sacrifice theme inspired by Cabal Therapy's ability, and builds up to Thraximundar, who gets more powerful anytime anyone sacrifices a creature.
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!