The Ur-Dragon, T'iam, Mother of Dragons

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toctheyounger
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Post by toctheyounger » 1 year ago

The Ur-Dragon - T'iam, Mother of Dragons


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This deck is one of a continuing line of vorthos decks I've made around my favourite series of books, the Malazan Book of the Fallen, by Steven Erikson. Obviously, in this case, this is a dragon tribal, too. There are a couple of story points, and I'll definitely primarily be building in order to expand on that more than with any other goal in mind moving forward, although there is no reason it can't play well too - dragons are big, eminence is strong, and there's tons of ways to cheat fatties into play.

This particular part of the story I can't share a lot about, as the events described happen within the last 2 books in the series and describe some of the more crucial plot points in the entire arc of the series. In brief, the dragons in these stories are closely linked to the global magic system - Dragon's blood allows the use of magic, and the type of magic bestowed is aspected to each pure dragon, or Eleint (even this isn't made explicit until late in the series). In addition to this, a non dragon can the ability to 'veer' into dragon form by drinking of the blood of a dragon, making the drinker a shapeshifter, or Soletaken.
For those who've read the full series
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This deck describes the chain of events leading to the release of the Otataral Dragon, Korabas, and those following.
Essentially, the three elder gods Errastas, Sechul Lath and Kilmandaros, seeking to regain their former power and glory, decide to free from its eternal prison the Otataral Dragon, which negates sorcery, magic, existence and life itself. The theory is that, once freed, the other existing dragons cannot help but attack Korabas, else the world itself be annihilated, for even Korabas' presence alone will kill. The gods hope that the dragons will destroy each other to the extent that they will be able to step into the power vaccuum created, and the only ascendants left in said vacuum, with them allowing power to flow downwards to their propitiates through blood - the only way that the power of an Elder god can be channeled.

Korabas is released, and is attacked with fury by the dragons, once a gateway from their hold of Starvald Demelain is available. They attack her and she must defend herself; the problem is that with so many dragons in one place, they become enraged, and will form 'storms', clusters of dragons, and attack each other. When this happens, the mother of Dragons, the source of all dragons, T'iam, is summoned and manifests in chaos and fury unleashed.

Entering into this, too is soletaken Tiste Andii Silchas Ruin, who seeks to keep Korabas alive - for if she should die, all magic will die and the dragons would devour all civilization. Joining him in this quest is his Tiste Edur friend Tulas Shorn, first master of the Hounds of the holds, and the last of Kharkanas' lords, Nimander Golit, along with Korlat, Desra, Skintick and Silanah, Eleint and former lover of the now-deceased Anomander Rake.

Readers of the series will note that this is but one angle of the finale of the series - while this is going on the Bonehunters and their allies are engaged in a war with the Forkrul Assail on four fronts, to free the largest remnant of the Crippled God's heart and protect him so that he can be freed to return home and alleviate the poisoning of the earth that his presence causes. Draconus has been freed from the sword Dragnipur, Mappo seeks to retrieve Icarium from the grips of the Forkrul Assail splinter group, the new citizens of Kharkanas under Yan Tovis and Yedan Derryg defend themselves against a concerted attack by the Tiste Liosan, and Karsa Orlong plans to kill a god. To those who would note the absences of these events, I say the following - 100 cards is not enough. My intention here is purely to portray the path of Korabas and her bid for freedom. If it feels like an incomplete story, that's because it is really only part of it.
The decklist is as follows:
Decklist

Commander


Approximate Total Cost:

Decklist by theme
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T'iam Manifests

T'iam, Mother of Dragons


The Forgotten Azath in Mael's realm


Errastas, Master of the Holds


Sechul Lath


The search for Korabas


Korabas Imprisoned


Kilmandaros breaks the wards


Korabas, the Eye of Abnegation


"It's raining f@#$%!n' Dragons"


Olar Ethil


Telorast Anthras


Kerudas Karosias


Tulas Shorn Veered


Silchas Ruin Veered


Kalse, Eloth, Ampelas! We have our storm!


The Spire and the Heart of Kaminsod


The Adjunct Tavore's Otataral Sword


Korabas' Defense


Silanah


Skintick


Heboric and Kaminsod imprison Korabas once again


Approximate Total Cost:


Mechanics and Strategy



As was clearly evident in the precon, the manabase needed a dust up, and this one still does; it's had somewhat of an upgrade - as much as I can afford at any rate! I feel like the Amonkhet bicycle lands and Battle for Zendikar checklands are pretty decent thematically; they're visually both planes that encompass a significant degree of destruction. I can't currently think of anything specific that requires upgrading for theme - All is Dust would be cool, but I also can't see how it would benefit me. All relevant characters are portrayed, save the Bonehunters - I think I'd prefer to make a separate deck for them, as Saskia the Unyielding is just so good as a portrayal of Adjunct Tavore, and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is clearly a pure Forkrul Assail.

Strategically, the plan here is pretty simple. Ramp into as many colours as possible or find one of the deck's cheat cards, get some decent draw going, profit. The deck is capable of some fairly stupendous plays - Mirrorweaveing or Rite of Replicationing a Scourge of Valkas can blow out the game, Lathliss does some crazy things, and we've got as much haste as we can shake a stick at too. It's very much a glass cannon in many ways, though With a suboptimal land base you are at the whim of a shuffle in most games, so color fixing really is crucial as is just hitting your land drops.

In terms of winning the game, there's a few ways to go about it, and most of them amount to turning your cards sideways. There's some pretty devastating inclusions with Sarkhan's Unsealing and Scourge of Valkas for direct damage too, though, so there are options. Ultimately though, this is more about telling a story than doing anything way outside the box, and I'm happy that it mostly does that.

There is one combo (that I'm aware of) in the deck - mostly in here just because the pieces otherwise fit thematically, but Savage Ventmaw and Hellkite Charger will, if you choose it and they continually survive combat, produce infinite combat steps, or many as needed to end the game at any rate. If you so chose, Tooth and Nail could search these out, but I'm happy with the presence of this simply because it's not an instant win; you'll still need to connect and have these pieces continually survive combat to achieve victory.

Further Developments



As mentioned, most of what I would look at here is with the intent of filling out a story more than anything, and mostly that seems fine. All of the prominent characters are fairly well portrayed, although roles could shift about if my budget increased. Ideally, it'd be nice to add: But there's only so much money in the world. Time will tell, there's bound to be more neat stuff as time goes on.
As always any critique, feedback or suggestions are more than welcome.
Toc
Last edited by toctheyounger 1 year ago, edited 1 time in total.
Malazan Decks of the Fallen
| Shadowthrone/Lazav | Raest/Yidris | T'iam / The Ur-Dragon |

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User avatar
toctheyounger
Posts: 2282
Joined: 1 year ago
Pronoun: he / him
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Post by toctheyounger » 1 year ago

A couple of quick upgrades:

So in terms of play Nesting Dragon was ok but a little unpsectacular. Skyline Despot was fine, but similarly relatively slow. The monarch is fine, but burst draw tends to be more helpful in this deck, so it was easy enough to pull out.

Dragonlord Ojutai is a nice low cost, protected dragon that helps me dig a little for whatever I need at the time which is cool. Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund has up until now been really pricey, and is a pretty cool add. It allows me to steal the board with yet another janky Mirrorweave interaction: target a nonlegendary dragon with the aforementioned, cast Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, swing for stupid amounts, profit (hopefully). Aside from that, both being legendary gives me a bit more depth to flesh out what characters are here.

I've been thinking too about whether I portray the Crippled God or not. It's a bit confusing in terms of what scope I want to show and how far down the rabbit hole I CAN go, as this passage is less linear and more 4 active scenes in a book converging into one. Nonetheless, Kagemaro, First to Suffer seems apt. I have one spare now, so it's a possibility.
Malazan Decks of the Fallen
| Shadowthrone/Lazav | Raest/Yidris | T'iam / The Ur-Dragon |

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