Here it is, folks: the Born of the Gods event deck! It’s a mono-black deck (what a surprise) with some real value rares within it! Let’s take a look at the list:

24 Swamp

1 Agent of the Fates
1 Blood Scrivener
1 Crypt Ghast
1 Desecration Demon
1 Erebos’s Emissary
1 Herald of Torment
3 Mogis’s Marauder
1 Pack Rat
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Rakdos Shred-Freak
3 Spiteful Returned
3 Tormented Hero
Xathrid Necromancer

2 Bile Blight
3 Doom Blade
1 Fated Return
1 Gift of Orzhova
1 Hero’s Downfall
2 Ultimate Price

3 Cremate
2 Dark Betrayal
4 Duress
2 Gift of Orzhova
2 Pharika’s Cure
2 Staff of the Death Magus

There are some pretty darn good rares in this deck. Agent of the Fates is a solid little Black Heroic card that has some ways to activate it in this deck. Blood Scrivener helps you get a couple of cards if your hand is empty at a minimal cost of 1 life. Crypt Ghast doubles the production of your black mana. Desecration Demon is the best rare in the deck, by far, and is a monster that is the primary beater in mono-Black Devotion decks. Herald of Torment could prove to be a decent Bestow card in Black, and is a 3/3 flyer on its own. Pack Rat is definitely a playable card that can pump out Rats by ditching extra cards in hand and paying 2B. Also, two copies of Xathrid Necromancer is super useful for when your Human creatures die.

In the non-creature spells, you have Fated Return and Hero’s Downfall as rares. Fated Return is a pricey reanimation spell but it makes the creature coming back indestructible. Hero’s Downfall is simply excellent removal that you would definitely want more than one of in a deck.

Already, this deck looks really good on the value side of things. I don’t need to quote prices to tell you that buying multiple copies of this deck is not a bad investment (as both Desecration Demon and Hero’s Downfall are modern playable, as is Xathrid Necromancer to an extent.) The most obvious exclusion in this deck is everyone’s favorite mono-Black Devotion card, Gray Merchant of Asphodel. That actually is not a mistake. The reason for this is that Wizards decided to include a different Devotion-based card in Mogis’s Marauder. Whereas “Gary” as he’s called, makes you gain X life and an opponent lose X life where X is your Devotion to Black, the Marauders give X creatures intimidate and haste until end of turn where X is that same number.

As someone who has witnessed the power of Gray Merchant, I honestly see why people are confused about that omission. But there’s a good reason for it. Wizards went out of their way to try a new take on mono-Black Devotion, an aggressive build, built around Xathrid Necromancer and a bunch of Human creatures. Tormented Hero, Mogis’ Marauder, and Rakdos Shred-Freak are all Humans. Therefore, this makes the Necromancers extremely good and allows you to be extremely aggressive. Spiteful Returned, a Bestow creature from Born of the Gods, is actually decent enough as a creature, as whenever it declares an attack, the defending player loses 2 life. This is a super aggressive deck.

There’s also a pretty good removal package in this deck with 2 Bile Blight, 3 Doom Blade, 2 Ultimate Price, and 1 Hero’s Downfall.

The sideboard includes more removal, plus 4 Duress for control purposes. The 2 extra copies of Gift of Orzhova to complement the one in the deck could prove useful if you’re playing this deck as is. Cremate is nice for messing up Graveyard-based strategies, but little else (although it draws you a card, as well). The Staff of the Death Magus is kind of a cute addition, as well, rewarding you by playing Swamps and black spells and giving you 1 life for each.


The first obvious thing about this deck is that it’s combining two distinct strategies: an aggressive approach with the Human/Xathrid Necromancer combination, and Bestow. For devotion purposes, Bestow is extremely useful as a mechanic. Honestly, this deck can work as-is, but it’s not quite strong enough in a serious competitive setting.

First of all, Agent of the Fates is a really nice card, a 3/2 creature with Deathtouch, and there are ways to make it work pretty well with the Bestow abilities in this deck. It’s also a Human, which works with the Necromancer. Blood Scrivener is a bit too situational, and would probably be our first cut. Crypt Ghast is super cool, in that it can double mana, but one copy in an aggressive deck probably doesn’t cut it here. Desecration Demon is an auto-keep, and a second copy could easily replace the Ghast. Erebos’ Emissary is an interesting little Bestow card, but a third Desecration Demon replaces it easily on the curve. If you’re not going to spend on the Demons, two more Necromancers would slot in nicely! The reason for more Necromancers should be obvious: the more Necromancers, the more tokens you acquire!

Herald of Torment is OK, but it’s another slot better occupied by a Necromancer or a Demon. The Marauders might be okay, especially if you’re maxing out the Human potential with Necromancers. Pack Rat is nice, and good in mono-Black devotion in general, but not in this particular build. It’s still super solid if you go a different direction, though.  Cacklers are fine one-drops, as are Tormented Heroes, even if the Heroic ability is never relevant. Rakdos Shred-Freak is a bit sub-par on average, but super good with the Necromancer.

For non-creatures, the removal count is fine except for there only being one Hero’s Downfall. Fated Return is too pricey and situational to be worth main-boarding, so that’s an easy swap. Gift of Orzhova isn’t bad, and helps devotion, but another Hero’s Downfall or perhaps a Herald of Torment (which gives you more value) is probably better here instead.

Of course, you could go the more traditional route of mono-black, cutting Shred-Freak for more Pack Rats, cutting the Marauders for Gray Merchant of Asphodels, and cutting the Necromancers for Demons. But I think the mono-Black Humans route is much more interesting, and its possible to run 4 Necromancer and 4 Demon in the deck. Here’s the revised list.

24 Swamp

Desecration Demon
Herald of Torment
3 Mogis’s Marauder
3 Rakdos Cackler
4 Rakdos Shred-Freak
3 Spiteful Returned
4 Tormented Hero
Xathrid Necromancer

2 Bile Blight
3 Doom Blade
Hero’s Downfall
2 Ultimate Price

In the end, this is the list I’d go with. It keeps the Human factor alive, with the Marauders still in, cutting the more fragile and situational creatures with more heavy hitters. The Agent was nice, but it was 1 Human, replaced by two more. I also flip-flopped the count of Tormented Hero and Cackler. There’s still enough Bestow in the deck to make the Tormented Heroes sort of relevant. Of course, if you’re looking to go super-Human and not wanting to spend on the Demons, replace the 4 Demons with 4 Agents of the Fates.

As for the sideboard, I’d cut the Gifts of Orzhova for two more Herald of Torment, if you’re going to keep going to Bestow route. The Staffs are silly, and Pithing Needle could take their place to shut down activated abilities. Cremate is also pretty sub-par and Thoughtseize is strictly better than Duress if you can afford them. Sideboards really depend on your meta, however, so go with whatever works against your meta. Heck, Gild might even have a place in here.

Overall, I’d give this Event Deck a B for play-ability, but an A for value. I really like the different take on mono-Black Devotion, although do remember that in October 2014, the big value cards from the Return to Ravnica block and Magic 2014 (Desecration Demon and Xathrid Necromancer, plus the Rakdos creatures) will no longer be legal in Standard. Still, it’s worth picking up a copy, or several, just for the individual good rares in the deck.

~ Elspeth for the Win