I’m going to talk about the changes I made to Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, but first, I’ve been thinking about these singles. Specifically, Baleful Force. I was excited by it before, but then I realized why it’s hitting home for me. Baleful Force is good in EDH because Bloodgift Demon and Graveborn Muse are also good in the format. Sure, he’s pricier than they are, but I’m never upset to see a card that says “draw an extra card per turn.” And this one gets better the more people you have in the game! Sure, it’s pricey, but generally black decks don’t have too much trouble making a bunch of mana. And unlike Graveborn Muse (or even Bloodgift Demon, to a degree), Baleful Force is a great top deck in the late game because it has a relevant body in a format of giant monsters. Anyway, it’s a good card, and if you don’t want yours feel free to trade them all to me!

Now, to Derevi. So, I took the scalpel fairly deeply on these decks. I contemplated a lighter touch, for budgetary reasons, but after playing around with them I knew that I wanted to play with them for real. What I ended up with were five particularly focused (and fairly powerful) full-force decks. Each were focused on a theme. Derevi’s was activated abilities. I often avoid abilities that require a tap as part of their activation cost, since you often end up getting blown out before you untap and can use them. But I was skeptical of the power of Tidal Force, and wanted to see if a tap or untap every upkeep was at least the equivalent of three life a term. I’m now convinced that it is. Anyway, here it is:

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician

Mana Rocks & Dorks: Everflowing Chalice; Sol Ring; Joraga Treespeaker; Gyre Sage; Priest of Titania; Basalt Monolith; Coalition Relic; Somberwald Sage; Elvish Archdruid; Thran Dynamo; Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro; Gilded Lotus; Dreamstone Hedron

Dudes Who Tap: Weathered Wayfarer; Magus of the Candelabra; Ulvenwald Tracker; Stoneforge Mystic; Kazandu Tuskcaller; Fauna Shaman; Oracle of Nectars; Pulsemage Advocate; Intrepid Hero; Captain of the Mists; Nullmage Advocate; Knight of the Reliquary; Vorel of the Hull Clade; Thraben Doomsayer; Simic Manipulator; Elvish Piper; Witch Hunter; Cytoplast Manipulator; Archivist; Sea Gate Loremaster; Stonehewer Giant; Quicksilver Elemental; Beguiler of Wills; Plaguemaw Beast; Roon of the Hidden Realm; Rubina Soulsinger; Pentarch Paladin; Azami, Lady of Scrolls; Djinn of Infinite Deceits; Skyward Eye Prophets; Arcanis the Omnipotent; Experiment Kraj; Mikaeus, the Lunarch

Enablers & Outlets: Lightning Greaves; Swiftfoot Boots; Illusionist’s Bracers; Thornbite Staff; Quest for Renewal; Rings of Brighthearth; Thousand-Year Elixir; Mirror Entity; Vigean Graftmage; Curse of Inertia; Sword of the Paruns; Glare of Subdual; Prophet of Kruphix; Murkfiend Liege; Tidal Force

Utility Lands: Alchemist’s Refuge; Gavony Township; Prahv, Spires of Order; Reliquary Tower; Thespian’s Stage

Sol Lands: Cloludpost; Glimmerpost; Urza’s Mine; Urza’s Power Plant; Urza’s Tower; Temple of the False God; Azorius Chancery; Selesnya Sanctuary; Simic Growth Chamber

Duals, etc: Command Tower; Treva’s Ruins; Rupture Spire; Seaside Citadel; Transguild Promenade; Glacial Fortress; Hinterland Harbor; Sunpetal Grove; Azorius Guildgate; Selesnya Guildgate; Simic Guildgate; Bant Panorama; Evolving Wilds; Terramorphic Expanse

Basics: Plains x3; Islands x3; Forests x4

Woof! I hate writing those things out. I don’t tend to do a lot of my deckbuilding on paper, so I always have to do it well after the deck is completed, and shockingly the spellcheck isn’t exactly helpful when you’re typing in a ton of Magic’s fake words. But I digress. A few cards might require a bit more of an explanation. For example, Mirror Entity is a colorless manasink that upgrades my somewhat unassuming bodies. Rings of Brighthearth is great because it can copy the abilities of lands as well as creatures, and it nets infinite colorless mana with Basalt Monolith alone.

What the deck could use is more things to do with the huge amount of colorless mana it nets, and more reliable ways to draw cards. Those were the main issues I ran into when playing against Clayton (occasional columnist for Hipsters!) and his modified Oloro, Ageless Ascetic deck. It was a fun game, we both managed to do some fairly vicious stuff before he beat me.

The game started with me getting my theme on, as I dropped Gavony Township, Rings of Brighthearth, Elvish Archdruid, Priests of Titania, Fauna Shaman, and Pentarch Paladin. I quickly killed off his Sharding Sphinx and Cryptoplasm, but that gave him the freedom to cast Famine and wipe my board. At that moment I only had an Archivist and a land in my hand, and I weighed my decisions and decided to ditch the card-drawing engine for two cards with a Ringing Fauna Shaman activation. I got Gyre Sage and Vorel of the Hull Clade without thinking about it too much, but I was soon regretting not thinking more about that decision when I drew lands for several turns. Gyre Sage and Vorel would have been pretty cute, but Clayton used Viper’s Kiss to turn my mana engine into a plain huge dude. I brought Derevi into play, Gavony Townshiping my team (with Rings of Brighthearth doubling it!) and then used Vorel to make them all gigantic, but only for a lack of better things to do.

Meanwhile, Clayton was using Master Transmuter and Sol Ring to basically drop artifacts into play for free every turn. Sure, he had to use a blue mana to get it going, but the Sol Ring netted him two mana each time he did it, so he was totally getting ahead. He slammed a Colossus of Akros, and then replayed his Sharding Sphinx (returned by Phyrexian Reclamation), before then bouncing it to put it on a Prototype Portal and pumping out some tokens. So I had to deal with a lot before he dropped Venser the Sojourner and started swinging in. I got Arcanis the Omnipotent online and drew 19 cards in the final turn cycle, but I couldn’t get what I needed to not die.

It was a lot of fun though! I want to make the mana a little better, and I am thinking of adding in Venser the Sojourner, a way to get Derevi off the field (Ashnod’s Altar, maybe), and another way to give my team haste (perhaps Concordant Crossroads, thanks to Chronicles). But Derevi turned out to be more fun than I had anticipated, and I grew attached to the deck immediately.

That’s all for this week! Next week you’ll see the list of another of the adapted decks, and I’ll have a war story to share about them as well.

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