Today I have a brew that is straight jank (adj- broken; unnecessarily redundant, superfluous, or meaningless; stupid or ridiculously moronic; bootleg or of questionable quality), second only to the Seance Challange. The moment that I saw Triskaidekaphobia I felt like Barney Stinson and thought, challenge accepted!

This new card from Shadows over Innistrad has seen essentially no competitive play and for good reason—it is difficult to manage life totals to an extent where we can ensure that our opponent hits 13 life and has nothing to do about it. Thinking on that, the challenge is to build a deck that can manage life totals very well. Much of the deck is built in a way that I am able to manage my own life total as well as my opponents life total. In celebration of this past Friday the 13th I present you with Legacy Triskaidekaphobia.

Lands (23)
Blood Crypt
Grove of the Burnwillows
Overgrown Tomb
Stomping Ground
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Verdant Catacombs
Volrath’s Stronghold
Wooded Foothills

Creatures (12)
Dark Confidant
Death’s Shadow
Deathrite Shaman

Spells (25)
Abrupt Decay
Life from the Loam
Mox Diamond
Punishing Fire
Sideboard (15)
Abrupt Decay
Liliana of the Veil
Pernicious Deed
Surgical Extraction
Sylvan Library

I completely agree with many of you. What a ridiculous deck! In honor of our latest test writer Jerry Mee, I wanted to give you something full of Spice. This list has a couple combos to it, as well as some of the usual suspect of your average Jund deck. Post board we can become a control deck designed for the long game in most any match up, but let’s not rush to that and dig into the card choices for a bit.


As I am sure many of you noticed, there are several shocklands in the mix. This another way towards the life management piece of the deck as well as the ability to get a Death’s Shadow online and early.

Grove of the Burnwillows is here for Punishing Fire as well as another way to manage our opponent’s life total. Having an opponent gain one life a turn can be enough to ensure that a single pesky fetchland can’t keep us from winning the game. This can be a means to disrupt the way our opponent is playing as well, by forcing them to fetch when they would not normally fetch, or hold a fetch rather than use it when they would ideally like to.

Volrath’s Stronghold serves as a way that we can continuously present threats to our opponent whether it be a Dark Confidant to draw extra cards, Deathrite Shaman to threaten graveyard decks and life totals and Death’s Shadow which can really take names and beat face.

Mox Diamond was included for some mana ramp as well as a way to take advantage of extra lands and get into the game with an explosion. It also works well with Life from the Loam to negate any card disadvantage from discarding a land.

The rest of the mana base is pretty standard—a few duals to ensure we can always have great mana, a few fetchlands to find the right lands, Wasteland to shut down any troublesome utility lands as well as potentially lock an opponent out of the game.


We start off with Dark Confidant for card advantage. As I am sure many are aware, as unanswered Dark Confidant usually leads to a victory. At his worst he eats a removal spell or jumps in front of a larger creature. At his best he draws us extra cards and maybe gets some damage through.

Skipping to the last creature, we have Deathrite Shaman. This is here for many reasons. Deathrite Shaman can manage both players life totals, manage graveyard content, ramp us to our high impact cards and present a clock when necessary. It is the jack-of-all trades and as many believe the one mana Planeswalker that is capable of closing out a game or recovering from a deficit.

Death’s Shadow is here as an unconventional win condition that I love and have been brewing with for years. In a dream scenario we can beat hard with it and then use some other tricks (Fling) for a quick closing of a game. As far as offense and defense goes, not much can compete with Death’s Shadow early in the game once your life total gets low. Death’s Shadow can be a tricky piece to the puzzle though, his convenient 13/13 body means that if he ever gets hit by a Swords to Plowshares, we are automatically set back to 13 life. Getting set to 13 life without a way to manage our life total can result in a loss on our upkeep with a Triskaidekaphobia in play. A risk that I feel is worth taking, given the potential aggression that Shadow can present in an aggressive match up.


The removal suite starts with Abrupt Decay. It’s a pretty stock option for any BGx deck in Legacy and Modern alike. Answering most any creature that Legacy has to offer topped off with the built in “can’t be countered” text is relevant in matchups like Miracles, Delver and other blue strategies looking to get a creature on the board early and then riding it to victory.

Punishing Fire is for creature control as well as an answer to opposing Planewalkers. Grove of the Burnwillows and Punishing Fire are nothing new to Legacy and tend to go hand in hand for controlling the board and keeping our opponent off the board for threats.

Spells—Life Management

As discussed previously we have Grove of the Burnwillows, Shocklands and Deathrite Shaman to manage life totals. Here we also have another strange option that can actually help us combo out early in another way, Invigorate. Invigorate can be the way that we take an opponent that went below 13 and send them right back up to where we need them in order to easily get a win with Triskaidekaphobia. It can also be used alongside Death’s Shadow in order to make a larger attack, alongside Berserk the deck can combo kill very similar to Infect in the early game with a Death’s Shadow.

Triskaidekaphobia itself does help to manage life totals as well due to the trigger on upkeep allowing for a life gained or lost. Naturally it is not going to be easy to manage this correctly. Holding up our own fetchlands, Deathrite Shaman, etc will be key in ensuring we have a bit of room for error when deciding whether or not to gain or lose life each turn.

Thoughtseize doubles as disruption as well as life management to grow a Death’s Shadow or get us out of phobic range.


For the sideboard I wanted to go with some options that allow us to become a more controlling deck and potentially play for the longer game. To lead that up we have an additional Abrupt Decay, and Pernicious Deeds for extra removal and board wipes.

Liliana of the Veil is another strong option post board in order to grind out value and control what our opponent is able to do. Alongside Life from the Loam and Punishing Fire we can add loyalty all game without losing value.

Choke is here to hate on blue decks, obviously. It is a great way to keep Miracles, Delver and Shardless Sultai tight on mana.

We have a pair of Sylvan Library for the card advantage that it can present us with for the longer grindy games as well as improve card selection for early game against combo decks.

The last part of the board are the three Surgical Extraction. These are here for the early game graveyard combo as well as their added utility against Lands and 12 Post to shut down some options.

Initial Thoughts

If I have to be honest, this deck likely isn’t competitive. I am sure it would be fun as hell to pilot, especially if you get to combo kill with Phobia. There are a few options to make the deck competitive while including Triskaidekaphobia, although it is obviously better without it. Changes I would make to the deck to make it a bit more competitive with Phobia would be Tarmogoyf instead of Death’s Shadow and four of Liliana of the Veil mainboard instead of the Invigorate and Fling. Berserk could likely be a pair of Eternal Witness for the ability to buy back any important spells in the yard.

I will likely sleeve this deck up soon and I will be sure to post in the comments how it went.

Happy brewing to each and every one of you. If anyone has an idea for a brew that they would like to see, I will gladly take requests and challenges in the comments. 🙂

Aaron Gazzaniga manages a restaurant and in his off time has been an avid magic player/brewer since 2003. Having begun in Odyssey Standard Block and always favoring control and prison style decks, we come to this moment in time where Aaron finally gets to talk about and share his ideas.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.