This deck requires a little bit of a background introduction that isn't terribly long. I first got into commander with the Heavenly Inferno starter deck and had a really rough time because the reason I started playing was because everyone else in my game store was playing EDH and I wanted to get in on the fun. Kaalia was my first general that I called my own and I loved her, but unfortunately I was warned that she has the tendency to fall short, especially in bigger multiplayer games. This was something that seemed to have been proven time and time again as I played, even as my deck evolved once I had gotten specific cards I had been looking for and made the deck more akin to a real EDH deck and not a Precon. Eventually, I wound up dismantling her and had a fun Doran deck, but all the while I kept thinking back to Kaalia and thinking of ways to make her work. The biggest question in my head was, "How can I make the deck self sufficient without Kaalia?" Because every kaalia deck I've seen put the focus on her and instantly ground to a halt whenever she inevitably got tucked. Of all places, the inspiration for the new and improved Kaalia came from a play that accidentally happened in Doran. Immediately, I thought about how Kaalia could run wild with it, and believe me when I said she did and still does. The funny thing is that it only works with WBR and there really aren't any in that color set that are worth playing besides Kaalia. I'm OK with that because she was my first and I've managed to make her a real terror. =)
Anyway, now that story time is over, let's get on with it, shall we?
Note that I know Griselbrand is on the banned list, but my group has voted to allow him. I don't know why considering the abuse my Monoblack gave him last weekend, but I'm not complaining. Also, I know my mana base could be a little better, but I'm working with what I have here. This deck is 100% in front of me right now.
Now, the general rule of thumb with this deck that my friends have all accepted is that if I ever fork a Buried Alive, someone will be taking at least 44 damage to the face. That will be explained below. The deck as a whole is largely about cheating creatures into play and using them to win in one way or another. You may be wondering why certain things are in here and I will explain.
The big combo in the deck involves forking Buried Alive and putting the following cards in your graveyard:
The 6th is largely up to you depending on what you want to do. I'm sure you can see where this is going, but I will continue on anyway. The catalyst to the beating is this guy, Doomed Necromancer. Play him and activate his ability thanks to Anger and bring back the Titan. Because saccing him is part of the cost, he is in the graveyard when the Titan hits play, which brings him back. Sac him again and bring back Bladewing, which then brings back the Tyrant. Next declare your attackers, bring back the Necro once more, which will bring back Gisela. That's 44 damage. If kaalia's out and you have something like a Thundermaw Hellkite in your hand, there's very little they can do to stop it.
I'm sure by now you've noticed the Worldfire and the Worldgorger Dragon, which brings us to our next installment. For the low low price of 10 mana, you can Sneak Attack your Dragon into play and the cast Worldfire, which is pretty much an atuowin for you anyway. But wait! There's more! It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to have a Bogardan Hellkite waiting on the table, either. I mean, hell, you can put it into play with another R at same time. That way you get to split 5 damage to all those players who are now at 1 life. It's pretty fun. There's a good chance Rune-Scarred Demon might also be in play as well, which means you can search him up can cast him with all your untapped lands. Ghostway is another means of getting around the side effects of crushing the world, but it's more costly. Reanimate those Primeval Titans whenever you can!
Worldgorger synergizes with Sneak Attack in another way as well. We all know the Animate Dead infinite combo, but it serves another purpose as well. You can use it to sneak a bunch of creatures in, animate the dragon, to effectively flicker them all, and then rez something else. That way, you don't have to sac them. Yes, I am aware that you have infinite mana and could cast them anyway, but this is more fun! Also, my group is largely against infinite win combos, hence why I have omitted Comet Storm.
The biggest problem Worldgorger faces is getting removed with his ability on the stack, but fear not, for I have a solution! it's a little known fact that Worldgorder Dragon is Not of This World! This card has won me enough games that I have trouble leaving home without it. In this case, it is perfect for preventing the annoyance of your dragon getting smashed before your cards make it back into the field.
The rest of the deck should be pretty self explanatory, except for maybe Tainted Strike, which is there as a means to snipe someone out of the game. I took Moltensteel Dragon out of the deck because his only purpose was to abuse TS, but yes it is deadly. Now, I slap it on Gisela/Tyrant/Steel Hellkite/Bladewing or something and call it a day.
I like your ideas. I agree that the key to being able to win with Kaalia in a competitive multiplayer environment is to be able to win without Kaalia herself, as she will often be hated out of the game. To that end, I like your combos and synergies. I'm tempted to try out Tainted Strike in my own list. The ability to 1-shot someone out of nowhere seems nice. I just wish there were a few more creatures that it could be a 1 hit KO on...
Absolutely. I used to be all about trying to put her out as soon as possible and then go for broke with the fatties, but you know what? When there are 3-7 other players in the game, that doesn't seem like a smart idea. Oblivion Stone usually makes its way into every deck, and white is a fairly common color, which means Wrath effects. Land destruction? Sure, you can do that, but all you'll do is paint a target over your head unless you generate enough steam. There's nothing like saying, "I'll cycles Decree of Annihilation," and hearing, "In response, Geth's Verdict?" Then what? Twiddle your thumbs while the ramp decks out race you? My mono red deck is the deck that runs land destruction because Akroma, Angel of Fury Is immune to the two most common and best removal colors AND she can't be countered.
More to the point, I ran a "traditional" style Kaalia deck and it's a joke compared to this one. This deck recently won an 8 player game BEFORE my adjustments for Worldfire (there were more than I thought, actually). The best part is that it did it WITHOUT it's combos. Not once did the Sun Titan bomb go off. My old Kaalia deck wouldn't have done anything the whole game.
Now, as far as Tainted Strike goes, I feel dirty using it. It's a $.20 card that can easily one shot someone. It's your Sniper Rifle waiting for it's kill shot on that out of control player who drops his guard for a turn. Just last week, someone was really getting out of hand at the right time. I believe the board was wiped the previous turn and he didn't have a creature out, though he had some leftover mana. He obviously had a response to anyone attacking him and I played it out of him. I dropped Gisela, Blade of Goldnight (or cheated, I don't remember) and declared my equipping of Lightning Greaves knowing full well he was going to remove her in response, which he did. After he was done, I cast Faith's Reward, followed by Tainted Strike, equipped Greaves and swung for the kill. It's actually a perfect example of one of the strengths of the deck.
One of the comments my deck gets quite often is how unassuming it is until all of the sudden, someone's dead and it's one of my favorite things about it. You are very non-threatening. Amazingly non-threatening until the bomb drops, which is usually why I can sneak a forked Buried Alive in as often as I do. People are looking around at the Rafiq with a Sword of Vengeance or the Mana Reflections that just dropped. Meanwhile, my board might have a Rune-Scarred Demon or a Solemn Simulacrum. Then all of the sudden next turn, that guy who tapped out and crippled Rafiq just ate 50 damage.
If you're looking for more ways to one shot people via Infect, Grafted Exoskeleton is a fantastic choice. I run it in Akroma (AoF) and Drana and haven't been disappointed. It equips for cheap and works as a sac outlet (makes me wish I had a Skull Clamp). Then there's the whole +2/+2 infect part, too.
Creatures that can use it are plentiful. Moltensteel Dragon, Akroma, Angel of Fury, Dragon Tyrant, and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight are my go to TS cards with Kaalia. Really any card with a pump effect, though I've stopped using Moltensteel, because I realized it was only in there because of Tainted Strike. That's bad because Tainted strike isn't a win condition, it's a sniper rifle. Don't forget, you can also use it on your opponent's creatures, too.
Thank you for your comments. I did put a fair amount of thought into the internal synergies of the deck. Take this for example. If you notice, all of my Demons are ways to fix my hand, which means Bloodspeaker is an amazing tool despite only having three of them. If I find myself in a situation where I might not want him or Worldgorger Dragon in my hand, I'll cast Demonic Collusion and discard them to keep my tutor.
There are just so many fun things to do in these colors, I almost have trouble playing anything else
Yes and no. My group is well aware of what my deck can do, but they are also well aware of what everyone else's decks can do, which I use to my advantage. My combo pieces do get interrupted and wayward bogs are usually a pain in the ass, but I can play passively enough to shift the bullseye or at least avoid it as best I can. Trust me when I say there are some nasty decks in my meta, even with our group wide ban of infinite win combo (it's possible in this deck, but I'd only use it to counter one of our players who follows that rule very loosely). Rafiq, Sharoom, Rikku, Kresh, Karavek, Spymaster, and Mimeoplasm all make regular appearances and all put big targets on their heads, which gives me time to do a few (sometimes not so) subtle things.
Thanks for the list. My Kaalia deck is really bad right now, and I'm looking for ideas. I spent a four player game going "meh, I don't want to cast any of this." Part of my problem is I have jank like Archangel, which really should be an Avacyn but I don't own one yet.
I did almost bring off my long awaited Insurrection/Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter trick. Unfortunately the joker playing mono blue asked "what color is that" when I cast Insurrection. I knew immediately I was in trouble, and sure enough he had Hydroblast. I knew there was a slight possibility the Insurrection would get countered (he only had two cards and wasn't playing a ton of counters) but who plays that? Vish-Kal would have been around 34/34 and I really could have used that 34 life but oh, well.
Although the rulings on Worldgorger Dragon on magiccards.info say he is banned, he came unbanned in Commander last summer, as explained in this article here, and as reflected on the "official" Commander banlist here.
I think your Defy Death could safely be replaced by Miraculous Recovery. Same five mana, one is an instant and puts a counter on anything it brings back while the other just makes big angels bigger. Seems a pretty reasonable replacement to me.
Also, while it is 1v1, we have a pretty lively discussion in my Kaalia Primer and a lot of great ideas for you to contemplate as well. Your list is fairly solid as it stands though, but I'm sure there's a few tweaks we can make to improve it's efficiency just a bit more.
I've been looking for one of those, actually. If anything, it's another way to cheat a board wipe by Rezzing Worldgorger Dragon. It's why I use Necromancy (No it's not, but it's one of the many reasons I use it =P), though I have to go about doing it in a round about fashion via doomed Necromancer because otherwise it's an infinite loop. By the way, Necromancy + Worldgorger + Comet Storm = Funny, but very very mean.
I've skimmed the thread a bit, but I haven't had to much time to really look into it. If I find anything, it would really be minor tweaks as you said, like Miraculous Recovery =)
Though it could give me ideas for other decks as well =D
No problem. I aim to make my Primer something akin to a hub of sorts, where Kaalia players from all around can come and discuss the deck, the archetype, and it's prowess.
As I feel it's pretty well-optimized in it's present state, I feel it can serve a great function to the community, and the discussion it has generated is just a great beacon to any new, or experienced, Kaalia pilot.