This is my first, and possibly favourite decklist. It's built around the theme of some of my favourite characters in my favourite series of books - The Malazan Book of the Fallen, by Steven Erikson. Anyone who is into 'grimdark' fantasy, military fantasy or epic fantasy should give them a read - obviously, I strongly recommend. Bear in mind, however, that reading through this representation there are some spoilers present.
To provide some background to the picture I'm trying to paint, High House Shadow is one part of a pantheon of gods within the series. Shadowthrone is the name of the ruler of the house. He is new to his power, and is suspected to be the former emperor of the Malazan Empire, Kellanved, who was assassinated along with his second in command and master assassin, Dancer, after which his rule was usurped by the Empress Laseen - I've always seen Queen Marchesa as a good representation of Laseen FWIW. Shadowthrone is usually described as an ephemeral, cloaked figure wreathed in shadows, and is often seen with a cane. In character he is manipulative, shifty, incredibly clever, with ultimate goals unbeknownst to any but himself; he speaks in cryptic riddles and takes every chance he can to bend others to his will or snare them in his service. Needless to say, Lazav, Dimir Mastermind visually embodies this rather well - even mechanically, the similarity is strong.
He does have an accomplice, by the name of Cotillion, The Rope, Patron god of assassins. I don't have a specific card that embodies Cotillion here, but probably the closest visual representation in the deck is Shadowmage Infiltrator. Cotillion is usually described as nondescript, bland and ordinary features, but an air of lethality that bodes ill for any who would cross him. As can be implied from his nickname, his weapon of choice is the rope. The assassin is a theme I have tried to instill through the deck. There are a few assassin type creatures and a few rattlesnake type creatures in which the theme is implied. Some of them I would consider taking out for a better choice, but some of them are staying where they are as flavour wins.
Last but not least, these two ascendants are not the only beings within the realm of Shadow. Throughout the series, there are quite a few different characters revealed to be living within Shadow, including Demons, Hounds of Shadow, fallen ascendants or gods, and others. These are represented within the deck to the best of my abilities.
Beacon went to see Savra and got replaced. Avatar fits well enough another character and fills GYs for more Lazav targets. With some of the mechanisms here I should have no problem getting ten creatures to GYs.
Yeah these are all good suggestions. The signet is probably a good start, the sphere and fellwar I could probably squeeze in too. I try not to let theme affect manabase too much, so I'm not too worried there. It has been a while since this deck had any love though, so I should probably do a reassess.
And removed: Hedron Archive - The loss of draw is lamentable, but I seem to do ok with that. Harvester of Souls - It doesn't really fit ideally in this deck, and the curve could be lower. I lose some flavour, but what can you do? Avatar of Woe - Curve lowering. I'm unlikely to hit the cost reduction based on my deck requirements so out it goes.
Thanks! I've got a couple more changes to make. The scepter thing, there's really only one card I can see here that I wish could fit on the scepter and doesnt and that's Ponder. I'm happy to keep it for now, but if something better comes along I'll switch it out.
Truth be told I don't draw into it all that often. And without Fabricate it's luck of the draw (I'm not considering adding it either). It could go, as it's not crucial to the lore. Not sure if I have a spare Staff of Nin but there's bound to be a suitable replacement in my folder somewhere. It bears thinking about in any case. We'll call it a work in progress for now.
Have since addressed this issue - had a spare copy of Quicken in the folder, which will allow me some fun combat shenanigans, and added Chain of Vapor too. Took out Night's Whisper and Preordain. This still doesn't leave me a huge number of instants to imprint - could always add Doom Blade I guess, or Go for the Throat - much more likely to see a place - but for now I'm happy enough.
Upped the clone game a little - recent sets have got a lot better in this respect and I like the combat options Identity Thief gives. The flavour is nice too. Some of the instant and sorcery spells I've moved out were a little conditional, although to be fair Cyclonic Rift. It's obviously excellent, but I sort of want it in another deck. What I've added is a few more draw options and library manipulation. I've never actually played Future Sight, so not sure how it will play out, but the deck has struggled for draw, so between this and Tomorrow's 'scry 3 each draw' I'm hoping this will even out some.
Partially a curve reduction, partially better draw, and thematically a better representation of the habitants of the realm of Shadow. Functionally the Sire suits, too so that's nice.
Currently the deck is more or less thematically as good as I can manage it to be. I'd like to add Creeping Tar Pit at some point, the flavour is juicy there, and suits nicely. Phasing would kind of be a cool mechanic to introduce too - Teferi's Isle literally is Drift Avalii, maybe Vanishing could see a space. Thematically it would be good, functionally, I'm not sure.