"The man squinted some more, then he nodded. 'Just like that, Historian. We ain't just a Malazan army no more. We're Coltaine's.'
'But he's a Fist.'
'He's a cold-blooded lizard.' The man then grinned. 'But he's all ours.'"
"Coltaine's Chain of Dogs. He leads, yet is led, he strains forward, yet is held back, he bares his fangs, yet what nips at his heels if not those he is sworn to protect?"
Origins and Intent for the deck
This deck marks about the fourth theme deck I've put together based around the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. And this one is probably the closest to me. This deck portrays Fist Coltaine and his army during the events known as the 'Chain of Dogs' in the book Deadhouse Gates. Without going into extreme details, this part of the story starts on a continent known as Seven Cities. Coltaine, a tribal clan leader, is promoted to Fist (high commander) within the Malazan army, and is responsible for marching his army, the Malazan 7th, along with the accompanying auxiliary forces of the Red Blades, the Sialk Marines and the Wickan Clans, from Hissar to Aren. He is then to aide High Fist Pormqual in putting down a prophesied rebellion in the name of a spiritual leader, Sha'ik, Goddess of the Whirlwind.
In the midst of preparation, the insurrection begins, and Coltaine's army is forced to protect refugees in the march, all the while being harried by enemy forces, led by former Malazan commanders Kamist Reloe and Korbolo Dom. As the march continues, more and more refugees join the march. Harried and starving, they are embroiled in a continuing skirmish, through forbidding and arid desert lands, and as the march continues, more and more safe havens are overturned by enemy forces, until but one safe haven remains; Aren, capital of Seven Cities, the last city held by Malazan troops. Unfortunately it is on the other side of the continent, and on the other side of a desert leagues and leagues wide.
The entire story is bitter, grim and soul crushing. Obviously a running battle of attrition takes its toll, but the march is eventually successful. 30,000 battered, starving, emotionally scarred refugees are delivered to the safety of Aren. However, High Fist Pormqual refuses to sortie in order to come to the aid of the 7th. Coltaine makes a decision on the final leagues to Aren. He will sacrifice himself, his clan and his army in a final battle to hold off the enemy troops long enough for the refugees to retreat to safety. He succeeds in this; however, the price is brutal. His army is brutally butchered, and he is crucified, left to watch while everyone he loves is massacred around him. His warlocks, who have led the refugees to safety along with the Imperial Historian Duiker, implore the archers of Aren to kill Coltaine, and thus his life is ended. The crows of Wickan lore return to his body to carry his soul into the afterlife, to be reborn again.
The troops of Aren are then led out by their Fist, and accompanied by the Historian Duiker to parley with the enemy forces. They are convinced to lay down their weapons and gather in a basin outside of Aren, and are surrounded. It then transpires that Pormqual's trusted advisor, Mallick Rel, has betrayed him, and the troops of Aren. Duiker is tied up and made to watch as each and every soldier in the army is divested of their armour and laid on a 'sleeping bed' - a horizontal crucifix, in which the victims own body weight slowly forces the blades at wrist and ankle into the body, causing the victim to die in slow agonising pain. Having seen this happen for each and every soldier lining the road into Aren, Duiker is then crucified, the last victim of the Chain of Dogs.
And there it is. Not perfect yet, some of the things I'd like to add are hard to come by. I don't currently have a representation for Duiker, but there's not really a good fit for it - I thought about Reki, the History of Kamigawa ,and it sort of fits. For the moment I'm happy for the player to take Duiker's role of witnessing the march though. Momentous Fall is apt, and would be a good add too, maybe Greater Good. Still, quite proud of this as a theme deck, and it's a lot of fun to play too.
Feel free to critique, comment, feedback or otherwise.
I don't see Odric as a Coltaine type. Besides, Kresh doesn't necessarily just throw creatures into battle to die. Kresh at the very least visually fits what Coltaine looks like where as Odric is WAY off the mark.
Yeah I don't disagree with that assessment. Were Kresh in Naya colours, he'd be a perfect fit. As it is, I feel like the deck is more representative of the Chain of Dogs itself than Coltaine as a personality - attrition, sacrifice and ekeing out advantage in the most meagre of circumstances.
He (Karsa) is ambitious and likes killing (Black), is easily angered and likes to throw itself into battles (Red), is connected nature and despises civilisation (Green). He even has tatoo/skars on his face. Coltaine is more like White or White/Red.
Karsa becomes pretty philosophical and resolute in the back end of the books. He even reflects on himself as a youth and laments his foolhardiness. As a young man, Kresh probably fits. That's not a character or Malazan theme I want build around anyhow. For now I've done all I want to. There are more theme decks possible within MTG tropes: Saskia the Unyielding is Tavore, The Locust God is the Forkrul Assail god, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is Quick Ben, and Queen Marchesa is pretty close to Laseen. None of them are themes I'm super interested in though. Tavore would come closest, but it would be far too hard to represent the entire 5th army.
Mechanically, these are reasonable changes. Both modes are relevant for the siege (moreso than Frontier in fairness, so it may end up being a straight swap) depending on the time of the game it hits play. And Mogg Infestation will either make Kresh enormous or give me a goblin horde depending on the board state.
Most of this is giving the deck a bit more teeth - I'm using creatures that are usually a lot smaller than what Kresh is used to so they need to be able to compete and take the opponent's forces down. BoN is good in that respect, RB is Pernicious Deed #2, RA is cheaper than FotH, and GB is direct damage and a sac outlet. All of which more or less fit flavour wise, so I'm fairly happy.The deserts are added partially for flavour, and partially for the draw if needed.
Riku of Two Reflections - Copy, then copy again | Shattergang Brothers - Token Sac&Recur | Gahiji, Honored One - Multiple attack steps | Karametra, God of Harvests - Landfall, Creaturefall, Shroud | Ruhan of the Fomori - Stop hitting yourself | Zurgo Helmsmasher - Equipment&Wraths | Crosis, the Purger - Dragon Tribal Reanimator | Derevi, Empyrial Tactician - No stax, just tap and untap fun | Anafenza, the Foremost - Enduring Ideal Enchantress | Sharuum, the Hegemon - Sphinx Tribal Control | Noyan Dar - Spellslinger | The Mimeoplasm - Counterpalooza
Lists can be found here.
Still convinced the guy on Beseech the Queen is wearing a Mitra-type hat. Wake up sheeple!
Ha, thanks! That's the intention. If you haven't read them, they're pretty amazing. It's a big undertaking though - 10 books in the main arc, about the same in prequels, novellas and associated authors' books. It's a lot to get through. The main story arc is pretty incredible though.
They're more important characters, and I never really felt like Duiker was well represented by VE. I also don't like giving land drops away. So in terms of playability, let's just say that Duiker is the player of the deck. That's how it's written predominantly, anyway.
I really appreciate this deck, Deadhouse Gates has probably been my favorite Malazan book thus far.
PS, I'm the guy who commented on your Ur-Dragon deck around a year ago mentioning that I'd just started reading Gardens of the Moon. Well, I'm halfway through The Bonehunters now. I'm loving this series. Keep up the Malazan decks!
I remember the name, well met again! And thanks for the feedback.
This one is easily the weakest of my Malazan decks, as it's tied to a pretty tight theme and doesn't have a lot of wiggle room theme wise for card advantage and ramp. It does ok every now and then in pretty janky circles, but it shouldn't be all that surprising that this is the weakest next to Ur-Dragon and Yidris. Lazav scales well to whatever table he's at.
The Bonehunters is one of the better books, I really enjoyed it. It's when things start to really ramp up in terms of end game story arc. Keep on reading dude, there's lots of good stuff on its way.