I'm a sucker for an obscure planeswalker. This being the case I'll basically play any deck that looks like it can exploit a card like Venser, the Sojourner. If you're showing me a deck that includes a plethora of creatures with enters-the-battlefield abilities, well, I'm even more so inclined. Luckily the deck I'm trying out today fulfils both of those prerequisites.


As soon as I saw Stonehorn Dignitary I was pretty sold. The deck also has things like the Body Double / Reveillark combo, and we can combine things like Viscera Seer, Kitchen Finks, and Master Biomancer to generate infinite life. All in all there are a ton of sweet interactions in the deck, and this doesn't even touch upon the fact that this is a Gifts Ungiven deck, making it even more complex.

I have little doubt that I'm going to make some mistakes, as Gifts Ungiven is one of the most complicated cards ever printed, but that's just how things go. So I would try not to be the guy that points out each misplay, then goes down and mentions it in the comments, seconds before I actually catch and address it in the videos. Just relax and enjoy the ride.

Venser Gifts vs. Elves

Venser Gifts vs. Monogreen Aggro

Venser Gifts vs. RG Tron

Venser Gifts vs. Skred Red

So funny story. The way I found this deck was by looking through the Magic Online decklists on Daily MTG. After finding the sweet Venser brew, I downloaded the deck in the form of a text file and loaded it into Magic Online the same way I always do. 60 cards, 15 sideboard cards. It seemed good to go. It wasn't until I was in one of my last games that I opened the text file to see what my Chord of Calling options were when I saw the following:

1 N├ękrataal

For those that don't see it, that's a Nekrataal, only with an accent over the e. Why is the accent there? I don't know! Does Nekrataal have an accent over the e? Certainly not! The problem with this is twofold. The site incorrectly has an accent over the card name in the text document, and Magic Online won't recognize cards that have accents (nor will it recognize the AE in cards like AEtherling). What does this mean for us? Well, it means that we played all four rounds (and two non-recorded rounds) with a 60 card deck that was intended to be a 61 card deck with a Nekrataal. And believe me, the fact that the last two decks I've covered have had 61 cards is completely coincidental! Nevertheless it seemed the Daily MTG website had inadvertently (and incorrectly) corrected the deck to its more natural state of 60 cards by unintentionally removal the Nekrataal, despite the fact that having a "removal spell" to Chord of Calling into might have been particularly useful in several situations.

All that aside, none of that touches upon how I felt about the deck, which is to say pretty good actually. This deck is incredibly complex and I would definitely practice with it a good deal before trying it at a tournament. You simply have so many lines of play at your disposal and so many decisions to make at any given moment. The perfect example was in game one against Elves actually. I showed the match to Melissa and she actually suggested getting three lands and a Stonehorn Dignitary, which might have even been better than my play, virtually guaranteeing us two lands and a Rhino in the graveyard to Reanimate with Unburial Rites. But that just goes to show you how many options are at your disposal. Thinking about it now, I bet that getting Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite would have been equally as efficient, as all of his creatures would have died as soon as they entered the battlefield.

In fact I was actually pretty surprised at the number of games I won simply by blinking a Stonehorn Dignitary. If your opponent doesn't have an answer for this guy, he's incredibly oppressive!

The sideboard seemed pretty adequate, but if there was one thing I was looking to have it would be a more efficient way to deal with things like Wurmcoil Engine, a card that was played against us both in RG Tron and Skred Red. In fact we didn't have a ton of removal in general, but I imagine the missing Nekrataal would have helped us out in that area.

I liked this list a lot, and I could definitely see a ton of tweaks being made that reflect personal preference; one of the best parts about it is the immense amount of customization that it lends itself to. So try it out and add your favorite creature or two. It might even be a great fit with a couple Collective Company if most of our creatures didn't cost four and five mana. Unfortunately they do, but I bet there's a list out there that we could try (aside from the Abzan one that has been popping up).

Alas, that's all I have for today. Thanks for reading and I'll catch you guys back here on Thursday for some sweet Standard action. Give me some ideas of what you might want to see me try out, and maybe we can make it happen. Feel free to drop by my daily stream on Twitch TV as well. It's always good times!

Frank Lepore
@FrankLepore on Twitter
FrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday - Thursday afternoons