Vraska's a dangerous lady! At the direction of Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, she not only killed Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord to earn the top spot of the Golgari guild, but took out Azorius leader Isperia (Assassin's Trophy) to kick up a real mess, allowing other Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker agents like Dovin, Grand Arbiter into positions of power on Ravnica.

Vraska, Swarm's Eminence is almost exclusively about deathtouch creatures. So where does the Venn diagram of flavor and mechanics overlap for the Vraska, Swarm's Eminence? It says it right there on the card—assassins!

Let's kill it out there:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Vraska, Swarm’s Eminence by Andy Hurst

'Vraska, Swarm’s Eminence' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $16.09

Cards

Pitiless Gorgon

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176874_200w.jpg

Deathtouch

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Giant Growth

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187225_200w.jpg

Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn.

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Korozda Gorgon

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67955_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
{2}, Remove a +1/+1 counter from a creature you control: Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.

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Nature's Spiral

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164708_200w.jpg

Return target permanent card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Agent of the Fates

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/71192_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Agent of the Fates, each opponent sacrifices a creature.

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Xathrid Slyblade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/90935_200w.jpg

Hexproof (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.)
{3}{B}: Until end of turn, Xathrid Slyblade loses hexproof and gains first strike and deathtouch. (It deals combat damage before creatures without first strike. Any amount of damage it deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

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Undercity Uprising

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176843_200w.jpg

Creatures you control gain deathtouch until end of turn. Then target creature you control fights target creature you don't control. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)

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Recover

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/155779_200w.jpg

Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
Draw a card.

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Greater Basilisk

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145513_200w.jpg

Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

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Foul Orchard

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231219_200w.jpg

Foul Orchard enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}.

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Ambush Viper

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227081_200w.jpg

Flash
Deathtouch

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Serpent's Gift

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/60028_200w.jpg

Target creature gains deathtouch until end of turn. (Any amount of damage it deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

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Status // Statue

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175187_200w.jpg

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Gift of the Deity

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/27121_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
As long as enchanted creature is black, it gets +1/+1 and has deathtouch. (Any amount of damage it deals to a creature is enough to destroy that creature.)
As long as enchanted creature is green, it gets +1/+1 and all creatures able to block it do so.

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Sluiceway Scorpion

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/66406_200w.jpg

Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)
Scavenge {1}{B}{G} ({1}{B}{G}, Exile this card from your graveyard: Put a number of +1/+1 counters equal to this card's power on target creature. Scavenge only as a sorcery.)

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Ruthless Instincts

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/95432_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Target nonattacking creature gains reach and deathtouch until end of turn. Untap it.
• Target attacking creature gets +2/+2 and gains trample until end of turn.

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Destined // Lead

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/129727_200w.jpg

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Aggressive Urge

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216028_200w.jpg

Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
Draw a card.

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $3.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235548_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Death-Hood Cobra

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219556_200w.jpg

{1}{G}: Death-Hood Cobra gains reach until end of turn.
{1}{G}: Death-Hood Cobra gains deathtouch until end of turn.

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Feral Abomination

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192881_200w.jpg

Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

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Scythe of the Wretched

Market Price: $4.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11549_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +2/+2.
Whenever a creature dealt damage by equipped creature this turn dies, return that card to the battlefield under your control. Attach Scythe of the Wretched to that creature.
Equip {4}

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Royal Assassin

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.88

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/47701_200w.jpg

{T}: Destroy target tapped creature.

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Fertile Thicket

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122228_200w.jpg

Fertile Thicket enters the battlefield tapped.
When Fertile Thicket enters the battlefield, you may look at the top five cards of your library. If you do, reveal up to one basic land card from among them, then put that card on top of your library and the rest on the bottom in any order.
{T}: Add {G}.

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Underworld Connections

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/140060_200w.jpg

Enchant land
Enchanted land has "{T}, Pay 1 life: Draw a card."

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Vraska, Swarm's Eminence

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187129_200w.jpg

Whenever a creature you control with deathtouch deals damage to a player or planeswalker, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.
−2: Create a 1/1 black Assassin creature token with deathtouch and "Whenever this creature deals damage to a planeswalker, destroy that planeswalker."

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Ruin Rat

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136712_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
When Ruin Rat dies, exile target card from an opponent's graveyard.

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Shambling Attendants

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92807_200w.jpg

Delve (Each card you exile from your graveyard while casting this spell pays for {1}.)
Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

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Sedge Scorpion

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192933_200w.jpg

Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

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Lure

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145521_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
All creatures able to block enchanted creature do so.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235544_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Ochran Assassin

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176676_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
All creatures able to block Ochran Assassin do so.

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Acidic Slime

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226315_200w.jpg

Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)
When Acidic Slime enters the battlefield, destroy target artifact, enchantment, or land.

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Sylvan Might

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219530_200w.jpg

Target creature gets +2/+2 and gains trample until end of turn.
Flashback {2}{G}{G} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Thorn of the Black Rose

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226149_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
When Thorn of the Black Rose enters the battlefield, you become the monarch.

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Golgari Charm

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180903_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn.
• Destroy target enchantment.
• Regenerate each creature you control.

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Slippery Karst

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132165_200w.jpg

Slippery Karst enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {G}.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Rites of Reaping

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/66604_200w.jpg

Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn. Another target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.

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Shadows of the Past

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122263_200w.jpg

Whenever a creature dies, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{4}{B}: Each opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life. Activate this ability only if there are four or more creature cards in your graveyard.

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Nightmare Void

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/66372_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a card from it. That player discards that card.
Dredge 2 (If you would draw a card, you may mill two cards instead. If you do, return this card from your graveyard to your hand.)

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Hooded Blightfang

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215693_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
Whenever a creature you control with deathtouch attacks, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
Whenever a creature you control with deathtouch deals damage to a planeswalker, destroy that planeswalker.

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Memorial to Folly

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212429_200w.jpg

Memorial to Folly enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B}.
{2}{B}, {T}, Sacrifice Memorial to Folly: Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

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The Game Plan

Our creature base is pretty fearsome! Most of our creatures have deathtouch, so they'll trade in any fight, but most also lack size. This means we need to take care when we're on the aggressive, since our creatures love to trade up and kill larger creatures. Their small size means our opponents will do whatever they can to avoid those trades. We'll need to use our plethora of pump spells, and we've got a lot of them.

From good ol' Giant Growth to flashbacked Sylvan Might to very tricky Destined, we've got lots of ways to ensure our team survives for future attacks. And if our opponent opts to decline the trade, Vraska, Swarm's Eminence makes our guys larger and more threatening. Rinse and repeat until the opponent is no more.

Removal is a little light here. All our creatures trade, so we're never particularly worried about something being too difficult to deal with in combat. Although we could get bitten by something with a potent activated ability. Status is our catchall, and Nightmare Void can pick anything if we suspect some sandbagging. Dredge 1 is a very light cost.

The Rares

(Remember, since the Planeswalker is uncommon we get five rares instead of the normal four.)

3 mana for a 3/2 deathtouch is only ok here—we get a slightly better, but harder to cast Pitiless Gorgon for the same price. However, we're also playing all those pump spells. And those spells—which trigger the Agent of the Fates heroic ability—turn it into a bomb. The opponent won't be able to keep many creatures on the board after pumping up the Agent of the Fates once or twice, and it does a fine job of clearing the way for the rest of the troops.

There isn't exactly a Deathtouch Lord; our Vraska, Swarm's Eminence here is probably the closest we've come to a pure lord effect that goes with this keyword. But the Hooded Blightfang is no joke! All of a sudden our dangerous, yet dinky troops get a lot more dangerous, the deathtouch damage applies to Planeswalkers, and The Hooded Blightfang stats mean it's tough to take out, ensuring future shenanigans. Quite a bang for our buck at only three-mana when it plays so hard into our theme.

Ok, ya got me. This one doesn't have deathtouch, but it's an absolutely iconic card from Magic's early days. And Vraska, Swarm's Eminence has murdered a Ravnican Guild leader while being the Golgari Queen herself, thus fulfilling all possible interpretations of a royal assassin. So I think we're covered on flavor grounds. If Royal Assassin survives to go active, we'll be protected well and getting through for damage will be tough. And nowadays, almost 30 years after the Royal Assassin debut, he's just happy to get some play.

This is a nod toward Vraska, Swarm's Eminence history with the Golgari Guild. If we're willing to trade creatures off consistently, we're going to need a way to keep some gas in the tank. Underworld Connections lets us keep the cards flowing for the low, low cost of some minor mana constriction. Keep in mind that although we'll almost always want to use this, we aren't forced into it like we would be with normal Phyrexian Arena effects if our life total is pressured.

Couple benefits here. First, it provides a nice size boost—remember our creatures aren't very large, so +2/+2 can make a massive difference. Secondly, and more importantly, that extra part of the ability is always going to trigger because our creatures have deathtouch! And recruiting our opponent's creatures to our side of the field (while not paying for re-equipping!) is a big game.

Unsung Hero

We don't have a ton of effects sprinkling counters everywhere. But we do have Vraska, Swarm's Eminence herself. And if she's around and spreading counters to our troops, the Korozda Gorgon can use those counters to mow down the opposition easily. Ever play with a little thing called Umezawa's Jitte before? Ok, well this is like the really, really poor man's version of that.

Mom Voice, "We've got Umezawa's Jitte at home!"

Plus, Umezawa's Jitte is totally broken, and we're not made of money. If we can kill a creature or two with the Korozda Gorgon, we won't be losing. And the Korozda Gorgon tough-as-nails 2/5 stats make it pretty durable.