Hello again, old school folks!
I see more and more decklists that include the card this deck revolves around: Evil Eye of Orms-by-Gore (Evil Eye for friends). More and more players are realizing the potential of this strange and, in my opinion, underrated card. I`m going to tell my experience from the first deck that I created with evil eyes, back in December 2018, on the fourth tournament of the third LMOS, where I won the award for the most creative deck
That day, long ago, in December 2018, my opponents asked what «that» was doing every time this card was casted for five mana, or they just laughed a lot. I can assure you that it was a very fun day. The origin of the reason for this idea was that it seemed to me that Evil Eye had good synergy with Will-o-the-Wisp. It seemed like the perfect team to me: evil eyes attacked and Will defended, back then Maze of Ith was still restricted in Eternal Central …
During this time I have been working on the deck, working it little by little, but it wasn´t until my friend and founder of this blog, Luis Eguizabal, put together his own version and got a good result (top 4):
Luis managed to work the idea and take it to its best level. It´s a deck that works very well against creatures, being a nightmare against decks that don´t have Swords to Plowshares, it also added Mirror Universe, Library of Alexandria, or Guardian Beast, which gave it a touch of quality and, above all, it worked very well the mana base –I can assure you that you will almost never get stuck against Strip Mine, they will have to resort to Armaggedon to get it–, it also managed to improve the sideboard a lot.
Let’s stop for a moment on the Evil Eye of Orms-by-Gore card: it’s a 3/6 for 5 mana, the first thing that comes to mind is that Sengir Vampire is a flying 4/4 for the same cost and it can swell, yes, it´s true, but it dies with Psionic Blast, instead the eye or they play swords or double Lightning Bolt or it doesn´t die, and it´s practically unblockable (almost nobody plays walls), it can block Juzam, Juggernaut, Su- Chi, Triskelion, etc, doesn´t have double black cost, which I think is more important than it seems (especially to play it in splash or with other colors and in case you get stuck with double swamp), it can seem like a lot of mana but it must be taken into account that black is one of the colors with the best accelerators; Its biggest flaw is that it´s a card to build the deck around it, because the one that you can only attack with eyes is a great handicap, but if your deck is prepared to clean the battlefield and that there are only eyes on the battlefield…
Now yes, this is my version
- The idea of the deck is to slow down the opponent’s game as much as possible to exhaust resources until you play a disk and then cast your Evil Eyes as if they were a finisher. This is the rough plan. For Evil Eye to be devastating we run a series of cards that work in a similar way: they help defend you from creatures, while the eye is undermining the life of the opponent without opposition. The Maze, Icy, Will, Disks, Royal, etc, generate this effect. If you already combine them with each other, it will be more difficult for the opponent to hit you because he needs more and varied resources. Power 3 of Eye may seem insufficient compared to other creatures considered finishers, such as Juzam Djinn or Serra Angel, but if we combine it with Underworld Dreams or an opponent’s Serendib Efreet it cannot attack you (something more common than it seems), life points go down faster.
- There are other key cards in the deck. Underworld Dreams may seem that isn`t compatible with disks or with Mirror Universe, but it´s that it is not intended to be played on turn one with Dark Ritual, if not rather after a disk, or in the middle of the game. It´s very useful against cards like Ancestral Recall, Wheel of Fortune or Timetwistter, or annul Sylvan Library or Jayemdae Tome, they´ll have to think twice before playing them.
- Icy Manipulator has a problem similar to Underworld Dreams, being permanent it goes away with the effect of the disk, and that is why the deck only has one, but once the disk is played it can protect us and it can also rotate almost anything, even City of Brass of the opponent that will help us to scratch some life points. Let’s not forget the combo with Royal Assassin.
- When Maze of Ith was unrestricted I was very happy, first because it´s a card that I love and second because it would be the perfect ally for Evil Eye, and on top of that it cannot be countered, is true that the opponent can destroy it with Strip Mine and that 4 are allowed in the format, but normally the opponent uses the Mines to try to get you black, or to kill your Mishras, so that when you play the Maze they will no longer have Strip Mine to be able to get rid of it.
- Drain Life is a slow card, but in this deck it´s essential, more than one game is won by changing lives with the Mirror and finishing with Drain Life. Against aggro decks it´s essential to hold or kill annoying creatures, and against control decks it will help us to draw more cards combined with Greed.
- Hymn to Tourach may seem not to be so good as it doesn´t have fast creatures to put pressure, and it´s true, but in this deck they serve to slow down the opponent’s game even more (which is what the deck is based on) and maybe hopefully we take some Swords or Fireballs along the way. It helps to take away annoying cards that can win us.
- One of the big differences between Luis’s deck and mine is the use of Dark Rituals, I don’t play them to ramp up in the first turns, but because I see them fundamental against some pairing, for example, against Atog, the Black Vise and Ankh of Mishra are going to make you dust until you can cast something, the only option is to play the Dark Ritual to play a disk as soon as possible, sometimes you have very high costs in hand and thanks to this card you can play them before, such as Mirror Universe, or the eyes. Dark Ritual can be a horrible card at the topdeck, but in this deck it will always be useful because you can take advantage of it in a Drain Life or Mind Twist (especially this card needs them because we aren´t playing any pieces from P9), they are also good to look for something with Demonic Tutor and play it on the same turn. Another difference is that I don´t run Paralyze, not even on the sideboard, the reason is that they don´t works with Maze of Ith, the combination of these two cards is what is called a «nombo».
- Mirror Universe is fundamental, one of our big problems is that it loses against decks with many sparks and if there is no Mirror we have very few chances, but when we play it the game turns around and we will surely win, because we can control the creatures very well of the opponent but we cannot do anything against his sparks. Fireball at the late game is a card that usually wins us, hence the importance of the Mirror to be able to play it before they play us a lethal ball and if we remove it before with Hymn to Tourach, much the better.
- We reached the star card of the deck, Nevinyrral`s Disk. Without the playset the deck doesn’t hold up, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to after playing it all this time. Monoblack is the color that neither enchantments nor artifacts can be removed, and any monoblack aggro deck usually has base disks, but in this deck they are even more important because it´s designed to play after the disk, in an aggro monoblack you get to accumulate many permanents and sometimes it is not so good to play the disk because you balances the game, not here, here you know that if you resolve a disk the game is going to turn in your favor, because the opponent’s resources will have been wasted (unless be a The Deck) and they will have fewer creatures that will be easier to control. The cards that combine very well with Nevinyrral’s Disk we have already named them throughout the article: Maze of Ith, Will-o-the-Wisp, Mishra`s Factory, Evil Eye …
- There are cards that aren’t in the deck because I haven´t got them, but it´s clear that Library of Alexandria is a must have, as in most decks. Guardian Beast isn´t essential but it´s like a small wall that blocks creatures and protects your artifacts even from your own disks, and the combo with Chaos Orb is devastating. City in a Bottle is another obvious improvement for the sideboard.
- There are other cards that could be included. Pestilence is usually played in these types of decks, but it´s risky against burn decks, and I find it slow and counterproductive to play it, but a copy could be included. I like Howl From Beyond, having creatures with evasion can be a good way to end the game on the fast track; it´s also an elegant way to use the Dark Ritual. Zelyon Sword has a similar use and it can help make the eyes more powerful, but it´s permanent and goes with the disk, and it´s a predictable and slow card. Haunting Winds is a very interesting card for the sideboard against Atog and Worshop, the handicap is that it also damage you.
- Our greatest enemy is The Deck, without a doubt it´s our worst pairing, all his cards go well against us, Disenchant, Swords to Plowshares, The Abyss, Moat, Mirror Universe, Fireball, they´ll beat us. Our only basic option is to get lucky with the disks and Underworld Dreams. On game two things change a bit because we have Disrupting Scepter, Hypnotic Specter, who will be annoying and we will play to draw more cards thanks to Greed. Burn decks are dangerous too, but it’s better pairing than The Deck because we can recover thanks to Drain Life. Armageddon is another card that will crush us, to lose two Maze of Ith can be terrible, it´s another very difficult pairing. The combination of Ankh of Mishra and Black Vise also beats us because we need to go down one land every turn, if we don’t activate quick disk the game is going to get ugly. Ivory Tower will be our best resource in this case. Winter Orb is also devastating, prison decks are also difficult to fight, especially if we are tap the lands continuously, hence the importance of the Dark Ritual and being able to cast the disk earlier. Blood Moon also annoys us a lot because it eliminates us at once Maze of Ith, Strip Mine and Mishra’s Factory but it causes a curious acceleration effect because if we have a Maze in play that land will become a mountain and we will have another land. Suddenly, so maybe we can download that winning Disk or an Evil eye, or the saving Mirror Universe.
- Our draw engine is limited because we only have 3 cards that allow us to draw more (with Library of Alexandria). Jayemdae Tome is essential, we accumulate a lot of mana and it´s a way to help us avoid flooing by having so many lands, and Greed is a card that against aggro is quite bad but against control is excellent because it´s fast.
- The deck runs 29 lands, but 8 of them cannot be counted as a mana base since the Maze don´t give mana and the Strip Mines have to be counted as resources, so with the four Dark Ritual there are 25 sources of mana, which I see enough. The important thing is to know how many swamps you need to get double black mana as soon as possible, and the deck plays 17 black sources and you can’t play not one less.
Old School MTg Channel!
Before we finish we have a surprise. Thanks to the great work of our friend Resti we can include a game recorded on «Old School MTG Channel«, his YouTube channel where he is posting different games, so you can see in action the deck we are analyzing today: Evil Eye Control vs Merfolks!:
If you have not subscribed to his channel, I recommend that you do so, you will watch weekly videos of Old School (EC & Swedish rules) and Premodern games. Thanks, Resti!
We have a control deck (no blue) built around a creature like Evil Eye. If I play it in single color, it´s so that it doesn´t lose its essence, and because it turns out to be more budget than any version with other colors in which you have to include Dual Lands. I have honestly really enjoyed designing and playing this deck. If you have played a similar version or simply want to tell me your opinion, I will be happy to hear from you, you can do so through the comments on this blog or on my Instagram account: @retroplayermtg
Until next time!