The little thrull trudged clumsily, dragging its furry body up the damp, moldy stone steps that spiraled down. Suddenly there was a piercing scream coming from the dungeon and a litany that grew in intensity until the steps ended in what seemed to be a cavernous room. The thrull stuck its little hairy head out, and with its yellowish lemur eyes it observed a human from behind dressed in a dark tunic, who held a knife with a wavy blade in his left hand and from his right hand, swinging upside down, hung a being. with a hairy appearance and lemur eyes, whom he recognized as his breeding brother. The human, whose face he couldn’t see, sang now with more force: «For Tourach, for Tourach», his brother screamed, a cry that was drowned out by the knife that penetrated his throat spilling a green liquid and thick; this lump fell into the depth of the well from which gray mists of mana emanated, then fell the sacrificed thrull. The little thrull also screamed when he saw him fall into that hole as if it were a sack of debris, frightened he perceived the danger, especially when the human, a wizard with bright eyes and a long gray beard turned around, looked at him and exclaimed between laughs: «Welcome!».
What little survival instinct the creature still had made it back off, but the steps that were so easy to climb down recently were now difficult to climb with its short legs. He squealed like a weanling piglet when he felt a hand grabbing hard at the scruff of his back.
«Stay still, it will only be a moment,» the sorcerer said before beginning to sing again for Tourach.
The last thing the nameless little thrull saw was his terrified face reflected in the curved knife edge.
–From Endrek Sahr, Sarpadian Empires, vol. II
Hello again, old school people! Some time ago I wrote about one of my fetish expansions in the world of Magic: Fallen Empires, a expansion that was characterized by its «tribal» theme, which until then had not been so exploited in the game, and among those tribes were the thrulls, spawn bred through dark arts to be slaves to the Order of the Ebon Hand, and to be used in sacrifices.
I’ve always wanted to build a thrull deck that would at least work, not be competitive, but I also didn’t want to just throw together every thrull that was out there. Is not the first deck of thrulls that has been made, far from it. I think the deck is based on a very interesting concept: being able to play six or seven «Bad Moons» to turn your harmless thrulls into a terrifying army, let’s check it out!
There are in old school up to seven thrulls creatures that we can choose, for the moment we are going to discard Derelor that, perhaps is the best of them, but in a monoblack deck it is complicated to play it, instead it shines in multicolor decks with a small splash to black.
Armor Thrull is the weakest of the eligibles, since for three mana it’s weak and its ability isn’t good
next on the list is Necrite, which improves a bit in terms of ability but doesn’t reach the bar of its first cousin: Mindstab Thrull
that has gained a certain respect since from turn one many decks have to get rid of it or they will lose three cards along the way, so the card advantage it generates is something to take into account.
Thrull Wizard is almost as bad as Armor Thrull but it can be a sideboard card if you sense that a lot of black is going to be played in your local metagame, but I would only play it if it was accompanied by Sinkhole, although beware careful with decks with splash to black that this card can ruin your plans;
Thrull Champion, our Bad Moon with legs, is a lord that gives that plus to himself, something that doesn’t happen with other Old School lords, in this deck will be essential, and the ability to steal other thrulls is funny but difficult to activate; and let’s go with the penultimate in the list and together with Mindstab the base of the deck,
Basal Thrull, it doesn’t look like much at first glance but it’s the thrull that comes into play earlier (if you don’t cast Mindstab with Dark Ritual) and its ramp ability will help us for a more lethal Mind Twist or to lower the lord earlier, and if there was a cost one thrull in old school it would be the most playable as I consider this deck an aggro deck and the earlier you cast your creatures the better.
And the last thrull, which is not a thrull exactly, but an enchantment: Breeding Pit. The small detail that the 0/1 thrull enters at the end of the turn makes the card go from being bad to playable, the inconvenience of paying in each of your upkeep is not so much and you will have every turn an infinite blocker or, if the opponent lets the table flooded with small annoying creatures, then we can swell them with our bad moons.
- The deck is based on the premise of playing six, seven or even eight moons (Bad Moon + Thrull Champion) that boost your creatures from being small thrulls to being super thrulls! It won’t be uncommon for your Basal Thrull to be 3/4 creatures.
- I play four Dark Ritual, like many Monoblack decks, so far nothing out of the ordinary, but we know that the Ritual is a horrible card to top deck, luckily here we will have enough turn one objectives to make it a better card, because not only we have the four Hippies, but we also have the four Mindstab Thrull that the more I play them the more I like them, because in the end it happens the same as with the specter, they have to eliminate it because if not they run out of cards, and then it will be easier to finish it off with our The Rack.
- The mana base is typical of so many mono blacks decks we see in old school. Sixteen black sources to be able to have the double black turn two almost assured. The four Strip Mines and the four mandatory Mishras. Library of Alexandria doesn’t go well in this deck, because there will be games where you will be left with four cards in hand at the start of the game, so it’s not profitable, and it is not convenient to put more colorless sources.
- Sideboarding: Gloom is an essential card to slow down many of our worst pairings, Terror is the perfect card to deal with Erhnam, Serra or Sedge Troll style fatties; Drain Life will help us to hold against red, the second Breeding Pit together with Greed and Disrupting are good against control, disks are necessary against strategies that play The Abyss, Moat or many artifacts.
- There are some cards that can be taken into consideration, such as Gate to Phyrexia, which is an interesting card and that we can take advantage of thanks to the Breeding Pit, playing only one in main is risky to play it as a base, but as a sideboard card I see it useful. Tourach’s Gate, having the thrull theme deserves at least mention it, it doesn’t go well with Breeding Pit because if there is no moon / Champion at that time your little thrulls will be mutilated, but the worst thing is that in a format with four Strip Mines you risk getting an easy 2×1 for having to enchant land, in a format with a quarry I see more future. Aeolipile can be used to kill creatures with protection against black, such as the dreaded Whirling Dervish. Greed: the deck lacks a draw engine and bases its strategy on getting the card advantage by discarding the opponent, but against control decks it’s a very powerful card that will get us out of more than one jam.
Soul Exchange may seem a priori an auto-includable card in a deck of thrulls, especially when those thrulls can be sacrificed to generate an effect, but there are few slots in the deck and it has several conditions to play with a creature on the battlefield and in the graveyard at the same time, so if you don’t meet any of these conditions it can be a dead card in hand and that in a deck with little draw engine isn’t good.
Thrull Retainer, another of the thrull-themed cards I’ve always wanted to play but haven’t found a deck for, this one is not it. I think it’s a card that can shine in decks where creatures have evasion or are hard to kill, and attaching this enchantment to them would be a survival bonus, or with some main disk. Royal Assassin + Icy Manipulator, in one of the previous versions I played I added this combo because I saw that the deck was lacking removal, but although it’s a good idea I preferred to be more direct and play it to have more creatures, and it worked better.
Playing thrulls is always fun, if you’re tired of playing the typical version of knights in Monoblack this may be an option. You can leave me your comments, ideas, suggestions or opinions here or, if you prefer, on my Instagram account: @retroplayermtg
Until next time!