B/G -1/-1 Counters: A Nightmare for Indiana Jones

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers,

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here with a deck tech courtesy of our friend Luke from Orc’s Head Magic. The guys at Orcs Head are Fellow content creators who operate out of YouTube and do great work on their own deck techs, unboxings and giveaways among other things. A link to their efforts will be provided at the end of this list.

So today’s list is a rotation proof green/black deck which differs greatly from the established top tier variants due to a conspicuous absence of our favourite 2/3 Snake, Winding Constrictor. “But how can you justify that exclusion?” I hear you ask. Well, we will be throwing a whole heap of -1/-1 counters on our own creatures for value and, quite frankly, you can have too much of a good thing! Constrictor simply isn’t beneficial enough in all scenarios to merit a slot here.

So let’s take a proper look here, starting with our creatures:

4x Channeler Initiate
4x Exemplar of Strength
4x Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons
4x Ammit Eternal
4x Obelisk Spider
4x Plague Belcher

Our first creature is Channeler Initiate, a 3/4 for two mana, the drawback to this insane deal is that you must put three -1/-1 counters on a creature which you control when it enters the battlefield. To balance this out we can tap Channeler Initiate and remove one of these counters to add one mana of any colour to our mana pool, providing us with some nice and useful early game ramp. To provide an example of my earlier point regarding Winding Constrictor, the value here is in placing the counters on our Initiate to tap it for mana later. Constrictor would cause an additional counter and kill Initiate as a state based action on entering the battlefield.

Exemplar of Strength is another two mana creature that requires us to place three -1/-1 counters on a creature we control to justify its hefty 4/4 power and toughness. Much like our initiate the card turns these counters into something of a resource, removing a counter when exemplar attacks and causing us to gain one life in the process. In the later game it may be better value to put the counters on a token or other non-token creature we control to gain a two mana 4/4  without downside!

So what else can all of these glorious, glorious counters do for us? Well, with Hapatra being another premium two drop in the deck, we can generate 1/1 Snake tokens, with Deathtouch no less, for days, whether it’s by playing a creature that generates -1/-1 counters or by getting in for damage. These snakes can also serve as a place to put the -1/-1 counters to ensure our Exemplar of Strength or other creatures enter the battlefield at full power! (Generating another snake to replace the one you just killed in the process.) Overall an excellent inclusion that helps this list keep ticking on.

Have you seen the hype surrounding Ammit Eternal? If not, where the heck have you been?! At three mana for a 5/5 with Afflict 3 we feel like we’re getting some good value immediately. For those who don’t know yet, Afflict is an ability which states, whenever a player blocks a creature with Afflict that player loses life equal to the Afflict value. So in Ammit Eternal’s case, if he is blocked the opponent loses three life! We do have what could be perceived as a downside in that whenever an opponent casts a spell you have to place a -1/-1 counter on our Ammit, making him temporarily less of a threat. However, if the opponent chooses not to block him (as they don’t want to lose three life and the Ammit is a 1/1 for example) he deals combat damage and we remove all of the counters! This card does a great job in our deck of not only making the opponent think hard about whether to block or not during combat but also whether they should cast spells at all when they result in a 1/1 Snake with Deathtouch coming into play. Completely solid and a bit of a powerhouse with no real downside in this list.

Spiders, recently, have provided us with great versatility in combat situations and made a real impact in tournament level decklists. An example of this would be Ishkanah, Grafwidow. Now I’m not going to say Obelisk Spider will have quite the same impact as Ishkanah but it really has an excellent function in this deck. For three mana we have a 1/4 with reach, helping us defend against flying strategies. As a blocker, whenever Obelisk Spider deals damage to a creature we place a -1/-1 counter on that creature, synergising with the rest of the deck.

Her second ability makes most of what we do extremely effective. Whenever we put one or more -1/-1 counters on a creature each opponent loses one life and we gain one life. The whole point of this deck is making this happen and so Obelisk Spider will trigger again and again, draining our opponents and helping us keep up with aggro or grind down control through loss of life in the long game.

Plague Belcher helps to turn on our main strategy whilst also serving as a big bomb with some evasion. A 5/4 with Menace for three mana is unbelievable when the only downside is exactly what our deck wants us to do anyway. There is also a less relevant ability which is making our opponents lose one life whenever a Zombie we control dies. We do not play many zombies but it still triggers when the opponent decides to remove Ammit Eternal without exiling.

That’s it for Creatures so let’s move on to our other spells:

4x Splendid Agony
3x Trial of Ambition
3x Cartouche of Ambition
4x Nest of Scarabs

Splendid Agony is decent three mana removal which helps us to generate Snakes and shrink the opponent’s threats.

A card which forces your opponent to sacrifice a creature for two mana is a good deal, add to this that playing a Cartouche returns it to your hand. Reccuring removal is always good value in the Standard environment.

Cartouche of Ambition is a three mana Enchantment Aura which allows you to place a -1/-1 counter on any target creature, generating another Snake, and also giving the creature you enchant +1/+1 and Lifelink. Great against aggro lists and generally keeping you alive into the late game whilst also returning your Trial of Ambition to hand for more removal.

You know how I mentioned generating Snakes? What if every time I mentioned it I also said “and a 1/1 Insect”? Well now you too can achieve this for three mana with Nest of Scarabs. The deck loves this, flood the board with Snakes and Insects, go wide and overrun the opponent!

So we’re done with mainboard spells, let’s look at our Land package:

4x Blooming Marsh
4x Foul Orchard
5x Forest
9x Swamp

Blooming Marsh and Foul Orchard are the only notable inclusions in our mana base purely due to offering both colours and allowing our deck to play anything it needs as quickly as it can.

Now, we should take a look at our Sideboard:

3x Blossoming Defence
3x Festering Mummy
3x Dissenters Deliverance
3x Heroic Intervention
3x Prowling Serpopard

Blossoming Defence and Heroic Intervention help to protect your creatures against control decks and builds that go heavy on removal while Festering Mummy is another Zombie to synergise with Plague Belcher and turn on our -1/-1 counter shenanigans. Dissenter’s Deliverance matches up against Oketra’s Monument builds which we’ve seen rise to prominence recently and Prowling Serpopard seriously limits control decks ability to deal with out threats by stopping them countering our creatures!

With this complete list we can make enough Snakes to guarantee that Indiana Jones doesn’t come round anytime soon and also overrun our opponents on board-state. I really hope some of you put this together and have some fun games of Magic with it!

Is there anything I’ve missed? Are there any changes you would make to this list? Find me for feedback @GenericBadMtg

Find the Orcs Head Magic guys on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP1W5aJl3mWgAM643jsxZlw

Find them on Twitter: @OrcsHeadJordan @OrcsHeadLuke @OrcsHeadChris and @OrcsHeadAdam

Again, full credit to @OrcsHeadLuke for this decklist!

I’m all out of stuff to say so for now, have a good one and I sincerely hope you enjoy!




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