While I am not a Doctor Who fan I can tell you that I am a fan of villains. I never root for the underdog, I want the evil empire to be victorious and bring order to the land. So, while I am more interested in how the Doctor Who decks play, how they function, and if they deliver a valuable game play experience to a standard Commander player, I am also personally invested in if the villains can crush the heroes. The MTG Masters of Evil deck gives you two options that both offer a villainous choice to the other players but if you want a better chance at winning there’s only one choice.
THE Master of Evil
At first glance it doesn’t seem like Davros, Dalek Creator is too much of a bad guy. After all, he’s just making a 3/3 token, basically Hill Giant[/toolip]. That was my first thought looking at him. A few games later, I saw the potential. Because of Menace, it’s quite easy to get in there and deal exactly three damage, which is what counts so that you can continue to make another [tooltips]Dalek and then another. With Davros and a Dalek, you attack different people, get another Dalek, and give out two choices. Next turn, it’s incredibly likely you’re making another Dalek and giving out three choices for the rest of the game. This is a surprisingly robust engine. Additionally, most of the cards in the deck support Davros’s plan a lot more than your other choice: Missy.
Meet Option Two
That’s part of the problem with Missy. First, Planechase is definitely not played very often. For a product that came out in 2009, not a lot of people have expressed interest in playing it at multiple different game stores or conventions for many years. On top of that, the few people that have played it in groups I’ve been part of have enjoyed their time but have not wanted to play another game of Planechase afterwards. Who can blame them? It complicates a game and can make it take a lot longer or make for some awful situations no one wants to play through.
All that being said, the fact that Missy is six mana and sort of does nothing the second she hits the table is a large strike against her. Meanwhile Davros could easily have been manufacturing Daleks and generating villainy for two turns. If she gets removed in any way, getting to eight mana is tough. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of players are going to choose to play Missy. As the queen of evil she clearly has fans that don’t care if she’s a bit expensive. Black has plenty of one mana “scam” spells like Feign Death[/tools] that can save her just fine if you’re planning on going that route but they are not in the base deck. For these reasons she is just a weaker choice.
Unlike the Timey-Wimey deck which has a bunch of different options that can take the deck into a particular strategy, The MTG Masters of Evil seems to have far more cards that support a Dalek heavy strategy than a Cyberman one.
How Davros Makes Robots
Turn one, land, turn two, rock. Turn three [tooltips]Dalek Squadron. Turn four play Davros, attack with Squadron. End of turn, generate a Dalek and three villainous choices. Turn five? Play The Valeyard, attack a lot, generate six villainous choices. Brutal! But what if instead you go turn one land, turn two mana rock, turn three Davros, turn four Ensnared by the Mara? It’s super likely your opponents take the damage and you’re going to generate a Dalek and three choices. Turn five? The Dalek Emperor and generate Daleks and choices! The deck is relatively consistent and that is something that about half of the pre-cons out there struggle with. Get board wiped? Not a problem. You can rebuild your board with Genesis of the Daleks which makes six for you from just one card.
Now, all of this attacking and Dalek generation is going to draw hate from the table. Luckily, MTG Masters of Evil has some answers for that in terms of both interesting removal and special cards. Day of the Moon is Goad that does not target. This card gets around: Hexproof, Protection, Indestructible, Massive Power/Toughness etc. Meanwhile it makes the best creature an opponent has kill someone else for three very long turns. The Rani generates an aura that can Goad a creature as well, and she can keep generating them on attack. There are other goad effects as well and they are in the deck as pseudo removal. Plus, if they have to attack, they cannot block!
Finally, the deck also has Propaganda which has been protecting Commander decks forever, proving itself to be a good answer not only to token swarms but also to mana strapped sequencing. Equipping doesn’t mean much if you cannot attack afterwards, for example, so that two extra mana often means the difference between just taking damage versus a critical combat damage trigger being pointed at someone else.
Evil is More Fun
Looking at this card from a competitive point of view, you have a 20% chance this does nothing on your first upkeep. But it could draw you up to four total cards and deal up to 20 total damage if someone guessed five, incorrectly, four times in a row. For three mana that’s not a bad rate.
The fact is, adding a fun little guessing game to your table is a neat little interaction and this will create memorable sequences where someone guesses first try and someone else loses four times in a row. The card has classic villain trope written all over it and one does not have to be a Whovian to understand it.The Master, Mesmerist goads one of your opponents creatures but also gives it skulk so it’s much more likely to get in for free. When a creature with skulk deals damage to one of your opponents you get to draw a card and The Master gets a +1/+1 counter. Now, The Master cannot Goad any creature, it’s limited by The Master’s power. But because The Master grows in size, you can eventually goad pretty much any creature to do your bidding. The bad guy flavor of this card is 10/10.
Game Ending Power
Check this card out. It doesn’t have “Haste” printed on it but the ability sure does work when it hits the table. Turning all your Cyberman and Daleks into three times as many for a combat is insane and game ending.
But wait, there’s more! You also have The Master, Multiplied. Not only does he allow you to copy legendary tokens and not lose them, he also makes you not have to exile or sacrifice your tokens to effects like Myriad so with both of these out you are just making an enormous amount of permanent tokens. Keep in mind the deck also runs Wound Reflection which lets you build up a board state, drop the Reflection and then proceed to only have to deal half the amount of total damage to win the game. In a way, each of these three cards almost does the same thing and that means the deck has much needed redundancy.
They’ve Finally Done it!
Yes, now you can literally Delete someone! Because of MTG Masters of Evil‘s reliance on artifact creatures this is a very good one-sided wipe that also piles on damage. Davros himself doesn’t die to it, yet Missy could, and it can deal the three damage you need to make more Daleks and force villainous choices without even attacking. This card will see play in artifact based decks and is especially great here.
I would be remiss for not also mentioning Exterminate! as the triple threat card it is. Number one, it is obviously perfectly on point with regards to Doctor Who being an ultra recognizable line even I know. Number two it’s basically another one sided board wipe. Finally it’s also an alternative win condition because it can deal massive damage. The perfect card for this deck for sure.
Upgrading the Villains Deck
When upgrading The MTG Masters of Evil, my main drive is to keep it evil, keep making Daleks, and to win primarily through attacking. Not only that, I’m also looking to bring down the mana curve a bit if I can by increasing the number of two and three drops while reducing the five, six and sevens in the deck. I would almost certainly cut Hunted by the Family, Cybership and Sontaran General no matter how I’m modifying the deck going forward as they are all simply too expensive for what they do.Cover of Darkness makes your Daleks virtually unblockable as your opponents need to have two artifact or black creatures per Dalek and most decks simply can’t block more than one, ever. Great value for two mana and bad guys always operate at night so highly thematic.
Need a mana sink? Consider Underhanded Designs. It turns a Dalek ETB into an extra damage to each opponent and also life for just one mana. If you need to, it’s also removal! The nice part about Designs over a card like Murkwood Bats is that Designs is less expensive to get on the table and also survives board wipes. If you ever get a Myriad effect, you can kill everyone in the attack step by just paying a ton of mana. Finally, it has a perfectly on theme name so I am certainly adding it to my take on Davros.
No matter how you are building Davros, Maestros Charm gives you value. All the options are great for the deck serving as a Dalek generator, removal or card selection. It’s simply useful and is only three mana to cover a wide variety of situations.
Let’s add even more evil with Bontu, The Glorified. As an Indestructible, Menace creature, Bontu can eat a Dalek and then join in on the attack. This gives you a mana dump, a scry and an alternate way to win by simply extorting the table. Not struggling against other players Propaganda effect is a good plan. Of course Bontu also survives wipes being indestructible so he’ll stick around.
Last but obviously not least is Torment of Hailfire. Early on, it’s a Dalek generator and if you get it late it can win the game all by itself. Adding in cards that have that dual use capability can shore up weaknesses in a deck when it has a one dimensional plan. Further cards like Cut // Ribbons function in the same way and work well here.
Is MTG Masters of Evil Worth it?
Easily. Just like the other decks in the series it has great lands, good cards for Commander, does really well right out of the box and fits the theme very well. It was the most straightforward of all the pre-cons and has an easy to execute plan that is reasonably good. TLDR? Make robots, attack, make more robots!
My only minor issue is that many of the effects felt slow and exactly one mana too much to be brutally unfair. If you go first or the table is slow to develop, you will have a great chance to make the deck do its thing. If everyone else makes a few blockers before you’ve started making your Dalek army, you might run into trouble, which is why I add so many other sources of damage or life drain in my suggested additions.
Additionally, my deck was 101 cards – it seems that Wizards gave me an extra Path of Ancestry in my deck. Weird! I’ve talked to two other people that opened the same deck and they didn’t get the “bonus card” but check your deck and make sure you’re not playing an extra! My next plan is to get a pod running with four pre-cons devoted to evil characters only. Can Davros defeat Sauron? Orcs versus Daleks! It’s the dream fight we didn’t even know we needed but Universes Beyond will only continue to expand on this idea. The MTG Masters of Evil is a solid pre-con and does a good job of being the bad guy.