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Opposition - Desolation Angel Deck

by: Mordechai Treiger
Buy this Desolate Angel at
Buy this Desolate Angel at

One day I was sitting at home and very, very bored. I went over to my shelf, and began to randomly shuffle my U/b/w control deck that used Desolation Angel as a win condition, and used diamonds to ensure at least UU for counterspell after my bomb. As I shuffled, my mind began to wander over my favorite cards- Desolation Angel being one of them. As I thought, being a control player at heart, my mind inevitably turned to Opposition. When thinking about Desolation Angel in context of an Opposition Deck, the idea didn't sound exciting at all. However, after giving these two cards more thought, I set out to build a Desolation Angel deck that utilized Opposition.

First, in order to make a Desolation Angel Deck, one must maindeck Desolation Angel. However, this brings us to the problem of 'what is a good number of these one-time-use only cards?' Because I wanted to keep this deck Type 2, Demonic and Vampiric Tutors were not available to ensure drawing the Angel and provide flexibility if the Angel has already been drawn. For this reason, I come to my second card choice- Diabolic Tutor. Although double the cost of Demonic Tutor, and 4x the cost of Vampiric, it allows me to have flexibility to take any card in the deck, and allows me to utilize the only card in Type Two that searches specifically for a card. I ended up using two Angels and two Tutors, although I'm not sure if that's too many.

The second card in this deck was Opposition. Rather than using it as a win condition, Opposition and it's components, namely small creatures should all be cast before Desolation Angel, and then be used to tap any big fliers in play, and any lands the opponent manages to play. Because it is not critical to game strategy, I decided to play only three copies, and if needed, Diabolic Tutor can be used to search.

Now, with seven cards out of 38 non-land cards in this deck, we need to come up with some small-creature fuel for Opposition. Looking for low-cost creatures with powerful abilities to use when not tapping enemies, the first choice will be Shadowmage Infiltrator. Providing an extra card usually every turn, and 1/3 for 1BU, the Infiltrators are extremely versatile in this deck type, becoming Icy Manipulator if needed. Another versatile creature that provides a strong ability is Meddling Mage. At UW and a 2/2, it has a double effect. The Mage does not have to be untapped to allow the named card to not be played. Therefore, you could neutralize an entire threat, (i.e. Urza's Rage) and tap a permanent through Opposition all with one card.

The third choice for creature may surprise you- although playing with B and W, Spectral Lynx is not in this deck. Rather, Vodalian Zombie has been included, the 2/2 for BU and has protection from green. Although the Lynx has regeneration, I feel that the Zombie is a better deck choice for the following reasons: 1) It requires U, which is the swing color in this deck (it goes BUW on the circle) and 2) requires no mana left open. I realize that this sounds stupid, as it does not have the option of regeneration, but the Lynx, without mana can be taken down by Eager Cadet- (I almost said Llanowar Elves). Even though the Lynx is better generally against other decks, I'm going to go with the slightly tougher Zombie. If you feel this decision is incorrect, feel free to go either way- it's not even close to clear-cut.

Now we have 14 creatures and 5 non-creatures for a total of 19/38. This leaves us room for 19 non-creature spells. Considering that this is a deck in which a large creature can be a problem if Opposition cannot be found, Vindicate will be a necessity. Capable of dispatching any card on the table, no questions asked, Vindicate is either the most expensive Stone Rain ever, or the least expensive Desert Twister. Either way you look at it, it brings an absolute to an environment that lacks one. Therefore, I will include 4x Vindicate.

That gives us 15 more spells to come up with, and 10 to 12 will be counter-magic. In addition, we need some card-drawing power. Fact or Fiction is currently one of the best drawers in standard, and will generally reveal piles of Mages, Infiltrators and on the off chance, a needed Angel. Although the Infiltrators will generally keep your hand full, if not, this card is a viable solution, and gives you the benefit of choice and flexibility. Four copies are included in this deck.

This leaves us with another 11 spells, and we must fit in the counter-magic somewhere. Of course, we will play four copies of counterspell, the original still being the best at UU. Next, Dromar's Charm may provide you with the key seventh turn if getting swarmed over by providing life, could double as creature removal, and as a bonus (and the main reason that it's in this deck), it triples as counterspell. There are three spots left until we hit lands, and we want to include at least a little more counter-magic, so we will round this category up with 2x Absorb and 1x Undermine. Absorb is useful, this being primarily a control deck and therefore remaining at a comfortable life total is paramount.. The only reason Delusions of Mediocrity is not a staple is because it is so easily dispatched with a Disenchant or Ray of Distortion. The Undermine is for use as a terror weapon. Once you have used the only copy, your opponent will assume you have more coming, and if low on life, will not try to burn you out of counterspells by casting spell after spell.

Now that we've rounded out the spells, we arrive at land. I have decided to include four of each dual land in Type 2 appropriate for these colors- Caves of Koilos, Underground River, Adarkar Wastes, Salt Marsh and Coastal Tower. This brings us to 20/22, and the last two lands will be occupied by Islands, as they can round out a land drop. As one can tell from my choices of land, I'm willing to take pains to avoid color screw. In addition, don't hesitate to fall a turn behind by playing a turn one or two tapped lands. It will all balance as the Angel hits the table.

Here is my completed decklist:

2x Desolation Angel
4x Meddling Mage
4x Shadowmage Infiltrator
4x Vodalian Zombie
4x Vindicate
4x Fact or Fiction
4x Counterspell
4x Dromar's Charm
3x Opposition
2x Absorb
1x Undermine
2x Diabolic Tutor
4x Coastal Tower
4x Salt Marsh
4x Underground River
4x Caves of Koilos
4x Adarkar Wastes
2x Island

Play strategy: Counters are not all-important, but make your opponent believe they are. Don't worry about what your opponent will play in a turn- rather, counter all that you can until Desolation Angel comes into play, and then use your small creatures to lock down your opponent's lands while your Angel goes in for the quick four turn kill.

That's my brilliant idea, and I hope to see it played in a tournament some day- if you have any comments/suggestions/critiques email me at I'm not afraid to stand up to challenges. If you ever use this deck and have success in tournament play, please let me know at the same address. In fact, if you make the deck and even just play with your friends, please let me know- I'm interested.

Anyway, thanks for reading my article,
Mordechai Treiger

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