The Ruinous Powers - Precon Primer

(Abaddon the Despoiler | Art by Johan Grenier)

Precon Primer

Hello! I’m Bert from the Scrap Trawlers, where we do EDH on a budget. We have been tasked with providing you some insight into each new Commander deck. How it plays, its strengths and weaknesses, which new cards are worth looking at, and more. Today we’ll be looking at The Ruinous Powers, a deck from the Universes Beyond product that takes place in the world of Warhammer 40,000.

The Basics

The Ruinous Powers is a Grixis (red, black, and blue) deck led by Abaddon the Despoiler. It’s a 5/5 with trample, which is pretty solid, but the real ability is Mark of Chaos Ascendant. Spells we cast from our hand during our turn with mana value x or less have Cascade, where x is the amount of life our opponents have lost that turn. The deck has chaos on the brain, giving us a multitude of ways to deal damage to our opponents so that we can Cascade into creatures and spells so that our army can swarm the board. So it’s an aggro deck, flowing between indirect damage and combat damage so that we can have some BIG cascades. Also included in the deck is a ton of Demon synergies, which provides some more of that aggro I mentioned earlier. In addition to that, there are some instant and sorcery synergies sprinkled in.

Chaos Incarnate

Here’s the full decklist:

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As you can see from the decklist we are mainly creature focused with some strong support spells for us to Cascade into or to trigger our Cascade with. Even though the average mana value is 2.66, the deck has a hefty focus on four and five drops which means that we want to make the magic number we deal to our opponent be six so that we can Cascade into all of our spells. Let's get into the specifics of what the deck can do.

Keeper of Secrets is a six mana Demon with first strike and haste that will deal damage to target opponent when we cast a spell from anywhere other than our hand. This is definitely one of the spells we want to ramp into and get going early as it makes dealing damage easier so that we can get chaotic with our spells. Speaking of big scary Demons, Bloodthirster is here and ready to play. It only untaps itself, which is a bit different than Port Razer, but it notably has flying and trample, which puts it on an entirely different level. To finish off the notable Demon section, we can’t forget about Be’lakor, the Dark master, a flying 6/5 who serves as our alternate commander and an amazing Demon tribal commander with two powerful lines of text. When Be’lakor enters the battlefield we draw X and lose X life, where X is the number of Demons we control. In addition to that, whenever another Demon enters the battlefield under our control we deal damage equal to its power to any target. With a deck full of Demons, this ability will make it so you can dwindle your opponents and show them who the true Prince of Chaos is.

The deck also comes with a plethora of instant and sorcery synergies. One of my favorites is Magnus the Red, a flying 4/5 with some fun abilities. The first being instant and sorcery cards you cast cost one less for each creature token you control. While it's not the main focus of the deck we do have miniscule token creation throughout the deck, making it easier for us to Cascade into spells we cast. Magnus also makes a 3/3 Spawn creature token when it deals combat damage to a player, which benefits the first ability. Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch gives up some more spell slinging reinforcement by letting us return a random instant or sorcery to our hand at our upkeep while also letting us deal one damage to each opponent when we cast an instant or sorcery. Pink Horror is a 4/4 that deals 2 damage to any target whenever we cast an instant or sorcery. And when it dies we create two 2/2 tokens that both ping a target for 1 when we cast instants and sorceries. These are just a few cards in the deck that make sure our spells have some punch behind them.

We have some high mana value cards that get discounts for different scenarios. My favorite card name in the set, Blood for the Blood God costs a hefty 11 mana, but can be heavily discounted by one for each creature that died this turn. The effect is well worth the mana as we get to draw a new hand of 8 cards and deal 8 damage to each opponent. Let the Galaxy Burn is a board wipe with Cascade naturally. It has X in its cost, letting you adjust just how much damage you want to deal to each creature that didn't enter the battlefield this turn. A great spell to clear the board and get some of your own resources out there. And you don't have to worry if you Cascade into a creature! Lastly, in a deck with so much Cascade, I really enjoy The Lost and the Damned. It makes it so that whenever we play a land or spell from anywhere other than our hand we create a 3/3 red Spawn to do our bidding!

How does it play?

We play as an Aggressive deck that wants to deal as much damage to our opponents so that we can embrace the chaos that is our Cascade. When played against the other decks we can hold our own on the battlefield thanks to a plethora of creatures at our disposal. Our deck has the ability to go wide in a big way thanks to our cost effective creatures. After we go wide our variety of spells and enchantments are enhanced by our ability for big plays from our Cascade ability. Now you may be wondering what the problem with the deck is. Well as is the nature of an aggro deck, if our opponents have creatures out it can really gum up the board and make it difficult for us to deal damage. If we can't deal damage, our Cascade ability will have a smaller effect and will make it harder to enact our wonderful strategy. Not only that, but the deck seriously lacks card draw, perhaps relying on our Cascade to provide us with card advantage too much.

Some cards that over performed were definitely Blood for the Blood God, The Lost and the Damned and Poxwalkers. My favorite of them being Lost and the Damned, there is just something about making a 3/3 every time you cast a spell or play a land from anywhere other than your hand. The wording on it makes the card extremely flexible. During our games my opponents recognized the power of Poxwalkers and hit it with an exile effect to get rid of it for good. Up until that point however it was just a recursive attacker that would either get three free damage or take out something on my opponent’s board. And then there is Blood for the Blood God which I cast during the first game to kill off one of my opponents and that felt amazing. During the second game I had enough mana to Reverberate it, dealing a total of 16 damage to each opponent. The wild part about that play is that it didn't win me the game; the other decks were just able to deal with my plays better than I had hoped. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed playing these decks and can't wait to use some of these cards in my future brews.

Final Thoughts

The Ruinous Powers precon seems to be a cohesive deck. While it is made up of three separate parts (Cascade , Demons, and spellslinging), they compliment each other in such a way that makes for fun and chaotic gameplay. The reprints are a nice addition, but we don't win in that regard compared to the other decks, but the deck does come with a Chromatic Lantern, which is a sweet inclusion. What do you think about The Ruinous Powers precon? Let us know how you feel about the new cards.
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Scrap Trawlers is a Magic: The Gathering budget EDH streaming and video group, with gameplay, deck techs, chats, and more. Catch our videos at Andy, Nick, Lenny, and Bert.