Elof's tech: Paint it Black

Our three-time 93/94 Giant Shark winner and two-time Swedish Eternal King champion Elof "The mighty" Gottfridsson continously works on new sweet tech. A while back, he suggested that he could write monthly "deck techs" about some of his ideas to post on the blog, and of course he was was welcomed with open arms. This is the first of hopefully many techs from one of the premier players of old school magic in the world. Enjoy! /Mg  

Welcome to a new segment! Long time reader, first time writer. I've been playing this format for a couple of years, my first tournament with my own cards was noobcon 2012 if I recall corretly. I remember playing a deck similar to UR Burn but with Serendib Djinns and finished 9th on breakers. Since then I have mostly been playing The Deck or blue control, but have tinkered around with other decks; Nether Voids, Disco-Troll and even a Living Plane - Prodigal Sorcerer deck! But for this article, which I hope will be a montly reccuring one, I will be talking about a more casual deck that I have yet to test in a real tournament. I was thinking since I have more ideas for decks than I have time to play, I'll write about them instead.

Lets start with a picture:
Paint it Black
4 Northern Paladin
4 Exorcist
4 White Knight

1 Time Walk
1 Braingeyser
1 Recall
1 Mind Twist
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Balance

4 Deathlace
4 Sleight of Mind
2 Touch of Darkness
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Mana Drain
4 Disenchant

1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Pearl
1 Chaos Orb
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus

LANDS (20)
4 Underground Sea
4 Scrubland
4 Tundra
4 City of Brass
1 Strip Mine
1 Library of Alexandria
2 Plains

The core
Northen Paladin + Deathlace
Wow, much combo. Such power. At the surface, this combo is easy, just use Paladin on your opponents Juzams, Sengirs, Hypnotics and go to town. If they instead have a Erhnam, you can just make it black with Deathlace. But, what about trouble cards like Underworld Dreams and Gloom? Well, the Paladin destroys any black permanents, not just creatures. It also means that with Deathlace you can destroy Moats or even Library of Alexandrias. This is a way to cool combo to not put into a deck.

Explaing the deck
The problems with these kinds of combos is often that if you only draw one piece of the combo, it doesn't do anything. Therefore the deck have several other mini combos. First of we have Exorcist that works as a minor Paladin, that only destroys creatures. After Exorcist we also have White Knights, a decent beater and they can also hold the ground against whatever your opponents biggest landwalking summon spell as long as you paint it black. You can also save your Knight from a Lightning Bolt or Swords to Plowshares by making the spell black with Deathlace. Yes, Deathlace can make spells black. Speaking of making things black, Touch of Darkness works as a alternative Deathlace, with the abillity to make any numbers of creatures black. However it only targets creatures, so no permanents or spells. The effect also only lasts until end of turn so better put all of your exorcists and paladins to good use. And finally, we have Sleight of Minds that can make the Paladin or Exorcist destroy other colored creatures and can also make White Knight protection from other colors.

The rest of the deck is a pile of good cards i.e. restricted, and also Disenchants in case you don't get the Paladin combo going. Note the abscents of Swords. I don't think they are necessary, and you also have a Chaos Orb in worst case.

The combo part is pretty cheap but the restricted goodies are not. There are several budget versions to consider. Green gives access to Whirling Dervish, Lifeforce and Avoid Fates. You can also consider playing maindeck Circle of Protections if you have the blue option, I especially like Greater Realm of Preservation. Cleansing and Touch of Darkness is also a combo of sorts.

Playing a few games
To my surprise it is actually possible to win games with this. Granted, most of my wins happened because of a big Mind Twist, Braingeyser or just Lotus-Demonic-Ancestral shennanigans, but that is the reason those cards are there! Even without the power cards, I think that the core could definitly steal some games. In testing I found that the Paladin dies a little to often and it makes me sad. There are ways around this, for exemple playing Black Ward or similar spells, but in general it will be a problem. I also notice that while you can create a sort of lock with Paladin/Exorcist it is difficult to beat the opponent down in a fast maner. Therefor I think that the green splash for Whirling Dervisch and perhaps Lifeforce sounds more interesting.
Decent keep, with a touch of darkness.
The last card left in hand was Balance.
Core players.
A rare sight; a Volcanic that's both black bordered and plain black.
Lestree Zoo goes deep.
Some sweet Magic right here!


  1. This deck is awesome! Im looking forward to play against it soon again :D // Jhovalking

  2. Haha nice! 8D


  3. Hope you guys liked it! I have many more projects to go, including Power Artifact, Mirror Universe, Disco-troll, Living Plane-combo, Ali from Cairo, Cyclopean Tomb to mention a few.

    Let me know what you want to see next :)


    1. Even though I've already seen it in action, I'd really like to hear a little more about the card choices and strategy behind Disco Troll :)

  4. Nice deck! I'd really like to see in which way you can brake Ali from Cairo! ;)


    1. Balance kills Ali ;) // Jhoval

  5. Nice deck, except that the art of the original Sleight of Mind is rather lame. This is one of only a few examples where later Magic editions improved the art (the Ice Age version is much nicer). Looking forward to see the Cyclopean Tomb deck, I am working on a "Cyclopean Mob" deck myself....

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