One of the most iconic decks from the early history of Magic: The Gathering is “Erhnamgeddon.” The deck revolves around casting cheap and efficient creatures and then dropping an Armageddon so that your opponent can’t deal with your threats.
France’s Bertrand Lestree finished second place in the 1996 Pro Tour with this version of the deck, though there have been many variants. The format at the time was Standard, “New York Style,” where decks must have five cards from each available expansion in either the main deck or its sideboard.
Every card in the deck plays multiple roles, and its these little synergies that all add up and made it such a powerful competitor. Check it out for yourself.
Bertrand Lestree’s “Erhnamgeddon” Deck List
Bertrand Lestree’s “Erhnamgeddon“
1 Autumn Willow
4 Erhnam Djinn
2 Fyndhorn Elves
2 Llanowar Elves
2 Order of Leitbur
1 Serra Angel
2 Spectral Bears
Other Spells (24)
2 Wrath of God
2 Land Tax
2 Sylvan Library
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Fellwar Stone
2 Icy Manipulator
1 Ivory Tower
1 Zuran Orb
1 Havenwood Battleground
1 Ruins of Trokair
4 Strip Mine
2 Abbey Gargoyles
1 Black Vise
2 Circle of Protection: Green
2 Circle of Protection: Red
2 Divine Offering
1 Order of Leitbur
2 Whirling Dervish
1 Wrath of God
Cast mana creatures
You’ll begin by dropping mana creatures like Llanowar Elves and Fyndhorn Elves which help you accelerate into threats sooner than normal. The deck’s early acceleration also allow you to maintain the upper hand after you’ve destroyed all lands on the battlefield by being able to still cast your spells while an opponent cannot.
It won’t matter Fellwar Stone goes temporarily offline after Armageddon, because as soon as your opponent plays a land you’ll be back in business.
Drop a threat
Although Erhnam Djinn is the deck’s marque card and namesake, there’s other nasty threats such as Serra Angel that are just as deadly. One of the reasons Erhnamgeddon was so beloved (or despised, depending on who you ask) was because it transformed a card’s key drawback into a boon.
What does it matter if one of your opponent’s creatures gains forestwalk if you don’t control any forests? It doesn’t.
After you’ve got a threat, it’s time to keep your opponent from being able to cast their spells. With a Land Tax you’ll gain a massive amount of card advantage after your rival plays their first land.
You’ll be able to sacrifice extra lands to Zuran Orb for additional life so that you never miss an activation of Land Tax, thinning your deck so the only thing you draw are business spells.
With so many cards in your hand, you’ll also stay alive with Ivory Tower.
Use cheap removal
Some of the game’s most efficient removal spells were in white. Swords to Plowshares and Disenchant get the job done here.
Icy Manipulator served double duty, keeping an opponent’s best creature at bay or tapping their land so they can’t cast any relevant threats.
If need be you could even cast Wrath of God, then blow up all the land.
Lands are a resource
While Strip Mine after an Armageddon is devastating, it’s easy to overlook the importance Ruins of Trokair and Havenwood Battleground gave the deck. Even though there were just two, they could help power out threats or another Armageddon to keep your adversary locked into a corner.
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