17 Feb 2016

Exploring the Formats - Hordes

This week I'm looking at the Magic the Gathering format called Horde. This is a follow up to last weeks post on new formats to play and a intro to the Emperor format.
Lord of Shatterskull Pass
by Wizards of the Coast

Now I own all three Challenge Decks from Theros. The second Theros set, Born of the Gods had my favorite challange to play, Battle the Horde. A single player takes on a horde of Minotaurs. Later on R&D at Wizards of the Coast added rules to the challenge deck for a group of players to take it on. 

I have a Minotaur deck that was Theros block and was Standard playable up to Zendikar getting rotated in. When that happened I added a pair of Lords of Shatterskull Pass to my deck and made it a casual modern deck to muck about with.

During my breaks at my old overnight job, I would pull out the challenge decks and play them. My favorite match up was always my horde of Minotaurs versus the Battle the Horde. It was a fun match up every time. When I played the multiplayer version, I always brought my own horde and took great pride as the two herds of monsters fought over who was best. 

So when I found out about the Horde format I've been playing is a full format on its own, I've been plotting a few returns.


Horde format works on a few basics; the game is co-operational and automatic. 

Players show up with their own decks and work together to fight the horde. The horde is a constructed deck that plays automatically and is made up of counters. You flip over cards until you flip a card that is not a counter. The card goes off as if the horde has unlimited mana. During combat all of the counters that are in play attack the group. When players damage the horde the damage delt is instead milled (as in cards are pulled from the horde deck and put into the graveyard).

Very simple design and sounds like lots of fun.The only thing you need is to build a Horde deck. If you're going to build a Horde deck here is what I've discovered. 

The deck will be 100 cards. You only pull the amount you need to play depending on the amount of players; solo - 45, 2 players - 60, 3 players - 75, and 4 players - 100. I like this idea since you only build the deck once and you just pull what you need when you play.

The idea is that 60 cards are tokens. In the original example by the format creator Peter Knudson, he used only 55 tokens. So play within those numbers. The rest of the cards should be full of flavor and challenge. You need to pick global effects, resets, and creature generators for your deck. Add in a few creatures of that type for more special challenges and vola you have a horde. 

Angel and Demon tokens
by Wizards of the Coast
I'm already looking at building a proper Minotaur Horde simply because they are my favorite horde monster. I had a slew of them back when I played Chaos in my days playing Warhammer Fantasy Battles

I also think I'd like to build a crazy Angel or Demon horde deck. A deck where players are mass attacked by heavy hitting flyers really is apocalyptic in theme and level of difficulty. It would be a fun challenge to develop a Angel or Demon horde deck. 

Spirits would be my next creature type. Simply because I love Ghosts they are my favorite horror monster type. There are some neat Spirit cards and more coming with the release of Shadows over Innistrad. Also the flavor would be quite brilliant. 

A solider deck, a goblin deck, a knight deck... hell even a birds deck would be fun. The ideas are many and they lay siege against my mind. A good sign for creative play and fun times. 

If you were to do this what would you pick?

Next post is Star and updates on my current deck builds.

- Cheers

Dozer