How They Brew It - Love Is Sacrifice

Michael Celani • July 5, 2021

Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats by Anna Steinbauer

Do your relationships always seem to wreck on deserted islands? Are you tired of girlfriends dumping you from a five story building onto your dentist's car? When you want to surprise your sweetheart with flowers, do you accidentally purchase fake ones, not knowing the difference until she immediately points it out to you upon receipt? Don't worry: you're not a lost cause! Here at Jack of Hearts, we can teach you everything you need to know. Sign up today!

Kingdom Hearts

Hello, my name is Michael Celani, and even though Pride Month is over I still think Ajani Vengeant is hot.

It's officially July, the most romantic month of the year, and I'm stoked. Love is in the air, so the World Health Organization recommends you keep wearing your masks until further notice. But there are people out there who've already suffered heartbreak and are looking for some tips on how to woo that special someone. As a person with an official grade of ten from Beckett Grading Services in "not-a-virginity," I'm here to help. Meet your new wingman:

Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats is such a heartthrob every person he touches faints from adoration and also death. His casting cost lowers as the party grows, so when you go out with him, you know you're in for a good time. He also has haste, but he swears that's not normal and he's sorry that happened.

Pick-Up Blood Artist

Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats grants each creature you control deathtouch, turning them into the ultimate ladykillers. With that power, even one damage is enough to stop your ex from going out with your best friend after he raised an objection at your wedding regarding your secret, second life as comedian-turned-seamster Sew Burnham. We also have a second, less important mandate to attempt to invite as many partygoers as possible - it's an extra bonus to reduce the casting cost of Zagras.

  • When it comes to romance, you don't want to wait around. Strike when the moment's right! Cunning Sparkmage and Vulshok Sorcerer's haste can ping anything the instant it becomes a threat.
  • Good first date ideas: The circus, because you'll look like less of a clown in comparison. Rakdos Firewheeler has the added benefit of damaging an enemy as well as being a rogue.
  • With my affection for Ajani Vengeant, you might consider me part of the Fury fandom. This creature can be evoked for free and will take out four of your opponent's creatures with its ability!
  • Inferno Titan will show who you really have the hots for. It knocks out three creatures when it enters and three creatures each time it attacks, so try to crash it into players without many blockers.
  • For a bit more control, hold up Triskelion's activated ability and start the bidding amongst the three other players for your favor!

An Open Relationship

Of course, limiting yourself to just one at time is boring! As we all know, the more partners you have simultaneously, the more you win at romance. With these cards, you can ping everyone at the same time!

  • Debuting to the battlefield straight from my kitchen, Crypt Rats needs just one black mana to wipe the board clean.
  • Once you've reached delirium, Gouged Zealot emancipates a player from their creatures when it attacks. Make a deal with the rest of the table to hamstring the biggest threat!
  • Wojek Embermage hits each creature that shares a color with the target, so you can snipe the mono-green player while leaving your board untouched.
  • Speaking of radiance, Radiant Performer's stunning show can turn one murder into a thousand.
  • Finally, once another creature dies, Deathbringer Thoctar chains into itself to handle any number of creatures you want.

The Ping's The Thing

There's nothing more attractive to a potential date than overcompensation. That's why it's not enough to have the vast majority of creatures in your deck be pingers; every single creature has to pack a punch.

  • Equip Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith's "finely crafted" ""artisan"" """weaponry""" to one of your creatures and leave an enemy stricken! With love or gravel, your choice.
  • You might think Pandemonium is only useful as a distraction during the big heist, but did you know it actually has merit as a real card? It and Warstorm Surge both turn your creatures into removal spells.
  • For single instances of quick removal when there are no other options, Fall of the Hammer and Soul's Fire are each mono-red punches that have the creature itself as the source of damage, so deathtouch does apply.

You Should Go And Love Yourself

So you failed to get a date. Don't worry! The important thing is not to wallow in self-loathing. You might think that going out for a night of debauchery and pinging a bunch of cheap creatures will make you feel better. Sure, you can meet randos on apps like Spelltable and ping their creatures on a whim. You can even ping multiple creatures at the same time if you're a Radiant Performer. While that might feel good, it's not the way to finding love. If you want to become a better person, you have to look inward. You have to ping yourself.

"What?!" you say. "I paid $495 for this class to not have to do that!" But it's true. Love is complicated, and it wouldn't be How They Brew It if I left it at the obvious.

Unlike Grave Betrayal, Dread Slaver and Soul Collector each resurrect the creature immediately upon death. They're also not limited to creatures your opponents control. Even more crucially, they're not limited to other creatures. So, if they're given deathtouch because of Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats, and they ping themselves with Warstorm Surge, they will die and enter the battlefield over and over again.

Secretly, you've been playing an aristocrats deck the entire time! Judith, the Scourge Diva, Spiteful Prankster, Toralf, God of Fury, it doesn't matter. As long as you have a death trigger that deals one damage to an opponent, that's victory. You don't even have to have Warstorm Surge out to begin with; you can start the chain with any of your punch instants. But why stop there?

Scythe of the Wretched grants this effect to any of your pinging creatures. Cunning Sparkmage and Vulshok Sorcerer are obvious candidates, but even Fury wins you the game if you attach the scythe in response to its trigger with Brass Squire or Magnetic Theft. Scythe of the Wretched even has the manners to attach itself back to your creature upon resurrection to do it all over again!

Lonely Hearts Club Band

It's true what they say; before you can love another person, you have to love yourself. Perhaps you even have to love yourself to death! Unfortunately, this isn't an Alirios, Enraptured deck, so don't look into that metaphor too much. With your newfound knowledge, you too can look forward to nights of swiping left on Tinder waiting for the unicorn that doesn't exist. Good luck!


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Newly appointed member of the FDIC and insured up to $150,000 per account, Michael Celani is the member of your playgroup that makes you go "oh no, it's that guy again." He's made a Twitter account @GamesfreakSA as well as other mistakes, and his decks have been featured on places like MTGMuddstah. You can join his Discord at and vote on which decks you want to see next. In addition to writing, he has a job, other hobbies, and friends.