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Being cursed with prophetic dreams on a plane as dangerous and morbid as Magic the Gathering's Innistrad isn't fun. People don't care if you're right, they just want you to stop telling them exactly how the world will end.
That's the fate that befell Eruth, a young women broken by the demons who curse her dreams. She speaks nothing but the truth, but the truth is invariably death, mutilation, and the apocalypse. Her clairvoyance lead to the people of Trublassen to lock her away in a keep, ready to be sacrificed to the nightmarish horror Umbris.
Eruth's card in Innistrad: Crimson Vow is a brilliant reflection of how knowing the future can be a curse. With card draw replaced by exile, and limited time where we can play those cards, we need to be impulsive and unpredictable to burn through our deck as fast as possible. This week, knowledge comes at a cost with Eruth, Tormented Prophet.
Eruth, Tormented Prophet is an Izzet 2/4 Human Wizards that costs one generic, one blue, and one red. As long as she's out, whenever you draw a card, instead exile the top two cards of your library. You may then play them this turn. The downsides to this are clear: you only have that turn to play the cards you exile, otherwise they're out of reach for the rest of the game, and replacing card draw with exiling means we'll likely end the game with no hand to speak of. However, there are big upsides to it as well, and with a bit of luck you can blast through your whole deck in no time at all to secure the win.
Ramp is the single most important part of this deck. If you can't get a decent mana base up and running, the game's over before it's even started – you're likely to exile more lands than you can play, and you only have that turn to cast a card exiled with Eruth.
It's not ramp, but what lands you play in this deck is more important than usual – with so many lands probably winding up in exile, anything that can either produce or fetch more than one mana is a great inclusion. Lands like Temple of the False God, Myriad Landscape, Cascade Bluffs, Izzet Boiler Works, and Guildless Commons all work for this.
In terms of actual ramp, Ghirapur Orrery is going to do a lot of work. While it does let the rest of the table ramp as well, being able to play an additional land will let us snap up more of the lands we exile. It also lets you draw three cards if you don't have any in your hand, which, considering we'll likely not have a hand very early on into the game, is an excellent way of speeding Eruth up.
We can cast as many mana rocks as we can afford, so stock up on them. Arcane Signet, Sol Ring, Izzet Signet, Mana Crypt, Replicating Ring, Sapphire Medallion, Ruby Medallion, and Guilded Lotus all need to be included.
We're also going to use three infinite combos. First, with Rings of Brighthearth and Basalt Monolith to help generate infinite colourless mana if we need it: tap Basalt Monolith to make three colourless mana, then use that three to untap Basalt Monolith. With that on the stack, pay two more mana to copy that untap ability. Untap the first time, and with the remaining untap on the stack, tap Basalt Monolith again to make three mana. The copied untap will then resolve, letting you untap and re-tap Basalt Monolith to make three more colourless mana and repeat the process indefinitely.
The second is good ol' IsoRev. Isochron Scepter can be used in a few ways in this deck, like imprinting a Counterspell or Mana Drain for a modicum of control, but when combined with Dramatic Reversal it can make infinite coloured mana, which is far, far more useful effect. It also more well-known and more easily scuppered by your opponents, though.
Finally, Dockside Extortionist, any other cheap creature, and Cloudstone Curio can infinitely flicker Dockside Extortionist and make a ridiculous amount of treasure. Treasure is perfect for this deck, so if you can get this set up somehow, you're effectively set for the rest of the game.
All of these artifacts are so important that we're running some artifact tutors as well. Trophy Mage, Fabricate, and Whir of Invention can all help us pull enough mana rocks out of our library, or collect the last bit of an infinite combo we need.
The plan of this deck is to dump your entire deck into exile, and then use a number of well-known cards to secure the win. With Eruth replacing all our draw with exiling the top two cards of the library, 'drawing' lots of cards is the only real way we have of winning.
First, card draw doublers like Alhammarret's Archive and Teferi's Ageless Insight are good. With only one of those out, drawing one card to exile two cards becomes exiling four. With both out, exiling two becomes exiling eight. If you really wanted to focus on this you could also include some group-hug elements like Dictate of Kruphix and Howling Mine, but with few ways to stop your opponents from using the cards they draw and actually get to keep, it isn't recommended.
Next, big draw outlets. These are cards like Consecrated Sphinx, Cosima God of the Voyage, and the incredibly underrated Minds Aglow. Getting the table excited to draw lots of cards with Minds Aglow, only for them to realise doing so lets you exile the remainder of your deck and set you up for a win, is a lot of fun.
More controversially, this deck has a 'wheel' subtheme. Wheel effects are cards that force you and your opponents to discard your hands and then draw a certain amount of cards. Turning off your card draw with Eruth means your hand size is going to be substantially smaller than the rest of the table, making wheels a good way to maintain parity while enabling a ginormous number of exiles at the same time. Jin-Gitaxias Core Augur, Windfall, Echo of Aeons, Magus of the Wheel, and Jace's Archivist all do this. While this deck doesn't run any draw prevention like Narset Parter of Veils, having a wheel subtheme is something you'll need to warn your playgroup about in advance.
It's a risky play, but Psychic Vortex is something to consider, especially if you're unlucky and get very few lands out. Psychic Vortex's cumulative upkeep is to draw a card (meaning on the first upkeep it’s out you draw one, and the next two, on the one after that three, and so on), and at the end of your turn you discard your hand and sacrifice a land. The stuff at the end of your turn isn't a cost though, it's just an effect: if you have no lands and no hand, there's no downside to playing this.
Making Use of Exile
As long as you have six or seven mana on the board, you should be able to cast most things you exile because of the mana curve of the deck. However, there are things we can do to either make casting easier, or turn the cards we can't cast into benefits in other forms.
Sage of the Beyond is a superstar in this deck, as it reduces the cost of any spell cast from outside of your hand by two generic mana. Combine that with Arcane Melee, Jace's Sanctum, Birgi God of Storytelling, and Storm-Kiln Artist, and the cost will either be reduced enough, or you'll get enough mana back from it, to keep casting more things.
Eternal Scourge is a neat card to use as reassurance – if you've got no creatures out in play, and Eternal Scourge is exiled, you've always got at least one blocker you can cast. Think of it like an extra, colourless Commander without the Command tax.
It's a card that always becomes public enemy number one as soon as it's played, but we're going to try and use Omniscience as well. In a perfect world we'll have that out and can cast everything we exile for free, but the chances of that happening are slim to none. This card is a total punt, but it may work out every once in a while.
Wild-Magic Sorcerer is the pure, unbridled value in Eruth. The first spell you cast from exile each turn has cascade, allowing you to reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a spell that costs less than the first cast, and then cast that one for free. More than just playing a free spell, everything revealed then goes onto the bottom of your library, giving you a way to flick through your deck for answers you could use.
Time To Win
For a lot of the ways this deck wins, we require a brief explanation of how Eruth's ability works. Eruth's ability is a replacement effect – essentially you see "draw" on the card, and replace it with "exile the top two cards of your library". Because of that, if you go to draw cards from an empty deck with Eruth out, the effect is still replaced, you'll just not exile anything instead.
However, if multiple replacement effects are working on the same thing, you can decide which one happens first. That means, for cards like Laboratory Maniac and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, whenever you would draw a card from a library with no cards in it, you can choose to win the game before you would exile those non-existent cards with Eruth.
On the other hand, by replacing the draw with exile, Eruth on her own can stop you from losing if you have an empty library. You only lose when you draw a card from an empty library, not if you exile from it.
We're also going to use Thassa's Oracle, but it's actually the least effect of the three, as there will be times where you're forced to either play it before it's ready to win, or exile it.
If you're unlucky enough to lose all of those cards to the exile, there's always Laelia, the Blade Reforged. Whenever you exile one or more cards from your library or graveyard, you put a +1/+1 counter on Laelia. Get her out early, and she can both help you exile your deck faster, and get nice and big to win through combat.
Finally, for when the only solution is to beat your opponents up, Ormos, Archive Keeper can work. Like Laboratory Maniac and Jace, Ormos' ability is a replacement effect, letting you put five +1/+1 counters on it before you'd exile with Eruth. Having a big bird to smash people in the face with is a risky play – a single board wipe and you're out of the game – but 'risky play' is kind of Eruth's thing.
Power The Deck Down
Despite having numerous infinite combos, tutors, and a Thassa's Oracle, this deck is incredibly boom or bust. Either you're lucky enough to have the right mana to play the rest spells exiled at the right time, or you struggle and lose all your key pieces.
This isn't a deck where you really can tune it down, because Eruth herself is already such a massive handicap already. That being said, if you're desperate to play this with your friend group and find it's too effective, there are a few things you might want to try.
Removing the wheel subtheme is probably the best thing for the fun of the rest of the table, even if it does push you back severely. Jin Gitaxias is the biggest one to take out, as he on his own can lock out most of the rest of the table with minimal impact to you, but you could also remove Jace's Archivist as an easily repeatable wheel.
Cutting down on the infinite combos could be your next step, if you find after a few games that you're getting all the mana you need 'legitimately'. Cloudstone Curio only exists in this deck to flicker Dockside Extortionist, and Rings of Brighthearth does more on its own than Basalt Monolith does.
For the full list of this deck, check out its Moxfield page.
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