The Devil’s Deck and Pumpkin Ale: Two Old School Decks for the Halloween Season.

We’re now well into October and the Season of the Witch is upon us in full force. Halloween isn’t far away. A large amount of the readers of this blog aren’t American which means a large amount don’t really celebrate Halloween. Here in the U.S. Halloween has become another reason to drink a lot for twenty-somethings. The young kids go trick-or-treating and many others go to haunted houses and watch horror movies. Another recent tradition is corn mazes. As far as I know, corn mazes weren’t around when I was a kid. I went to my first corn maze just two years ago. I assume they’ve been popular out in the midwest for a while and recently made its way all the way to the east coast. For those who don’t know, the term midwest is basically a synonym for corn which is why I’m assuming they’ve done it for years. We don’t have much corn here out east. Are corn mazes a thing in Europe?

I love Headless Horseman. It’s not actually a bad card. If it weren’t for Erg Raiders, Black Knight, and Hypnotic Specter, Headless Horseman might actually see some play.

There are other festivities that one can do to indulge in the season as well. You can go apple picking, carve jack-o-lanterns, eat apple cider donuts, drink pumpkin beer, etc. Usually with the business and responsibilities of adult life, I do very little of any of these things. Towards the end of September I usually tell myself that, at the very least, I’ll do one or two fall hikes and buy some homemade apple cider donuts from an orchard. Usually November shows up and I’ve done none of these things. Weekends become filled with obligations. The tough thing for me is it seems about half the people I know have birthdays in October. The other half are in May. I’ve embraced the Halloween season in a different way this year.

Ghosts of the Damned looks awesome but that’s about it

Over on the Instagram I’ve been doing Halloween themed posts. I’ve been showing all the Halloweenish cards that tend to get forgotten. There are loads of Halloweenish cards particularly from Legends and The Dark. None of them are really any good so no one talks about them or plays with them. They all look super awesome though so it’s been fun for me.

Regardless of how busy I may get with obligations and work, I always make time for Magic since I got into the 93/94 format. I figured I’d make a Halloween deck or two to use for the month when I play casually. I’ve called the first deck The Devil’s Deck. 

The Devil’s Deck – my best attempt of making an effective Old School deck with Halloween cards.

I’ve put together the most useful “Halloweenish” cards and some other cards that aren’t necessarily Halloweenish to make it playable. When I first went to build it I wanted to do solely Halloween cards so I put in Ghosts of the Damned, Lost Soul, Rag Man, etc. My goal with this deck isn’t necessarily to win but to have fun but if you have a deck that loses right away, it’s not that fun. I decided to switch things up to make it a bit more competitive. Still, my goal isn’t to win all the time but I want to last more than a few turns. So far the deck is 1-0. The one game I played I drew a Library of Alexandria in the opening draw. Just further proof of the incredible power of the Library.

Dark Ritual is in every deck with black mana. Fortunately it’s also very Halloweenish.

With The Devil’s Deck I wanted to build it around All Hallow’s Eve, Headless Horseman, and Season of the Witch. To me they’re the most Halloweenish of all the Old School cards. After factoring those cards in my thinking was to employ a little bit of the Sligh and weenie concepts. For the creatures I have the Stone-Throwing Devils which costs B; Bog Imp for 1B; Headless Horseman for 2B; and lastly, Sengir Vampire for 3BB. For the weenie pump-ups I have two Unholy Strengths and two Bad Moons. The least effective card in the deck is probably Season of the Witch. I haven’t played it yet so I don’t know how it will work out. I may end up switching them for two Drain Lifes.

The Devil’s Deck decklist

I had to pull many of these cards out of my Dead Guy Ale deck. After assembling The Devil’s Deck I realized the Dead Guy deck is already sort of a Halloween deck! With a few minor adjustments, it could be more spooky. Since there are plains available in the Dead Guy that means I could also add Witch Hunter. So let’s look at how Hallowenish I can get the Dead Guy.

Pumpkin Ale Deck – The spookier version of Dead Guy Ale

For the Pumpkin Ale deck I took out all the creatures from the Dead Guy except the Sengirs and replaced them with Halloweenish creatures. Originally there were 4 Black Knights, 4 Hypnotic Specters (which are Halloweenish but not as Halloweenish as what I added), 3 Juggernauts, 2 Erg Raiders, and 1 Juzam Djinn.

Since I had white mana available in this deck I added 2 Witch Hunters which is one of the few non-black spooky cards. It’s also not terrible – just sort of expensive to cast. This deck functions similarly to The Devil’s Deck. The Sligh concept is still there but there are less pump-ups.

Pumpkin Ale decklist

Since I wanted to create a Halloween version of a Dead Guy Ale deck I had to start with the Disenchants, Swords, and Balance and work from there. The lack of typical Dead Guy Ale creatures probably makes this not much of a Dead Guy deck anymore which is why I renamed it to Pumpkin Ale, a popular type of adult beverage around these parts and probably your parts too this time of year. The most popular being Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead but it’s also the least tasty to me and has a super low alcohol content. I’ve already had quite a few this season because my girlfriend bought a massive box of them. Pumpkinhead is one of the few beers she drinks. I have to find a better pumpkin beer. I’ve heard Dogfish Head makes a good pumpkin ale.

Pretty awesome looking label though. 

This Pumpkin Ale deck is obviously a lesser version of a Dead Guy deck and it won’t hold up as well. That’s perfectly fine because the point of both of these decks is Halloween festiveness. I’ll gladly lose a game if I get to have a Headless Horseman or two out on the battlefield or get to raise all the dead creatures with an All Hallow’s Eve. As a kid I loved Halloween stuff and if I knew about Headless Horseman and All Hallow’s Eve back in 1994, I would have gone totally nuts for them. Both of these decks are pretty close to what I would have wanted to play (if I knew how to play) around the time I received my first Revised cards in 1994.

I’m curious if any of you guys have made Old School Halloween decks. In the comments below post a decklist or link so I can see! If not, make one and try it out and let me know how it goes. ‘Tis the season to make spooky decks and drink (good) pumpkin ale. So raise your glass to the Headless Horseman and tap some spooky cards!

2 thoughts on “The Devil’s Deck and Pumpkin Ale: Two Old School Decks for the Halloween Season.

  1. My old school Halloween list used a wicked church theme. It used cards like preacher, exorcist and many of the usual suspects in black. Sometimes you have to fight evil with evil.


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