Humanity’s Vengeance is one of two Magic the Gathering Event Decks released to support the Avacyn Restored set. This deck is White and Blue and revolves around the Soulbond mechanic. While it was certainly the better value for singles at the time, as far as taking it to a tournament and playing it out of the box, it’s not actually better than its mono-black Zombie counterpart, Death’s Encroach.
Let’s see what we have in this deck list:
1 Blade Splicer
4 Fiend Hunter
4 Gideon’s Lawkeeper
1 Mirran Crusader
3 Nearheath Pilgrim
2 Nephalia Smuggler
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Porcelain Legionnaire
3 Tandem Lookout
1 Divine Deflection
2 Mental Misstep
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Righteous Blow
2 Glacial Fortress
1 Moorland Haunt
There are many good cards in this deck list, many of which still see play in EDH today. Besides the three copies of the always useful removal Enchantment in Oblivion Ring, we have several pretty good rares in here, as well. The good rares are Blade Splicer, Mirran Crusader, Phyrexian Metamorph, Glacial Fortress, and Moorland Haunt. There’s also Divine Deflection, which has its uses.
Like it would be for the two Event Decks released with each set, though, one deck would have more cards that were from sets that were on their way out of Standard the next October, while the other has more cards from the current block, meaning it had more longevity out of the box.
From a Standard player’s standpoint, this deck wasn’t really as great of a value because most of these cards cycled out of the competitive Standard format in October 2012. This includes all of the rares besides Moorland Haunt, Glacial Fortress and Divine Deflection, plus Dismember, Mental Misstep, Porcelain Legionnaire, and Gideon’s Lawkeeper.
Death’s Encroach never had the same number of money cards, but did have more cards that stayed in the Standard format, as well as would see play in Modern for years afterwards. At the time, however, the big three rares in this deck from the Scars of Mirrodin block – Blade Splicer, Mirran Crusader, and Phyrexian Metamorph – continued to have value in other formats. While these cards aren’t nearly as popular a decade later as they were in 2012, in the context of the time, Humanity’s Vengeance was still a good value when you consider all of the Innistrad block cards in the deck, as well.
As for the deck itself, it’s very much keen on the idea that Soulbond will carry you to victory. This mechanic essentially pairs a creature with Soulbond with another creature you control on the field. When two creatures are bonded, they each gain an effect. Wingcrafter and its bond-mate will be able to both fly, Tandem Lookout can draw you cards, and Nephalia Smuggler can blink your guys so that they can re-use Soulbond.
You also have Nearheath Pilgrim’s Soulbond ability to give itself and another creature lifelink. Fiend Hunter is excellent creature removal (and would be for quite some time in Standard) and Gideon’s Lawkeeper can help you keep big threats tapped down. Unfortunately, whenever one of the bonded creatures leaves the field, the bond is broken and the effects no longer apply. So, while Soulbond is a neat mechanic, and it would prove to be a huge boon on one creature in particular, it would never make for a strong Standard deck.
Moving on to the non-creature spells, Righteous Blow, Dismember, and the Oblivion Rings are a good removal package. Divine Deflection is an interesting card that can turn damage you would take into a pseudo-burn spell; it’s not bad, but needs to be played at just the right time to be truly effective.
For the mana base, you get two copies of Glacial Fortress, which was reprinted in the Magic 2013 Core Set, and is always a useful dual land. You also get Moorland Haunt, a great card for crapping out 1/1 flying Spirit tokens for a minimal mana investment (one Blue and one White mana, and a tap).
The sideboard is interesting.
- 3 Cathedral Sanctifier
- 2 Cloudshift
- 2 Inquisitor Exarch
- 4 Mana Leak
- 3 Negate
- 1 Pacifism
There seems to be a life-gain theme in this deck, hoping you can stay ahead of your opponent while you set up your Soulbond mates. Cloudshift is a sort of replacement for Nephalia Smuggler if you find his ability to be too expensive to be worth using. The Mana Leaks and Negates are good if you need a control element, mostly to counter other control strategies.
The Inquisitor Exarchs and Cathedral Sanctifiers are interesting for their life gain aspect. The one copy of Pacifism doesn’t do much for me, but I could see cases in which you may want it to stop that one big creature you just can’t deal with otherwise.
So, this deck does a nice job of keeping your life total up, while occasionally giving you the ability to fly over things and perhaps draw some cards. As is, though, this deck doesn’t really do much but wear down your opponent, hoping to eke out victories through a war of attrition. The deck doesn’t really have a finisher or game-ending combo. It has enough removal and moves quickly enough that it can serve as an OK creature deck. This deck can stay on the curve consistently enough that you should never have too many dead draws. But, it’s sort of a strange mid-range deck that isn’t sure if it’s aggro or control.
Humanity’s Vengeance is not a bad deck for its time. If you were jumping back into Magic the Gathering and needed a deck to play, it was worth a look. But, the Zombie deck is much better out of the box and needs far less tweaking than perhaps this one does. I’d just pick up Restoration Angels, Champions of the Parish, and Silverblade Paladins, then build a deck around them instead. While obviously acquiring those singles would’ve been much pricier than buying a couple copies of this deck, that would be a better strategy.
Overall, this White/Blue deck is relatively underwhelming. DraftSim ranked this deck 16th out of the 27 Event Decks ever released, meaning it was actually a below average offering overall. Their article talks about how the Phyrexian Metamorph, Mental Missteps, and Glacial Fortresses were the main draw here even back in 2012. They also point out that Cloudshift should’ve been in the main deck to double down on enter-the-battlefield abilities and Soulbond pairing chances. It’s not a horrible deck, but it was an extremely confused build for sure.
Interestingly, even in late 2022, though, the Humanity’s Vengeance deck has actually gained a lot of value in its singles according to MTGGoldfish. This deck originally sold for $20, and even now you can find sealed copies for $30 online. Much of that happens to be tied up in the two Mental Missteps ($5 each), the two Glacial Fortress ($4 each), the two Dismembers ($2.50 each), and the Phyrexian Metamorph ($6 a copy). If you add up all the cards in the deck as singles, you’re looking at about $40 in value. So, despite the deck itself not aging well, there are enough useful pieces that still see considerable EDH play, plus Dismember in Modern, that there’s actual financial value here.
While it’s not worth it to buy these decks for $30 just to flip them for singles, Humanity’s Vengeance at least was a great buy back in 2012, and it’s still a solid buy just for the singles even in 2022!