Do you like words? I like words. They are versatile and can be used for so many things, like sending a message. What message are we sending today? Well I'm glad you asked. Today we are sending a message of pain to the enemy's face. I have crafted here, a one of a kind tool of destruction.
And its name was Soulflayer…
When sending a message, you need words, yes? This bad boy can hold so many words, you'll always get your point across...the table...to their face. For the low low price of whatever happens to be in your graveyard and two black mana, you too can be the proud owner of this demon with many (s)words. Oh, but not just any words. No, these words are special...words that, in no certain order can lead you to a quick victory. Soulflayer quite literally uses words as a weapon. Is it better to have the pen or the sword? I say, why not both?
Soulflayer absorbs the keyword abilities of creatures that you delve away when casting. Ideally, you only want to pay two black for Soulflayer and in the process load up on the abilities from creatures in your graveyard. I usually try to delve away two creatures and two dead cards unless delving away more creatures is going to be more beneficial.
Guns...lots of guns.
Soulflayer is powerful but not on it's own. You need an arsenal of keyword ability creatures to outfit your berserker. There is no shortage of creatures to fit this role but there are two in particular that are a must have in this deck. Chromanticore and Zetalpa bring all the goods for a party. They both have most of the keyword abilities that you want on Soulflayer. Still...it’s not quite enough.
For ultimate near-invincibility, the combination you’re looking for is hexproof+indestructible. This requires our enemies to carry a very specific kind of removal. To that end, we have added a few extra creatures to the arsenal. One in particular, Sylvan Caryatid, gives us hexproof that taps for mana in the early game. This can allow for some really busted turn 4s and occasionally turn 3s. Another addition is Nightveil Predator, which also provides hexproof in addition to flying and deathtouch. While its colors aren’t really great for our deck, it’s not something that I ever really want to hard cast but it's not impossible. Another honorable mention here is Rankle, Master of Pranks. Easily castable, with some fantastic abilities makes it a worthy addition. Questing Beast is another castable powerhouse for the deck. While it's true that suiting up a Soulflayer is the main win condition, it's not the only one. There's a pretty good creature heavy mid-range deck without the power of our favorite demon at the helm.
Pay the toll or die by troll
Lotleth Troll provides a self contained win condition as well. Discarding creature cards that can later buff your flayer helps accelerate your primary plan, but it’s also a great way to beef up your troll. It can smash in for some big chunks of damage with the side perk of paying one black for regeneration. In most cases you’re looking to get a troll down first anyway. It presents its own pressure and helps your set up your graveyard. Did I mention it has trample? Well, it has trample. This usually makes it a must answer situation for your opponent. Now they have to contend with the big troll and the inevitable soulflayer, because let’s face it, you’re gonna find it if you haven’t already.
Never didn’t have it...
This list is my first go at Pioneer Soulflayer and I piloted to a 3-1 victory at FNM, falling only to Harden Scales in a grindy game 3 against the Swami of Singleton. He played well and I made poor sideboard decisions, but part of the game is learning. Anywho, here is the list I played at FNM. It’s a good starting point for anyone trying to get familiar with the deck. I will likely be making changes to it as I play until I have found my best groove with it. Also, the sideboard is pretty generalized because the Pioneer meta as well as my LGS meta are still shaking out.
And now for your viewing pleasure...the list.