Let’s take a look at the deck, how playable it actually is, and how its value has held up today.
1 Birds of Paradise
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Boneyard Wurm
3 Viridian Emissary
2 Merfolk Looter
4 Armored Skaab
2 Acidic Slime
1 Ratchet Bomb
1 Gnaw to the Bone
4 Forbidden Alchemy
2 Spider Spawning
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Hinterland Harbor
There are pretty nice cards here. Obviously, 1 Birds of Paradise seems sort of thrown in, but it’s a welcome addition. Llanowar Elves is classic and shows up in a lot of Standard formats. Viridian Emissary helps you get the lands you need and was a very good common in those days. Merfolk Looter is good for a little draw power and throwing cards you don’t need in the graveyard. More cards in the graveyard really helps several cards in this deck. Two Acidic Slime are pretty basic, destroying lands or key artifacts to hinder your opponent’s progress.
The Innistrad inclusions here are Armored Skaab. Boneyard Wurm, and Splinterfright. Armored Skaab is a blue Zombie common who’s s a 1/4 that when it enters the battlefield, you put the top 4 cards of your deck into the graveyard. Boneyard Wurm is an interesting uncommon from Innistrad; the more creature cards you have in your graveyard, the stronger it becomes. Splinterfright is a rare creature card whose power and toughness is equal to the number of creature cards in your graveyard. This is just like Boneyard Wurm, except that at the beginning of each of your upkeep steps, you put the top 2 cards of your deck into the graveyard. So, Splinterfright can get bigger in a hurry.
Non-Creature Spells Breakdown
Ratchet Bomb is a nice little inclusion, as is Green Sun’s Zenith. The Zenith is going to search out Splinterfright, more often than not I think. Ratchet Bomb can help you clear out a bunch of monsters at once. But the most important rare for this deck is actually the two copies of Bonehoard. This equipment is a Living Weapon, and functions pretty much like a Boneyard Wurm. The difference is that you can essentially turn any of your creatures into a Boneyard Wurm after the Germ token that it comes with dies.
Gnaw to the Bomb just gains you tons of life based on how much you have in your graveyard. At one copy, this card probably isn’t too bad. While incidental lifegain is nice in Constructed, typically you don’t want to play a whole ton of cards that only gain you life, especially one that can be a fairly dead card. But as this is a slower deck, you probably want one copy just in case.
Forbidden Alchemy is a great common. You see the top four cards of your deck, add one to your hand, and ditch the other three into the graveyard. Spider Spawning is OK, but at 5 mana, it’s only going to be really good late game. It’s not a card that I’d play in Standard, although it’s a pretty fun card in general.
Mana Base and Sideboard Breakdown
Hinterland Harbor, being the blue/green enemy dual land in Innistrad, was actually the most expensive of the cards in this deck at the time. Otherwise, there’s just basic land in here. The 3 Swamps are included for the flashback costs of a couple cards in the deck.
Let’s peek into the sideboard:
2 Gnaw to the Bone
2 Mind Control
This is a pretty standard sideboard for an event deck, really. I don’t really like Gnaw to the Bones in the sideboard. It’s a card that’s only going to be good late-game, but I understand why it’s in here. It’s for aggro match-ups. This deck, sadly, is a bit slow. Still, one copy in the main-board is probably more than enough, especially with all of the other stuff in here. At the time, I felt these two sideboard copies were best replaced with Beast Within. I still feel that way.
I don’t think you need the Gnaws because you have a lot of other stuff to side in. You have three Naturalize to deal with problem artifacts - especially equipment - and enchantments. Flashfreeze counters red or green spells, so you can slow aggro down considerably. Negate is just good. The Mind Controls are cute because you can steal your opponent’s best creature and either equip your Bonehoard to it or clear the way for you to do lots of damage..
Overall, the deck relies on dumping a whole bunch of creature cards into your graveyard and beat people down with Boneyard Wurms. Splinterfright, and Bonehoards. It’s pretty basic, but it’s an interesting fun deck to pick up and play. More importantly, though, it has some very good cards that are played in many other decks - even in 2018. Back then, it was worth your money, although it’s not quite as good as the mono-white deck, Hold the Line.
Is the Deathfed Event Deck Worth Buying Today?
The short answer is: probably not. It would still be worth the $20 today for the cards, were you to get it for that price or less (which I assume is possible). But the deck typically is found for between $25-35, which isn’t really worth it.
In mid-2018, Green Suns’ Zenith and Birds of Paradise are $7 cards. Both see Commander play, and Birds sees Modern and tons of casual play. Those cards aren’t going down anytime soon. The only other semi-valuable card in the deck is Hinterland Harbor, which was reprinted, and is currently worth about $2.50. Ratchet Bomb is at best $1.50. It still sees occasional sideboard play.
The other rares in the deck aren’t worth much, but are playable. Splinterfright sees play in a lot of Sidisi, Brood Tyrant EDH decks. Bonehoard is a useful living weapon in many different EDH decks - but it’s a bulk rare due to being reprinted in four separate Commander products. Also, the commons and uncommons are all useful cards for your collection. So, if you found this deck lying around at a flea market for like $5 or $10 it would actually be a sweet deal.
I wouldn’t really buy this deck to play. To me, this deck was really just good for spare parts even at the time. It could be a fun deck to play at the time, but it wasn’t particularly competitive. Still, it’s not bad for what it is, a weaker Event Deck that still has some very playable cards in it.