Azorius Folio Control

After being a little burned out on Magic Arena for a while, I got back in with Theros Beyond Death. First thing I made was enchantments, using Paradise Druid with auras that give vigilane, and Barkhide Troll with Hydra’s Growth to get some hard to remove threats, and eventually get something really big. The deck was fun, if a little inconsistant, requiring drawing a good mix of creatures, aura’s and land to work.

Eventually, that became boring as well, so I made an Esper () deck using Folio of Fancies, Smothering Tithe backed up with Underworld Dreams and Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted to turn all the card draw into damage. This worked pretty okay, but I found I could do without the black in the deck. Often, Folio was enough to mill someone out, and slightly better mana made stabilizing early on a lot easier.

So, I threw something together, and it works well, even it’s not the final list:

~ Azorius Folio Control ~

Creatures (14)

Dimir Informant
Dream Trawler
Elite Guardmage
Overwhelmed Apprentice
Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

Artifacts (3)

Folio of Fancies

Enchantments (7)

Banishing Light
The Birth of Meletis
Smothering Tithe

Lands (23)

Azorius Guildgate
Castle Vantress
Castle Ardenvale
Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Enlightenment

Spells (13)

Didn’t Say Please
Shatter the Sky
Sinister Sabotage
Time Wipe
Warrant // Warden

I really love Overwhelmed Apprentice. Being a 1/2 for one mana already stops most other one-drops in red, or at least bait a shock, slowing red down a little. It also mills a little, which helps the Folio win a little, but the most important bit is the scry 2, setting up later draws.

Dimir Informant is a similar speedbump, and the 4 toughness is significant, requiring additional removal spells to get rid of it, most of the time. The surveil further helps setting up the draws. Both these creatures have power 1, making running into them a little problematic for aggresive decks. They tend to be more of a deterent than the 0/4 walls I’ve concidered.

Elite Guardmage is 3 life and a card, and can block flyers. is on the expensive side, but I’ve gotten a lot of value out of them while I had Thassa, Deep-Dwelling. Thassa repeats the scry/surveil/draw on my creatures. It also untaps them by blinking, which helps getting more value out of Dream Trawler, so I can attack with it and still have a lifelinking blocker afterwards. Thassa can tap down something in a pinch, although I haven’t used the option much, if at all. It’s nice to have in an emergency though.

Dream Trawler itself is a nice, hard to remove card draw engine, a source of life, and with Folio of Fancies out, something that can end the game quickly. It’s such a fun card, and some decks simply can’t deal with it, especially if they have to race it after a board wipe.

Speaking of board wipes, I currently run two total, but the idea is to get more. Time Wipe is one, Shatter the Sky is the other. I prefer the latter, because it’s slightly easier on the mana, and sometimes the card draw generates me some extra mana with Smothering Tithe. I plan on getting one or two more Shatter the skies in the deck. Fortunately with all the card draw and scry effects, I get to my wipes often already.

The main part of the strategy is to draw lots of cards using the Folio, and use tempo to invalidate anything the opponent does. Banishing Light is a catchall removal spell, and I run several counter spells. Both Sinister Sabotage and Didn’t Say Please have their merits. Extra mill is good, but setting up draws is nice as well. I had several times where I knew I had a counter on top, and just got it with Folio. Counter-wise I’m concidering Absorb as well, for a little bit more of a life buffer. In want of extra early removal, I run Warrant // Warden. I can Warrant something, then mill it, or counter it later.

The other counter is Quench, which loses some value later on. It helps stabilizing early though.

Finally, there is the “combo” part. Smothering Tithe is there to generate lots of extra mana using Folio of Fancies, potentially chaining Folios into each other to win the game. I think I want an extra Tithe, even though the means I’ll often go shields down when casting it. It is where the fun is for the deck, though, and it’ll often end games within a couple of turns after it.

Other potential inclusions are:

Teferi, Time Raveler. It might replace Warrant as the bounce spell of choice. It also stops opposing counter decks, and sometimes allows me to insta-wrath or hold up a counter, and still have the opportunity to play sorceries risk-free.

Apostle of Purifying Light. Might be a good  sideboard card against Cauldron Familiar / Witch’s Oven decks, as well as aggresive mono-black decks.

…and ofcourse the mana needs to be better.

Conclusion: It’s a fun deck to play, and sometimes wins by surprise. Games tend to go a little long though, so it’s not a deck to quickly get multiple wins.


Posted under Standard

Jund Food

Recently I came across an interesting deck involving the Throne of Eldraine Food mechanic. It’s a bit of a combo deck, and it offers some opportunities to use some random cool cards that work around sacrificing things. The base combo works with Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven. These work together in a kind of sacrifice loop, slowly draining opponent’s life.

You can sacrifice the cat to the oven, get a food, and sacrifice that food to get back the cat, then drain a little life each turn. This in itself works great, and you’ll always have a little ground blocker, buying some extra time. It’s great that this works at instant speed, and doesn’t require mana. The real trick, however, is using these sacrifices as a trigger to deal lots of damage and maybe draw some extra cards.

So, lets take a look at the sequence: You sacrifice Cauldron Familiar to Witch’s Oven, Mayhem Devil triggers. Then you sacrifice the food to get back the familiar. Mayhem Devil triggers again. That’s already 3 damage and an extra life.

Korvold, Fae-cursed king is similar. On entering the battlefield he eats a cat or food, draws you a card and grows bigger, then you sacrifice a food to get back a cat and before you know it he’s a huge dragon that already drew you a bunch of cards, even before anyone can remove him.

The rest of the deck is food production and mana ramp and mana fixing, as well as some other haymakers that play into the food/sacrifice theme. I made the following prototype for testing the archetype, and it already works well, although there is a lot of room for improvement:

~ Jund Food ~

Creatures (22)

Cauldron Familiar
Gilded Goose
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
Mayhem Devil
Murderous Rider
Paradise Druid
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Savvy Hunter
Syr Konrad, the Grim
Tempting Witch

Planeswalkers (2)

Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
Vraska, Golgari Queen

Lands (24)

Blood Crypt
Castle Locthwain
Overgrown Tomb
Stomping Ground
Temple of Malady

Spells (12)

Assassin’s Trophy
Golden Egg
Status // Statue
Trail of Crumbs
Witch’s Oven

Even though the list is suboptimal, it works really well. Generally, the mana is pretty good, but sometimes I had an egg countered or a goose killed, and then I ran into some colour screw. Well, it happened once in testing, and the game went on for a while, and I had an improbable amount of bad luck finding my third colour. I must craft some Fabled Passages, for further colour fixing. Also some Once Upon a Times will make the deck and the mana more consistent.

Some other thoughts:

  • I noticed that once Murderous Rider dies, this will trigger Syr Konrad, the Grim twice, due to changing zones twice. Sure, it makes sense, but it’s an interaction that’s easy to miss in a paper game.
  • One of the cards I’m debating is Woodland Champion. With all the food tokens coming down, he should grow quickly. But then;
  • I want to include an extra Trail of Crumbs. The card is similar to Golden Egg in function, minus the mana fixing, but with more long-term upside in grindy matches. Most of my cards are permanents anyway.
  • Gilded Goose turns food into mana, and mana into food. And it works well with Trail of Crumbs, because it provides both the mana and the sacrifice (and given long enough, the food tokens) for the card selection to work.
  • Judith, the Scourge Diva is being considered, although generally she is a worse Mayhem Devil in this deck.
  • I want to have some extra, free sacrifice effects, maybe. An additional Savvy Hunter might be the key.
  • Gingerbread Cabin is a trap. 3 other forests isn’t likely to happen in a 2 or 3 colour deck.
  • Status // Statue is something I’m on the fence about. I first included it as an extra removal spell, but it might not have been the best choice. However, the hidden trick is also that it grants Deathtouch, and that’s savage with Mayhem Devil, and a couple of sacrifices.

All in all I’m having fun with this deck, and all the moving parts. There is a potential for lots of card selection, and the food means you can keep a high life total if needed. Mill is popular right now, and it doesn’t interact with that at all, but the damage output is real, and most of the time control decks have a hard time disrupting everything. I’m really looking forward to testing some more and make some improvements. It’s delicious!


Posted under Standard

Golgari Explore

It’s time to also develop a second deck in Arena, and I’m interested in a Golgari build. In fact, it’s going to have similarities to my Dimir deck, but instead of surveil, it’s going to explore. I can port some cards over between decks, because surveil and explore are similar in ways; Both are scry-alike mechanics that are able to dump things in the graveyard. I can imagine things will converge from there, and I might even end up with a Sultai () deck, with at least a splash of for… Muldrotha, the Gravetide, maybe?

Also the Golgari has the best logo of all Guilds.

So, why explore? Well, there are a lot of aggressive decks, and red is getting more and more traction with decks around Runaway Steam-Kin and Experimental Frenzy, so I want to run some Wildgrowth Walkers to have an escalating threat, that also gains me life. And explore allows me to dump creatures from the top of my deck into the graveyard, almost as good as Surveil does, but I have more, or better recursion available to take advantage of that.

I also like Journey to Eternity a lot. Once set up, I quickly get full access to my graveyard, especially in unison with Golgari Findbroker. And there are other cool synergies to be found:

Stitcher’s Supplier and Plaguecrafter feel like a one-two (or one-three, if you look at CMC)  punch that fills the grave with cool stuff. Plaguecrafter also makes it easier to use Journey, and set up quite a bit of a string of sacrifice effects the Atzal.

Ideally, I’m looking for something to sacrifice my creatures to, to help activating Atzal, and to keep reusing enter the battlefield effects. So far, I have seen a lot that can help with that.

Doom Whisperer is a good way to set up Explores, as well as filling the graveyard. Since I use 2 in my Dimir deck, it’s an easy include.

At it’s core, it looks like something like this:

~ Golgari Reanimator ~

Exploration Suite (12)

Merfolk Branchwalker
Seekers’ Squire
Wildgrowth Walker

Graveyard Filling (8)

Stitcher’s Supplier

Reanimation and Recursion (8)

Find // Finality
Golgari Findbroker
Journey to Eternity

Reanimation Targets (4)

Doom Whisperer
Izoni, Thousand-Eyed

Removal (4)

Ravenous Chupacabra

Lands (24)

Golgari Guildgate
Overgrown Tomb
Woodland Cemetery

This is only the base of the deck, and from there things can be added. Maybe some incarnation of Vraska, or Assassin’s Trophy, or maybe a Lotleth Giant as a finisher. Once the base is there, I can test different variations and single cards and tweak the numbers. I do like decks that have card selection and snowballing synergies.

Posted under Standard

Phyrexian Scriptures

Now I’m strongly concidering Phyrexian Scriptures in my Dimir deck. One of the things I have problems with is decks that go wide, or decks that have hexproof creatures. Scriptures is a good way to deal with those, I think. The downside is the delay in destroying things, giving opponents the chance to deal with scriptures. At least it’s an extra counter that can be useful for Thoughtbound Phantasm, and it makes Nightveil Predator even harder to deal with.

It also seems like a card worth getting, because it also works very nicely in Golgari decks, because it’s a recursive wrath effect with Golgari Findbroker. Another positive thing the Scriptures does is dealing with graveyards. This puts a lot of pressure on decks that use the graveyard, and with Jump-Start and Undergrowth, a lot of decks actually use the graveyard.

So, it’s worth testing. Maybe some sorcery-based Wrath is better, because I run Mission Briefing, but I can’t pinpoint the exact card I want to use. Ritual of Soot is the closest competition, but unlocking that in Arena doesn’t conflict with Scriptures, due to it being from a different set that I can draft, and being a different rarity, and it deals with a different subset of creatures.


Posted under Standard

Magic Arena: Dimir Sinister Surveilance

Since the open beta of Magic Arena started, I jumped on the bandwagon and started playing it. It’s a bit frustrating so far, because I have a limited card pool. Grinding is in order. Since my physical games are usually either draft or commander, this is a way for me to get into standard constructed.

For a guild based on secrecy, the Dimir love to splash their logo on things.

The deck I’ll aim to collect is a Dimir Surveil deck. I like the amount of card selection and draw, and the more grindy control elements. The idea is to win with Thoughtbound Phantasm or the very evasive Dimir Spybug. These can grow quickly while you surveil and increase your card quality. This is suplemented by Disinformation Campaign for extra draw and disruption.

~ Dimir Sinister Surveilance ~

Creatures (16)

Darkblade Agent
Dimir Informant
Dimir Spybug
Nightveil Sprite
Thief of Sanity
Thoughtbound Phantasm

Spells (19)

Cast Down
Discovery // Dispersal
Notion Rain
Price of Fame
Sinister Sabotage
Thought Erasure

Enchantments (3)

Disinformation Campaign

Lands (22)

Drowned Catacomb
Watery Grave

So let’s go over the cards:

Darkblade Agent – With all the Surveil, it should have deathtouch most of the time, or at least representing it. The agent also draws extra cards, when he is not trading up with other creatures.

Dimir Informant – The informant surveils and is a reasonable blocker, invalidating most of the smaller ground creatures.

Dimir Spybug – This is one of the centerpieces of the deck: A creature with double evasion (flying and menace) that quickly grows into a significant threat. With some removal on the side to deal with a second flyer and it is basically an unblockable creature that gets big, fast.

Nightveil Sprite – A flyer that is a constant source of surveil. I might take House Guildmage in concideration here, but the sprite surveils for free.

Thief of Sanity – This competes with Darkblade Agent for the card advantage engine, but the Thief is always “on” when it comes to card advantage. So far, when I played this in Arena, I was pleased with it. Not only does it turn the weapons of your opponent against them, it gives information in what they are doing and mills them. It also helps against other Surveil cards by disrupting the top of their decks after they set these up.

Thoughtbound Phantasm – Like the Spybug, this is a creature that keeps growing. As a 2/2 for it comes down early, and it’s cheaper than most removal aimed at it, so tempo wise it’s great. As a 2/2 that soon gets bigger, it often invalidates anything attacking on the ground. Once it’s big enough to be able to attack it should sweep the floor with most things, especially with some removal as backup, and force opponents on the defensive.

Cast Down – Some cheap removal to deal with troublesome creatures.

Discovery // Dispersal – Either a cantripping surveil card, or an extra removal card when the opponent is hellbent. It can potentially deal with non-creatures in the right situation.

You take the “” pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

Notion Rain – Card selection and card draw. It’s good, but I’m on the fence if Mission Briefing might be better, because that’s an instant and it can help recast my removal and counters, and has a lower CMC. I think Briefing is overhyped a little when it was spoiled, and I love it for my Shu Yun deck, but it’s still a good card. Either is worth testing. Cutting Notion rain would mean missing out on some sweet art, though.

Price of Fame – Another removal spell. Mostly a reverse Cast Down, but it surveils and can hit (almost) anything.

Sinister Sabotage – Once I have someone hellbent and unable to handle the board, this stops them getting out of a bad situation, while advancing my plans. It’s a counterspell that sets up my draws and grows my creatures.

Syncopate – I wanted to run more counters, and my pick has been two Syncopates. It does have some competition and it may change to suit whatever problematic things I’ll encounter. This may be too much of a dead card later on in the game. Does Unwind fit the bill better?

If we’re using Syncopate, we might as well choose the Dimir art!

Thought Erasure – Getting information is key, and this shows me what my opponent is up to and also mess with their plans.

Disinformation Campaign – My main source of card advantage and hand destruction. It’s arguably bad in multiples, but since I’m surveiling a lot, I can send duplicates to the ‘yard.

There are still some cards I’m concidering:

Etrata, the Silencer is repeated removal and an alternate wincondition. With all the deck manipulation going on, it’s not inconcievable I get her back a couple of times.

Lazav, the Multifarious could give me some graveyard synergies I’m lacking right now. It’s fun to think about how he can turn into a Dimir Spybug, grow a little, then turn into a Thief of Sanity when he bypassed blockers. It’s also very cute, and probably not practical.

Whispering Snitch – This one feels mostly like a sideboard card against very aggresive decks, helping to stabilize against an early onslaught. The life drain is fine, and may keep me out of range of red decks, but I don’t think this card is generally good enough.

Mephitic Vapors – I’m also in the market for some mass removal, And while the Vapors is technically that, it seems too low impact to actually have an effect. I see a lot of rushing 1/1’s, but generally it’s too unreliable. I do like what Find // Finality has to offer but that means splashing somehow.

Drowned Secrets – This is a heavy deck, and on the controling side, so games tend to go long. I can repeatedly play Disinformation Campaign. The Thiefs of Sanity also mill. Drowned Secrets might be a good sideboard option against other surveil decks. I don’t think the appeal is good enough to mainboard it though. Also, there are some cards that get played when milled (Narcomoeba, Creeping Chill) that adds some risk to mill strategies.

Enhanced Surveillance – I don’t think this is what I want out of a surveil matters card. Sure, it’s nice to have extra card selection, but it doesn’t do much else. I can see this in a Devious Cover-Up deck, with the additional reshuffeling and ultimately milling opponents out. While we use a similar control strategy, I think we need more substance.

Talking about Creeping Chill, it’s a concideration for a free spell to help stabilize and regain some life, mostly for free. It doesn’t actually impact the board, but with all the surveil going on it’s likely to be a free effect that doesn’t even cost a card.

The land count is somewhat low, but the big amount of card selection should make up for that. I can add Dimir Locket, since the lockets work better than expected, and it’s more card advantage. Going shields down for a turn seems problematic, though. And Disinformation Campaign is more than enough card draw all by itself.

While the deck is mostly uncommons, I’m not nearly there on Arena. I have a vaguely similar Dimir deck that I want to tweak towards this model, and it’s already very fun to play. Especially Thief of Sanity has been a lot of fun.

Posted under Magic Duels,Standard

Ramunap Pummeler

I’ve been tinkering with the red/green Pummeler deck since Kaladesh, and I really like the aggresive style of the deck, combinded with the energy management that comes with it. I’ve been playing it a lot in Magic Duels (Sadly, it’s not possible to play the ideal version in there.) Then, when Amonketh was released, I tried Ahn-Crop Crasher and the card always felt fantastic. The Exert mechanic also felt similar to the Energy mechanic in the sense that sometimes you can pour a little extra into the creatures to get more out of them. Crashing for extra damage and sometimes disabling a blocker helped the deck a lot, especially faced with indestructable gods in the way.


Then came Hour of Devestation with the Desert theme. I quickly noticed the deck could use a full complement of Hashep Oasis because I just needed more creature pump for greater consistancy and combo wins with Electrostatic Pummeler. I also noticed I sometimes had a little problem dealing the last bits of damage, so the Ramunap Ruins where included to have extra deserts to sacrifice to either effect. I didn’t dare to include lands that are purely colourless or enter the battlefield tapped, and the all-or-nothing approach makes the painlands a little less problematic.

Since the deserts go into the land slots, it didn’t cost me much deck space. The thing that left to make room for Crashers and more Harnessed Lightning where my two Uncaged Fury cards. They are good at stealing wins, but Crasher does it better.

Cards that didn’t make the cut where Rhonas the Indomitable and Hazoret the Fervent. These cards should be good in the deck, but somehow they always underperformed. Rhonas was often not solving problems when my creatures got removed, and Hazoret I felt was always late to the party, and is a competing 4-drop to the Bristling Hydras. The hydras generate energy, so I prefer those.

One other thing I might run instead of Uncaged Fury is Insult // Injury. It’s more telegraphed, but it might steal some games and it functions as extra removal.

Here is my current list:

~ Ramunap Pummeler ~

Creatures (22)

Ahn-Crop Crasher
Bristling Hydra
Electrostatic Pummeler
Longtusk Cub
Servant of the Conduit
Voltaic Brawler

Spells (18)

Attune with Aether
Blossoming Defense
Harnessed Lightning
Invigorated Rampage
Larger Than Life

Lands (20)

Aether Hub
Hashep Oasis
Ramunap Ruins

Sideboard (15)

Chandra’s Defeat
Hapatra’s Mark


Posted under Standard

Jund Legends

While looking for cool ideas for a standard deck, I ran into a nifty thing on MtgSalvation. It’s a deck based on Hero’s Blade and uses various legendary creatures to wield them. Of particular interest, however, is the synergy between these three legends.

alesha tymaret yasova

I never found Tymaret particularly interesting,  but here he fills an important role: When Yasova steals a creature, Tymaret can sacrifice it before you have to give it back.  Alesha can bring Tymaret back, if needed, among other things and is generally an efficient first striker to wield a blade. And there is more going on in the deck, like Yisan, who will find increasingly bigger things, but mostly is there for Hero’s Blade too. Because Yisan is pretty slow.

The original deck looks like this:

~ Jund Legendary Heroes ~

Heroes (23)

Tymaret, the murder king
Yasova Dragonclaw
Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Pharika, God of Affliction
polukranos, world eater
king macar, the gold-cursed
Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury
Xenagos, God of Revels
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Atarka, World Render

Squires (8)

elvish mystic
sylvan caryatid

Artifacts (5)

Hero’s Blade
Heroes’ Podium

Lands (23)

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Temple of Abandon
Temple of Malice
Wooded Foothills
Bloodstained Mire

It’s a good starting point. It could use a Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth instead of one swamp maybe, to make some splashes easier.  And while the Hero’s Blade is fun, there might be some legends that can be left out to make place for a Hornet Queen.  If you can somehow dump a queen in the graveyard, with, say Tormenting Voice, Alesha and Tymaret can team up for all kinds of nastyness.

Even though I didn’t have much time, I tried a proof-of-concept version of the deck, to see how it goes. My version looked like this:

~ Jund Legendary Heroes (Experiment) ~

Legends (17)

Tymaret, the murder king
Yasova Dragonclaw
Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
polukranos, world eater
king macar, the gold-cursed
Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury
Atarka, World Render

Other creatures (7)

Humble Defector
Shaman of the Great Hunt
Stormbreath Dragon

Artifacts (5)

Hero’s Blade
Heroes’ Podium

Instants (7)

Collateral Damage
Lightning Strike

Lands (24)

Bloodfell Caves
Jungle Hollow
Temple of Abandon

The experimental version is a little different. Since the deck has Dragon ‘lords’ and I had a couple of spare Stormbreath Dragons, I included those. I also like Humble Defector which has some cool syntergy with Yasova Dragonclaw. Sadly, during testing a few short games I didn’t run into my defectors, and most of the time Yasova got removed before I could go draw, steal, draw.

I even included the Collateral Damage to use with Yasova, but it’s difficult to get quick enough. It does make a nice addition to Tymaret, but so far I couldn’t steal, sacrifice and burn.

Shaman of the Great Hunt worked really great. Even when he couldn’t be used as a quick hasty attacker, he helped grow the other guys out of reach quickly. I didn’t use the draw ability much, but it’s nice that I could when I didn’t have something better to do.


A turn two Hero’s Blade, followed by one of the 3 drop legends is always awesome. The option to Dash in Kolaghan and do (at least) 8 through the air later on is great as well. There still is some room for improvement, though.

generator satyrhedonist sylvan

Even though the deck can be explosive, it needs to be as fast as possible to keep outpacing opponents. I’m eyeing Generator Servant to help out ramping things up, maybe supplemented by Satyr Hedonist. The latter might be helpful with the awkward mana, but granting haste seems very important in the deck. The Generator Servant could help provide the mana for a Hero’s Blade ánd drop a hasty Yasova or Alesha -Or a quick Kolaghan.

Both ramp creatures can create quite a jump in mana, and work well with Alesha. Potentially, the Servant can allow Alasha to attack turn 3 and she can bring the servant back, attacking.

Then there is Sylvan Caryatid,  which is a popular choice in mana ramp and fixing, while being a good early defense, too. If I had more of these available, I’d probably run it.


Another puzzle to solve is Yisan, the Wanderer Bard. His legendness is handy in this deck for both the Hero’s Blade and the Heroe’s Podium. His ability is nothing to write home about, though: It’s a bit to slow. Still, being an early 5/5 attacker with the blade is nice. What the deck lacks at this moment are valid 1-drops though, so the first activation will always whiff, even when the situation comes up that an activation is a valid option. There might be a couple of options though.


elvish warden

Potential viable one drops are Elvish Mystic, which adds to the ramp in the deck needs. Warden of the First Tree also seems to be a nice option. Being either a 1-drop, or a 3/3 for 3 is pretty good.  He could be potentially more, if you’re willing to risk sinking some mana into him. There is some risk in that, but maybe one of these guys could do some incidental cool things.

Posted under Standard

Green/Black Constellation

arc1477_mostawesometokeneverThis is an experiment with the Constellation mechanic. The idea is to hold the fort while gaining card advantage and filling up the graveyard to make some creatures really big. All the while Grim Guardian will chip at their lifetotal.

Pharika can turn creatures in the graveyard into snake tokens, which are conveniently enough also extra enchantments to trigger the constellation effects. This should result in extra cards draw, extra life loss and having Doomwake Giant downsizing the opposition.

Aside from some elves and land for mana production, everything is an enchantment, or in case of Renowned Weaver, can turn into an enchantment.

Nyx Weaver can exile itself to get something from the the graveyard. Deadbridge Chant kicks things in overdrive to set up the endgame by making sure you always have something you can do.

Humbler of Mortals is the last piece of meat. It combines nicely with Bow of Nylea to make blocking almost pointless by combining Deathtouch and Trample on your creatures.

~ Green/Black Constellation ~

Creatures (30)

Doomwake Giant
Eidolon of Blossoms
Elvish Mystic
Grim Guardian
Humbler of Mortals
Nyx Weaver
Pharika, God of Affliction
Renowned Weaver

Other (6)

Bow of Nylea
Strength from the Fallen
Deadbridge Chant

Lands (24)

12 Forest
12 Swamp
Posted under Standard

White/Blue Heroic


Ever since Theros came out, I’ve been trying to make a Heroic deck work. I think it was Fabled Hero that drew me into the concept. Double strike works well with buffs, and the idea of an ever growing creature had a certain appeal to me. It seemed mono- white wasn’t going to cut it, so I ended up with blue so I could add some cipher cards.

Or, well, just Hidden Strings which should give me a stable supply of spells that target, so I could keep growing my heroes.  When Born of the Gods came along, things started to look better. Glimpse the Sun God added a better version of another trick I was using: Gridlock.

The deck worked decently and was lots of fun to play, if sometimes inconsistant. Then Journey into Nyx was released and gave me two more cards, that really completed the deck.  Lagonna-Band Trailblazer gives me another one-drop next to Favored Hoplite and makes the deck stronger when there is a need to play defensively. Battlefield Thaumaturge significantly reduces the cost of most of my combat tricks and rounds out my team of heroes.

So let’s take a look at the deck:

~ White/Blue Heroic V1.0 ~

Creatures (19)

Battlefield Thaumaturge
Fabled Hero
Favored Hoplite
Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
Nivmagus Elemental
Phalanx Leader

Other (17)

Glimpse the Sun God
Gods Willing
Hidden Strings
Ordeal of Thassa

Lands (24)

Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Enlightenment

The extra one-drops are important. The deck needs enablers to make the heroes grow, but they do nothing without bodies on the table. The best opening is either Favored Hoplite or Lagonna-Band Trailblazer followed by an Ordea of Thassa turn two. This creates sizable creatures early on, and quickly draws you extra cards.

There are also two copies of Nivmagus Elemental.  The elemental turns some of the spells into counters, after they already have triggered heroic. Being able to eat instants makes them quite unpredictable. A good opening with them is tapping some blockers with Hidden Strings, attacking and eating the ciphered strings for counters. If there aren’t any blockers, the strings can untap land so extra creatures can be played, or Nivmagus can get an ordeal before combat. Explosive stuff.

Unsung Heroes

There are plenty of card I concidered, but ended up on the cutting table, especially in the crowded 2-drop section. Akroan Skyguard does offer evasion, but wasn’t agressive enough. Battlewise Hoplite is amazing but the seems difficult to get early on consitently. Right now Phalanx Leader is in it’s place, and also has a difficult mana cost. It’s hard to say which one is better. Scry is very good.

Triton Fortune Hunter and Wavecrash Triton where in the deck at some point, but their lack of growth caused me to seldom play them over other things I had in my hands. I haven’t tried Tethmos High Priest yet, since it falls in the same catagory, even though it has a slightly better body by itself.

Strifing to do better

phalanx polyrush launch

Journey Into Nyx also gives us some strife cards. I’ve tried Launch the Fleet and while it’s good and won me some games, it requires quite a setup for it to be really worth it. There is no arguing with multiple hasty 1/1’s coming from one card though.

Polymorphous Rush seems to be a fun card, but since my own creatures start out small, it’s dependant on whatever the opponent is playing to make it worth it. Artisan of Form didn’t make it, so I doubt Rush will.

Then there is Phalanx Formation . This may replace Fabled Hero as the go-to card for Double Strike. Being an instant it is always a looming threat. The strife cost means it can even benefit from multiple Battlefield Thaumaturges. Having an alternative to get Double Strike, Battlewise Hoplite is getting more powerful in context. It’s still difficult to get the numbers right, but maybe I’ll test out this version:

~ White/Blue Heroic V2.0 ~

Creatures (18)

Battlewise Hoplite
Battlefield Thaumaturge
Favored Hoplite
Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
Nivmagus Elemental
Phalanx Leader

Other (18)

Glimpse the Sun God
Gods Willing
Hidden Strings
Ordeal of Thassa
Phalanx formation

Lands (24)

Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Enlightenment
Posted under Standard