Jund Food with Plaguecrafter

The experimentation continues. I’m still happy with how the deck plays, even though I sometimes get overrun by fast, agressive decks. Shorter games favour the luck of the draw, and I’m playing single games instead of best-out-of-three, so no sideboarding. So, I guess that’s ok. Sometimes I don’t have an answer to quick starts, and if I don’t find my Cauldron Familiar / Witch’s Oven combo, or my Mayhem Devil to take care of the many smaller creatures and stabilize. A sideboard would help against these fast decks. Also, in best-of-three I could mulligan more aggressively.

Being geared towards single games also informs my deckbuilding; Outside of the core cards, it’s a bit of a hotchpotch of 2-offs, especially in the removal section, to cast a wide as possible net in disrupting opponents. Assassins Trophy is the catchall removal spell, but unfortunately it only works on opponents permanents, so no trading a food for a land and ramping that way. I also found one card that has been working quite well: The Plaguecrafter.

I’ve been comparing this to Spark Harvest, and on the surface the harvest is cheaper, more flexible and it targets. The thing that pushes Plaguecrafter though is the fact it causes sacrifices, which play into Mayhem Devil. Plaguecrafter usually causes 2 Devil triggers, where Spark Harvest would only cause one. In quick testing, it already caused multiple one-sided boardwipes. One of the crafters replaced a Murderous Rider, because is easier to cast than .

I’m also concidering splashing for Oko, Thief of Crowns. He does add the need for a fourth colour to the deck, but Gilded Goose and Paradise Druid are already in, and they can take care of that. It’s just that turn 1 Goose, turn 2 Oko is such a strong start, and help stonewalling a ground offensive. I’m okay with trading a Cauldron Familiar or a Food for something a little more aggressive. The familiar I’ll probably get back soon anyway. When Oko a turn 2 or 3 doesn’t get hit with an early removal spell it’s going to be an uphill battle probably, buying me some time to set up my other tricks. Some steady food production also factors into my other cards, like keeping Wicked Wolf alive and growing.

Generally, the whole food thing works out really well. I didn’t expect the life-gain version of Treasure and Clues to be so flexible and effective. Food itself isn’t as good as the tokens that give mana and draws cards, but with the right cards around it food actually can draw cards and give mana. Is Jund Food the best deck? Probably not, so far it hasn’t been consistent enough, but it’s flexible, and very fun to play.

Posted under Commander / EDH

Jund Food Updates

After trying out the deck some more, and winning some wildcards to further tweak my deck, I made some updates. Mayhem Devil got bumped up to four, since they are the main damage dealers in the deck. With that, I also made some space for an additional Status // Statue.  Both sides of this card served me well. It won’t happen often, but I had some sacrifces queued up and had Status wipe out an army using the Devil, now pinging for deathtouch damage. For a card originally put in the deck as a placeholder removal card it does a surprisingly amount of work.

I also included a new planeswalker into the mix who sorta-kinda acts as an additional Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, providing some sacrifice opportunities and card draw, as well as generating her own sacrifice fuel.

I must admit she doesn’t look that powerful on paper, but the card draw effect is nice, and she makes a good tag-team with Garruk, Cursed Huntsman. His wolves and her -4 are devastating. But what do you expect from 2 six-mana cards? I’m also eyeing her ultimate, which could be a nice finisher with some Mayhem Devils on the table.

Speaking of the devils, I cut Syr Konrad, the Grim in favour of more of these, because they are more efficient and flexible in the context of this deck. Another card on the cutting table is Rankle, Master of Pranks. The haste is good, but I generally only use the discard effect, sometimes the sacrifice effect. The draw effect I generally won’t use, because I don’t want to give opponents cards. Sometimes, Rankle works, but I feel he needs specific situations to shine, despite the fact he has 3 abilities.

Once I have a Cauldron Familiar and a Witch’s Oven out, generally things are going well. Manifold Key helps getting out extra oven activtions, and functions as oven 5-6. The downside is it doesn’t do much without an oven and it requires additional mana to work. It requires testing, because when it works it is a force multiplier.

Wicked Wolf seems like a must-have for this deck. The fighting works with Status // Statue and he can eat food at instant speed. He’s removal with a body, and can dodge some removal.

Considering I’m out of wildcards, this is going to take some grinding though. Good thing my winrate with this deck has been good thus far.

Posted under Commander / EDH

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

Happily Ever After

Recently, I got a prerelease foil of Happily Ever After. It’s not the best card, but it says “you win the game” on it, and it’s shiny and foil. The question is, which deck am I going to use it in? It took a bit of an epiphany to find the correct deck.

The first thing the card does is giving everyone a card and some life. Technically, it’s card disadvantage, because aside from drawing, you also use up a card and everybody draws. People also get a bit of life, and hopefully, they’ll like you a bit more now. In a game where winning is zero-sum, “being liked” is a weird advantage, because you’re still the enemy, but, at least maybe the other players are more the enemy than you are. For now. Maybe the others now try to kill you last which is something. This is the group-hug theory, but beware, some people hate that, and try to attack you first. Having a card in play that reads “you win the game” probably doesn’t do you any favours either.

While it is unlikely to win with Happily Ever After, it’s fun to try. A couple of conditions need to be met, and it’s not easy.

– Your life total is equal, or greater than your starting life total. Since it’s likely everyones primairy strategy in the game is to try and lower your lifetotal, preferably to zero, this is a difficult condition to meet. The card graciously gives you 5 more life points to work with, but other means of upping and protecting your life total are in order to make sure it’s even possible, and to defend yourself when you threaten to win and become a target.

– There are six or more card types among permanents you control and/or in your graveyard. Happily Ever After is an enchantment. You probably cast it using mana from lands. And you likely have some creature around or in the graveyard. It’s handy that killing the creature doesn’t stop the effect, so that’s already 3 card types. Now all you need is an artifact, an instant and a sorcery, or a Planeswalker and you’re off to the races. In general, you’ll arive here naturally, and it’s probably the easiest condition to meet.

– There are five colours among permanents you control. It’s tricky, and it nudged me towards one of the commanders. But then it hit me: I’ll use this one instead:

Zedruu only has 3 of the 5 colours needed, and since there are restrictions in Commander based on the colour identity of the commander, I’ll have a hard time actually casting something black, green, or black-green. Hard, but not impossible. Living Weapon cards like Batterskull make a black Germ token. Curse of the Swine can turn something into a green Boar. Transguild Courier just is all colours. But do I really need to dilute the deck just to make an obscure wincondition work? Then I realized something about how my Zedruu deck functions. Trading!

The main thing the deck does is giving stuff away to gain cards and life (handy for the 40 life or more condition.) – But, it also has many control effects and effects that exchange control. It than hit me that I don’t actually need to run black, green or black-green things, as long as I have an opponent that does. Worst case scenario, and I’ll just give away Happily Ever After to some player that can’t trigger it, or to make someone a target.

So, that’s another card I can use to create a bloodless victory, and it feels more friendly than Approach of the Second Sun. It also works well, because Approach gives an additional life buffer. I just hope that other players accept that I’m playing a slightly different game with the alternate win conditions, but at least it’ll be different with a distinct play style, and generally focusing on enabling other decks, and creating a narrative. I mean, you won’t actually lose when you all get to live happily ever after.


Posted under Commander / EDH

DOOMSDAY MACHINE and Mirrodin Besieged

I’m still looking at tweaks for the Let’s Build a DOOMSDAY MACHINE deck. I found another card that might be interesting and could do many things in this deck. It seems like a powerful card, offering both the ability to create “scrap” – random artifact tokens I can sacrifice to other effects in the deck –  or it helps with card selection and with getting artifacts into the graveyard, so I can use Goblin Welder effects to get them out on the table.

But that’s not all. Should I ever get 15 artifacts in the grave -and it’s not that hard for this deck- I can start eliminating opponents, one per turn. And that is a bit of a pickle for this deck, as it looks for more contrived ways to do that, building intricate machines. Is it worth it to run one card that kicks a player out of the game that really deserves it, like the one hiding behind a huge pillowfort, or some stax player, or combo player? Or does it betray the goal and flavour of the deck?

Also, since I tried to find a spot for Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, but couldn’t find a spot, even though she has a similar function to the Mirran side by making tokens, it seems hard to find actual space for Mirrodin Besieged. At least Saheeli is somewhat flavour appropriate.

Posted under Commander / EDH