Out of all of the duos from Battlebond, my favorites are probably Pir and Toothy. Their colours are nice () and their abilities seem very interesting, with their focus on +1/+1 counters and carddraw. In this pairing Toothy really is the teeth of the deck, offering a potentially large beatstick and tons of carddraw. Pir is more of a support character, acting more like an enchantment, but his ability to add extra counters does fuel some of the synergies of the deck, creating ever greater returns on the carddraw Toothy enables.
So, what if a Brainstorm acts like a cantrip version of Giant Growth? Or even better: Essence Flux acts like an (sometimes even better) Ancestral Recall? That’s awesome, right? It seems like Toothy has really great synergy with two types of effects: Blink and clones. So how does this work?
Blinking Toothy makes him leave play, setting up a trigger that allows you to draw cards for each +1/+1 counter he had when he left. Before you draw the cards, the blink effect returns toothy so he sees the draws and regains all the counters. With Pir in play, he even gains more than he had before.
A similar thing happens with clones: Once you make a copy of Toothy, as a state-based effect you have to choose one and sacrifice the other. You draw cards of the original, and the copy gains the +1/+1 counters of the draws. Even though the copy doesn’t deal commander damage, you can play the original again from the command zone, sacrifice the copy and draw a bunch of cards again, all the while Pir doubles the amount of counters gained.
Everything hinges on Toothy to live long enough to get a few counters. The blinking cards at least double as spot removal, and even against mass removal often you’ll draw a bunch of cards, gaining some advantage in the process.
So, how do we blink Toothy? Well, there are some instants that remove him and return him in time to see the draws, like Displace, Essence Flux, Ghostly Flicker and Illusionist’s Stratagem. With exeption of Essence Flux, these cards blink two permanents, so you can set up cards like Archaeomancer to return the instant to your hand again, to keep blinking and drawing lots of cards. Yet another blinker that’s more permanent is Nephalia Smuggler. The ultimat blinking guy is probably Deadeye Navigator, but maybe that one is too cheesy to put in a deck. Then again, once they see you blink things, opponents might think you have one anyway, so why not? Ultimately you may draw so many cards you may concider Laboratory Maniac as an alternative wincondition.
So What About Pir?
As I said, Pir feels more like an (important) enchantment. His ability to add extra counters to things seems good with Planeswalkers. Another use is using cards like Druids’ Repository so he’ll help ramping out, which is good concidering the amount of carddraw we hope to have.
A pet card of mine is Mindless Automaton, which happens to be great with Pir. This can be a huge beater in itself and basically “store” superfluous cards to be cached in for extra cards later, or at cycle things for just .
Furthering the +1/+1 counter theme are Herald of Secret Streams and Tuskguard Captain making Toothy, Automaton and the additional Toothy-alikes Lorescale Coatl and Chasm Skulker difficult to chump block.
Send In The Clones
Clone effect have some good synergy with Toothy as mentioned, and also go a long way to autobalance the deck against your playgroup. There are numerous ones to mention, and they fit the illusion theme well. A special shout-out to Altered Ego though, for supporting the +1/+1 counter theme. Also a notable clone is Stunt Double. Flash is great, and he also supports the blink theme a little by being an extra backup for Draining Whelk and Mystic Snake, countering a spell in a pinch.
So What Else?
Battlebond has some fun cards to use, to promote interaction and sometimes even make some allies. Let’s begin by looking at that other team fighting in the great Arena, that offers a little ramp and carddraw, and due to being partners help finding the other half when being played:
I can’t say they are the greatest cards ever, but they help. If we can find ways to make lands produce more than one mana, Ley Weaver can add a lot of mana. Fertile Ground is in the set, as is Peregrine Drake to go with the blink theme. Another good addition is Simic Growth Chamber, as always. All this put together offers the option to draw ánd play your entire deck.
All in all Pir & Toothy seem to make a fun team, with a deck that can beat down, but also have big combo turns and the ability to win out of nowhere on occasion. They probably need some time to get the ball rolling, both staring out as mere 1/1 creatures that spin out of control easilly if left unanswered. Pir is a bit dull by himself as he stays out of the action mostly, but having a combo piece in the command zone as a big plus. I can’t wait to swing with a gaint, imaginairy monster with double digit power and toughness, with combo and mill backup for the win.