Naya Spiritbinder

 

naya spiritbinder

 

Naya Spiritbinder

Standard Format



Creatures: 27

4 Aurelia, the Warleader
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Felhide Spiritbinder
4 Loxodon Smiter
3 Stormbreath Dragon
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Voyaging Satyr

Instants: 3

3 Boros Charm

Planeswalkers: 7

2 Domri Rade
2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
3 Xenagos, the Reveler

 





Lands: 23


4 Forest
3 Sacred Foundry
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple Garden
4 Temple of Abandon
4 Temple of Triumph

Sideboard

2 Archangel of Thune
1 Domri Rade
2 Hammer of Purphoros
4 Mistcutter Hydra
3 Mizzium Mortars
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
2 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

 

We’ve seen the traditional RG Monsters or Naya decks in Standard before. They have mana dorks, beatsticks, some planeswalker action plus a few instants/sorceries (Burn/removal). This deck is more or less that but with a combo thrown in for good measure. It involves Felhide Spiritbinder and Aurelia, the Warleader plus mana dorks. You basically need both creatures to be attacking and then either Boros Charm your team with the Aurelia untap ability on the stack. Your Felhide Spiritbinder will then untap along with a couple of mana dorks (one of which needs to provide red mana). You pay 1R to then make a copy of Aurelia, the Warleader from his inspired ability. Sacrifice the original Aurelia and attack again. Rinse and repeat.

Note that your Felhide Spiritbinder needs to go unblocked over and over or as stated before: you can cast Boros Charm and have all your guys become indestructible.

 

aurelia the warleader

 

You can always just content yourself with 1 additional combat phase

Of course, when you’re not comboing your opponent to death – you can always do what the Naya decks usually do : Attack! With Domri Rade and Xenagos, the Reveler , your control matchup is pretty good. Fatties like Loxodon Smiter and Stormbreath Dragon guarantee you get the beatdown in early and often. With not much time left until Journey into Nyx Standard, why not give the deck a try? You’ll be very pleasantly surprised. Heck, I’d play it even once Journey into Nyx is Standard legal and everyone is busy trying out the new cards. You even get to accelerate into an Elspeth if things go bad.

 

elspeth 3Still one of the best cards in Standard

 

Journey in Nyx: Notable Cards

standouts

by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos

 

The third and final set of the Theros block is upon us with the pre-release being this weekend. Instead of making random comments about all the cards, I have decided to simply point out the ones that stand out for various formats. The set does offer much more than Born of the Gods did in terms of brewing and I do hope that shifts the Standard format around a bit. It’s been pretty stagnant for a while with lower than usual attendance at most of the local card shops in the area. Magic has been on the rise as of late, but it had to eventually have a less popular/bad block along the way. It just saddens me that Theros was that block. I guess we’ll just jump right into it by color:

 

White

 

Aegis of the Gods

 

aegis of the gods

Take that ‘Shroud’!

This might be somewhat decent in Standard, but it’s definitely at its best in Legacy. Now decks like Maverick and Death and Taxes gain an extra weapon against Storm decks and the like (on top of Thalia). It’s much better to have these enchantments in creature form as they allow us to put the pressure on our combo opponents as well. Also, it can be tutored for with Enlightened Tutor (this is going to be a common point for a lot of the cards here). It’s an upgrade to True Believer (that’s easier to splash as well)  and can it into a tutorable sideboard card along the likes of Ethersworn Canonist.

Banishing Light

banishing light

Oblivion Ring

They eliminated the stack tricks with it and Oblivion Ring finds its way to the Standard Format yet again. With Detention Sphere rotating in November, we can’t let UW have the best weapons against the Gods. It’s a good ‘catch all’ card that everyone can appreciate.

Dawnbringer Charioteers

dawnbring of charioters

Seraph of the Dawn v 2.0

Not sure how many aggressive decks are actually going to run this. It (Seraph of the Dawn) did see some play in more control decks’ sideboards back when it was standard. I can effectively negate 2 attackers, so to speak. Blocking a 3 power guy and letting a 2 or lower power creature through. Due to its lifelink ability, we keep our lifetotal the same. The heroic ability is definitely a plus, although I’m not sure how often it will actually trigger in serious constructed play.

Deicide

 

deicide

 Immortal, huh?

This direct upgrade to Erase is cute and will end up dealing with even more permanents once Return to Ravnica block rotates and the Theros cards see even more Standard play. Not a huge fan of the cad myself, but it does help the gods from getting out of hand in the future (Thassa, anyone?)

Nyx-Fleece Ram

 

nyx fleece ram

 Just in time for Easter

While not being a big fan of the uber controls strategies myself, I can really appreciate this card nonetheless. It’s a good ‘Wall’ against the aggressive decks and gives you a little bonus as well. Some Esper decks ran Yoked Ox early in the format, so it’s not unreasonable to think this will end up in quite a few sideboards. For some fun times, try running both in a Doran, the Siege Tower deck in Modern. For everyhting else, there’s Phenax.

Reprisal

 

reprisal

 Much better looking than the original

Once Selesnya Charm rotates, this card will probably somewhat replace it. You lose all the flexibility of the Charm, but you can now splash it in just about any deck. It still doesn’t deal with Stormbreath Dragon though … Still, almost anything that has Monstrous will be at 4 or greater power, so ‘Yay!’.

You can’t Reprisal a God though 😦

Blue

 

Battlefield Thaumaturge

battlefield thaumaturge

 Miracle!

Maybe, just maybe Aurelia’s Fury will finally see some play with this. People will definitely try it in heroic decks obviously. It can make your Flames of the Firebrand into a rather efficient spell, clearing would-be blockers and triggering your heroic guys for peanuts. A pretty fun ‘build around me’ card that will have tons of people looking up cards on Gatherer.

It can potentially generate mana for cards like Aurelia’s Fury if you have multiple Battlefield Thaumaturges in play, since its effect does stack.

Dakra Mystic

dakra mystic2

Cute and deadly….ok, maybe just cute

At first glance, the effect is symmetrical. However, when combined with Spirit of the Labyrinth, it can be a nice little card drawer. Your opponent will already have drawn for their turn, but you will have not. It’s not the best thing since peanut butter and jelly, but it’s still a sweet little combo that could find a home in a more aggressive UW deck. You do get to see what each player would draw before deciding, so you can just decide to mill that card your opponent scryed on top if you’re not over enthused about what you would draw.

Dictate of Kruphix

 

dictate of kruphix

 Just make sure you benefit from it before your opponent gets to deal with it

Howling Mine is once again in the Standard format. With the ‘turbo-Fog-esque’ Maze’s End decks we are accustomed to seeing in local event, it’s not unreasonable to think that this would a welcome addition to them. Sure, it works both ways, but your deck wil be more geared to take advantage of it. Fog their dudes, drop a land, repeat. Supreme Verdict once in a while. All is good, right?

Of course it can also just make it into some kind of mill build. Since there isn’t one that’s mainstream Standard at the moment, I think it can be worth looking into.

Hypnotic Siren

 

hypnotic siren

 Mind Control + Flying Men

For a mere 7 mana, you get to grab your opponent’s best creature and give it flying plus a boost. Ok, it is rather pricey. Early on, you can get to play it and repeatedly attack for 1 in the air. Yeah, not much better. I guess the best way to put it is that you get to grab your opponent’s best creature and if it then dies, you still get a 1/1 flier out of it. The point that is hard to sell someone on is whether or not this is worth 7 mana. Grab an opposing Blood Baron? Stormbreath?

Control decks won’t really need it and aggro decks might use it a bit, but it’s mostly a very midrange card.

In monoblue devotion, it can sort of replace Judge’s Familiar (it usually doesn’t counter that much anyhow). It’s also a card that you won’t mind seeing later in the game, if you’re mana flooded or otherwise. If the deck does end up running more than 1 Nykthos again, this card might be a worthy inclusion. In a deck with Prophet of Kruphix, you can even Mind Control their guys at instant speed !

Riptide Chimera

riptide chimera

 Savor the flavor!

Well, it’s settled: If Kiora wants one, then it’s good enough for us. Obviously you’ll want to pair this with any enchantment that gives you value when it enters the battlefield. Think Oath of the Ancient Wood. Yes, it’s janky as hell! Dragon Mantle ? Bouncing an early Hypnotic Siren so that you can Mind Control something late game? Ok, maybe not.

Pre-Journey into Nyx, there are not that many good bounceback enchantments. Eidolon of Blossoms is a good start, as is any other constellation card. That’s a start, but is it enough to build a deck with?

Sage of Hours

 

sage of hours

 To infinity an beyond!

I’ve seen a few combos involving the new Ajani and Vorel, but I seriously doubt anything will come of it. Infinite combos is something Wizards of the Coast tries to catch in testing if they are too easy/consistent. Still, in formats like Commander it should be another Lighthouse Chronologist. A creature that everyone will just hate (Consecrated Sphinx). Why are most of these guys blue, eh?

Still, it’s another heroic dude that grows. He might wiggle his way into a Blue/White or Blue/Black heroic deck. You can ultimate him and get another turn of attacking goodness. Stranger things have happened.

Black

 

Brain Maggot

brain maggot

 That’s quite disgusting

This card is pretty much a functional reprint of Mesmeric Fiend. I can see it played in a Black/X aggro deck. Use it to take away your opponent’s board-clearing card (Supreme Verdict, for example) and keep the aggression going. Even 1 damage is good when you’re trying to get your opponent down to zero life. It’s a nice follow up to a Turn 1 Thoughtseize.

It can’t be abused with stack tricks, like Mesmeric Fiend could however. In a Monoblack sideboard, it can be paired with Lifebane Zombie to completely decimate the hands of those Green/White aggro decks that still don’t understand that this is not their format. they run no removal (because Selesnya Charm hardly counts). It is an enchantment, so it’s something you can pick up from milling yourself with Grisly Salvage, Commune with the Gods and Kruphix’s Insight. If there is a GB dredge deck post Return to Ravnica rotation, I can surely see this card being somewhere in the 75.

Dictate of Erebos

dictate of erebos

 Huh?

You needn’t worry. I have not gone off the deep end by suggesting that this is going to see serious play. It’s just Wizards of the Coast‘s way to have another Grave Pact in circulation. The card has infinite reprints, yet still manages to sell for 10$. This way, we can have a slightly different version and Commander players can run both. Those who don’t feel like shelling out 10$ for the original can have this one. Everyone’s happy.

Gnarled Scarhide

gnarled scarhide

 Quite a tricky ‘disadvantage’

Hooray for another 2/1 for one mana with a slight drawback (Tormented Hero). The fun thing about this card’s drawback is that it can later be used as an advantage if we draw it late game. It can effectively pacify one of their creatures by bestowing it and allow us to push through the final few points of damage needed to snatch a victory.

It also happens to be a minotaur, so that tribe now has a 1-drop creature. I doubt it will allow minotaurs to see any more serious constructed play than they already have in Standard. They do get some more support in this set, but everything seems to cost 3 mana for some reason.

Master of the Feast

master of the feast

 Juzam Djinn would be proud

Here comes another undercosted fattie! He’s even fat on the card’s art.

I like to compare these kinds of cards to burn spells. He basically will deal ‘burst’ damage. Sort of like a 3/3 flier for 3 would deal over 2 turns. The longer he is able to attack, the better. He eventually gets dealt with, for the most part. You are giving your opponent an extra card per turn, which is pretty dangerous. Of course it’s safer against the little aggro decks since it won’t give them anything to really take this guy down. It’s somewhat more dangerous when you give them an answer to it: Detention Sphere, Hero’s Downfall, Banishing Light,etc

Master of the Feast being an enchantment is very disadvantageous in this case, since it turns their Revoke Existence and the like into live removal as well. Still, it’s very ‘all in’ and combos with Spirit of the Labyrinth as well as Notion Thief.

Pharika’s Chosen

pharikas chosen

 Uh, say what?

No, I am not trolling you. Seriously. It’s just a black Sedge Scorpion. The keyword being : Black.

One of the monoblack deck’s biggest problem is an early aggro rush. Trading a one-drop for anything and I am mean anything is just good. It buys you time, it might even deter attackers. I’m not saying it will happen, but it is probably very sideboard worthy. It’s like a conditional removal spell that contributes a bit for devotion if it sticks around. I know it doesn’t sound impressive, but it does its part.

Ritual of the Returned

 

ritual of the returned

 One of my favorite cards in the set

The art on this card is quite nice.The quote is rather good and the effect can be game-breaking. It’s not exactly a reanimation spell, but it might as well be. There are a few Gods at 7 toughness and Worldspine Wurm at 15! The Worldspine scenario would probably require  a Lotleth Troll and proper timing to be worth it. Otherwise, it might find its way into another self-mill deck or something wacky in Commander. Flashing a potential huge threat is always cool.

Red

Eidolon of the Great Revel

eidolon of the great revel2

 Pyrostatic Pillar on a stick

In older formats, such as Legacy, this card is pretty sweet. It contributes more to the beatdown/burn plan that a red deck would want over a simple enchantment. In Standard, it’s quite different. The decks casting this will also be casting small stuff themselves. It would then become a sort of damage race where you would need to calculate if it’s worth hitting yourself for 2 in order to continue dropping more dudes or casting some burn in order to win.

It’s going to see sideboard play at first in… you guessed it: Red decks. Will it move up to the main deck? Your guess is as good as mine.

Harness by Force

 

harness by force

 Surprise(s) !

Act of  Treason always seems to find itself in the monored deck’s sideboards, so I would not be surprised if this card did as well. The double red cost is inconsequential, since it will almost always be in monored. You get to cast Act of Treason at its base, so Strive is an upside to it.

Late game, you usually draw an Act of Treason and think : ” Almost, but not quite”. This time you can tap six mana and potentitally just win out of nowhere.

Prophetic Flamespeaker

 

prophetic flamespeaker

Chandra (0) x 2

The stats on this card are not very impressive, but keep in mind the trample part. This means that if your opponent chump blocks you with a 1/1, you still get to trample over one point of damage and use its effect. Double strike means you can do it twice. is it greedy and ambitious? Yes!

Is it exciting and somewhat different? Of course!

It’s a card that I really want to like, but might ultimately fall short. Still ‘shocking’ my opponent on an empty board and ‘drawing’ two cards makes me all tingly. It really wants to be enchanted by some kind of pump aura. Dragon Mantle ? Maybe …

Twinflame

twinflame

 Splinter Twin it is not

Take your best creature, now copy it. Now copy it again for each 2R extra you pay. Heroic? trigger its heroic!

Sounds like a dream? perhaps, but it’s pretty cool. You can even copy quite a few more creatures than you normally would with Battlefield Thaumaturge. Copy Fabled Hero a few times for some massive damage! Two copies can generate 16 damage. Not too shabby!

Green

 

Eidolon of Blossoms

 

eidolon of blossoms

 They finally printed an ‘enchantress’ but is it too late?

It’s about time, but at least it’s here. I really wanted this thing as of the first set, so that it gives people an enabler for some kind of enchantress build. I believe quite a few people have become ‘disenchanted’ by this block and this might be a little too late. Still, contrary to most enchantress cards, it triggers on its own ‘enter the battlefield’ effect. It’s ‘decently’ costed and all it needs is a home.

You can sort of play it in a G/B dredge-style deck with Kruphix’s Insight post-rotation if the deck becomes almost full enchantment creature based. At the moment, it might seem to be a wee bit inefficient though. You can try to shove into a kind of Sphere of Safety deck and make that work. It makes your Mana Bloom into a draw spell as well as a ramp spell. Mana Bloom also can allow you to cast this on turn 3. You can then bounce Mana Bloom back on your upkeep, re-cast it and draw a card. You don’t actually need to pump any mana into Mana Bloom if you’re just trying to draw cards with it later game either.

Still, making your Detention Spheres and Banishing Lights into draw spells is pretty sweet too.

Kruphix’s Insight

 

kruphixs insight

 Oh, the possibilities!

The timing of this card could not be any better. It is going to be a GB dredge enabler. Will it make the deck more enchantmnet-based? Probably.

As with Commune with the Gods, you can grab your Whip of Erebos (as opposed to Grisly Salvage). Nighthowler is also an enchantment. Pharika is an enchantment as well. Will it modify the deck as of right now or will we have to wait to see it played in November? I think there are just enough enchantment creatures to give it a shot now. I would probably just keep Lotleth Trolls and Satyr Wayfinders as the non-enchantment creatures. You can probably piece together a rough list quite quickly with Herald of Torment and the usual suspects. The thing I like a lot is that now we get the GB Scry land, so you can scry first before casting this and know you can at least pick up the card on top off the mill.

Setessan Tactics

setessan tactics

 Heroic? Check .Mutiple Targets? Check . Removal? Check?!

On the surface, it might just seem like a funny combat trick. Setessan Tactics is quite a bit more than that. Heroic some of your dudes, have them grow and watch them take out your opponent’s creatures. Not bad, not bad at all!

It can shine in aggro mirror matches in decks that don’t necessarily pack much removal. Even at just 2 targets you can pump a couple of your heroic creatures and take out two of your opponent’s. At 2 mana, it’s like a better Pit Fight but let’s not go there…

Strength of the Fallen

 

strenght of the fallen

 GB dredge much?

While it’s not a creature, it is basically a second copy of Nighthowler and works better with cards like Kruphix’s Insight. I actually find it funny that for a creature matters color, the more promising green cards in this set are non-creatures. another thing that is nice, is that since it’s not an Bestow/Aura, you can keep targeting whatever you want.

You can also turn a bestowed Boon Satyr into lethal damage, a play I will certainly attempt. Who knows, maybe Deadbridge Chant will see some fringe play as well …

Multicolor

 

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes

ajani mentor of heroes

 +1 = go get Elspeth

So GW finally gets its two color planeswalker and taht cycle is complete. Ajani might find a home in some Junk or Bant planeswalker control deck. He’s clearly going to be run with his planeswalker buddy Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. You cast him on turn 5, find Elspeth in your top 5 and cast her on turn 6. Then just pump your Elspeth tokens with him or dig for something else in your deck.

He doesn’t protect himself per se, but he is able to dig up something that will on the following turn. I don’t think he is as powerful as most of the planeswalkers we have seen in the past, but he is pretty interesting. The three abilities don’t exactly work together, nor do you need to ultimate (since it doesn’t win you the game or anything).

I actually really hate that he only find aura as I was hoping to live the dream of Ajani ultimate with a Sanguine Bond in play. I can dream right?

Athreos, God of Passage

athreos

 Not what we were expecting

It’s not really what I was expecting in terms of abilities. While Obzedat does help you get to its 7 devotion requirement, it’s not really synergetic in terms of ability. I’m not sure you can run more than 2 in a deck and the ‘punisher’ style ability (usually seen in red cards past: Browbeat) is not that great at first glance.

It’s going for about 30$ on pre-sale and I would have no problem trading one away in order to obtain 3 Pharikas (going for about 10$).

Iroas, God of Victory

iroas god of victory

 7 power is just insane

While its ability doesn’t complement the main devotion-getter (Boros Reckoner), it is quite decent. The pseudo evasion is nice and it also applies to himself as well, which is great. You can even have a Hammer of Purphoros on turn 3 after having cast a double-white/red guy on turn 2 in order to get a hasty 7/4 Iroas swinging as of Turn 4.

Your guys don’t die via combat damage while attacking, in true Boros fashion. You finally get to do what a Boros deck is supposed to do, flavor-wise (something you couldn’t really do with Purphoros or Heliod).

Keranos, God of Storms

 

keranos image

 To bolt or not to bolt

The thing that is cool about this god is that he can easily get to devotion via Blue/Red cards (Boros Reckoner and Nightveil Specter). Unfortunately, he will most likely see play in some UWR (USA) control build as a finisher. He potentially nets you cards, regardless of them being lands and deals some burn damage to your opponent/annoying planeswalker.

I don’t particularly like him, since he only really does something as of turn 6 (barring acceleration). Still, the effects are somewhat cool and he should rank amongst the more popular gods. I can also maybe hope that Grixis becomes a thing and then I won’t feel too bad about running him in a non Sphinx’s Revelation deck.

Kruphix, God of Horizons

kruphix

 Very very Commander

As much as I like Kruphix (Spellbook and Upwelling, sort of) , he will probably end up in Commander decks most of the time. Still, you can hope to live the dream by stocking up on mana in a Bant deck only to unleash a huuuuuuuuuuuge Sphinx’s Revelation. You can continue to live that dream by not having to discard any of the cards you drew. Magic Christmas Land? Maybe….

Of all the Gods, Kruphix probably costs the most in order to do the least (at least immediately). It’s not impossible to get him to be a creature though (think monoblue).

Nyx Weaver

nyx weaver

 Does whatever a spider can! And then some

GB Devotion enabler? Self-mill? Random utility? Enchantment?

All of the above. He feeds your graveyard and even allows you to retrieve a piece that you normally can’t with Commune with the Gods and Kruphix’s Insight. It’s rather efficient in that respect. He himself can also be dredged out by Kruphix’s Insight, since he’s an enchantment. Being able to pay 5 mana to regrowth an Abrupt Decay is nice too.

Its creature stats are not too shabby either. The only bad part is that he exiles himself to regrowth a card. This does not allow you to recycle him afterwwards with Pharika, but that’s fine: he fills up the grave for you so there’s plenty of fodder in there.

Pharika, God of Affliction

pharika

 

Makes lil’ bonhommes

Pharika is my favorite God of the set for a few reasons. The first being that I like the GB dredge style deck and she fits in the deck pretty well. Secondly, I really like the fact that you can pack 4 copies (a la Thassa) as opposed to the other Gods in the set. You can mill extra copies and still get value out of them (Nighthowler or Pharika’s ability) or discard them to Lotleth Troll.You can also just cast them on top of the existing Pharika and exile the graveyard Pharika to make a 1/1 deathtouch token.

She gives your little removal creatures. They are enchantments to boot, so that’s going to be good with constellation (Eidolon of Blossoms). Most creatures in the format don’t have flying so they are pretty much also removal. The big drawback of her ability is that if you target your opponent’s grayard, they get the 1/1 deathtouch snake. It’s quite a downer, I know. You won’t really have to use it all that much unless they are going to do some kind of mad reanimation play.

I’m pretty glad she’s the least expensive God of the set as I want to stock up on them early and play her in the dredge deck. Outside of that, she can maybe find her way in a GB midrange deck with stuff like Courser of Kruphix, Underworld Connections, Nightveil Specter,etc. Basically a goodstuff.dec

Lands

 

Scry Lands

temple of maladay

temple of epiphany

More ‘dual lands’ if you plan on playing these color combos

Mana Confluence

mana confluenceMost sought-after card in the set?

The comparisons to City of Brass have been made. The Commander players want their foil versions. All the multicolor decks that are not heavily control want to run four of these. Will it live up to the hype? I think it will.

journey into nyx preorders

Remember to Pre-Order if you haven’t already

 

Journey into Nyx GameDay

journey playmat

A winner is you!

While not as sexy as the two previous Game Day Champion playmats, this one is all about the bragging rights. Can you snatch your third playmat and be the Theros Block triple crown champion?

Ok, I just made that up. Still, winning 3 back to back separate Game Day mats is quite an accomplishment. It might not be up there with winning a Grand Prix, Pro Tour or even a PTQ … but it has its own charm. You should probably scout your area’s Game Days carefully as multiple stores run them and you pretty much want to play in as many as possible. (May 24-25)

Should you fail, you can always get these:

squelching leeches

A non-evasive efficiently costed Nightmare that may see competitive play

dicate of kruphix

For when you wanna group hug the %^!T out of everybody

You can only get the Dictate of Kruphix if you Top 8 the Game Day though, which is not exremely hard unless there happens to be wayyyyy to many people at this event. The events are usually free for the most part, but some stores charge you a small entry fee (which includes a participation booster). This should not discourage you from participating as you probably get your money’s worth just by Top 8′ ing.

Good luck and Happy Game Day!

Monogreen Aggro

monogreen aggro

 

by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos

Here is a list of a a fairly inexpensive  little deck that did well online. It’s not your usual top tier deck and I encourage you to at least try it out or playtest against it. It has the potential to end games very early and most of you probably own most of the cards to build it.

 

 

Monogreen Aggro

Standard Format



Creatures: 31

Boon Satyr
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Experiment One
2 Gyre Sage
4 Kalonian Tusker
1 Mistcutter Hydra
Nylea, God of the Hunt
3 Polukranos, World Eater
3 Swordwise Cenataur
4 Witchstalker

Instants: 4

4 Aspect of the Hydra

Enchantments: 2
2 Bow of Nylea

 





Lands: 23


3 Mutavault
20 Forest


Sideboard

2 Bramblecrush
3 Mistcutter Hydra
3 Nylea’s Disciple
1 Pit Fight
3 Ranger’s Guile
1 Renegade Krassis
2 Tower Defense

 

This is pretty much a low curve aggro deck that tries to get in there and finish off your opponent with a timely Aspect of the Hydra for a lot (like 7 or more), making it akin to a Might of Oaks. If a creature like Witchstalker goes unblocked and you have the pump in your hand, it should be over or very close to it. Another thing to keep in mind is the interaction of Nylea’s trample-granting effect and Bow of Nylea: you’l only need to assign 1 damage to their blockers while attacking and trample over with the rest.

 

bow of nyleaIt’s a versatile little weapon in this particular deck

I’m not going to try to sing the praises of this particular artifact, but it also works insanely well with Polukranos. First you attack with Polukranos, he then gains deathtouch because he is attacking and finally you dump as much mana as you want into his monstrous ability. It will effectively clear all your opponent’s blockers out of the way in those longer games.

You can almost do without the 3 Mutavaults in the deck, but be warned that you do lose quite a bit of aggro possibilities versus the more controllish decks (attacking post Supreme Verdict).  Give this deck a whirl before Journey into Nyx is released if you want to try something new at your local weekly touraments.

 

Harvest Time

harvest time

by John Tuvida

Today I will share the second commander deck that I constructed, based around one of the most aggressive strategies available within Magic: the Gathering blowing the s*it out of EVERYTHING.
The Reaper King is a very aggressive commander in the sense that it is akin to having a plunger rigged to ignite explosives every time a scarecrow comes into play. The deck’s legion of scarecrows, changelings and other big creatures gets this deck rolling and almost nothing is safe whenever a scarecrow comes into play (so much so that I actually had to promise not to destroy basic lands with my playgroup when using this deck). When the deck is not popping out scarecrows, then it’s drawing cards and looking for other ways to win by grabbing a big creature or comboing off.

reaper kingThis is what the Great Pumpkin from Charlie Brown might have looked like

As with most of my decks, this one is pretty budget-friendly as far as Commander goes (the lands could be WAY better, but I made due with what I had). Regardless of price, this deck plays well and requires a bit of subtlety to play. There are times when you need to pull back and be conservative and it appears that you’re not doing anything in particular.Other times, you’re just pushing the plunger down over and over again, forcing your opponents to stop you somehow.
Harvest time is not always a pretty thing after all…

That said, here is my take on the Reaper King deck.

HARVEST TIME (Reaper King Commander Deck)

Harvest Time !

Commander Format


Creatures: 33

1 Adaptive Automaton
1 Avian Changeling
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Clone
1 Composite Golem
1 Deadeye Navigator
1 Esperzoa
1 Etched Monstrosity
1 Etched Oracle
1 Etherium Sculptor
1 Flickerwisp
1 Grand Architect
1 Grim Poppet
1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
1 Master of Etherium
1 Mirror Entity
1 Mothdust Changeling
1 Mulldrifter
Myr Retriever
1 One-Eyed Scarecrow
1 Painter’s Servant
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Prophet of Kruphix
1 Progenitor Mimic
1 Quicksilver Guargantuan
1 Sanctum Gargoyle
1 Scarecrone
1 Scuttlemutt
1 Shapesharer
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sphinx Summoner
1 Taurean Mauler

Artifacts: 21

1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Conjurer’s Closet
1 Darksteel Forge
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Door to Nothingness
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Expedition Map
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Howling Mine
Illusionist Bracers
Ichor Wellspring
Lightning Greaves
Mimic Vat
Skeleton Shard
Sol Ring
Strionic Resonator
Temple Bell
Trading Post
Unwinding Clock
Whip of Erebos

 

 

 





Enchantments: 2

1 Detention Sphere
1 Oblivion Ring

 

Sorceries: 5
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Rite of Replication
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Terminus
1 Wrath of God

Lands: 38

4  Forest
1  Swamp
6  Island
2  Plains
1  Mountain
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Gruul Turf
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Kazandu Refuge
1 Jwar Isle Refuge
1 Breeding Pool
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Grove
Rupture Spire
Gruul Guildgate
Rakdos Guildgate
Azorius Guildgate
Izzet Guildgate
Selesnya Guildgate
Dimir Guildgate
Orzhov Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
Boros Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Maze’s End
Vault of the Archangel

 

The Commander

As I have just mentioned, Reaper King is a very aggressive commander. When he gets summoned out, he immediately wants the party to begin. The more scarecrows (or scarecrow-like creatures) you can summon once he’s on the field means things will start exploding very quickly.

So naturally, your opponents will try and counter him or spot remove him off the field, leaving you grinding to a screeching halt. This is where some of the support spells and some of the utility creatures come into play. Slapping on Lightning Greaves will protect him from spells, whereas either a Darksteel Plate equipped or a Darksteel Forge in play will protect him from destruction and board wipes. Having both on him would be ideal of course, but even without these artifacts in play, there are other ways for the deck to deal damage without your commander.

The creatures

The creature list in this deck has two major recurring themes: artifacts and changelings. The number of scarecrows and changelings in the deck, 13 in total, mean that you will almost always have a “scarecrow” to throw out once Reaper King is in play. Add in three “clone” creatures (Quicksilver Gargantuan, Phantasmal Image, and Clone), the deck essentially has 16 scarecrows to play with.

However, the three clone-type monsters don’t necessarily have to copy a scarecrow. The other 17 creatures in the deck have a lot of synergy with the rest of the creature package, either drawing you cards, mana ramping, or providing nasty little tricks for you to play with.

mirror entityOoooh! Shiny!

Mirror Entity, one of the many changelings in this deck, has the unique ability of paying X to turn every creature you control into an X/X attacker. That’s right… X/X on ALL your creatures. With enough mana, tapping out could yeild you a bunch of high-powered attackers, some of who might have flying! It’s a pretty evil thing to do when no other plays are available to you on any given turn.
There are the 13 cards that either draw you cards, ramp your mana, or fetch cards from your deck or your graveyard. Etched Monstrosity, Etched Oracle and Mulldrifter profide card draw in creature form, whereas Etherium Sculptor, Grand Architect and Composite Golem either make artifact spells cheaper to cast or provide you with additional mana to use. Solemn Simulacrum fetches lands, while Sphinx Summoner tutors for artifact creatures, both of which can be reused multiple times via Myr Retriever and Sanctum Gargoyle if they hit the graveyard.

Last we have the big bad seven, the creatures in the deck that provide plenty of utility. Esperzoa, Flickerwisp and Deadeye Navigator all provide you with varying abilities of bouncing creatures off and back onto the field, recycling scarecrow plays and making Reaper King‘s ability go off for as much mana as you have (Deadeye Navigator is definitely the more dangerous of these three). They are also able to make multiple uses of come into play abilities.

 

 

 

deadeye navigatorHe helps get the scarecrows safely across water (their own true weakeness)

The other four creatures however, bear the biggest mention. Kuldotha  Forgemaster allows you to cheat any artifact into play, including the 9-cost Darksteel Forge! Progenitor Mimic will clone of ANY creature out when he arrives and then spawn a token clone during your upkeep. While copying a scarecrow would be the best play most of the time, he can also come in and clone your other utility creatures if you need any more uses of their abilities. For example, spawing a token of a Solemn Simulacrum every turn means a free land and potentially a lot of card draw later on. Master of Etherium‘s strength and toughness is equal to the number of artifacts you control (which in this deck is A LOT)  and gives other artifact creatures you control +1/+1. It’s none other than Prophet of Kruphix that takes the MVP award of the creatures in this deck, allowing you to always have your mana ready during each of your opponents’ turns, with the added bonus of flashing in creatures in response to anything your opponents do!

 

prophet of kruphix“Do you like flashing in creatures? Well, who the hell don’t?”

While the prospect of flashing in scarecrows every turn is definitely appealing, it also backs up the hidden win conditions within the deck. In fact, lands in this deck CAN end in your favor…

Lands

Normally I like discussing important lands at the end of anything I write about, but this is an exception. As the deck list reveals, Maze’s End IS a card in the deck, along with all ten guildgates. Winning with Maze’s End is VERY unlikely and VERY hard to do (though completely doable if your opponents can’t do anything about it), but it also provides you with another way to ramp.

dragon's maze matMaze’s End: so good that it made it on the Dragon’s Maze Game Day Champion Playmat

While Maze’s End comes into play tapped, every turn it untaps means a free dual-land, especially when activated at the end step before you start your turn. It gets much better with Prophet of Kruphix out too. If you can protect Prophet with Lightning Greaves and Darksteel Plate AND keep your opponents from ganging up on you (by, for example, blowing up their lands with Reaper King), you become a ticking time-bomb that will end the game in a very spectacular fashion (and believe me… the feeling of actually pulling it off is hard to describe).

Of course, that’s a lot of if’s and but’s… that is where the non-creature spells come in.

Other Spells

A five-colored deck can mana-hose you sometimes, which is why having the right colors at any given time is crucial. Chromatic Lantern fixes the problem quite handily, and Expedition Map will fetch any land you may need at the time. Darksteel Ingot, Gilded Lotus, and Sol Ring provide additional mana sources.

The rest of the non-creature spells are in the deck for varying purposes, the most common tied to abusing Reaper King‘s ability. Strionic Resonator and Illusionist’s Bracers give you two booms for the price of one, and Conjurer’s Closet flickers out any creature at the end of your turn. Mimic Vat does its job of dropping tokens, and is not limited to your own creatures.

conjurer's closetThe Rolls Royce of come into play effects

The last few spells provide untility to tutor for specific cards, draw additional cards, and if needed wipe the field or exile permanents if things are getting too crazy. But a few bear mentioning for the specifics of this deck. Unwinding Clock untaps all your artifacts during every upkeep, allowing you to use things like Gilded Lotus and Strionic Resonator every turn in necessary. This becomes absolutely disgusting with Prophet of Kruphix out, as all your permanents basically reset everytime someone’s turn starts.

Door to Nothingness is also a card in the deck that will kick someone out of the game, and thanks to certain creatures that return artifacts to your hand its possible to slam the door multiple times. Elixir of Immortality gives a bit of life gain, but also allows you to make sure your deck recycles all of its good stuff.

Finally, the one spell in the deck that NO one wants to see cast is Rite of Replication. Clone a creature for 4 mana or clone five times if you kick it for an addition 5 mana is pretty good, but when used on Reaper King himself is a staggering, and admittedly very dirty play. Having 5 Reaper Kings enter the battle field triggers ALL Reaper King’s abilities, and doing the math shows that 20 permanents get blown up in one sitting. Add Strionic Resonator or Illusionist’s Bracers to the mix, and you might as well have dropped a nuclear bomb on the battlefield.

rite of replicationCurse you … Math!

Harvesting is Fun !

In the end, the Reaper King deck can swing is many ways and can be modified so many other ways to match different playstyles. This is the version I am happy with, and with new sets coming out there will always be new things to try.
So what deck should I construct next? With so many potential commanders already out there, I just might wait to see some of the new legendary creatures coming out with the new sets. With Born of the Gods out, who knows what kind of tomfoolery will be created? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Until then, happy gaming people! 😉