I’ve had a dream ever since AER was spoiled. You see, Inspiring Statuary is the type of card that asks your imagination to run wild. Your next spell is already reduced by a mana thanks to the Statuary, but perhaps it’s actually reduced by 4 mana if you really have a lot of artifacts in play. I didn’t stop there though. My dream was to cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger off of Clues…
Next time someone says you’re dreaming too big, just point them right here.
Any good dream requires set up, though. Here’s the plan to reach it:
UlaFog (37 tix)
(This list is slightly different than the one from the picture.)
Without a Statuary in play, you probably aren’t casting Ulamog unless the game has gone on really long. This card combines with your Trail of Evidences to produce an absurd amount of mana in the deck. It also helps your Anticipates and fogs effectively cost 1 mana since you get a Clue with each one you cast. Once you have Statuary in play you can just start digging through your deck, find a Trail or two, and ramp your way to Ulamog. This is plan A.
Plan A is pretty tough with only 1 copy of Inspiring Statuary. Thankfully you actually have a virtual 4 copies thanks to Trophy Mage. I played more Statuarys in my original build, but drawing multiples is often quite bad since you do get a 3-cost mana rock off the second copy, but it doesn’t help you accelerate anywhere near as much as the first one. Additionally, this deck has a natural curve of turn-3 Trophy Mage into turn-4 Statuary plus either Repel the Abominable or Commencement of Festivities. Trophy Mage is even a Human for your Repel!
This is plan B. You can eventually get enough energy and just kill your opponent slowly, but really Dynavolt Tower is here to supplement plan A. Your opponent can get crafty and simply play out one or two threats, which makes fog/Fumigate awkward, and Tower helps stop that plan. Once your opponent does play a few more threats, Wrath away! The Tower is also pretty important for stopping the Copycat combo. You do have fogs to stop infinite Cats for a turn but then you really need to find a way to actually prevent your opponent from combo’ing every turn, or you’ll eventually run out of fogs.
Repel the Abominable/Commencement of Festivities
These are your fogs and allow you to set up key durdle turns deploying Dynavolt Tower, Inspiring Statuary, and Trail of Evidence. Historically, turbo fog decks have run Howling Mine effects to ensure they draw enough cards to fog every turn. This deck could run Fevered Visions on the splash, but turns instead to Fumigate/Descend Upon the Sinful so that you don’t necessarily need to fog every single turn. Additionally, once you turn the corner and actually land Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, the game isn’t going to go on for much longer. This deck would actually be very good if Repel the Abominable were a true fog, but it is a bit awkward these days with an abundance of Humans running around. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner’s growing popularity is especially annoying since she can draw a bunch of cards through fogs and deals damage through Repel. On the other hand, I have countered a 36/36 Pummeler on turn 4 with Repel so it still can do some pretty nice things.
One additional note to be careful of with Repel the Abominable is that it counters all non-Human damage, not just that from creatures. This means it effectively counters opposing burn spells, but also turns off your Dynavolt Towers for the turn. A common situation is to have 3 energy and a Tower in play. Here you can cast Repel and let the energy trigger from the Tower resolve, then use the Tower before Repel resolves.
This is a fun one of that will often just be 2UU, suspend 1, win the game. Of course, you have to have your full engine online for that to work, but at times this card is better than a second Ulamog. I enjoy the 1/1 split on finishers, especially thanks to the singleton Tamiyo’s Journal, which can just get whichever is better at the time. Be careful not to put this on the Journal itself though since it’s legendary (a situation I only barely avoided! Reading your cards is strong technology).
Your opponents will often bring in some artifact/enchantment hate against you since you’ll win game 1 via Trails, Towers, and Statuary virtually every time. This means you’ll want access to some counterspells, and Negate helps hedge the most against common answers. Your opponents will also have many dead cards game 1 and so your deck will generally get worse post-board. If you want to make the deck less budget, I recommend playing 4 Tireless Tracker over 1 Dispel, 1 Confirm Suspicions, and the 2 Disallow. It lets you play a transformational sideboard game when your opponent boards out all their removal, a tried-and-true path to victory.
Tower isn’t great against G/B because their creatures tend to get enormous. Deadlock Trap plays a little better here as your third Trophy Mage target and helps you force G/B to overextend into your Fumigates. Speaking of which, you need fewer fogs in this matchup because your opponent goes bigger rather than wide at first, and thus you don’t need to fog until the later turns. But Fumigate is great because of how mana intensive your opponent’s threats are. G/B can also get some fast starts, which helps increase Fumigates potential, and they don’t have Vehicles, which are particularly annoying versus wrath effects.
Your plan post-board is to keep the board clear of Gideon with Negate and then win through Dynavolt Tower value or chaining fogs after a fast Mechanized Production. It’s important to note that your plan isn’t to win particularly fast and you’re even removing one of your win conditions, but you still have inevitability thanks to Wildest Dreams. It’s also possible to hit delirium post-board since your opponent will often board in some artifact removal, at which point the flyer from Descend is a legitimate way to win. Stay alive, draw a bunch of cards off your Clues, and then win at your leisure.
Jeskai Copycat/Control Decks
Most of your board is built with these decks in mind because you have so many blanks game 1. I think this is the one matchup where you improve more than your opponent post-board. Ulamog is a huge trump in these matchups and you’ll actually have the time to cast it thanks to the slow nature of your opponent’s deck. It’s important as usual to be patient in these matchups. Your opponent will have cheap answers to your key enchantments and artifacts and if you tap out at the wrong times you’ll end up facing down a powerful planeswalker with no counters available. Your hard counters like Disallow are important solely because of Torrential Gearhulk, which will run away with the game if left unchecked.
On the play I like being aggressive with a proactive play on turn 3 since it’s hard to get punished for it, but on the draw it’s harder since there are strong 4-mana followups your opponent can have. Be aware of how much your counterspells can actually stop, and decide whether forcing the issue early or waiting until later for a big counterspell war is better. I find these games to be intricate and rewarding thanks to this delicate balance.
If you’ve always dreamed of casting Ulamog for free, your time is now. As for the strength of this budget deck, I think it’s average, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. As for it’s sweetness though, it is almost unmatched, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Sultai Madness Frog. Happy brewing!