Maximizing the emerge mechanic is going to be a key to finding success outside of Company, and again once Company rotates. The payoffs are huge.
Distended Mindbender can invalidate entire decks through card advantage. They can’t use instant-speed removal spells to deal with the 5/5 either, thanks to the discard being part of the cast trigger. Taking a pair of critical spells when someone is trying to formulate a plan, especially as early as turn 4, can be back breaking. However good Mindbender is, it’s no Elder Deep-Fiend—at least, not yet. We’ve seen what this essentially Mistbind Clique is capable of: stopping entire attacks, ambushing creatures, and tapping lands to create a Time Walk effect. This is a huge reward for a cheap emerge cost.
The best creatures to sacrifice to emerge? How about ones you can get back? How about ones that can enter the battlefield for much cheaper than their original cost, if not free? That’s what we have in Haunted Dead and Prized Amalgam. This deck is completely filled with self-mill options and ways to discard for value, not to mention the Dead itself. These are excellent fodder for emerge creatures and offer tons of value on their own.
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy is ideal when you prefer having Amalgams and Deads in your graveyard. Throw in plenty of options for self-mill if you want to flip your Jace on turns 3 or 4, and this is one of the best Jace decks in the format.
Noose Constrictor is a nice value creature that can help load up your graveyard. Ishkanah, Grafwidow is a total MVP in any deck that can get delirium. And finally, the oddball itself, Stitchwing Skaab! Did you expect to see that one in Constructed play? As another nice card to have in your graveyard, the Skaab acts as Haunted Dead #5 in this deck. Having more ways to trigger your Amalgams while having a recursive, evasive threat for emerge is quite useful here.
As for enabling all of these awesome cards in our graveyard, that’s where the green cards come in. The current self-mill options in Standard are phenomenal. Grapple with the Past, Gather the Pack, and Vessel of Nascency all help dig you deeper, fill the graveyard, and even add card advantage occasionally.
While you’re loading up the graveyard, how about 4 copies of Kozilek’s Return… in a deck without a single red source? With so many discard outlets and ways to get cards into the graveyard, you rarely care about 2 damage anyway. There happens to be a basic Mountain in the sideboard for the few matchups where casting Return is useful, but so many creatures in the format already have 3 or more toughness that you often shouldn’t bother.
This deck really takes advantage of Traverse the Ulvenwald. With 4 copies, you get to go much lighter on lands since you can find your colors early on. This also allows you to play single copies of great, but expensive, creatures in Distended Mindbender and Ishkanah. With 4 copies of Traverse, you also have more access to finding your engine of Amalgams and creatures that return from the graveyard, making the deck surprisingly consistent.
Emrakul and Temur Emerge certainly aren’t the only ways to utilize the powerful graveyard synergies brought by Eldritch Moon. With no good ways for opponents to interact with your creatures returning from your graveyard, Sultai Emerge is one of the most powerful decks in Standard!