With the Pro Tour still a month away, I decided to start by focusing on Limited, as I had GP Montreal, GP Denver, and GP Atlanta. I would let people discover the format for me, and when I finally have a bit of time I’d start playing with the known and already developed archetypes.
The joke’s on me. The format looks way too sweet to ignore for another two weeks. I went to dig into the recent MTGO PTQ Top 8, SCG events, and MTGO League’s deck lists. Now I’m addicted.
Some of my notes are brainstorming ideas that will resolve themselves through more deck lists being published, and some that I might need to test myself. In any case, there are quite a few questions left to be answered in this brand new format.
Interactions to Explore
Before I get into specific deck lists, there are a few interesting interactions that could be added to existing decks or be good enough to build around.
Chamber Sentry and Chromatic Lantern
Chamber Sentry is the kind of card I would’ve ignored in the past, but with Hangarback Walker and Walking Ballista proving to be Constructed all-stars, I don’t want to look past this one before trying it out.
I doubt that it will be good enough if you can’t use its 5-color recursive ability, but if you can, that makes it a very annoying threat to deal with. Without building a crazy 5-color mana base, the first card that comes to mind is Chromatic Lantern to help use its ability. Having only four ways to bring it back is probably enough, considering it’s not something you will want to do super early in the game anyway.
The questions remains: what is the minimum number of colors you want to be casting Chamber Sentry with? Three is my baseline assumption—maybe a 2-color deck that has 4-6 sources of other colors could work as well, and then Chromatic Lantern for the 5-color ability later in the game.
Sarkhan and Niv-Mizzet
I haven’t cast Sarkhan, Fireblood yet, but theorycrafting would conclude that the optimal curve is to use it to cast a 6-drop. We haven’t had a Dragon remotely close to as good as Niv-Mizzet, Parun in Standard, so it seems like the perfect time to pair these two together. The loot ability even synergizes with Niv-Mizzet.
To make sure that we can use the mana ability reliably, we’ll need a few more Dragons. Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is a pretty good contender, and I would start there.
Four of each. Who cares if it’s legendary? We have Sarkhan to loot!
Drakes and Spells
This archetype speaks to me. I love myself some blue-red decks. I’m confident that Crackling Drake is good enough. The question is: are the instant and sorceries?
The other question on my mind is whether it’s better to play a creature package with four Crackling Drake and two or three Niv-Mizzet, Parun, where you essentially always trade up with opposing removal, or whether you should overload their removal by playing the whole creature package with Goblin Electromancer, Enigma Drake, and Crackling Drake.
My instinct tells me the latter is worse. Mainly because it also means that your deck will be less instant and sorcery dense.
The Eldest Reborn
Now that it’s gone, I expect the Saga to see much more play.
Dawn of Hope and Fountain of Renewal
That’s a pretty cool card draw and life gain engine. It does seem slow and mana intensive, but MTGO player ferrum0728 thinks otherwise and took the following list to a 5-0.
Karn with all of these cheap artifacts sounds awesome. Treasure Map and Thaumatic Compass flipping into lands makes the card draw engine a lot easier to get going. He even included the Chamber Sentry + Chromatic Lantern combo!
More Deck Lists!
U/B Disinformation Campaign
Disinformation Campaign has impressed me in Limited to the point that I’m not surprised to see it in Constructed. Between Sinister Sabotage, Thought Erasure, and Discovery // Dispersal, we have enough great Magic cards that just happen to have the surveil keyword on them that we don’t have to go out of our way to make the enchantment work.
I like the tap-out control approach that he took here as you can’t really rely on counterspells to work when casting 3-mana sorcerys.
This deck list looks a bit rough, but it’s hard to tell what interactive cards you should play in an entirely new format, so I don’t blame the guy and even applaud him for doing well with a reactive strategy.
When I first saw this list, I thought, “oh, that’s cute, but probably not synergistic enough.” Then I realize that ALL THESE CARDS ARE ELVES!
One thing that’s nice with this list is that there aren’t that many Elves legal in Standard, so it’ll be easy to find out whether it’s playable or not, because the number of possible iterations is low.
Elves could be the alternative to Mono-Green Stompy. You use mostly the same cards, but have more card advantage built-in through Elvish Clancaller, Beast Whisperer, and Underrealm Lich. Is it better or worse? It’s hard to tell, but an early 5-0 from MTGO user cmanrock caught my eye and I’ll give this list a whirl.
You might not recognize the Boat Brew reference. It’s a red-white Standard deck from 2008 that has tons of card advantage while being somewhat aggressive. It even played Siege-Gang Commander, which is legal again! It played Ranger of Eos as well. Maybe Militia Bugler is not so far from that.
I’m in love with the idea of hitting Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice and Siege-Gang Commander with Militia Bugler. This deck seems like a very good starting point for a midrange/aggressive strategy, but I’m surprised not to see any Lightning Strikes here.
I’m also hoping that I can cut these stinky Boros Guildgates.
That’s it for today! I showcased a few interesting lists, but we are far from having a solved format. Mono-Red is still present and proving to be strong again. Let’s hope that some of these sweet brews actually have a shot against it!