About 2 months ago I wrote about my spicy Mythic Bant brew that I didn’t get to play at SCG Somerset after the event was cancelled—stupid snow! I have been playing with this deck since then at local events and I’ve made a couple of changes. I’m now pretty happy with my version of this deck. It can compete with the top performing lists and I’ve been having good success with it. Most importantly, it is so much fun to play! I know Journey into Nyx will be released shortly but I’m hoping to take this forward in Standard and I want to give you the most current build to play with at that last FNM and brew your own new additions.
Here was my original build:
What was bad?
Prime Speaker Zegana turned out to be not very good. There just aren’t enough creatures in the deck that make her ability good enough. It would take too long (or too much effort) to really get value from this card. For example, you’d have to get a Voice of Resurgence killed so you got a big token, and also have two or three other creatures in play, so you could play her for value equal to her mana cost. I generally found she just sat sadly in my hand or I had to play her with only 2 power on the board. Draw three is okay, but just wasn’t very game changing for the 6 awkwardly costed mana. Plus she makes for a terrible topdeck after a sweeper.
The deck actually has a lot of card draw without Prime Speaker: Jace, Sphinx’s Revelation, and even Courser of Kruphix. As such, Primer Speaker costs a lot and poorly tries to provide something the deck already has plenty of. It was an easy cut.
I like the flexibility of Selesnya Charm. You can kill a big thing (including an active God), you can play a creature with flash against control, or you can simply use it as a surprise combat trick. That multi-use aspect of it was why I put it in the original list. However, in practice the current meta doesn’t fit that flexibility. It was always fine but never special or quite what I needed.
What did I need?
I needed a more general catchall. The deck doesn’t run a lot of answers. Kiora’s +1 can shut down a single target, Elspeth’s tokens can chump most ground-based creatures for days, Jace’s +1 can keep 1-power creatures at bay (along with opposing Elspeths and Assemble the Legions), but all these things don’t remove the problem and if my opponent does something rude, like destroy one of my planeswalkers, then I’m a sitting duck because everything I’ve been holding off can now pile in.
There is one really, really obvious card here:
I actually had this in first iteration of the sideboard (more on that later). I definitely wanted to shift this to the main deck. With the exception of a few cards, like Stormbreath Dragon, it can spirit away any pesky permanent. Jace may hold of Elspeth’s tokens well… until my opponent gets to use her ultimate and then that -1 power really doesn’t matter. I’m dead either way. With the first version of the deck, I might be able to kill her with an Archangel, but outs were pretty slim to a very popular card in the current meta. I am now running 3 copies and feel so much happier. The deck is very powerful and can out pressure many plays, but having Detention Sphere has made the build much more solid.
The other card that I wanted to try in the list was 2 copies of Elvish Mystic.
Because hands without Sylvan Caryatid made me a little sad inside and the deck really wants to accelerate. Its power plays come in around 4/5/6. Elvish Mystic also has the ability to power out a Courser of Kruphix or a Loxodon Smiter, which are very good turn 2 plays.
Why not play 4?
It’s not a deck that absolutely needs the ramp. You have no way to recycle Mystics and Caryatids in the late game so they are dead draws. The scry lands do at least allow you to try to avoid drawing them. Secondly, Elvish Mystic only makes green mana in this three-color deck. You already need green to cast the Elf, and Courser of Kruphix is the only double-green card, so its primary role is just the ramp potential. Finally, due to the density of scry lands, chances are your first or second land will have to come into play tapped limiting the potential power of a turn 1 mana guy.
So, I finally got around to trying it last week, and it seemed good. The deck finally felt like a smooth, well-oiled engine, and the Mystics were a part of that. Just reliably hitting 4 mana on turn 3 makes the deck so much better. I wish I had done this sooner.
I also cut Angel of Serenity. The card is fun but doesn’t have a place in the current meta. She really shines in the midrange matchup where you suddenly blow out a board position and crash in for the win. However, midrange is not the predominant archetype at the moment, and even against the midrange decks that do see play, Angel of Serenity misses many relevant cards such as Obzedat, Blood Baron, and Stormbreath Dragon. As suc,h I moved her to the sideboard.
Two more changes to note (these are more tweaks in numbers than big alterations): I wanted a 25th land. Even cutting the Angel of Serenity and adding the Elvish Mystics, I found 24 lands to be too few. I actually made this change very early on and haven’t had as many land issues since. I decided to add a Forest as you need green early and having some number of painless untapped lands is very welcome.
I also added a third Archangel of Thune. I don’t really need to justify this card as we know it’s so good right now and I’ve mentioned previously how sweet it is in combination with Courser of Kruphix.
What did I cut for these cards? One each of Voice of Resurgence and Loxodon Smiter.
Here is my current build:
Before I move onto my current sideboard iteration and problems for the deck I want to touch on Prophet of Kruphix. When I was looking for those final cuts for Archangel and a Forest I considered Prophet, but in the end I left her in. I’ve been having a lot of success thanks to this card recently because it allows you to attack iwithout exposing yourself to the counter-swing (beware of end-of-turn removal though). One additional bit of value is that it allows you to untap cards that have been tapped down by Tidebinder Mage, as it only stops the creature untapping in your untap step.
I had a lot of fun this week throwing four Kraken tokens into my opponent’s 18 Solider tokens (and a 10/10 Polukranos) then making a replacement Kraken end of turn before untapping everything to defend with thanks to Prophet. There is no doubt in my mind that she won me that game as well as many others. Also turn 4 Prophet into Archangel of Thune is just so incredibly rude… I love it!
I finally got to play against mono-blue this week. That matchup is so fun. You lose game 1 but you have 10 sideboard cards which make games 2 and 3 really interesting and intense.
I don’t really want to go into detail about individual matchups other than to say this deck has play against the popular decks and I’ve generally crushed other fringe decks.
Ironically I did manage to lose against a R/W Burn deck that all my main deck life gain should crush because he had turn 2 Satyr Firedancer both games. This was before I had more answers to this sort of problem. With Firedancer you get to kill all my valuable life-gaining creatures while still killing me. Boros Charm destroys Courser of Kruphix before I can gain a single point of life. Provided they don’t get this kind of opening, however, the deck is a sitting duck for you.
I do need to mention one significant problem for the deck: Stormbreath Dragon. You <i>do</i> have two ways of dealing with this card in the main. Kiora’s +1 can keep it shut down and Elspeth’s -3 can kill it. Unfortunately, you have to play both of these cards <i>after</i> the Dragon or it gets to come in and kill Kiora or damage Elspeth such that she doesn’t have enough loyalty to still kill it. So you have to delay playing these cards, but these are cards you really want in play so they can win you the game. It makes life awkward. You do have Supreme Verdict to board in as an answer. I considered something like Plummet but I hate dedicating a whole sideboard slot to something that specific that you can deal with provided sufficient planning. You just have to plan around the Dragon carefully, but I can sympathize if you go with Plummet in a Dragon-heavy meta—it does also have relevance against other Archangels and Desecration Demon.
Have I seen anything new for this deck in the Journey into Nyx spoilers?
In short, not really.
I don’t think this deck wants Kruphix, God of Horizons unless you want to go for the super-mega-giant-Sphinx’s Revelation. I’d rather run Prophet of Kruphix in that 5-drop slot.
I might try Ajani, Mentor of Heroes just for more planeswalker shenanigans. The +1/+1 counters offer a better way to keep those Mystics relevant, and card draw from the other +1 should be fairly reliable. The question will be whether he is better than Prophet of Kruphix because that is the card to replace.
Finally I don’t think you can afford the additional life loss from Mana Confluence; nor do I think you need it. Honestly the mana has been pretty good thanks to all the duals and Sylvan Caryatid, so you don’t need this additional piece of fixing.
However, while this deck isn’t getting anything new, I am optimistic that the new cards are going to cause a meta shift which might give this deck a space to really shine. Anyway, that’s all for this week as ever feel free to add me on Twitter @onionpixie and say hi. I will see you next week.