When it comes to SaffronOlive, you can be sure that he’ll bring the spice. He loves to go deep, try new cards, and make something out of what was seemingly nothing. When those decks start to put up real finishes, like running the tables in an MTGO Competitive League, we should all take notice.
This deck can turn all of its cards into virtual and literal card advantage depending on the situation. The deck revolves around a whole bunch of U/W creatures that all happen to have eternalize or embalm. This means that you can easily trade them off in combat, or discard them as needed, for extra value in the late game. Hitting your land drops becomes more important because each of your creatures can function as two different spells if you have the mana to cast them.
You skip over cards like Sacred Cat and Anointer Priest. They provide some life and early roadblocks, but they aren’t taking over a game. Instead, you start with Adorned Pouncer. The Pouncer lets you start your curve at 2 and can trade with many of Standard’s premier early creatures. Once you’ve traded off, the Pouncer becomes an imposing threat. A 4/4 double strike creature coming out of your graveyard that ignores Shock, Lightning Strike, and Abrade is a big threat and can do battle with even the largest ground creatures.
Champion of Wits is a known quantity in any deck like this. It’s often your most important card as it’s both a creature to trade in combat and digs you multiple cards deeper to find whatever you need. When you’re playing 16 eternalize and embalm creatures, the discard generates value. In the late game, Champion is a card advantage machine, giving you another 4/4 and a look at four new cards.
Sunscourge Champion provides you with another creature in the early stages of the game, but ends up more closely resembling Thragtusk by giving you a 4/4 and a bunch of life. It’s your cheapest creature to eternalize, and the cost of discarding a card can often be a benefit as you can now put another Champion or Pouncer in your graveyard to eternalize the following turn.
Angel of Sanctions is at the top of your curve as a nice flying threat that dodges much of the Standard removal spells. Exiling the best permanent your opponent has is already awesome, and being able to embalm the Angel is a weapon in the late game.
With all of these creatures coming back from the graveyard in token form, Anointed Procession really has the chance to shine. Bringing back a Sunscourge Champion for a 4/4 and 4 life is awesome, but two 4/4s and 8 life is tough to beat. Procession plus Angel of Sanctions is a massive blowout, and getting multiple Champion of Wits to dig through huge portions of your deck will make sure that the game is out of reach.
In a deck with a bunch of creatures that tend to have value early but end up being even stronger in the middle stages of the game with their embalm and eternalize abilities, playing sweepers gives you an effect that seems almost one-sided. All of your creatures will soon return bigger and badder than before, and all of theirs are gone forever. Fumigate wipes the board clean and even gives you a bunch of extra life to play with.
Chart a Course provides the deck with even more card advantage as you can draw two for just 2 mana, but there will also be times when you want to discard a creature to your graveyard. In these instances, you can cast Chart before you raid even if you’re going to attack.
Ixalan’s Binding is 1-for-1 removal, but it will often act as virtual card advantage as the game goes long. Shutting your opponent out from casting any more copies of their best card ends up being back-breaking in a number of situations.
Authority of the Consuls isn’t the strongest main-deck card, but shutting off blockers for a turn, gaining a bit of life, and nullifying haste are all strong abilities. This has applications beyond Mono-Red as Temur Energy can’t make Thopters to chump block or get a swing with Glorybringer before you can cast Binding or Angel.
The lands provide even more value as Ipnu Rivulet can mill yourself to get more creatures in the graveyard and Hostile Desert can become a late game threat that opponents may not expect. With value coming left and right in this deck, it’s no wonder to see SaffronOlive’s name in the 5-0 winner’s circle!