Draft Guide: Lookout Beatdown

One of my favorite things about Kaladesh is that many of its archetypes are centered around cards rather than colors. If you tell me that you drafted U/G I’ll assume you have a sweet energy deck. Yet whether that deck is beatdown, curving into Riparian Tigers at the top of its curve, or a defensive deck that splashes Whirler Virtuoso as its win condition isn’t clear just from the colors. Instead you might have an awesome Panharmonicon draft deck. Or a comboliscious (this is a word now folks) Gearseeker Serpent deck. As much as those cards are sweet, I’m looking at a card a little lower on the curve today:

Oh, how I love draining for 1. My love of this card actually started in Born of the Gods when I just slammed every Servant of Tymaret I saw. Now the beatdown starts as early as turn 1, and the Lookout can drain the whole game away while your opponent looks on at their slowly depleting life total knowing their end is near. But when I first saw the Lookout, I thought it was wildly unplayable. What changed in my evaluation? Aggressive decks are much better than they looked, and Night Market Lookout (NML) loves Vehicles—specifically Sky Skiff.

NML decks are typically R/B. This combination offer up a ton of early aggression, which helps drain quickly and close games once your opponent has stabilized. You also gain access to NML’s big brother Spireside Infiltrator, which is generally worse in the deck, but it hits hard if your opponent lacks blockers. It also crews the bigger Vehicles much better and is an all around “better card.” But we came here to maximize synergy, and you know you have a good deck when NML is better in it than Spireside Infiltrator is. When you have a mix of 4 or 5 of these pingers in your deck, the small damage becomes much larger quickly.

Sky Skiffs, NML, and Spireside Infiltrator—got it. Anything else? Well, I’m glad you asked. You see, many decks will want Sky Skiff as a an evasive little beatdown threat and so you’ll need to pick these up early, while both NML and Infiltrator should come around as later picks if the deck is open. NML is horrible without support, so it’s important to draft the support early to enable NMLs no one else wants, while also being prepared to abandon ship if you aren’t getting NMLs later. For this reason you actually get to take generically powerful cards early and end up in this deck when other drafters at your table aren’t interested.

Early draft picks aren’t the only area where this archetype is flexible. You have to be black-based because of NML, but Spireside Infiltrator is enough of a role-player that you can draft different color combinations and leave the Infiltrator on the bench as long as you lean aggressive with NML and have Vehicle support. White provides Eddytrail Hawk, which can jump NML as soon as your opponent gets a blocker and plays a pseudo-Sky-Skiff. W/B is also a color combination that naturally goes wide and takes full advantage of Inspired Charge. Each drain adds up in a big way for this reason because you might have to chump attack with a lot of creatures into a board, but if your opponent dies to the Charge then that’s perfectly acceptable.

U/B is another route to go with NML. Once again you want to prioritize Vehicles, but the rest of the deck is pretty flexible as long as you maintain an aggressive focus. That is a little harder with blue specifically, but there are plenty of aggressive flyers you can draft, and Gearseeker Serpent helps quickly close games while costing less thanks to the various artifacts you’ve drafted that also pair nicely with NML.

G/B is the one color combination I’m not sold on for NML. The main problem is that the core combination of NML and Sky Skiff are least in harmony with big green creatures. I don’t really want to tap my Riparian Tiger to crew Sky Skiff, and the green cards themselves don’t really help boost NML in any way. On top of those concerns green is more of an energy color, which this deck isn’t interested in, and G/B specifically is often focused on +1/+1 counters.



Deck grade: B+

This deck really hit on the various synergies I was aiming for. It has the potential for truly fast starts, but also curves up nicely to Gearseeker Serpent. On top of that, it has a ton of potential for grinding opponents out through card advantage and unblockable sources of damage. One other note is that if you have enough hard-to-block creatures like Maulfist Squad, you can put your opponents in awkward spots where they can’t effectively eat attacking NMLs because they’ll take too much damage from the other creatures. Look for spots to attack into boards where you lose some board advantage but end up killing your opponent shortly thereafter anyways.

Deck grade: C-

There are plenty of NMLs here and even a Sky Skiff to combo with, but there aren’t actually that many ways to push damage through. Inspired Charge does give this deck a good amount of reach, and there are 3 Vehicles total, but the lower crew costs really go a long way in NML decks. Aradara Express is the Vehicle you begrudgingly play when you need to but isn’t the card you’re looking for. In retrospect I should have run the Pressure Point main instead of Lawless Broker just to create a few more spots to attack with a pair of NMLs when I hadn’t yet deployed my larger Vehicles.

Deck grade: B+

This deck takes the flaws of the previous version and patches them right up. The second Inspired Charge is key, and this deck is low enough to the ground that it will always be attacking early and often. The Renegade Freighter also helps out NML. Key to the City functions as another Vehicle because you can sneak NMLs through for the last couple points of damage while also providing an important looting function in a format low on mana sinks.

As for R/B decks, I ended up drafting those at times I didn’t get a screen capture, so unfortunately I don’t have one to show you. They look similar, but with some Spireside Infiltrators at the 3-drop slot, and some decent 4s and 5s like Spontaneous Artist and Wayward Giant to fill out the curve. Unlicensed Disintegration and Welding Sparks are two of the more common cards that will start you down the road to drafting the R/B version because the deck comes together as a generic deck that becomes an NML deck when you get them later in packs.

Night Market Lookout is a heck of a Magic card, but one you need to dedicate to. You don’t want to force the deck outside of picking up Sky Skiffs earlier than normal (around 2nd-4th pick) because it really isn’t a deck without NMLs and you don’t want to have to take those early. When it’s open though, it’s one of the most fun decks in the format because you get to be aggressive while still having a lot of inevitability. It’s comboliscious!

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