Two weeks ago I started to realize just how powerful the combination of Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector is. You can try to go under it with Mono-Red, over it with green devotion decks, or even ignore it with Mantis Rider and other flying creatures. But for once I didn’t want to try to beat it, I wanted to build the most synergistic megamorph deck.
I started with green/black and a lot of self-milling cards to take the most advantage of Deathmist Raptors. This was my first build:
GB Raptor Mill
It wasn’t bad but it was missing something. Elvish Mystic is great in a format where everyone starts on turn 2, but Whisperwood was a bit too slow and Commune was unexciting. I thought Tasigur would make up for it but it was just another big creature that I already had a lot of. I also wanted more removal.
Then I realized that Sidisi, Brood Tyrant basically does what Whisperwood and Commune do together, for 1 mana cheaper even. Sidisi Whip was already a solid deck before DTK came out, but Raptors and Protectors brought the synergy in this deck to a whole new level.
I still tried Elvish Mystic, but with only 7 untapped green sources on turn 1 I had to go back to Sylvan Caryatid. All the extra removal was great, the format shifted toward midrange and even the controlling Abzan decks were playing Fleecemane Lions. Blue gave me access to Disdainful Stroke which is a great answer for Ojutai, Crux of Fate, and Dig Through Time. I also had high hopes for Ashiok, which in theory would be a great card against all of the other midrange decks.
After a while I realized that this wasn’t really a Whip deck anymore and that I was basically playing Whip for no reason. It makes sense if you are playing creatures with triggered abilities like Doomwake Giant and Silumgar, the Drifting Death, but here my only big value creature was the 1 Hornet Queen.
Of course, sometimes Whip would win me the game against red decks where the life gain was huge, but I already had to have a good board position and any other card might have been good enough.
Also, Dromoka’s Command was getting more and more popular, so I ended up cutting it. After talking to Brad during the last week, I also realized that I needed some more big cards, so I ended up cutting the Whip for a Treasure Cruise and a Tasigur for Dragonlord Silumgar and both changes felt like they improved the deck greatly. Treasure Cruise was so good that I even wanted more, but just couldn’t find space, and there was always Den Protector to bring it back for more value.
This was my final version that I registered for GP Paris this weekend:
Mana Base – The original mana base I was working with had 3 Polluted Deltas but too many times I found myself without more basics to fetch because they have either been milled or were already in play. I replaced it with Urborg which helps you cast Drown in Sorrow after sideboard and use your fetchlands even if you run out of basics. I also cut Temple of Mystery for Yavimaya Coast because I felt like all the cards in the deck were already very powerful and I just wanted to make sure I had enough untapped lands to cast them on curve. You can easily replace one Llanowar Wastes for the fourth Temple of Malady, but I prefer consistency over power. It’s important that the scry lands produce black though, because you want to be able to cast Thoughtseize or Duress off of it and follow up with another tapped land.
4 Satyr Wayfinder – One of the key cards in the deck. Makes sure you hit your land drops while filling your graveyard. Keep in mind that you get a Zombie token if you mill a creature when you have Sidisi in play.
1 Rattleclaw Mystic – A replacement for the 4th Caryatid that can bring back Deathmist Raptors from the graveyard. It’s much worse against red decks and sometimes you really need the black mana, so 1 is a good number.
3 Courser of Kruphix – There are a lot of 3-drops in the deck already and I also was getting sick of constantly being blown out by Dromoka’s Command. I believe 3 is the minimum you can play though, as the card is still just too good to cut entirely.
2 Thoughtseize – Keeps your opponent honest and protects you from cards like Crux of Fate and Dragonlord Atarka. It’s mostly just good against control decks and green devotion, so 2 copies is a fine number because you don’t want to draw multiple copies in other matchups where most of their cards fill the same role. You also have Protectors to bring them back.
2 Bile Blight, 2 Hero’s Downfall, 4 Murderous Cut – Bile Blight is a necessary evil right now and serves as a cheap answer to cards like Fleecemane Lion, Rakshasa Deathdealer, and Goblin tokens. Hero’s Downfall is a bit more flexible and lets you kill Ashiok or Elspeth, which are otherwise very good against you. Murderous Cut is essentially a 1-mana Vindicate in this format where everyone is playing creatures and one of the reasons why this deck is so good right now.
1 Sidisi, Undead Vizier – This card actually underperformed for me, but maybe I just haven’t drawn it enough. It can get you any of the sweet 1-ofs for the low price of a Satyr Wayfinder or a Zombie token, but it’s also solid as just a 4/6 deathtouch.
1 Dragonlord Silumgar – Shines against green decks without black removal, where it steals anything from Polukranos to Stormbreath Dragon. It’s also a huge body they usually have trouble getting through. The ability to take planeswalkers also comes in handy against Elspeth.
Cards I’m Not Playing
Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver – It took me a long time, but I eventually realized that this is not a good Ashiok deck. You just don’t have the same tools UB Control and Esper Dragons have to protect it. Crux of Fate is the most important card here because Ashiok makes your opponent overextend and you can punish them for it. Here you are just killing their creatures with 1-for-1 removal, which you need to do anyway and if you fall behind there is no coming back. So while there are obviously games where you play Ashiok and it just wins the game, those are usually the games that you would have won anyway. If you really want to play it, just play 2, because the first one is usually good but every extra copy you draw after that is pretty much a dead draw.
Silumgar, the Drifting Death – This card is good against Abzan because they can’t kill it and it attacks Elspeth while killing all the tokens. It’s also a fine blocker against aggressive decks with bigger creatures like Siege Rhino and Stormbreath Dragon, but I would still rather pay B for Murderous Cut than 6 mana to block them.
Reclamation Sage – Not good enough without Whip of Erebos in the deck to bring it back after you have milled it. Also, there are not many good enchantments to destroy in the metagame right now.
Doomwake Giant – Same reasoning, not worth it without Whip. Also Dromoka’s Command hurts.
Sultai Charm – Now this is a much better card if you are in the market for enchantment removal. You also can also sideboard it in many other matchups and use it to kill a Goblin Rabblemaster or Whisperwood Elemental. I could easily see having 1 in the sideboard for Whip decks or Mastery of the Unseen.
Torrent Elemental – This card was only really good because UB Control could just never beat it. Esper Dragons will just ignore it and attack you with Ojutai and against other creature decks you don’t need to race them, you will just win with recurring Raptors.
Dig Through Time – I actually thought about playing this over Treasure Cruise, but not having double blue is a serious concern. It might be a good sideboard card against control decks like Esper or Abzan Control.
Pharika, God of Affliction – I had one in my deck for a really long time before ultimately cutting it because it just wasn’t good enough. It’s good against control decks and in long grindy games, but in those matchups you want to take out your Caryatids which lowers your creature count, and you don’t want to remove your Raptors and usually not even Den Protectors. It is a nice way to remove your opponent’s Raptors, but there will still be a lot of games where it just won’t do anything.
Crux of Fate – It’s always nice to have powerful 1-ofs in a deck like this, but I’m not sure where you would want to bring this in. Even against Abzan Aggro they can just regenerate their Deathdealer or monstrous Fleecemane Lion and you also usually have your own creatures in play.
Nissa, Worldwaker – I haven’t had time to test it, but if you are looking for a great card against control decks, this is one of the best.
Hornet Nest – This card just doesn’t fit the idea of the deck and would only be good against Mono-Red. Abzan Aggro has too much removal and against other decks you can either trade with or kill any creature they have.
Deck difficulty: Average
This deck isn’t very hard to play, you just need to sequence everything correctly and learn how to sideboard, because the post-board games are usually very different and more grindy. It’s very easy to switch gears in this format and have your opponent present a deck with 8 dead cards for game 2. You also need to remember all your triggers, because between Sidisi, Raptors, and Courser, there are a lot of things you can miss.
I don’t want to get blown out by Dromoka’s Command and Courser can’t really block any of their creatures anyway. If they have Wingmate Rocs and are bringing in something like Elspeth, then you can put in a Disdainful Stroke or two.
This is just a general plan, but it changes based on their version. If they don’t have Dromoka’s Command, then cut 1 Dragonlord Silumgar, 1 Satyr Wayfinder, and only board in 1 Duress. Also don’t bring in Duress against the version with megamorphs. If they have Lions then don’t board out the Cut. Silence isn’t really that much better than Murderous Cut, because you really want to be able to play two spells in one turn, but it’s important to have access to it in the late game with Den Protector after you have milled it.
It’s important to keep removal to be able to kill their Dragonlord Silumgar, Tasigur, and Ojutai. Downfall also kills Ashiok. Against UB Control take out some Murderous Cuts because they have fewer creatures, bring in the Ugin, and keep Hornet Queen.
This matchup is pretty easy. Courser, Sidisi, Drown, Bile Blight, and Murderous Cut are all great against them. Keep in mind that Murderous Cut kills Eidolon of the Great Revel for 1 mana but you don’t take any damage because it’s still a 5-mana spell.
This matchup is much harder and Ugin is very important here, because the board gets usually clogged with Deathmist Raptors and its really hard to get through.
If they are more aggressive with Goblin Rabblemaster, Heir of the Wild, and both Mystics, then bring in Drown in Sorrow, keep the Bile Blights, cut 2 Thoughtseize, and leave the Strokes in the sideboard.
This matchup favors them in game 1, but after sideboard your deck is basically just all removal, discard, and counters. Dragonlord Silumgar is really hard for them to beat and Ugin is basically game over.
Try to not get blown out by Anger or End Hostilities, but with all the discard you should be fine. Disdainful Stroke is solid because Treasure Cruise is one of their best cards against you. Keep Downfall because they usually have some number of Narset Transcendent.
GW Collected Company
That’s all I have for today, thanks for reading and good luck always hitting a land with Wayfinder and a creature with Sidisi!