When I was looking for a deck to play in the new Standard, I knew I wanted to find something that could abuse as many of the best Ravnica Allegiance cards as possible. Hydroid Krasis, Growth-Chamber Guardian, and Incubation Druid are all in Simic, and all have to do with +1/+1 counters. Hadana’s Climb is the perfect way to tie them all together.
Hadana’s Climb can trigger Growth-Chamber Guardian, add a counter to Incubation Druid, and gives you a way to go over the top of midrange decks. The biggest problem with Hadana’s Climb is that while it’s synergistic with the deck and can create bursts of flying damage, it’s clunky.
Wildgrowth Walker covers that weakness impressively. Wildgrowth Walker picks up a ton of +1/+1 counters, which can help flip Hadana’s Climb or make sure Zagana draws its card. While eight explorers is normally a little light, Incubation makes the deck play like it has closer to 10.
Speaking of Incubation, it’s been really impressive so far. Commune with Nature is a pretty useful effect, but the Incongruity half is what has surprised me the most. In fact, I’d go as far as to say the lack of a card like Incongruity is why decks similar to this have usually failed in the past. While it’s not the most efficient removal spell, having the option allows you to answer some cards that are generally huge problems for U/G like Thief of Sanity and Lyra Dawnbringer. The 3/3 isn’t usually a huge problem as this deck tends to go pretty big, and often to the skies, to win.
This deck has a lot of mana in it with 23 lands and 8 mana creatures, but I haven’t found flooding to be a huge issue. Growth-Chamber Guardian offers 20 mana worth of sinking, and Krasis is a huge x-spell—even Zegana can be a pretty big sink. When you’re flooded, Incubation can also find those cards.
Simic Climb has a number of interactions to keep in mind, so make sure you get some practice in. Here’s some that I’ve run into:
- Putting a Climb counter on Growth-Chamber will trigger its ability even if it already has a counter.
- Make sure to think twice before you put a Climb counter on an adapter. Sometimes, it is better to save the adapt ability as it tends to make things a lot bigger.
- Don’t bother flipping Climb if you aren’t going to use it for mana or its ability. You might as well get more counters first.
- The only exception here is if you suspect your opponent has enchantment removal like Vivien Reid and you think it will be safer as a land.
- Try to adapt Growth-Chamber when your opponent is tapped out. It’s a pretty big blowout if they kill it in response to the adapt ability.
- If you have a lot of mana you can adapt Growth-Chamber a second time in response to a removal spell so you still get to search.
- Remember that Zegana gives trample to everything with counters. It is very relevant in this deck.
- If you think you’re going to adapt Incubation Druid at some point in a game, sooner is often better. Just like how you tend to play mana accelerants early, adapting the Druid early will give you more mana over the course of the game.
- Turn-2 Incubation Druid, turn-3 Hadana’s Climb, put a counter on Druid, and tap it for 3 mana in the second main—that’s a nice curve.
- Try to Incubation before you explore so you don’t waste the scry aspect of the ability.
- Greed is good. Try to take just about any other game action that uses your mana before dropping Hydroid Krasis.
- Carnage Tyrant is the Dumbo of Dinosaurs. He’s really good at flying.
- Winged Temple gives +toughness equal to the target’s power, so make sure you know exactly how big your creature will be when using it.
The Sultai matchup is very close. Removal is important in the matchup, and they have more of it, but Hadana’s Climb is a great way to go over the top of them. Make sure to flip Climb before they have 5 mana, as you really don’t want it to get Vivien’d. Do your best to stay ahead on board so that you can attack any incoming planeswalkers.
This is the matchup I’ve had the most trouble sideboarding with. You want more sticky threats as they have more removal, but Carnage Tyrant is also a little slow and you want to stay ahead. Entrancing Melody seems good for stealing Krasis on the cheap, but Mass Manipulation might be even better if it’s castable. I go back and forth on Frilled Mystic, but they do have a pretty high curve, so counters makes sense. The board tends to stall, so I don’t think Wildgrowth Walker is very good, and once you cut that, Branchwalker loses a lot of luster.
One of my favorite parts about Simic Climb is that it wins a lot more game 1s against Esper than Sultai. The deck is packed full of threats. Try not to overcommit too much into Kaya’s Wrath, and take full advantage of the card advantage Growth-Chamber Guardian provides.
While game 1s are winnable, post-board games are great. Negate and Carnage Tyrant are huge additions, and Frilled Mystic is an extra counterspell that you can find with Vivien or Incubation. The counterspells also play really nicely with Guardian as you can leave up an activation while leaving up a counter. Vivien is also a nice hedge against Lyra, which is one of their main ways to steal games.
Mono-Red is a great matchup. You have a very low curve and quite a bit of life gain. Use Incubation to assemble as much Wildgrowth Walker nonsense as you can. You’ll often want to drop Zegana as a 4/4 without cantripping it in this matchup, as they kill your early creatures and 4 power and toughness is very good stats.
You’re sideboard isn’t optimal for this matchup, but fortunately your main deck is nearly perfect.
Like Mono-Red, having a low curve and a lot of life gain is great here. The one difference is that they have more spot removal in Conclave Tribunal and sometimes Deputy of Detention. Focus on gaining a dominating board presence and use your life total as a resource. Adapted Incubation Druid fights pumped History Knights really well.
Like with control, Simic Climb is better against Nexus decks than Sultai in game 1. That said, this is still an uphill battle. Try to goldfish as fast as you can, but it usually won’t be enough.
A little disruption goes a long way here, and I’ve found the post-board matchup to be good. I generally prefer countering their big cards (Reclamation, Teferi, and Nexus) over Fogs, but you’ll need to decide what to counter on a case-by-case basis. Always -3 Vivien on Search or Reclamation if given the opportunity.
Their draws with an early Drake are tricky, as you’re not the best at removing them, but otherwise your cards line up quite well. Beefy creatures offer Drakes quite a bit of trouble, and this deck is not short on those. Wildgrowth Walker can help improve your racing chances.
Feel free to get creative with answering Drakes. This is the one matchup where you’re more likely to cast Incongruity than Incubation, and you can also use Hadana’s Climb to create a flying blocker.
Wyatt Darby’s Esper Midrange deck has really caught on and it’s a force to be reckoned with. Just as it is against Sultai, Climb is really powerful here, but it’s a little harder to slip through as they have Mortify. Do your best to flip it while they’re tapped out. Thief of Sanity is insane against you, so do whatever you can to stop it from hitting. For example, this is the matchup where I most often play Krasis for x=2.
You have a few more answers to Thief of Sanity post-board, but they have quite a bit more removal, which makes turning on Climb a lot harder. Overall, the post-board games are a bit tougher but play out pretty similarly.
I hope you enjoyed this look into Simic Climb. Until next time: go big, or go home.