MTG Arena Core Set 2021 Decks to Try


by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Jun, 29th 2020

It’s that time of the year, friends! MTG Arena has a new expansion, so that can only mean one thing. We’re going to look at some fun Core Set 2021 decks for MTG Arena! Do note these aren’t the best decks because the meta is two days old. We’re going to focus on some easy to use, fun decks that can get you wins.

In a few weeks, we’re going to come back to this, look at the Tier list, and pick the strongest decks and talk about what makes them go. But for now, my friends, we have some children’s card games to discuss!

“Drain Life” Deck (White/Black/Green Combo)


No, the classic “Drain Life” spell hasn’t been brought back to MTG Arena. Another player labeled this deck as a “Splinter Twin” deck. Originally, Splinter Twin was a Red/Blue deck built around copying spell effects again and again. There are plenty of ways to create a Splinter Twin deck, though. In this deck, though, our “Splinter Twin” engine is Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose in M21.

When I saw this card get revealed, I was immediately excited. His ability reminds me of a great deal of a combo I used back in Zendikar. There was a black enchantment named “Sanguine Bond.” Whenever we gained life, target opponent loses that much life. We had an OTK with it to obliterate someone’s life pool.

This particular deck, for the most part, just nickel and dimes someone down until we get to Revival // Revenge. But we can keep using annoying low-cost life gain/life loss effects to blow someone out, while also keeping us in the game. It essentially makes everything we do an annoying threat.

How Does It Work?


This is similar to what we do in Jund Sacrifice; only it’s Black/White instead of Black/Green/Red. We use a lot of very familiar tools: Gilded Goose, Cauldron Familiar, Witch’s Oven, Trail of Crumbs. That’s where the similarities end, though.

Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose and Village Rites help round this deck out. Village Rites is more to help us draw cards. It does require us to sacrifice a creature, though. That’s what Gilded Goose and Trail of Crumbs help with. They both give us at least one Food Token. We sacrifice a Cauldron Familiar, draw two cards, and bring them back thanks to sacrificing a Food Token.

Or we can sacrifice Serrated Scorpions, once Vito is in play. After all, when Serrated Scorpion dies, each opponent takes 2 damage, and we gain 2 life. That means, if Vito is in play, they lose 4 life total, simply for sacrificing a 1-drop creature.

That’s the whole point of the deck. We want Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose in play as soon as possible. Anytime we gain life while it’s in play, an opponent loses that much life. It doubles the effectiveness of our Cauldron Familiar sacrifice loop. Now, instead of only dealing 1 damage and giving us 1 life, it deals with 1 damage, gives us 1 life, and deals them an additional 1.

That is a damaging loop that costs zero mana; we just have to sacrifice them and bring them back with a Food Token. If you get a Cruel Celebrant or two out, this becomes even better. Whenever a creature we control dies, each opponent loses 1 life and we gain 1 life.

Now, some of this deck might cycle out in September, so we want to get as much out of this while we still can. This is a deck that does very well with some card draw, so that’s why Trail of Crumbs is here. It rewards us anytime we sacrifice a Food Token. We just have to tap 1 colorless mana to look at our top two cards and put one in our hand.

So we can use these cards to nickel and dime someone down without much effort. Since we constantly gain life at a ludicrous pace, we aren’t worried about the other player’s combat. But how do we drop someone in one turn? Can we? Dare we?

Duh. With Vito in play, we cast Revival // Revenge. Specifically, “Revenge.” With it, we double our life total. Then our opponent loses half their life rounded up. Say we’re both at 20 life somehow. We gain 20 life, then they drop to 10 life. Because of Vito, we cause them to lose an additional 20 life, defeating them.

It’s mostly an OTK (unless they have a ton of hp). It’s a brilliant combo. The downside is that the other player can counter Revenge, and they can boardwipe Vito away. If that happens, just get some Food Tokens, Ovens and Cruel Celebrants, and whittle them down the old fashioned way.

But in a best-case-scenario, we just need Vito and Revenge, and the game is ours. Of course, if you have an extra, or simply need to, you can cast Revival instead to put your Vito back into play from the graveyard, as he’s a 3-drop.

Vito can also give our creatures lifelink until the end of turn, but frankly, we never attack with this deck. There’s no reason to. Gilded Goose never attacks; instead, it’s a Food Token/mana engine, and Solemn Simulacrum helps us get more land. Cauldron Familiars exist to be sacrificed, as do Serrated Scorpions.

Beware of board wipe. They will make this match-up feel nearly impossible.

Key Cards


Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose (3-Cost Rare Legendary Creature – Vampire Cleric)


He makes every part of this deck go. He’s a bargain at 3 mana (1 black), and he can grant your creatures lifelink. We won’t be using that, though. We have zero reason to attack stuff. We just want to create loops of life gain! We use him in conjunction with Witch’s Oven+Cauldron Familiar, or even sacrificing Food Tokens to gain life. Between him, Scorpions, Cats, and Food morsels, we’re going to make someone wish they never sat at the table across.

Village Rites (1-Cost Common Black Spell – Instant)


This is going to see a lot of use in this meta, I can feel it in my bones. It’s a 1-cost instant that you can use to sacrifice a creature. That’s part of the cost! You sacrifice a creature, pay 1 black mana, and draw two cards. This is amazing when Vito is out, and we have a Serrated Scorpion out. We gain 2 life, they lose 2 life, then they lose another 2 life. Oh, and we get cards. There’s no bad part about that at all.

Revival // Revenge (6-Cost Rare White and Black Spell – Sorcery): The official errata for this card is interesting. The card doesn’t say gain life. It says “double your life total.” But the official errata reads that to double your life total, you gain the same health as you presently have. So, say we’re at 20 life. We gain 20 more to put us at 40, the other player loses half their life, then they lose that 20 life because of Revenge. That’s why this card is here. That’s why we’re running 4 of a 6-drop sorcery.

Decklist


Deck

1 Counts : 60 main
4 Cauldron Familiar
4 Gilded Goose
4 Serrated Scorpion
3 Cruel Celebrant
4 Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose
2 Solemn Simulacrum
2 Village Rites
4 Witch’s Oven
4 Revival // Revenge
4 Trail of Crumbs
1 Castle Locthwain
2 Fabled Passage
2 Forest
4 Godless Shrine
4 Indatha Triome
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
2 Swamp
1 Temple Garden
2 Temple of Malady
1 Temple of Plenty
1 Temple of Silence

Final Thoughts


I enjoy the power that this deck has. I have another idea for a Vito deck that I’ve been playing with, as a solely Black/White experience. It still runs the same engines, except none of the green cards. Instead, we run a lot more direct life gain. Heliod’s / Erebos’ Intervention, Oath of Kaya, Charming Prince, and Light of Hope. It’s still the same concept, so I’ll give you the alternate decklist below.

You have to look out for decks that out-aggro you, or board wipe. Ugin is potentially a great bane for this deck (and the whole meta). As far as the Core 2021 decks for MTG Arena, this is one of the ones I’m excited about. Both this and the alternate one can keep up with many decks. As long as you have Vito, and access to life gain, you’re mint. I’d also consider running Heroic Intervention in the green deck, in case you have to protect Vito from being destroyed at the last second. Just a bit of food for thought!

Alternate Decklist


Deck

4 Revitalize (M19) 35
1 Castle Ardenvale (ELD) 238
1 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
4 Godless Shrine (RNA) 248
2 Temple of Silence (M20) 256
4 Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose (M21) 127
2 Light of Hope (IKO) 20
6 Plains (UND) 88
4 Speaker of the Heavens (M21) 38
4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Witch’s Oven (ELD) 237
4 Oath of Kaya (WAR) 209
4 Charming Prince (ELD) 8
2 Ajani, Strength of the Pride (M20) 2
4 Swamp (UND) 92
1 Revival // Revenge (RNA) 228
2 Erebos’s Intervention (THB) 94
1 Heliod’s Intervention (THB) 19
2 Alseid of Life’s Bounty (THB) 1

The Eye of Ugin (White/Blue/Green Control)


The best part about Ugin is he can go anywhere. He’s a colorless monstrosity, and we’re one Ugin away from being able just to run Ugin Tribal. I’ve seen him in Jeskai, Mono-Black, Mono-Green, you name it. He brings value to virtually any deck. But we’re going to look at where you’ll see him the most in 2021: Bant! That’s right; White/Blue/Green Ugin will be the most annoying thing you’ll ever encounter.

Except for maybe a really fast Shrines deck. Don’t worry; we’ll talk about that frustrating pile of madness too, all in due course. I have no idea what possessed Wizards of the Coast to give Ugin, the Spirit Dragon a reprint in this mana-ramp heavy meta, but here we are. We’ll just have to make the best of it.

By that, of course, I mean, “run it until it no longer gets wins, then complain about it a whole lot.” That’s what we do things in the MTG Arena community, right? That’s how that works? This is going to be a frustrating deck to play against, though. There are going to be a bunch of variations. Some will be running more board wipe, but I think at the end of the day, they’ll all have Hydroid Krasis and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in them.

How Does It Work?


This particular variation does not run “board wipe” per say. Instead, we’re going to be banking on extra turns, complete board lockdown early, and the threat of our Planeswalker Pals going in hard and fast.

We’re, of course running the three Simic staples of Mana Ramp: Arboreal Grazer, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, and Growth Spiral. But we have a new tool now! Two of them, actually! Solemn Simulacrum and Cultivate both work well in this deck. We aren’t running playsets of either one though (two each), and the same goes for our Grazers.

Before we get into what this deck does, let’s discuss our new ramp tools. Cultivate is a 3-drop Sorcery, and we can use it to search our library for up to two basic lands. We reveal them, put one into play tapped, and the other into our hand. If we have a Grazer or something that lets us put an additional land into play, we can combine these two, just in case we needed one more land.

Solemn Simulacrum, on the other hand, has two purposes. When it comes into play, this 2/2 lets you search for a basic land and put it into play tapped. All this tapped land, disgusting. When it dies though, you can choose to draw a card. So, in life and in death, this robot serves our purposes well.

When we have spare mana and need a little card draw, Mazemind Tome will help. This is especially great once we have Nissa, Who Shakes the World out. Mazemind Tome is an artifact that we can tap to put a page counter on it. Conversely, we can tap 2 colorless and it to put a page counter on it and draw a card. Once this artifact has four or more page counters, we exile it to gain 4 life. I’d rather spend the mana to get the cards than simply put a page counter on it for nothing. Get the most out of it, yes? In a perfect world, we can probably turn 4 or 5 an Ugin into play also. Turn 5 is the most likely if we turn 4 Nissa into play.

We have all of this repulsive mana ramping, and Nissa, who gives us extra green mana whenever we tap a forest for any kind of mana. Hello Breeding Pool and Temple Garden! What do we do with all this mana? Why, we cast the Teferi Twins! Teferi, Time Raveler is still in Standard, so we’re going to abuse his powers handily. He prevents the other player from countering, or playing anything as an instant.

Then there’s the new Teferi, Teferi, Master of Time. Oh God he’s so strong. He’s a 4-drop blue planeswalker, with a meager 3 loyalty. But there’s a catch! You can use his loyalty abilities on any players turn, at any time you could cast an instant. So his abilities have Flash! His ultimate, a -10 gives you two extra turns after this one, so that’s horrifying. His -3 phases out a creature you don’t control, which is okay. His +1, of course, has you draw a card (then discard a card).

We have some other control staples here, like Elspeth Conquers Death and Hydroid Krasis to be a beat-stick/card draw engine. But what do we do to win the game? What’s our big strategy? We can either win with Hydroid Krasis, Nissa Lands, or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. His ultimate lets you draw 7 cards, gives you 7 life, and lets you put up to 7 permanents from your hand.

Don’t, I repeat don’t do that with Hydroid Krasis! He’ll come in as a 0/0! You have to tap mana for him. Use Ugin’s ultimate after you’ve spent some time building a hand, and can pop big abilities on your planeswalkers. If you can pop Teferi, Master of Time, and Ugin on the same turn as Nissa, who Shakes the World, you get indestructible lands, two more turns, and a ton of card draw.

Then you play new planeswalkers from your hand, build your army of 3/3 lands, and swing lethal. Honestly, by this point, the other player has probably given up. Especially if you can use Teferi, Time Raveler to bounce the Elspeth Conquers Death back once or twice to exile even more expensive permanents.

This is a deck that will likely win off the back of the other player simply being too frustrated to go on. Oh, we have Uro also as a weapon and a constant source of life. We’ll be putting things in the grave like Growth Spiral, chump blocking with Grazer, and Elspeth Conquers Death, so we’ll have access to putting Uro in play as nature intended (via his escape cost).

I also want to highlight an alternate way to play this deck that a friend of mine runs. Instead of the main deck you’ll see, I’ll include an alternate. His Planetwide Celebration to ramp up loyalty counters on his planeswalkers and gain life as needed. Also, Life Goes On for life gain, and finally, Flood of Tears.

Flood of Tears returns all nonland permanents to their owner’s hands. If you return four or more, you can then put a permanent back into play. Honestly, I might sneak a Flood of Tears into my deck just for this.

Ultimately we want to win off the backs of our superfriends team. Both Teferis to slow the game down as much as humanly possible, and Nissa to mana ramp us out of control. If we can get her ultimate though, our lands are indestructible. From there we just keep turning them into creatures into the other player no longer has an answer.

It would take a serious amount of aggro to get past this deck. I think the only things that will stop it are insane aggro or someone who counters every single spell that you try. That has. . . happened a lot to me over the last two days, I won’t lie to you. That’s going to happen though. But with planning and mana ramp, you can put your army of planeswalkers in, and watch as the other player folds under the pressure.

Key Cards


God, new Teferi is vile. He’s slow to hit 10, sure. But you can use him on your opponent’s turn, and as long as you keep building those loyalty counters, it’s going to happen. Everything in this deck just works together like a beautiful, but terrifying machine. So let’s talk about this evil machine called “Ugin Ramp”

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon (8-Cost Colorless Mythic Rare Legendary Planeswalker)


He’s going to be in a lot of decks, you mark my words. This is an 8-cost planeswalker, but we could get him out on turn 4 or 5 easily. In a good ramp early game, we’ll have him in no time. But what are his cool powers that make him such a knob?

+2: Ugin, the Spirit Dragon deals 3 damage to target creature or player
-X: Exile each permanent with converted mana cost X or less that’s one or more colors.
-10: You gain 7 life, draw seven cards, then put up to seven permanent cards from your hand onto the battlefield.

That -X is ferocious if you have a second Ugin on hand to cast. Since it’s “one or more colors” he can’t just -0 your lands away. But if your opponent is running some kind of frustrating deck like Red Deck Wins and everything is under 3 mana, you can just hit -X for 3. Then everything they have that has a color will be exiled. He’s a run killer. He stops decks dead in their tracks. Everything your opponent has a 1-drop? Even better! That +2 simply deals damage and is great. We want to ideally be pushing towards that since Ugin’s base loyalty is SEVEN. Two turns with him in play gets his ultimate.

Teferi, Master of Time (4-Cost Blue Mythic Rare Legendary Planeswalker)


Teferi, Master of Time is absolutely rude. He’s a new planeswalker in more ways than one. The ability to use his abilities every single turn is unheard of. That means he can +1 (draw 1, discard 1), or use his -3 to phase out your opponent’s one, huge creature. Are they doing that ridiculous One Massive Mutate trick? Well, phase it out for a turn, and follow up with Elspeth Conquers Death to fix their little red wagon. But what are his skills?

+1: Draw a card, then discard a card.
-3: Target creature you don’t control phases out.
-10: Take two extra turns after this.

A note on phasing: The target that’s phased out, and anything attached to it do not exist until the controller’s next turn. They aren’t exiled, that’s different. Anything attached to them comes back when they do. But if you can get him to -10, that’s going to win you the game almost assuredly. Having three turns to figure out a way to win? You love to see it.

Arboreal Grazer (1-Cost Green Common Creature – Beast)


This is an under-appreciated card, despite how many decks it’s featured in. It’s a 0/3 for 1 green, that has Reach. On top of that, when it comes in, you can play an extra land for turn from your hand. It’s so strong in the early game. He may be one of my favorite turn 1 moves. If you can do it on turn 2 as well, with enough lands, that’s 4 lands on turn 2! The land he puts in comes into play tapped, so bear that in mind, though. For 1 mana, he’s the best value for ramp in this whole deck.

Decklist


Deck

3 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon (M21) 1
4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221
4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (THB) 229
4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178
3 Elspeth Conquers Death (THB) 13
2 Mazemind Tome (M21) 232
2 Arboreal Grazer (WAR) 149
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169
2 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
2 Cultivate (M21) 177
2 Solemn Simulacrum (M21) 239
2 Teferi, Master of Time (M21) 75
4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
3 Island (IKO) 265
4 Forest (IKO) 272
3 Plains (IKO) 260
4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
4 Temple Garden (GRN) 258
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246

Alternate Decklist


Deck

1 Flood of Tears (M20) 59
3 Island (IKO) 265
4 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255
4 Cultivate (M21) 177
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169
2 Planewide Celebration (WAR) 172
3 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon (M21) 1
3 Thornwood Falls (ELD) 313
4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
3 Radiant Fountain (M21) 248
7 Forest (IKO) 274
4 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (THB) 229
4 Ugin, the Ineffable (WAR) 2
2 Life Goes On (M21) 192

Final Thoughts


No matter how you slice it or what version of this deck you run, it’s powerful. You can easily make a 15/15 or 20/20 Hydroid Krasis and just swing lethal while locking the board down with your planeswalkers. Try to avoid burning their -Loyalty abilities unless you have to. We want those final abilities just as fast as possible. If you can bounce some of these creatures or enchantments back with Teferi, Time Raveler, that might be fine. Especially if it’s Elspeth Conquers Death.

Bouncing one more permanent out may be the difference between victory and defeat. Then if we had to sacrifice a planeswalker (or they were killed), we can fetch it back with the final trigger of the saga. Just don’t fetch Hydroid Krasis with it – again, it’ll return as a 0/0 and die. We don’t want that at all. Only use it on Uro, if you are comfortable with it dying again (it’ll still trigger the +3 life, card draw, and extra land placement).

This is likely going to be a Tier 1 deck. Even if it’s not this exact build, I can see this contending with decks like Temur Reclamation soon.

Winota and Her Excellent Doggo Pals (Red/White Aggro/Combo)


For the most part, I am known for playing control decks. Despite that, most of my climbing this year has been done via aggro or combo. I would count Winota decks as both. They are fast-moving and powerful but have the Winota combo triggers to win the game much easier. However, when Winota was suspended in Historic, I had to look elsewhere. I’ve been seeing so many Winota/Dog Decks, so I decided to try my hand.

It wasn’t enough to ban Agent of Treachery, though; Winota is still viable. But what do we use to set up all these triggers? We can’t use Agent anymore to start stealing permanents. Instead, we look to do as much damage as humanly possible, as fast as we can. We’re still going to use Legion Warboss as long as we can. But there are some new friends for the deck.

We could call them the Goodest Boys. The Best Boys. Some Swell Pals. Dogs, I’m talking about Dogs. Dog Tribal is possible in the aggro scene, I think. We aren’t using all of the new dogs, just a couple of them. In particular, Pack Leader, Alpine Watchdog, Selfless Savior and Igneous Cur. Getting more than one Pack Leader out is incredibly satisfying.

There are games where you can win without even seeing Winota, thanks to how strong the dogs can be when paired with Alpine Houndmaster and a solid amount of mana. Right now, Standard is a race to see who drop Ugin, Spirit Dragon fastest. Our goal is to drop the body of the other player faster than that.

Let’s talk about some Good Boys (™)!

How Does It Work?


So, the way the old Winota deck worked, we wanted to rush Winota on turn 4 and get an Agent of Treachery on turn 4. That was the big move. We’d start stealing their permanents, as many of them as possible, to completely demoralize them (and also attack with their creatures). However, like many of these decks in MTG Arena Core Set 2021, we’ve changed the game.

Full Disclosure: This deck has undergone some changes from when it was first brewed. Instead of Haktos, we ran the new Subira. I like her, and she can help you get unblockable damage out. But honestly, that’s not one of my priorities. I want to hit as hard, with the biggest creatures possible. Now, we can do this still with Alpine Houndmaster, but I just didn’t like it. I wanted higher numbers.

So with that, I slotted out Subira for Haktos. You can change it if you’d like. We also ran the new Hallowblade, which is a neat card. It can become indestructible when you discard a card, but when we cast him with Winota, he’s indestructible.

My good friend Red instead pitched putting Pack Leader into that slot. From then on, it’s been a stomp fest, and all the other decks are invited. Who cares if you can drop Ugin on turn 5 if I can swing lethal on turn 4? I’m not scared of your lands, your silly elves, and elementals.

I have an army of Very Good Boys and am not afraid to use them. So let’s talk about our early game. We want a few of our low-cost nonhumans in play as early as possible to set up for that turn 4 Winota. Gingerbrute or Selfless Savior is amazing on turn 1. If you can drop one, then the other, better. Though my favorite turn 2 is Alpine Houndmaster. He’s got the highest potential damage in the entire deck.

When he drops, we can search our deck for one (or both) of a copy of Alpine Watchdog and Igneous Cur. Both are 2-drops and are great follow-ups. We aren’t always going to see a turn-4 Winota, sadly. That’s just how it is. So to set up for that, we want a few dogs and at least a Pack Leader. He gives all our other Good Boys (dogs) +1/+1.

On top of that, when Pack Leader swings in combat, all other dogs in combat cannot be harmed by combat damage. The more nonhumans we have in play to herald the arrival of Winota, the better. So that’s why Legion Warboss is still lurking. He hasn’t rotated out yet, so let’s flood the world with Goblins. If your opponent has no creatures or chooses not to block those goblins, they’ll regret it.

So those are our big early game plays. I want an Alpine Houndmaster before Winota, though. He may be human, but if he procs off Winota, he won’t get his awesome attack bonus. So let’s talk about that. When Alpine Houndmaster attacks, he gains +X/+0, where X is equal to the number of attacking creatures. So people will try to chump block him to kill him.

That’s been my experience. So do this when you have some mana free, and an Embercleave handy. They see an 11/2, and think, “Oh, easy kill! Yay!” Surprise them with a big, fiery sword. Suddenly, he’s a 12/3/ with Double Strike / Trample, and the game is over.

While we can win without Winota, thanks to the might of Pack Leader, she’s still our big win condition. When we attack with any nonhuman, she lets us look at the top six cards of our deck, and put a human into play, tapped, attacking, and indestructible. For each creature that is a nonhuman, we get another trigger of this.

Here’s a hypothetical situation:

Turn 1: Gingerbrute
Turn 2: Alpine Houndmaster
Turn 3: Legion Warboss
Turn 4: Winota, Joiner of Forces

On turn 4, that can give us 6 creatures to proc off of. Sometimes, you may want to wait, though. Why? For more damage! If they’ve been gaining life and you can’t punch through it, or maybe you want to bait a counterspell, wait until you have 6 mana. Play a Pack Leader, let it take the counter, then drop Winota.

What are our Humans we’re hoping to hit? Haktos, the Unscarred, Tajic, Legion’s Edge, Basri’s Lieutenant and Alpine Packmaster. It’s not always going to be a turn-4 guaranteed win, but we can get mighty close. Another reason to get those Houndmasters is to make sure we have plenty of dogs in hand to cast and swing with. We can also get another Winota, Joiner of Forces in these pulls. Should you? YES. That means you can attack with Winota, and she’s indestructible this turn.

If your opponent does not respect your creatures and doesn’t block/destroy them, they will regret it. As far as hands go, I don’t always take one with Winota in it, but that’s ideal. If I have a few lands, and a couple of dogs/a goblin, I’m liable to take it. We aren’t playing a lot of sneaky tricks in this deck.

The only non-creature outside of lands is Embercleave! This is a deck all about hammering someone in the face as quickly and often as you can. If your opponent doesn’t die on turn 4, set down a few more creatures, and just do it again. I haven’t had too many games go past turn 6 or 7, because we just overwhelm them with damage as fast as possible. Even Red Deck Wins can falter before it because we have a storm of creatures that are bigger than theirs.

I want to talk about one of our one-drops, too. Selfless Savior is a undervalued card, I think. You can sacrifice it to give one of your creatures indestructible for a turn. So even if you swing with him, and he’s blocked, you can still make him incredibly useful. He will give his life, so one of your other creatures doesn’t die.

He’s been the cause of my victory before. Opponent goes to board wipe, and I save Pack Leader or Legion Warboss. Sure, the game goes on another turn, but we’ll get them in the end. This is an army of Very Good Boys that works together well. Get some nonhumans out, play Winota, and swing for the fences! In some ways, I don’t mind getting a slightly late Winota. That way, I can still play an Embercleave during the combat phase.

Key Cards


Of course, Winota’s the lynchpin that makes this all work, and we’ve covered her before. Instead, I want to look at some of the newer cards that make this deck so fun and exciting. I’m not sure if Winota Dog Tribal will be a Tier 1 deck, but I know it is fun and throws down some serious damage.

Alpine Houndmaster (2-Cost Red and White Uncommon Creature – Human Warrior)


Sure, pulling him with Winota is neat, but he won’t be a 10/2 that way. It will take another turn for that, which is fine! But Alpine Houndmaster as an uncommon is amazing. When he is summoned, you can get a pair of 2-cost dogs (Alpine Watchdog, Igneous Cur) from the deck. We’re running two of each because more would be too much bloat. But when we attack with him, he gains again, that +X/+0. The reason we don’t get this with Winota is that the attack has already been declared, so we can’t get that trigger. He helps us fetch for more nonhumans, and can be our game-winning bomb with Embercleave. The hardest I’ve hit with him is 16 (not counting double strike). He is ferocious, but without Embercleave, almost anything can do him in.

Pack Leader (2-Cost White Rare Creature – Dog)


A Dog Lord?! That’s right! We finally have a Dog Lord, and he’s a doozy! Other Dogs, of course, get +1/+1. So having two Pack Leaders is even better. Whenever Pack Leader attacks, prevent combat damage that would be dealt to Dogs, we control this turn. So we swing with him and all our pals, and none will die to combat damage. They can still perish to Shatter the Skies, et cetera. But that’s not going to be your opponent’s immediate concern. It’s going to be “OH GOD THERE ARE SO MANY DOGS I CAN’T HURT THEM.”

Basri’s Lieutenant (4-Cost White Rare Creature – Human Knight): Basri’s Lieutenant has a lot to offer, especially if the fight goes on beyond his appearance. He’s a ¾ with Vigilance/Protection from Multi-colored. So a lot of removal will just batter off of his shield. Plus, when he comes into play, he puts a +1/+1 counter on a creature we control. So use it wisely! Put it on someone that is going to need it to stay alive. However, when he or another creature you control dies, if they had a +1/+1 counter on it, create a 2/2 white Knight token with vigilance. That Knight isn’t a “human,” so they’ll proc Winota too. Tajic and Legion Warboss both give +1/+1 counters through Mentor, so there’s going to be a lot of Goblins that turn into Knights. He offers tons of synergy, as well as enhances your game-winning capability.

Decklist


Deck

2 Basri’s Lieutenant (M21) 9
4 Pack Leader (M21) 29
4 Legion Warboss (GRN) 109
3 Embercleave (ELD) 120
2 Haktos the Unscarred (THB) 218
8 Mountain (UND) 94
7 Plains (UND) 88
4 Gingerbrute (ELD) 219
2 Tajic, Legion’s Edge (GRN) 204
2 Igneous Cur (M21) 153
2 Alpine Watchdog (M21) 2
4 Selfless Savior (M21) 36
4 Temple of Triumph (M20) 257
4 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254
4 Alpine Houndmaster (M21) 215
4 Winota, Joiner of Forces (IKO) 216

Final Thoughts


There are always going to be variations and ways to play this deck. Some people run Giant Hunter and Bonecrusher Giant instead of Gingerbrute and Tajic. Tajic will rotate out anyway, and I’ll likely replace him with a Bonecrusher then. The decks still all more or less operate the same, so it’s whatever flavor works for you. I’ll drop an alternate decklist that I was going to go with before I settled on “More Dogs.”

What stops this deck from happening? Control. I don’t think there are too many aggro decks that can outpace it. Artifacts can if they drop an Ornithopter and give it All That Glitters, but that’s rare enough. Board wipe can stop us, but if we have plenty of creatures in hand, we can just try again. You just have to be patient and look for a starting hand with plenty of early threat. You don’t have to swing all the time. But I attack anytime it looks safe, just to make the Winota win that much easier to secure.

Alternate Decklist


Deck

2 Alpine Watchdog (M21) 2
4 Selfless Savior (M21) 36
2 Igneous Cur (M21) 153
4 Alpine Houndmaster (M21) 215
4 Seasoned Hallowblade (M21) 34
4 Legion Warboss (GRN) 109
4 Winota, Joiner of Forces (IKO) 216
4 Embercleave (ELD) 120
8 Plains (THB) 279
8 Mountain (THB) 285
4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
4 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254
4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
4 Giant Killer (ELD) 14

Rakdos Sakdos (Black/Red Sacrifice Combo)


Oh lord, we’re still talking about sacrifice decks?! You better believe it! There are some truly terrifying cards that go into this deck now. I’ve seen it become essentially infinite sacrifice, where every turn, the other player gets even more creatures and causes the other to sacrifice in a loop that simply cannot be stopped. Sure, it can beat people right in the face too, but you definitely do not have to.

I wanted to talk about Jund Sacrifice instead, but I like this combo more. It’s faster, and arguably, much easier to set up. That’s mostly because it just requires two colors (red/black) instead of three (red/black/green). Plus, this deck uses Archfiend’s Vessel. While I’m tired of seeing it on the other side of the table already, I cannot deny or argue how powerful it is.

For 1 mana, we have a chance of getting a 5/5 flying demon! All we have to do is play it from the grave. This deck runs 2 Goblin Arsonist and 2 Archfiend’s Vessel, but I can see people simply running 4 Archfiend’s Vessel instead. Or you could get rid of two of your Dreadhorde Butchers or even a Gruesome Menagerie.

Since you have to exile Archfiend’s Vessel to play the 5/5 demon, we can only do it as many times as we have the card. That’s entirely up to you. Most of our creatures, when they die, deal damage to the other player. We set up loops to constantly put them into play and get rid of them. This deck is so disrespectful.

How Does It Work?


You’re probably familiar with traditional Rakdos/Jund sacrifice by now. We in many cases whittle the other player down by a cycle of Cauldron Familiar, being dumped into Witch’s Oven. That’s very slow, but it’s pretty darn safe. What if I told you there’s a faster, more frustrating way to win with this deck?

Would you be interested? Bet you would! We still use Witch’s Ovens when needed, but they aren’t as prevalent, as soon as we get a few Priest of Forgotten Gods in play. They are probably our best way to win, especially when we have Lurrus in play. Priest of Forgotten Gods lets us tap it, sac two other creatures to make the other player lose 2 life and sacrifice a creature. We also gain 2 black mana in our mana pool and draw a card.

We have so many 1 drops to set up for this. Archfiend’s Vessel we direly want to be in the graveyard, for example. Serrated Scorpion and Goblin Arsonist deal damage to the other player when they die (2 for the Scorpion, 1 for the Goblin). Dreadhorde Butcher does the same, based on its attack power. So if we can keep it alive and swinging, more’s the better.

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger will die when it comes into play unless it’s escaped. When it does, each opponent discards a card. Those who did not discard a nonland lose 3 life. With Lurrus, we can keep casting him each turn without escaping him, forcing the other player to discard (and potentially lose life).

In the early game, we want to set up playing Lurrus, as fast as possible. He lets us cast a creature from our grave (2 mana or less) once each turn. So we can constantly re-play the creatures we need to win. Did we have to sac a Priest? Play another one! Did we sacrifice Archfiend? Cast it to get a 5/5! Just keep playing Serrated Scorpions to deal 2 damage when you sacrifice them! If you want, you can cast it from the grave and sacrifice it to the Oven to get more damage.

If you have the mana, and the cards, you have even more combo options. For example, let’s look at Call of the Death-Dweller, another very popular recent card. You can return two creatures that have a total cost of 3 mana or less. You can give out a deathtouch and menace counter to either of these (or put them both on the same creature).

This is yet another way to get that Archfiend’s Vessel to create a 5/5 flying demon. Or you can use it to bring back two Scorpions. Or we can use that one Gruesome Menagerie. It lets you put a creature that has a 1, 2, and 3 converted mana costs back onto the battlefield! So, Serrated Scorpion, Dreadhorde Butcher/Kroxa/Priest, and Lurrus, if he died.

You can use everything to sacrifice, then cast Gruesome Menagerie to put them all back, and just you know, do it again! Call of the Death Dealer and Gruesome Menagerie help us play stuff from the graveyard, so we need another way to get them there, other than simply sacrificing! Mire Triton is a way to help. When it is put into play, you put the top two cards of your deck into the grave and gave 2 life.

But sometimes, you don’t want to sacrifice your creatures yet. Or maybe your opponent has a defender, and you want to actually swing with Dreadhorde. What can we possibly do? Why cast Claim the Firstborn! It’s 1 red mana, and we can steal a creature that has a CMC of 3 or less. Then we give it haste. I wouldn’t cast this unless you have a sacrifice engine ready to go. Otherwise, they get the creature back at the end of your turn.

You can throw it into your Witch’s Oven, but it’s better to have access to Priest of Forgotten Gods. That way we steal a creature, force the other player to sacrifice a creature, and likely deal some free damage with a variety of our creature. Plus, we don’t have to sacrifice two creatures we own. Just control.

Against the slower decks that run fewer creatures, this is an incredibly potent deck. We keep them from ever having their key game-winning creatures, via Priest of Forgotten Gods. But what if we want to start hitting them in the face?

Archfiend’s Vessel’s Demon and Kroxa are the best options. If you can keep a Dreadhorde Butcher, they can become massive and threatening, but more often than not, he’ll be a sacrificial lamb. That’s our strategy. We want to sacrifice our creatures and bring them back (or simply cast more and sacrifice those too).

The ability to do plenty of damage every turn, thanks to Serrated Scorpion, Priest of Forgotten Gods, et al, is incredibly potent. We have several ways to bring cards back, such as through Lurrus and Call of the Death-Dweller. Also bear in mind, if you have the cards/mana, you can cast two Claim the Firstborn, and steal two creatures, sacrificing them both to Priest of the Forgotten Gods.

That’s the overarching plan. We constantly sacrifice/kill off creatures to force the other player into taking damage. Do you know who might be fun in this deck too? Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose! Serrated Scorpion and Cauldron Familiar would cause us to do even more with him. Trouble is, I have no idea where I would fit them in. Maybe the Mire Triton slot? We’ll see.

If all else fails, you can just play multiple Witch’s Ovens and repeatedly sacrifice your Cauldron Familiars to it. That combo never really goes away.

Key Cards


Sacrifice isn’t going anywhere. Not anytime soon, anyway. I mean, sure they go to the grave, but you know what I mean! Sacrifice in some flavor will remain in the meta. Mono-Black, Red/Black, Red/Black/Green, it’s going to be here and there’s nothing that can be done about it. There are way worse cards to consider getting rid of right now, after all. But what makes this deck so annoying? We’re going to look at the creatures that are such a threat, simply by existing.

Archfiend’s Vessel (1-Cost Black Uncommon Creature – Human Cleric)


God, this card. I want to find a way to use it in so many decks. It’s probably going to be a staple in Reanimator, because it means cheap, fast ways to create annoying 5/5 beat sticks. Especially when it’s only a 1-cost. We can use it with Village Rites and sacrifice it to put it in the grave, Witch’s Oven, or simply attack until someone finally blocks it. Since the base 1/1 has lifelink, it’s going to become a threat before long. As long as the other player doesn’t exile it, we can find a way to bring it back. Lupus, Call of the Death-Dweller, Gruesome Menagerie, all of these create a 5/5 flying demon. If this creature is cast from the grave for any reason, exile it, and create that 5/5 black Demon token with flying.

Serrated Scorpion (1-Cost Common Creature – Scorpion)


A common as a key card? Oh boy do I love it! At first glance I don’t think I realized just how powerful this card was, but I do now. If you cast two of these and sacrifice them both to Priest of the Forgotten Gods, that’s 6 damage/points of life lost! Then, with Lurrus/Call of the Death-Dweller, we can just do it again! With enough creatures in play, we can just beat someone down with one Priest, and a couple of Scorpions. All they can do is sit there and take damage.

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger (2-Cost Red and Black Mythic Rare Legendary Creature – Elder Giant)


Uro seems to get all the love, doesn’t he? We only see people talk about Kroxa in sacrifice decks, or Hushbringer decks, and frankly, that’s not very fair. He’s a very powerful 6/6 legendary, and he shines in particular with Lurrus. Sure, he doesn’t stay in play. Even if we cast him with Lurrus, he will be sacrificed again immediately, but he still makes the other player discard a card. If they don’t discard a nonland, they lose 3 life. So if we do this long enough, they’ll simply run out of cards, and start losing life. Or if they pitch lands, they lose life. If we can escape him back into play, that’s amazing, but we don’t have to. He’s just a way to distract and slow down the other player.

Decklist


Companion

1 Lurrus of the Dream Den (IKO) 226

Deck

3 Mountain (M20) 273
2 Goblin Arsonist (M21) 147
1 Castle Embereth (ELD) 239
4 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254
1 Gruesome Menagerie (GRN) 71
3 Mire Triton (THB) 105
1 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
2 Temple of Malice (THB) 247
4 Call of the Death-Dweller (IKO) 78
4 Witch’s Oven (ELD) 237
2 Archfiend’s Vessel (M21) 88
4 Dreadhorde Butcher (WAR) 194
3 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger (THB) 221
6 Swamp (M20) 272
2 Village Rites (M21) 126
4 Priest of Forgotten Gods (RNA) 83
2 Serrated Scorpion (IKO) 99
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Claim the Firstborn (ELD) 118

Sideboard

4 Drill Bit (RNA) 73
2 Dead Weight (GRN) 67
2 Soul-Guide Lantern (THB) 237
1 Lurrus of the Dream Den (IKO) 226
2 Robber of the Rich (ELD) 138
2 Grasp of Darkness (M21) 102
2 Mire’s Grasp (THB) 106

Final Thoughts


This deck gets out of control incredibly fast. That’s why I like it though! It’s a fascinating blend of rarities. It’s about a third common, a third uncommon, a third rare. Then Kroxa for Mythic Rare. It’s frankly, not that hard to put together. Our sideboard has some cards I’d love to find room for in the main board. In particular, I’ve seen this deck successfully run Robber of the Rich in the mainboard. I’d probably slot Soul-Guide Lantern into the main board too since I see a lot of decks utilizing graveyard power. Even if it’s just one of them, we can slot it in, and use it to demolish Cycling’s chances of winning as a prime example.

If I were going to put Robbers and Soul-Guides in anywhere, it would be in place of Mire Triton. They’re neat, but I think Robber of the Rich could just be way more frustrating to deal with, and Soul-Guide Lantern stops a ton of decks dead in their tracks. Be advised that you can still be out-aggroed. But one deck I think we have the edge on are all of those annoying Mutation decks. They tend to focus on one or two creatures, so we just make them sacrifice them constantly. I don’t care if your 6/6 has Hexproof. If it’s your only creature, it’s going bye-bye.

This is a deck that’s all about judicious awareness of the board state. We don’t have lots of creature removal, but as long as we have Priests and a few pals, we can force that other player to sacrifice their forces. Even better if we can steal their key card, and throw it into the grave for them. They didn’t want to keep an Ajani’s Pridemate anyway. I’m sure of it.

Gaze into the Abyss (Blue/Black/White Mill/Control)


So, I’ve been waffling on this one. I wanted to do an Underworld Dreams/Peer into the Abyss deck, but it seems so unreliable. It’s hard to get that 3-drop Underworld Dreams, get land, hold down the board, and get ready for the 7-drop Peer into the Abyss! We just haven’t figure out quite how to make it happen yet. It’s in the development phases.

Instead, we just took the more expensive part of the combo to use as a Win Condition – Peer into the Abyss! While Mono-Black may not be the right call yet, Esper is always strong. Originally I used this in Historic as a self-mill/ Jace combo to win the game. I might reconstruct that. But now, we draw out as much of our deck as possible, in order to make the other player lose.

We use all of the really great Esper tools that exist to slow down the state of the game, and set up as close to an unstoppable win as possible. With Teferi, Teferi’s Tutelage, and a bunch of really annoying Sharks, we can force the other player to deal with whatever nonsense we set up.

Thankfully, our only win condition is not Teferi’s Tutelage/Peer into the Abyss. More often than not, we win simply by locking down the board and creating Sharks. Or wiping the field until the other player no longer has answers to our threats. Do you like picking away at the other players win conditions, until they have nothing left?

Then making them mill their deck on top of that? That’s the dream, friends. Let me teach you how to make people as mad as we possibly can.

How Does It Work?


Teferi’s Tutelage is an incredible card. Anytime we draw a card, the other player has to mill two. That’s not a new card style by any stretch, but having this print means it will be around for at least the next year. It combines nicely with another new card, Peer into the Abyss. That’s our big money maker. There are a bunch of ways to use this card.

Originally, my goal was Underworld Dreams into Peer. Underworld Dreams makes the enemy take 1 damage per card drawn. So if they have to draw 20+ cards, it’s very likely it will kill them in one shot. But it just is too hard to set up right now for me. So instead, we tap into the mighty powers of Esper. As long as Teferi, Time Raveler is in the meta (September 2020), this will be very annoying to deal with.

This is a slightly harder deck to use though. The reason being we’re going to inevitably get matched up against Bant Ugin. From there, it’s a matter of “can we clear the field before they ramp to Ugin, or destroy it/exile it somehow?”

Luckily, we have some tools to get it out of the way early. It always seems like those decks have one sitting in their starting hand. So how do we deal with it? Thought Erasure and Agonizing Remorse are the easiest options. By turn 2, we can peek at their hand, and get rid of a nonland card that we don’t want to deal with – like Ugin. So we have hand control that’s going to be out of this world. Nobody likes a turn 2 Thought Erasure or Agonizing Remorse, either. If we can do it multiple times in the early game, even better! They’ll surely draw into something else you’d rather get rid of.

Frankly, if I could find a way to squeeze Unmoored Ego in, I would. Necromentia would be another suitable choice to find the Ugins in their deck and exile them. I’m just not sure where I would put them in. Our early game is built around choices like that: can we look at their hand and figure out what they need to win?

If we can, and make sure it’s nowhere near their hand, all the better. The early game Teferi also slows down any chance of counter-play. That’s what we want in the early game. Stop their key cards from being cast, and then prevent them from playing instants.

That makes it much safer to cast one or two Teferi’s Tutelages. We get those faster through Narset, Parter of Veils, or the one Grim Tutor in the deck. That will let us search out any card we need, at the cost of 3 life. Now, I tend to hold that for a Peer into the Abyss, but if it’s a dire situation, use it on whatever you need. Heck, I’ve used Grim Tutor to pull a land so I would have 4 instead of 3! Ultimately, we want at least one Teferi’s Tutelage in play, but if we can get two? That’s even better.

That turns every card we draw into them milling 4 cards. Simply casting Teferi’s Tutelage also lets us draw one, then discard one. On top of that, we have Teferi, Time Master to let us draw 1, discard 1. Even better, we can do it on our turn, and then their turn too! Having a planeswalker that can activate abilities on the other player’s turn is filthy. The best time to set up for the winning move is when we can activate Teferi’s ultimate.

That’s a best-case-scenario though, so don’t count on it. I don’t often see his ultimate: Take two extra turns after this one. Now, if we can do that, and they have no free mana, the other player tends to fold. They know what’s coming. So how do we stop the other player from getting to a point where they can win?

So, the decks I tend to run across are heavy aggro/mid-range decks. Decks reliant on lots of creatures that hit quick. Perhaps the biggest tool in our kit is Extinction Event. We’re only running two, but you can easily slide more in. Perhaps slotting out Atris of the deck. Extinction Event exiles all creatures that have an Even or Odd CMC (converted mana cost), your choice. Important: 0-cost counts as even! So against those Nissa decks, you can wipe their lands as they come out. Down side: You have to take some hits first.

If the other player is running nothing but 1-cost jerks, just wipe the field with them. You also have individual targeting spells. Eliminate comes to mind. It’s a 2-cost (1 black) that destroys a planeswalker or creature that costs 3 or less. Then Mortify that can destroy a creature or enchantment. So we have the tools in our kit to secure a victory. In the previous version of this deck, Narset was a detriment: we wanted the other player to draw. Now, we want to draw. We use her to slow down their card draw, while also searching for the right card for any situation. If we get lucky, we’ll draw just what we want. That will vary from game to game, so situational awareness is key.

We use Shark Typhoon if we have the mana, so we can get X/X flying creatures for every non-creature spell we cast (we have one creature in the whole deck). Otherwise, if you don’t think it’s feasible, cycle it instead to try and get something else. The final strategy is to get one or two Teferi’s Tutelage into play, and when the other player can’t stop it, cast Peer into the Abyss on yourself. You’ll draw half your deck and lose half your life.

But if you did the math right, the other player will mill out entirely. Make sure to count the cards carefully. It’s two cards per one you draw. I wanted to make this a Yorion deck, but it was just too slow, sadly.

Key Cards


It’s not always going to be an easy deck to win with, but when the combo pops off, it’s unreasonably frustrating. I’ve had a few matches that just felt unwinnable, but that’s the nature of competitive MTG Arena decks, Core Set 2021 or otherwise. But what are our high-value cards?

Peer into the Abyss (7-Cost Rare Black Spell – Sorcery)


This is our make-or-break card. Sure, we could win with four Tutelages in play, and just win off of card draw. But that’s harder, much harder. Don’t cast this if there’s even a chance the other player will counter it. You may have to wait until you have way more than 7 mana to cast this. That means baiting the other player with planeswalkers, Grim Tutor, whatever it takes. But since it lets you make a player draw half their deck, and you always lose half of your life, you must be careful. Since it’s only half of your deck, you don’t have to worry about decking out though. With some easy math, this will always secure a win. Never cast it without at least one Teferi’s Tutelage.

Teferi’s Tutelage (3-Cost Uncommon Blue Enchantment)


God, I wish this was not a three-cost card. It makes the deck incredibly slow. But this is a deck in general, that is a slow control deck. When we cast this, we draw a card, then discard a card. That means simply casting it causes the other player to mill two cards. Because anytime we draw a card, the other player has to mill two cards down into the grave. So we use this and set up Teferi’s to force card draw and wait until the time is right for Peer into the Abyss. This is part one of the Peer combo. Without it, it doesn’t work.

Teferi, Time Raveler (3-Cost Rare White and Blue Planeswalker – Teferi)


Tired of Teferi, Time Raveler being important yet? Well, he’s almost gone in Standard. He’ll still be lurking in Historic though. Teferi’s purpose in the deck is to bounce stuff on occasion, but mostly, to use his +1. That will let us cast Sorceries on the other player’s turn. Since the other player can’t cast spells at Instant speed, this is the best way to cast Peer into the Abyss. Especially if they’re running Temur Reclamation. Set up a trigger to pause the game before it triggers and they’re tapped out. Then ZAP, PEER INTO THE ABYSS! The best way to use it is anytime on the other player’s turn when they have no mana to stop you from securing the proverbial bag.

Decklist


Deck

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221
1 Plains (SLD) 63
2 Shark Typhoon (IKO) 67
4 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61
4 Thought Erasure (GRN) 206
1 Grim Tutor (M21) 103
2 Peer into the Abyss (M21) 117
3 Teferi’s Tutelage (M21) 78
2 Extinction Event (IKO) 88
2 Agonizing Remorse (THB) 83
3 Eliminate (M21) 97
2 Mortify (RNA) 192
3 Solemn Simulacrum (M21) 239
2 Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths (THB) 209
2 Island (SLD) 64
2 Swamp (SLD) 65
3 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
3 Temple of Silence (M20) 256
4 Godless Shrine (RNA) 248
4 Watery Grave (GRN) 259
4 Temple of Deceit (THB) 245
3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

Sideboard

3 Cry of the Carnarium (RNA) 70
2 Oath of Kaya (WAR) 209
4 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
3 Aether Gust (M20) 42
3 Thief of Sanity (GRN) 205

Final Thoughts


Do consider putting a Soul-Guide Lantern into the sideboard. Especially if you play Best-of-Three, and are dealing with Cycling. That is your answer to cycling/retrieval! Just get rid of all of those awful cards that are going to come back. Admittedly, there are match-ups that will feel impossible on paper, Red Deck Wins, Bant Ugin. But if you can get the opponent’s key cards out of their hand early, and board wipe the rest of their solutions, they will capitulate.

I absolutely love this deck and am always looking for ways to make it more efficient. I like it how it is right now though because I love the concept. We want the other player to have to mill out and have zero control over the possibility of it happening. Cry of the Carnarium in the mainboard or Oath of Kaya might be fun too. The sideboard is mostly tools to see what works for you. Aether Gust is so powerful, I’d consider it or Dovin’s Veto in the mainboard for surprise counters. We don’t run much in the way of counter-play other than creature removal/board wipe.

Think about what works best for you. That’s the most important thing. But this is a deck that slowly sets up a victory, and then before they know it – no cards in the deck!

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