It’s time for another round of Crash Test Magic. This week, we aren’t debating the merits of a fictional card design — this week, we’re going to build a deck.
Since I’ve been playing standard Magic again, I’ve been putting a lot more thought into deck design. I’ve also been thinking about the Magic “teams” that have had so much success in the past: groups of players that design, test, trade and compete together. It occurred to me that we could start a sort of virtual team here at Robot Viking. This post is something of a preliminary attempt to make that happen, or at least gauge interest in such a project.
My initial deck idea for this week is something of a combo deck, though it has multiple win conditions. Aside from the dual lands that will make the mana base smoother, there’s only one rare currently in the deck, so it’s very budget friendly. At the moment, it’s a little too slow, but I’m hoping the combined brainpower of the Vikings can whip this into something close to competitive shape.
Here’s the idea: get out a Sigil Captain as early as possible. Then, get a creature’s power as high as possible as quickly as possible, even if it’s temporary. Ideas include a simple Giant Growth or possibly an Awakener Druid, but I’m guessing we can find a better way. Then, use Mercy Killing on your own creature, getting a huge pile of 1/1 creatures that the captain makes into 3/3s. Finally, attack with all those creatures and play Flurry of Wings, unleashing five or more 3/3 fliers aong with whatever else is attacking.
Now, it seems like a pretty complicated combo, but it’s very resilient to disruption. You can take out any one part and it will still work, just less effectively. If your captain dies, you still get a ton of 1/1 fliers. Can’t pull off the Mercy Killing? An early game Flurry can still put two or three 3/3 fliers on the board for you. We can also run Bant Charms for creature removal and to protect the combo, and Dauntless Escorts can protect you from a Pyroclasm (and they’re a cheap rare).
Elvish Visionary helps you get the combo cards more quickly, and at worst he can help fuel the Flurry. Llanowar Elves are key for mana acceleration; Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise would be perfect if you have them, but they’re expensive. Other possibilities: Overrun or Sigil Blessing, or Sigil of the Nayan Gods to either get a big Mercy Killing or to create one huge flying creature. I’ve also considered running Ant Queen as a late game threat. There are some planewalkers that could fit in nicely, but I don’t think they’re crucial.
The primary problems that need to be addressed: 1). what’s the best way to pull off a big Mercy Killing? 2). Do we need more creature removal? 3). Is there another way to generate a bunch of creatures other than Mercy Killing, especially since that card will rotate out of standard in October? 4). How can we make this faster and more consistent? Do we need more card drawing? Tutors?
If nothing else, I think we can make this into a decent deck that will be fun to bring to Friday Night Magic, and can be put together for under $20 (not counting Hierarchs and dual lands, which you can work around, although it makes you slower).