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ZendikarRising is bringing us plenty of different tribal strategies, hopefully there’s at least one that you’ll like. You have a bunch of hard to block Rogues like Merfolk Wind robber, which can enable Earth San, so you get a creature from your opponent’s graveyard.
You have a bunch of ways to mill your opponent, so they should always have some nice juicy targets in their grave. You’re also playing Slither wisp, which isn’t a Rogue, but works well with them as many have flash.
One very good Cleric from the previous set is Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, which works great with the life gain theme. If you like a bunch of life gaining shenanigans and triggers this is the right deck for you.
Akira is great, as it’s Nair, Heir of the Ancients, which is perfect fit for this deck. This deck supports perhaps the best white one drop, that we’ve seen in a very long time.
Even if you don’t manage to get to full party, a one MANA 2/2 is already a very good deal. Lineal, Shield of the Sea Gate is similar, totally busted if you have the whole party, but still amazing otherwise.
The big problem for party decks will certainly be mass removal spells like Shatter the Sky, but Lineal takes care of them. Madras, Thief of Heartbeats can cost very little MANA, and even if you manage to reduce its cost just to four manas it’s a pretty insane card.
This is great as General Audio of Transit can be used to its full potential. Sure Cat tribal didn’t get much support from ZendikarRising, but there’s at least LIDAR Retreat, which is very good.
If you’ve been missing a midrange deck in Standard, you can give this one a try. Deploy lands, smash down with your cheap landfall creatures and equip Ember cleave.
Maybe you want to take your time with your landfall triggers and get to the big stuff? The deck looks like a ton of fun, and it plays 61 cards total, because why not, apparently.
Another fun landfall deck is built around Month, Locus of Creation. It really goes all in and doesn’t play a single colored card.
For defense, you’re using bounce spells like Uncommon and Sea Gate Storm caller to copy them. Make your opponent lose life points quickly.
Whatever the case, here are some decks from previous Standard format, that got nice support in ZendikarRising. This is yet another great mono red deck to play early on in the new format.
Mono green was a staple in the previous Standard format. It features two new Wizards which both play amazingly well in this archetype.
The deck also features old favorites in Sprite Dragon and Storming Entity. Our final deck, dusts of a death touch lord in Hooded Blight fang.
With every expansion comes potential massive changes and adjustments to the meta. While none of these decks are guaranteed to be top-tier, we’re looking at what could show up as powerful and useful.
This week, we’re talking about MTG Arena ZendikarRisingdecks that should wind up being powerful! The land can come into play untapped if you pay 3 life, which is amazing.
In most cases, we’re willing to bet you’ll get 3-4 creature cards back, more if you have had a bad game/running an annoying Green/Black reanimator deck. Assay makes your nontoken creatures into lands in addition to other types (Forests in particular).
Turn timber Symbiosis lets you look at the top seven cards of your deck and put a creature from among them onto the battlefield. And the Tangled Tetrahedron since it can be a MANA dork or come into play as a land instead.
Blue has a card that is a throwback to something we’re pretty familiar with (Snap caster Mage). I’m talking about the Mythic Rare Sea Gate Storm caller.
When it deploys, you copy the next instant or sorcery you cast with a converted MANA cost of 2 or less. Bear in mind; the Kicker cost does not add to the CMC of a spell.
My favorite card in White is, predictably, a board wipe option. You could run it in WE with Assay, and board wipe, only you keep your creatures (because they’re now Forests).
Saline Tyrant is here to make people miserable, and it doesn’t even have a high-cost or a Kicker! When it dies, you can pay as much red as you have/want to deal that much damage to any target (the other player, let’s be honest).
I’m wondering if it’s going to be possible to do mono-red control built around the Saline Tyrant for an OK deck. The next time Math, Locus of Creation shows up in MTG Arena, he will have all five colors attached.
What do you get when you combine Pro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Math, Locus of Creation, and Assay, Soul of the Wild? But when you tack on cards like Ancient Green warden that let you trigger abilities triggered by lands entering the battlefield more than once, you’re going to melt another player’s life total in a matter of turns.
But how do we turn this pile of lands and weird creatures into something magnificent? This deck runs a wide variety of creatures, a planes walker, and a couple of spells.
We can decimate someone with Math, Locus of Creation, and at least 3 Landfall triggers a turn, for example. What we’re hoping to do is get one of those Genesis Ultimatum early, ramp into it, and get us off to the races.
Then you can cast another one later to help you hopefully find lots of lands to put into play. After you have an Ancient Green warden and other combo pieces put into play, you want to drop a five-land Genesis Ultimatum, if at all possible.
So if we can get one or two copies of Ancient Green warden into play, for example, we can get 2 or 3 triggers of Landfall per land dropped. Ancient Green warden also lets us play lands from our graveyard, adding extra value to Fabled Passage.
Since we have 8 basic lands, we can double the value of Fabled Passage and keep using one from the grave. Math has three abilities, depending on how many times Landfall has activated this turn.
Sadly, it doesn’t keep producing over and over each turn that I’m aware of. You can just nickel and dime someone down over a few turns this way without too much difficulty.
At the beginning of your end step, if there are cards exiled with Value Exploration, put them in their owner’s graveyard, and Value Exploration deals damage to each opponent based on how many cards are there. Between Genesis Ultimatum and Pro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, we can get quite a few lands in one turn.
If we pair that again, with Ancient Green warden, we can play this spell on the other player’s turn, get 4 damage out of Math, put a land in the grave, get a few landfall triggers, and play that sacrificed land from the graveyard. She also makes our nontoken creatures into Forests, so they count towards her overall total.
Even our Lotus Cobra and Gilded Goose cards will bring us closer to glory. They give our creatures +1/+0 each time they attack in a turn, and it doesn’t read “until end of turn.” Moral is also a baseline 6/6.
If we’re swinging with our Wardens, Pro, Moral, and Assay, we will smash someone’s brains into paste with little-to-no effort. Genesis Ultimatum: Look at the top five cards, and put any number of permanents into play.
A few Ancient Green wardens: Trigger Landfall extra times. If we keep hitting land drops, it will trigger a host of other landfall abilities this deck has to offer.
Gilded Goose helps us generate tokens to sac for land, and Lotus Cobra gives us additional MANA of any color anytime a land drops in to play for us. If we can Landfall twice on our turn, we get 1 red, blue, white, green MANA for the phase.
Editor’s Note : This deck originally ran a pair of Gins, but I’m not sure it’ll be necessary. This deck will probably change a lot and wind up focusing on just the one Moral combo.
We can add some Mythic Modal Lands if we want (this added some since I initially started writing). It might seem like this deck is kind of on the busy side, and I don’t blame you.
For example, the original design had none of the Mythic Rare lands, but they’re just too good to pass up. They offer optional powerful effects, while also giving us an untapped land for 3 life if we want.
A little intro to that title: Ninjutsu is an older ability from the Amiga block in MTG. There are so many new cards that fit into this mold for UP Rogues that we’re excited to see it again.
We also discussed UP Flash more recently, but this is just Rogue Tribal Gone Wild (™). This is more of aggro/midrange, where we drop sneaky tricks and steal the other player’s cards right out of the graveyard.
Though it’s not a mill deck, the more cards we put in the grave, the greater use we can get out of Earth San, the Trickster. We have some real synergy/benefit from putting cards there, but we can very much win without decking the other player down.
We will probably find victory with a pair of creatures: Nighthawk Scavenger and Earth San, the Trickster. In exchange, Earth San, the Trickster leaves your hand and enters play, tapped and attacking.
This leads us to ask: What can we do to make the other player lose cards at a rapid rate? On top of that, if there are 8+ cards in the enemy graveyard, Thieves’ Guild Enforcer gets +2/+1 and death touch.
With a host of Rogues that cost 1-3 MANA in full play sets, it’s going to take almost nothing to start putting those cards away. Until the end of turn, that creature returns to the battlefield tapped under its owner’s control, if it dies.
But whenever one or more Rogues we control attack, each opponent mills two cards! Once we have Earth San in hand, we want to use his power to swap him out for an unblocked Rogue.
If you’re feeling fancy and Earth San doesn’t get blocked the next turn, you can swap him for another in hand, just because! He will let you steal the other players permanents and put them into play for your own benefit.
Drown in the Lock benefits immensely on the other player losing cards into their graveyard. It can destroy a creature or counter a spell with converted MANA cost less than or equal to the number of cards in that player’s graveyard.
Brazen Borrower can be cast as a spell to bounce a nonland permanent an opponent controls back to their hand, and then it can be Flashed in as a Fairy Rogue! Then we just want to attack whenever it’s safe, as often as possible, and drop Earth San from your hand (don’t cast him unless you can Flash him in on the other player’s turn and are 100% sure he won’t get blocked).
Sure, that deck always flashes in the other player’s turn, but this has more utility with all the mill. Plus, we can deal lots of damage pretty safely and reliably steal permanents from the other player.
How annoying would it be to turn-after-turn play a Earth San from your hand, only to do it again in a loop the next turn? We can really frustrate someone by pinging them with 1 or 2 flyers each turn that the other player can’t do anything about, and laugh as their deck thins out more and more.
Look, I’m a pro wrestling fan; those kinds of references are just going to slip out. Clerics are arguably the strongest of the Adventurer classes right now if you ask this humble writer’s opinion.
Put a Cleric in play, gain 1 life (at least), and then add a +1/+1 token to something, and then gain another life from the creature coming into play, which adds yet another +1/+1 token. We gain +1/+1 counters on certain creatures when our allies die, and we can steal minions from the other player’s graveyard.
Guess you just fish that Archfiend’s Vessel back from the grave to create a 5/5 demon! It’s my firm opinion that it is one of the strongest cards in the entire expansion, possibly of the year.
Even if a creature dies, if they had lifeline, Vito can turn the tables and give us a nice, easy win. This was already a really strong deck archetype, but it’s been shaken up a lot of thanks to ZendikarRising.
We combine the new stuff with powerful older tech like Helios, Sun-Crowned and Deimos, Blessed by the Sun to make every point of life gain matter. Since Helios is indestructible, he’s going to keep making our creatures bigger and stronger.
Anytime we gain a point of life if he’s in play, a creature gets +1/+1. Speaker of the Heavens Angel Tokens and Drama, the Last Blood chief are terrific picks.
This is a deck that either beats someone’s face into bits, or just uses life gain to punish the other player (through Vito’s passive, causing harm anytime we heal). As a bonus, we have an alternate version of this deck that forgoes Deimos/Helios and adds Luminous Brood moth and Village Rites.
If you thought Oops, All Clerics was annoying, just wait til you see it with Lucius of the Dream Den splashed in! After all, most of the creatures in this deck are 2-or-less cost, and can therefore be played with no effort from the grave by our favorite Cat Nightmare.
The idea in this deck is to build up so much life the other player cannot hope to possibly get past it. In particular, we want more +1/+1 tokens, and to also trigger immediate loss of life on the other player.
We can steal cards from the other player’s graveyard thanks to Drama, the Last Blood chief, which is not a game-breaker from the outset. Sadly, the defending player gets to choose the nonlegendary you receive.
It’s still one more card you didn’t have, and it’s not like the odds of you getting something you can’t put to use are high. WB Clerics is a combo of creating an army of annoying token creatures (Demons and Angels) while also building up life and tearing the other player down.
Speaker of the Heavens as an example can be tapped to create a 4/4 flying Angel token if you have at least 7 more life than the start of the game (27). Archfiend’s Vessel, when resurrected becomes exiled, and creates a 5/5 flying Demon in its stead, so we have to look at ways to bring it back.
Nobody likes dealing with floods of flying, powerful jerks. Cleric of Life’s Bond needs to drop as soon as possible with that in mind.
The answer is Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose (in the mid/late game) and Helios, Sun-Crowned+Deimos, Blessed by the Sun. Deimos gives us 1 life anytime a creature we control enters the battlefield or dies.
So if we lose something, and then bring it back via Lucius or Oral (or Academe’s Awakening/Null priest of Oblivion for that matter), we gain yet another life. Helios, the Sun-Crowned gives us a +1/+1 counter to distribute anytime we gain life.
We can also tap 2 manas (1 white) to give one of our creatures (not him) Lifeline until the end of turn. So your opponent swings, we block, give the creature lifeline, and let it die.
If we have Lucius of the Dream-Den or another revival option, we can just gain yet another point of life/another token. It’s very easy to use him to ping someone down with our life gain triggers.
Since each individual time we gain life, they lose it, the other player could perish from that. It’s a good thing it’s not “each turn you gain life” or something nonsensical like that.
The alternate deck has Luminous Brood moth as a strategy too, and if I could find room in this, I’d add her. But Emerita’s Call is too good to pass up, as is Academe’s Awakening.
Lucius of the Dream-Den can, once a turn let me cast a permanent that costs 2 or less from the graveyard. When a Cleric we control dies, we can bring back one that costs less into play.
But if Cleric of Life’s Blood dies, we can bring a Speaker of the Heavens back, and if Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose dies, we can bring back Null priest of Oblivion for example. Sadly if we retrieve Null priest, we can’t use that kicker ability, which is balanced, but unfortunate.
If you choose to use it as this, instead of a land, you can bring back any amount of creatures from the grave that cost X or less. So you could bring back in one turn, Drama, Oral, Vito, Cleric of Life’s Bond, and Speaker of the Heavens/Archfiend’s Vessel (your pick).
Make your creatures indestructible until your next turn, and create two 4/4 white Angel Warrior tokens with flying. However, Emerita’s Call only makes Non-Angels you control indestructible, so take that into account.
The alternate deck is pretty similar, except it also uses Eliminate and Village Rites for control options, and Luminous Brood moth to keep bringing creatures back, so you can trigger things at least one more time. It’s a pretty fun deck, no matter what you start off with/what path you want to take it down.
You can start banging someone’s face in with Angels early, or just nickel and dime them to death if you know the other player can’t board wipe you or push past your wall of Clerics. I think you guys will have a lot of fun with the Cleric deck type in ZendikarRising.
Thanks to reprints like Palladium MYR, we’re going to be able to pump out a lot of manas in short order. This is a deck where we do a lot of card draws, thanks to obnoxious colorless artifacts, draw lands from our deck for the same reason and in general, beat people’s faces in with cards that have no color.
Myriad Construct, Stone coil Serpent, Crystalline Giant, if any of these wind up with +2/+2, they’re going to be a threat. Also, consider Stone coil could easily become a 20/20, Reach, Trample, Protection from Multicolored.
We have Labyrinth of Sophos to remove attacking/blocking creatures (well, one at least) from combat, and Crawling Barrens to slowly make huge lands that will definitely fight back. This isn’t a fast deck, it’s a deck that slowly crawls forward, building up the possibility of +1/+1 stats, lots of colorless MANA, and before the other player knows it, they’re in a tight spot.
Eventually, it can become (thanks to Forsaken Monument) a 6/6 with Flying, First Strike, Death touch, HEx proof, Lifeline, Menace, Reach, Trample, Vigilance. Since Gin, the Spirit Dragon exiles permanents, they aren’t coming back.
Radiant Fountain, Labyrinth of Sophos, Field of Ruin, Crawling Barrens, Borders’ Enclave. Like Borders’ Enclave lets us draw a card for 3 manas if we have a creature power 4 or greater.
We also gain 2 life anytime we cast a colorless spell, and we have a bunch of those. Either fast-tracking Gin, the Spirit Dragon, and using him to control the game, or fast-tracking Forsaken Monument, and start battering the other player with our creatures.
But before we get into the actual meat-and-potatoes of what our creatures do, let’s talk card draw and MANA ramp. Fortunately, there are lots of ways for us to start drawing cards for virtually no effort.
First up though, it’s Golden Egg, which has you draw a card when it comes into play, for a measly two manas. Instead, we tap 2 colorless and put a page counter on it to draw a card.
So Maze mind Tome gets 4 cards total, as long as we have open MANA for it. It’s going to make us creating our Stone coil Serpent and summoning Gin way easier.
Stone coil Serpent is one of our best weapons, because of the Protection vs. Multicolored, Trample and Reach. It won’t be any trouble whatsoever to make a 20/20 or 30/30 Stone coil Serpent.
Crystalline Giant can cap out around 6/6 with a host of annoying abilities like we described above. Myriad Construct is one of my favorite new cards to boot, so I’m glad it’s here.
If you pay the Kicker (7 colorless total), it comes into play with a +1/+1 counter for each nonbasic land your opponents have. When this 4/4 becomes the target of any spell, sacrifice it and create as many 1/1 artifact creature tokens as it had Power.
So you could very easily overrun someone with 1/1s (that can gain +2/+2 thanks to Monument), and this isn’t a legendary. We can drop two of these in one turn without much stress, thanks to how powerful our MANA generation is.
Myriad Construct is our biggest, easiest way to win, thanks to how many non-basics there are right now. From there, you just bulldoze the other player with your huge Stone coils, evolving Crystalline Giants, and tons of 3/3 jerks with bad attitudes.
Between hitting for 3 on any target, AOE exiling colored permanents, or simply using his ultimate, he brings the pain. His ultimate, for those of you that don’t remember, lets you draw 7 cards, gain 7 life, and place 7 permanents from your hand into play.
What a great way to drop several Myriad Construct cards in a row! He’s mostly there because people hate him, and we can easily win with him by turning focus towards him.
3 Myriad Construct 3 Borders’ Enclave 4 Radiant Fountain 4 Crawling Barrens 4 Stone coil Serpent 3 Gin, the Spirit Dragon 3 Forsaken Monument 4 Solemn Simulacrum 4 Field of Ruin 3 Labyrinth of Sophos 4 Crystalline Giant 4 Palladium MYR 4 Golden Egg 3 Maze mind Tome 4 Spare Supplies 6 Mountain I do not think this deck is going to break the meta wide open, full disclosure.
We can slow down the pace of the game with lands, or beat the other player up with them. We can flood the board with tokens, or smash them to pieces with one gigantic trampling artifact Snake.
This is a deck I saw posted by Andrea Gucci, one of the best MTG players in the world for my money. It’s a /, and its health is 20 minus whatever the highest life total is between players.
But his kicker cuts both players' life in half, rounded up. So you could in theory use him to absolutely demolish someone as some kind of 15/15 monstrosity.
This deck is basically classic RB Aggro with a fun new win condition. It’s also important to mention that Scourge’s power and toughness changes.
We also have reliable ways to make both players lose life every turn and draw cards, in the form of our pal, Storm fist Crusader. Plus we have those fancy Red/Black Dual Modal Mythic Rares that can come into play untapped for 3 life.
It reminds me a lot of a modern meta deck, Death’s Shadow. This is a deck where you have to know when to be conservative, and when to rush in, lowering both player’s health with aggressive, brutal moves.
Then, you swing for tons of damage with Scourge of the Slaves+Ember cleave and laugh as the other player falls apart. We can just bully the other player down early with our Haste creatures, and direct damage to their board.
That way, we don’t have to worry about pesky things like blockers. Only do this if you can afford to pay the Kicker, and put both players down to half their life.
Even if Scourge isn’t a must-use to win, he’s going to be included in every Random deck that is even remotely aggro. Ever quill Phoenix can mute the Demon to make him fly over those ground-based dorks.
In many cases, this will just mean he attacks without consequences and can win in no time. Barring that, Ember cleave can be flashed in during combat, gives Double Strike/Trample, and +1/+1.
Both players lose life equally and draw an extra card. Storm fist Crusader ensures equality and a higher chance of a very powerful Scourge.
If you keep the other player down to just 1, it’s going to be easy poke damage. That damage will add up, so we can afford to be very aggressive with that 4/3 Giant.
About Hellhound isn’t going to be a major source of damage, but it’s consistent. Then you combine it with Wayward Guide-Beast, which is a 2/2 that has you return a land you control to your hand whenever it deals combat damage.
As a creature with Trample and Haste for 1 MANA, this is going to keep you in the Landfall business for the early game. You can cast that with any MANA, as long as a Rogue attacked that turn.
We probably aren’t going to be using the actual spells they offer very often unless you’re desperate to kill off a pair of creatures or bring a few of yours back from the dead. We can just use those guys to nickel and dime someone down, and wait for the right opportunity to play Scourge of the Slaves.
If the other player isn’t rocking a ton of control cards, we can play him early, and pay the Kicker if we want. It cuts both player’s life totals in half (rounded up), and if we already have one of our two upgrade conditions for him, it’s lights out.
With Pro/Math in the mix, Pro/Math decks are likely going to be the most popular thing in the whole meta. It’s likely going to lead to an Pro ban, which could maybe slow things down.
I know it still runs Lotus Cobra, Math, Locus of Creation, and Pro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. Unlike the original deck at the top of this blog, we’re not trying to fight the other player.
This deck I’d argue is not only safer but potentially easier to build. Crab Battle still needs some tweaking to make it as fast and powerful as possible, but it’s in a good position right now.
The initial deck idea came from covertgoblue and was further modified by a friend of mine, Red. I have no idea what will change in the Math Crab Battle deck because it feels very strong right now.
Red and I have been talking about the Final Form of this deck, which will probably be Orion Math. Once the meta has sorted out a bit, we’ll be coming back with a new blog, and the decks that are seeing the most action.
I didn’t expect Ruin Crab to absorb my entire morning like this, but here we are. I’ve neglected a lot of things just to play this dumb deck, and I’m very happy with how it’s going.
That’s why we only feature one plain in the deck, and instead opt for the Trio mes that have White MANA on them. No sense in having lots of white basic lands when the other MANA is far more attractive to us.
The idea is to get a few of our little buddies in play, then dump as many lands as we can each turn. We need to be able to cast a few spells to drop extra cards on a turn or two so that hopefully, our final mill bomb will get the other player down entirely.
Gain 4 Life Add 1 Red, Green, White, and Blue MANA to your MANA Pool Deal 4 damage to each opponent and each planes walker you don’t control That 4 MANA makes it easier for the next part of this combo: Escape to the Wilds.
Escape to the Wilds lets us exile the top five cards of our deck. That’s 36 cards, and that’s not counting having Evolving Wilds or Fabled Passage.
If you can manage an Pro drop, or one of our two land spells, that’s even more mill. Lotus Cobra is one of the best MANA ramp cards without actually giving you more lands.
Anytime you play a land, you pick a color and gain 1 of it for your MANA Pool. Cultivate lets you search your deck for two basic lands, put one into play, and one into your hand.
Pro of course lets you play an additional land for turn and draws a card as well. Then you search your library for up to two basic lands, put them into play tapped, and shuffle the deck.
I tend to sacrifice a land that’s tapped, and I don’t need it for something (RE: You already have multiple islands/mountains/forests in play). Bone crusher Giant is our major way to deal with early threats.
Just swing with four giants until the other player runs out of creatures or life. Brazen Borrower can bounce nonlands back to the owner’s hand, and it’s our other stopping power option.
4 Escape to the Wilds (ELD) 189 1 Plains (MUST) 212 6 Forest (UND) 96 3 Math, Locus of Creation (CNR) 232 4 Pro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (THB) 229 4 Lotus Cobra (CNR) 193 4 Genesis Ultimatum (IPO) 189 2 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39 3 Roiling Regrowth (CNR) 201 4 Ruin Crab (CNR) 75 4 Metric Trio me (IPO) 250 1 Fabled Passage (M21) 246 3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244 3 Mountain (MUST) 215 3 Island (UND) 90 3 Bone crusher Giant (ELD) 115 2 Cultivate (M21) 177 1 Evolving Wilds (IPO) 247 4 Gauguin Trio me (IPO) 251 1 Gin, the Spirit Dragon (M21) 1 The hardest problem I’ve dealt with is decks that are faster than mine.
In particular, WU flyers and three-color Mutate decks were really difficult to deal with. Mono-colored decks can also be a threat, since they don’t have to stress multiple lands types as bad as we do.
You slowly start milling the other player with land drops, and then out of nowhere, you drop a massive amount of lands in one turn and mill the entire enemy deck down. It will take a little tweaking to make it a force of nature, but it is great and fun in this state.
However, White gained a fascinating card to go in the deck that does something unusual. White decks aren’t unfamiliar with winning via awkward, weird conditions.
Of course, we have Emerita’s Call to make our life gain creatures indestructible in a pinch, but it will be more likely to be played as a land instead. Another fantastic thing about this deck is how inexpensive it is on the MANA curve point.
About half the deck costs 1-2 MANA, with a few cards at the end in the 3-7 range. We even have Assad of Life’s Bounty to make it protected from whatever color we need to get past for the win.
While the Angel doesn’t have to deal combat damage, we don’t want it to die mid-flight. Angel of Destiny and cards that help us get going are important to protect if possible.
Cards like Speaker of the Heavens, Impassioned Orator, and Hallowed Priest, in particular. Assad of Life’s Bounty is great on the offense, or against targeted removal.
We can sacrifice it for 1 colorless MANA and give a target creature Protection vs. (Insert Color) until the end of turn. Selfless Savior is a 1/1 dog for 1, that can be sacrificed to get another target creature Indestructible until the end of turn.
That way, it doesn’t matter what the other player does, unless they exile (then we want protection vs. color). These are the cards we need to make sure Angel of Destiny lives long enough to attack.
Now that we know our protective options let’s talk about life gain! If we have 7 more life than our start (27), we can tap it to create a 4/4 flying Angel token.
Plus, it has Lifeline/Vigilance, so if the other player has no blockers, we can use it to gain a cheap life point. We have a few ways to get one-casts that give life, like Charming Prince.
We can use this to bounce another Charming Prince out and back in for even more life. Slave Cleric gives us 2 life when it comes into play.
Deimos, Blessed by the Sun also gives us 1 life anytime a creature we control enters the battlefield or dies. Basra KET’s ultimate can help us gain life, as long as we have Orator/Deimos in play.
If we’re attacking a few creatures this turn (and know it in advance), drop that -2, but frankly, I like this -6 more. It goes nicely with Basra KET’s -3 because those creatures (aside from Angels) will now be Indestructible.
Then we attack with all of our non-Angels, and for each one, we get another creature, which honestly makes us gain way more life. We can also attack with our Angel of Destiny this way, and sacrifice a Selfless Savior or something to protect, and win on that turn.
4 Charming Prince 18 Plains 4 Speaker of the Heavens 4 Assad of Life’s Bounty 4 Selfless Savior 3 Deimos, Blessed by the Sun 4 Hallowed Priest 3 Impassioned Orator 4 Revitalize 1 Basra KET 4 Angel of Destiny 2 Emerita’s Call 2 Slave Cleric 3 Castle Arden vale If you can squeeze in Helios, it could be an option for more aggressive plays if you don’t draw into Angel.
We can build a wall of life so high that your average player can’t traverse it. Many cheap blockers, tons of life gain, this is a deck that moves fast and hits hard.
Another card I’d love to put in this deck is Griffin Aerie if we can reliably gain more than 3 life each turn because it would create even more token creatures to attack/block with. We mana ramp with a few cards, draw tons and laugh as the other player helplessly tries to get to us.
Landfall is such a powerful ability, and we’re going to take full advantage of it. A lot of this deck is fairly new too, thanks to a new Race, Ruin Crab, and some fancy lands.
It’s going to be more annoying than you can imagine, and I’ll explain some interactions that you may or may not realize are lurking. That gives us a grand total of a possible 54 counters to spread around and slow the state of the game down.
There are two main strategies of mill in this deck, and they’re both equally annoying. From there, every land drop we play is 3 cards off the top of their deck, and we have four Ruin Crabs.
If you think you need more, you can always slot in some Glass pool Mimic to make extra crabs. It gives us a plains card from our deck, a 0/4 Wall, and 2 life each time we cast it (and we run 3).
The rest of the deck is built around this strategy, making it a top priority. While we’re running two Sea Gate Restoration cards, we want to cast at least one as a spell, instead of a land.
Let’s focus on that last one we just discussed, Sea Gate Restoration. For a little of hypothetical math, if we have one Refer’s Tutelage in play, and we also have a 7 card hand, we’ll draw 8.
Into the Story/Sea Gate Restoration are not cards we want to combine with Refer’s Ageless Insight though. Now Race, Mirror Mage and Refer, Master of Time draw even more.
Other than all of that constant “draw, make the other player mill,” we need to slow them down too. Stern Dismissal bounces a creature or enchantment of an opponent back to their hand, for a measly one blue MANA.
Confounding Conundrum lets us draw a card (and is an enchantment). Now, for decks that can play tons of lands a turn, it might not be a big deal, but it can seriously slow down ramp in the right situations.
We also have Shattered the Skies, which is one of the few reasons I wouldn’t play all of my Ruin Crabs at once. Our final useful spell for control is Ashok’s Erasure, which can be flashed in.
When it enters the battlefield, exile target spell (so something that is presently being cast). When Ashok’s Erasure leaves play though, they get the initial exiled spell back.
I’ve considered a Mono-Blue version, but Nine Lives/Shatter the Sky are just too good to pass up. You can destroy someone’s deck in just a few turns with enough MANA and cards in hand.
Acute Swarm is a wildly powerful card, and it’s featured in quite a few color combos. Overdoing this card can leave you crashing your/the other player’s client.
I was going to use the version of this deck that included Blue (for Pro), but I’m betting on him getting banned next week. Acute Swarm Combo features half a deck of MANA ramp.
From Ancient Green warden letting us play lands from the grave, and Dryad of the Elysian Grove / Abuse, Lost but Seeking hitting the table, we can very easily fill out our MANA pool with zero effort. This deck is essentially a Acute Swarm/LIDAR Retreat combo, where we flood the board with Insect tokens and buff them every time a land drops.
You can cast it as an instant to give your creatures indestructible/hex proof until end of turn. This deck reminds me a lot of cards like Doubling Season back in the day.
We’d make duplicates of every token that came into play, and just snowball out of control. We need quite a bit of land to make sure this is an unstoppable force of nature.
Then, on top of that, anytime you play a land, you put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control, and give Vigilance until end of turn. There are people who will give up just seeing the combo take effect.
If they don’t have board wipe, you can be as aggressive as you’d like with your adorable Acute pals. While that’s a downer, we can simply make so many creatures that the other player has absolutely no way to recover from the beat down we put on them.
Before we explain the combo, let’s talk about MANA ramping. Ancient Green warden costs 6 MANA (2 green), and we want him in play as quick as possible.
Abuse, Lost but Seeking is a 3-cost (1 green) Legendary Monk that allows you to play 2 additional lands every one of your turns. For the same amount of MANA, Dryad of the Elysian Grove lets you play one more land a turn and is not a legendary.
LIDAR Retreat and Ancient Green warden make Acute Swarm absolutely damn unfair. Ancient Green warden makes our Landfall props go twice, so that’s important.
Whenever a land enters play under our control, we create a 1/1 green Insect token. But if we have six or more lands when this happens, instead we make a copy of Acute Swarm.
At least we also have Emerita’s Call, which we can cast as a Sorcery to give our creatures Indestructible until our next turn. That means we can use it, attack with Vigilance thanks to LIDAR Retreat, and the other player can’t board wipe us without exile on their turn.
From there, we just ramp down lands, trigger our Acute Swarm and +1/+1 counters over and over, and swing with ruthless aggression. Make sure the other player can’t kill them all, and just keep battering them down.
I’d keep at least one Acute Swarm back though, just in case things go south. We have a near endless amount of creatures, so don’t be afraid to play aggressive.
4 Ancient Green warden 2 Abuse, Lost but Seeking 4 Branch loft Pathway 4 Cultivate 4 Dryad of the Elysian Grove 4 Emerita’s Call 4 Fabled Passage 4 LIDAR Retreat 8 Forest 2 Kara Takedown 4 Lotus Cobra 4 Plains 4 Acute Swarm 4 Tangled Tetrahedron 4 Eastwood Surge This isn’t a deck that’s going to be banned out anytime soon I don’t think.
Unless they can’t find a way to prevent Acute Swarm from breaking the game. This is one of the most ludicrous decks I’ve seen for MTG Arena, thanks to ZendikarRising.
In fact, the only spells in the whole of the deck are a singular Shock, Claim the Firstborn, and Roil Eruption. I excluded Shatter skull Smashing from that list because it’s also a land, and likely how we will use it.
We have all the frustrating things you hate to see on the other side of the board, lumped into one deck. That’s because this deck moves way too fast to make use of that card.
But Fervent Champion, Robber of the Rich, Tor bran, Ajax, all the hits are here! Thanks to so many of our creatures being incredibly low cost, we can drop that turn 3 or 4 Ember cleave, we’re willing to bet.
Just send in the clowns, and laugh as they suddenly erupt someone’s life total. Fire blade Charger or Kagan Intimidate into Ember cleave is horrifying to see, even worse when you drop Tor bran with them.
No matter what turn crops up, you’re almost assuredly going to drop 1 or 2 (or more) creatures? We mow the other player down with a constant flood of quick, but useful creatures.
In the past, the staples of the deck were cards like Fervent Champion, Rim rock Knight, Bone crusher Giant, and Tor bran, Thane of Red Fell. Bone crusher Giant, as an example is a 4/3 that can also be cast as a spell that deals 2 damage to a target first.
If you had to mulligan, you have a better chance of triggering Robber’s annoying ability. On any turn you attack with a Rogue, you can cast spells exiled that way using any type of MANA you wish.
You can in theory use this to steal your opponent’s key cards to cast for yourself. As long as it has an equipment piece, it has haste, but that’s not what we’re doing with it this time around, unless we’re lucky.
In addition, when it dies, it deals its power in damage to any target. If we set up for this correctly, we can obliterate someone’s life points with the Charger.
As many as possible, excluding Tor bran likely, so we can get that cheap Ember cleave. We flash in Ember cleave to make Fire blade Charger a 2/2 Trample/Double Strike creature, which is, well, it’s okay.
We also want to cast as many copies of Boulder Rush (Rim rock Knight) as possible. He can get 20 damage through without being blocked, but if he does manage to die, his Power is going to be targeted onto the player.
If somehow, the other player isn’t dead and the turn isn’t over, you could also use Shatter skull Smashing to kill your Fire blade Charger, and trigger his ability to finish the other player off. Kagan Intimidate is my favorite weapon against those annoying single-creature Mutation decks.
We give him Ember cleave to make him a 5/3 from there, with Double Strike/Trample, and slap a few Rim rock Knights onto him. That, with Double Strike, and Torbran’s passive, that adds +2 to each swing with Ember cleave.
However, there’s still one possibly greater swing than that, and it is on the side of Ajax, Hardened in the Forge. So the more Red MANA Symbols on our permanents casting cost, the better.
Having Tor bran, Thane of Red Fell is amazing because every single creature is now a major threat. If you have enough spare MANA somehow, you can also tap 3 (2 red) and use Castle Embargo to give your creatures +1/+0 until end of turn.
Claim the Firstborn is another one of our onerous, which lets us steal a creature, give it haste, and use it for the turn. Though I’m reluctant to admit it, RAW is going to be good in every meta, for what feels like forever.
As someone who is spamming Mill until Math/Pro get banned next week, it actually helps them. We’ve got control spells, annoying creatures, and possible board wipe.
Most decks think they’re special and OP until they come across Krona, and he puts them in their place. That place is second, because Krona, Titan of Death’s Hunger thirsts for victory.
It’s a great deck to get started with in this new meta and shut down some threats in the early going. We’ve talked a lot about what the new decks can do lately, but this is a classic slightly re-tooled for the purposes of battering the Flavors of the Month (™).
Most of our early game is going to be responding to threats the other player drops. Shock exists to deal with those really frustrating cards that make a game spiral out of control.
It’s what we use to respond to Lotus, Thieves’ Guild Enforcer, Acute, And any other 1 or 2 life creatures that is going to otherwise make your game a nightmare. It only exists in the deck for this kind of answer, unless it’s going to 100% seal the deal and win the game.
Our deck has some pretty massive creatures we can play for reasonable MANA, too. Tectonic Giant and Terror of the Peaks are ridiculous right now, and slapping an Ember cleave on them mid-attack is going to make the other player wince.
Heck, Terror of the Peaks can win the game without actually attacking. Robber of the Rich is back if we have a safe way to start pinging at the other player’s life total, and fewer cards in hand.
We can also turn 2 Krona, Titan of Death’s Hunger, even though he’ll immediately die. If that player doesn’t discard a nonland, they lose 3 life, making it even better.
Bone crusher Giant’s Adventure Spell, Stomp is 2 manas (1 red), as is Underclass and Fire Prophecy. Fire Prophecy was the answer to both of my early game Ruin Crab cards.
Stomp deals 2 damage to any target, and Fire Prophecy hits for 3 on any creature. This can slow down so many of the weak creatures decks we’ll be encountering.
If things get dicey, we also have Storm’s Wrath to board wipe. Careful, as this will kill anything you have in play but Krona, Titan of Death’s Hunger.
Terror of the Peaks is what enables us to win with way more efficiency if it’s allowed in play. We also have a Tectonic Giant, who is another excellent source of free damage.
If you exile the cards, you can choose one to play until the end of your next turn. We swing safely (hopefully) with Terror of the Peaks and Krona.
We want to use Terror’s free damage to put the other player in kill-range. From there, we want to drop Ember cleave on one of our big boys and swing lethal as quickly as possible.
Don’t be afraid to use those Bone crusher Giants aggressively. Sure, playing them after Terror of the Peaks is nice, but don’t be scared to use ‘em early and start hammering away at the other player.
It’s fun, it’s fast, and whew does it make people mad! One of the trends in these decks are ones that I’ve personally played and/or been absolutely demolished by.
As a player who, right now, runs Mill, this deck was my own personal Hell. However, this is primarily a Sprite Dragon deck, and it’s our main source of victory.
But if the other player mills a bunch of our instants and groceries, we can make them pay for it. Sure, they might put up some flying chump blockers for our Sprite Dragon.
Then, we give it Crash Through, which applies Trample, and we see devastating results. We’ve got a sneaky little Kabul’s Fury to work as Fling in the deck.
My personal favorite is Magmatic Channeler + Faille, the Ever wise. So, our main way to win the game is either Sprite Dragon or Faille, the Ever wise.
Getting Sprite Dragon out as soon as humanly possible is important, whereas Faille can show up literally anytime. She’s a 0/3, that gains +1 attack for each instant and/or sorcery card in the graveyard.
You may want to hold off until you can cast a few noncreature spells on the same turn, to prevent death via damage, or to drop a Award Disruption as a counterspell. People are going to see Sprite Dragon and know what your win condition is, so avoid playing them all at once.
We want to get these creatures into play, spam spells, and hit the other player very hard in short order. Storming Entity, Magmatic Channeler, plus a few Glass pool Mimics to copy our best creatures, there’s a lot going on under the hood here.
The hardest part of the deck is something I can’t really teach: Knowing when and on whom you target the spells you cast. We want our creatures to be strong as long as possible but bear in mind that we want to be able to keep casting.
While most of the cards in this deck are spells (Instants and Groceries), the creatures are the real keys to the kingdom. We can make it bigger than most of those easily, by simply casting one or two spells.
It’s not a bad idea to swing if the other player will “trade” (both creatures take the hit and die) as long as you have open MANA. If they do block with a creature you’d die to, feel free to drop an Opt or Shock.
That way, Storming Entity grows for the turn and survives. When we’re in the late game, we’ve got another possible bomb to make sure our Prowess creatures get bigger (and our Sprite Dragon): Sea Gate Storm caller.
Normally, Sea Gate Storm caller copies the next 2-or-less cost Instant/Sorcery we cast this turn. So if you have the MANA, and drop a Shock, that’s 6 damage, and +3/+3 to all Prowess creatures.
You can pay 1 red, sac it, and deal its Power in damage to a creature or planes walker. Magmatic Channeler does not have Prowess, but it gains +3/+1 if we have four or more instant and/or sorcery cards in the graveyard.
It’s a fantastic way to get more instants/groceries to play without expending MANA for the privilege. The spell version (Petty Theft) bounces a nonland of your opponents back to its owner’s hand.
You drop Faille, she hits the table with enough power to deal lethal damage if she gets through. In response, pay 3 manas (1 red), Kabul’s Fury, and sacrifice her.
With how prevalent these Ruin Crab decks feel, it’s not the end of the world if our Instants and Groceries get into the grave. What makes the deck so amazing is how quickly we can send our flyers into the other player’s back line and start hammering away.
The more spells we cast, the bigger the Dragon gets, and the better our Prowess creatures are, for a limited time. We can cast cheap spells, give our big creatures trample to ensure damage goes through, whatever you need.