Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Farewell to Dragon's Standard

This is a man who went out of his way to capture this

With less than a week until Dragon's rotates out I thought I would talk about my favorite Dragon's cards and show you the deck I've been running this standard so you can run it this last week. It might be a little late to talk about this but they don't call me "Too Late Shaughnessy" for nothing. "Nobody calls you that." That's why I said they don't call me "Too Late Shaughnessy." Now let me tell you about one of the most mediocre and my favorite rare of Dragons.

Goodnight sweet prince

I pulled this as a foil in my Dragon's pre-release and used it in combination with my promo Profaner of the Dead and it was love at first ETB. I just threw Mirror Mockery on Profaner and then when I swung I had a Profaner token ETB that I would sac to itself to return all of their board to their hand. I just repeated this until I won. It was at that moment that I realized how mediocre this card was but I was going to force it into a deck until I made it work. It wasn't until Innistrad that it was able to reach it's true potential.

Here is the full deck list.

If I had to describe this deck in one word it would be: 'Strictly worse mono-white humans' "That's more than one word" Well I was never good at math, or English for that matter. I'm also not very good at Magic and yet with everything against me here I am telling you how to play the most fun deck.

The premise is fairly simple. It's ETB humans where you either overrun them or you get Thalia's Lieutenant so big that no one can do anything about it. Everything other than Avacyn in your deck is a human and everything other than Jace and Kytheon are ETB effects. Why would you play Mirror Mockery? To get things out of control and to watch your opponents face as they read the card and realize what you are about to do.

Don't mind me. I'm just putting a good card in a bad deck

Here is a typical game. Turn one ideally you get to play either Kytheon or Thraben inspector. You now have a 2/1 or a clue with a early game "fat" butt. On your opponents turn they'll play a land and maybe a 1 drop like Oath of Nissa or something else dumb but we don't care because things are going to get bad for them real quick. On your second turn if you have the opening, swing in for a free damage or two and then play one of your ten 2 cost creatures that you should have at this point. Play Jace, or Thalia's Lieutenant, or maybe another Thraben Inspector. Hold off on that Knight of the White Orchid though because you want to get that free land out of it. Let's say things were Ideal and you play Thalia's Lieutenant turn two and maybe get in another free two or three damage. If your opponent is playing something with kill spells they'll probably focus Kytheon, and that's okay because he's really just a target so that your lieutenant lives. If Kytheon happens to live, great! If not, we don't really care about him because Ajani is the better white planeswalker anyways.

Turn three you have three mana so you can play either Reflector Mage or Lantern Scout based on what you have and how much life you have if you're playing against burn or aggro. We'll say you play Reflector Mage and bounce a dude they have triggering Thalia's Lieutenant and making it swoll-er. Let your opponent go, ignore what they do because it probably doesn't matter and the go to turn 4.

It's time for this mirror to reflect...er...shine? What do mirrors do? Play Mirror Mockery on Thalia's Lieutenant. Now when you swing in you get a token of Thalia's Lieutenant onto the battlefield. It doesn't have haste so it can't attack but two triggers happen. First the token Lieutenant puts a +1/+1 counter on every human you have on the battlefield, once that resolves, then your non-token Lieutenant gets an additional +1/+1 counter for another human entering the battlefield. So all humans on your board get one counter and your Thalia gets two. Now sit back and repeat until you win. Every time Thalia's Lieutenant attacks all your humans get a counter and your attacking Lieutenant gets two counters. Remember as well, this all happens before blocks so if they don't have combat tricks, you can swing in to make your dude bigger than their blockers during the attack step. Now if you do this enough you win.

This is the opposite of beautiful flexibility
Here is some beautiful flexibility about the deck.

At least there are no spooky things on Kaladesh

Always Watching is not a budget card but I happened to have enough to fill this deck. Same thing with Jace. So before you go thinking that I eat food other than ice cubes and ramen flavor packets because I'm some fat cat Magic player, I'm not. I'm just lucky. Sometimes. Only opening packs. When I'm in a clutch situation and need a lucky draw to turn the game around my luck takes a turn for the worse and I end up drawing a Pokemon card somehow. Oh well. Always watching is the fuel to your mirror-y fire since every time you attack you get bonus lieutenants. Now when you attack you also have a giant blocker since your creatures don't tap. Also use this card to embarrass your opponent when you poke them for 1 with your Jace and then flip it in Main 2 to get a planeswalker.

Worst magic trick ever

Another fun tactic is to put Mirror Mockery on Reflector Mage. Rather than let your creatures get big (or maybe while your creatures get big, you are running 4 Mirror Mockerys) you swing in with a mirror mocked Reflector Mage and every time he attacks, you get to return one of their creature to their hand. I had one time where I put three Mirror Mockery's on my Reflector Mage and swung in and bounced three of his creatures all while buffing my Thalia's Lieutenants three times. I still have wet dreams about that moment and now you can too for the low low price of only $1.99!

Let's put the least well equipped person up front

Other good creatures to put Mirror Mockery on are Lantern Scout and Avacyn. Want your team to have lifelink every turn? I bet you do. Gain gobs of life as your opponent wets himself with how inadequate his life gain feels. If that's not good enough for you, maybe you want your team to have indestructible every turn. Well slap that aura on Avacyn and just swing away with not a care in the world. Playing aggro? Sideboard in Linvala so every time she attacks you gain 5 life or get a 3/3 angle if you're behind in either life or creatures. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS. Just slam down Mirror Mockery, let your opponent read the card, and then let them concede to you.

Something about a swan head on a horse body makes me really uncomfortable

An important staple is Gryff's Boon. Since your deck is based around attacking a board lock can stop you from moving forward. Use Gryff's Boon on whatever creature is gonna have some silly ETB mirror triggers so that you can swing over top and get those needed +1/+1 counters or reflect their creatures. Throw it on Lantern Scout so you can constantly give all your creatures lifelink without having to worry about losing your lifelink machine.

My soul is up and slightly to the left

A card that seems like an odd choice but is incredible in almost all situations is Center Soul. You have creatures you don't want dead. We all do. Most people have counter spells but you don't. You could because you're playing blue in this deck, but 3 cost is too much and having situational stipulations on your counterspell seems bad. Anytime someone tries to get rid of your giant Thalia's Lieutenant or your decked out Reflect-out Mage or your Lantern Scout that is soaring through the air, just keep them alive with center soul. No one expects it, ever. The other upside, is with rebound you can cast it again for free on your upkeep. Does it protect your creatures at upkeep? Maybe, if it resolves. What you can use it for though, is free damage. Give your creature protection from whatever color creatures they have and your guy gets in free damage. If you don't have Gryff's Boon and want to swing in for that extra umph, this card will get you there.

Wizard's giving you dating advice in the flavor text

Disperse also seems like a weird choice, but it has it's uses and anytime I've had it in hand it's been effective. It's main purpose is to save you a mirror mockery if they board wipe you or kill your creature when you don't have a Center Soul, but I've also used it to give myself another ETB trigger or save a creature of mine. I've also used it to prevent their planeswalker from ulting and setting them back a turn since they now have to recast that planeswalker. You might tell me there are better cards and I will tell you that you're wrong. Now that doesn't make me correct, but I'll still tell you you're wrong.

As far as lands go for this, do whatever you want. In my version I got my white and blue lands in there and then kind of just slapped utility lands in there I had lying around. Sea Gate Wreckage is great for when you run out of momentum and want to draw an extra card a turn to help get you grab more creatures or more mirrors. Westvale Abbey produces human tokens so Thalia's Lieutenant triggers off of creating them. Mirrorpool is in there almost exclusively just because I had a shiny one and it seemed decent. I mostly use it for colorless mana for Sea Gate Wreckage, but I have used it to copy Center Soul and another time to create an extra Reflector Mage so it stays in there. The Battlefield Forge and Yavimaya Coast are also in there just as a blue and white source that can tap for colorless. They take up a "basic land" slot. I'm sure the land could be done better but I kind of just crammed stuff together and it seems to work but let's be honest, if we're gonna talk about things needing to be better, we could say that about this whole deck.

Well at a minimum, like most of my decks, it's not great, it's almost competitive, and it's super fun to play. It's not a combo deck by any means but there is non-stop card interaction and that's what makes this deck so fun to play. That's really all I have going for me as a deck smith is I can craft "almost competitive but fun to play" decks. With the Kaladesh rotation of cards and more silly things to do, I will have more fun decks for you soon, but I just need to get my hands on the cards and I need test them to make sure they are actually worth your time.

Sorry about the lack of content lately but Dan and I have been super busy. We will be getting more stuff to you soon and if you need more from team Heavy Salami, check our twitter for quips that we wrote when we were drinking that seemed funny at the time but probably aren't.

Want more meaty content? Have you tried something similar to this and made a better version? Want help with your existential crisis? Send us a message or leave a comment!

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