Good evening everyone! It’s been hectic at work that’s why I couldn’t write as quickly and as often these days but I try my best to bring you content as consistent as I can!
If you’ve been following, I made a deck a few days ago using Sunbird’s Invocation and maximizing the explosiveness of red creatures and spells. If not, you can read it here.
I play tested this deck in an FNM and won every single first game by surprising the opponent with overwhelming power thanks to Sunbird’s Invocation. The deck packs so much high costed, value spells and creatures that cascading into multiple copies is super crazy, and leaves the opponent gasping for answers.
Cascading an Hour of Devastation from casting a Combustible Gearhulk felt surreal and my opponents couldn’t agree more with how powerful this synergy was. Getting the Combustible Gearhulk down on an empty board is bad enough, but the potential of dealing 10-18 damage from the gearhulk’s ETB trigger can end games surprisingly fast. If you whif and deal less than 10 damage, you still get a 6/6 first striker. Another common occurrence was casting a Glorybringer off of Sunbird’s Invocation by an original Glorybringer on turn 5.
The weakness of the deck however lies in the inefficiency of its removal and a relatively weak early game.
Magma Spray does not get the job done once the energy decks get out of hand. Though Abrade is nice, sometimes it too isn’t enough. A Bristling Hydra has almost always beaten me because it can outgrow even an Hour of Devastation sometimes.
Another problem is post sideboard. With Dive Down, Spell Pierce, and Blossoming Defense protecting creatures from early removal, it becomes more difficult to stay alive long enough to get Sunbird’s Invocation on the battlefield.
Looking into our removal suite I failed to realized that Unlicensed Disintegration fits into the primary colors we play. With Gearhulks and Treasure tokens lying around we can sometimes get that 3 damage in but even without artifacts Unlicensed Disintegration is a cheap, on the curve, non-conditional removal we must play.
Another card that scales really well from early through late game is Walking Ballista. It’s a great blocker and a 2-for-1 sometimes with small creatures but it’s his variable converted mana cost that makes it a great addition. Casting this for 6 or 8 will allow us to dig deep, play almost any card from our deck, and have a 3/3 or a 4/4 Ballista. Plus it increases our artifact count to make Unlicensed Disintegration’s bolt effect more consistent.
One more problem I found with the deck is that I run out of cards sometimes because I’ve let loose all my removal to stay alive, resulting to a Sunbird’s Invocation on the field with zero cards in hand. One way to resolve this was using recurring spells like the Gods.
They cost high enough to dig deep for another relevant spell to cascade into but on their own right they are also very powerful Magic cards that needs to be dealt with or else the opponent can get killed by them. If they do get answered they conveniently come back to hand allowing us to cast them and fire off Invocation once again which is very synergistic.
Here’s my revised Big Red Invocation deck, now called Bolas’ Invocation by splashing blue.
4 Dire Fleet Hoarder
4 Captain Lannery Storm
2 Walking Ballista
3 Combustible Gearhulk
1 The Scorpion God
1 The Scarab God
1 The Locust God
2 Magma Spray
2 Fatal Push
2 Unlicensed Disintegration
2 Hour of Devastation
3 Sunbird’s Invocation
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Nicol Bolas, God-Pharoah
2 Canyon Slough
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Dragonskull Summit
1 Fetid Pool
4 Torment of Scarabs
3 Lay Bare the Heart
1 Lost Legacy
1 Fatal Push
Key changes is the swap out of Wily Goblin for Dire Fleet Hoarder.
As suggested by one of my opponents, Dire Fleet Hoarder allows us to loosen up our mana base and have more access to black which makes mainboarding Fatal Push easier to cast. Another point to highlight is it attacks and blocks better too with 2 power. Even if we give up getting the treasure upon entry, it would eventually end up dying in combat anyway. If the opponent chooses not to kill it to deprive us of ramp and takes 4-6 damage from it, we definitely wouldn’t mind!
Our sideboard is also partially transformative against control and opposing midrange decks.
Accompanied with 7 discard spells, Torment of Scarabs becomes a decent clock which forces the opponent to give up board presence to preserve his life totals. A popular deck I saw online uses this mainboard as a win condition but I found it inconsistent to land multiple copies. Usually just 1 copy of this is not lethal against go-wide decks like tokens and energy decks that can create thopters.
I also decided to split 2 copies of Lost Legacy to 1 of Dispossess to catch GPG decks. I am not so scared with Approach decks post-board since they usually take it out anyway. Their alternative game plan of using Caracal and Gearhulks is not so much of a problem with the number of removal we have.
I think the result is a better midrange/combo deck and has a good game early, mid, and late game. I also added a single copy of Nicol Bolas not just for flavor but we do get games where we can cast it and win with it. Aside from costing 7, he is the highest costed card in the entire deck which allows you to cast anything with Sunbird, or better yet, Bolas’ Invocation.
That’s it for tonight!
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