Before I begin with today’s deck tech, I want to tell everyone that the last brew I posted here went 4-0 and won me a Dominaria PR Pass so if you want a fun, competitive and quite consistent deck in standard, I suggest you give it a whirl!
Now on to today’s deck, this was fairly inspired by the good showing of a friend of mind, ST Estrella who played with Path to Discovery in a go-wide shell using Sram’s Expertise and a bunch of green explore cards like Wildgrowth Walker, Jadelight Ranger and Merfolk Branchwalker to go tall and avoid flooding.
Similar to my Pia’s Revolution deck, a lot of ways to win in standard is by maximizing latent synergy in the cards we have in the pool. Yes there are $500 decks that win with power cards like The Scarab God or Rekindling Phoenix and Glorybringers and smash face all on their own, but not many players can afford these cards.
I used to have a pet deck before when Amonkhet just came out which won me some FNMs and revisited it now that we have Ixalan cards available.
Nest of Scarabs together with Amonkhet’s -1/-1 dudes formed the basic of a go-wide strategy by making a bunch of 1/1 Scarabs whenever you dump those negative counters on creatures. Amonkhet had a lot of these creatures like Channeler Initiate, Ammit Eternal and Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons. Let’s take a look at the deck.
We’re playing 21 creatures that dump -1/-1 counters which can trigger the Nest of Scarabs. Remember the ruling that NoS creates 1 token for each -1/-1 counter. It doesn’t count the occurence but rather the quantity of the counters placed so essentially, playing a Channeler Initiate with NoS out nets you three 1/1 tokens. Once you have at least 1 scarab token out, the next creatures that come to play will arrive with full value because you can now choose to dump the negative counter on that scarab token and multiply them. With Amonkhet’s card design, Exemplar of Strength will be a 4/4 for 2 if you have a scarab token out to catch the 3 neg counters. For your 2 mana investment, you get a 4/4 and three 1/1 scarab tokens, that’s 7 power on the board.
Taking a look at both of our engines side by side, we can say this is nuts if the opponent does not have a way to take either of these off the table. Making a bunch of 1/1s is bad enough but having each firing off an explore trigger which can net you lands or turn these creatures into a 2/2 is crazy. They curve right after each other as well so it won’t take so much time assembling these unless we fail to draw into them naturally.
Of all the creatures that have a negative-counter ability, I’d like to focus on Ammit Eternal a bit because you got to remember that its the best target to dump those negative counters early in the game since it’s large enough to hold a lot of counters and survive, plus it can clean himself up in combat which is great.
The deck performed well in pre-Ixalan standard but we got some juicy additions which I think also works in the deck like Journey to Eternity. Whilst most of our creatures are quite fragile, it won’t take long before they hit the bin and with Journey attached to it, we can go infinite with the number of Scarabs we generate by reanimating our negative-counter creatures at the end of our opponent’s end step to skip the summoning sickness and have our 1/1 (or sometimes 2/2) scarabs hit our opponent the following turn. Journey to Eternity gives us the resiliency which the deck didn’t have before.
Our big payout spell is Vraska, Relic Seeker. She gives us a 2/2 pirate we can dump our negative counters if needed. She can destroy Ixalan’s Binding or Cast Out that is sitting on your Nest of Scarabs or Path of Discovery. It should be not that hard to ultimate her with a lot of 1/1s clogging the board and when you get the opponent down to 1 life, a measly scarab getting in should be game.
The sideboard is quite straightforward except for that measly Swamp. The explanation here is when we side in the 3 Vraska’s Contempt, the mana curve of the deck will not be easy for 24 lands to handle so we need to add 1 more land to make sure we drop the Contempts on time and Vraska as well. We might also side in Banewhip Punisher for some of your 2-drops against mono red so we want to have enough lands and play our spells on time.
The deck looks spicy for your next FNM and if you do sleeve this up, don’t forget to bring 30 pieces of insect tokens because your board will be quite wide. And dices, you need to track those +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters too!
See you soon!
Any concerns with the big red threats running around these days (Glorybringer and Rekindling Phoenix)? 3 contempts in the side help but do you think that’s enough?