The Oko era has expired and I’m sure all the brewers have crawled out their holes ready to cook up some crazy deck ideas without fear of turning their artifacts or janky creatures into 3/3 elks.
Time to blow the dust off of your funky artifacts and today’s article is going to feature Vivien’s Arkbow.
While I was reading this card several times, it’s actually a free discard outlet that makes for a great reanimator engine. However, we’re not reanimating from the graveyard but instead, we’re calling the mighty beasts that reside inside our library.
The deck is essentially a toolbox filled with creatures that have very useful ETB abilities.
Tolsimir and Knight of Autumn provide some life gain if we’re up against aggro decks. Massacre Girl is our sweeper on a stick which is super handy against go-wide decks.
Cavalier of Night and Dawn provides clean removal against the biggest threat or the most problematic permanent. Both of them also provide great value when they die, allowing us to retrieve Knight of Autumn, Paradise Druid, Gilded Goose or Murderous Rider for another round of Planeswalker-killing. Trostani is also in the deck for that added punch to grow taller than our opponent’s creature whilst providing the fodder to sacrifice to Cavalier of Night, or to jumpstart Massacre Girl’s board wipe abilities.
With so much ETB abilities, why not play Charming Prince which is a great utility card that flickers all our creatures for more value, or gain us life early on against mono-red, or smoothens our draws when we need to make our land drops.
For game 2, the opponent would pack more creature hate. This means we need to swap our game plan a bit and feed off both our library and graveyard!
Vivien’s Arkbow coupled with The Cauldron of Eternity has played out really well in testing. The bow keeps the graveyard full without triggering Cauldron’s tuck ability and provides the creatures early on which helps us play Cauldron sooner. On the other hand, Cauldron gives a 3-mana + 2 life discount to reanimate anything we dump to activate bow.
Duress remains the best 1-mana sideboard against control in case the opponent tries to mainboard artifact hate. It’s also a good support to Knights of Autumn against Fires decks and Dance of the Manse which is picking up popularity in Arena right now.
We also pack some planeswalkers to negate the creature removal our opponents might be bringing in. They both serve the same purpose of filling the board with creatures, and both of their ultimates help us win the game that same turn. By decreasing our bows and our reliance on them, we shouldn’t be sifting through our deck as much which means we can naturally draw into these more often.
Lovestruck Beast is a tech I borrowed from Oko decks and Adventure decks because it’s perfect at stonewalling hyper-aggressive decks by putting a 1/1 roadblock early, and then back it up with a 5/5 on turn 3. If we would have a turn 2 Charming Prince gaining us 3 life, it should be a full-stop for mono-red if they didn’t pack the right removal. The same counter plays are effective against Gruul. We just need to survive until our late game so we can beat them on our top curve.
The last sideboard card is a way for us to catch-up in case we get left behind. Casualties of War give so much value and our deck allows us to cast in on turn 4 with turn 1 Goose into turn 2 Paradise Druid. I will definitely side this in against Fires, Adventure, Dance, Gates, and Oven decks.
I like the overall performance of the deck so far and has a lot of game against most decks. It definitely has its less favorable match-ups like UW Control, however, the sheer value of each card we play forces them to counter everything or risk getting overran. Vivien’s Arkbow has been a great way to come back from a sweeper and offers great instant-speed, uncounterable blockers against Simic Flash.
This has been one of my competitive list post-Oko, and it wouldn’t have been possible while Oko was still legal.
Take the deck for a spin, less than $100 minus the lands (I’m sure you have them if you’re playing Magic for quite some time). That’s all for today!