New Year, New Brews

Happy New Years and welcome to 2018! It’s still strange to type that out, time sure does fly by. As I write this article, I’m getting more and more spoilers for Rivals of Ixalan. While I don’t know all the cards in Rivals of Ixalan, I have enough cards to start brewing some sweet decks for you all. Today I’m going to give you three brews. Two are ones I’m trying to bring back to life with a new cards and the last one is just a new archetype entirely. Don’t worry, they are all sweet!


Panharmonicon
That’s right, Panharmonicon! We’re bringing it back! Panharmonicon is a deck that tries to abuse all the enter the battlefield abilities. It allows you to double and sometimes quadruple up on any creature or artifacts enter the battlefield ability. It’s basically just a value deck that gets a ton more value when you have the name sake artifact.

Glint-Nest Crane can hit ten artifacts in this deck. Prophetic Prism, Panharmonicon, Noxious Gearhulk, or Skysovereign, Consul Flagship. It can miss but that’s not the end of the world, it means it just dug us deeper into our Panharmonicon. It’s also a 1/4 with flying, and that’s good because it will buy us some time. Most of the early creatures in Standard can’t get past 4 toughness until around turn four or five. Finding any artifact and gaining four or more life is all I want from this Blue bird. Once you get Panharmonicon into play, you can start doing some powerful stuff. Doubling up on Hostage Taker and/or Gonti, Lord of Luxury is . . .  luxurious. The newest additions from Rivals that I really want to try out here are Ravenous Chupacabra and Jadelight Ranger. Ravenous Chupacabra is an overall better Nekrataal. It can give you a lot of tempo, especially if you’re triggering the ability more than once. Jadelight Ranger is an excellent value card from Rivals of Ixalan. It will be very good in {B}{G} Winding Constrictor and Merfolk. It’s also solid here. Drawing you two lands or becoming a 4/3 is fine. However, when you start exploring four or even eight times, it’s going to get out of hand. If you have two Panharmonicons out and play Jadelight Ranger that reveals a Rogue Refiner, you can just leave it on top and have a 10/9 or just Scry 1 eight times to find whatever card you need in your deck while drawing all lands along the way.

This deck can be built so many ways and equally with different colors. You could play Cloudblazer, Champion of Wits, Merfolk Branchwalker, main deck Kitesail Freebooters, Verdurous Gearhulk, Demon of Dark Schemes, Sunscourge Champion, Angel of Sanctions, Regisaur Alpha . . .  and the list just goes on and on. Build it in whatever way your heart desires.

The next deck card that peeked my interest was Journey to Eternity. What better deck than Sultai Reanimator for this awesome enchantment?


Building this deck’s mana base with energy too, when you have access to Attune with Aether you don’t really have a reason not to. While I don’t have something like Walking Ballista or Bontu the Glorified to sacrifice my own creatures to Journey to Eternity I can still kill them with a Fatal Push or a Yahenni’s Expertise. I’d rather play four Fatal Push and three Yahenni’s Expertise instead of cutting one of those for a bad sacrifice outlet. Rivals of Ixalan isn’t fully spoiled yet so hopefully they give us a good creature with solid sacrifice ability. Enchanting a Rogue Refiner or a Champion of Wits with a Journey to Eternity is still fine. You’re going to deter a lot of attacks and this deck is fine just sitting back and setting up for a Noxious Gearhulk or Razaketh. Ramunap Red doesn’t play Magma Spray and most Temur decks don’t play Magma Spray main deck, if they do it’s usually one or two. If you play it smart, you should be able to control how and when it flips.

This deck has some of the best Yahenni’s Expertise turns in Standard. Wiping the battlefield and dropping a Rogue Refiner, Champion of Wits, or even just casting a Strategic Planning can be enough to swing the game in your favor. Once the deck gets going you won’t be reanimating huge creatures all the time, but you really don’t need to. Looping Gonti, Hostage Taker, or Rogue Refiner is perfectly fine and will win you the game. What’s great about this deck is that it’s not all in on the reanimation plan, so if your opponent is dead focused on keeping your graveyard free of creatures, you can still just play a normal game of Magic with all your spells. Liliana, is just fine making 2/2 zombies every turn and we don’t play any spells that only reanimate creatures. They all can attack or do something else.

Game two or three I like having the option of just transforming into an even less of a reanimator deck and bringing in stuff like Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Negates against control decks. That way I can keep my hand full with Rogue Refiners, Glint-Sleeve Siphoners, and Champion of Wits while attacking my opponent’s hand with Duress and countering spells with Negate.

All right! This can’t be an Ali article without a Simic deck, right?! Well, I won’t disappoint you, I do have a Simic deck for you. This one is a little different though . . .  It’s not doing ramping and drawing all the cards. Instead, it’s attacking with a bunch of Blue and Green creatures. This is probably the only aggro/tempo deck I’d ever play.


Kumena's Speaker
Yup! More energy mana bases, they’re just great. If you’re playing Green you have little very little incentive to not to go energy; it just fixes your mana so well.

This deck has potential, but it really wants another good 1-drop Merefolk. Kumena’s Speaker is great, but the deck just wants more plays turn one. This allows it to be more aggressive and curve into Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca so you can start drawing cards right away or grow your team. Luckily, a lot of these Merefolk can provide card advantage. I tried to make the deck so that every creature had a chance to draw a card or was just a good beater/lord. I’d rather my creatures replace themselves instead of having to protect them with Blossoming Defense and the like.

I was trying to find something to top the curve in this deck, since we don’t have good countermagic for Merfolk or more lords, I decided to try Vanquisher’s Banner. In this deck Vanquisher’s Banner is a Glorious Anthem that helps you not run out of gas. It allows us to apply more pressure while keeping our hand relatively full. I’m not sure if Vanquisher’s Banner is better or worse than something more Herald of Secret Streams. Herald is solid when you have a lot of merfolk with counters on them, but it’s bad if you have it after a Fumigate or Hour of Devastation. Vanquisher’s Banner is also bad on an empty battlefield but at least it will help you rebuild.

This deck has potential and if we get a couple more cards from Rivals of Ixalan then we’ll be good to go. If not, we can wait until energy rotates and revisit the deck. One think to note, this deck can also be build in a Sultai Shell and try to abuse +1/+1 counters with Winding Constrictor.

It would look something like this.


In this list we’re just trying to abuse +1/+1 counters as best we can to make our Merfolk huge. Instead of Vanquisher’s Banner to refill, we have The Scarab God. It can be a little slower at building an army of Merfolk and refilling our hand but it has such inevitability as I’m sure you know. Winding Constrictor paired Metallic Mimic and/or Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca will make all our merfolk huge threats. You don’t need to give your creatures unblockable with Herald of Secret Streams if they’re already 5/5s. You’re better off just playing a different spell.

Rivals of Ixalan looks promising! When this article comes out, the full spoiler should be up and I can’t wait to start brewing with the entire list. Here’s to Rivals of Ixalan shaking things up!

I’ll see you all next week with more brews!

As always, thanks for reading,
Ali Aintrazi
@AliEldrazi on Twitter
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