Fraying Intelligence

We’re back with another week of Hour of Devastation brews. If you missed last week’s article, make sure to go back and check that one out because we had some cool and powerful decks. You should check it out if you like Nicol Bolas. Today we are going to be going over brews that aren’t on the straight and narrow. These decks are tier two but have a potential. My hope with these decks is to give you skeletons of decks that you can take and make your own for your metagame or at the very least get your juices flowing to build your own decks. Today we’ll be going over Sultai Reanimator, {W}{B} Control, Fraying Sanity, and a Swarm Intelligence deck. Keep in mind that these decks do have a Sideboard but they are by no means set in stone. We don’t know what the metagame will look like so I’m just using an educated guess for my Sideboards. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s start things off with Sultai Reanimator shall we?

Champion of Wits
This deck utilizes mostly Champion of Wits to filter its hand and put creatures into the graveyard to bring back to life with Liliana, Death’s Majesty or Ever After. Of course, we have other ways to fill the graveyard in Vessel of Nascency, Liliana, Death’s Majesty, and Grapple with the Past. We are running the full number of Vessel of Nascency and Champion of Wits so we don’t accidently mill over our Liliana, Death’s Majesty since she is our go to reanimate spell of choice. It may end up being you want more of a certain creature than others because of how good it proves to be. Right now I just have a sampling of everything to figure out which ones are the best ones. One neat thing to keep in mind is whatever Liliana, Death’s Majesty reanimates becomes a zombie, this is important for The Scarab God’s upkeep trigger. Casting Ever After in this deck should put the game away if you get two big creatures. Don’t be scared to just bring back one big creature and something like Champion of Wits, that’s plenty of value as is. No need to wait for another big creature if you already have a Champion of Wits in my opinion. I’m a little worried that Razaketh, the Foulblooded might not be good enough since can’t provide him with a lot of sacrifice outlets. My thinking was you just need to activate this ability once or twice to win the game. Sacrificing a spider token, a zombie token, or even Champion of Wits is fine when you get a Demonic Tutor out of the deal.

Another list that I want to revisit is {W}{B} Control. The Deck didn’t gain much outside of Djeru, With Eyes Open but that seems like a sweet and powerful addition.

Thalia's Lancers
This deck is the definition of a toolbox deck. What that means is it can tutor up specific pieces thanks to Thalia’s Lancers, to answer any given situation. This deck is very hard to stop once it gets control and starts doing its thing. Having the late game of Brisela, Voice of Nightmares is hard to overcome and is arguably the most powerful thing you can be doing outside of casting Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Even Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh can’t deal with her. Playing Djeru, With Eyes Open allows the deck to tutor up Planeswalkers. You can Thailia into Djeru then get any Planeswalker. It takes a couple of turns early on in the game but you aren’t tutoring with non-creature spells. You’re putting sizeable bodies onto the battlefield each turn. Djeru has additional text too that gives an Urza’s Armor type of effect to all your Planeswalkers which doesn’t hurt.

Keep in mind Thalia’s Lancers lets you get any legendary permanent so you can even grab Geier Reach Sanitarium. Geier Reach can help you find threats or fill your graveyard with creatures either to fuse Bruna, the Fading Light, get something back with Liliana, the Last Hope, or Reanimate something with Liliana, Death’s Majesty. This deck has always been a pet deck of mine but it was unplayable when Aetherworks Marvel was around. Aetherworks Marvel is gone now and it also got a boost with Djeru. If you like to grind or just like toolbox decks then you should give this deck a whirl.

Next up is everyone’s favorite new mill card, Fraying Sanity.

Fraying Sanity
Not all mill cards get me hyped; but, for whatever reason, when I first saw Fraying Sanity, I knew I wanted to try and build around it. I think it was appealing because of how many cards you could mill with Startled Awake. If you have two Fraying Sanity out, you would mill their entire deck out. The first Startled Awake would mill 13 cards, then the first Fraying Sanity would mill an additional 13 while the second Fraying Sanity trigger would mill 26 for a grand total of 52 cards. That should be more than enough to deck your opponent.

This list is like the old {U}{R} burn Fevered Visions decks but instead of burning out our opponent we are going to mill them out with Fraying Sanity and Startled Awake. We also have Thing in the Ice to attack from another angle and to keep aggro at bay. We are also keeping aggro at bay with Hour of Devastation and Winds of Rebuke. I also wouldn’t cast Compelling Argument unless I had a Fraying Sanity out. Either hold the Argument for when you have a Fraying Sanity or just cycle it.

The sideboard plays mostly anti aggro cards because mill strategies tend to prey upon control decks, especially mill decks playing Startled Awake which is a hard card to stop since it keeps on recurring over and over. Your opponent will wake up startled from their nightmares. This deck is pretty straight forward and this is a solid starting place for it, if you wanted a Fraying Sanity Shell now you have one.

The last card I wanted to build around and try is Swarm Intelligence. I mean what better way is there to take more turns?! We’ll just copy all the turns!

Swarm Intelligence
I couldn’t realistically run the full playset of Swarm Intelligence but I wanted another win condition that would play well with an all spell deck. The best card I found for that job was Metallurgic Summonings. Metallurgic Summonings obviously works well with instants and sorceries but it worked exceptionally well with Part the Waterveil allowing you to take another turn while also making a 6/6. If you happened to awaken Part the Waterveil then the game was all but over. The only things that didn’t work well was casting Hour of Devastation while having a Metallurgic Summonings out since you wouldn’t even get to keep the token. The board wipes however are a pretty necessary evil that the deck needs to run to stay alive so that it can drop its haymakers.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance helps the deck ramp up into its big spells and it may be right to cut the Nissa’s Renewal for the third Chandra but you lose some of your explosiveness for doing that since resolving one Nissa’s Renewal turns everything on from Swarm Intelligence to Awakening Part the Waterveil.

Out of the sideboard, we can morph into a controlling Dynavolt Tower deck against aggressive strategies. Against control decks we bring in Fevered Visions, Dynavolt Towers, and Dispels to help resolve the important key cards. This way we’ll be attacking control on multiple fronts with Fevered Visions, Chandra, Dynavolt Tower, Metallurgic Summonings, and even Swarm Intelligence.

Well, we’ve come to the end. I really hope you’ve found one of these decks to your liking. If not, then chime down below and let me know what cards you wanted to see me build around and I’ll see what I can do. I won’t have a traditional article next week for all of you, instead I’ll be starting my set review for Hour of Devastation. While Hour of Devastation my not have too many cards that will see play in Standard since it is a small set, I’m positive it has some very powerful key cards to shake up the format or allow new decks to see play.

As always, thanks for reading!

Much love,
Ali Aintrazi
@AliEldrazi on Twitter

The Hour of Devastation is upon us! Gets singles and sealed at!