Scaling Up

When Walking Ballista and Hangarback Walker were first printed, some players started exploring Green-based variants of Affinity-esque decks featuring Hardened Scales which could do some really interesting things. At the time, the builds where generally {B}{G} or Abzan, and used Winding Constrictor as additional copies of Hardened Scales. In the couple of weeks, Sam Pardee has shown off an exciting new take on this deck that has honed the strategy into something truly terrifying:

Hardened Scales
This deck is not for the faint of heart. When there’s a Hardened Scales in the mix, anything is possible. You’re playing the same core as many affinity decks in Darksteel Citadel, Mox Opal, Arcbound Ravager, and Steel Overseer. The difference is that you have Hangarback Walker and Walking Ballista as additional threats that play well with both Steel Overseer and Arcbound Ravager, and you even have Ancient Stirrings to help find the pieces that you need at any given moment.

When you add Hardened Scales and Throne of Geth into the mix, suddenly your counters increase at a staggering rate. This deck actually has an incredible amount of reach and explosive potential that can be hard to spot. Arcbound Ravager’s ability to put counter on both Walking Ballista and Blinkmoth Nexus can let you steal games out of nowhere. With a Hardened Scales in the mix, each Ravager activation nets two +1/+1 counters and you get an extra counter when you sacrifice the Ravager to itself to put counters on one of your other threats. It’s not hard to imagine a Steel Overseer or Throne of Geth activation combined with sacrificing two or three other artifacts letting you make a Walking Ballista with almost twenty power to just end the game.

If you’re looking for a crazy, synergy based deck that is a giant puzzle, this looks like a blast to play. It puts a lot of pressure on both you and your opponent to try to figure out all the permutations of how combat math can play out. If you can master all the ins and outs of combat math involving Hardened Scales, then this seems like a powerful and rewarding deck to pick up.

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