One card that I overlooked in my survey of the set was Baral’s Expertise. Now, I knew the whole cycle was good, but I didn’t realize just how good the card was until I sat down for my pre-release. Every time I was able to cast it I won the game handily and the extra free spell was truly back-breaking. The fact that it made things SO lopsided suggested that I might want to try and brew with this.
As I sat down to brew looking at Baral’s Expertise, the second clause, where I can play a spell with cmc 4 or less, jumped off the card at me. Inverter of Truth is quite possibly the biggest thing you can do for 4 mana right now in Standard and landing a 6/6 flier on the table puts your opponent under a ton of pressure. Yes, it has a significant drawback, but it is seriously undercosted for what you are getting. In addition, in the later stages of the game, when you have a number of solid creatures and removal spells already in your yard, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to ensure you draw only gas.
So, Blue and Black looked like a fun direction to take the deck but I wanted to do a little more. Inverter of Truth was good, but it couldn’t be a 4 of because the drawback on the card is even worse in multiples. I was looking for another big scary Black creature to run along with Inverter and then I got my hands on Herald of Anguish. Oh baby. Through a little wheeling and dealing I managed to get my hands on a couple of Herald of Anguish and my spidey-sense was off and tingling. This gave me another big scary flier that even came with a powerful cost reduction mechanic in Improvise meaning I was all in. Sure, I had to play some artifacts, but I was sure I could find some very suitable candidates to make the deck take shape.
I started with asking myself if there were any cheap artifact creatures that would be useful to play to reduce the improvise cost on Herald of Anguish but could be decent to help to help slow down an opponent. Consulate Skygate could just be that annoying little artifact creature because for a mere 2 mana you get 0/4 defender with Reach. 4 toughness allows the Skygate to do a pretty reasonable job of holding the ground in the short term and can even tangle up a few of the fliers like an Aethersphere Harvester.
Our gameplan goes something like this: Renegade Map on Turn 1, Consulate Skygate on 2, and something like a Weaponcraft Enthusiast on 3 and you can have your Herald online for turn 4 and really setting the tone of the game early. Now, this does all seem a little like Magical Christmas land, but it also doesn’t seem totally unrealistic, and apart from the Herald, reasonably affordable on the old pocket book. Let’s have a complete look at the decklist:
This deck is nothing really fancy, but a few of the card choices are a little unusual. Gifted Aetherborn is just a very solid 2 drop. Yahenni, Undying Partisan is a super-interesting card with far too much text to not be a strong card and so trying it out a pair of copies seems reasonable. Weaponcraft Enthusiast gives you yet another target to hit off Baral’s Expertise and gives you a couple of Servo tokens to help with making use of Herald of Anguish. Gonti, Lord of Luxury gives you yet another target for Baral’s Expertise and a super relevant ability to get yourself a little more card advantage and a relevant on-board creature with Deathtouch. (Editor’s Note: to see just how much Bruce loves Gonti, check out this article.)
The spells are pretty straight forward. Die Young and Live Fast are likely the two most unexpected choices, but both offer unexpected sources of Energy to be used to power the Glint-Sleeve Siphoner for additional card draw, or to make sure that Die Young takes out something that is a little more difficult to handle. The final piece is making sure you can turn on the Revolt mechanic on Fatal Push. With no fetch lands in the format Evolving Wilds and Renegade Map will have to do.
The final piece is the cost to assemble all these cards. The lands are reasonable in part because Sunken Hollow at $3.62* is reasonably prevalent because so much of BFZ was opened on account of the Expeditions. Spire of Industry is another versatile choice and if you can keep an artifact in play then you can have access to the mana you need when you absolutely need it. Otherwise, basics and the Wilds are cheap.
Now, compared to many of my other decks I have built, this is a little bit pricier, but I would expect that if you wait a number of weeks that this will come down in price and be far more reasonable. I would honestly expect that Herald of Anguish (at $17.99* on Three Kings Loot) will drop in price significantly in the next few weeks. Yes, there could be a break-out deck at the Pro-Tour, but I expect that the card will likely drop shortly. Inverter of Truth continues to sink in price and is a mere $0.75* and the rest of the cards are all reasonably priced as they are Rares and not Mythics. Finally, Noxious Gearhulk for $7.99* continues to see modest play but the price is hardly outrageous.
So, there we have it. A bit of a helter skelter deck that could really be fun. Now, while I’m happy to share my ideas for brewing with a new set, I’m always happy to hear what other people are brewing up for their next fun night. So, feel free to share with me what you’ve got brewing for your next casual game by leaving a comment down below or finding me on Twitter.
Thanks for reading and please stop in next time for another Casual Encounter.
*Editor’s Note: All prices quoted are subject to change according to the whims of the multiverse.