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Party at Drakuseth's


For those of you who remember back five or six years, you may remember a Magic podcast by the name of Untapped. Untapped was a podcast I did with three other Magic personalities, including Jon Medina, J. R. Wade, and Trick Jarrett. While the podcast is no more, and we've all gone on to bigger and better things, I still talk to John Medina quite frequently and he's still very active in the community, including over on Twitter.

The other day on Facebook, Jon posted a list that really caught my eye: it was a Sultai deck (my interest was immediately piqued) where the main win condition was a triple Red, legendary Dragon.

What could possibly go wrong?

Jon went on to mention that he made the crawl to Diamond with the list on MTG Arena, and I couldn't wait to try it out. The following was the deck he provided in his post.

Drakuseth, Maw of Flames
So basically, the core idea is to get a Drakuseth, Maw of Flames into the graveyard, then reanimate it with Blood for Bones; sacrificing and returning something like a Risen Reef or a Tomebound Lich to produce some value.

One of my immediate questions was why Jon didn't choose to use Bond of Revival, which gives haste. It costs one more mana, but being able to attack with Drakuseth the same turn it enters the battlefield is pretty huge, as well as not requiring us to already have a creature in play. Jon mentioned that he simply didn't know it existed, which is a totally reasonable and honest response.

We added Bond of Revival and played the deck a ton on stream this past Monday, and we found a few things out!

The first thing I will admit is that I did not have the same luck Jon did when it came to winning games. But we also made a good number of changes to the deck based on some of the things we learned. I'm going to list off the cards that we either added or removed, and why, then I'll supply you with the final list we ended up at.

Glowspore Shaman > Search for Azcanta

This was a solid addition and, similar to things like Tomebound Lich and Glowspore Shaman (a card I didn't love), this was a great way to filter our draws and get potential Drakuseth's into our graveyard. It's possible we don't even want to flip it, simply to make sure we never draw our dragons as we can't really cast them ever. And besides: has anyone in the history of Ravnica ever put a land on top of their deck with Glowspore Shaman?

Lotus Field

This was an interesting card that we thought to include, mainly because it does let you cast Drakuseth in the situations you draw it but have no way to cast it. Lotus Field automatically giving you the three Red mana you need is great, but the cost for the land was too great. What I mean is that we have a lot of specific casting costs that require multiple colors. We could never cast a Tomebound Lich, Risen Reef, Thought Erasure, or a Glowspore Shaman off of a Lotus Field, which made the games we tried it pretty prohibitive.

Risen Reef > Rotting Regisaur

While I'm a huge fan of Risen Reef in general, I didn't feel like this deck was the best place for it. If it's solely a 1/1 for 3 mana that draws you a card, I felt like we had better options to work with. In the cases that it ramped you, that was great, but I felt like there had to be something more synergistic with the deck. Rotting Regisaur seemed perfect here. Not only is it a huge body that isn't super easy to get rid of, but it also allowed us a great way to discard Drakuseth if we needed to. It's also possible for Reggie to simply win games on its own.

Cavalier of Night > Cavalier of Thorns

In my opinion, this was the superior Cavalier in the deck. With the changes I made, opting to get rid of Risen Reef and some number of Glowspore Shamans, we didn't have as many creatures to sacrifice to Cavalier of Night. Additionally, this Cavalier could not only put a Bond of Revival back on top of our library, it milled us! Typically, it's the ramping that we care about, not the milling, but this deck can appreciate both. The reach is also somewhat relevant against all the Chandra's Spitfire decks, but likely no more relevant than the lifelink and removal would be on Cavalier of Night.

Thought Erasure > Discovery // Dispersal

This one was difficult. We all know how good (and frustrating) Thought Erasure can be to both play and play against. That being said, I simply didn't feel like this deck was the right home for it. We were more concerned with making sure we got our own plan moving than disrupting our opponent's. For this reason, I was trying out Discovery // Dispersal in its place. Drawing a card and surveiling two is a great help when we're trying to find specific combo pieces and get dragons into the graveyard.

The final version of the deck I arrived at looked as follows:

Bond of Revival
I definitely don't think the deck is perfect, but it felt decent. Jon has since updated his list again, which can be found here, and it seems he also made a few of the changes that we had, including Bond of Revival, and removing the Cavalier of Night. I like and don't like some of his most recent additions, but his post was accompanied by the news that he hit Mythic with the deck, so who am I to argue with those results? Dream Eater is a card that I have loved since it was printed, but I also have a contentious relationship with the card, because I know in my heart it isn't great. I can only hope that it shines in this deck, along with its hefty surveil 4.

Hopefully you'll all give some version of the deck a try and sleeve up Drakuseth for yourself. The card is ridiculously powerful if you can get around the casting cost and actually manage to attack with it: two things this deck is trying to do. There's no better feeling than dealing 11 damage to your opponent, while also killing both a creature and a planeswalker.

Thanks so much for reading. I love you all, and you're the best! Don't forget to use promo code FRANK5 for 5% off your purchases, and be sure to leave a comment in the article itself with all your thoughts and hopes and dreams. I'll catch you next week!

Frank Lepore