Today's deck came from the desire to build around the Modern Horizons 2 uncommon Abiding Grace. With the recent printing of Moon-Blessed Cleric in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, I knew it was easier than ever to reliably search for enchantments on a budget. So, a deck based on Abiding Grace was just a few brew sessions away! After many iterations, and more interactions considered than I'd care to remember, I've settled on a list that I'm inclined to say might be my favorite casual deck since Hokey Pokey. Even though we're about a month shy of a spooky on-theme October reveal, we've got a Bogbrew Witch deck like you've never seen!
Graceful Witch | Casual | James Heslip
- Creatures (19)
- 2 Tragic Poet
- 3 Bogbrew Witch
- 3 Moon-Blessed Cleric
- 3 Ravenous Squirrel
- 4 Archfiend's Vessel
- 4 Festering Newt
- Sorceries (4)
- 4 Ransack the Lab
- Artifacts (4)
- 4 Bubbling Cauldron
Cost: $13 at the time of publication
There's quite a lot going on in the above list, with much to talk about. However, the core of the deck consists mostly of the Bogbrew Witch line of cards that most casual players have seen before. The witch herself searches for either Festering Newt or Bubbling Cauldron, granting a built in consistency not often seen in Magic synergies. When all three are combined, an engine is created that provides life gain, creature removal, and burn damage all in one!
Though additional Newts were always a Witch's search away, most Bogbrew decks run out of gas around the same time they run out of Newts. Abiding Grace solves this issue, reviving Newt every turn so that the combo can continue ad nauseum! While Newt is not the only Grace target, it is our most important. Though a core of four cards, each is easily searched for, and together they present a maximum five-turn clock that is difficult to beat.
For consistency's sake, the aforementioned Moon-Blessed Cleric has been included to search for Abiding Grace. The core enchantment is powerful even with multiple copies in play, so we're almost never sad to draw into it or Cleric. Yoke of the Damned is a removal option that can also be searched for with Cleric. With all of the sacrificing we'll be doing, it'll almost never be less than a sorcery speed kill spell that allows for some crafty plays. Hidden Stockpile is yet another Cleric target that also benefits from the many sacrifices we'll make every turn. The scry ability is also relevant, giving us access to another sacrifice effect while also helping to dig for relevant cards.
Ransack the Lab is another consistency card which digs for anything the player might need. 1-drop creatures can be thrown away without worry, as they'll just be returned with Grace. The best of this fodder would be Archfiend's Vessel. Though his demon-spawning effect can't be repeated (he's exiled after reanimation) it still makes him a perfect target for Grace. Enchantments lost to Ransack are not lost forever, either, as Tragic Poet can return any that you happen to mill away in favor of something else.
While we'll often win with the life loss generated by our Newts or attacks from 5/5 demons, they're not our only win conditions. With a mana value of just one, Ravenous Squirrel is a valuable beater that grows every time we sacrifice something to Cauldron or Stockpile. With Sandsteppe Citadel giving us access to Green mana, the chittering monster can even be used as a sacrifice engine itself, eating Newts, Vessels, and used-up Moon-Blessed Clerics to draw us extra cards every turn!
Playing the Deck
For the most part, the deck can be played based on it's mana curve. Because they are all easily revived with Abiding Grace, it's rarely correct to hold on to any of your 1-drop creatures. Instead, they should be played as soon as you get them so that you can get the most out of their various effects. Cauldron and Stockpile should follow suit, with Grace, Cleric, and Witch bringing up the rear.
Archfiend's Vessel is perfect sacrifice fodder for any of your outlets, but is also great with Ransack the Lab. A turn two Lab milling Vessel can mean a turn three 5/5 if Abiding Grace is in hand. Don't forget, Ransack doesn't specify any particular card type. So, use it for mana fixing if you need to!
Tragic Poet does more than just rescue lost copies of Grace. With both the core enchantment and Poet in play, Yoke of the Damned is easily recurred every turn. Thus, we have access to a second infinite removal engine separate from Newts and Witches. Unlike the Newt, Yoke is able to kill almost any creature too, regardless of toughness. Plus, as mentioned before, it's also a possible target for Moon-Blessed Cleric.
Finally, it should be noted that Hidden Stockpile does not specify non-token creatures for its sacrifice ability. Tributing a token every turn for the scry effect is a powerful digging strategy that reliably grows your Squirrels and will never result in a loss of card advantage.
- Alseid of Life's Bounty
- Benevolent Bodyguard
- Board the Weatherlight
- Bound in Gold
- Drainpipe Vermin
- Kami of False Hope
- Orzhov Charm
- Quest for the Gravelord
- Shambling Ghast
- Trading Post
- Village Rites
- Witch's Cauldron
Alseid of Life's Bounty, Benevolent Bodyguard, and other cards like them are recyclable protection creatures for the deck. Bounty specifically is a respectable choice for the deck since it protects enchantments and creatures alike. Other powerful one-cost creatures are Kami of False Hope, who gives infinite Fog effects if you want to spend the money on him (or make your friends very angry), and Drainpipe Vermin, which forces the opponent to discard a card every turn. Another decent option is Shambling Ghast, which is a miniature Newt that also gives mana ramp and fixing should we choose to loot his body.
Though mana-intensive, Trading Post could add a lot to the deck. Extra Cauldrons (including Witch's Cauldron if you choose to include it) can be sacrificed to Post for extra card draw, only to be returned by post on the next turn. Post could also generate goats for sacrifices. The life loss they force on us would easily be healed up thanks to Bubbling Cauldron, or by discarding creatures to Post's first ability. These creatures would then be revived by Grace later on, of course.
Though not included in the above list, there are many Green cards available should you choose to splash more sources of the color. Commune with the Gods, for example, finds anything except Cauldron while also filling the graveyard with small creatures. Caustic Caterpillar could provide artifact and enchantment destruction, and Diligent Farmhand would basically amount to infinite Rampant Growths, to name just a few possible interactions.