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Crushing With Umori, The Collector In Standard


Companions have been all anyone can talk about in Magic lately, but that discussion mostly focuses on the outliers. Lurrus of the Dream-Den, recently banned in Legacy and Vintage, has completely upended Modern and the older formats, while Yorion, Sky Nomad has taken full control of Standard. Lurrus and Obosh certainly come to play in Standard too, but aside from a few outliers the other companions have been quiet. Well, except lately for one Green ooze...

Umori, the Collector

Umori, the Collector, one of the more difficult deck-building restrictions among companions, has been making a very solid push lately for competitive viability.

Only playing one card type is of course very limiting. The best cards in Standard are often planeswalkers, but building a deck of only planeswalkers would be basically impossible. Most decks, ranging from aggressive to controlling, rely on a mixture of card types to both execute their own plans while having answers to their opponent's plans. Even in decks that are mostly one card type, there's usually an off-type card that is the major payoff for the deck - think Embercleave in creature beatdown decks or Goblin Guide in Burn decks.

While it is difficult, the upside to playing Umori is quite high. We've already seen how powerful adding a free 8th card to your hand is in a game of Magic and Umori is no slouch. A 4/5 body sizes very well for four mana, making Umori a reasonable force on the battlefield. Furthermore, cost reducing all of your spells is quite excellent as well. If we can cast Umori on turn three, this means we will likely be able to dump our hand on turn four. Furthermore, given that we're likely to be playing other mana accelerators, we can put some pretty big spells in our deck without fear of not being able to cast them.

But of course the issue is "how do we make Umori good?"

The easiest answer is by selecting "creature" as your build-around. Creatures are the backbone of Magic, and various enter the battlefield, mutate, and adventure effects can mimic the effects spells would normally have. Creatures are also threats in and of themselves, as you have to actually win the game too. We saw a few Umori decks early in the format, often based around the mutate mechanic, as well as some all-creature Mono-Black Devotion decks, but neither really gained much traction. That is, until now.

MTG Arena player Lanyr took this very unique Umori Gruul Monsters build all the way to the Top 8 of the RedBull Untapped Qualifier, which uses a very interesting mix of old and new cards to create something that's both aggressive and powerful.

Marauding Raptor
Stonecoil Serpent

Marauding Raptor fell by the wayside when Ixalan rotated and all its dinosaur friends left, but there's no doubting its somewhat difficult to use power. Marauding Raptor is a phenomenal mana accelerator attached to a good sized body, with the drawback being that you can't really play creatures with less than three toughness. Not a problem, as Lanyr's deck features exactly zero creatures that would die to a Marauding Raptor trigger.

We also see a very interesting mutate subtheme, with Gemrazer and Migratory Greathorn providing some extra beef alongside spell-like effects. Gemrazer can eat Fires of Invention and Witch's Oven, but is also just a nice 4/4 trample body that can have pseudo-haste. Migratory Greathorn is even more interesting, providing us with additional ramp to our big endgame. Cards like Arboreal Grazer and Stonecoil Serpent are fantastic mutate targets but also solid cards in their own right.

Questing Beast
Nullhide Ferox
Shifting Ceratops

Throw in some boom booms like Questing Beast and Nullhide Ferox and you've got quite the beatdown machine. Maindeck Shifting Ceratops are also a pretty strong statement to the current Standard landscape, as the haste on both of them is great after a sweeper effect. Beating Yorian decks is important, and both Questing Beast and Shifting Ceratops go a long way in that matchup.

However, Gruul isn't the only option. Playing five basic Mountain just to splash a 2-drop is mighty awkward and tap lands can really throw off a curve. It's very possible to play Umori in a much more straightforward fashion.

Magic Online user Edel, who I can only assume is hall of famer Willy Edel, has had a few nice runs lately with a Mono Green Stompy version of Umori. Edel has forgone Red for a very streamlined Mono-Green deck that features a very similar strategy to the Gruul version.

Gilded Goose
Paradise Druid

Again we are utilizing a small mutate package alongside our full suite of beaters like Questing Beast and Shifting Ceratops, but in Marauding Raptor's place we get full sets of Gilded Goose and Paradise Druid. While Paradise Druid is a slight downgrade from Marauding Raptor, Gilded Goose is a huge upgrade from Arboreal Grazer that's also a phenomenal target for mutations. Barkhide Troll stands in as another reasonable 2-drop.

Castle Garenbrig
End-Raze Forerunners

While both decks are leaning on an End-Raze Forerunners endgame, one of the benefits of playing Mono-Green is that you get to play more copies of Castle Garenbrig. With Umori on the battlefield and a Castle Garenbrig in play, End-Raze Forerunners essentially costs six mana, which is quite a deal for a game ending effect.

Having played with Edel's list and against the Gruul list, there were spots that felt like needing improvement.

Just some small tweeks, but important ones.

Kogla, the Titan Ape
Nylea, Keen-Eyed

Not playing four copies of Castle Garenbrig seemed insane, as 99% of the time it's the same thing as a Forest, but it is also very often a free Ancient Tomb for your more expensive spells or double spell turns. Maxing out on Castle Garenbrig brings Kogla, the Titan Ape to the party as an effective 5-drop, improves our Stonecoil Serpents, and helps to fuel another new addition in Nylea, Keen-Eyed which gives us more cost reduction, a big body, and a good mana sink. Even though all of these new additions improve End-Raze Forerunners, you don't need it every game and rarely want to draw two, making it an easy trim down to two copies.

Healer of the Glade
Nullhide Ferox
Voracious Hydra

The sideboard mostly stayed the same, with half the Shifting Ceratops making their way there to join a group of very focused answers. Healer of the Glade is an all-star against Mono-Red Obosh, while Voracious Hydra can come in against any creature deck. Nullhide Ferox laughs at removal and Blaze Zone loves to clean up Witch's Oven.

The deck is simple but effective, and a real surprise in a format that has been a bit stale. It hits hard, does powerful things, and most importantly has a companion.

Drown in the Loch
Chemister's Insight

"But Jim... What if I don't really like creatures?"

What, you wanted to try playing Umori with a different card type?

"Well yeah, maybe instants?"

Instants?! That's crazy talk... how could you win?

(Look for this deck in my upcoming Monday video right here on CoolStuffInc.com!)

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