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Brewing with New Mechanics


Hello, everyone! Whenever a new set is revealed, the creative juices begin flowing and people start posting new decks to try out featuring some of the new cards. This week I have a few of these decks that I think look fun to play, so let's get started.


The first deck I have for you utilizes the proliferate mechanic to enlarge its creatures and attack with unblockable threats. Let's take a look at it:

Bioessence Hydra
Bioessence Hydra has the potential to become absolutely huge in this deck. With the amount of +1/+1 counters you are able to add to creatures you control and the amount of proliferation you can do, Bioessence Hydra can get out of hand very quickly and will become a must-kill threat for your opponent. When you add the static ability from Ajani, the Greathearted that gives all of your creatures vigilance and Shalai, Voice of Plenty's ability to put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control, you are able to generate very large threats that can attack and defend equally well. The deck becomes unstoppable, literally, once you have Herald of Secret Streams in play, as all of your creatures with +1/+1 counters become unblockable.

With the amount of +1/+1 counters you'll have, including Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter in the deck is a no-brainer. His static ability to allow any of your creatures with a +1/+1 counter on them to tap for any color of mana allows for a huge amount of ramp in this deck. Use that mana to cast multiple threats whenever possible so you can keep the pressure firmly on your opponent. If you manage to get Vivien Reid into play, use her +1 loyalty ability to cycle through your library while you find threat after threat.

Cards like Contentious Plan and Huatli's Raptor that allow you to proliferate are important in this deck as they allow you the ability to continue to grow your threats. Evolution Sage and Merfolk Skydiver allow proliferation to happen repeatedly. The cards will certainly become targets for removal spells from your opponent, so be sure to get the most out of them before they're gone. Merfolk Skydiver is a great target to bring back from the dead with the -2 loyalty ability of Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants.


The next deck I have for you features a ton of Planeswalkers and also attempts to capitalize on the proliferate mechanic. Let's take a look at it:

Evolution Sage
The amount of proliferate triggers you can get when you can Scapeshift with a single copy of Evolution Sage on the battlefield can be devastating for your opponent. And the devastation only intensifies when you have multiple copies of Evolution Sage on the battlefield. Doing this can allow you to use the ultimate abilities of multiple planeswalkers, which can allow the game to quickly come to an end. We've all seen how quickly a game ends when Teferi, Hero of Dominaria creates the emblem allowing him to exile a permanent whenever his controller draws a card. Imagine getting that ability along with Tezzeret, Artifice Master's emblem allowing you to search for any card from your library each turn at your end step. Not only can you find a counter for any spell your opponent might cast, but you'll also be able to start exiling their lands making it even more difficult for them to cast any spell in the future.

This deck also has an Artifact subtheme as well. With Dovin, Grand Arbiter and Tezzeret, Artifice Master, you can create a 1/1 Thopter token with flying each turn. Saheeli, Sublime Artificer creates a 1/1 Servo whenever you cast a noncreature spell. Karn, Scion of Urza can create 0/0 Construct tokens that get +1/+1 for each Artifact you control. These Constructs can become gigantic as the game progresses and the flying Thopters will likely be able to get in for a few points of damage. You could find a point in time where you reach critical mass and are able to send all of your Artifacts into the red zone (into combat) and overwhelm your opponent.

One cool interaction this deck has is when you cast Scapeshift with both an Evolution Sage (or more) and Teferi, Time Raveler on the battlefield. Thanks to Teferi's +1 loyalty ability, you can cast Scapeshift on your opponent's turn as if it had flash, allowing you to save any of your Planeswalkers that might be losing loyalty from an opponent attacking them with their creatures. It also works great when you cast Kamahl's Druidic Vow with the same set up, and it's moves like this that can turn the game around just like that.


The final deck I have for you this week features the amass mechanic, which creates or grows an Army token. Let's take a look at the deck:

Dreadhorde Invasion
Dreadhorde Invasion has been compared to Bitterblossom, which I think is a bit inaccurate. While Bitterblossom gave you a 1/1 flying Faerie token each turn at the cost of one point of life, if your opponent could find a way to halt your air assault, you would end up dying to your own Bitterblossom. While the same could be true with Dreadhorde Invasion, there are ways to mitigate that risk. Dreadhorde Invasion has a built-in safeguard by granting lifelink to any Zombie token you control with 6 power or more. That lifelink can help keep you alive and it's something that Bitterblossom never offered.

The plan with this deck is to get Dreadhorde Invasion into play as quickly as possible so that you can begin to amass your Zombie Army right away. The next thing to try to get into play is Gleaming Overseer. With it on the battlefield, your Zombie Army token (as well as any other Zombie tokens you might create) will have hexproof and menace. The next step is to cast Quasiduplicate to create a token copy of Gleaming Overseer. That will give you a token copy of Gleaming Overseer (which happens to be a Zombie) that will have hexproof and menace. With that, your Zombie Army token will be safe from all targeted removal.

Another fun interaction in this deck is with Death Baron. Not only does Death Baron grant all of your Zombies +1/+1, but it also provides them deathtouch. If you have a Zombie Army token on the battlefield with hexproof, menace, and deathtouch, it will certainly be difficult for your opponent to block it and feel that they're getting anywhere the better end of the deal in that combat. That deathtouch Death Baron provides can also be fun when you have Grim Initiate on the battlefield. Normally you'll want Grim Initiate to die so you can amass 1, but with Death Baron alongside, you now have a 1/1 Zombie with both first strike and deathtouch. That's definitely a creature your opponent won't want to block.

Wrapping Up

War of the Spark looks like it's going to add a lot of new dimensions to Standard. To those of you playing in Prerelease Events this weekend, I wish you good luck.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

- Mike Likes