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Price of Glory #5 – Bant Pod

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Birthing Pod is a card I’ve wanted to use ever since I first saw it. It has seen some success lately when combined with the Splinter Twin/Deceiver Exarch combo, but I wanted to see if I could make a much more budget-friendly version that focuses on using the Pod itself. Here’s what I came up with:

[cardlist]

[Creatures]

1 Acidic Slime

1 Archon of Justice

1 Brutalizer Exarch

1 Obstinate Baloth

1 Pelakka Wurm

1 Phyrexian Ingester

1 Sphinx of Uthuun

1 Stonehorn Dignitary

1 Stormtide Leviathan

1 Trinket Mage

1 Wall of Omens

2 Sea Gate Oracle

2 Viridian Emissary

3 Llanowar Elves

4 Birds of Paradise

1 Phyrexian Metamorph

[/Creatures]

[Spells]

3 See Beyond

4 Preordain

1 Sunblast Angel

1 Voltaic Key

4 Birthing Pod

[/Spells]

[Lands]

2 Plains

5 Island

7 Forest

2 Glacial Fortress

4 Sunpetal Grove

4 Terramorphic Expanse

[/Lands]

[Sideboard]

1 Suture Priest

2 Kor Firewalker

2 Trinket Mage

3 Viridian Corrupter

4 Squadron Hawk

2 Perilous Myr

1 Elixir of Immortality

[/Sideboard]

[/cardlist]

The Creatures

Birds of Paradise fixes your mana, lets you cast Birthing Pod on turn two, and can be sacrificed to Birthing Pod to kick off the chain. Llanowar Elves helps fill in when we don’t have Birds of Paradise, performing two of its three functions.

Viridian Emissary is the most common 2-drop to get with Birthing Pod. It gets you another land when you sacrifice it, which will be very valuable later on. It can also fix your mana if you need a second g, or if you need to cast a spell of another color.

Wall of Omens is a great card to get against aggressive decks. It can draw a card, soak up some damage, and still live to be sacrificed to Birthing Pod next turn.

Sea Gate Oracle fulfills a similar function to Wall of Omens, with the additional benefit of giving some choice as to which card you draw.

Trinket Mage is your go-to guy for the 3-drop slot. Its only function is to get Voltaic Key, accelerating your Birthing Pod chain to twice its normal speed.

Obstinate Baloth will gain you some life before you sacrifice, helping to soak up damage from aggressive decks. If you’re not sacrificing it immediately, it also provides a 4/4 blocker for the turn, helping to discourage attacks.

Stonehorn Dignitary can save you some major damage, and can help buy a bit of time against a Titan. Against many aggressive decks, this will often just be a Time Walk.

Phyrexian Metamorph instantly turns into the best threat on the table, whether that’s yours or your opponent’s. I usually doesn’t do too well in the middle of a Birthing Pod chain, but if you need a threat in a hurry, Phyrexian Metamorph is your guy.

Archon of Justice can exile any permanent when you sacrifice it to Birthing Pod. It gets rid of Titans, Swords, Tempered Steel, and anything else you might come across. That’s some serious value.

Acidic Slime is like Archon of Justice lite. It doesn’t get rid of quite as many things, but if you can’t afford to wait a turn, the Slime might be exactly what you need.

Sunblast Angel will often serve as an impromptu Plague Wind as you’re climbing up the Birthing Pod chain. It crushes the offense of almost any deck, and then turns itself into something even bigger.

Brutalizer Exarch is somewhere between Archon of Justice and Acidic Slime. It doesn’t get rid of creatures, but it will get rid of anything else, including planeswalkers. In addition, it can tutor up any creature in the deck, so if you need a blocker, some life, or almost anything else, this guy can get it for you.

Sphinx of Uthuun draws cards. It might not seem all that relevant when you’re this close to the top of the chain, but it can help out a lot if your opponent has presented a problem that you need to answer. It can also serve as a fine win condition on its own.

Phyrexian Ingester will swallow up your opponent’s biggest creature, and turn itself into an even bigger threat. Having another removal spell on the way up the chain is nice, and having a removal spell that’s also a huge beater is even nicer.

Pelakka Wurm will gain you a ton of life, putting you out of reach of most burn spells, and anything else that might threaten your ability to stay in the game. Drawing a card when it’s sacrificed is just icing on the cake.

Stormtide Leviathan is your main win condition. It will lock down most of the creatures you’ll come up against, and it swings for 8 unblockable damage each turn. In addition, it isn’t very difficult to play or Pod into a Phyrexian Metamorph on the same turn, making you far less vulnerable to removal spells.

The Spells

Birthing Pod is what makes the whole deck work. Not much more I can say about that.

Preordain’s main purpose is to help you dig for Birthing Pod. It can also help fix your mana, or get another creature if your chain is interrupted.

See Beyond helps dig for Birthing Pod as well, and has the additional function of taking creatures you’d rather get with Birthing Pod than cast and shuffling them into your library.

Voltaic Key lets you use Birthing Pod twice each turn, meaning that you’ll get to the top of the chain much more quickly than you would otherwise.

The Sideboard

Kor Firewalker is a good option to have against Red decks, and the ability to search it out with Birthing Pod makes it even better.

The second and third Trinket Mages can come in against aggressive decks, bringing along Elixir of Immortality so you can be sure to have some life gain. With Birthing Pod, there’s no limit to the amount of life you can gain.

Perilous Myr gives you a Shock early on in the chain, which can be very valuable against certain decks, especially Vampires.

Viridian Corrupter serves as a miniature Acidic Slime against decks like Caw-Blade and Tempered Steel where destroying artifacts is very important. It comes out two steps earlier on the chain, making sure that you can destroy whatever problem artifact you run into before it does any serious damage.

Suture Priest is a great answer to Exarch-Twin decks. As long as you have one on the field, your opponent can’t combo off without killing himself.

Squadron Hawk is a very speculative sideboard card, but it seems like having three 1/1 creatures and another to continue the chain might be very good against Caw-Blade and aggressive decks.

Play-Testing

Caw-Blade – Game 1

I lost the roll and kept a hand of Island, Plains, Sunpetal Grove, Terramorphic Expanse, Birds of Paradise, Birthing Pod, and Acidic Slime. My opponent opened with a Celestial Colonnade, and I drew a Birds of Paradise, using a Terramorphic Expanse to get a Forest. My opponent played a Tectonic Edge and cast Squadron Hawk, getting two more before passing the turn. I drew a Llanowar Elves, played my Sunpetal Grove, and cast the Elves, along with a Birds of Paradise. I then passed the turn. My opponent played a Plains and cast another Squadron Hawk before passing the turn. I drew See Beyond, played an Island, and cast my Birthing Pod, paying 2 life. I then tapped my creatures for mana and sacrificed the Llanowar Elves to the Birthing Pod, getting a Viridian Emissary. I passed the turn. My opponent cast Preordain, then played a Glacial Fortress. He then played Into the Roil on my Birthing Pod and attacked with both Hawks before passing the turn. I drew a Sunblast Angel, played a Plains, and attacked for 3 with my Viridian Emissary. I then cast Birthing Pod, paying 2 life, and tapped the Birds to sacrifice the Emissary, getting an Island and a Trinket Mage, which in turn got a Voltaic Key. I then passed the turn. My opponent played an Inkmoth Nexus, cast Into the Roil kicked on my Birthing Pod, and put me down to 11 with his Squadron Hawks. He then passed the turn. I drew and played an Island, attacked for 2 with Trinket Mage, and cast Birthing Pod. I then sacrificed Trinket Mage to get an Obstinate Baloth, gaining 4 life, and tapped my Birds of Paradise to cast another Birds of Paradise. I then ended my turn. My opponent played a land, attacked me for 2 with the Squadron Hawks, putting me at 13, and cast another Squadron Hawk, searching up the last one and playing it, and paying 4 life for a Dismember on my Obstinate Baloth. My opponent ended his turn at 12 life. I drew Stormtide Leviathan, then cast Acidic Slime, destroying my opponent’s Inkmoth Nexus. I then sacrificed the Slime to my Birthing Pod, putting Brutalizer Exarch onto the battlefield. The Exarch put my opponent’s Celestial Colonnade on the bottom of his library, and I ended my turn. My opponent attacked me with all four Squadron Hawks, taking me down to 9, then played an Arid Mesa, cracked it for a Plains, and cast Gideon Jura. He activated Gideon’s +2 ability and ended his turn. I drew Sea Gate Oracle, then cast Sunblast Angel, tapping my Birds of Paradise for mana to avoid the forced attack and destroying the Hawks. I then attacked Gideon with Brutalizer Exarch, sacrificing it to Birthing Pod post-combat, and getting a Pelakka Wurm, which put me back up to 16. I then passed the turn. My opponent played a land, activated Gideon’s +2 ability, and passed the turn. I drew a Forest, played it, and tapped my Birds to cast See Beyond, drawing Glacial Fortress and Phyrexian Metamorph and shuffling Stormtide Leviathan into my library. Sunblast Angel and Pelakka Wurm attacked and killed Gideon, and I sacrificed the Wurm to Birthing Pod, drawing a Glacial Fortress and putting Stormtide Leviathan onto the battlefield. I then cast Phyrexian Metamorph, which my opponent Mana Leaked, and ended my turn. My opponent drew his card and conceded.

Sideboarding:

−2 Sea Gate Oracle

−1 Wall of Omens

+3 Viridian Corrupter

Caw-Blade – Game 2

I took one mulligan and kept a hand of two Forests, Viridian Emissary, Birthing Pod, Sunblast Angel, and Stormtide Leviathan. My opponent opened with a Island and a Preordain, and I drew a second Birthing Pod and played my Forest. My opponent played a land and cast Squadron Hawk, getting two more, then passed the turn. I drew a Plains, played it, cast Viridian Emissary, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked with the Squadron Hawk, then played a Celestial Colonnade and cast another Hawk before passing the turn. I drew a Sunpetal Grove, played it, and cast Birthing Pod, paying 2 life. I then ended my turn. My opponent attacked with both Squadron Hawks, then played a land and cast the other two before passing the turn. I drew a Plains, played my Forest, and sacrificed the Emissary, getting an Island and a Trinket Mage, which got a Voltaic Key. I cast the Key and passed the turn. My opponent played a Seachrome Coast, attacked me down to 11, and passed the turn. I drew a Viridian Emissary, played my Plains, and attacked for 2 with Trinket Mage. I then chained the Trinket Mage into a Stonehorn Dignitary, untapped the Pod with Voltaic Key, and chained the Dignitary into an Archon of Justice. I ended my turn. My opponent played a land and cast Gideon Jura, using his +2 ability and passing the turn. I drew Brutalizer Exarch. This meant I now had nothing to chain Archon of Justice into, so I cast the Exarch, putting Gideon on the bottom of my opponent’s library, and passed the turn. My opponent activated his Celestial Colonnade, and attacked with the Colonnade and all four Squadron Hawks. The Archon traded with the Colonnade, exiling a Glacial Fortress, and the Hawks dropped me to 7. My opponent then ended his turn. I drew an Obstinate Baloth, knocked my opponent down to 15 with my Exarch, and chained the Exarch into Pelakka Wurm, going back up to 14. I then cast the Obstinate Baloth, bringing me to 18, and ended my turn. My opponent attacked with three of the four Squadron Hawks and passed the turn. I attacked with my Wurm and Baloth, and my opponent cast Into the Roil on the Wurm. He then blocked the Baloth with his Squadron Hawk. He still had 2 mana open, so rather than casting the Wurm again, I sacrificed Obstinate Baloth to Birthing Pod, getting an Acidic Slime and destroying my opponent’s Seachrome Coast. I then cast Viridian Emissary and passed the turn. My opponent attacked me down to 13, played another Seachrome Coast, and passed the turn. I drew a Llanowar Elves and attacked with my Acidic Slime and Viridian Emissary. My opponent blocked the Emissary with a Hawk and took 2 damage. I searched up an Island and passed the turn. My opponent played Preordain and ended his turn. I drew a Viridian Emissary and attacked with my Acidic Slime, which was killed by two Squadron Hawks. I then played a Llanowar Elves and passed the turn, at which point my opponent cast Into the Roil on my Birthing Pod. On his turn, my opponent played a land and passed. I drew Sphinx of Uthuun, and attempted to cast Birthing Pod. My opponent cast Flashfreeze on it. I then cast the second Birthing Pod, which my opponent countered with another Flashfreeze. I attacked for 1 with Llanowar Elves and passed the turn. My opponent played a land and cast Consecrated Sphinx before passing the turn. I drew another Viridian Emissary and cast my Pelakka Wurm, going up to 19. I then passed the turn. My opponent attacked with Consecrated Sphinx and passed the turn. I drew a Terramorphic Expanse, played it, cracked it for a Forest, and attacked with my Pelakka Wurm and Llanowar Elves. My opponent cast Into the Roil kicked on the Wurm and took 1. I cast Pelakka Wurm again, but it was countered with a Mana Leak. I passed the turn. My opponent cast Sword of Feast and Famine, equipped it to the Sphinx, and knocked me down to 9. I discarded Sphinx of Uthuun, and my opponent untapped his lands and passed the turn. I drew a Forest, played it, and cast Sunblast Angel, destroying Consecrated Sphinx. I then cast Viridian Corrupter, which was countered by a Flashfreeze, and attacked for 1 with Llanowar Elves before passing the turn. At end of turn, my opponent dropped to 6 to Dismember my Sunblast Angel. On his turn, he played a land and cast a second Consecrated Sphinx. He then ended his turn. I drew Preordain and cast it, putting a land on the bottom and drawing Phyrexian Ingester. I cast the Ingester, and exiled the Consecrated Sphinx. I then dropped my opponent to 5 with the Llanowar Elves. My opponent played a Celestial Colonnade and passed the turn. I drew a Birds of Paradise and attacked with both creatures. My opponent blocked the Ingester with Inkmoth Nexus and took 1 from the Elves. I cast Viridian Corrupter, which was countered by Flashfreeze, then passed the turn. My opponent activated Celestial Colonnade, equipped it with Sword of Feast and Famine, and attacked. I dropped to 3, and discarded Birds of Paradise. My opponent untapped his lands and passed the turn. I drew a land and conceded.

Caw-Blade – Game 3

I kept a hand of two Islands, Sunpetal Grove, Birds of Paradise, Birthing Pod, Viridian Corrupter, and Phyrexian Metamorph. I played Sunpetal Grove and passed the turn, and my opponent opened with a Celestial Colonnade. I drew a Preordain, played my Island, and cast it. Both cards were creatures I would rather Birthing Pod into, so I put both on bottom and drew a Plains. I then cast my Birds of Paradise and passed the turn. My opponent played a Seachrome Coast and passed the turn. I drew a Forest, played it, and passed the turn. My opponent played another Seachrome Coast and passed the turn again. I drew a second Birthing Pod, played my Plains, and cast it. My opponent countered it with Flashfreeze, and I passed the turn. My opponent played a land and cast a Squadron Hawk, searching up the other three and casting one of them. I drew a Preordain, played my Island, and cast Birthing Pod. I then sacrificed my Birds of Paradise, getting a Viridian Emissary, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked with both Squadron Hawks, then played an Inkmoth Nexus and cast Into the Roil on my Birthing Pod before ending his turn. I drew a Glacial Fortress, played it, and cast Birthing Pod, paying 2 life. My opponent cast Mana Leak on it, and I paid the 3 mana. I then attacked with my Viridian Emissary and passed the turn. My opponent attacked with two Squadron Hawks, cast two more, and played a Celestial Colonnade. He then ended his turn. I drew a Viridian Corrupter, sacrificed my Emissary with Birthing Pod, and got a Forest and a Trinket Mage. The Trinket Mage got a Voltaic Key, which I cast and used to untap the Pod. I sacrificed Trinket Mage and got Obstinate Baloth, going up to 18 life. I then passed the turn. My opponent attacked with all four Squadron Hawks, then cast Consecrated Sphinx. He then passed the turn. I drew a Terramorphic Expanse, played it, cracked it for a Forest, and cast Phyrexian Metamorph, copying my opponent’s Sphinx. I then activated Birthing Pod, paying 2 life and sacrificing Obstinate Baloth. I got Archon of Justice, untapped the Pod with Voltaic Key, then paid another 2 life to activate it again, sacrificing Archon of Justice and exiling my opponent’s Consecrated Sphinx. I searched up a Sunblast Angel, which destroyed all the Squadron Hawks, and passed the turn at 10 life. When my opponent drew for his turn, I drew Llanowar Elves and Stonehorn Dignitary from the Consecrated Sphinx. My opponent played a land and cast Gideon Jura, activating his +2 ability before passing the turn. I drew a Plains and played it, then attacked Gideon with my two flyers, killing him. After combat, I sacrificed Sunblast Angel to Birthing Pod, getting a Pelakka Wurm and gaining 7 life. I then untapped the Pod and sacrificed the Wurm, drawing a Sunpetal Grove and getting a Stormtide Leviathan. I then ended my turn. I drew two lands from my opponent’s draw step, and he played an Arid Mesa. He then cast another Gideon Jura, using the −2 ability to destroy my Consecrated Sphinx before passing the turn. I drew Birds of Paradise, played my land, and attacked with Stormtide Leviathan, dropping my opponent to 10. I then cast Stonehorn Dignitary and chained it into an Acidic Slime, which destroyed a Celestial Colonnade, and then into a Brutalizer Exarch, which put Gideon Jura on the bottom of my opponent’s library. I then passed the turn. My opponent cast Emeria Angel, played a Scalding Tarn, and sacrificed the Arid Mesa for a Plains, dropping to 9 and making two Bird tokens. He then passed the turn. I drew See Beyond, and attacked with my Leviathan, dropping my opponent to 1 life. I then passed the turn. My opponent drew his card and conceded.




I think this deck definitely has what it takes to compete in the current Standard environment. The ability to keep piling up useful effects without using cards from your hand can be a huge advantage, and there are a lot of abilities in here that will surprise people. The one downside to this deck is that it is definitely difficult to play. I know I made some mistakes in these games. With practice, though, you can definitely turn Birthing Pod into a well-oiled machine.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can find me on the forums under Twinblaze, or on Twitter under @Twinblaze2, or simply leave a comment below.

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