June 3, 2016

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Bad Brews: Bygone Bishop

Hello and welcome back to Bad Brews!

This is the game we play each week where we crack open a fresh new booster pack of something from standard and try to brew the best darn deck we can around its contents. As always not all decks are created equal, but these ones are going to be especially bad. This week we are cracking open a pack of Shadows over Innistrad, the set known for its flip cards are its super expensive angles.

In this week’s pack we have...

And for our rare we have...

Now - as always - in Shadows over Innistrad we are one card short of a full pack as there is a flip card in every pack. For the purposes of Bad Brews we will be using this card to determine what our other colour will be in the final deck.

So here it is, our flip card...

Bygone Bishop is a decently powerful rare, to kick it off it is a 2/3 with flying for three mana which isn’t bad at all. However, its second ability is something to watch out for. Being able to put out clue tokens is in general a good thing. Remember that, in this card game, drawing cards is always a good thing. Now it's limited by the fact that you only get to investigate when you cast a creature spell with converted mana cost three or less, we are going to replace any cards in hand that we cast by using up our clue tokens early and often. It is also handy to remember that cracking a clue token isn’t casting a spell, especially when dealing with our next card.

Solitary Hunter is a little underpowered as a 3/4 for four mana, but it more than makes up for it when it flips to become a 5/6. There isn’t much else to say about this card unfortunately, it is without a doubt a standard werewolf card, albeit a strong one.

Rounding out the rest of the pack are five other cards that will surely make this deck a fairly spicy brew. Starting off with Chaplain’s Blessing, we have a card that for only one mana will gain us five life. This card is going to keep us ahead of our enemy in terms of life total and could be combined with other cards to create a fairly interesting combo. More on that later.

Warped Landscape is a land tutor that will allow us to splash any colour we want into our deck to make it just a little bit better. Need a green source? Warped Landscape has you covered. Some might complain that this ability costs two mana, whereas its older brother Evolving Wilds does not, it is important to note that Warped Landscape - unlike the aforementioned other card - adds mana to your mana pool, meaning it isn’t a dead card at some points during your match ups.

Intrepid Provisioner has trample, and gives a creature buff when it enters the battlefield. While a little costly at four mana, this card will see some good play in this deck. However, this play will be mildly situational, as it can only give that buff to a creature that is a human. This means that a certain percentage of the time it won’t be able to give our werewolves a creature buff as they lose their human tag when they transform.

Remember when I talked splashing a colour? Well, this card is why. Nahiri’s Machinations gives one of our creatures indestructible at the beginning of combat. But that’s not all. When comboed with two mana - one of which needs to be red - it deals a point of damage to a blocking creature. Chump blockers beware, we are going to take you down.

Lastly, from the pack we have Weirding Wood. For three mana, we take any land we control and allow it to tap for two mana of any colour of our choosing. While not as strong as some cards we might consider putting into our deck, it does have the ability to give us more red mana for Nahiri’s Machinations.

Now that we have an interesting structure to our deck, let's take a look at some of the cards in standard that might make the cut for a deck of this type. A little burn, a little life gain, and a human sub theme that might make for a fairly interesting deck.

Serene Steward pulls double duty in this deck, as it is both a human and a has an ability triggered by life gain. The only real downside is that it is only one +1/+1 counter for each life gaining event, but really that would be too much to ask for as it would have made this card overpowered, especially for an uncommon.

Silverstrike allows us to destroy target attacking creature and gains us a life. Combined with Serene Steward, we will see some pretty serious net gain, allowing us to put a +1/+1 counter on a Serene Steward and destroying the biggest attacking threat on the board. This card will absolutely prolong the game.

Tenacity allows us to gain some more life, thanks to giving our creatures lifelink. It also will give us a little more power, thanks to its blanket creature buff. Being able to cast this one at instant speed is an absolute must, as it also gives us a chance to untap all our creatures. Play at your own peril however, as it must basically only be cast after attackers are declared, but before you declare blockers.

Honored Hierarch will act as a Birds of Paradise when it becomes renowned. Becoming renowned is a little bit of a feat, however, as it involves hitting a player directly. While not an impossible task, it is something to consider when playing this card, especially if you are counting on the mana it is going to produce.

Tireless Tracker will allow us to investigate whenever we play an land, which is a bonus in and of itself. So in this deck, whenever we cast a creature spell of converted mana cost of three or less, or whenever we play a land, we will be getting a clue token. Whenever we sack a clue token, we get to put a +1/+1 counter on Tireless Tracker.

Tamiyo’s Journal will let us search our deck for a card if we sacrifice three clue tokens, this is great when combined with Tireless Tracker as it doesn’t say we have to draw a card with our clue token to activate its ability. Adding clue tokens to our battlefield every upkeep is also an added bonus.

Bad Brews: Bygone Bishop

This deck seems to play pretty well, allowing us to gain life to keep us ahead, while also beefing up our creatures to keep them hitting hard. It's a little low on land, all things considered, but with the built in ramp of Weirding Wood and Noble Hierarch we should be able to get around having very little land. The key to playing this deck will be to get Tireless Tracker out before you sacrifice any Clue Tokens. Worst case scenario you can sacrifice Clue Tokens to find your Tireless Tracker, however this method of getting to your win condition is sub optimal.

As for sideboard options, anything that will produce human tokens is a must. Ulvenwald Mysteries for example would be a perfect fit for this deck. Also, adding in some copies of Cryptolith Rite will make for an excellent addition.

So that’s this week’s deck, please be sure to come back next week when we will be doing another Bad Brew. If you think I left anything out of this deck, or should expand my side board to include something else, please let me know in the comments below. And as always, until next week, may your brews be as bad as mine.