April 29, 2016

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Bad Brews: Mina and Denn, Wildborn

Hello and welcome back to bad brews!

Like we always do at this time, I go for mine... I shouldn’t quote Kanye at any time, but there... I did. Bad Brews is of course the game we play where we crack open a booster pack of something in Standard and hope for the worst. That's right, the worst rare possible is our goal, because we are going to try to make up a deck using that rare as the focal point. This week is no exception as we crack open a pack of Oath of the Gatewatch.

So let's kick it off like we do every week with a quick look at the commons and uncommons in this week’s pack.

Now for the rare!

The twin Elf Ally creatures, Mina and Denn, Wildborn, provide for some interesting combinations of cards to be played. Their first ability which allows you to play an additional land on each turn will run rampant in a landfall deck. Their second ability is a killer however. Being able to bounce any land you control, tapped or otherwise, to its owner’s hand in order to give a creature trample is not bad in general, but on a creature that is itself a 4/4 it makes for a fairly interesting combat trick. Thats right, it's not sorcery speed, so it can be done in the middle of combat after blockers have been declared. As an added bonus, your land can’t be destroyed in response to bounce trigger.

Early game we are going to be looking to stop our opponent from getting a leg up on the board. By making it so that their creatures can’t block this turn we will be doing ourselves a huge favor. That’s where Sparkmage’s Gambit comes into play. Deal one damage to each of up to two creatures, possibly destroying small creatures in the early game, or by nullifying big threats in the late game. Either way, we are looking at hitting in for some serious damage both late and early in the game.

Cinder Hellion might not be as big as we like with a five mana cost, but it does give us some room to work with its trample ability. A 4/4 with trample is good any day of the week, but add its enter the battlefield trigger of dealing two damage to target opponent, we might as well call the game there.

Last in red from the pack we have Reckless Bushwhacker, if played as your second spell of the turn, it gives a pretty hefty bonus. +1/+0 and haste to all your other creatures makes for an impressive force. The fact that Reckless Bushwacker has haste all on its own just makes it all the more powerful.

In green we have two cards from the pack that we might consider putting into the mix. Elemental Uprising makes your land a 4/4 with haste until end of turn. If it attacks, it must be blocked this turn. While putting your lands in danger might seem like a bad strategy in general, with the ability to bounce it back to your hand with Mina and Denn, Wildborn if things get to harry for it makes playing this card a no lose scenario.

Stalking Drone is the other card from the pack that we have to look at. For one colourless mana we can make it a 3/4 until end of turn. And while you can only activate the ability once per turn it does make itself a force to be reckoned with, and puts it our of the way of most removal.

With the need for colourless mana in the deck, we have the choice to run Wastes in our deck, but it might be interesting to run the pain lands from Magic Origins instead. While there aren’t any in Standard that are strictly in our colours, for that we would have to look to Karplusan Forest. Instead, let's throw in Llanowar Wastes which while getting us colourless mana will also help us cast our next card.

The Gitrog Monster is another card that will allow us to drop an additional land each turn. The downside being that we will have to sacrifice a land each upkeep to keep the monster in play. However, in Standard having redundancy is always a nice bonus. Plus the additional card draw we get when a land is put into the graveyard from anywhere is really nice.

In the one drop slot, we can put in both Scythe Leopard and Jaddi Offshoot. Both have nice landfall triggers, which we can expect plenty of with this deck. The Scythe Leopard will get beefed up every time land comes into play under our control, the Jaddi Offshoot will deal with any downsides we have to using our Llanowar Wastes by giving us additional life every time we use it.

Surprisingly, this may be the deck as is. We have a few creatures that are a little high on the curve, so having plenty of lands in our deck is not only a good idea, but essential to the strategy of the deck.

Bad Brews: Mina and Denn, Wildborn

The strategy for this deck is wildly simple. Keep pressure on by playing creatures as fast as you can, bounce lands as needed to Mina and Denn, Wildborn, and then when thing get really hairy drop The Gitrog Monster and trample in for a win. Scythe Leopard will be a real workhorse in this deck, becoming as much as a 4/4 thanks to the ability to play additional lands each turn.

This week we might also want to talk about sideboard options. Some interesting ones for this deck include Aim High, allowing you to deal with flyers on the battlefield with some grace. It doesn’t hurt that it also gives your creature +2/+2 until end of turn. Same goes for Clip Wings, which can keep those flyers at bay even longer. Lastly, the addition of Swell of Growth might prove useful to the deck in general, pumping creatures and allowing you to play even more land will keep you turns away from having to sacrifice The Gitrog Monster and will give you even more fuel for Mina and Denn, Wildborn. Final sideboard considerations might include Liliana’s Indignation and Crawling Sensation. Both cards will help you get lands into your graveyard, allowing you to draw cards from The Gitrog Monster.

So that’s it for this week’s bad brews. Was there anything I missed in creating this deck? Some interesting piece of sideboard tech that might have made this deck even better? If there was, let me know in the comments below. And always, may your brews be as bad as mine!