February 12, 2016

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Bad Brews - Retribution of the Ancients

Hello and welcome back to Bad Brews!

Like a bad movie franchise we can't help but come back for more, and it goes a little something like this: We crack open a pack of cards from Standard, then we take the rare out of the pack and try to build a deck around it. Not all packs are created equal, so we also try to use as many playable uncommons and commons from the pack as physically possible. With that in mind, let's take a look at this week's pack.

Just like Sorin Markov, we are going to move backwards in time to the beginning of the Khans of Tarkir block, by cracking open a pack of Khans of Tarkir. In this week's pack we cracked open the following:

And for the rare we have...

A terrible rare if I ever saw one. But not the worst pick of the litter. So let's see what we can brew up this week.

With Khans of Tarkir being a wedge set, we are of course going three colour. It doesn’t hurt that we cracked open an Abzan Guide, a three colour card that helps us meet our goal. While Abzan Guide is a 4/4 for six mana which doesn’t pass the Vanilla Test, it is morphable for much less. It also has Lifelink which is a great ability all on its own. However, as it doesn’t die to Death Frenzy, we already have a great life gain sub-strategy to work with.

Once we throw in Sultai Scavenger and Tusked Colossodon for larger creatures, who also don’t die to Death Frenzy. Sultai Scavenger has evasion in its flying, whereas Tusked Colossodon is a big bland threat to deal with. Speaking of evasion, Briber’s Purse will come in with a few counters on it to make sure that our big threats will hit when we need them to.

Lastly, we have to throw in our Jungle Hollow in order to keep our mana fixed, for our three colour deck. Heck, before we go looking at cards outside of the pack, we know we are going to be using life lands for most of our mana fixing, as it fits our life gain sub-theme.

Now for the rest of the deck let's see if we can find some counter generation for our Retribution of the Ancients. Abzan Ascendancy is a no brainer for this deck, as putting counters on each of our creatures is great. Hardened Scales is also a nice inclusion to the deck. There is nothing to complain about when you get to put an extra counter on each creature that gets a +1/+1 counter.

As it stands right now, the deck is a little mana heavy. Eight of our cards are sitting at six mana or above. So let's take a minute to add a minute to add some medium level mana costs. Cached Defenses is a quick and easy way to get three more counters on a creature. Picking the Khans option on Citadel Siege will help add a few quick counters each turn during combat on a creature we control. Finally, we need at least a few creatures to take up the a one drop slot. Akroan Jailer isn’t a bad one drop, and being able to tap down a creature our enemy controls could be helpful in a pinch. Also while we are at it, let's throw in a few copies of Servant of the Scale, because any ability that let's us save up counters and then move them around afterwards will be helpful in this deck.

Alright, now that we have a decent deck in place, let's talk basic strategy.

Our first play is, of course, to build up some life, so we will play any of our life lands first turn. It puts us a little behind in terms of mana, but gives us a little extra life to work with late game. In a perfect world, we will play Hardened Scales first, then get out our Servant of the Scales for the additional +1/+1 counter. A turn three Akroan Jailer or Retribution of the Ancients will give set us up to swing in with Servant of the Scales for some early game damage. A turn five Citadel Siege will set us up for some powerful attacks during combat, and if we beef up Servant of the Scale enough we can use Retribution of the Ancients to take out a creature or two before we swing in with an unblockable Tusked Colossodon thanks to our Briber’s Purse on turn seven and eight, hopefully for the win.

With that we wrap up our Bad Brew for the week. Did I miss some counter generation that would put me over the top? What would you brew differently? Let me know in the comments below! Plus, join me next week as we jump forward to the lastest set in Standard, Oath of the Gatewatch.