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One Man’s Trash: Scry Me a River

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, FNM, Standard

Scry was the returning mechanic for Theros, Born of the Gods, and what I can assume of Journey into Nyx. Scry has always been a popular mechanic to begin with, and sees play in every format. From Preordain to Serum Visions, the popular opinion is that scry is a good thing. This week, I built a deck revolving around scry.

From the get go, we need to look at the card that inspired this deck. What card in standard takes advantage of scry? Flamespeaker Adept. “Whenever you scry, Flamespeaker Adept gets +2/+0 and gains First Strike until end of turn.” With just one scry effect; he is a 4/3 with first strike. Not too shabby, huh? Just imagine if you scryed more. Imagine if it was unblockable. That’s scary to think about. In fact, a card released with Theros actually gives us both of those things. Aqueous Form gives us the unblockable factor, with the added bonus of scrying for one. While looking for other cards that scryed, I came across some amazing synergy, but first, let’s take a look at the decklist.

The Game Plan

To start, I needed more than just Flamespeaker Adept to win the game. I looked for other good cards that worked well with Instants and Sorceries, seeing as most of the deck is that. The top two that just popped out at me were Spellheart Chimera and Nivix Cyclops. Spellheart gets bigger and bigger the more you cast, and Nivix does the same but at a different scale. You remember Nivix Cyclops right? From those blitz decks a while back. This deck does have that sort of feel, because with a rightly timed Boros Charm you can just destroy your opponent in one turn. Spellheart Chimera also has flying AND trample, so it’s evasion is something to remember for later games.

Titan’s Strength is one of the more powerful scrying cards. We’ve seen this Giant Growth like spell before in mono red decks, but here it has a special strength to take advantage of, that other decks simply can’t. That strength comes from the creatures in the deck. Target a Flamespeaker Adept and not only is it getting the +3/+1 from the spell, but +2/+0 from scying as well. So for 1 red man you just gave it +5/+1 and first strike. Crazy right? Next, it works equally well with Nivix Cyclops. With Cyclops, instead you get +6/+0 and it can attack. Now imagine if you had more than just one Titan’s Strength. That’s a lot of damage. Most games, you’ll find yourself defeating your opponent out of shear surprise.

Omenspeaker might not be the greatest creature to attack with, but it has other uses in this deck. With the scry ability to pump up Flamespeaker, it leaves back a decent blocker for when you attack. Also, it helps in the early turns at blocking some smaller creatures so that you lose less life.

The deck was lacking something in the beginning. It was lacking draw power when you really needed it. That is when I decided Steam Augury was a great card to help with that. Being able to look at the top five cards is great depth in digging for what you need. Plus, sometimes giving your opponent the choice to choose what you get can serve in your favor. For instance, if they are at a low life and you are attacking, sometimes they’d give you four cards so that you don’t have the opportunity to cast Titan’s Strength. Also, dumping multiple instants and sorceries into the graveyard helps boost Spellheart Chimera that much more.

The Protection

Seeing as a lot of today’s standard is black decks, and run multiple cards that say “destroy target X creature’, we needed a way to protect our blitzing creature from possible removal spells. One way I added to combat that is through Gods Willing. Usually found in White Weenie decks, this little protection spell gives a creature you control protection from a specific color until the end of turn. To make things better, it scrys. This spell actually has a few different modes. Not only can it counter potential removal spells, but it is also good for making a creature unblockable if you needed it to be. Not only that, but sometimes you’ll play against a deck that runs pseudo-removal like Arrest or Pacifism. If you give your creature protection from white, these will just fall off.

The next spell I added for a bit of protection is Boros Charm. We all know how powerful it can be against Supreme Verdict. That isn’t the only reason I added it to the list. Like I said before, I wanted this deck to have a “blitz” feel. That means I wanted to surprise my opponent with a sudden loss, and not really give them the chance to do anything about it. If you pump up a guy enough, and then give it double strike with Boros Charm that can mean game a lot of times. I mean, with Flamespeaker Adept it only takes a few instances of scry and double strike to end a game. With Nivix Cyclops, Boros Charms double strike adds to his power too. Of course its final mode; 4 damage to the face, is also very relevant.

Bad Match-ups

While playing around with the deck online, I found specific factors in a game that led to an inevitable loss for me. Let’s discuss them

First off, one of the things that this deck has trouble with is a lot of life-gain. The point of a blitz deck is to strike hard and fast, and not give your opponent the chance to do much about it. Usually, a good 15+ damage attack takes 3-4 cards from your hand to accomplish. That means that after a really good attack your hand is somewhat empty, and if they have gained a ton of life either in the turn before or the one after your attack they could get out of range before you can get the necessary cards required to re-attack. One of the decks I found hardest to overcome is the Bubbling Cauldron decks floating about online.

Second, even though this is supposed to be a fast deck others are quicker. I had a lot of trouble battling mono red decks because of how quick they were. These match-ups is where Magma Jet comes in extra handy, because being able to remove a few of their threats can help us get a creature on board long enough to smash their face in return.

Anything with sacrifice effects proved troublesome as well. Most of the protection I have set up protects from destroy effects. Unless you end up putting multiple creatures on board before deciding to swing sometimes a rightly timed Devour Flesh or Far // Away can end with you wasting some of your spells. Trust me, I fell for it a few times.

Sideboarding

First, a card that was suggested to me for the sideboard was Mizzium Mortars. I like adding this to the sideboard, because of how powerful the card is to begin with. It has the ability to take down larger creatures, even Blood Baron, but at the same time have the potential to wipe your opponent’s board.

I wanted to expand on the amount of scry the deck had, so I found a few cards that would prove useful in certain match-ups, but scry at the same time. First card I found like that was Lost in the Labyrinth. I found it useful against certain decks because it can both weaken an opponent’s creature, while at the same time strengthening Flamespeaker Adept. A few other cards I found like that include Battlewise Valor, Voyage’s End and Portent of Betrayal.

Conclusion

With the release of even more Scry cards in Born of the Gods, and what I can assume in Journey to Nyx, I’m sure this isn’t the last time I am going to pick up this deck and give it a whirl. I’ll probably revisit it in a few months after both sets are released, and see if some new scry abilities are more powerful. Until then, I’ll continue to brew with cards deemed “bad”, and if you have any suggestions of cards let me know! You can hit me up in any of the social media listed below. I’m looking for ignored cards and card interactions that aren’t getting enough love, and I’m always looking for a challenge.

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MTGO Username: kriskurse
kriskurse@gmail.com

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