Rattleclaw Mystic immediately piqued my interest and I am eager to share my excitement. Mana ramp has always been a strategy in Magic throughout its history and at times even a dominant one.
2/1 – Two-mana creatures with abilities have quite a pedigree—think of Snapcaster Mage & Dark Confidant. Rattleclaw Mystic is powerful and versatile. By itself, Rattleclaw Mystic can cast a 4-drop on turn three or a 6-drop on turn four (after unmorphing, Rattleclaw Mystic can also tap for mana). Golden Hind is a great card in Limited but falls just short of the bar for Constructed. Rattleclaw Mystic has just enough bonuses that I am confident in its potential.
If Rattleclaw only produced green mana it would still be powerful and playable, because it produces 3 colors, however, it has broad applications. Between scry lands, fetch lands, Sylvan Caryatid, and Rattleclaw Mystic, green decks in Standard have the option to splash other colors at little to no cost.
Magic has been heading toward swingy haymakers and away from small advantages over the last few years. Because of the high quality and quantity of mana-intensive cards, I find it nearly certain that a ramp deck containing Rattleclaw Mystic will be popular in Standard. Here is a brief list of fantastic cards for the Mystic to lead into:
As well as Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
Imagine the following curve:
Turn one: Land -> Elvish Mystic
Turn two: Land -> Morph Rattleclaw Mystic
Turn three: Land -> Unmorph Rattleclaw Mystic = 6 Mana Available -> Cast Nissa, Worldwaker, turn a land into a 4/4 and attack.
The above scenario is a dream, obviously Rattleclaw Mystic will not always be incredible. A classic issue with mana creatures is that they are poor without an expensive card to ramp into or as a topdeck in the late game. At its worst Rattleclaw Mystic is a 2/1 on turn two or a morph 2/2 later in the game.
As more Khans of Tarkir morph cards are spoiled Rattleclaw Mystic’s stock has potential to rise. Imagine that a large threatening morph creature is printed (e.g. Silent Specter). If you are playing a deck with Rattleclaw Mystic and this hypothetical morph you have the ability to put the opponent in tough scenarios. In the midgame you could have sufficient mana but only one threat—a large morph creature. Playing the Mystic first as bait for sorcery speed removal will often work to clear the path for your sole threat.
Here is my initial brew including Rattleclaw Mystic:
RUG Long Names
Khans of Tarkir looks to be an exciting set as I chose to include several new cards based on their potential. I chose the most powerful cards available to RGu in Standard and played 4 copies of each with an exception to the legendary and situational ones. With a plethora of dual lands and mana creatures, this deck will hopefully present expensive threats early and often.
First of all, Wooded Foothills (and the other fetch lands) are a fantastic addition to Standard as mana fixing and card filtration in combination with Courser of Kruphix. Without the constriction of a three-color mana base I would likely include some Windswept Heaths as well.
Elvish Mystic, Rattleclaw Mystic, and Sylvan Caryatid are crucial for this deck. Any opening hand without a mana creature should be considered a likely mulligan. Against aggressive decks Rattleclaw Mystic and Sylvan Caryatid serve double-duty as early blockers.
Courser of Kruphix: The best card in Theros block has only gotten better. Courser synergizes well with Chandra, Pyromaster and her 0 ability.
Xenagos, God of Revels is a card I am unsure of but has potential, especially against slow decks. Mana of the cards in this deck have 2 devotion but it is not a dedicated devotion deck.
Genesis Hydra ranges from terrible at either 1 or 2 to acceptable with an X of 3 and excellent with a large X. Hydra is especially cute with Temur Ascendancy as it can put it into play, draw a card, and then be granted haste. A reasonable comparison for Genesis Hydra is Enlisted Wurm, though it is obviously versatile.
I intentionally made the sideboard rough because of an unknown metagame. With access to three colors this deck should have a suitable sideboard to whatever the metagame presents. My presented sideboard should advantage itself against extremely aggressive or controlling decks. Midrange and combo decks are difficult to predict sideboard cards for.
I look forward to the rest of Khans of Tarkir spoiler season as new Standard begins to take shape.
I would love to hear your opinion of Rattleclaw Mystic or deck ideas in the comments.
Thanks for reading,