Thing in the Ice + Brain in a Jar and UW Rattlechains

Last week I talked about deck shells that remain viable after rotation. Today I’m taking the opposite approach. I want to go over new toys.

I’m usually much more excited by build-around cards than obviously powerful cards such as Archangel Avacyn or Nahiri, the Harbinger. Jam Avacyn in all of your white decks and it’ll work. Contrarily, with a card like Thing in the Ice, you can’t just say hey, I’m playing a bunch of instant/sorceries—it should work. Its ceiling is high, but are the risks of drawing it later than turn 2 worth it? That’s what I’m interested in.

These cards all have something in common—they require a high amount of instant/sorceries to function, so why not pair them together?

Rise from the Tides seemed powerful at first glance, yet, being a sorcery and having the Zombies coming into play tapped is a huge downer. I expect it to only be good along with Brain in a Jar for the instant speed factor.

Thing in the Ice wants cheap spells—unfortunately, the build I’m proposing here doesn’t have that many, but I believe Brain in a Jar could help power out enough spells to make it worth playing.

I now have glue for my deck (or brains if you prefer) and I have win conditions. What’s next? A few draw spells and cards to buy time.

Thing in a Jar

This is another card that piqued my interest. Crush of Tentacles always struck me as awful since it was sorcery, but Engulf the Shore is instant speed and fits perfectly into our game plan here.

I can’t remember the last time I built a deck with so many basic lands (even my Battle of Wits deck didn’t have that many). It does seems sweet, though. The fact that I don’t have a 5-drop could be an issue—if so, Confirm Suspicions is a contender.

Disperse might be better than Just the Wind, but on the off chance that I discard it to Artificer’s Epiphany, let’s live a dream.


2/1 flyers for 2 mana (Welkin Tern) are my favorites types of Limited card. I believe they pushed this one enough to see Constructed play.

I was extremely frustrated when all the Spirits they spoiled looked unplayable—I still resigned myself at building this list.

UW Spirits

This plays sort of like a flash deck back when Restoration Angel and Snapcaster Mage were in Standard, but a little more aggressive. Tower Geist is a stretch, but hey, who doesn’t love an instant-speed Sleight of Hand/Mulldrifter hybrid? Essence Flux actually seems pretty good in this deck with lots of enters-the-battlefield triggers and 8 Spirits for the full value of a +1/+1 counter.

4 Harbinger of the Tides could be too many, especially since it’s not a great 2-drop—yet, it works pretty well with Ojutai’s Command, so running it out on turn 2 isn’t the worst thing. Hangarback Walker is a consideration as it works well when you keep passing the turn with mana up.

Clash of Wills could be replaced by Horribly Awry, but I think this deck deals well with creatures between Reflector Mage, Harbinger, Stasis Snare, and Ojutai’s Command.

The mix of Meandering River and Evolving Wilds is totally experimental—the dual land seems better in a deck that’s mana intensive (lots of double colors), but Evolving Wilds works much better with Prairie Stream.

Westvale Abbey

Now, this card requires a minimal amount of build around—it almost didn’t make the cut for this article—but I wanted to share how good this thing is. As long as you play a few token makers and you’re not playing 3 colors, play a few copies of Abbey.

Just threatening to turn into Ormendahl, Dropped my Face on the Keyboard is so good, your opponent has to kill your crappy creatures or play in a way that they never tap out—seriously it’s great.

Red Eldrazi is the obvious build for it and trust me, it’s very good in there. Secure the Wastes is another one that pairs well with it, and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar/Gideon, Ally of Zendikar decks do as well.

Next on the List

These 3 cards actually somewhat fit together now that I think about it, but I wasn’t planning on putting them in the same deck yet.

Thanks for reading and have a great prerelease this weekend!


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