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Woo Brews – Brewing with Journey into Nyx

It’s once again the best time of the year: brewing season. The Journey into Nyx spoiler is up and with it comes countless possibilities. New cards, new brews, new opportunities to shock the scene with wild, unrepentant brews.

There’s no time to waste, so let’s dive right in!

Master of the Feast

Master of the Feast might be my new all-time favorite Magic card. I love everything about it.

First of all, I am all about the feast. I love it. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and one of my favorite words to yell. Something about gorging on an outrageous amount of food can be the most satisfying possible thing, and it’s a big secret motivator behind my activity level.

Let’s move to the art of the card. This is flavor. It’s just great. The Master’s body is so disproprotionately fat to how small its wings are, but somehow it’s all believable because of how powerful the magic behind it is. Meanwhile nobody is mad about because everyone around is partaking in the feast. Overall, it’s just unbeatable flavor. So tasty.

And then there’s the Magic card itself—Master of the Feast.

Three mana for 5/5 flying is pushed in Block, Standard, Modern, and even Legacy. It’s bigger than a lot of ‘Goyfs and has evasion on top. Wow.

Obviously the card comes with a pretty big drawback and that makes it really hard to evaluate and very appealing to test out. How bad is giving away an extra card every turn? Pretty bad, but a 5/5 for 3 is so ridiculous that it still seems really good. I don’t know for sure. Time will tell.

We do know that people are already really interested in it for Standard and Theros Block. Just last week Jacob Wilson put out a Standard Mono-Black Aggro deck that looks really, really good. That’s great. But I’m looking at the card for Modern.

Yeah, I think it’s strong enough for Modern. Again, the card tangles with ‘Goyf well. It’s also Lightning Bolt resistant, although it is a bit weak to Path to Exile and Abrupt Decay. This would make me want to put it in a deck with other juicy creature targets to spread the enemy’s removal thin.

This has already got me thinking Delver of Secrets.

A Delver-style tempo deck seems like the perfect place for the Master when we consider the axis the card attacks on. It’s a bit counterintuitive and I think it might hold the card back for a while, but I’m going to do my best to spread my thoughts on the best way to use it here to push it toward the top from the beginning.

Simply put, Master of the Feast gives cards for tempo. This much is obvious. It’s a great tempo play. It’s a bad card advantage play. Generally when we are working with cards like this, we want to surround them with other strong tempo plays and just ignore card advantage almost entirely.

Think about this. Do we want to play Master of the Feast with Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek? I know people will do it, but I don’t think we should. Discard is negative tempo. Why would we want to slow ourselves down to attack the opponent’s hand just to fill it up again? I don’t think it makes sense.

I say keep the opponent’s hand full. Keep the board clear. Play to tempo. Screw cards. Make sense?

Vapor Snag and Remand seem like the perfect complement to Master of the Feast. If the opponent’s hand is gonna be full, let’s just fill it. Let’s pull ahead on the board. Let’s play the tempo deck. Let’s do it.

Fat Master Delver

I built this deck like Ninja Bear Delver. It has roughly the same spell base and a slightly up-the-curve creature base. The idea is to stick a fat Master and keep the board clear with Snag, Remand, and Cryptic. We don’t need very many turns for the 5/5 to finish them.

I know a lot of U/B Delver players will look at this list and say we need to play discard. I feel that. That’s been the reason to splash black. I just don’t want to do it with the Master though. I don’t think it plays well. I could be wrong, and at the least I imagine we would want discard in the board to attack combo decks.

We’ll see what happens, but I have high hopes for Master of the Feast.

Mana Confluence

If Master of the Feast is my favorite card, Mana Confluence is actually the most exciting.

Mana Confluence is more than just a new card for new brews—it’s a reentry point for me to look at Standard.

It’s no secret I’ve been focusing on Modern for the last half year. I started after qualifying for the Modern Pro Tour Born of the Gods, but I kept at it because Modern is such a great format for what I want to do.

I love to brew new decks and Modern is perfect for it. It’s a huge format with tons of cards that is also relatively new and unexplored. There are also so many ridiculous sideboard hosers in there that you can build a new deck and if your sideboard is good it’s immediately competitive.

Standard has been a whole other story. I mean, I don’t know for myself, but I’ve heard the play is good. We’ve seen the same faces win over and over, so it can’t be too bad. But it doesn’t matter to me too much how great the play is, because that’s not the real reason I play Magic. I play Magic to test new ideas and Standard has not been good for that.

I think the reasons are pretty obvious and the most important are the pushed mono-color devotion decks. When the best decks are mono-color and there’s really only one way to build them… I mean. Jeez. It’s just pretty bad for building anything. It makes me want to stay away. And then we get to the specific cards.

Thoughtseize in Standard killed my desire to build combo decks. I’m not sure the cards have even been there for combo, but Thoughtseize makes it almost impossible for any deck that wants to rely on some kind of big late game synergy. They take your gas spell and you have nothing. Gross.

Then we have these absurd anti-green hosers that have been in and out of main decks of the most popular and powerful decks. I love me some Llanowar Elves into big green fatty ramp, but it’s totally nerfed by main decks. It’s really a tough time to be a green mage.

I mean, you could try to go green and ramp, and that’s my natural fun thing to do in a format. I’d like to. Sylvan Caryatid is awesome.

But we don’t have Rampant Growth and Supreme Verdict is really popular.

Now, if I’m really bagging on Standard, I don’t mean to say Magic isn’t a great game. It’s a great game. It’s been a great game. It will be a great game. But I’ve had no interest just because of how restrictive it’s been to new ideas compared to Modern.

But all that changes with Mana Confluence.

Maybe this card is good, maybe it’s not, but it represents the possibility for change, and that’s all we could ever ask for a card like this. It makes 5 colors of mana, and that expands possibilities drastically.

I don’t know how many of you were playing when City of Brass was around in Standard, but I was, and the drawback was almost prohibitive. The land bleeds a tremendous amount of life, and that’s important more now than ever. Back in the day creatures were a bit wimpier and 20 life meant more. Since creatures have been pushed into 3-mana 5/5 fliers, 20 life isn’t a lot and Mana Confluence asks a lot.

This is a pretty big restriction on the card, but it’s really not that much when we think about what the card does. It fixes mana for aggro decks. The control decks are doing just fine with Temples. They don’t need this. The decks that need this are aggro decks and the card opens the door for something entirely new: three-color aggro decks.

That’s right, we now have the mana in Standard to build three-color aggro decks. Between 12 shocklands and 4 Mana Confluence, we are looking at 12 sources for 3 colors in our first 16 lands. It’s a lot of life and still a bit inconsistent but it’s good enough to finally start looking.

So let’s look at hyper aggro. The first thing that comes to mind is how many one-mana, 2-power creatures there are. I don’t think there have been this many in Standard ever before:

Yeah. That’s a lot. I was thinking we could now pick three colors and just jam as many 1-drops as we could and fill it in with support. That’s definitely a thing we could do.

But it’s also really not that exciting. It is a little, in the sense that it could be a new competitive deck, but those decks are just vanilla creature decks. Nothing to really see here. Let’s move along.

Instead, let’s look at these 1-drops:

These guys are a bit janky, and that’s perfect. They’ve been the shell of a crazy heroic deck that I’ve seen Greg Hatch playing, and Mana Confluence could give it the push to be really competitive.

The idea is to combo these cards with the targeted cipher spells: Trait Doctoring and Hidden Strings

The cipher triggers can grow these guys out of control really fast.

We also get a few other cool new toys, starting with Sage of Hours.

Sage of Hours is optimistic, but with Nivmagus Elemental and Bioshift, we can get it started. From there, a cipher spell or two can get the ball rolling and we will have our turns. It seems amazing and I really want to try it out.

Here’s a first list, courtesy of Greg Hatch:

After talking up Mana Confluence, I’m still not a huge fan of the mana here—we only have 12 blue and red sources. It’s possible Mutavault and Temple Garden could go, but basics and Temples are pretty awkward too. Oh well. It’s a start.

Point is, we have 3-color fast decks now. It’s an opportunity to brew and I think this aggro/combo deck is the most exciting thing to look at. Stay tuned in the coming weeks where I just might be looking at some other beloved three-color aggro decks.

Return of Pillow Fort

It’s been a while since I played Standard Pillow Fort. The idea behind the deck was to assemble a Sphere of Safety defensive lock and wait for the opponent to concede. This is my fort! You’re not allowed in it!

Since I haven’t been playing Standard I haven’t been playing the deck. But apparently Theros block is enchantment themed? That’s what I’ve been hearing.

It’s time to revisit Pillow Fort!

This card is pretty horrible against control but absolutely ridiculous against ground aggro decks. It’s the type of card I would maindeck in the 2-man queues and try to get paired against aggro over and over.

I really like this card. It’s not as strong an effect as Chained to the Rocks but it’s more reliable. Oppressive Rays doesn’t actually remove the creature but in the very early game it might as well, and it only costs W, so it seems great to me.

This isn’t a new card, but it’s an enchantment. Wee! It’s also a great source of card advantage which means we could potentially move out of blue and away from Sphinx’s Revelation. I wonder if there are any other green cards that can draw cards for us…

Yeah, this card is amazing. I love it. It’s slow and it’s fragile but it draws buckets of cards. With a spare bit of mana we can machine gun with Chained to the Rocks and Oppressive Rays. If we ever untap with it, oh boy.

All right so we definitely don’t need to play blue anymore.

In general, this is a great printing. Everyone loves Oblivion Ring. It’s not overpowered. It’s just good and just right. It gives a lot of options. Everybody is happy.

This is my initial sketch for returning to Pillow Fort. It’s totally untested and the numbers need to get squared away, but it’s at the top of my list once the new cards come out online. Stay tuned!

Brewing into Nyx

Life is so good in the Magic: the Gathering world right now. New cards, new brews. Next week I’ll be doing more brewing. In the following weeks the new cards will be released and it’s back to Standard! It might be Pillow Fort or it might be Nivix Blitz. I’m excited to try new things.

So, what cards are you most excited for? What new or old revamped deck are you most excited for? I want to know what the brewers are thinking!

 

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