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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Feb 22 2018 1:00pm
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Deck 1 Fun with Enrage

Ixalan had seven cards with enrage, and another nine are in Rivals. What combos can we get going with them? Casual players, read on! (Tournament players, I don't have much for you.)

First, let's see what abilities are available, sorted from low to high CMC. The rating is based solely on combo potential in the casual room. So Raptor Hatchling, although a nice resilient threat in real Magic, gets a low rating here since it's natively a 1/1 and you can't repeatedly damage it without jumping through some huge hoops.

CMC Name When this is dealt damage... casual room rating
1R Raptor Hatchling 3/3 token *
WG Siegehorn Ceratops two +1/+1 counters ****
2G Ranging Raptors Rampant Growth **
2G Ravenous Daggertooth gain 2 life **
2R Frilled Deathspitter 2 damage to opponent **
2GG Ripjaw Raptor draw a card *****
3G Cacophodon untap target permanent ***
3R Needletooth Raptor 5 damage to a creature ***
4G Snapping Sailback +1/+1 counter *
4W Imperial Ceratops gain 2 life *
3GG Overgrown Armasaur 1/1 token **
3WW Trapjaw Tyrant Journey to Nowhere *****
5W Bellowing Aegisaur +1/+1 counter on other creatures you control **
4RR Sun-Crowned Hunters 3 damage to opponent *
5RR Silverclad Ferocidons opponent sacrifices a permanent **
6GG Polyraptor copy of this (5/5 with this ability) ****

We see here that the best cards are white or green. Red's don't cut it, which is too bad, since many of the best combo cards for this ability are red. Speaking of which, what are the best combo cards for this ability? 

1. How can we repeatedly damage our own creature(s)?

I'm not talking about Rile. I'm talking about every turn!

Cinder Giant Pyrohemia Karplusan Minotaur Plague Spitter

Sorrow's Path Fire Ants Noxious Field Spiteful Bully

Note that Fire Ants is a combo with the untap clause on Cacophodon. And if you want to tap Sorrow's Path at will, consider cards like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Chromatic Lantern, and Underworld Connections

2. What pre-Enrage cards want to be damaged?

A lot, and in many cases it's hard to say whether they're preferable to the newer versions.

3. Let's make a deck!

    Withering Wisps

I tinkered around with a few different color combinations before realizing: I really just wanted this to be an 8-Pestilence deck. And I don't mean by running Pyrohemia—I mean by staying heavy black and running Withering Wisps! No other card allows you to go off quite so quickly and repeatedly as a Pestilence. (Am I really to wait around for one Cinder Giant trigger every turn? Not I.)

Wanting 2 to 4 black sources in play at all times meant I didn't want to be 3 or more colors, which meant I would miss out on many of the good stuff above, but there was still plenty left. I ended up choosing green-black, although white-black would obviously be good too, with lifegain to help recoup the loss from all the Pestilences.

With all this damage dealing, let's capitalize on it! No, we can't run Death Pits of Rath due to its symmetry, but we can run Orzhov Euthanist to pick up two quick kills. And whether you'd prefer Mire Blight, Mortal Wound, or Fatal Blow depends on your own playstyle, or um, I guess metagame?, but I went with one of each. You know, in case of Nevermore.

With a curve this concentrated on 4-drops, we'll need some stall and some accel. In come my perennial favorites Wall of Blossoms and Sakura-Tribe Elder! (Remember we can't run Elves or Birds due to all the Pestilences.) And here it is!



Deck 2 Fun with Mirrorwing

  Zada, Hedron Grinder  Ink-Treader Nephilim

When old Johnnies like myself first saw Moonring Dragon, they immediately thought of those two cards next to it. It used to be the case that we'd want to build a deck around the effect but just didn't have critical mass. We would resort to using tutors to find our spell-copying creatures, which wasted valuable deck slots we could have used on more spells to copy or more creatures to copy them onto. Now we've got a lot to pick from! Each works slightly differently, but it's nothing we can't build around.

    Khalni Garden

Principle #1 is, any effect that could be done with a creature, do with a creature. Instead of running Naturalize, run Reclamation Sage; instead of Journey to Nowhere, Banisher Priest. This gives you more spells to copy. Even your lands can be creatures, thanks to Khalni Garden and Dryad Arbor!

In fact, every creature in here should serve multiple purposes. Any body is helpful next to a Mirrorwing, even an 0/1 Birds of Paradise or 1/1 Elvish Visionary. Bigger bodies are great, but given how easy Mirrorwing makes it to pump our creatures, we'd rather have the utility. Channeler Initiate is nice for providing both accel and a body.

What spells do we want to copy? They generally fall into a few categories:

Shelter  Give/Take  Seize the Day

Here is my decklist, which as always I encourage you to tinker with. 

3 Birds of Paradise 
4 Channeler Initiate
Elvish Visionary 
Banisher Priest 
Reclamation Sage 
4 Mirrorwing Dragon
4 Zada, Hedron Grinder
25 cards

Other Spells
1 Expedite
1 Twinflame
2 Prepare/Fight
2 Guided Strike
4 Shelter
2 Give/Take
12 cards
4 Khalni Garden
19 GWR lands of your choice
23 cards



Deck 3 Fun with Delirium


Delirium is a cool build-around-me mechanic. It was designed more for limited than constructed, as most of its cards are simply efficient creatures (Dusk Feaster perhaps being the poster boy there). Two of its members are tournament quality (Grim Flayer and Traverse the Ulvenwald). But a few of them are fit for Johnnies, my favorite three pictured above. To varying degrees, each can take over a game by itself.

The number one dilemma is an obvious one: how do we stack our graveyard, and quickly? Tarmogoyf players have already solved much of this problem for us, but we can make a few adjustments in the casual room. One quick substitution: because it's not legal in Modern, Urza's Bauble costs a mere 5 cents, compared to the $6+ Mishra's Bauble!

We also want enchantments that can hit the graveyard easily. So instead of Disenchant (or Naturalize), run Seal of Cleansing (or Seal of Primordium). Don't forget to keep a balance—whether you want Seal of Doom or Executioner's Capsule depends on what else you've got going.

Seal of Doom  Executioner's Capsule  Eyeblight's Ending

Then there's the strategy of doubling up on card types. Instead of the instant Last Gasp, run the instant/tribal Nameless Inversion. Artifact creatures exist aplenty, and don't forget there are enchantment creatures and even enchantment artifacts out there as well.

Lands are easy, thanks to fetchlands. (Polluted Delta-types if you can afford them; Terramorphic Expanse-types if not.)

Cycling is an easy way to get a card type in your graveyard. And self-mill is an obvious strategy (although not one I employ below). This deck can go in any number of directions, but here is mine: 

Non-Tribal Delirium
3 Sakura-Tribe Elder 
2 Deathcap Cultivator
4 Extricator of Sin
3 Inexorable Blob
4 Soul Swallower
4 cards

Other Spells
4 Urza's Bauble
1 Executioner's Capsule
2 Unearth
3 Shelter
2 Nameless Inversion
2 Night's Whisper
2 Warren Weirding
3 Seal of Cleansing
2 Seal of Doom
1 Eyeblight's Ending
22 cards

5 fetchlands
17 whatever 
22 cards

Sakura-Tribe Elder


The final tally:

  • 16 creatures
  • 5 artifacts
  • 5 enchantments
  • 6 sorceries
  • 6 instants
  • 5 tribal
  • 5 saccable lands

Not bad!

My editor told me to add endings to my articles instead of just ending them, so, that in mind, they all lived happily ever after.


Welcome back! Great by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:04
Kumagoro42's picture

Welcome back! Great ending.
You forgot Hornet Nest. Those Hornet tokens warrant more attention than Saprolings, Squirrels, or land-based Insects.

It was a nice ending. by JXClaytor at Fri, 02/23/2018 - 00:09
JXClaytor's picture

It was a nice ending.

:D by CottonRhetoric at Fri, 02/23/2018 - 19:47
CottonRhetoric's picture


Cotton always writes great by Paul Leicht at Mon, 02/26/2018 - 07:32
Paul Leicht's picture

Cotton always writes great articles. :D