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By: Jbat, Johnathan Batliner
Jul 23 2020 12:00pm

 Welcome to season 17 of Penny Dreadful! With a new set comes rotation, a fresh metagame and a sweet list of cards that have never before been legal in Penny Dreadful. Let's start by taking a look at some of the cards we are gaining and some of what we are losing. 

In with the New: 

Animate Dead
Blood Artist
Olivia Voldaren
High Tide
Protean Hulk

These are just a few of the most eye catching examples out of what I saw. Only one week into the new format now and it seems that high tide combo is one of the most popular decks often using Mystic Sanctuary to rebuy it's High Tide and cards like Turnabout and Frantic Search to generate absurd amounts of mana and usually decking the opponent with something like Braingeyser. It seems like a very solid and consistent deck, although a little boring to play against, definitely something that you will need dedicated sideboard cards to combat. Some of the best sideboard options to give you a chance against High Tide in my experience have been Slaughter Games, Duress, Sin Collector, and Soul-Guide Lantern.

Blood Artist is another impressive edition and I have seen some decks use Protean Hulk to bring out all 4 from the deck and just go crazy with a sacrifice outlet often winning the game on the spot. I have also seen a few Worldgorger Dragon Animate Dead combo decks floating around with several different lines of play that can lead to a win, some including Laboratory Maniac and others involving Piranha Marsh. However the card that spoke to me the most was hands down Eureka and I have a list, tips, and matchup advice for what I've been playing later in this article.  All of the new cards available in Penny Dreadful are quite something and have made for a fascinating new metagame. 

Out With the Old:

Grand Coliseum
Mind's Desire
Recurring Nightmare

However with everything new and exciting we do still lose some old favorites. Personally I will miss Defile even though it is just a removal spell and there are plenty of equivilents in the new format Vendetta, Tragic Slip, and Heartless Act for instace but Defile was a favorite of mine. Also losing Grand Coliseum may make it a touch more difficlult to play 4 and 5 color decks but the overall mana seems better considering that we have gained 2 checklands Dragonskull Summit Rootbound Crag and 6 scrylands as well Temple of Mystery Temple of Plenty Temple of Abandon Temple of Malady Temple of Triumph Temple of Silence.

The Reanimator decks on the other hand lost some crucial cards that made them so dominant last season. No more turn 1  Dark Ritual into Oona's Prowler discarding something crazy like Angel of Despair cast Reanimate destroy your opponents only land. Although I'm not sure anybody is sad to see that line of play gone and maybe we won't have Soul-Guide Lantern taking up 4 sideboard slots on every deck now. 

Storm decks also took somewhat of a hit losing Mind's Desire but keeping Tendrils of Agony either way I haven't seen any storm decks since rotation occured so it is probably safe for the time being to cross it off the list of decks to worry about when brewing a new list. I assume most storm players either switched to High Tide or maybe even a version of Izzet spells trying to Fling a Phyrexian Dreadnought for a one shot kill. 

Now on to the two lists that I have been playing in this new metagame. At the dawn of a new format I always like to make one deck that is just a goofy fun tribal synergy deck, this time around that happened to be Rakdos Vampires. 

This deck is essentially a midrange deck trying to take advantage of tribal synergies and aggressive creatures to close the game out. For instance if we can play a turn one Stromkirk Noble into a turn two Falkenrath Gorger and Tragic Slip to kill something our opponent has played then turn three Rakish Heir and really put the pressure on. Our chance to curve out and punish our opponent with small quick creatures that grow larger is definitely present. 

However that is not how every game plays out sometimes our opponent has removal spells for our early creatures or puts some creatures of their own in the way. This is where our mid range gameplan comes into play. Olivia Voldaren Is great at picking off little creatures at any time, or just swinging combat in our favor by pinging something for one damage and growing bigger herself removing any good blocks our opponents may have had. Then there is the dream scenario every once and while when we can snag one of our opponents creatures with her second ability. Champion of Dusk helps keep our hand full of cards to play, and the triggers off of Sanctum Seeker are surprisngly effective at pushing through the final points damage to close out a game. 

On the sideboard we have Slaughter Games Mindsparker and Duress mostly to combat High Tide but they can be effective against any combo or control deck. Chain Lightning for when we find our black removal spells to be innefective against Knight of Grace and other similar cards. Also a few extra Doom Blade for when our black removal is extra effective or neccesary. 

This deck can do some sweet stuff sometimes and has a really strong sideboard plan for High Tide. I would recomend it to anyone who enjoys tribal decks, and straightforward play creatures and attack style gampelay. 

 As for list number two I will say it takes some guts to play because there is a fair chance that playing Eureka will help your opponent as much or more than you. However there are some things we can do in the deckbuilding and in gameplay that will help reduce this risk. Take a look below to get started. 

So we all know that one of the most powerful things you can do in the entire game of Magic the Gathering would be the cheating of mana costs and WOW is Eureka fantastic at doing that. Being able to drop your entire hand of 5-8 drop cards as early as turn 3 can be really impressive. So what is the downside? Our opponents get to do the same thing. But what our opponents likely didn't do is build their deck with this plan in mind. So we naturally have an edge in this showdown. 

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is the only card that we need to cast off of Eureka otherwise we don't have the mana to cast it without three Birds of Paradise in play which is unlikely. But the risk is worth it because whatever our competitors put down off of Eureka he has an answer. If they play a planeswalker, powerful enchantment, artifact, or even a land we can +3 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker to destroy it. If they play a creature Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker can -2 to gain control of it, and sometimes he can even use his ultimate. Demanding Dragon is a 5/5 flyer that forces our opponent to sacrifice a creature or lose 5 life increasing the number of ways we can erase whatever they put in play off of Eureka. Glorybringer works in a similar fashion coming down as a 4/4 with haste that can exert and deal 4 to any non-dragon creature, which our opponents are probably not playing. 

Occasionly the scenario to deal 20 or more damage in one turn off of a Eureka does occur, and when it does it always involves at least two specific cards. Those cards are Dragon Tempest and Atarka, World Render. Dragon Tempest gives all of our flying creatures haste when they enter the battlefield and if that wasn't enough if that flying creature is a dragon Dragon Tempest deals damage equal to the number of dragons we control to ANY target further eliminating any threats our opponents may have gotten into play. Atarka, World Render is a 6/4 dragon with flying and trample that gives attacking dragons double strike. So if we have Atarka, World Render Dragon Tempest Eureka and any other dragon from this list in our hands we can swing immediately for 20+ damage. 

Unfortunately we can't always live in magical christmas land and things don't always work out like that so what is our back up plan? Well we basically become a midrange/ramp style dragon deck of sorts. We have enough ramp that a turn 3 Demanding Dragon or Glorybringer is totally possible even without the Eureka and we have value generating planeswalkers like Garruk Wildspeaker and Chandra, Pyromaster that help us get ahead and stay ahead. Sarkhan the Masterless can help us create more dragons and turn all of our planeswalkers into dragons which can easily end a game, but besides that he often prevents our opponent form even attacking due to his passive ability that causes all dragons to deal 1 damage to each creature attacking us or a planeswalker we control. While Garruk's Uprising and Llanowar Visionary help keep cards in our hands. We definitely just outvalue our opponent a good portion of the time. 

However this doesn't mean that the deck is without bad matchups. Often times we can struggle against control decks since our average converted mana cost is so high. Not to mention that Banishing Light can be a nightmare in the Eureka scenario. Since they don't have to name the target they are exiling until the effect of Eureka is over and everyone put everything from their hand down we can occasionaly lose Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker or Atarka, World Render to this effect. Regardless of the risk this can still be a rewarding matchup because if we do manage to get a Eureka past their counterspells they often only have lands to put into play and Eureka becomes an unstopable one sided effect. So on the sideboard we have 4 Vexing Shusher to beat counterspells and 4 Return to Nature to beat Banishing Light and similar effects. Return to Nature can also double as graveyard hate if our sideboard Soul-Guide Lanterns are not enough. Besides that we have a few extra copies of the cards we don't run 4 of in the main deck to sure up our other weaknesses. In some matchups the Hunted Dragon is not great so we switch it with copy number 4 of Demanding Dragon from the sideboard. 

When all is said and done this deck has some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows but it is an incredible ride and totally capable of some 5-0 league runs. I would recomend this to any Magic player who enjoys cheating of mana cost, big dragons, and risky plays that lead to winning what looked to be unwinnable games and losing some games it seemed like you could never lose. Below is a link to a video with some examples of the matches that you might encounter and a quick rundown of the cards in the deck if you are interested in seeing how it works. 


Thank you for reading and be sure to let me and everyone else know what you have seen or been playing below in the comments, and if there are any decks or archetypes you would like to see me cover in the future please don't hesitate to let me know! 


John Batliner aka BatMana