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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Nov 30 2015 1:00pm
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More versatile than Elephant Graveyard...

                       Cheaper than Yavimaya Hollow...



And for such a narrow-looking card, there's a surprising amount we can do with it! First off, let's examine which insects, rats, spiders, and squirrels benefit most from regenerating.

Insects (153 to choose from, counting tokens)

Goldenglow Moth  Scute Mob  Broodhatch Nantuko  Hornet Nest

Yavimaya Ants  Ant Queen  Hornet Queen

  • Goldenglow Moth is the clear outlier here, turning your opponent's combat into a nightmare.
  • I would like to run Gigapede alongside Swarmyard, but his Shroud prevents it from working.
  • If you're thinking Venomous Dragonfly looks like a good idea—wait until you get to the spiders section.


Rats (52 to pick from, counting tokens)

Typhoid Rats  Nezumi Cutthroat  Nezumi Graverobber

Crypt Rats  Marrow-Gnawer

And Crypt Rats is the outlier of this pack. He can nuke the board every turn! This alone is worth building a deck around... but more on that later.

You can also run rats that are just generally good cards that don't particularly benefit from regenerating, like Ravenous Rats. Or you could go the rat tribal route, like Swarm of Rats and such. Pack Rat is good—but is it too good for the casual room? If t's not answered immediately, it basically wins the game on its own, starting on turn two.


Spiders (46 to pick from, counting tokens)

Deadly Recluse

This is about it for Spiders. But boy does it compensate for the 44 lame ones!  This is arguably the best creature in any category to run with Swarmyard. I'd put this at #1 and Goldenglow Moth at #2. And when the two are next to each other, you basically have a Blazing Archon.


Squirrels (14 to pick from, counting tokens)

Krosan Beast

That's about the only Squirrel you'd care about regenerating, as most of them are just 1/1 vanilla creatures. And most Swarmyard decks won't have room for threshold enabling tricks, but maybe yours does!

Let's get to the decklists now.


Deck 1 Dueling Grounds

Dueling Grounds

This is where the deck started: run green and white for the best two regeneration targets, and then lock down the board with Dueling Grounds. Whether you have Deadly Recluse or Goldenglow Moth out next to your Swarmyard, if your opponent can only attack with one creature... they won't. So then all you need to do is drain their life in some way.

    Hunted Lammasu

So what ways can we kill our opponent? Hunted Lammasu is my favorite, his drawback rendered irrelevant in this deck. And since we have a bunch of white and green permanents hanging around, Necra Sanctuary is worth a black splash. It also informs some other choices, like running Seal of Cleansing instead of Disenchant.

Next, let's enlist some extra ways to regenerate our creatures, for those times when a Swarmyard isn't out yet. Or for when our Swarmyard is tapped, and we want to surprise our opponent! Dawn Charm is good at the surprise factor. Yavimaya Hollow and Broken Fall aren't surprising but are still effective. And totem armor cards like Boar Umbra and Snake Umbra can play double duty with other abilities. Either one looks great on a Dryad Sophisticate, for example.

That's most of the deck, and the remaining card choices are fairly self-explanatory. If you have the inkling, you could increase consistency even a little more by running a Living Wish suite, with 1x of each key card in the sideboard and then some toolbox stuff.



The idea for this next deck came when I noticed that most of the creatures Swarmyard regenerates are just vanilla 1/1s.  But there's a certain card that wants you to have lots of vanilla 1/1s....

Deck 2 Muraganda Petroglyphs

Muraganda Petroglyphs

Yeah!!!  You don't have to run it next to Grizzly Bears—you can run it next to Beacon of Creation!

And if we're running Beacon of Creation, we should also run Oran-Rief, the Vastwood. And we'll be able to enable a Beastmaster Ascension surprisingly easily.

Now the goal is to find other token producers to run. Broodhatch Nantuko and Ant Queen were mentioned above. There's also Druid's Call. And we can even look at cards that make only a single creature: when we're trying to turn on Beastmaster Ascension, every little bit helps.  Attacking with Growth Spasm's 0/1 token is a funny way to get a quest counter, even if it doesn't synergize with the Petroglyphs. But there is another 0/1 that is vanilla: the one made by Khalni Garden! I think more people would run that card if it made a 2/3 token by default, don't you?

The rest of the deck is just assorted goodstuff. Scute Mob is an insect who could win the game on his own if the other plans fall through. And when you select your utility spells, remember to synergize them with the Ascension as much as possible. Think Viridian Shaman instead of Oxidize.



I told you it was coming... it's time for...

Deck 3 Repeatable Crypt Rats!!!

Crypt Rats

This is what 1996 was like.

Since the dawn of time 1996, mankind has dreamt of reusing their Crypt Rats. But in 1996, mankind's options were very limited. They could splash green for Regeneration, thus weakening their amount of black mana for the rats. They could use Horror of Horrors, which would also hurt their manabase, or Life Matrix, which would monopolize it. They could get a single use out of Thrull Retainer or Dark Privilege. They could pump the Rats' toughness with Unholy Strength (blech) or Soul Kiss (ouch). Or they were stuck with Delif's Cube—which was about as good as being stuck with nothing!

But in 2015 (stands in front of a flag, not the American flag, because I know I have international readers, just a regular flag) we have Swarmyard. And Slagwurm Armor, Magebane Armor, Empyrial Plate, Lashwrithe, Skeletal Grimace, Blessing of Leeches, and Strands of Undeath! (Not that we have room for every single one of those; I'm just saying we have options.)

So reusing the Rats shouldn't be a problem. What's the rest of our deck going to be like? Taking a page from the Dueling Grounds deck above, we can lock up the board a bit by regenerating deathtouch creatures. Typhoid Rats is the poster boy here. And when we can't regenerate him, he looks great wearing a Bladed Pinions.

Vampiric Link can gain some serious life off of all these Crypt Rats activations we'll be making. Tendrils of Corruption helps keep us alive for games we don't use a Link.

And the last question left: what do we do with the empty board we'll likely be making on a regular basis? Well, if your Crypt Rats is the only creature left, there will be no one to block him... which means you can throw a Quietus Spike on him and go to town. After even a single trigger, you can probably finish the opponent off the next turn by just activating the Rats. (Just be careful about activating the Rats after they're equipped. It grants deathtouch, so you'd need an extra regeneration.)


The pun has little relevance, I admit
2 Ravenous Rats
2 Wall of Souls
4 Crypt Rats
8 cards

Other Spells
2 Fatal Blow
4 Typhoid Rats
1 Unearth
3 Vampiric Link
2 Skeletal Grimace
2 Bladed Pinions
3 Quietus Spike
3 Tendrils of Corruption
4 Lashwrithe
3 Beseech the Queen
27 cards
4 Swarmyard
21 Swamp
25 cards


See you next week!


Spitting spider is a darned by Paul Leicht at Mon, 11/30/2015 - 13:58
Paul Leicht's picture

Spitting spider is a darned good spider to not hit the bin if you can save it...