Thursday, 29 September 2016

Post-Kaladesh Standard Brews: Ghirapur Orrery, Key to the City + Robowolf, Artifact Aggro

Kaladesh, a new set, meant for inventing. And my brewing brain is really going off, so let's dig into some more.

The first card from Kaladesh that really jumped out at me as being one I wanted to build around was Ghirapur Orrery. There are two halves of the card, and I suppose it's the third different play-an-extra-land effect in Standard nwo, but really the thing that interested me here was the ability to draw three extra cards fairly consistently. You need to do it once (once more than your opponent, to be more precise) to get to a 4 mana draw 3, which is a good but not outstanding rate in Standard. Getting there twice is an enormous advantage - game-winning.

Obviously the card wants you to play your stuff out. This suggests to me you want to be proactive, and for the most part, reasonably aggressive. My first thought, then, was for a RG aggressive deck, leveraging Noose Constrictor's ability to empty your hand out. The esteemed Dr. Frank Karsten had a similar idea as deck #17 in his list of Kaladesh brews on Here's my version:

One card I want to highlight here which I think is very good, but is missing from the above-mentioned list from Frank Karsten, is Key to the City. It discards things for benefit to help you keep handsize down when you want it, loots through to find important cards when you need that, is a discard outlet for Fiery Temper (and the miser's Stromkirk Occultist), and of course pushes through damage. It's good here with Noose Constrictor, letting you 6 them or something out of nowhere, and it's also very good with the RoboWolf itself.

A couple other notes on this list: I have a Ravenous Bloodseeker as a 5th way to empty your hand at any point (yes, it will kill itself in that process, but you can do it - make sure you hold priority and respond to the ability's activation). I'm pretty unsure of exactly what the right suite of Burn spells is, but I like the aggro creatures, the hand emptying, and having a lot of burn in this kind of deck.

My next take on Orrery was built around some ideas I first saw in Neal Oliver's excellent stream ( - from Neal himself, as well as fellow viewers Blm4l and wujo444. It takes a GB spin on things:

I'm pretty dubious of this one in many ways, but it does have some sweet things going for it. In some ways it's very similar to the GB Delirium decks we've seen. And we have Olivia's Dragoon in the party to help us empty our hands out. But we've also got The Gitrog Monster as a payoff, and that gets us a few things going on. It turns our Noose Constrictor to turn all lands into spells (by repeatedly discarding - Gitrog draws you a card). There's some definite synergy in that fashion.

Finally, we get to the Orrery deck I expect to be the best of them all.... Vampires?!

Obviously, the deck needs a much better name (I'm taking suggestions!). Who would have guessed that it was the set AFTER Innistrad block, in which there are 0 Vampires, that we would see the vampire deck finally succeed? I guess it's me, because I really think this can be a player. We have Olivia's Dragoon as a way to get insta-hellbent. We have Stromkirk Condemned, Heir of Falkenrath, and Key to the City (and to some extent, Olivia, Mobilized for War) to fuel discard synergies/madness and help us to get to that hellbent status. We have lots of Madness effects to get value from those discards at all times. Plus we have other synergies, besides Orrery, that care about us being hellbent - from the Wolf to Bloodhall Priest to the Miser's Asylum Visitor. I definitely expect the exact numbers to be wrong here, but I really like the general look of this deck - lots of evasive threats, lots of burn, and some efficient, big creatures that can hold the board a little bit, too.

This takes me to the second half of the post. It also looks to me like there is another powerful Black/Red Aggressive deck in the format. There are certainly some overlaps between the two, and it's possible that the best build is somewhere in the middle, but for now, let's look at the straight-up Red/Black Artifact Aggro deck:

Obviously here we have some of the same synergies we saw before, with Madness (now also enabled by Smuggler's Copter), but we also have some nice aggressive artifact and artifact-related cards. The Copter itself is almost certainly the best of these. Nerd Ape and the Lookout chip in as early attackers for 2. Lookout is also particularly good with vehicles of course. I'm not sure how good Bomat Courier is - I am skeptical, but reports I've heard say it's good...... This is probably near the best area for Unlicensed Disintegration. I think I'm much lower on Pia Nalaar than most other people, and a big part of me wants to lower the curve even more and cut some lands, but it's a bit difficult to know how right that is.

On this one, we've swapped out the black for white. This gets us access to a couple good 1 drops (most notably Toolcraft Exemplar), along with cards like Depala. It also gets us Fragmentize in the sideboard, along with the potential for Gideon. I think this deck is not quite there, but wouldn't at all be surprised to something along these lines doing well. Also notice the Built to Smash which are present here - I think they might be important for a deck like this having success.

This is obviously a spin off of the previous deck, but more on the equipment theme. Inventor's Goggles get you another cheap equipment (12 creatures in the deck it equips free to). Weapons Trainer gives us a nice bonus, and between it and bushwhacker, reason to go wide. My number balance is probably not correct here - needs more equipment perhaps, or to focus more or less on the wide theme. Maybe you cut some Smuggler's Copters even. But I do think this is another interesting direction to explore.

Finally, when you try to mash the Boros and Rakdos versions of the artifact aggro decks together, you get this disgusting monstrosity. I can't say I really recommend this one - the manabase is really bad, and the payoffs aren't much higher than the 2 color versions. But it's there to try, if you're ambitious.

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