Down To Brew - Horton Hears A Value
So, 2 weeks ago, a ‘Down to Brew’ article was released that discussed Paradox Engine and a theoretical Standard deck for it involving a practically complex combo involving a bunch of spirits and too many cards. Less than 24 hours after I wrote that, Wizards of the Coast spoiled a beautiful new card that made pretty much everything I wrote irrelevant…
I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe such a perfect card would be printed- just my luck!
REASONS THAT GREENBELT RAMPAGER MAKES ME *VERY* HAPPY:
Reason #1 – It returns itself to its owners hand to be cast again and again to trigger Paradox Engine.
Reason #2 – It’s only one mana! That’s super achievable.
Reason #3 – The designed ‘downside’ (having to pay 2 energy or it gets bounced) ends up being more of an upside for us, and the ‘downside’ becomes having to control the energy count (not hard to do) so it doesn’t stay on the battlefield.
Reason #4 – Wonderful aesthetics and flavour text!
So, all in all, it’s a wondeful card and I’m very happy that I get to play with it.
DISCLAIMER- Before we get into the meat of the deck, keep in mind that this is supposed to be a fun deck, not necessarily a hyper-competitive-win-all-the-GPs tier 1 deck. That means that this is not necessarily the best version possible, but the version I found to be the most fun to pilot.
Here’s the deck list that I’m using:
3 Loam Dryad - This is a nice 1-drop that helps us ramp into our combo. Having another creature to tap is almost never a problem, and considering whilst the combo is in progress the other creature will be untapped anyway, it’s really not much of a cost.
4 Greenbelt Rampager - You barely ever want this to stay on the battlefield as it’s supposed to be cast again and again to trigger Paradox Engine. This means that it usually doesn’t end up being played until turn 4-6, so it doesn’t really count as a 1-drop.
4 Duskwatch Recruiter - When we combo off, this can be a wincon, all we need is more than one mana rock/dork and we have infinite mana to get every creature in the deck! However, most of the time it ends up helping with finding combo pieces, namely, getting you a Greenbelt Rampager or a Glint-Nest Crane to find a relevant artifact, but it could be something else depending on the boardstate of course.
2 Aether Theorist - This performs 2 functions, it controls our energy count when we use Greenbelt Rampager so we don’t end up keeping the Greenbelt Rampager on the battlefield AND it helps find relevant cards. We only play 2 as it makes a bunch of energy and it sucks when you want to combo off and you can’t because you have too much energy…
4 Servant of the Conduit - Ramps to the combo and controls the energy count when the combo happens. Servant, Greenbelt Rampager and Paradox Engine makes an infinite loop by itself, add in a way to profit from each loop (Quicksmith Rebel targeting Paradox Engine and we deal 2 damage in each loop, usually) and that’s how we end up winning most of the time.
3 Eldritch Evolution - This can help to find almost any card in the deck. It can find any creature, it can attempt to draw you any artifact via Glint-Nest Crane and it can give you mana in the form of Servant of the Conduit or Loam Dryad.
3 Cultivator’s Caravan - A nice, simple ramp card. The fact that it is a vehicle can be relevant, so keep that in mind for combat.
2 Spontaneous Artist - Controls the energy count and can be a wincon, how does playing every creature in the deck and giving them all haste sound? Of course, this is rather slow, but if you lose both of the Quicksmith Rebels, then what other choices do you have?
2 Quicksmith Spy - Drawing cards is fun!
4 Paradox Engine - Probably the single most important card in the deck!
I’ve found that this deck seems to win by getting a lot of card advantage. It’s pretty good at filtering through the deck, drawing cards, finding cards from the library, etc. This usually doesn’t happen in a deck that relies on creatures so much, so it’s quite satisfying to play!
Despite how it looks, it’s quite resilient against a normal removal package. Usually it can find replacements for removed cards pretty quickly. It really has issues against control, though, if every second card is nulled, we almost definitely lose. I found it to be bad against control, good against midrange/combo, and decent against aggro.
As a Derevi, Empyreal Tactician commander player, I found this deck quite attractive, between the card advantage, the long turn sequences, and the untapping (oh, so much untapping!) I’m right at home.
Oh, and one last thing, if you’re losing to this deck and they start the combo, let them go through the loop a couple of times before conceding. It’s the worst feeling to get all the way to the combo just to have the opponent scoop - we don’t play bad decks to not have fun!
With that in mind, have a wonderful day, and I’ll see you at FNM!
Joshua is a high school student who started playing Magic during M15 at the age of 12 and has been in love with it ever since.