Battling For Zendikar

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Playing Magic has come to a somewhat abrupt halt, but I can still write about it right? God gave me two hands and a brain. They function sometimes…. but for this article I just wanted to touch on a few things I see past all of the shiny things Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) has brought us. Everyone loves the prospect of casting huge unbeatable creatures! Casting See the Unwritten and netting two awesome creatures is living the dream, but that dream requires a lot of things to fall in your favor. Without Courser of Kruphix and Sylvan Caryatid the green ramp decks of the past don’t have the tools to stop the fast starts the red decks are bringing.

What I am bringing to the table today is a few outside of the box aggressive decks. Everyone knows how to build a mono red decks. These lists will simply be ideas for decks. There won’t be 60-75 cards but a simple list of cards and theories behind them.


Every time I think about this deck I see promise. Something about this deck idea keeps drawing me back. Here is what I feel are the mandatory cards in the deck:

Scythe LeopardSnapping GnarlidUndergrowth ChampionAkoum FirebirdAtarka’s Command

Atarka's Command

Atarka’s Command

The thing that really gets me about this list is Atarka’s Command. Everyone read, “…you may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield..” and shrugged it off pretty easily. But, now it could be the best mode in this deck. Two mana to bolt your opponent, trigger landfall, and/or give your team +1/+1? Seems fine. I have dreams of three fetchlands, Scythe Leopard, basic Forest, Snapping Gnarlid, and Atarka’s Command. That’s four land and a three spell hand that I am salivating over. That’s a turn two attack for 3 (Wild Nacatl anyone?) play a two drop. Untap play a fetch trigger landfall. Attack, Atarka’s Command to bolt your opponent and play a land. Crack both of your fetches and deal 14 damage with only 3 spells. 17 total damage on turn three. The Undergrowth Champion gaining permanent buffs from your land drops and the Akoum Firebird giving you access to a longer game seem awesome.

Cards that I am considering as filler for the deck:

Monastery SwiftspearLightning BerserkerDragonmaster OutcastAbbot of Keral KeepDen Protector
Makindi SliderunnerAKOUM STONEWAKERTunneling GeopedeDeathmist RaptorScab-Clan Berserker
Goblin HeelcutterGrove RumblerWild SlashTitan’s StrengthMight of the Masses
Dragon FodderSwell of GrowthHordeling OutburstExquisite FirecraftNissa, Vastwood Seer
Nissa, Sage Animist

This deck wants to be aggressive in my opinion. Berserker works well with extra lands Abbot helps find more spells and lands. Nissa finds you a land for your landfall Berserker helps keep non creature spells at bay. Heelcutter helping to push damage. Tokens and burn spells seem fine as well.

This next deck is an archetype that never quite took off. There are many powerful cards but a few factors really held the deck back. One of those factors still hasn’t gone away. But I don’t believe it to be as prominent as it was before.


I solemnly swear, that Savage Knuckleblade is the truth. I mean have you read the text box? No? That’s fine. Everyone keeps getting lost in Trample, When Siege Rhino enters the battlefield, each opponent loses 3 life and you gain 3 life. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We got it. It’s pretty good, but you’ve had your time in the limelight. It’s time for a 3 mana 4/4 with a possible haste, +2/+2, and the ability to dodge removal and wraths? Sign me up. The other cards I am pretty excited are Crater’s Claws and Stubborn Denial. We currently live in a world where the wrath effects cost 5 or are conditional. Those work very well for us when we have a 1 mana hard Counterspell. Everyone is playing spells that cost a million mana? Hello Disdainful Stroke. People trying to play little red creatures? Hello Radiant Flames and Feed the Clan. Everyone trying to play control? Well we have more efficient creatures, counterspells, and Planeswalkers. This in my opinion is one of the harder decks to build but if you found the correct build, I believe that this is where you want to be.

Cards that I am locked into playing:

Rattleclaw MysticSavage KnucklebladeSurrak, The Hunt CallerStubborn DenialTemur Charm
Disdainful StrokeCrater’s ClawsKiora, Master of the DepthsSarkhan, the DragonspeakerSarkhan Unbroken

These are your bread and butter. The main ingredients to your deck. Things you cannot live without. But do we want to be more aggressive or more midrange?

If I were to choose the more aggressive line I would consider:

Heir of the WildsFrost WalkerAvatar of the ResoluteAbbot of Keral KeepDragon Whisperer
Harbinger of the TidesFlamewake PhoenixBounding KrasisYasova DragonclawScab-Clan Berserker
Shaman of the Great HuntSurrak, the Hunt CallerAvaricious DragonIcefall RegentHooting Mandrills
Hordeling OutburstExquisite FirecraftCollected Company

If I were to shift more to a midrange build I would include:

Beastcaller SavantStratus DancerAkoum FirebirdWoodland WandererGreenwarden of Murasa
Omnath, Locus of RageDragonlord AtarkaWhisperwood ElementalShaman of Forgotten WaysDen Protector
Deathmist RaptorAshcloud PhoenixSurrak DragonclawSagu MaulerGaea’s Revenge
Jace, Vryn’s ProdigyNissa, Vastwood SeerPia and Kiran NalaarWoodland BellowerDig Through Time

As you can see there are a large number of cards I would love to put into a deck. Some that would honestly fit into both lists. Akoum Firebird and Ashcloud Phoenix I really believe fit into both. I believe I still sideboard Gaea’s Revenge in both lists.

This would be my first draft of an aggressive list:

Now these numbers are just a first draft but I believe that this deck looks pretty good. With some testing and finalization of numbers you could have a very good deck on your hands.

As I write this other combinations are flowing into my mind.

Dragonlord Ojutai and Sandstone Bridge or Kiora, Master of Depths.

A U/G Collected Company deck featuring: Harbinger of the Tides, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Bounding Krasis, Deathmist Raptor, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Stratus Dancer, and Kiora, Master of Depths could be really sweet.

Siege Rhino +71 other cards is going to be good still. Mantis Rider plus burn spells is also still going to be good. Mono Red is going to be good. Seriously people were trying to avoid being #basic right now. 

Note: this article was written while sipping a pumpkin spice coffee chilling with an Ugg on one foot and a Croc on the other.

Thanks for reading again guys hope you enjoy the article and we can finally put Savage Knuckleblade on the top of the podium where he belongs!

Stay hungry and humble!

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Josh Peragine

Josh Peragine

Magic grinder. Lover of all things Black, Green, and Red. Together we can stop the menace known as the basic island! MTGO: CaptainSarang
Josh Peragine

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