Welcome back to Scrap Savant.
This week's list was creative to say the least. Your voice at the polls had me playing a blue-red deck based around Zada, Hedron Grinder and Disciple of the Ring. I doubt that's even been done before, and it's certainly not a normal pairing.
That's why I'm loving this series so far---we get to play the "junk" cards largely passed over by the general Magic population, and discover them together.
I modified this week's list a little after some initial testing. This is what I took to the queues:
At the time of uploading to MTGGoldfish, this deck costs a grand total of 3.38tix, or $28.27 in paper.
Consider that's already including a full four copies of Monastery Swiftspear. Swiftspear costs more than most of the rares we'll be using in this series, but this time I made an exception because it's one of the free giveaways to new accounts, so it's likely easier to obtain.
I initially tried to exclude Monastery Swiftspear, but finally decided to add it since the cost of the deck was quite low. Swiftspear is an amazing card overall, and any creature with prowess we can find is at a premium in this deck (which, for our purposes, includes Elusive Spellfist.)
So from the standpoint of marginal utility, Swiftspear adds a ton for a low cost.
Intro & Games
Games 1-2 vs. 5-Color Rally
Games 3-4 vs. White Weenie
As you can see from the videos, the deck is really all or nothing. We don't have many outs to a lot of situations, which impeded us quite a bit.
Zada, Hedron Grinder is a really powerful card, there's no question about that. Perhaps this specific pairing of colors wasn't ideal. Disciple of the Ring was also pretty lackluster---I was never enamored with the card, and it might be a bad fit in this particular strategy.
There was a lot of synergy with a spell-heavy list focused around Zada, but I don't think that's a good enough reason to pair the two cards. There are plenty of other color combinations to try with Zada, Hedron Grinder, and at the least we've shown that Zada is an extremely powerful "build around me" card. Perhaps we may see Zada break into Constructed in a larger capacity at some point.
An aside: Elusive Spellfist is actually quite powerful in its own right. It's pretty outclassed by Seeker of the Way in the prowess-based strategies, but Spellfist will stick around after Seeker has rotated. Just a thought.
As per usual, I want to provide some upgrades to the list for anyone looking to spend additional money. The deck plays really well with prowess, and I recommend Abbot of Keral Keep as the first upgrade.
As I mentioned in the previous article, Abbot would have been great to include initially if we didn't have building parameters. All things considered it's also fairly inexpensive, and if you look hard enough you can get a good deal on them.
Looking further, since this build is strictly blue-red I would suggest investing in a better mana-base next. That would likely require a fair bit more budget, but aim for cards like Wooded Foothills or Shivan Reef.
Considering Foothills will rotate sooner than Reef, I would stick mainly to these cards:
- Abbot of Keral Keep - 3.64tix/$6.60 each
- Shivan Reef - 0.45tix/$1.63 each
- Pia and Kiran Nalaar - 0.92tix/$1.00 each
There isn't much more to upgrade in the list. Zada, Hedron Grinder can be used in a multitude of ways, but in these colors there just isn't much else that's exciting.
Even the addition of just Abbot makes the deck much more formidable. It also opens up the option of Temur Battle Rage, which is super powerful in its own right. Additional prowess creatures, especially one as good as Abbot, do make this deck much more potent.
Here's a sample upgraded list:
Hope you all enjoyed the deck and the videos. It was really interesting to build.
Let's open the polls for the next deck, shall we? We'll get a little more creative with the polls as we go. Let's focus on just one card this time:
See you after the results are in, and thanks for reading!