This week on Adam Plays Magic, we're busting out the toolbox with Five-Color Enigmatic Incarnation. Its namesake card is a throwback to Birthing Pod, which allows the player to move up the curve each turn, tutoring the exact value piece or silver bullet needed for any given situation. Incarnation functions slightly differently by turning enchantments into creatures, but value is value.
A slew of enters-the-battlefield effects will generate card advantage no matter the card type, and Fires of Invention offers the deck a huge speed boost by playing upwards of eight mana of spells per turn as early as turn four. Let's not forget to top it off with Yorion, Sky Nomad both as a companion and a tutor target to rebuy everything whenever you want.
What I Like
There's a lot to love in a toolbox-style deck, mainly due to how customizable it is. The key cards are, of course, maxed out at four copies each, but everything else is fair game and can be tailored to whatever the expected metagame is.
One-ofs like Deputy of Detention can clear out tokens, while Callous Bloodmage can shoot down a graveyard or provide multiple bodies to stabilize the board. Reidane, God of the Worthy // Valkmira, Protector's Shield can grind control decks to a halt. The Scarab God can beat just about any fair matchup while also foiling reanimator strategies.
But these aren't all the toolbox cards available. Future incarnations of the deck (pun intended) might want a copy of Elite Spellbinder or maybe Aether Channeler. There are so many cards that could be in the deck, it's hard for the opponent to predict what they'll see.
Fires of Invention is a big boon for the deck as it both acts as a mana doubler and fuel for Enigmatic Incarnation. Power out multiple big spells in the early turns, then toss it in the bin for Yorion or The Scarab God once mana is no longer scarce.
While Incarnation decks have been around for quite some time, Leyline Binding has been the biggest upgrade. Thanks to tri lands like Ziatora's Proving Ground, it's fairly easy to cast Binding for as little as one or two mana. Even though it's being cast for almost nothing, it's still a six-mana value card that can be upgraded into a game-winning seven-drop creature like Titan of Industry. Not only does Binding provide the deck with S-tier removal it previously lacked, but it also opens up new lines to go bigger than every other deck.
What I Don't Like
Five-Color Incarnation does a great job of value-grinding the opponent, but the deck doesn't win fast and struggles to interact on the opponent's turn. Many of its lands enter tapped so aggro and fast combo decks like Mono-Red or Abzan Greasefang, Okiba Boss can go underneath it. With that said, there's room to adjust in order to beat these. Rest in Peace in the sideboard and Charming Prince in the main deck can act as hedges against these archetypes.
Given that Fires leaves the player's mana untouched after its initial investment, Colossal Skyturtle may be a nice speedbump for fast decks while acting as a recursive tool for high-value toolbox pieces.
In my initial run with the deck, I found that Reidane wasn't a card I needed often, but Renegade Rallier was an important tutor target when sacrificing Trial of Ambition and Omen of the Sea to Incarnation. It's possible that a second copy of Rallier is a more important resource than Reidane for future builds.
And that's a wrap for another week! I do think that the Enigmatic Incarnation is a real contender in Explorer, mainly on the back of Leyline Binding which has proven to be a multi-format all-star. As The Brothers' War spoilers start to trickle in, I'm looking with a keen eye for potential additions and upgrades to this deck. Keep your eyes peeled for updates on Twitter or catch me streaming on Twitch for the latest and greatest builds. See you all next week!