"Science and art, or by the same token, poetry and prose differ from one another like a journey and an excursion. The purpose of the journey is its goal, the purpose of an excursion is the process." - Franz Grillparzer
Who's ready for some ridiculous aggro? I sure am. I have been play-testing this deck relentlessly over the course of the last few weeks and it is ready for public consumption. Behold; a new brew with enough fun for you and your little dog too.
I get antsy, folks. I really do. I get bored quickly too. I wouldn't call it full on wanderlust, but it gets close. Sometimes I have to completely shirk the meta game and dive into brews for awhile to repair my soul. Sometimes, I play decks that I know are tier 3 or worse just because I like the challenge of overcoming impossible odds; because I fee like I have something to prove against decks that essentially auto-pilot themselves.
Which is what leads me to Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin.
Krenko, Mob Boss is a strictly better Magic card. The #WAR version of this Legendary Goblin is feels more like a "goblin" in terms of its power and toughness on ETB, and several decks have been brought to light of the Gruul and Mono Red variety that have burst mechanics aimed at single combat step trickery to produce massive amounts of tokens. The Goblin tribal decks floating around are quite lethal in capable hands - mostly thanks to Goblin Warchief. In our deck, Krenko is just a piece of the total pie - a big piece to certain, but not critical to the success of our game plan. There are other options that are just as capable of delivering the K.O. punch, but it sure feels good when we can fire off with Krenko...turn after turn.
Follow along with me here.
Our token strategies when coupled with Angelic Exaltation can make for some obscene board states. This permanent always draws removal if our opponent has access to it. You may be saying, "Wait, is that good thing?" No, its not ideal, but, having this enchantment online when we are still going wide means that we get to go to combat with a variety of creatures (ideally Krenko to compound the effects). If Angelic Exaltation is removed from play we immediately get to go wide with our creatures. It's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario for our opponents in most cases. We have included a pile of token generators in this list, and Angelic Exaltation allows us to slow down and keep reserve copies in hand. Test this deck - you will see.
R.K. Post Creates the Best Tokens
Alright. Let's focus on what this deck does very well for a moment: putting creatures on the battlefield. Don't pigeonhole yourself into thinking that you need to play the meta. Drop the idea that a deck like this can't possibly win in the face of Esper Superheroes, Bant Manipulation, or Mono Red Aggro. That's just not the case. I have been crafting this list to reliably win over the constructed meta. It has been a labor of love, and I am proud of its performance.
Krenko has the potential to produce a healthy amount of tokens, but in order to ensure we are exploiting the Angelic Exaltation to the fullest we should include additional cardboard generators - layers of defensive and offensive capability. We are running a full play set of History of Benalia and I couldn't be happier with this card. Surprisingly, this saga has dropped quite a bit in paper value since the printing of Cry of the Carnarium. It's understandable. A full set of History is excellent, it's a little engine all by itself and if we are not dumping the Knight tokens on combat steps the additional creatures become insanely good for us later in the game.
A full set of Legion Warboss is also a smart include for us. A turn three Legion Warboss, much like History of Benalia, is all by itself a threat that demands an answer, and with a resolved Angelic Exaltation we need to only be attacking with the token created at the beginning of each combat step which gets bigger and bigger with each additional creature we are adding to the board. Trostani Discordant as a three-of is a direct response to all of the Mass Manipulation and Command the Dreadhorde that has been plaguing the meta recently. It doesn't matter if our opponent steals our stuff from the battlefield or the graveyard with an active Trostani on the board - it's a major deterrent to those types of shenanigans.
Solutions and Assurances
Adanto Vanguard has been a steady reliable creature for over a year now, we drop it on turn two, curve ot Krenko, Warboss or Gideon and begin beating face. Once an AE is online we can find that this creature dominates the field. Knight of Autumn is a Swiss Army Knife. Sometimes we need life and sometimes we need to remove a problematic enchantement or artifact. Doesn't hurt it can also be a 4/3.
Talk about "underrated" and "underutilized," Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice is a powerhouse. Essentially a 4/5 with Mentor when you need her to be, she can give Krenko an additional boost of 2 power during combat and trample. She is dynamite in combination with Gideon by helping him bolster our exalted attacker. He toughness is nothing to be scoffed at, and she is a clock on our opponents life total especially when swinging vigilance, flying and trample with the AE trigger. I don't know why she hasn't seen more play, probably because she has been forgotten, or the current control archetypes really dispatch of her easily. I am partial to Angels; Angel tribal has always been a personal favorite and any way to utilize underutilized and underrated cards is a plus.
I don't like Mass Manipulation. I don't like Instant speed removal of my creatures during combat. I don't like when my opponent can pick apart my hand. I do like flying creatures with acceptable toughness. I do like creatures and planeswalkers with hexproof. I do like being able to establish defensive layers for my game plan. Shalai, Voice of Plenty is an excellent flying threat and can actively bolster our entire creature line up with her 4GG ability. The +1/+1 counters are a back up plan - a fail-safe in the event we need to go wide with our force for an alpha strike or need creatures for blocking that stay alive. Three copies of Shalai in the mainboard makes sure we have access to her when we need her. The layers of utility she represents is paramount.
Gideon Blackblade is still a respectable Planeswalker in terms of power level, but he isn't Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. A 4/4 indestructible attacker the buffs our other forces with lifelink, vigilance and indestructible is outstanding, and when you combine the 4/4 Gideon creature mode with Angelic Exaltation you get some very exciting combat steps - nearly a surefire way to eliminate an opposing creature from the battlefield in most cases. Gideon just works so well with Krenko...it's hard to overstate the value of making Krenko indestructible while Krenko is swinging with the active enchantment combo on the board. We produce massive amounts of tokens, demand a block due to pressure on the life total, and set ourselves up for a massive coup de grâce.
Just a Smattering of Removal
I deliberated long and hard about the amount of mainboard removal we should be running in this list. Clearly, board wipes are not the answer here. It seems to me that direct damage in the form of red removal was not the answer either. So, I elected to run Prison Realm over Conclave Tribunal in the core sixty cards. It has been fine in testing; frankly, the meta is full of Planeswalker decks, and Legion Warboss has proven to the bane of those style of decks. We are taking the kind of "go wide" strategy to extreme measures with this list - Planeswalkers have not been a dramatic issue for our list. Most of the time I deploy Prison Realm it is to swing the tide, alternatively, there been moments where I needed to remove an enchantment and could not. Sideboard.
The Best Answers Are Often the Simplest Ones
Ixalan's Binding is still a good card, but losing steam. We need permanent answers to cards, and this enchantment can help by locking out "card names" from the game until this permanent is removed. Return to Nature is my response to Wilderness Reclamation - I hate that card, especially in combination with Vivien, Champion of the Wilds. Sorcerous Spyglass is the purest answer to Planeswalkers abilities, and is a more preemptive play - we are getting valuable opening information about the hand our opponent kept and setting ourselves up for a couple of turns - again "card names."
One additional copy of Gideon Blackblade makes it into the sideboard for us here - sometimes we just want to have the additional combo capability and resilience to board wipes. Rekindling Phoenix helps us go over our opponent in a big way, this helps us get up and off of the ground when we need to and plays excellently into our game plan. Unbreakable Formation can be a time walk for our opponents looking to wrath the board. Nothing says "I bite my thumb at thee, sir" quite like ending the game with a white counterspell - even used on our turn it can prove devastating.
Another brew, another 9000 characters.
Please offer feedback - I want to continue working on this list and would appreciate any suggestions for how we can make it better and more competitive.
As always: you folks are the best and we can't do this without you.