Gilded Drake is a busted card. Let me show you how to make your friends quit.
Today, folks, we are going to review a deck for the Kitchen Table series that is wildly abusive! I will make sure to adequately explain the angles of play and the combos that are present because it doesn't always feel good to sit down and begin playing this deck without understanding you actions during priority and timing. It may feel downright awful if you aren't in tune with some of these older cards.
Once we cover the combos and win conditions you should be well equipped to build this deck, take it to a casual game, and get punched in the face. After all, that's what we are going for - the little frothy white bits of saliva flinging from the corners of your friends mouths as they flip the table and soak your Levi's with Mountain Dew.
Let's dive into Drake-Quilibrium, and share an oldie but a goodie. I love this deck, I have not assembled it in some time, but likely will after having revisited here at The Kitchen Table.
We are using Equilibrium for all sorts of debauchery. It acts as a continuous source of recursion for our ETB (Enter the battlefield) effects, and gives us the ability to combo several of our creatures to generate win conditions, tempo, and set ups. This card is beyond powerful, and the likelihood that we will see a reprint for this card in Standard. Exodus block is beginning to spike in price, with City of Traitors sitting around $750.00 now. I would recommend that you invest in a play set of this enchantment when you can, it is on the cusp of age regarding Magic expansions that makes it highly collectible, and a worthwhile addition to your personal collection. Let's jump into the combos and win conditions.
Win Condition #1: Equilibrium + Gilded Drake + Any Other Creature
We have to stick an Equilibrium and maintain it to get off of the ground. Truthfully, this isn't an unbeatable deck. Enchantment removal can shut down our show pretty quickly, but we have additional responses built into our deck to help with interruptions to our strategy.
Step One: Play Equilibrium
Step Two: Play Any Creature
Step Three: Play Gilded Drake and activate Equilibrium, return another creature you control to your hand, exchange control of Gilded Drake and a creature your opponent controls.
Step Four: Recast the creature you returned to your hand, activate Equilibrium, and target the Gilded Drake, returning it to your hand.
This exchange costs 5 mana with an active Equilibrium, a Gilded Drake and a 1CMC blue creature. It's even cheaper with an active Sapphire Medallion on the battlefield. The end result of this combo is that each turn you are stealing your opponent's creatures each and every turn. It is a completely demoralizing interaction for any opponent. To play out your creature cards (the most common way to win a game of Magic) and have them stolen permanently turn after turn. Take that you filthy casuals!
Win Condition #2: Sapphire Medallion+ Equilibrium + Cloud of Fairies + Brain Freeze
Again, there is some setup to the combo, but our deck is designed to be multifaceted and dynamic - it is designed to approach and find the win from multiple angles. Our second win condition gives us a lethal (if uninterrupted) line of play resulting in a single turn mill our our opponent's library.
Step One: Play a Sapphire Medallion
Step Two: Play an Equilibrium
Step Three: Play Cloud of Fairies (at reduced cost), Untap two lands, tap for two mana (one must be blue), activate Equilibrium and return Cloud of Fairies to your hand, repeat this process as many times as you'd like to make sure your opponent understands what is happening, keep track of your number of times you've cast Cloud Fairies in this way.
Step Four: Use the untapped mana (one must be blue) to cast Brain Freeze and instantly mill your opponent out. Even if they counter the first copy, the additional Storm copies will get them. Win.
This combo can be done as early as turn 4. Which is not conducive to long-lasting friendships or table games. I love this combo and it screams, "Old School!"
Win Condition #3: Equilibrium + High Tide + Cloud of Fairies + Brain Freeze
We have alternative mill strategy built in to this deck. In table games, you want ensure that your line is constantly progressing towards the win and that in the event of a game two your opponent is not keen to the alternative mill combo. We are using High Tide to get the job done here, and anchoring off of Equilibrium for the recursion necessary to Storm into Brain Freeze.
Step One: Play an Equilibrium
Step Two: Assuming it is turn 4, and you have 4 mana on the battlefield, cast High Tide.
Step Three: Tap one land for Cloud of Fairies, untap both lands used for High Tide and Cloud of Fairies.
Step Four: Tap an Island (with active High Tide) for Cloud Fairies, and another for Equilibrium, you will get an extra mana. Repeat the casting of Cloud of Fairies and activation of Equilibrium as many times as you please while keeping track of your Storm counter.
Step Five: Cast Brain Freeze and mill your opponent out. Win.
This is more conventional way of milling your opponent in a single turn. This combo does not require a Sapphire Medallion to be in play, and is just as effective and lethal. Storm copies are dangerous - even if the initial spell is countered your opponent has to contend with the Storm copies.
The Defensive Shrieking Drake Combo
The Gilded Drake Combo is amazing to be certain. However, sometimes when the stars aren't aligning we need to be able to defend ourselves adequately. Nothing says ROFLCOPTER like a two mana continuous bounce of your opponent's creatures.
Step One: Play an Equilibrium
Step Two: Play a Shrieking Drake targeting itself, pay mana to activate Equilibrium targeting an opponent's creature bouncing it back to its owners hand. LOL - Two mana (one blue). Repeat as desired.
It's Not All Combo - We Need Other Tools
Sage of Epityr is a masterful choice for our deck; Sage Owl is an incredible Magic card, and for one mana we get all the fruits and none of the labor. We are using the Sage as a tool to fix our library, bringing him back to our hand to execute Gilded Drake combos, and in a pinch providing ourselves with a chump blocker to protect our life total.
Sapphire Medallion is a house (Deebs) and powerful artifacts like this aren't a dime a dozen in this game. A pure reduction of all blue spells by one generic mana is powerful indeed, especially in a color like blue where mana is so scarce and critical to success. Drift of Phantasms is a great blocker, but not included in this deck for any other purpose than to Transmute and grab a copy of our Equilibrium. Think of Drift of Phantasms as copies 5,6, and 7 of Equilibrium. Transmute until you have the core combo piece, and hold back additional copies just in case - you should never need to block.
Arcane Denial is a classic - used to suppress and hard-counter a spell, but also clutter your opponent's hand and passively send lower priority cards to the bin. When we are so actively returning creatures to our opponent's hand it is common to see them discarding to seven on the end step. Cyclonic Rift is a very powerful spell, for its Overload cost we can irreversibly shut down any combo your opponent may be setting up, and take them back to square one to allow us to approach our line more faithfully.
Time Spiral is a brutal card in our deck. Think of it as a hard reset for our deck. It's a second chance at a win, or more fuel for the fire. It's an expensive card, and there are alternative you can explore if you don't have access to it. I use it jam my thumb in my opponent's eye. Faerie Conclave is a doozy - it taps for blue mana and can be animated to give us pressure for our opponent's life total, to use as a creature in a pinch for Gilded Drake combos, or to chump for us when we need to; it's all about buying time to win.
Submit Your Kitchen Table Brews!
This deck is really fun, cost effective, and a great way to make your buddies rage. I highly recommend you take it to a paper game and give it a whirl.
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Until next time, play an Island, a Shrieking Drake, activate your Equilibrium, and Say Go.