They Wish They Were X-Men

Building On A Budget - Mutants

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Since the Legions set came out, I have been trying to make a decent Mutant Tribal deck to write about for this column. After the Scourge set came out, my wish was granted. The influx of new mutants like Twisted Abomination and Elvish Aberration really gave the Mutant deck what it was looking for -- Patriarch's Bidding targets.

Usually being a Mutant meant that the creature was an Invoker of some sort. Now the Mutant types have a much more powerful mechanic attached to them: Landcycling. The landcycling mechanic is right on the money -- it gives your late game cards early game power. It also posses the interesting question: "Do I landcycle this to get the sixth land or do I just try to draw it off the top and cast this bad boy?" Overall, anything that increases the amount of hard-cast fatties in play is always good for the game.

I'm impressed with Twisted Abomination -- it has a powerful effect, but is even more powerful in play. Also, I'm reminded of the old-time favorite Juggernaut every time I attack with it. The developers at Wizards got it right with Twisted Abomination.

At any rate, this deck makes the tribal format a little more fun. If you're really daring, this deck is also legal for Block Constructed!

The basic idea of this deck is to hold the fort with some cheap blockers for a few turns, then cast Infest and/or Decree of Pain (well most of the time you cycle the Decree, but it gets cast a lot too). After you stabilize the board, you can cast the fatty landcyclers that you have left over in your hand. Twisted Abomination is the best because it can regenerate through Akroma's Vengeance, but the others are also fine for smashing face.

One neat part about this deck is that you can landcycle a bunch of Mutants away early and then Patriarch's Bidding for "Mutant" on turn five. At that point, your opponent isn't likely get anything of note back into play, while you get two or three fatties.

Cruel Revival is a key component of the deck since it can get back some of your Zombies and kill annoying cards like Exalted Angel, Visara the Dreadful, and Goblin Goon. Very powerful indeed.

Tips On Playing The Deck

  • Try to Withered Wretch away your opponent's creatures before you cast Patriarch's Bidding, but don't take excessive amounts of damage by not blocking with it. It's better to take less damage than set up the perfect Bidding. You can always Bidding and then Infest the next turn if you have to -- all your creatures will live through it (or better yet, Bidding and then hard cast Decree of Pain off your Aberrations -- hopefully drawing a Wretch and a Bidding off of it).

  • Don't be afraid to cycle Decree of Pain or cast Infest to kill a single 2/2. It's optimal to get rid of two or more creatures with Infest/Decree of Pain, but it's not worth it to be greedy. If you're going to take 3 damage next turn from attackers, it's time to clear the board. Remember, you're just setting up to get to the midgame where you can Bidding back a bunch of monsters.

  • Sometimes you want to tap your Elvish Aberration to cast more fatties. It can be difficult to decide when the proper time is to attack versus cast another expensive spell. Usually some quick arithmetic can tell you which way is a faster clock. Just keep in mind that this 4/5 beater actually does has an ability as well.

  • Mulligan intelligently. It may be okay to keep a double Temple of the False God hand if you have another land and a landcycler or two. Just keep in mind that you won't be able to play out any blockers in the early game. However, when you reach turn five, you'll start casting some very expensive spells.


Head Games
Against control decks, Head Games is an extremely powerful card (especially against the white-based control decks). Antonio DeRosa and Gerrard Fabiano told me about this card in Black-White Control for Onslaught block and it was fabulous. I think it will work in this deck, since it has about the same gameplan as Black-White Control.

Naturalize is good to bring in versus Slide-Rift and other crazy enchantment-oriented decks.

Visara the Dreadful
I would I certainly consider a few Visaras for the sideboard -- they're powerful against the control decks in Onslaught Block Constructed that use creatures.

Stonewood Invoker/Vitality Charm
Against Goblins and other fast decks, I would try more Stonewood Invokers or maybe Vitality Charm, since it can make a blocker or save your Withered Wretch after it blocks a Goblin Warchief.

Unburden or Blackmail can be helpful against the Goblin decks. It's strange how good discard became against these decks, unlike before, where discard effects were usually the last thing you wanted against Beatdown. Generally, if you can hold off your opponent's assault and then steal away the last couple large threats in your opponent's hand (namely Siege-Gang Commander, Rorix, or Goblin Goon), then you'll probably smash them.

Adding Money To The Deck

This is one of those decks that there isn't much that can be added -- there are only so many Mutants to choose from, after all. If you're looking to change up the deck a bit, I would stick to cards that slow down the early game and then might be useful in the mid/late game. If you're not worried about the deck being Block Constructed legal, then Llanowar Elves and Birds of Paradise always help out, and Cabal Therapy might be another good addition in a non-Tribal format. Don't forget that you can Therapy yourself before casting Patriarch's Bidding!

This deck isn't meant to be a killer tier-one deck, but you get to name "Mutant" a lot -- in my opinion, that's an admirable goal for any fun deck.

Until next time, may your Fires be from Yavimaya and your Bargains with Yawgmoth.

Nate Heiss
Team CMU
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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