ello again, and welcome back to the Lab! I'm extra glad you stopped by today, seeing as the Magic community is still entrenched in all things Conflux. Shiny new cards are continuing their two-week preview tour, and as I mentioned last week, some of these cards are drool worthy at the very least. Check out Monday's Ethersworn Adjudicator, who is some weird combination of Mortify, Filigree Sages, and Air Elemental that adds up to pure awesomeness. Meanwhile, Blood Tyrant continues Conflux's trend of "What the blimey?" effects, slapped onto a bloodthirsty demonic vampire (sadly, the latter isn't as big of a trend.) With a certain pair of legends being dually previewed over at Savor the Flavor, and the next installment in yet another great webcomic on my right, what can boring old Noel offer up as reader fodder? Sadly, I don't have a tantalizing tidbit from the newest expansion to show off today.
Release yourselves of worry, my good people. Let me direct you through the unexplained phenomenon of verbal links to the Conflux Visual Spoiler, where all the revealed cards in the new set are stored for safekeeping (until the Prerelease, of course.) As I was frantically scrolling through its contents, I stumbled upon one very interesting card: Cylian Sunsinger. Its quite overshadowed by its neighboring cards (the much more attention-grabbing Conflux, Giltspire Avenger and his defiant stare, etc.), but I decided to take a peek into its build-around-me potential. Boy, was I surprised! Strap yourselves in for a column of singing at the sun, synergy, and decks, of course.
Sing, Sing, Sing
Let's begin by looking at the bare bones of Cylian Sunsinger. At first, the stats of the radiant Elf Shaman are uninspiring. From a flavor standpoint, the 2/2 body makes sense: This is a Cylian Elf who somehow gained the power of sunsinging (henceforth, the pump ability). I'm not too sure what the explicit details of sunsinging are, but I'd have to guess it involves belting out the poem "Song of Myself" in echoing tones, which somehow creates a reaction of courage and strength, immediately followed by swinging for the win. I know that's what happens to me when I read Walt Whitman on top of a shining tree.
In more direct card comparisons, I guess the main reason that I like Cylian Sunsinger so much is that I was a big fan of Echoing Courage and its kin when they premiered in Darksteel. Something about a mass creature pump, the potential for lethal alpha strikes, and art that obviously features the Incredible Hulk struck a chord with me. Cylian Sunsinger is like Echoing Courage, but with a bigger power boost and a lovely red mana symbol in its text box. However, the Sunsinger is also a bit narrower then its predecessor, as it only affects other Sunsingers. Anyone not in the Sunsinging clique? Sheeeyah, right.
Fortunately, we are playing Magic, the game where practically anything can be manipulated by, well, magic. I'll get to some offbeat ways of busting Cylian Sunsinger in half later on, but we'll start off slow.
What happens to be one decent way to get all four Cylian Sunsingers into play quickly? Well, if you play one in the early turns of the game, you can play Bifurcate on it, or even better, Pack Hunt. Conveniently, these spells are great for shoring up your hand with creatures that you want to get attacking as soon as possible.
One of these creatures is Spawnwrithe, who also instantly sprung to mind when I first viewed Cylian Sunsinger. They're similar, but different: The Sunsinger likes having copies of itself in play, while Spawnwrithe directly churns out more Elementals. You might say it's full of itself.
It's no surprise, then, that Pack Hunting for three more Spawnwrithes is a good thing. This obviously leads to a formidable army of Spawnwrithes and Sunsingers. Another great creature to Pack Hunt for is Baru, Fist of Krosa, a Future Sight legend that Chris Millar was scarily obsessed with for a short time upon its release. And for good reason! All the creatures I've mentioned so far are green, leading to more pumpage. The grandeur ability can ditch excess copies of Baru for large Wurm tokens.
We've got a synergistic deck all right, but it's primarily based around Pack Hunt, not Cylian Sunsinger. Blasphemy! Oh well, if you guys are going to be like that, I just won't even mention Mirrorweave, then. Or how when you target Cylian Sunsinger with it, a small fee of can go even farther. Or how when you target Spawnwrithe (which creates tokens for a bigger Mirrorweave), you'll wind up doubling your creature base.
Instead of Birds of Paradise, the top dog around the mana-creature water cooler, I went with the new Noble Hierarch. It can produce two of the three colors needed to activate the Sunsinger, Plus, in a deck that strives to get multiple copies of creatures into play, the Hierarch thrives where the Birds don't, because of layered exalted bonuses. More pump!
Keeping with the Conflux spirit, I'm using Fiery Fall as removal. Remember the landcyclers from Scourge (Chartooth Cougar, Twisted Abomination, etc.)? Remember how they're basically casual staples? From what I've seen of the Conflux basic landcyclers, I'm prepared to give them an equal endorsement. Naya Charm also steps in as a triple threat, with the tapping down ability looking better here than the Regrowth or Lightning Bolt. This is because a Mirrorweave on Cylian Sunsinger will also benefit your opponents creatures. If there are any, just burn 'em, or tap them down.
Wall of Blossoms is classic green defense, as it draws cards and Pack Hunting for them is fun. An armada of Walls just ups the creature count for a big Mirrorweave, which (if you have left) means some definite Sunsinging.
I tried out Imperious Perfects in the deck as well on the basis of the highly renowned formula: Lords + Mirrorweave = Fun! I sadly cut them even though they created more tokens for the Mirrorweave; only a third of the final creature base was Elvish, and that seemed bad. I think. You could replace the Walls with Elvish Visionaries and the Noble Hierarchs with Llanowar Elves (or, even better, Llanowar Mentors) if you wanted to Elf up the deck some more. Cream of the Crop might be a fun way to try to chain Sunsingers, especially with Perfects in play already.
That deck was pretty straightforward in its attempt to get all four Cylian Sunsingers on the board as fast as feasibly possible. This deck is a little more surreal, as we're actually going to make as many copies or tokens of Cylian Sunsinger as we can, kind of like the Mirrorweave method above. This time, I'm using a mostly forgotten card from Mirrodin that is arguably just as crazy over a longer period of time. Ladies and gentlemen, Soul Foundry.
Of course, since I'm in a state of Conflux at the moment, Cylian Sunsinger won't be the new set's only representative in this deck. You see, Conflux ushers in the five-color mindset once again (we're not going to reflect on the Vivid five-color strategy in Standard) with such delights as Fusion Elemental and Maelstrom Archangel. If only these awesome creatures weren't so hard to play. Well, I did mention Soul Foundry above ... yup, that's right. Simply making copies of freaking Maelstrom Archangel every turn is crazy enough.
Using Soul Foundry to throw down these tricky-colored beatsticks eliminates the need to actually use all five colors. Having said that, to Bolas with it, I'm going the domain route anyway. Trying out the delicious looking Exploding Borders looks fun all by itself. Paying three mana to pop out a newly minted 4/4 or 5/5 Matca Rioters starts off slow and ends in a wave of über-efficiency.
Maelstrom Archangel seems to be at its best when it punches through your opponent's defenses for a hit. To that end, I included both ways for your creatures to sneak through blockers (Faith's Fetters a potential blocker? Yay!) and bombastic spells to play for free (I can't not go with Meglonoth here).
Another Sunsinger copier that I included is Spitting Image. It's the same speed for more mana, but it's not as vulnerable to disruption as Soul Foundry is. Plus, you can make copies of your opponent's creatures in a pinch.
I'm sure Prismatic Omen could fit in there somewhere, as well as the domain spells of yore—er, Invasion block. Frenzied Tilling, Allied Strategies, and Ordered Migration were always my favorites.
Singers in Lunacy
Ready for crazy? Kay. I'm just going to come out and say it. I plan on getting Cylian Sunsinger's oh-so-Naya activated ability implanted on Quicksilver Elemental. You might infer that this would be useless, as it's no better then just having it on the Sunsinger itself. Sure, you get to pay the easier (and weirder) instead of , but it's true that this is normally just unnecessary.
Oh, did I mention that I would be using [silence]? Didn't hear that? I'm also using [silence]. No, I'm not trailing off my sentences on purpose. I speak of ________, that plucky Unhinged Shapeshifter that's wormed his/her/its way into my Johnnytastic heart over time. ________ has an activated ability that allows it to change its name to any other Magic card's name for . Merely the two of them (Cylian Sunsinger and Unspeakable Joe) have good synergy. When grafted onto Quicksilver Elemental? In addition to his original abilities, you get...
1: Put a new name tag on.
(U/R)(U/G)(U/W): Give candy and happy to buddies with the same name tags!
So, meh, right? All this jumping through hoops isn't worth it! Right, because you're not as crazy as I am (not a boast: I'm legally insane). I'm also attacking with Nacatl War-Pride.
Here's how this works. Pay to give Quicksilver Elemental the activated abilities of ________ and Cylian Sunsinger. Then, pay to use Quicky's new name-changing ability. Change its moniker to Nacatl War-Pride. Attack with the real Nacatl War-Pride, and hopefully get lots of attacking tokens in the process. Pay to use Quicky/Nacatl's new pump ability. Even though the ability states "Cylian Sunsinger," Quicksilver Elemental's reminder text clarifies: If any of the abilities use that creature's name, use this creature's name instead. Since you've changed Quicky's name to Nacatl War-Pride, all your kitties get really really big. Is this probably going to make that big of a difference? No. Is this awesome? Yes.
Support cards are rampant. Weird Harvest can find all of your pieces. Remand and Moment's Peace combine to keep you alive. Skyshroud Elf (who can help you traditionally win with Cylian Sunsinger) and Noble Hierarch are all-star mana producers. Stinging Barrier and Banishing Knack are just fun Quicksilver tricks that double as more defense until you get your "combo" out. Finally, Forbidden Orchard gives your opponent some creatures for the Nacatl War-Pride.
Let me be clear: This is one of those ideas that will fail a lot more than it succeeds. But when it does, however, the feeling is amazing. Maybe throw in some Primal Rages, just to say you can win through excessive War-Pride trample damage. But that's not the point here, and if you can't see that, sorry. The point is to create something insane with Cylian Sunsinger that's actually possible, even in Silver-Bordered Land.
Until next time, I promise I'll go see my psychiatrist!