The Dryad's Secrets

Posted in Feature on August 13, 2013

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

One of the sweetest cards I've had the pleasure of playing with is Quirion Dryad, and I've played with it in formats ranging from Vintage to Standard, hitting most of the formats in between. If a good Dryad deck untaps with a Quirion Dryad in play, it usually spells doom for its opponent in a few short turns, growing Dryad to an unreasonably large number.

Quirion Dryad

Luckily for Dryad fans, this format also offers up some other powerful incentives to play a spell-based deck. Snapcaster Mage, Delver of Secrets, and now Young Pyromancer are all extremely powerful (even more than the Dryad, but that card has grown on me over the years). Besides those sixteen engine cards, the creator of this deck wisely chose to play only instants and sorceries, maximizing the value of the fantastic four.

Most of the spells tend toward removal, with a solid mix of Mizzium Mortars, Pillar of Flame, Essence Scatter, Turn & Burn, Simic Charm, and Unsummon providing a variety of cheap and easy ways to stay alive. Once this deck has a flipped Delver of Secrets, a Dryad, or a Pyromancer going, Unsummon and Simic Charm are essentially unconditional kill spells.

A deck like this also relies heavily on card flow, because it wants more than anything to cast multiple spells each and every turn. To that end, Thought Scour, Think Twice, and Faithless Looting all draw extra cards, and the two flashback spells have synergy with Thought Scour and each other. There's nothing more satisfying than milling a flashback card with a Thought Scour—and you even get to peek at your top card with Delver of Secrets some amount of the time, letting you Scour during upkeep if need be.

Spell Rupture and Simic Charm also protect your valuable creatures, and it's especially cute that casting Spell Rupture grows your Dryad, thus making it even harder for your opponent to pay. After sideboard, you get even more protection in Dispel and Negate, both of which are crucial to keeping the action going.

immapwner's RUG Dryad

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