World Warriors

Posted in Reconstructed on November 18, 2014

Put on your Mardu hats ladies and gentlemen, because it's time to brawl!

Welcome to Mardu Week here on ReConstructed! Last week, I took a look at Soldier tribal—and this week it's time to bookend that piece with a look at the other side of battle: Warriors!

Mardu Blazebringer | Art by Peter Mohrbacher

Mardu has been a popular submission ever since Khans of Tarkir released, and I'm glad to finally get to cover it! Let's take a look at a version sent in by longtime ReConstructed reader and deck submitter, Itou Kazunari. Here we go!

Itou Kazunari's I Am a Warrior

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The Battle Plan

Go to war!

No, but really: attack them to death!

Warriors is a quick, aggressive deck that takes advantage of some of the tribal synergies found in Khans of Tarkir. Putting Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale to good use, this deck pumps up all of its creatures—and maybe even draws a bunch of cards, too, thanks to Raiders' Spoils!

Working on this deck is similar to any kind of beatdown deck, in that you want to push through as much damage as possible. One unique thing to note about this version of Mardu in particular is that, because of both Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale, and because you're aggressive, you want to be most focused in white and black. That way, you can play your cards on time, and also by splashing red, it lets you play fewer enters-the-battlefield-tapped lands—meaning you can slow yourself down less.

In refining this deck, I'm going to be looking to make sure it's playing the best Warriors it can and reworking the deck's cards and mana to help it attack as quickly as possible. Let's hop right into it!

Deck Breakdown

Which cards fit into this deck well, and which don't quite win the war to make it in? Let's look at this deck, card by card, and see what fits and what doesn't.

Bloodsoaked Champion

Talk about an awesome aggressive one-drop! One mana for 2 power? Check! Warrior? Check! Ability to come back over and over? Check! This little "Raidcrawler" (the R&D playtest name I'll always think of him as) is exactly the kind of card this deck wants to play. No problems here.

In fact, it's so perfect that I want to add in another card: Tymaret, the Murder King! Although I generally wouldn't trust Tymaret (I mean seriously, who makes friends with a guy called "the Murder King?!?" Yeah, I'm sure nothing bad will go wrong there), in this deck he's quite a strong late-game engine. You can sacrifice Bloodsoaked Champion to bring back Tymaret, and once he's in play you can shoot your opponent with the Champion. It's a long-game threat that means your opponent can't get too comfortable. Plus, Tymaret is a Warrior!

I only want two since it's more of a late game interaction than a two-drop (plus it's red, which is our splash color) but I'm happy with those two.

Mardu Hateblade

"Hateblade." What a name for a card!

The big thing going for Mardu Hateblade is that it is a one-drop you can put in this deck and start smashing with. You can also attack and block safely into Caryatids and Siege Rhinos, but its foremost function is to try and get damage through.

And when that's your metric, it's hard to really get behind Hateblade too much. It's only a one-mana 1/1, and if you don't draw your Chief of the Edge, it really isn't going to be that impressive. This deck has some tribal bonuses, but not enough to make random 1/1s good enough—all of the Warriors in this deck need to be at least passable aggressive cards on their own. I'd rather play a tapped land than this on the first turn most of the time if I need the mana fixing. We're just going to have to hate this blade away—goodbye, Hateblades!

Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale

These are two of the major tribal reward cards for playing Warriors. While Chief of the Edge is definitely the one you'd rather draw in most games, because it has 3 power and pumps all of your creatures' powers rather than toughness—better in this kind of aggressive deck—they're both great and I wouldn't cut either of them at all. Go Warriors, go!

Mardu Skullhunter

While the Chiefs are awesome two-drops, that's certainly not all I want to play. In an aggressive deck like this one I want to have plenty going on at low mana costs. And to that end, Mardu Skullhunter fills the role well. A 2/1 Ravenous Rats is good against practically every deck, and while it won't always be raided on turn two, it's still a great addition. Sign me up for all four!

War-Name Aspirant

War-Name Aspirant has two major things going for it. First is the potential of 3 power for two mana: always something to look at in an aggressive deck. But the other part is its ability, which is particularly good at pounding through, say, Sylvan Caryatids.

The Aspirant (and Borderland Marauder, for that matter) are both fine cards for this deck—but the big drawback I see is that they're red two-drops in a deck focused on deploying WB on the first two turns. Yes, sometimes turn one you'll play a tapped land and you'll be fine...but in those cases you aren't raiding the Aspirant either.

I'd rather play something white or black here, and something that doesn't rely on having our Bloodsoaked Champion to work. (Especially since we already have the Skullhunter raiding.) I'd like to borrow a little something from Jeskai: Seeker of the Way. A two-mana 2/2 Warrior that gets larger and gains you life as you cast spells is plenty enticing. I'm happy to swap out the Aspirants for four Seekers.

Now, with all of that said, there is still another aggressive red card I want in the deck. It's a little Goblin you may have heard of in Standard: Goblin Rabblemaster...who is conveniently a Warrior!

Not only is the Rabblemaster strong on its own and lives in the three-drop space (which is a place I'd rather have my red cards be) but it's a Warrior to boot and gets all of our Warrior bonuses. (Although the tokens don't.) I'd like to play four Rabblemasters here.

Zurgo Helmsmasher

Zurgo hits hard—there's no doubt about that. However, he's pretty easy to block and the bottom line for Mr. Helmsmasher is that five mana is a little more that I want to spend here. Not that this deck won't be able to use its mana, but between Bloodsoaked Champion, Tymaret, drawing tons of cards off of Raiders' Spoils and casting them, and so on, tapping five mana for Zurgo doesn't really have a spot. Farewell, Zurgo!

Mardu Charm

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a card that has three modes and fits into clan colors, Mardu Charm is precisely what this deck wants. Make some extra Warriors out of nowhere? Yeah, that's one mode. Kill a creature? Yep, that's another. Need to get that End Hostilities out of your hand? It can do that too! There's no question to me that I want all four Mardu Charms, and this is a card that fits well into our red splash.

In addition to Mardu Charm, I'd like a bit more removal as well—so I'd like to pick up two copies of Banishing Light. While I'd love to have them be Lightning Strikes instead, since it's cheaper and flexible, Banishing Light's ability to pick off those pesky Siege Rhinos is too important here.

Raiders' Spoils

And here we come to another Warrior tribal card!

Although Raiders' Spoils pumps up everybody, part of the real juiciness here is the ability to keep drawing cards. This can even let you throw some creatures away on an all-out attack and be okay with it since you know that attack will let the creatures be replaced with new cards.

The real question to me here is if you want to play three or four copies, since it is a bit expensive to cast and you don't want your hand clogged on them. However, since it is both good in multiples and a pretty strong card overall that you usually want to draw at least one of, I'm taking that risk here and keeping all four.

Rush of Battle

Another Warriors-matter card, this one works a bit differently. You top out with it and can create a mini-Overrun.

However, Rush of Battle tends to only be good when you're already winning. Raiders' Spoils is already a four-drop spell that doesn't do all that much to immediately affect the board, and I can't play too many of this kind of thing. Rush of Battle can pretty safely go.

With all of those changes in mind, and some mana-base adjustments to accommodate our tweaks, that brings the deck to:

Gavin Verhey's A Good Mardu Goes to War

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Hit fast and hard with these Golden State Warriors—and if that doesn't work, back it up with late-game Tymarets and Raiders' Spoils for additional reach!

If you wanted to be more red in this build you could try playing War-Name Aspirant again and Borderland Marauder—but it will destabilize your mana. On the flip side, you could try going just white and black and have better mana...although you would lose out on a few cards. (Although it probably gives you room to pick up Obelisk of Urd, which might be nice.) Another route to try is going larger, probably playing the non-Warrior Butcher of the Horde as another card at the top end.

No matter how you slice it—have fun with Warriors!

Honorable Mentions

What were some of the other neat Mardu decks sent in this week? Let's take a look!

Travis Comstedt's Constellation of Slaughter

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Taiyo Sakai's Mardu Ascendancy

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George Wolfe's Butcher the Rabble

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Kento Hatao's Goblin Ascendancy

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Mark Ian Alloso's Mardu Tymaret's Tokens

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Yuusuke Miwa's Mardu Reanimate

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Nabil Stendardo's Mardu Aristocrats

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Walter McManigal's The Oracle of Mardu

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Instant (8)
4 Magma Jet 4 Murderous Cut
Artifact (2)
2 Whip of Erebos
Other (8)
2 Chandra Pyromancer 1 Sarkhan the Dragonmaster 1 Elspeth Suns Champion 4 Tormenting Voices
60 Cards

Noda Teppei's Mardu Style Table Manners

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Dai Kasahara's Zurgo GO!

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Frogue's Bloodsucker Combo

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Real World Warriors

In two weeks, I'm going to be back for Worlds week! I'm going to be doing a very particular look at Standard for Worlds: talking about Unified Standard Constructed! If you don't know what that means, basically each team builds three decks to play...but combined they can only use four copies of each card. (Other than basic lands.) It's quite interesting to build and will be a blast to watch! You can find the rules about how it works here.

So in addition to your normal deck for this week, please send me an idea of what two decks you would want to team it up with. (You don't need to send actual decklists for those other decks, just ideas.)

So here's what I'm looking for

Format: Competitive Standard
Restrictions: Your deck should be aimed at being competitive. Additionally, please send what you think two decks are that your deck would pair well with in a Standard team tournament.
Deadline: Monday, November 24, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.
Submit all decklists by emailing me at reconstructeddecks@gmail.com.

Decklists should be submitted with YOURNAME's DECKNAME at the top. Underneath should be one card per line, with just a leading number. For example:

12 Mountain
4 Firedrinker Satyr
3 War-Name Aspirant
4 Lightning Bolt

...and so on. Please don't use anything but a space to separate the card numbers and names—don't write "4x Lightning Bolt," for example. Well-formatted decklists have a much better chance of being read and making it into the column. Poorly formatted decklists are more likely to be ignored. (If I can't read your decklist, I certainly can't talk about it!)

Also, take note that, for this week, please send your decks to reconstructeddecks@gmail.com. There is currently a bug that is causing difficulty with me seeing your decklists sent to my Wizards address.

All right! Well, with all that said, start sending in decks—I'm excited to see how Unified Standard plays out this year.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this week's article! If you have any questions or thoughts at all, I'd love to hear from you! You can always feel free to send me a tweet or ask a question on my Tumblr and I'll definitely see it.

Have fun with Warriors this week! I'll be back next week with something a little less usual—but very fun. Talk with you then!

Gavin
@GavinVerhey
GavInsight

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