In The Thick of It - The 5-0 Naya Planeswalker Mirror

Posted in NEWS on June 22, 2014

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Brian Braun-Duin, Brad Nelson, Todd Anderson, and Mike Bryant brought an interesting weapon to war this weekend - An exciting Naya Planeswalker brew that features some of the more interesting interactions we've seen in the the current Standard format.

Purphorous, God of the Forge deals huge chunks of damage in conjunction with Elspeth, Sun's Champion, Scion of Vitu-Ghazi, and Xenagos, the Reveler. Not only does Xenagos make tokens to trigger the Purphorous, but Xenagos's +1 activation can often act as an Overrun when combined with Purphorous's activated ability. Scion of Vitu-Ghazi is a powerful card that has yet to find a home until now, this deck can use it as a follow-up to end step Advent of the Wurm or simply block with the bodies while grinding away the opponent's life total with Purphorous triggers.

Needless to say, this is a new strategy that seems odd to those familiar with the current Standard. The deck should completely saw through decks like Black Devotion of all shapes and splashes, but Blue Devotion should be a very difficult matchup.

At 5-0, Brian @Braunduinit Braun-Duin probably wasn't expecting to face off against a similarly wacky naya brew, but that's exactly what happened. Ryan Sala had seen a similar list in one of Braun-Duin's popular strategy videos, but he had been changing it over the course of the last five weeks. He even won an invitational qualifier and Grand Prix trial with his Naya Planeswalker brew along the way to this event.

The first game ended in explosive fashion, when Sala cast Elspeth, Sun's Champion with Trostani, Selesnya's Voice and Archangel of Thune in play. The +1 activation on Elspeth, Sun's Champion gained Sala 3 life, made three 4/4 tokens, and gave the rest of his team three +1/+1 counters.

The second game was similarly exciting. BBD drew Mizzium Mortars on a key turn and, thanks to Xenagos, the Reveler, he was able to cast it with overload and activate Purphorous, God of the Forge twice to swing in for an exactly lethal 9 points of damage. At this point, there was a crowd forming around the match.

With roughly twenty onlookers, Sala ran over BBD in the third game of the match. Archangel of Thune went unanswered for multiple turns while BBD struggled to find a sixth land to cast Elspeth, Sun's Champion and use the -3 activation. Scion of Vitu-Ghazi tried to buy BBD the time he needed, but Sala's board steadily grew and the writing was on the wall. An instant-speed 5/5 trampler from Advent of the Wurm put the final nail in Braun-Duin's coffin.

These two prove there's still plenty of room for innovation in today's Standard environment. Stay tuned for continuing coverage of exciting Standard innovations here at Grand Prix Chicago!