Mardu Rebirth

Deck Rarity Breakdown:
12 Basic Lands
12 Rare Lands
9 Uncommon Non-Lands
16 Rare Non-Lands
11 Mythic Non-Lands

Totals: 9 Uncommons, 28 Rares, 11 Mythics

The focus of today’s deck is a card that I’ve suspected had the potential to be incredibly powerful since the moment I saw it. It has an obviously game-changing impact and is really only held back by the circumstances in which you can cast it. I’m talking about Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth:

Card images courtesy of Gatherer

This card has the ability to absolutely fill your board with powerful, legendary creatures. It has three major drawbacks:
1) It costs 7 mana. This isn’t so bad in the current meta.
2) You have to have a legendary creature or planeswalker on the field to cast it.
3) It’s useless if you don’t have a graveyard full of legendary permanents.

All of these drawbacks together means that Tier 1 control and midrange decks are looking for other ways to spend 7 mana, but I wanted to see if I could make this card work so I threw together a pile of cards that minimizes its weaknesses and plays to the strength of the card.

The first challenge is getting to 7 mana. Control decks will give us all the time we need to get to that point, so in this regard we just have to slow down aggressive decks and midrange decks. For the former, we have some very early-game removal as well as board sweepers in the form of 2 Seal Away, 3 Lightning Strike, 4 Settle the Wreckage and 4 Deafening Clarion. The numbers I chose were based on the current meta and the expectation that I would see a lot of decks like Mono-Red Aggro that are blown out by Deafening Clarion.

Lightning Strike and Deafening Clarion are mostly good at taking care of aggressive decks and not great against midrange decks, so in order to deal with larger threats I also included 4 copies of Ixalan’s Binding.

So now we’re in the mid-to-late game but how do we make sure we always have a legendary permanent so that we can revive all of our big threats? Well, it just so happens that there is one card that’s perfect for this purpose, and it also happens to be another card I’ve been wanting to build with lately: Squee, The Immortal!

Squee is overcosted at 3 mana for a 2/1, but the important part about Squee is that the only card in the Standard format that keeps us from casting him is Ixalan’s Binding. This means he can eat counterspells, removal and discard and he’ll just keep coming back! 3 copies of Squee trade alright against aggressive decks if we don’t have spot removal, and help ensure that we can cast Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth.

So now we can cast Rebirth, but what is it bringing back? The rest of the deck is absolutely crammed full of legendary creatures and planeswalkers. First we’ll talk about the all-star of the deck: Angrath, the Flame Chained.

Angrath is one of our win conditions in the deck, and is so potent that in the middle of testing I removed one copy of Rebirth and replaced it with Angrath. He can take games over on his own by starving the opponent of resources. He’s an incredibly potent threat against midrange opponents.

The other planeswalker in attendance is more situational and his inclusion led to an overarching dragon theme to many of our legendary creatures: Sarkhan, Fireblood.

Sarkhan allows us to fix our draws, and has a small synergy with Squee that turns his first ability into a free card draw. His most important function is that he fills our graveyard with cards that we can’t cast yet while accelerating toward a win condition. Finally, his second ability gives us mana that we can use to cast either of the next two cards: Lathliss, Dragon Queen and Verix Bladewing.

Lathliss and Verix are just big, flying fatties that can end the game in a couple of turns. A turn 4 Verix often times just shuts down aggro decks and when he’s kicked he’s even better! Lathliss is a giant 6/6 flyer that can pump itself and every other dragon that happens to be on the board, and has fantastic synergy with Verix.

For our last legendary creatures we have a couple more flying threats, though this time they’re angels: 2 copies of  Shalai, Voice of Plenty and 1 Lyra Dawnbringer.

Shalai and Lyra serve to diversify the legendary creatures in the deck to help mitigate the risk of drawing multiple copies of the same legendary permanent. Both are also huge, flying beaters that have enough toughness to be difficult for red decks to remove. Not much else to say about these picks.

The final component of the deck is our 2 copies of Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth. At first the deck ran 3 copies, but since one cast of the card should typically win the game copies past the first ended up being largely dead cards so midway through the playtesting one was removed in favor of a fourth Angrath.

So that’s the deck! This is the full decklist:

Or you can find it by clicking this link.

So how did it do? — Performance Report

This deck was taken to the best-of-one casual constructed queue. This is where the decks I make go for their first test against other players. This deck did really rather well for its first run, scoring a solid 13 wins out of twenty! Here’s the data dump for this test run:

Before we can talk about the deck’s performance we have to talk about the field. This deck uses a number of high-end mythic rare cards, as well as a number of rare lands. Because of this, Tier 1 decks were everywhere. Though there were occasional brews, you’ll notice that Rainbow Lich, Mono-R and Mono-U, Izzet Drakes and White Weenie were all present in the testing group. This means that the deck was tested against some of the best decks of the format.

That said, the first thing to notice is that after 8 games a tweak was made to the deck. This was the previously-mentioned tweak to reduce the number of dead draws of Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth and increase the number of Angraths we’re likely to see. Though it looks like the tweak was bad, it definitely felt great, and you’ll notice that Rebirth isn’t actually cast that often.

And that’s the next point of interest about the deck. Though the deck serves to enable Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth, the deck doesn’t actually often get a chance to cast it, but both times it was cast it ended the game straight away. This makes sense as a 2-of late game finisher, and speaks well of the content of the rest of the deck.

Additionally, as I mentioned above, Angrath is the true star of the show here. He robs your opponent of resources, kills creatures and serves as a win condition as well. He is usually the best turn 5 play and the deck runs 9 lands that tap for black just to make sure he can be played on curve. 

The deck plays well against other midrange decks, able to out-value them with Angrath and Sarkhan, but most of its losses were to aggressive decks. In a future version, more burn might be required to keep up with this meta of easy-to-craft monocolored aggro decks. Overall its performance was above expectation and the deck was fun to play.

Conclusions – How janky is it?

Not very janky! The deck actually felt great and in the vast majority of games it felt like there was a way to win. Angrath feels powerful, and playing a deck crammed full of cool, flavorful legendary creatures makes it feel like there’s always something fun to do after turn 4 or so. The various mini-synergies in the deck give you a few ways to run away with the game, and casting Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth feels fantastic. Not only did the deck perform well against a swathe of Tier 1 and Tier 1.5 decks, but it was a blast to pilot. That said it’s pretty wildcard-intensive, but I recommend that anybody that has most of the cards in the deck give this one a try.

This is the kind of deck I am very likely to revisit in the future, potentially for a Constructed Event or even some Best-of-3 action.

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