At long last I started playing MtG Arena again after having stopped for various reasons more than a year ago. Played most of the newer preconstructed decks to get a first impression of the current standard card pool, and got some inspiration for a deck. But my knowledge of the cards and the meta in general is still very limited and I could use some pointers as to what cards and decks are out there right now. So if you have some interesting cards that could work for my new deck, or some more specific changes, please share.
My deck is going to be built around Nightmare Shepherd and Polukranos, Unchained (hence the thread title). This is a refined first draft, meaning, I already played and tinked with the deck a bit, but it is stil just a very rough draft. The idea is, that the Shepherd will get me back a 7/7 Polukranos right after it dies to keep fighting. Losing the legendary Hydra wasn't that much of an issue so far, due to there being a four copies and the escape cost being rather steep.
I have enough common and uncommon wildcards to get whatever I need for those rarities, and can even get like 3-4 full playsets of mythics if needed. I'm out of rare wildcards, though, but will get more soon enough. Just be aware, that suggestions for rares will be more difficult for me.
A week has gone by and the deck has evolved quite a bit. Still much room for growth, though, I think. Rare wildcards are still, well, rare, but I've gotten and used a fair bit of them to upgrade. Plus got a few lucky draws from boosters. This is the deck as it stands now.
The deck is at 61 cards because of me experimenting with cards and land ratio etc., but of course, I want to get it down to 60 eventually.
EDIT: And did so, if only for a short time (see below), by removing the fourth Brontodon. My artifact and enchantment removal capabilities still seem sufficient after having played a few more games.
Some things of note:
- I added Tormod's Crypt as a means of mass graveyard hate, and it has perfomed surprisingly well in the current Arena meta I'm facing. I never imagined, that I would play that card ever, much less as a main ingredient of a deck, but here it is. It helped against the Zenith Flare cycling deck, which I'm facing frequently, various escape strategies, the random graveyard recursion, and even somewhat helped against heavy mill decks, that relied on me having many cards in the yard. (EDIT: I just found Soul-Guide Lantern as a probably better alternative to the Crypt and changed it. Somehow missed that one.)
- I really like the mutate ability, especially when done onto Polukranos or Grakmaw, making those creatures much bigger, but also letting me circumvent the legend rule. It's also nice to keep my Polly when its counters are depleted, and as a fighting machine gun, too.
- I probably want a second Dirge Bat maybe even more, but so far I couldn't test it out much, it usually doesn't survive a turn, if I get it at all.
- The land base is quite problematic, I need the dual lands to get my colors consistently, but all the ETB tapped lands are also a hindrance. I definitely need some help here. The number of lands has to be rather high, 24 certainly is not enough. Right now I'm playing 26, which seems fine.
EDIT: I adjusted the lands a bit by replacing two Jungle Hollows with a Forest and a Castle Locthwain. Still too much ETB tapped oftentimes, but I feel it made a slight improvement to the deck. I also added a Massacre Wurm as 61st card as an experiment and for the lolz. (Hasn't happened yet, but the thought of my Shepherd making a little 1/1 Massacre Wurm is hilarious.)
With Kaldheim coming around shortly, I wanted to post an update with the most recent list for this deck. It plays quite well now, though can certainly be made better still. At least, I got it down to 60 finally. The new set will get it new toys to play with (and tempt me to experiment and go above 60 again for sure). Suggestions are welcome.
- I took out Malakir Rebirth, because it almost always ended up either being a dead card in hand or an ETB tapped land.
- I like Skull Prophet but I don't want it later in the game, and it dies often if it comes down early on. It does a fine job when it stays around, though. 2 copies seems like the right number for it.
- I also tinkered with the lands, of course. And the new b/g duals will certainly replace some basics as soon as a get my hands on them. Color issues are not fun. They don't happen that often, but it needs to be less.
Have been playing the deck for quite some time now, and had to adjust to the changing format. It's still not very competitive, but it can defeat Rogue mill, various aggro decks, and the occassional ramp into bomb mythics decks at an acceptable rate.
Changes since the last update were a transition into b/g snow for 3 copies of Blood on the Snow, completing the set of Fabled Passages (Temples had to go) and adding the set of Pathways, going back on Agadeems to just a singleton (drew and had to play it as a land early way too often and I needed the snow basics more). Bloodchief's Thirst made way for Grasp of Darkness, because indestructibles are showing up way too frequently now (Toski, Hallowblade, that doggy, etc.), while planeswalkers appear less. Oh, and a pair each of Skemfar Elderhall and Faceless Haven made it into the deck as well as a second copy of Castle Locthwain. So yeah, while I toyed with several cards, in the end I mostly changed the land base.