Disruption Protocol
28, Nov, 23

Broken Ixalan MTG Uncommon Gives Life to New Standard Deck!

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Article at a Glance

For players hoping that The Lost Caverns of Ixalan would bring massive change to Standard, up to this point, this has unfortunately not been the case. Midrange decks featuring Wedding Announcement and multi-color Leyline Binding ramp decks still dominate the metagame at large. That’s not to say that the release of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan isn’t having an impact. It’s just that most of the new cards are being used as upgrades for well-established archetypes rather than sparking innovation.

Cavern of Souls was a great addition to the multi-color ramp decks, as it helps make sure your big payoffs like Archangel of Wrath and Atraxa, Grand Unifier will resolve. For Azorius-based midrange decks, Subterranean Schooner is an excellent aggressive value-engine that is tough to remove. These cards weren’t exactly revolutionary within the format, but certainly have a big impact nonetheless.

That being said, not everyone is content sitting back and simply playing the best performing decks from last season. In one of yesterday’s Magic Online Standard Last Chance events, one player took it upon themselves to play a pretty unique Simic Artifacts deck and put up a great performance. This archetype was largely made possible by the emergence of a new Ensoul Artifact variant to Standard. It may be just an uncommon, but don’t let that fool you. It’s extremely powerful and even has some built-in protection that Ensoul Artifact doesn’t have.

Excellent Payoffs

Zoetic Glyph

The new Lost Caverns of Ixalan card that provides the biggest reward for keeping an Artifact-focused gameplan is none other than Zoetic Glyph. Zoetic Glyph, much like Ensoul Artifact, is an Aura that turns an Artifact you control into a five-power Creature. Zoetic Glyph does cost three mana to cast, not two, which is a big deal in terms of efficiency. Fortunately, Zoetic Glyph makes up for it in a unique way.

The downside of cards like Ensoul Artifact historically have been that, if the Artifact you Enchanted dies, you lose both the Artifact and the Aura in the process. In this sense, Ensoul Artifact, much like most Auras in existence, are a bit vulnerable to opposing removal spells. There’s a reason that many of the most successful Auras-based decks in the past have focused on utilizing threats with Hexproof or Indestructible to help avoid getting blown out. After all, Ensoul Artifact and Darksteel Citadel often showed up in the same decks.

Zoetic Glyph, however, gives you a bonus when the Artifact you are Enchanting is put into your graveyard. Getting to Discover 3 is a big deal. You get to cast whatever card you exile for free, including potentially another Zoetic Glyph, which will likely add pressure to the board immediately. Sure, Zoetic Glyph is still vulnerable to Artifact removal, such as Boseiju, Who Endures, but there’s no reason to fear traditional removal spells anymore.

This deck creates a lot of non-Creature Artifacts, such as Map tokens, that are excellent targets for Zoetic Glyph. These tokens make Disruption Protocol a reliable two-mana Counterspell as well, which is a nice bonus. Additionally, this deck plays a playset of Teething Wurmlet, which can grow rather rapidly alongside Artifact token producers. Let’s take a closer look at these Artifact token makers that hold the strategy together.

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Token Generation

Sentinel of the Nameless City

Now that we’ve gone over the main payoffs for creating Artifact tokens, it’s time to look at the various Creatures that keep this archetype intact.

First up, we have Spyglass Siren. Spyglass Siren is a naturally efficient card that creates a Map token, perfect for Zoetic Glyph or Disruption Protocol.

Tough Cookie is a two-mana card that makes an Artifact token, but it has the added upside of being able to convert your non-Creature Artifacts into attackers or blockers on command.

Finally, we have Sentinel of the Nameless City. Sentinel is a great card on its own that can continue to create a slew of Map tokens if your opponent can’t remove it right away. What’s nice is that these Map tokens, while synergistic in the deck, are always available to be used as intended. Getting to Explore at minimal cost to generate card advantage or grow your attackers is great.

These tokens, as well as Zoetic Glyph, also work very well with Gingerbrute. Gingerbrute is a difficult card to block, and in matchups where your opponent doesn’t have a ton of removal, continuously growing Gingerbrute can win the game on its own.

Unsurprisingly, many of the Creatures in this deck are relatively small and cheap themselves. This deck relies on synergy and efficiency, but some cards certainly lack raw power, especially in combat. Fortunately, Subterranean Schooner is a fantastic card to pair with cheap one-drop Creatures. Not only is Schooner an aggressive attacker, but it also lets your Gingerbrutes and Spyglass Sirens that crew it Explore. Having the chance to grow your evasive one-drops this way can be quite strong.

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An Intriguing Position

Subterranean Schooner

This archetype may be relatively new and underexplored, but it has some nice things going for it in the current metagame. Midrange decks, primarily Esper, and multi-color ramp decks currently make up a large portion of the Standard metagame. This deck has a decent chance against both archetypes. Against Esper midrange, your threats are surprisingly strong against removal.

A large percentage of your Creatures generate value when they enter the battlefield and Zoetic Glyph generates value when the Enchanted Artifact is removed. Not to mention, Esper midrange can have a tough time answering large Artifact threats. Go for the Throat and Cut Down fail to answer Zoetic Glyph or Subterranean Schooner, two of your biggest threats. Meanwhile, Disruption Protocol can help make sure Raffine, Scheming Seer or Sheoldred, the Apocalypse don’t take over the game.

Against ramp decks, your mix of efficient Creatures, early pressure, and interaction can be quite effective. Sunfall, one of the ramp deck’s best catchup mechanisms, doesn’t answer non-Creature Artifacts. As a result, Subterranean Schooner or a sandbagged copy of Zoetic Glyph can help you deal the last points of damage if you don’t have Disruption Protocol in hand.

This strategy is definitely not foolproof, though. Leyline Binding can make it tough to stick a copy of Zoetic Glyph in the first place, especially on the draw.

One of the decks that went undefeated in one of yesterday’s Magic Online Standard Last Chance events, Rakdos Ramp, plays three copies of Brotherhood’s End in the maindeck, which is a brutal card to see for a deck filled with Artifacts with mana value three or less. Still, this Simic Artifact aggro strategy has game against a lot of the top tier decks, making it a great choice for anyone looking to play something a little outside the norm.

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