27, Jun, 23

MTG Bulk Rare Wins 400+ Person Event on a Budget!

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Article at a Glance

For as linear as the format is, Pioneer continues to evolve and showcase breakout cards and decks. This weekend, we saw a unique take on a red aggressive deck designed to maximize Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival win the Magic Online Pioneer Showcase Challenge. Pia Nalaar is an extremely pushed card from March of the Machine: The Aftermath and may have finally found a solid home in Pioneer. The Pia Nalaar package allows the deck to generate a surprising amount of value, giving the deck more grinding power than a typical red aggro deck. As such, this deck has a lot of cool things going for it, including the price.

The Aggressive Red Core

Kumano Faces Kakkazan

Just like typical red aggressive decks in Pioneer, this deck utilizes playsets of three high-powered one drops. Kumano Faces Kakhazan has been a mono-red staple since its debut. Its second chapter makes the next Creature you cast a premier threat, and it then transforms into a two-power Creature with Haste all for only one mana.

The other two one-drops, Soul-Scar Mage and Monastery Swiftspear, are excellent follow-ups to the powerful saga and pair really nicely with cheap spells. Among these cheap spells is Play with Fire, which is an efficient removal spell that, in a pinch, can target the opponent for extra damage and give some extra value with a Scry. Of course, most red decks aren’t complete without Bonecrusher Giant, providing a solid two-for-one as a removal spell and a big body.

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The Pia Nalaar Package

Pia Nalaar, Comnsul of Revival

What makes this deck unique, however, is that the rest of the slots in the deck aren’t just filled with burn spells. Instead, the deck adds white to utilize Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival. Pia Nalaar is a two-drop that can create Thopter tokens when you play lands or cast spells from exile. At first glance, this may seem a bit difficult to do. However, red decks have recently been gifted two identical cards that work perfectly with Pia Nalaar!

Reckless Impulse and Wrenn’s Resolve are both two-mana Sorceries that function just like Light up the Stage, exiling the top two cards of your library and allowing you to play them until the end of your next turn. Unlike Light up the Stage, they always cost two mana. Given the lack of burn spells in this deck, they are typically more efficient, as the Spectacle ability can be hard to come by. At two mana, these also work perfectly with Pia Nalaar. A typical play pattern if you suspect your opponent may have removal is to cast one of these spells. Next turn, play Pia and immediately play a land from exile, generating immediate value.

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Running Away with the Game

Showdown of the Skalds

If Pia doesn’t die immediately, however, it is pretty easy for the card to be an army in a can, as a single copy of Reckless Impulse or Wrenn’s Resolve digs for more copies to keep the train rolling. Pia even works with Bonecrusher Giant on an Adventure since it’s being cast from exile! This deck also utilizes Showdown of the Skalds, which is a bigger and badder version of Reckless Impulse and Wrenn’s Resolve. Not only does Showdown exile the top four cards for Pia Nalaar, but then the second and third chapters can start distributing counters to your Hasty Thopters, ending the game in short order.

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An Aggressive Deck with a Good Late Game?

Wrenn's Resolve

What makes this deck so scary to play against is that it can have aggressive starts, but can also generate lots of value in the late game. The Prowess one-drops pair super nicely with all of the card advantage spells that provide a steady flow of Prowess triggers. Pia Nalaar can run away with the game if unchecked, and Showdown of the Skalds can singlehandedly shift the game in your favor, even if your opponent has dealt with your early wave of pressure. If that wasn’t enough, this deck gets to utilize Jegantha, the Wellspring as a Companion, providing another card to sink mana into. This help make use of extra lands found with Wrenn’s Resolve and Reckless Impulse.

Of course, this isn’t always entirely beneficial. Sometimes cards like Showdown can be a bit clunky, especially against other combo decks. Against decks like Mono-Green Devotion, you don’t always have time to cast these two-mana card advantage spells, let alone make use of all the extra cards that they provide. Still, the other cards in the deck are super-efficient and aggressive, which helps make up for this. In matchups like Rakdos Midrange, having access to card advantage is a huge boon. The deck is quite cohesive, and there are many games where Pia will provide a stream of Thopter tokens that can bury your opponent. Interestingly though, the deck’s power level isn’t the only thing going for it.

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Competitive and Budget-Friendly?

Chained to the Rocks

MTG sometimes has this connotation that more expensive decks are simply going to perform better. This deck is a great example that expensive and flashy decks aren’t always the most impactful. The only portion of the maindeck that is of noticeable value is the manabase. The manabase is super important, as this deck utilizes both Pia Nalaar and Chained to the Rocks, which require white mana early in a red aggressive deck. Chained to the Rocks also requires lots of Mountains to be played, which is why the deck doesn’t get to make use of quality utility lands like Den of the Bugbear.

However, beyond the manabase, the rest of the maindeck can be purchased for roughly $40. Compare that to a playset of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker at over twice the cost and this deck is an absolute steal. Between aggressive one-drops that can beat up control and combo decks, efficient removal that can be advantageous against aggressive decks, and card advantage to help grind against Midrange decks, this deck has the ability to cover all of its bases for cheap. Expect this deck to pop up a lot more in Pioneer as time goes on.

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