8, Nov, 21

Runo Stromkirk Is Going To Be A Blast To Play

Vampires that become giant eldritch horrors are our new favorite things.
Article at a Glance

Vampires are, generally speaking, a Mardu bunch. They’re all about eating stuff, sacrificing things, discarding cards, and stealing other people’s creatures by converting them. They’re fun, for sure, but they’re also a known quantity, so it’s not often they surprise us.

Well, that is until the Crimson Vow spoilers, and one card in particular. The card we’re talking about is blue and black, but it’s not about milling other players at all, but far morefocussed on the Eldtitch beings of the world, and we are incredibly excited to get to use them.

The Stromkirks are changing

Runo Stromkirk is a three-mana blue and black Vampire 1/4 with flying. They’ve got a lot of text on them. “When Runo Stromkirk enters the battlefield, put up to one target creature card from your graveyard on top of your library. At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may reveal that card. If a creature card with mana value 6 or greater is revealed this way, transform Runo Stromkirk.”

So, the plan here is to look into milling yourself, but doing so with a bunch of really big creatures in your deck, and that’s because of the other side of Runo. Unlike many other creatures in the set, it looks as though Runo is possessed by something far more sinister and sizeable than themselves. As such, the other side of this Vampire is a Kraken Horror called Krothuss, Lord of the Deep.

Krothuss is a flying 3/5 that reads, “Whenever Krothuss, Lord of the Deep attacks, create a tapped and attacking token that’s a copy of another target attacking creature. If that creature is a Kraken, Leviathan, Octopus, or Serpent, create two of those tokens instead.” This deck is a little weird, but it means we can look at self-mill, giant sea-faring monstrosities, and then just attacking with them.

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The best big beasts

There are loads of good Krakens, Leviathans, Octopi, and Serpents in MTG, and while some of them would require a Sultai commander, we’re going to look at the best blue and black ones for this deck. We’re kicking it off with Grozoth, a nine-mana 9/9 with defender that you can pay four mana to allow it to attack. When it comes into play, you can find any number of nine mana cards and put them into your hand, which is great.

Icebreaker Kraken is a twelve mana 8/8 that gets cheaper if you control snow lands, and it stops artifacts and creatures a target opponent controls from untapping when it enters. Elder Deep-Fiend is a blast from the Standard past that allows you to tap up to four permanents of your choice when it enters the battlefield, which is excellent in this kind of a deck.

Aside from the creatures, we also recommend getting Quest for Ula’s Temple. This is a one-mana enchantment that reads, “At the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top card of your library. If it’s a creature card, you may reveal it and put a quest counter on Quest for Ula’s Temple. At the beginning of each end step, if there are three or more quest counters on Quest for Ula’s Temple, you may put a Kraken, Leviathan, Octopus, or Serpent creature card from your hand onto the battlefield.” These creature types tend to be expensive, so this is probably going to be the best card in the deck.

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