Planeswalker (1)

I've been so into janky little combos lately and this one really is the cherry on top.

Prior to the Standard rotation I had a "Prowess" deck that was like... reverse? I thought it was really cool to bump up the size of a creature from discarding cards rather than playing spells and there were plenty of enablers and value cards at the time. I have been going through my Standard decks with the intention of updating them for Ixalan post rotation, and this deck lost a lot more things than I thought it did. Most notably those sweet discard enablers that simply said "Discard a card: Do a thing". Basically, the deck is dead.

I started by taking out all of the rotating cards (which was a LOT) and then looked for replacement cards that are still in Standard. I came up with some really interesting interactions that I'm pretty happy with even though the deck took a complete 180 turn.

The first little combo of cards that is also the main finisher for the deck is Faith of the Devoted + Midnight Oil . Nobody plays either of these cards, they are terrible. However, together they are kind of sweet. Midnight Oil draws you extra cards and eventually forces you to discard your hand down to the number of counters on it which will quickly fall to 0. Normally that would suck, especially since it also burns you a point of damage every time you discard. However Faith of the Devoted lets you spend a colorless mana every time you discard a card to drain 2 life from your opponent. This means that every card nets you a life gain instead of a loss and it also slowly drops your opponent's life. Pretty neat, but also very "meh". I'd strongly recommend having one of each of these in your starting hand to play on turns 3 and 4 to ensure the smoothest sailing for the rest of the game, otherwise you are in for a long match.

How do you crank up the power of this "combo"? Ghirapur Orrery, that's how.

Think about it: Oil makes your hand size 0 (after a few turns) so every upkeep you'll start with 0 cards. Orrery says "Hey! If you don't have any cards in hand go ahead and draw 3 extra cards!" Faith says "Wow! Now you draw into 5 cards every turn (3 from Orrery + 1 from Oil + 1 from Draw Step) and have to discard back down to 0 so for 5 mana of any color I can drain 10 life from our opponent? Every turn?!? Thanks guys! Now I'm useful!"

So far I'm still Mono-Black with a splash of Blue cards and I need a good shell to work with around this "combo" that can also have some other payoff cards that gel with having to discard so much at the end step. It's too bad it is the end step too because that pretty much turns off cards like Cunning Survivor, Grisly Survivor, and Shadowstorm Vizier while completely ruining Shadow of the Grave.

I took out all of the Blue cards to go back to the drawing board and kept looking for value cards. Archfiend of Ifnir is pretty sweet because every end step becomes a one sided sweeper made even better by being negative counters so anything that survives will be much smaller. Being a huge Flyer doesn't suck either and should really close the door on the game. In the back of my mind I'd always wanted to try Obelisk Spider with the Archfiend, and if fully assembled while also being up against something wide like Zombies or Cats or Whatever the added Drain from the Spider will help close out the game as well. It's also a nice Reacher and formidable blocker to help stabilize the board to buy time to get set.

Well now I've got Green and this opened up a whole can of juicy worms to enjoy for the other half of the deck. Discarding lands makes Ramunap Excavator an obvious choice, and having a ton of land available means plenty of mana to sink into Faith, especially if you have multiple copies. Having two Faiths means that you can pay two mana to drain 4 life for every card discarded since each one will trigger. Not to mention, you can also play multiple lands per turn due to the Orrery, so they are all a happy little family.

What benefits from having land in the Graveyard? Well, in Green Ramunap Hydra is a big boy as a 5/5 Vigilance, Reach, Trample for only 4 mana and all you have to have is a Desert on the Field and one in the Graveyard. That's pretty easy. Hashep Oasis and Ifnir Deadlands can also get Deserts into the Graveyard while also swinging Power/Toughness in your creatures favor. It's completely repeatable as well since you can sacrifice and replay the Deserts from your Graveyard thanks to the Excavator. Another neat interaction. Hostile Desert can exile the lands that you can't repeatedly cycle in this way like your basics that might have been discarded and turn them into another possible win condition as 3/4 creatures. Then there are fun Deserts that do neat things when killed and replayed and killed again like Sunscorched Desert for little pings of damage and Dunes of the Dead to make Zombie tokens.

Speaking of Zombie tokens and Deserts why not play Hour of Promise to help ramp up that mana while pretty much guaranteeing a pair of tokens? Seems good. Thaumatic Compass   can also help ramp things up and eventually turns into yet another land with the neat ability to pull your opponent's creatures (one at a time) out of combat for protection against singular big fatties.

Ruthless Sniper can pick off creatures by giving you another place to sink mana as you discard cards. It's a pretty good one drop that also can just chump block to avoid taking hits on the chin.

So basically I ended up with a Desert Tribal shell in Golgari colors that wants to ramp into the epic Faith of the Devoted + Midnight Oil "combo" as a finisher to put all that mana and card draw/discard to good use. This embodies everything about fun/janky deck building and pulling together cards that are not only unused by pretty much everyone, but certainly not used together. Perhaps I took some wrong turns when building around that simple two card interaction, but I'm pretty happy with the way things turned out.

I decided for some reason that everything in the sideboard needed to have Cycling to perform double duty as a means of answering things that your opponent is doing while also being able to replace themselves if the situation isn't right while also triggering Faith of the Devoted. I may find that some of these cards are simply better than things in the main board for that same reasoning, but I'll just have to play around with it.

I did have a last minute epiphany about Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons finding a home here as well. She's a decent two drop after the Ruthless Sniper and gels pretty well with a set up combo by creating a bunch of deathtouch tokens every turn. Key to the City enables discard to trigger Faith and the Sniper, but also allows Hapatra to get damage in and create a token.

Pretty interesting how I went from this: This Izzn't Prowess - to this. Rotation can be pretty fun :)

By the way, The Gitrog Monster would have been an absolute beast for this deck may he rest in peace... :(


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Date added 1 year
Last updated 11 months
Key combos

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 3.26
Tokens 2/2 Zombie, 1/1 Snake
Folders Budget, h, Cool Decks, Deck ideas, Standard, BUDGET, Interesting Standard Decks, Standard, Standard, , See all 23
Top rank #7 on 2017-10-18
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