Back in the day, we sure didn't refer to any red, white and blue decks as "Jeskai." They was "America Decks," young-blood. And this here is an America deck that exchanges bald eagles and heart disease for bald monks and high-flying kicks. I'm happy to make use of a Chinese-text card or two to better seal in the kung fu flavor--even if they were donated to me by that prancing horse's ass, Jay-Key! I sometimes play against that sadistic jerk, and I always soak any cards he's given me in holy water for at least 24 hours before playing with them (...which more often than not destroys the cards, but it's better to be safe than sorry when you're dealing with Jay-Key. And hey, it's not like I could read them in the first place--they're in Chinese!)

Right around the same time that I began forming this deck, I also began a letter campaign to Wizards of the Coast, begging them to publish nunchaku as an equipment artifact. I did a search on MTGCardSmith, and there's only one card that resembles a pair of 'chucks. Sometimes I worry I'm a man without a country...


These are the ideas that I followed while putting this deck together:

1.) KUNG FU IS A CHINESE CONCEPT | So, adding dragons makes sense. While I'm no longer against the idea of adding non-human monks, I haven't really found anything that must be in this deck (as always, Dear Reader, comment with a correction if you feel the urge to correct me on this.) As I mention in the update, Taigam, Ojutai Master and Ancestor Dragon played a big role in helping me break out of the humans-only idea.

2.) I GOT MAD LOVE FOR THE OL SKOO | Cutting Jade Statue and Lightning Reflexes from the roster was a mighty bummer. I greive the loss of those cards, but my pain is eased by having a few Peach Garden Oath on the bench. They're cheap to cast, they're exotic (Romance of the Three Kingdoms!? Is GUAN YU a PLANESWALKER? I have so many questions!!) and they pair well with prowess-- Monastery Mentor 's prowess in particular. If I could find a way to fit any other flavor-appropriate ol' skoo card in here, it would absolutely make my day.

3.) NARSET IS BASICALLY CHUN-LI WITHOUT THE BUNS | I'm sorry if that skews the way you look at Narset Transcendent , but someone was eventually going to compare her to Capcom's Kung Fu Queen--I merely... beat them to the punch? Allow me to help you arrive at my conclusion:

When playing Swift Kick , it's considered good etiquette to politely yell, "HAZANSHU!"
When playing Flying Crane Technique , it's important to holler, "SPINNING BIRD KICK!" If you're not loudly announcing the names of the moves as you are executing them, it's not kung fu. Ask anyone.
Spinning Bird Kick
When playing End Hostilities , it's absolutely crucial to bellow, "Oohh--KIKOSHO!!" (Please notice that I used two exclamation points--you really gotta put that sh-t on BLAST. Employ the larynx. Rattle the windows, if possible.)
Whenever you play Artful Maneuver , you don't have to scream anything at all (--but don't let me tell you how to run your guns. Go ahead and give a ear-piercing shriek should the urge seize you. It's your life.)
Wall Jump



I am the golden cobra. I am the steel wind. I am one with the universe, and my kung fu is strong. I'm not sad that I had to take out ancient, useless cards because--as long as I keep them in my heart--they will be with me forever. Although I did physically devour my Jade Statue to forever absorb its spirit.


- I may have missed some additional similarities between Narset and Chun-Li. This is concerning to me.


- Chun-Li sprites were straight-up jacked from the StreetFighterWiki. Hats off to them, they're a fine bunch of folks who have amassed a staggering amount of knowledge on one of the finest fighting game franchises.

- NumberoftheJon's deck inspired me to add a Bruce Lee reference to the ol' maybe pile: Hydromorph Guardian ! Bruce Lee once said that we gotta be like water. Are you going to argue with Bruce?


Updates Add

Some time ago--years?--it's all a blur. Back in the day, I massed together a pile of cards (mostly from the recently-released Khans of Tarkir) that would go on to become the deck we all know an love as "Black Lotus Style". I remember looking at the Jeskai stuff that had come out and grinning like a horse's ass with excitement for a new deck. I was completely innocent back then, and silly as a lark with my convictions about what the deck should look like. In those old days, I was obsessed with remaining "2RU TO THE OL' SKOO."

My deck was a pearl-handled engine of defeat. Oh sure, it had ancient gems like Lightning Reflexes and thematic flagships such as Serene Master and Wandering Champion. But facing that shivering jackal, Jay-Key (a sinister rogue I sometimes play against,) in magical combat will quickly reveal just how hollow my deck is.

There was a time when I was convinced that only human monks would make up this deck, and I had zero plans for adding any dragons (yes, despite kung fu being a firmly Chinese concept, that's right.) The printing of Taigam, Ojutai Master was very helpful in getting me to change my mind on that. When they came out with Ancestor Dragon, it had become embarrassing to think that dragons were ever forbidden in the first place.

As much as I love the art, the flavor text, and the sometimes ridiculously outdated power level of pre-modern cards... I had to come to terms with something today that has long terrified me: the removal of Jade Statue from this deck. Anyone who dares to get me started on the subject will tell you that I love the first couple dozen MtG expansion sets with a passion--but a kung-fu deck needs to be able to kick a little ass, and... today, in the middle of 2019... Jade Statue does not specificaly "kick ass." Removing this card is symbolic of letting go of the things that restrict me from being better.

And let's get real: I want this deck to be better! Why else would I be monologueing about my strategic decisions to strangers on the internet about it? Why else would I have invested in a play-set of Monastery Mentor!?

The land tweak is always the last step to updating my decks. I juggled the basic lands to better suit the new balance of casting costs, and now I'm raring to test it against the villainous Jay-Key! I pretty much despise removing shitty, ancient cards that I simply love from my decks, but I believe this deck is now stronger than it's ever been.


Top Ranked
  • Achieved #39 position overall 3 years ago
Date added 3 years
Last updated 1 year
Exclude colors BG

This deck is Casual legal.

Rarity (main - side)

8 - 0 Mythic Rares

14 - 0 Rares

18 - 0 Uncommons

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.72
Tokens Narset, 1/1 Monk
Folders Cool Modern, Modern Ideas, Uncategorized
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