March 08 2016 Tuesday at 12:49 PM

CGB's Inbox - March 8th, 2016

I get messages on NGA and emails all the time to ask me questions, share decklists or just banter about Duels.  You've all been warned, if I feel like it I will post them on my blog!

-Start Message-

Mowie666 -

Hi Covert,

I've watched/commented on some of your youtube stuff. Just a question, I watched a lot of your Crats footage yesterday (didn't get through the whole 6 hours though :), and I'm wondering why you think Jund Crats is the better of your Crats decks.

I played it a lot last night, and just wondering how do you get around not being able to make Husk unblockable (like with Whirler Rogue or Rogue's passage)? I feel that that limits the power of the deck, especially without many high-end creatures. I just re-read your post and it sounds like you like the mana base a bit better than the Sultai version, but in the comments that you've also continued the search with more removal and tempo like clutch of currents.

I scoured the interwebs to see what 'Standard' decks people are making with Husks and the only cards I see mentioned sometimes that you haven't looked at are Rot Shamblers, Despoiler of Souls and Akoum Firebird (for flashback potential). Thoughts on those?"

My reply -

I guess it depends which videos you are watching and when. I don't set a list, or my opinion on what is best, in stone, and I recommend readers/viewers also try to avoid setting something in stone. One of the amazing things about Magic is that Jund Crats can be the best deck one week, and Sultai can be the better deck the following week, all without any new cards being introduced. It depends on what you expect to play.

If you expect to play against Ramp, unblockability isn't a necessity because the opponent usually only has so many blockers like Gatecreepers, or some big monster you can Act of Treason. It also isn't a requirement to combo-kill them with Husk, you can just grind them out. Once you have a big board, they have to block Husk every turn. A great pro Magic player once wrote about an aristocrats deck, and they said that if you play the deck it is very likely you are not attacking with Husk as often as you should. If you keep attacking with Husk, it isn't long before the opponent has to block every turn, and you get to trade Blisterpods for big monsters. You keep making those trades until the opponent overextends or commits, and then you blow them out with Act of Treason or Abomination. If you want some unblockability though, toss Chandra's Ignition in the list. It is something I am testing and I have enjoyed it a lot.

Regardless, I don't play against ramp nearly as much these days as I play against red aggro, elves, allies and thopters. Against those decks, you want Sultai Crats. The Whirler Rogue unblockability is a big deal in those games because you are in racing situations, not grinding ones. Also, the tap-down skills of Bounding Krasis and Drowner of Hope have pulled me out of tough situations and helped create an unblocked Husk without the use of the Rogue.

As for the cards you mentioned -

Rot Shambler -
This could use another look in the Chandra's Ignition version of Jund Crats because it could benefit from another big creature. I don't generally like these growth effects because Shambler would die as easily to Fiery Impulse as it could to Reprisal, and in either case there is no benefit to the death such as you would get from Blisterpod, and there is no EtB benefit, like with Elvish Visionary.

Despoiler of Souls -
I have used this card off and on. I love that you can get it back in response to the Smothering Abomination upkeep trigger and then sacrifice it. In my experience, you have to choose between this card and Shadows of the Past. Despoiler eats the yard too fast so you can never activate Shadows. Double black on turn two in a three color deck is also a pain, and casting this guy anytime after turn two isn't nearly as impressive. The deck is only the aggressor against Ramp and Control, the rest of the time you don't really want a creature that can't block.

Akoum Firebird -
If you have nothing better to do with six mana than flashback a 3/3 flyer, you are probably doing something wrong with this deck. Crats wants to become hyperactive and stay hyperactive. Expensive cards had better have a big effect on the board-state, or else you are better off casting multiple small cards that add up to a bigger effect, amplified by Husk and Smothering Abomination. Sometimes you flood out, but being able to get a 3/3 flyer probably won't save that game. If you are not flooding out, you will have much better things to do with your mana.

Thanks for the questions :)