Weekly Random Brew #5: Wandering Champion
In this series, I discuss the deckbuilding process while building casual 60-card decklists based on cards chosen by Scryfall's Random Card function. This is intended as a creative exercise, to give new players a sense of how deckbuilding works while giving more experienced players examples of the kinds of brewing challenges they might encounter in Limited formats. The decks in this series will not be optimized for competitive play, especially when the random seed is not an especially powerful card. My goal is to use the properties of those seeds to make interesting decks.
This week's seed is the Fate Reforged printing of Wandering Champion.
Wandering Champion is a small creature with more power than toughness, which makes it a good choice for an aggressive deck. It also has an ability that triggers when it does damage to a player, but only if I control a blue or red permanent, so I'm going to want to include blue or red creatures and ways to make it hard to block. The triggered ability lets me rummage, so I want other ways to make sure I have cards in hand, and a win condition I want to rummage for.
The card is from Fate Reforged, which means it'll combine well with cards from both Khans of Tarkir and Dragons of Tarkir. That's an especially interesting constraint, since it limits the pool of cards I'm working with from something overwhelming to something useful.
This printing of Wandering Monk was at uncommon, but it was reprinted at common in Ultimate Masters. So I can technically build a Pauper deck around it, but I'm going to try a different set of creative constraints: since Wandering Champion is in Jeskai colors (white, red, and blue), I'm going to make a red/white Jeskai-themed deck using cards from Fate Reforged and Khans of Tarkir and a blue/white Ojutai themed deck using cards from Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir.
Let's start with the Jeskai deck. My goal is to stay on flavor and mostly use cards with Jeskai watermarks, but that also means I have to be aware of the high frequency of prowess as an ability of Jeskai-flavored cards and build around it a little. To fit the top-heavy aggressive theme of Wandering Champion, I'm choosing cheap evasive creatures like Aven Skirmisher and cards with more power than toughness like Bloodfire Enforcers. Master of Pearls' morph ability could also be useful, but I'm leaving it out for now because it costs more mana than I'm willing to pay. Monastery Mentor, on the other hand, will be extremely useful if I can build around it, since it has the potential to make lots of attackers; but just in case I can't, I'm going to include Dragon Bell Monk instead because its vigilance makes me feel safer attacking more aggressively.
Choosing Noncreature Spells
Since Wandering Champion focuses on permanents, I'm going to try to make as many as possible of the noncreature spells in this deck enchantments or artifacts. I'm looking specifically for things that draw me cards in addition to providing other benefits to my creatures, like Sage's Reverie and Pressure Point. I also think it would be fun to make Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker the top of my curve, since on the turn I cast him, he can attack as an indestructible flying 4/4.
Tarkir block gives me access to one cycle of two-colored lands, the ones that gain you one life when they enter the battlefield. It also includes a cycle of fetch lands, but those are probably too slow for this deck, so I'm going to stick with the on-color gain land and basics.
Another option: White/Blue
In the Dragons of Tarkir timeline, the dragonlord Ojutai took control of the Jeskai and steered them away from the red part of their color identity, leaving them as just blue and white. My second deck represents this by using the blue version of Wandering Champion's ability instead of the red version. It'll be a little slower than the red deck, since I want to try using some more expensive Ojutai cards like Sage-Eye Avengers, but the goal is still to sift through your deck to find evasive creatures to win with. I also get to include Jeskai Runemark, which has an ability trigger like Wandering Champion, rewarding me for using the colors I'm already using.
Let us know what other decklists you come up with for this seed, or if there's a card you want us to try building around. Happy brewing!