Artisan Brewery: Jumping the Gun, Are We?

Nick Lambert1715007600

Hello, brewers, and welcome once more to the Artisan Brewery! It's great to be back and ready to build some fresh, new nonsense. We took another challenge this edition, this time from our good friend and owner of Infinitokens, Meghan. We put out the call on Twitter for some fun deck challenges, and Meghan dropped us an art-themed one: the deck is built all with cards that feature jumping within their art. We decided that was absolutely up our alley, so we immediately got to work. For any readers who don't know this, scryfall has an art tag you can use by typing "art:topic" in the search box. For example, "art:jumping" or arttag:leaping...

The first obstacle we face while building something this niche or specific is making sure we pick a commander we can put enough cards with to actually build a Commander deck. When we use "jumping" or "leaping" as our criteria for the initial search, we end up with seven possible commanders. Captain Sisay just flat out won't be useful as a commander for the theme, Legolas, Master Archer locks us into just one color, and Rhys, the Redeemed gives us a bad elf deck, if we're lucky. The options where we truly have the most potential potential with Kellan, the Fae-Blooded, Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes, Elmar, Ulvenwald Informant or Kibo, Uktabi Prince. Each of these gives us some fun options, and many could be included in the actual deck body for some of the others, so which do we choose? Why not the one that can give us the easiest value? That's right, reader, it's Elmar with whom we'll leap into action. And yes, there will be more puns like that, so deal with it.

Leaping Onto the Main Stage!

So we've got ourselves a commander; now what? Now, instead of going our normal route of mechanic or purpose categorization, we'll do it by card type. First up, the creatures that really get this joint hopping. While the challenge premise we're building is light-hearted, we do want the deck to actually do something; as such, we can't just snag any random creature that's jumping or leaping in its art. Though, that's likely going to happen at least a bit to fill some slots. Even so, we want to do our best to put something at least halfway playable in the list. Something like, say, Doomskar Warrior to give us card advantage, or Frontier Warmonger to make our attacks that much more useful. Raging Battle Mouse, which are definitely not words we'd ever think to say in a sentence outside of this game, does some serious double duty of acting as a pseudo-ramp and creature boost.

Even though we decided that it was limited as a commander for this prompt, Legolas, Master Archer is still a good card overall, and looks darn good. As discussed earlier, Kibo, Uktabi Prince slides into the ninety-nine quite nicely, so we'll go ahead and throw him in as well. Heck, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, one of the most busted cards of tournament play, fits in with the original artwork. No, it's not as broken in EDH as it is in Modern, but we should still add it to the list. Wildfire Devils can help us jump into our opponents' graveyards, or even our own, for some quality (or not) spells, and Balduvian Berserker gets to force our opponents to make tough blocking decisions.

Alongside the good creatures, we can use some of the decent, or slightly above decent, creatures leaping and frollicking. Arena Athlete and Frenzied Goblin both have ways to prevent creatures from blocking, albeit with different conditions, and Bogardan Dragonheart turns into an emergency flier or sacrifice outlet. We get some temporary ramp attached to a halfway decent body with Jewel Thief, a creature replacing itself in Furnace Gremlin, and incidental damage attached to Dreamstalker Manticore. Huntmaster of the Fells has a lot of potential to give us chump blockers and little potshots of bonus damage, and Krosan Tusker is a card draw/land fetch on one heaping helping of pork (thanks, boar subtype!).

After the good and the not too bad, we come to the very… odd, or just art-centric. The other creatures we could put into the deck will basically just fill slots or exist as blockers, whether that be due to their ability not being good, or being very limited. An excellent example of the latter is the pork-loving Carefree Swinemaster, which isn't exactly a bad card, but it's a slightly high tax for a 2/2 that we can't use to block right away. Elven Riders is another perfect illustration of this sub-set, with a pretty good evasion ability attached to a weirdly high mana value for a 3/3. Oddly enough, it's not the weirdest creature we can add here. That honor likely goes to Quagnoth for two reasons: first, it's one of only 3 creatures with split second, and the only one of those without flash. Second, just look at it. Really, look at that thing and honestly say it's not weird looking. It just sort of flings you off the edge of comfort, doesn't it?

Jump-Scares Aren't Real Horror!

Reader, you might not believe that in these colors and with this art prompt, there are only a handful of viable instants at all. However, we at the Artisan Brewery ask that you suspend such fixed notions, and instead either believe it as you see it here, or look it up yourself and prove us wrong. In this case, a handful equals exactly seven that we can add without being bitten square on the buttocks for it. One reason we picked this commander is that card draw is going to be a challenge with this criteria, so we will be very grateful that this specific printing of Thrill of Possibility exists. In a similarly card-advantageous vein, Kindred Summons could help us boost our board presence, seeing as we have a solid number of goblins. Sprout Swarm may start off slowly for us, but with all the random little friends we'll be making along the way, it'll bungee right back up to downright affordable in no time. Just when we're coming in hot for combat and it looks like the blocks won't go our way, we could leap right ahead with Headlong Rush, or Rush of Adrenaline. And we definitely need some removal, so using Plummet makes a sad sort of sense, as does Magmatic Sinkhole.

Jump Jump, Jump Around

Mere sentences ago, gentle reader, you were tasked to suspend your suspension of disbelief. If you did as requested, please keep doing so, as we come now to the sorcery section; and there's more than the instants. Once you've picked your jaw up from the floor, we'll start talking about the whopping eleven of them.

No, go ahead. Take your time.


Oh, ready now? Great! We'll start this section the same way we ended the last one: with removal! Unfortunately, this is another limited sub-genre of cards for us. Creeping Mold is a very versatile removal spell, and it's worth noting that the text doesn't say "non-creature." So, do with that info what you will. Giving us both tokens and a large artifact kill option, Release the Gremlins feels like a windmill slam for us. We have lucky access to Earthquake, which is pretty much the only board wipe available for us. But, hey, we'll take what we can get. Ramp is also limited, but the ever-classic Rampant Growth thankfully has an art variant perfect for us.

The rest of our sorceries are dedicated to either giving us a stronger board presence, or making that board presence better in combat. If we educate ourselves through the lesson of Basic Conjuration is a pseudo-tutor here, and a touch of life gain never hurt anyone. Well, not unless Tainted Remedy was out, but how often does that happen? In an almost identical vein is Thunderous Debut, letting us dig even deeper and potentially cheating two fresh bodies into play. Tooth and Nail does essentially the same thing, but lets us truly search for one more mana than digging with Thunderous Debut.

To truly send our combat steps soaring above and beyond the competition, we may want to use some one-shots like Thrive, Fit of Rage, or Hunter's Prowess. And to give ourselves the extra combat that may be the difference between winning and losing, Relentless Assault is a phenomenal addition for us.

Gotta be Ahead by Leaps and Bounds

Our final subsets cover the enchantments, artifacts, and planeswalker of which we can take the most advantage. A fun, not commonly seen option for us is Impromptu Raid, letting us potentially get past some tough mana values. Impact Tremors falls into the same type of incidental damage as Dreamstalker Manticore, but with a broader range. We can help filter some potentially awkward draws with Preferred Selection, and get extra spells whenever we play one of our forty lands with Valakut Exploration. Lure and Familiar Ground both help us manipulate our opponents' blocking choices, and Shiny Impetus can force a strong commander or just troublesome attacker for our opponents to leave us the heck alone. And much like life gain, a bit of ramp never hurt anyone. It's possible we'll want to make our creatures stronger on a more permanent basis than with our sorceries above, so Blanchwood Armor and Shiv's Embrace seem like fantastic additions.

There are absolutely going to be times where we'll need to make our heavier hitters more evasive, so Cloak of the Bat and Zephyr Boots are low mana value, low equip cost choices for the deck. We mentioned our one planeswalker option in the beginning of this journey: Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes will fit in perfectly. Not only will it give us repeated damage from bringing in a creature every turn with Impact Tremors, it lets us slam extra damage directly into the face of an opponent.

Well, We've Gotta Land Sometime, Right?

Oddly enough, we have exactly the same reach with non-basic lands as we do artifacts with this prompt; that is to say, two viable choices are available. The green side of Cragcrown Pathway features a little friend leaping between the boughs, with the red side having one hopping between some peaks or ledges. This specific Evolving Wilds has an impressively brave leap of faith. Otherwise it's all basics, and we couldn't find any that show jumps or leaps. Though, you could always just add your own art to the cards, so who knows?

Alrighty, folks, that brings us to the end of our trampoline days. If you have any other fun art challenges, or deck challenges at all, please feel free to share them! If you've done any of your own, tell us what they were and how the deck turned out! Until next time!

Jumping Elmar
Approximate Total Cost: