Well after finally thinking about Kenrith, the Returned King
after helping a member Jshark19
with his brew with a pillow-fort type style deck and then DirkGently
post about a political deck, I finally decided to put a build together.
The aim of the deck is to get the entire table into a battle of creatures. Noncreature spells are not welcome.
The deck is all creatures and all lands except for 7 noncreature spells.
At it's essence it's a Group Hug
deck for those playing Creatures
and it's a Prison/Lock
deck for those playing Noncreature
The way the deck works is that the early and mid game is used to setup an environment so that it's virtually impossible for your opponents to remove your creatures.
The end goal is that everyone is welcome to commit as many creatures as they can, and then it just becomes a battle between whose are the best.
It will be a Battle Royale on the most epic of scales. However we are playing a very pillow-fort style so that opponents are incentivize/forced into attacking each other.
Think of it like a tournament, where you are the King in the stands, watching with intent at how the others are battling it to the death.
Prison/Lock on Noncreature spells
The setup is that you are going to Noncreature Prison/Lock
opponents of board wipes eventually with Gaddock Teeg
and you have a plethora of protection around this game plan.
With Kenrith's the deck is geared to reanimate any of your Noncreature Prison/Lock
and protection creatures, making it very difficult to deal with your board. Opponents needing to fight their way to just get them into your graveyard will not be enough in most cases, as you can bounce back straight away with Kenrith reanimation.
Then add Shalai, Voice of Plenty
or Archetype of Endurance
The deck is well setup against targeted removal with Mother of Runes
providing additional protection.
This is normally enough to keep board wipes from occurring. However there are some boogeymen noncreature cards that you have to play around that get under Gaddock Teeg
, specifically Cyclonic Rift
and Toxic Deluge
. We have a number of ways to deal with them.
You have other ways to protect against creature removal strategies with indestructible Selfless Spirit
and Dauntless Escort
against heavy sacrifice effects.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
also serves a duel purpose of helping with casting creatures in opponents turns, but also into forcing them to cast their instants in their own main phases. This can make a big difference to how your opponents can try and deal with your board. For example they might be forced to try a Cyclonic Rift
during their own turn, and it's conceivable that you can deal with it.
How do you set this all up?
Tutors are an important part of getting this altogether and there are a number of creatures that allow you to do this.
, Imperial Recruiter
, Recruiter of the Guard
, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
, Captain Sisay
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
can search for Mother of Runes
or Sylvan Safekeeper
, Gaddock Teeg
, then I'd go Imperial Recruiter
to search for Seedborn Muse
has a plethora of choices, but she can get Gaddock Teeg
and Shalai, Voice of Plenty
to start off your Noncreature Prison/Lock
The only noncreature tutor we have is Survival of the Fittest
Survival of the Fittest
and Fauna Shaman
are particularly good because you can put creatures into your graveyard to setup with using Kenrith's reanimation ability.
In this way often you will use Survival of the Fittest
to filter through as many cards first before you get to the final creature you want to cast. So it might be that you spend a number of to get cards that you'd like access to in the future. This is where making sure you have a toolbox of creatures will really help.
There is also Hermit Druid
the can flip cards into your graveyard, giving you access to reanimate with Kenrith. There are 3 basics in the deck, so you should on most occasions put a number of cards into your graveyard with an activation. Two activation's should be enough most times. Of note sometimes you can use a fetch-land to get a basic instead when you look to use Hermit Druid
to insure a better graveyard count. If you mill your whole library it is possible to do an infinite combo, but I'll explain that a bit later.
is also a creature that can flip a number of cards into your graveyard. You can just keep spending to keep putting cards into your graveyard once you have gotten it into play the first time.
So what are we getting exactly?
As I say you really want Gaddock Teeg
with at least one thing to protect him. Sylvan Safekeeper
being potentially the best, just because it represents multiple times to protect him through turns. But Mother of Runes, Shalai, Voice of Plenty, Archetype of Endurance
will protect against targeted removal as well.
Mana is also an important element of being able to do multiple things to help with setting up and later on. There are a number of mana doubling creatures in the deck.
Keeper of Progenitus
and Zhur-Taa Ancient
works for both you and your opponents and can become part of the Group Hug
element to allow people to have more mana for casting their..creatures. However you need to have established a fairly good Noncreature Prison/Lock
before you want to be giving your opponents mana.
This is where Nikya of the Old Ways
shines, as she only gives you the bonus, and with only 7 noncreature spells in the deck, you don't give up much as far as her downside. If you can establish her early in the game, then you will have much better subsequent turns.
I've specifically kept away from Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
(after actually playing it in the deck for a few games) as it's too obnoxious and we don't want to prevent our opponents from casting their creatures. We thirst for battle!
Another creature that can help with Kenrith activation's is Biomancer's Familiar
is by far the best way to get multiple uses out of Kenrith or a number of other tap to activate creatures.
Further cards that do similar things are Wilderness Reclamation
You can see that this is an important part of the deck to get untapped lands for use in opponents turns, so that you can basically get pseudo extra turns.
This is where you might use Kenrith draw ability, or if you've established a graveyard, reanimate creature(s) each turn.
Of note Awakening
activates every players upkeep, so you can even tap your lands in your own turn to activate Kenrith abilities, and then you'll get to untap them again freeing up your mana for the rest of the turn. It even activates differently to Seedborn Muse
, so that you get double untap of your lands each players turn!! It's insane trust me.
Often if you have a Fauna Shaman
or Survival of the Fittest
in play then Seedborn Muse
is usually the best to get into play early, as you can then use your mana in opponents turns to get other key cards.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
is an obvious follow up, as it allows you to cast creatures during other opponents turns, ala Prophet of Kruphix
and Winding Canyons
are lands that can give you flash, allowing you to cast your creatures in opponents turns when you get to untap.
You want to get Kenrith, the Returned King
into play as soon as possible with this setup as any card put into your graveyard with Fauna Shaman
or Survival of the Fittest
you can use the ability to bring them into play.
You still want to be building up your protection and Noncreature Prison/Lock
pieces, so Planar Guide, Glen Elendra Archmage
and Archon of Valor's Reach
are examples of creatures that you can aim for.
Further cards you can look to solidify the Noncreature Prison/Lock
on noncreature spells are Lavinia, Azorius Renegade
and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
to keep storm like decks from doing anything too busted.
is a great card to put into play if you happen to draw it.
There is also a number of ways to draw cards, just to make sure you push some advantages to setup your game plan.
With over half the deck being creatures Beast Whisperer
and Chulane, Teller of Tales
are powerful engines to have online.
goes without saying and you can go into a sort of Group Hug
mode by using Kenrith draw ability to target an opponent, giving you 2 draws to go along with it.
has a wonderful synergy of when giving opponents creatures +1/+1 with Kenrithis ability to draw you cards. This is a great way to get opponents happy as well as backup your plans.
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
is a superstar in the deck as you have such a high creature count. Even if you didn't manage to meet the power stipulation, the creature will go to graveyard, allowing you to use Kenrith reanimation ability.
There are some toolbox removal creatures that you might need for some troublesome permanents for the general Battle Royale.
Bane of Progress
being the perfect card for removing all artifacts and enchantments, which we have very few of.
is targeted removal if needing that.
You might have noticed that there is no creature removal in the deck! This is exactly the Group Hug
environment we want to setup for Creatures
Monsters, it's your time to shine.
The only way we have of dealing with creatures is Gilded Drake
and Venser, Shaper Savant
. But we are not about that, and this leads us into the tournament itself...
Let the Games begin!
Once the game has become a creature battle ground, you have some pillow-fort cards to make sure that you are not dying to your opponents boards.
, Spike Weaver
, Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
, Blazing Archon
are all ways to prevent opponents attacking you.
At this stage we are going to turn much more into a Group Hug
deck. This is where you are happy to deploy cards like Keeper of Progenitus
and Zhur-Taa Ancient
to give everybody more mana to play with.
You get to a point in the game where you just have more mana than you know what to do with. With all the mana doublers and untap land cards you will be able to literally do whatever you want to do.
At this stage you are also happy for opponents to draw as many cards as they want, to try and make for an impressive creature board for them.
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
will not only allow this, but give incentive for opponents to not attack you as well.
Quite often once I have the Noncreature Prison/Lock
, I'll use Kenrith ability to give opponents' draws to help them out from being behind. We want them to commit creatures so that they can compete on the battle grounds.
We have Fumiko the Lowblood
to force the battle action.
is great for getting benefits of opponents ETB or other abilties.
Some final pieces to the overall puzzle is that we have Palinchron
as a way to get infinite mana with all the mana doublers.
is also a key card for getting additional uses out of particular creatures as you can put them straight back into play wih Kenrith reanimation.
That might be Bane of Progress, Venser, Shaper Savant, Spell Queller
You might even want to reset Archon of Valor's Reach
for another mode.
You can also go infinite with sacrificing Palinchron
to Viscera Seer
and use Kenrith reanimation to get it back into play. You'll only need 6 lands to get infinite mana this way.
Of note you can keep using indefinite counterspells with Voidmage Prodigy, Glen Elendra Archmage
with bringing them back with Kenrith reanimation ability.
Venser, Shaper Savant
and Spell Queller
can be sacrificed to Viscera Seer
for additional use with Kenrith reanimation ability.
is the ultimate in reducing the cost of Kenrith abilities. It also helps with activating Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
, Planar Guide
, Shalai, Voice of Plenty
, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
, Mirror-Mad Phantasm
Now it's not all plain sailing once you get a Noncreature Prison/Lock
on your opponents.
There are some creatures in the game that can kill multiple other creatures.
Giving creatures -1/-1 until end of turn are the hardest to deal with because they are not targeted effects.
, Doomwake Giant
, Noxious Ghoul
, Silumgar, the Drifting Death
, Archfiend of Ifnir
, Bane of the Living
, Kagemaro, First to Suffer
, Massacre Wurm
, Demon of Dark Schemes
, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Really the way to deal with these types of effects are either countering the effect with Voidmage Prodigy
or Venser, Shaper Savant
, but also you can counter the trigger with Nimble Obstructionist
Also with Planar Guide
you can protect every creature.
But the other way of dealing with these if it's far enough into the game, is that you can give creatures +1/+1 bonuses to prevent them from dying, even your opponents creatures.
A cycled Decree of Pain
is similar, but again you can play around it with enough +1/+1 counters.
Of note the easiest way to actually save your own creatures is via Shalai, Voice of Plenty
The destroy creatures Deathbringer Regent
, Wakening Sun's Avatar
, Sunblast Angel
are much easy to deal with your own Selfless Spirit
and Dauntless Escort
There are also a bunch of creatures that return them to hand; Aethersquall Ancient
, Awoken Horror
, Llawan, Cephalid Empress
, Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep
, Kederekt Leviathan
If you can save your own creatures, especially Kenrith with a healthy mana base (i.e. keep the mana doublers as well), then you can let your other creatures die and then just start reanimating them with Kenrith ability. Then you can look to also reanimate your opponents creatures so that the board is back to where it was pre board wipe.