Reached Masters with a combination of this deck and Xenan Bounce (Masters)
at the end of August 2019.
Like many others, I thought the latest promo card (Garden of Omens
) was one of the best promos we have seen so far and enabled spell-heavy strategies. While I have seen many variants of Jennev and Skycrag on the ladder, I actually never met another player going the Ixtun route. The idea behind the deck is to go unitless and bury your opponent under sheer card advantage backed up by efficient sweepers. The deck also requires very little influence. If you discount singletons (see below) and the market all you ever need is 2P2J1F, which makes it very consistent. The deck has more 3-ofs, 2ofs and even singletons than your usual deck, but given the sheer amount of cards you draw, I believe this actually helps by having varied tooling for different situations.
Card Choices - Card Draw & Selection
Ixtun provides you with a myriad of options to create card advantage, I decided to go with a relatively simple set of draw spells: Strategize
, Wisdom of the Elders
and Honor of Claws
. While I see the value that Xo and Hurler provide with their fate triggers, I have enough fodder for Strategize and Honor as is. Next to that, Eilyn's Favor
provides much-needed Aegis while fixing your power while Re-read
acts as a pseudo-tutor late in game, allowing you to replay one of your previously played spells
Card Choices - Removal
Ixtun just has too many options. I have no idea if this is the best configuration, but it works amazingly against both aggro and midrange with varied tooling. Especially the Aggro matchup is a lot better than other control decks between Torch
and Stormhalt Knife Card Choices - Other Calderan Cradle
provides a steady stream of decent creatures, which usually eat removal but sometimes help you win games. It also lures opponents to waste their early market draws on relic removal, which actually works to your advantage.
is hard to remove while also allowing you to keep additional copies of Cradle and Channel in the market.
is probably the most amazing card in this deck, helping you to stabilize against aggro, as a great removal option for Aegis-threats and, more often than not, as your main win condition once your opponent's hand is exhausted
Garden of Omens
generates a great string of spells and reduces cost, enabling you to draw more cards, remove more creatures and generate more dragons. Also, Channel the Tempest
is a pretty good card when it costs 8 (or even 7). Who knew?
Garden also adds another synergy to the deck, as it enables single cards to shine. I tried a lot of different cards and ultimately settled on three:
Channel the Tempest
is amazing as a wincon, as it refills your hand and enables you to grind further. Channel into Re-Read is probably my second most-common win condition, next to just beating somebody down with a Knife.
provides additional burn damage, both against creatures as well as your opponent. It being cheaper than Channel (5 if your garden survived) helps as well.
End of the Story
becomes a harsh rule with warp when grabbed with garden.
The market Swift Refusal
gives you a tiny chance against combo. However, most combo decks have tools to gain their pieces back (i.e. Excavate for the Diogo combo), or have redundant tools (i.e. hardcasting Vara for re-animator) so don't get your hopes up.
is your emergency removal option
is what I consider a flex spot. He did win me one or two games by simply being a card-drawing machine on an empty board, but there may be better options out there. I tried lots of cards in this spot and honestly none of them really convinced me.
Channel and Cradle are additional copies and are also the two cards I most often drew.
How to play
Always try to start with hands with anti-aggro tools in them. This deck has a good winrate against aggro, but it can be overrun when you don't get your tools early. Other than that, always prioritize card drawing and treat your life total as a resource. Be wary of charging creatures (holding a Defiance in hand can do wonders), and don't rush. There is almost no deck that I have encountered that can actually outgrind you (Jennev Peaks is the one deck that seems to have the tools). Losses often come from games where I rushed into the offensive while my oppenent still had resources.
Matchup wise, the deck is really good against traditional Aggro and midrange, with decent matchups in the control mirror. The one archetype that it consistently loses to is combo, especially Reanimator and the Diogo combo. Fortunately I did not encounter either too often when I climbed.