Hello. My name is Dave, and I am a Magiholic.
[Editor’s note: Hi, Dave!]
At almost 40 years old, I still collect and play with Magic cards. My relationship with Magic began over 20 years ago in high school, but I kicked it for four years, dumping all my Alpha and Beta cards in a garage sale. Sad, I know!
In college, I earned the wrong crowd’s favor and reentered a state of Magiholism, only this time I lived with a [card]mountain stronghold[/card] of guilt for letting my early and now extremely valuable collection go. I vowed never to feel that [card]chained to the rocks[/card] again. Here, I am freeing my [card]heart warden[/card] to intentionally spread my [card]exotic disease[/card]. Don’t listen to me. Save yourselves.
By the way, if you are getting rid of your collection, toss me a tweet; I know a guy.
Home Brews for Home
I am a kitchen-table Magic player. Ninety-nine percent of my play has been with two close friends and my brother. I play on MTGO from time to time, at FNM when I can, and I devour Magic-related media like Marshall Sutcliffe’s Limited and Constructed Resources podcasts, the Brainstorm Brewery podcast, and many columns and resources from across the Magic community. I don’t make any claims to being an expert deck builder or player, but I enjoy having fun with the game we all love, and I want to share that fun with the community.
For my first series I will create five decks based on the new mythic elder dragons. This week’s brew will be based on the blue and white [card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/card]. [card]Narset Transcendent[/card] has captured the attention of the entire Magic community. Patrick Chapin was high on the card during a recent Top Level Podcast. He mentioned an interaction with [card]Courser of Kruphix[/card] that got me thinking about Bant.
[deck title=Ojutai Advantage]
*4 Elvish Mystic
*4 Sylvan Caryatid
*4 Courser of Kruphix
*1 Dragonlord Dromoka
*1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death
*4 Dragonlord Ojutai
*4 Dig Through Time
*4 Silumgar’s Scorn
*3 Valorous Stance
*2 Narset Transcendent
*1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
*4 Flooded Strand
*4 Windswept Heath
*4 Haven of the Spirit Dragon
*4 Opulent Palace
*3 Mana Confluence
*1 Crucible of the Spirit Dragon
*3 End Hostilities
*3 Disdainful Stroke
*2 Murderous Cut
*2 Perilous Vault
*2 Reclamation Sage
*2 Dragonlord Dromoka
*1 Dragonlord Silumgar
[card]Courser of Kruphix[/card] shows us the top card of our library. It is a handy interaction when deciding whether to use [card]Narset Transcendent[/card]’s +1 pseudo card-draw ability. If you see a land, you get to dig to the next card with the Courser. If it is a creature you don’t need, you can sacrifice that fetch, shuffle your library and try again. Combined with Courser and the right deck, Narset essentially says, “+1: Draw a card.”
Flying [card]Anticipate[/card] of Death
When I started brewing around the interaction between Narset and Courser, I spent some time looking through the new dragons and discovered [card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/card]. He is a 5/4, has flying, has hexproof on the turn he is played, and provides a free [card]Anticipate[/card] every time he connects with a player. All this for five mana. I love him. Sure, it is a little bit “win more,” but if I can survive long enough to get this guy on the table, protect him while attacking, and connect with him, I bet I will win.
Courser is green and already a little rampy. If we add in a little more green ramp to push Ojutai out on turn four, then we are really talking. The deck I have in mind acts like a rampy green deck until I get Ojutai on the board, then I switch to a control role, protecting him with [card]Silumgar’s Scorn[/card] and [card]Dissolve[/card], dealing five in the air, and [card]Anticipate[/card]ing each turn. Once [card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/card] is out, I can chump on the ground with my ramp creatures to keep myself alive long enough to win in the air.
Digging for Answers
Narset allows the pilot to dig for counters or sideboarded answers, and Courser just speeds up that searching. I’ve included [card]Silumgar, the Drifting Death[/card] and [card]Dragonlord Dromoka[/card] as additional and surprising win conditions that are either hard to deal with (hexproof) or get me out of [card]Stoke the Flames[/card] range (lifelink). I can use [card]Dig Through Time[/card] to find one or both of these threats, if needed.
Bottom line: there is a lot of card draw and selection in this build. The pilot has a lot of options for finding answers.
Against a beatdown deck, getting the ramp out early to trade with their creatures is essential. Courser is great for stopping their early creatures and Caryatid is an untargetable blocker. Ramping out Ojutai is not essential against aggro. The best course of action is to trade creatures until Ojutai hits the board and then to have a counter up to protect the dragonlord from Stoke while attacking. Siding in another lifelinking dragon is a good plan as well as the [card]Disdainful Stroke[/card]s and [card]End Hostilities[/card]. If we can gain some life and knock out their ground force, this matchup should break in our favor.
When facing midrange, we don’t want to get overwhelmed. [card]Whisperwood Elemental[/card], [card]Siege Rhino[/card], [card]Genesis Hydra[/card], and [card]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/card] are current, popular examples in this strategy. Manifest is a special enemy putting uncounterable bodies on the field every turn, but face-down [card]Genesis Hydra[/card]s don’t do your opponents much good, and flipping up a [card]Siege Rhino[/card] isn’t especially threatening. Your opponents need to cast these monsters from their hand for best value. In the early turns, get out some ramp and blockers to prevent their 2/2s from gaining ground. Once your opponent has five mana open, you need to have a counter ready. Don’t worry about their [card]Voyaging Satyr[/card]s and [card]Sylvan Caryatid[/card]s. Worry instead about their [card]Whisperwood Elemental[/card]s. Side in the [card]Perilous Vault[/card]s and [card]End Hostilities[/card] to clear the board after they dump their hand to overwhelm you.
For control match-ups, dump the Caryatids and double down with [card]Disdainful Stroke[/card] and [card]Reclamation Sage[/card]. Getting creatures out early and countering their removal targeting your dragons is key. Courser is especially useful here as it does damage and keeps lands out of your draw step. [card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/card] can be freely cast with a counter at the ready for mass removal. Use the sage to remove their vaults before they can activate them and to deal those last few points of damage. [card]Dragonlord Dromoka[/card] is a nice surprise: an uncounterable threat, but without countermagic at the ready, he won’t last long on the board.
If you like controlling the pace of the game, drawing cards, and playing dragons as much as I do, try out the Ojutai Advantage deck at your next kitchen table event. I promise it will, at the very least, be fun!