FABLES FROM KITCHEN TABLES – LET’S BUILD PART 19

Greetings, readers! This week marks the first entry in my once-a-year take on my Let’s Build series where I take submissions from you, the readers, to help get a second opinion on the deckbuilding process. For those still unaware of the Let’s Build series, it’s my article series highlighting the deckbuilding process for a specific general or strategy, going over card choices, the pros and cons of the strategy, and a general idea of how the process works.

I kick off Let’s Build month with a request from Eric Birkner, who’s building his own list and would like a second opinion. The list is that of everyone’s favorite five-color artifact legend, Reaper King.

Reaper King is an interesting, yet polarizing general. He has a wild best-case/worst-case scenario, in that he provides an incredibly powerful effect, yet he relies on your draws, and those draws have to be creatures of an arguably inferior tribe. It can sometimes have a pretty absurd draw where it just drowns the board in Vindicates, but you can sometimes find you’re just holding a bunch of dead cards that do nothing because Reaper King isn’t on the board.

This submission actually took some thought, but a rather interesting idea buzzed around my head that I’m going to try. If it works, it works; in theory, it has a better worst-case than most lists that just jam every Scarecrow ever printed into the deck. However, before I spoil the surprise, let’s go over the pros and cons of Reaper King, as with most of the recent Let’s Build articles:

+Repeatable removal will always be very powerful. Unrestricted repeatable removal is impossible to ignore.
+Incredibly easy to tutor if put in your library; you’re running all five colors and 2/3 of the game’s tutors can find this thing
+Has 6 power for 5 mana in addition to being a lord, something that goes over most people’s heads; in addition to being a powerful engine of removal, he can pressure most board states quite nicely
+A rather flexible general despite needing a fair amount of build-around; can go with a Maze’s End package, a Doubling Season package or a God package
+Incredibly powerful when ahead; things like blink engines and Prophet of Kruphix go a long way in being able to gain an oppressive grip on the table

-Extremely dependent on the general to function; counterspells and tuck spells are not your friends
-Extremely easy to shut down with Wrath of God, Nevermore and Torpor Orb
-Scarecrows are arguably an absolutely awful tribe, as very few of them actually do anything worthwhile on their own
-Avacyn, Angel of Hope is not very nice

Of course, being in five-colors, all of the problems Reaper King innately has are rather easy to solve, but the biggest problem I’ve found Reaper King to have is that the quality of Scarecrows in Magic are arguably pitiful, but one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s not terribly difficult to just find the one you need and then make 5 copies of it. Thus, the route I’ve decided to take with Reaper King is a Clone shell.

CHOOSING YOUR GENERAL

Reaper King, Magic, Shadowmoor

Reaper King is a wonderful king of a less-than-wonderful tribe, making the most out of rather subpar creatures by making them all Vindicate when they enter the battlefield. It’s an attractive feature when you think of it objectively just on Reaper King itself, but then you realize the Scarecrows of the game are:

-Painter’s Servant (b& lol)
-Scarecrone
-Grim Poppet
-Scuttlemutt
-Heap Doll
-Pili-Pala
-Lurebound Scarecrow
-Tatterkite
-Scrapbasket
-One-Eyed Scarecrow
-Scarecrow
-Lockjaw Snapper
-Fang Skulkin
-Wicker Warcrawler
-Straw Soldiers
-Watchwing Scarecrow
-Wingrattle Scarecrow
-Shell Skulkin
-Rattleblaze Scarecrow
-Antler Skulkin
-Thornwatch Scarecrow
-Blazethorn Scarecrow
-Jawbone Skulkin
-Chainbreaker
-Hoof Skulkin

While there’s an okay number of them, the problem remains that you can’t just blindly shove them all in the deck and call it a day; your card quality suffers as a result, and they do absolutely nothing without Reaper King on the board. Any good EDH deck will be able to use its general as a catalyst, not a crutch, so we’ll take the useful Scarecrows, as well as the various useful Changeling creatures, and run them as our Scarecrows. Aside from that, we’ll double up on our decent Scarecrows by running Clones that copy them, rather than run the subpar Scarecrows, to maximize card value. At worst, the bad Scarecrow creatures are pitiful combat bodies. At worst, Clones are the best creature on the board. I already know which I’d rather have.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THE DECK?

The gist of a Reaper King strategy is to spam the board with creatures that blow things up. Your early game plan is generally to try and setup a position where you can cast Reaper King safely, using Mother of Runes and Lightning Greaves to protect it while using Grand Abolisher, Vexing Shusher and Cavern of Souls to ensure it resolves through countermagic.

After you’ve gotten Reaper King safely ushered to the battlefield, your goal is to start using the quality generated by it to slowly build an incremental advantage. You can cast a piddly Crow or two and start blowing up problem permanents, while tutoring something like Sakashima the Impostor, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas or Garruk, Caller of Beasts to ensure you have continuous gas to maintain momentum.

Your endgame plan involves you basically blowing up the entire board by locking opponents out of the game with Ghostway and Eternal Witness. In situations where you just want to be an absolutely awful person, you can use Ghostway to blink your army, and have all your Clone effects copy Reaper King. When they come in, sure, they’ll all die to the legend rule (if you control an even amount of Reaper Kings, anyway), but they’ll also all see each other, and blow up an astronomical amount of permanents. Just to be sure, though, keep this plan safe by having Darksteel Ingot or a God on standby so you don’t wind up blowing up your own things; Reaper King’s trigger isn’t a may ability, so you don’t have a choice but to blow things up.

CARD CHOICES

The first suite of spells we introduce are the most important; the Scarecrows! While there aren’t very many good ones, there are enough passable effects you’ll want that warrant inclusion.

In-
Scarecrone
Scuttlemutt
Heap Doll
Wingrattle Scarecrow
Antler Skulkin
Jawbone Skulkin
Chameleon Colossus
Mirror Entity
Taurean Mauler
Shapesharer
Adaptive Automaton

Next, the Clones!

In-
Body Double
Dack’s Duplicate
Evil Twin
Phantasmal Image
Phyrexian Metamorph
Progenitor Mimic
Sakashima the Impostor
Sakashima’s Student
Rite of Replication
Spitting Image
Stolen Identity
Twinflame

The next suite of spells we go over are those aimed at protecting the plan or ensuring it sticks. As the deck relies on its general to function, getting it out and protecting it is something we have to always be mindful of.

In-
Mother of Runes
Grand Abolisher
Vexing Shusher
Leonin Abunas
Ghostway
Ghostly Flicker
Faith’s Reward
Lightning Greaves
Crystal Shard

Next, our card advantage – ramp, card draw, and engines the deck can use to great efficiency.

In-
Eternal Witness
Archaeomancer
Erebos, God of the Dead
Keranos, God of Storms
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Tooth and Nail
Worldly Tutor
Darksteel Ingot
Sol Ring
Chromatic Lantern
Fellwar Stone
Trading Post
Maelstrom Nexus
Mirari’s Wake
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Tezzeret the Seeker
Xenagos, the Reveler
Garruk, Caller of Beasts

Lastly for spells, the rest of the goodstuff!

In-
Deadeye Navigator
Brago, King Eternal
Prophet of Kruphix
Athreos, God of Passage
Goblin Welder
Living Death
Austere Command
All is Dust
Cyclonic Rift
Swords to Plowshares
Venser, the Sojourner

As far as lands go, it’s a much simpler 5-color manabase than I’m used to, though it’s very familiar if you’ve read my other 5-color articles. As usual when it comes to manabases, we begin with the color enablers.

In-
Maze’s End
Command Tower
Reflecting Pool
Exotic Orchard
Crystal Quarry
Azorius Guildgate
Dimir Guildgate
Rakdos Guildgate
Gruul Guildgate
Selesnya Guildgate
Orzhov Guildgate
Izzet Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
Boros Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Seaside Citadel
Arcane Sanctum
Crumbling Necropolis
Savage Lands
Jungle Shrine
Terramorphic Expanse
Evolving Wilds

Next, we introduce the utility nonbasics.

In-
Cavern of Souls
Homeward Path
Academy Ruins

And last, but not least, the basics!

In-
2 Plains
2 Islands
2 Swamps
2 Mountains
2 Forests

And with that, we’ve arrived at the final product!

Scareclone EDH

General (1)
Creatures (33)
Sorceries (11)
Instants (7)
Artifacts (8)
Enchantments (3)
Planeswalkers (6)
Basic Lands (10)
Nonbasic Lands (18)

CLOSING THOUGHTS

And there you have it, my take on Reaper King! I wanted to try an angle that hasn’t really been explored yet, so this was my attempt. Hope you enjoy, Eric! Though I have a few submissions saved up, I’m still up to hearing ideas, so please submit your thoughts. Thanks, and see you next week!
~L

Check out my previous articles here:

Adapting to EDH Metagames:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1177
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1252
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1317
Part 4 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1370
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1454

Building on a Budget:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1522

Choose Your Champion:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1594
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1868
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2539

Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Weekend:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1810

Guidance:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2548

Hits & Misses of:
Dragon’s Maze -http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1870
Innistrad - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2586

M14 –  http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2295
Theros - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2508
Born of the Gods - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2800
Journey into Nyx - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3101
M15 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3174

Legen-Wait for It-Dary:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2264

Let’s Build:
Part 1 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1606
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1595
Part 3 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2214
Part 4 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2278
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2303
Part 6 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2310
Part 7 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2323
Part 8 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2336
Part 9 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2341
Part 10 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2525
Part 11 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2617
Part 12 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2691
Part 13 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2822
Part 14 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2933
Part 15 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3086
Part 16 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3134
Part 17 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3153
Part 18 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3181

Let’s Talk Conspiracy:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3138

Let’s Talk Journey into Nyx:
Part 1 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3015
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3030

Let’s Talk M14:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2228

Let’s Talk M15:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3159
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3167

Let’s Talk Theros:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2362
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2378

Oh My God:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3118

Painting a Target:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2631

Perspective:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3188

Planeswalking and You:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2184 

Resource Management:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2200

Stacking Up Commander 2013:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2561

The Slippery Slope:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2440

The Top Soldiers Of:
Azorius - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2640
Bant - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2907
Boros – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2854
Dimir - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2653
Esper - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2957
Five-Color - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3156
Golgari - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2760
Grixis – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2984
Gruul - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2669
Izzet- http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2710
Jund - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3124
Naya - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3146
Orzhov - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2681
Rakdos - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2663
Selesnya - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2677
Simic - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2900

Trial & Error:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2089