Naya Combo-ish Deck Tech (Standard) by Jeremy Mansfield

Naya Combo-ish Deck Tech (Standard) by Jeremy Mansfield

What ho chaps! I’m still far too old and stiff for twerking, but I do have something more to write about: to whit, that amusingly off-the-wall Naya deck that helped me fluke my way into what was really rather a decent finish at the Dundee PTQ – I won’t say it’s good, but it’s sufficiently lucky that it might as well be, and it’s gotten better thanks to Born Of The Gods.


The basic combo, just to recap, is Ghor-Clan Rampager plus Boros Charm’s double-strike mode. That reliably works out at 14-16 damage, assuming you need to do the maths, and you often don’t (which is handy, since many Green players can’t count); more often, you simply kill your opponent out of nowhere.

Ghor-Clan Rampager Boros Charm Combo Banner

Alternatively, Boros Charm can Terminate a Planeswalker (or, indeed, your opponent) with extreme prejudice. Alternatively, it can counter Supreme Verdict. It’s been endorsed by Judge Dredd himself (even though he still refuses to father Aurelia’s children). Nuff said.

Judge Dredd vs Batman

Unfortunately, the rest of the time the deck has to play fair. That’s where you expect to have to put the work in, where you discover you were wrong (at least with the latest version) and, well, what the rest of this article is mostly about.

The Deck: Naya Aggro (Combo)

Let’s start with updates from Born Of The Gods, shall we..?

This is my Theros-based PTQ list that I took to Dundee:

Creatures (27)

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Fleecemane Lion
4 Voice of Resurgence
4 Witchstalker
4 Boon Satyr
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
2 Polukranos, World Eater
1 Sylvan Caryatid

Spells (10)

4 Domri Rade
3 Boros Charm
3 Selesnya Charm

Lands (23)

4 Sacred Foundry
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple Garden
3 Forest
4 Temple of Triumph
2 Temple of Abandon
2 Selesnya Guildgate [cringe]


4 Unflinching Courage
3 Shock
3 Mizzium Mortars
2 Xenagos, The Reveller
2 Rurik Thar, The Unbowed
1 Boros Charm (should have been main deck)

So, the first update isn’t just obvious, it’s AAAAARGH-I’VE-GONE-BLIND: Temple Of Plenty. I never want to see another Guildgate ever again, unless I’m playing some bad Pauper deck (or unless my opponent thinks the Maze’s End deck is more than just a metagame predator).

Xenagos, God Of Revels seems almost as obvious an update as Temple Of Plenty. Imagine being able to *cast* your Ghor-Clan Rampager, then have it effectively Bloodrush ITSELF…!!

Mind Blown banner

Okay, are you done? Now imagine tapping five mana to achieve, well, nothing. That’s what happens when you cast Nu-Xenagos. When I was winning, he helped me win even more; when I was losing, he helped me lose even more.


I have a couple of copies for tradesies, if anyone’s interested. Hardly ever used.

So, having fallen for the hype about Xenagos, (False) God Of Revels, I didn’t want to fall for the hype about Brimaz, King Of Oreskos (although I still bought three copies at £17.49 each, silly old fool that I am). I mean, when all was said and done, Brimaz was just a 3/4 dork for {WW1} that *might* make other dorks, wasn’t he? That wasn’t going to win games, was it?

Um, yes, actually. Yes, it was.

Brimaz went up in my estimation each time he hit the table. He’s still going up even now, and he’s still going up in price. I really hate feeling that £17.49 per copy was a bargain, but I suppose maybe I ought to try looking at it from the point of view of the trader who stiffed himself by selling them to me for a mere £17.49 per copy.

Or maybe not.

Mythics, eh…?

Seriously. Brimaz is no Pretender. You need to man up right now and minimise the extent to which you’re going to need to go into debt in order to buy your mandatory copies; two is acceptable but three is preferable and the correct number is probably four, even though I myself can’t get over the Legend Rule, silly old fool that I am.

Brimaz, King of Oreskos MTG Wallpaper

The above is a slight aside though. At the point when I took the deck down to Sheffield*, it hadn’t gained anything from the new set apart from better mana and two copies of Brimaz (the best I could hope for was that other archetypes hadn’t gained anything much either**). And the problem was that the Dundee list simply wasn’t designed to beat R/G Monsters, and that’s what put me out of contention in Round 4. I’d even cut the Selesnya Charms, on the basis that they aren’t really all that good unless you’re exiling huge creatures …

… such as, errr, Polukranos. With Ghor-Clan Rampager bloodrush, just for good measure.

(* which had a mind-bending 297 players competing for the slot; that’s almost 300 losers folks; and to think that we Scots had been *ecstatic* at getting 139 players at Dundee…)

(** does anyone else think this set should have been called Bored Of The Gods?)

Clearly, if this deck was going to win through broadly fair means, then it needed more power. Brimaz was a good start, but the rest of the deck was sorely lacking.

Take Voice Of Resurgence, for example: it’s really good if your opponent tries to crush your soul with Azorius Charm or attack with Rakdos Shred-Freaks, but it’s no Fleecemane Lion. It’s not even Watchwolf.

On that note, I’ve opened a special rescue centre for Watchwolves left destitute by the advent of Fleecemane Lion. First, we cut those cruel Spellsnares off them so they can eat properly; then, we put them in a special green trade binder so that they can live out their the rest of their natural lives in peace, on a diet of organically-bought-back Sprout Swarm tokens turned into sheep by a foil Ovinomancer.

Don’t delay. Save a Watchwolf today.

doge banner

Polukranos, World Eater, is good in R/G Monsters because it gives you something to do with all that mana generated by Xenagos, The Reveller. The leaner your strategy, however, the less good a 5/5 without trample becomes; and my bitter experience is that the Blue Devotion deck only ever taps out to cast Master Of Waves when Polukranos ISN’T in play.

As for playing Trained Armodons with hexproof… It may have been a genuinely good call for the Black Winter Of Dundee, but playing Witchstalker at Sheffield strongly suggested it was time for another sobering up session at the weekly Bad Decks Anonymous meeting.

AA meeting banner

[sombre music plays]

“Hello, my name is Jeremy Mansfield.”

“Hello Jeremy Mansfield.”

“I recently tried to win a 300-player PTQ with Trained Armodons in my main deck.”

“Knowing that you suck the dust back out of a dyson is the first step to getting better.”

“I’m thinking of playing a 2/4 for {GG1} instead.”

Courser of Kruphix Domi Rade Combo Banner

Courser of Kruphix is so deceptive that it almost doesn’t feel like a green card. It reminds me a little of Birds Of Paradise; how the hell anyone could think a 0/1 for {G} could be too good merely because it had flying still beats the snot out of me, even though I agree with them.

Courser of Kruphix makes Domri Rade *better* and, believe me, Domri Rade doesn’t need to be better. It fends off attackers beautifully (which this deck needs to do). Your opponent feels bad about wasting a removal spell on it, with the result that he doesn’t pull the trigger until it’s too late AND then goes on tilt about losing the game. And, as if all that wasn’t good enough, it doesn’t just combo with Domri Rade (or Chandra, Pyromaster) – it combos with Archangel Of Thune

Nice Mizzium Mortars.

Archangel of Thune Banner

I wasn’t getting anywhere by attacking for two with Voice Of Resurgence, and Naya decks never have good enough mana (plus I wanted to maximise my resilience to aggro decks). The bullet had to be bitten: I had to play Sylvan Caryatid in the Voice Of Resurgence slot; that would help me play Archangel Of Thune.


Creatures (28)

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Fleecemane Lion
3 Sylvan Caryatid
3 Brimaz, King Of Oreskos
Courser of Kruphix
4 Boon Satyr
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
3 Archangel Of Thune

Spells (9)

4 Boros Charm
1 Ajani, Caller Of the Pride (5th Boros Charm)
3 Domri Rade (see: Legend Rule)
1 Chandra, Pyromaster (4th Domri Rade)

Lands (23)

4 Sacred Foundry
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple Garden
4 Temple of Plenty
2 Temple of Triumph
2 Temple of Abandon
2 Forest
1 Plains


4 Selesnya Charm
3 Mizzium Mortars
2 Xenagos, The Reveller
2 Wasteland Viper
1 Chandra, Pyromaster


1 Courser Of Krufix
1 Archangel Of Thune
1 Domri Rade

This is the first deck I’ve ever played that truly feels like the 75-card deck that it actually is. Infinite testing time might ultimately have sorted out the numbers, but a mid-Magic crisis (thanks to a rewarding career as a materials scientist and a happy marriage) means that I don’t have infinite testing time. Instead, I’ve used my sideboard to ensure that all the key cards are present in multiples of four.

The only shaky numbers remaining are those for Brimaz, King Of Oreskos (see: Legend Rule) and Sylvan Caryatid (the third copy could realistically be the 24th land, except that that wouldn’t tap for all three of my colours).

Selesnya Charm banner

Against control decks

I tend to trim Archangels and two Caryatids for extra Planeswalkers and the 4th Courser (suits you sir).

Against aggro decks

I transform more or less altogether:

-4 Boros Charm
-1 Ajani, Caller Of The Pride
-4 Boon Satyr
-4 Ghor-Clan Rampager

+4 Selesnya Charm
+3 Mizzium Mortars
+1 Xenagos, The Reveller (to help cast Archangel and overload Mortars)
+1 Courser of Kruphix
+1 Archangel Of Thune
+2 Wasteland Viper
+1 Chandra, Pyromaster

(Note 1: Just shuffle in the entire sideboard, then take out Xenagos #2 and Domri #4 along with the combo package; that way, your opponent doesn’t have a clue what you’re doing)

(Note 2: Wasteland Viper either provides a frustratingly good early blocker, a lethal fighter for Domri’s -2 ability or a low-cost bloodrush)

(Note 3: Selesnya Charm is one of the best sideboard cards you can have against Blue Devotion, as it ‘destroys’ Domestication on Brimaz/Courser and exiles Thassa)

Xenagos, The Reveller banner

Against nasssty Black archetypes (which this deck was originally built to beat)

I tend to sideboard in a more basic removal package:-

-4 Boros Charm
-1 Ajani, Caller Of The Pride
-4 Boon Satyr
-1 Ghor-Clan Rampager

+3 Selesnya Charm (kills Desecration Demon)
+3 Mizzium Mortars (kills up to four Pack Rats*)
+2 Xenagos, The Reveller (‘kills’ Desecration Demon)
+1 Chandra, Pyromaster (kills Lifebane Zombie)
+1 Courser of Kruphix

(* or even more, if one of them is a 2/2 Mutavault)

The trick here is to kill their threats, then overwhelm them in the traditionally dumb fashion that green decks are known and loved for, grinning like the proverbial village idiot as you accidentally win. Archangel Of Thune does a surprisingly good job of racing Pack Rat.

power level banner

The power level of this updated version is incredible, to the point where it no longer feels fair even when it’s managing without the primary combo, due to all the secondary mini-combos, and it’s incredibly fun to play because of all the different possible lines of attack.

Personally, I doubt I will ever tire of giving a bloodrushed creature double strike, but the games are often very different in the way that they play themselves out (and, hence, correspondingly difficult for the opponent to sideboard against).

In particular, there have been one or two ‘random’ games where having double Archangel Of Thune in play has put SEVEN +1/+1 counters on my creatures over two turns: one from the first land drop, two from the second land drop, two more from attacking with the first Archangel and a final two from Domri Rade’s FIGHT ability … and, hey, let’s not forget the fifteen points of lifegain. Wheeeeee!!

Possibly the best comparison is the parallel, but much more aggressive, archetype recently touted by the great Brad Nelson. However, while an aggro deck should obviously be better than a midrange deck, I’d be worried about stumbling on the {RRGW} necessary to combo off in timely fashion (and I don’t understand why he isn’t playing Brimaz, King Of Oreskos!).

Moreover, reading between the lines, Brad doesn’t seem to feel terribly confident about a suspiciously large number of match-ups (possibly due to a simple lack of Brimaz…); my experience has taught me to equate that to a power level that isn’t quite high enough.

Conversely, I honestly have to say that I haven’t felt this confident about any deck in months, or even years. It feels like it’s managing to squeeze maximum synergetic value out of each card’s theoretical potential without having to run bad cards in order to do so, meaning that its topdecks are frankly absurd, and it’s often effectively drawing two extra cards per turn due to the Courser/Domri interaction, which aggro/midrange decks have no right to do.

Hobit Gold mine

I know my track record over the years has been mediocre at best, but this time I’ve stumbled and fallen down a gold mine. Go on, give the deck a try. Your inner Timmy will thank you, your inner Johnny will applaud you and your inner Spike might actually respect you as a person.

Regards to one and all,

Jeremy Mansfield
Your local Yavimaya Elder

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