MOOOOO! Minotaur Tribal Deck Tech – Conjured Currency Standard Edition Part 2
Those who have been following my series so far will know I have a bit of a thing for tribal decks, especially the obscure ones, so it will be little surprise that today I’m going to focus on the perpetually under-loved Minotaur tribe.
In Theros block we finally got a little bit of love for the tribe after about 4,000 years. [card]Rageblood Shaman[/card] will be at the heart of any Minotaur tribal deck built in the next forever with strong backups of [card]Kragma Warcaller[/card], [card]Ragemonger[/card] and [card]Felhide Petrifier[/card] all close behind.
The only one of these that is “bad” in multiples is the [card]Felhide Petrifier[/card] as deathtouch doesn’t stack like the other effects do, but it’s such a strong effect that we still want to have access to it, especially when we can combine that deathtouch with trample from a [card]Rageblood Shaman[/card]. Now that’s a Timmy’s wildest dream keyword combo (well, actually Akroma is a Timmy’s wildest dream keyword combo. But this ranks pretty high up there, next to the dream where my desk at work turned into candyfloss and I got to take the rest of the day off).
The first place we normally look for powerful cards is in the rare slot. It isn’t the guaranteed place to find them though, in this case we get only [card]Fellhide Spiritbinder[/card] and [card]Oracle of Bones[/card]. Whilst both are relatively powerful in their own way, neither really fits in with what we are wanting to do in the deck. The Spiritbinder is a little too slow and clunky to get going, whilst the [card]Oracle of Bones[/card] has a powerful effect, but is a little too narrow for what we’re trying to achieve.
I did seriously sit down and look at what options there are in Standard for game breaking spells that I could cast both on colour and off colour, and whilst [card]In Garruk’s Wake[/card] and [card]Worst Fears[/card] both seem like hilarious fun to drop on an unsuspecting opponent it just seems a little too contrived and convoluted to try to get that combo off, especially as we aren’t actually running all that many spells anyway. Unfortunately, as cool as they both seem, I think that we’re going to have to drop these two as they’re just that little bit too cute to include.
One of the biggest needs for a good, aggressive deck is a selection of strong one and two drops. Unfortunately, due to Wizards R and D liking minotaurs to be 2/3s or thereabouts it was difficult for them to create many cards in this cost range without them becoming too strong.
We did get a couple of offerings though in [card]Gnarled Scarhide[/card] and [card]Deathbellow Raider[/card]. Both of these suffer from the affliction of being generally unable to block, though each does this in their own colour’s way. They also provide a little bit of value in the late game as [card]Gnarled Scarhide[/card] can be bestowed either on to one of your own creatures to make an even bigger hitter or onto an opponent’s creature to prevent it from blocking to force through extra damage.
[card]Deathbellow Raider[/card]’s regeneration also allows it to keep swinging with abandon time after time without dying even into bigger foes, and then doesn’t seem suspicious when it suddenly attacks into a big thing you want to soften up pre-[card]Lightning Strike[/card] or [card]Searing Blood[/card]. It also means that against a more aware opponent you can sometimes Next Level them, tricking them into thinking that you have removal in hand to try and sneak through those extra few points of damage.
We’re now starting to get a little low on playable minotaurs. [card]Fanatic of Mogis[/card] is a fairly strong card that gives us good reach in a stalled board state. We’ll take some of those. Similarly, [card]Kragma Butcher[/card] is a creature that once it gets going is a strong source of damage output, but is not too dissimilar to [card]Minotaur Skullcleaver[/card]. It’s a toss up between these two for the last creature slot, so we’ll leave that for now and have a look at spells.
In terms of removal spells there are three that interest me the most in standard at the moment: [card]Lightning Strike[/card], [card]Bile Blight[/card] and [card]Searing Blood[/card].
The safest of these is [card]Lightning Strike[/card]. As a simple [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] variant, it doubles as both removal and reach and does everything we want it to.
[card]Searing Blood[/card] is a little harder to cast, but has the added bonus of being both removal and reach at the same time. Unfortunately, whilst it is great against creature heavy aggressive decks, against decks with larger creatures it can be a little bit of a blank. Nevertheless, these decks still tend to play Elvish Mystic and friends so I’m sure there’s something that we can use it on. It’s only really control decks that have fewer targets for this that we need to worry about.
[card]Bile Blight[/card] will be the most difficult to cast of the removal spells in our suite with its double black cost. It is, however, still an effect that I still want to have access to in order to deal with multiple creatures at the same time *coughs*Elspeth tokens*coughs*. This will be a one-of in the main deck, but I would certainly want access to a few more of these post-sideboard.
The final spell I would want access to is an [card]Overrun[/card] effect, in this case [card]Rollick of Abandon[/card]. This does double duty, acting as both a sweeper of sorts and maximising our damage output all in one card. We do have a couple of our own creatures which are a little weak to this card, which is why overall I think it is best to go for [card]Kragma Butcher[/card] over [card]Minotaur Skullcleaver[/card]. I like the Skullcleaver better when taken in a vacuum, but in context [card]Kragma Butcher[/card] has just that little bit more synergy with this spell in particular to warrant a place.
So having decided on our spells we’ll need to be able to cast them. Fortunately, our creature base is cheap as chips, so we can splash out a little bit here. A playset of [card]Bloodstained Mire[card]s is completely within our budget, as would be a set of [card]Temple of Malice[/card] too. However, I’m not sure I would want a full playset of these as we cannot afford to have too many enter-the-battlefield-tapped lands in the deck. Two Temples, five [card]Swamp[/card]s and twelve [card]Mountain[/card]s give us a good number of black sources for those cards that need them whilst maintaining our majoritatively red deck.
Our sideboard is a little more difficult to create. We will want a few ways of tweaking the removal suite, some method of creating more threats in longer games against control decks and a little bit of combo hate if your metagame is prone to those crafty [card]Jeskai Ascendancy[/card] decks.
For the removal suite we will want some more [card]Bile Blight[/card] and probably a couple of [card]Drown in Sorrow[/card]. [card]Ulcerate[/card] can also help remove reasonable sized creatures very efficiently, allowing us to both remove a blocker and deploy a threat in the same turn, something that is incredibly crucial in an aggressive deck. However, because it is a lot worse in longer games I didn’t want to main-deck it.
[card]Flurry of Horns[/card] gives us a good way to deploy multiple threats at once. It isn’t great, but it is certainly better in the longer game than some of our cheaper threats like [card]Kragma Butcher[/card] as it works well against spot removal in control decks.
Finally we come to our combo hate. [card]Despise[/card] really helps us here as a lot of combos at the moment are creature based, so keeping our opponent off creatures is a strong place to be in, and keeping our control opponent off planeswalkers is also a very big deal as we try and curve out. Obviously [card]Thoughtseize[/card] would be by far the preferred play in this slot but budgetary reasons keeps us off this unfortunately. [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card] also comes in as it is a great hoser against the decks that want to draw a lot of cards and our deck can play over the top of it rather easily.
This all brings us to this deck list:
[deck]4 Rageblood Shaman
4 Kragma Warcaller
4 Gnarled Scarhide
4 Deathbellow Raider
4 Fanatic of Mogis
3 Felhide Petrifier
3 Searing Blood
2 Kragma Butcher
2 Lightning Strike
2 Rollick of Abandon
1 Bile Blight
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Temple of Malice
3 Flurry of Horns
2 Eidolon of the Great Revel
2 Bile Blight
2 Drown in Sorrow[/deck]
All of this at the time of writing comes to £97.16 from Manaleak.com, which in terms of some of the decks I’ve come up with so far is very comfortably under the £100 limit.
Community Question: What is the best tribe in Magic of all time?
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Happy brewing and good luck!