Hexproof
5C Standard Elder Dragons - A Legendary Gimmick

Joshua Vanderwall | 27 Mar 2015 16:00
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Enchantments

2x Temur Ascendancy

Tinkering in Five Colors

One of my all-time favorite Magic cards is definitely Birds of Paradise, not because of what it does on its own, but because of what it allows you to do. Options and decisions make up the very core of what's fun about Magic, and there's a variety of Green creatures that open up your decision tree. Though Birds of Paradise isn't Standard right now, Sylvan Caryatid is, and Shaman of the Forgotten Ways, their beefed up, creature-only counterpart is, too! With Elder Dragons making a comeback in Dragons of Tarkir, and me being an absolute sucker for gimmicky decks, I thought it would be a good time to try my hand, once again, at a five-color gimmick deck. The working title is simply "Zomg Dragons."

Nearly any five-color deck will require a ton of mana fixing to ensure you have the right color of mana to cast whichever variety of colored spells you might have in hand. With the tri-land cycle, like Frontier Bivouac, we've got some land-based options, but I've always favored mana dorks for color fixing, so I'm going with a heavy Green base. Between Sylvan Caryatid, Shaman of the Forgotten Ways, and Rattleclaw Mystic, we've got a very reasonable amount of mana fixing in creature form. Throwing in a playset of Haven of the Spirit Dragon and its much more ponderous cousin, Crucible of the Spirit Dragon, we'll have some Dragon-specific color fixing options that don't die to Bile Blight.

Sarkhan Unbroken

Due to the restrictions on both of the Spirit Dragon lands, as well as Shaman of the Forgotten Ways, it seems unrealistic to cram too many non-Creature spells into the deck. We've got a very short list of these inclusions, starting with Temur Ascendancy. Giving all your Dragons Haste is pretty powerful, but more than that, turning nearly every Dragon into a cantrip is a little ridiculous. I've included a pair of Planeswalkers as well, namely the new Sarkhan Unbroken as well as Ajani, Mentor of Heroes. Ajani buffs our mana dorks to provide a little defense, while both 'walkers offer up turn-after-turn card advantage. You should rarely whiff with Ajani's -2, and the mana bonus from Sarkhan's +1 will assist our color fixing ambitions.

That just leaves the Dragons, which comprise one third of the deck, and a large majority of the creature base. Given the restrictions on our lands, we definitely want to focus on Dragons, and the utility offered by the robust selection of Dragons in Standard right now make this a not-unreasonable plan of attack. Given that this is an Elder Dragon gimmick deck, I've included one of each of the Dragonlords from Dragons of Tarkir, and a second copy of Dragonlord Dromoka and Dragonlor Ojutai. Dromoka is one of my favorite blockers available in Standard right now, at 5/7 with Lifelink, so he'll keep us alive while we amass our Dragon army. Ojutai is just one more means of card advantage. Since we're hoping to unload half or so of our hand early in the form of lands and mana creatures, we'll definitely want to be able to restock our hand in the mid-to-late game.

I'm actually torn on the inclusion of Arashin Sovereign. His resilience is incredibly, but committing to seven mana every turn is a bit rough. Sometimes he'll be great, no doubt, but whether he's as good as I want him to be remains to be seen. Belltoll Dragon is another iffy inclusion, but as a one-of, and given his Morph proc, he's definitely a worthy contender. I wanted some kind of sweeper effect, and Harbinger of the Hunt can take down weenies on the ground or in the air. There's a strong chance of some collateral damage, but the option is there. The two Icefall Regent are doing their best Dungeon Geist impression, with a Frost Titan kicker. He'll lock down the opponent's biggest threat, and he's hard to target without having a glut of mana.

Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury, Silumgar, the Drifting Death, Dromoka, the Eternal, and Atarka, World Render all offer abilities whenever a Dragon attacks. Given how many Dragons we're running, all four of them stand to offer some serious benefit. Silumgar, in particular, offers a secondary sweeper option, since we could conceivably attack with three or so Dragons, which will certainly help clear the way for future attacks. The Double Strike from Atarka will end games abruptly if it's not answered immediately, especially in conjunction with Dromoka's Bolster. Even if Atarka doesn't have Haste from Ascendancy, you'll basically just need to attack with two other Dragons to have lethal damage.


Two Stormbreath Dragons offer a slightly more aggressive plan, should the opportunity arise. The Monstrosity might be hard to activate sometimes, since so much of our mana is restricted use, but his Protection From White will keep him on the board in many situations. Finally, the Shieldhide Dragon inclusion doubles as both a buff for our Dragon army, as well as a surprise Lifelink blocker, which should help keep us alive long enough to rally our forces.

Lacking anything by way of utility spells will certainly cause a lot of headaches for Zomg Dragons, and a bad draw from the deck will be really bad. A good draw, on the other hand, will be really good. Variance is integral to Magic, but I tend to doubt that something with as much variance as Zomg Dragons will ever be a contender in competitive play. That is, of course, not to say that someone won't build a stellar five-color Dragons deck that is competitive, but this is not it. Being a Johnny at heart, I'm okay with losing a few matches, just as long as those that I win, I do so in spectacular fashion, and Zomg Dragons definitely offers that opportunity.

What's your favorite card or cycle from Dragons of Tarkir? What kind of decks will you be brewing with the new cards?

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