The Scoop: Casual Contemplation – It’s Raining Drakes

Sorry the post is a little late…December can be a rather busy time.

As I have admitted to before, I have a disease…which leads me to infatuation for cards based solely on their art. The trap has led to many wasted nights trying to force a deck to work. One of my favorite pieces of art in all of Magic is Knight of Obligation. It’s absolutely gorgeous. But the 4cmc is too harsh in most Extort decks, and the card is practically useless in any other concept.

I remember when this card’s art was leaked before the card…everyone was expecting a mythic…what we got was a letdown.

With that context in mind, you can understand why I worked so hard to get Talrand, Sky Summoner to function. The art is awesome, and it produces more awesome art. Unfortunately, the end result runs into problems that many of my decks suffer from, namely the mana curve and/or the engine having a high cmc. But…if the deck gets going, it is a lot of fun to play, and stare at.

Talrand, Sky Summoner


  • Creatures
    • Talrand, Sky Summoner x4
    • Jori En, Ruin Diver x4
  • Instants and Sorceries
    • Opt x4
    • Mizzium Skin x4
    • Rapid Hybridization x3
    • Turn//Burn x3
    • Artful Dodge x3
    • Hands of Binding x3
    • Voidwalk x3
    • Hidden Strings x3
    • Talrand’s Invocation x2
  • Lands
    • Izzet Guildgate x4
    • Island x15
    • Mountain x5

This deck is similar in structure to my Thing in the Ice deck, in that it is based around a chunk of creatures that feed off the instants and sorceries. However, this deck focuses on Cipher to keep the spells flowing at the cost of an increased mana curve.

The deck works best when Talrand is out. He helps create an army of drakes to do the Ciphering. Jori En helps with hand advantage, but also, admittedly, fits the artwork trend here.

The style of the Ixalan dinos shares some similarities with these beautiful beasts.

The fuel is in the instants and sorceries. Opt is for cleaning the deck, Mizzium Skin protects Talrand, Rapid Hybridization and Turn//Burn are the cheap removal options, Artful Dodge keeps Ciphered creatures triggering, and Hands of Binding, Voidwalk, and Hidden Strings work as the control to keep battlefields in your favor. Talrand’s Invocation is more-so for flavor, but it always helps to drop 3 2/2 flyers for the cost of 2.

Ideal Scenario

  1. (Island) Opt
  2. (Mountain) Opt
  3. (Island) Jori En
  4. (Island) Talrand
  5. (Island) Rapid Hybridization, 1 2/2 Drake Token with Flying ETB, Turn//Burn, 2 Drake Tokens ETB, draw a card.
  6. (Island) Mizzium Skin Overloaded, 1 Drake Token ETB, Hidden Strings, untap 2 Islands, Cipher to a Drake Token, 1 Drake Token ETB, Hands of Binding, tap target creature, Cipher to a Drake Token, draw a card, 1 Drake Token ETB, Artful Dodge targeting Ciphered Drake, 1 Drake Token ETB, Flashback Artful Dodge targeting other Ciphered Drake, 1 Drake Token ETB, swing with 3 2/2 Drake Tokens, Ciphered Hidden Strings triggered, untap two Islands, 1 Drake Token ETB, Ciphered Hands of Binding triggered, tap target creature, 1 Drake Token ETB.
  7. Swing for lethal.

This deck didn’t get going till TURN 5. That’s a death sentence against a lot of decks, especially in one-on-one, but this deck gets out of hand QUICK, as you can see, by turn 6. Turns 1-5 can also be used for control and removal when necessary, even sacrificing a Cipher card can be worth it in the right circumstances.

I don’t sugar coat my decks. This one has major flaws, the most obvious culprit being the cog in the engine sits at 4cmc. But, the deck is a lot of fun when Talrand makes his presence known. The drakes quickly get out of hand and the Ciphering makes your turn frustratingly long for your opponent. I don’t always like to overwhelm my opponent, but when I do, I like it when it’s feathery, colorful drakes doing the job.


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