This week, we’ll be doing a deep dive into one of those lists (and one of my favorite archetypes in Magic), Mardu Sacrifice. This upgrade guide will focus on a version of the deck that includes ten new cards, using five Common Wild Cards and five Uncommon Wild cards that help improve and focus the deck. We’ll also look at some rare and mythic upgrade options for the deck, plus see a version with no restrictions. Let’s get started!
The original, Free-to-Play version of the deck has sacrifice themes and synergies, but often functions closer to an aggro deck than a true Aristocrats deck. For reference, here’s the original list:
While our budget upgrades don’t quite push the deck fully into Aristocrats territory, you’ll find yourself relying much more on those sacrifice synergies and value creatures than a full-out aggro strategy. Let’s take a look at the upgraded list:
For this version of the deck we’ve added the following ten cards:
- Garrison Cat
- Satyr’s Cunning
- Bushmeat Poacher
- Serrated Scorpion
- Grim Initiate
- Cauldron Familiar
- Witch’s Oven
- Weaponize the Monsters
- Whisper, Blood Liturgist
- Bastion of Remembrance
The biggest addition is adding more sacrifice outlets. Weaponize the Monsters, Whisper, Blood Liturgist, and Bushmeat Poacher all function slightly differently, but offer value in the form of damage, recursion, and card-draw respectively. While Whisper and Bushmeat Poacher are not repeatable as long as you have the mana, they help shore up one of the major weaknesses of the deck: card advantage. Weaponize the Monsters helps you sneak additional damage over an opponent’s blockers, often turning 1 power tokens into two-damage bombs to finish the game.
The second additions are cheap creatures with valuable death triggers. Garrison Cat and Grim Initiate leave behind tokens, helping you either chain together sacrifice triggers or mitigate board wipes. Serrated Scorpion provides some additional damage and lifegain on death, which can help you survive against more aggressive decks. Satyr’s Cunning, while not strictly speaking a value creature, gives you a repeatable form of token generation that takes advantage of an ever-filling graveyard. Because the upgraded deck doesn’t have a huge amount of graveyard recursion, having this common card available makes sure your graveyard stays relevant throughout the game.
Bastion of Remembrance is another key addition the deck, providing an additional, much-needed, death trigger to the deck. That it’s also an enchantment means it’s slightly harder to remove than similar cards like Cruel Celebrant, Vindictive Vampire, and Judith, the Scourge Diva.
The final additions, Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven, should be familiar to anyone’s who has paid attention to Standard recently. This pair allows for a looping value engine that should never be underestimated, especially when other death engines are on the field. While having both out at the same time is ideal, Witch’s Oven on its own is also a sacrifice outlet that produces tokens you can also sacrifice. Combined with Mayhem Devil, this is a great way to ping down pesky creatures or damage your opponent. It’s also useful for soft countering some removal with additional effects and many adventure cards.
These 10 cards are a great start to upgrading your deck, but what about adding some rares and mythics?
First, let’s take a look at what is probably the best investment of a rare wild-card in any singleton format: Fabled Passage. This card is useful in nearly every deck you can create in this format. This is the card I advise you craft before any other rares. While it’s not the most exciting card in the world, it does wonders towards improving two and three-color mana bases, especially within these budget decks. For this deck, I recommend removing one mountain to make room for Fabled Passage. Your next rare Wild Cards for this deck should go towards building your Mardu land base, but these additions don’t need much in the way of explanation.
If your land base is covered, the most impactful rare card you can add to the deck is Woe Strider. This card provides a free, repeatable sacrifice outlet the deck sorely needs to move further into the realm of a true Aristocrats deck. That it provides card selection via scry, and is recurrable thanks to Escape is just icing on the cake.
For your first major mythic addition, there’s no better card than Liliana, Dreadhorde General. Liliana can be a win condition on her own, producing tokens, removing creatures, and has an ultimate that simply wipes out your opponent’s board while leaving yours entirely untouched. She also synergizes well with the sacrifice theme of the deck with her passive ability. Drawing a card every time one of your creatures dies (including tokens) gives you an incredible amount of card advantage you can use the turn she comes down. Simply put, there’s not really a better mythic card available for this deck.
If you find this deck fun, here are some additional cards at every rarity you should consider good inclusions in the deck.
- Lampad of Death’s Vigil
- Spark Reaper
- Honor the God-Pharaoh
- Dusk Legion Zealot
- Anax, Hardened in the Forge
- Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
- Call of the Death Dweller
- Devouring Hellion
- Dauntless Bodyguard
- Alseid of Life’s Bounty
- Cling to Dust
- Nightmare Shepherd
- Luminous Broodmoth
- Massacre Girl
- Murderous Rider
- Fiend Artisan
- Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
Finally, let’s take a look at an example of a fully fleshed out list with no Wild Card restrictions.
This is just one possibility for this deck. One great thing about this format is it allows for an incredible amount of innovation – let me know what your version of this deck looks like, or let me know if there are any great common or uncommon Wild Card additions you’d recommend.
Next week, we’ll take a deep dive into another of our F2P deck lists. Have a request for which one? Let me know in the comments!
See you in the Arena!