Well, well, well. Our first Grand Prix of the season is almost upon us, a mere month after Worlds. Fresh off of rotation, we have a lot of unknown area to explore. One deck on my list to consider for the event and one I plan on testing more in the lead up is an Isis list reminiscent of the one I wrote about during spoiler season. We’ve gotten the full rules and spoilers since then, and I’ve had time to tweak the list some. Before we go any further, let’s look at what the list looks like now:
Welser to the Rescue During a crIsis
3 Heaven Sundering Dragon Palm
3 Scalding Breath
4 Fictitious Fire
1 Callous Blaze
3 High Speed
4 Black Spot Tiger
4 Majin Dark Elf
1 Reckless Flame Soldier
4 Frayla, Servant of Demon Fire
4 Shen Gongbao, Taoist of Kunlun
3 Rei, the Black Owl/Zero
3 Piggy, Hoelle’s Great Hero Pig
3 Welser, the Archmage of Fire
Since this is the next iteration of a brew I already talked about some, I wanted to talk about the updates I’ve made since the initial list.
On the spells side, I’ve trimmed the Heaven Thundering Strike and Life Severing Blade. I wanted to keep the list highly proactive, and there just isn’t a world where either card is that. To replace them, I added High Speed to the deck. It can combines with Welser to let us deal damage equal to nearly half our opponent’s starting life total.
With the addition of High Speed to the list, there was suddenly a use for a limited number of Strength counters, so I made room in the stones for Dragon Ore. Once Dragon Ore was in, Piggy started to look really appealing in the mix. At the worst, Piggy is a 500/700 with swiftness that enable Shen Gongbao, and he can either use Dragon Ore counters to pass out swiftness, or combine with them to awaken a High Speed. These changes, together with the existing Fraylas, combine to give us 10 ways to pass around swiftness. This upped our clock and streamlines our early plays.
As these changes cascaded, the Runes started functioning more and more as reach for the late game, so I decided to slim down the curve in the main deck, trying to deploy more cards early and keep the pressure up since Isis and her Runes were both covering and hogging the late game. This led to cutting the Sand Dragons to make room for another couple one drops, filling out our Tiger numbers and getting us a single Flame Soldier as our 9th one drop (Flame Soldier was chosen for the synergy with High Speed and Frayla).
Putting all this together we have a sleek, consistent main deck that applies early pressure, almost can’t run out of gas, and can be interactive if needed.
With our main deck updated, lets dig into the sideboard some. Now this will obviously change as the deck tests, and I get a better idea of exactly how it needs to shift in each match-up in Minnesota. That said, I think there are a couple important targeted cards to discuss, and a representation of a possible sideboard direction the deck can shift to.
First up, we have Shooting Star. This card is aimed squarely at Dino-Time Spinning Witch Decks, hoping to keep them off of their big Dinos, leaving us just needing to deal with Witch herself (we have a Precision J-Ruler) and her ancillary threats (which we’ll have to adapt to based on their choice of threat). Shooting Star also plays well with Frayla, Piggy, and High Speed, and he is resistant to 2 colors of removal.
Next up, we have Elixir’s Fighting Spirit. This is a tentative answer (I haven’t tested it yet, but I plan to) to Gill. Isis has precision and first strike, so she can actually threaten to kill Gill. Unless they’ve already blown their tutor for the turn though, Gill can find a pump spell and become a 1700/1700. Elixir’s Spirit puts Isis just above that, and remnant means they’ll need 2 cancels to stop it.
Last up, we have the rest of the sideboard, which is a mix of interaction and mid-range threats. While we are proactive and fairly low to the ground, our opponent’s removal will get better tailored after sideboarding, so we want the option to get more interactive. Black gives us both discard and hard removal, to handle big turnaround cards intended to let opponent’s stabilize after they interact with us. Anubis, which will also need vetting, raises our curve a little, but if we’re needing to interact, we’ll likely have made use of Sandstorm and Explosion, so we just need one run after that to make her a 5 drop massive body that should clear the board or remove 2 meatier threats.
Next week, I’ll be revisiting another list I’ve played before, that faced a rather hostile environment last format, but that I think has real potential in this one. If you have any comments, suggestions, or requests feel free to reach out to me at Citridon@outlook.com