Wednesday 4 July 2018

Mardu Warriors .dec

Rushblade CommanderBattlebond brought many new warrior tribal toys which I wanted to try out with the existing ones I have collected over the years. Long have I held onto my Obsidian Battle Axe in the hopes one day it would come good and that day is upon us now! This list is super fair, it is very much not a meta defining deck. Rather than use tribal synergies to propel a deck to doing broken things this list uses milder synergies to turn a motley collection of average cards into a viable cube deck. This list is a little lacking in disruptive tools and a little vulnerable to certain things, like more than one bomb or a bomb at the wrong time, or a mass removal spell. The deck has some very powerful synergies it can put together but they are generally only powerful when on curve and are fairly easily disrupted.

Despite my misgivings this list is competitive. It has some individually high powered cards and some impressive and even unusual synergies on the go. It is impressive when a deck tribal goes from non-viable to  decent in a single set. Really it is just three new cards. That being said, Tarkir block contributes more to the deck than Battlebond, it is just more of the quality filler rather than the more potent synergies What warriors lack as a tribe is not depth or power or even powerful synergies. It has enough of all those. What warriors lack as a tribe is a range of utility dorks. Tribal cube decks typically either struggle to cope with the diverse field due to being too linear or they simply don't have the type card density to make the synergy support for those cards worth it because they are running suitable numbers of interactive cards. This list is the former, I have crammed it full of warriors to take full advantage and it will do fairly well against slower combo decks as a result. It will however struggle against midrange and control decks a whole lot more.

One of the other problems with this list is that it is a bit haphazard in what it is doing. It makes some tokens and has some team buffs but it certainly isn't abusing that pairing, it is light at best. It has some things that give haste but few cards that scale really really well with that. The same is true of vigilance. There isn't one overriding plan on theme that can be pushed, just lots of little ones which frequently don't amount to all that much.

Bloodsoaked Champion25 Spells

Mardu Woe Reaper
Bloodsoaked Champion
Dragon Hunter
Tormented Hero

Vampire Lacerator
Zurgo Bellstriker
Cartouche of Solidarity
Lightning Bolt

Blood-Chin Rager
Chief of the Scale
Cheif of the Edge
Mindblade Render

Chief of the EdgeRushblade Commander
Metallic Mimic
Herald of Dromoka
Steward of Solidarity

Arashin the Foremost
Mardu Strike Leader
Najeela, the Blade-Blossom
Alesha, Who Smiles at Death

Obsidian Battle-Axe
Mardu Charm
Radient Destiny
Kolaghan's Command

Anguished Unmaking

15 Lands

Najeela, the Blade-BlossomArid Mesa
Marsh Flats
Bloodstain Mire


Godless Shrine
Blood Crypt
Sacred Foundry

City of Brass
Mana Confluence


Concealed Courtyard
Caves of Koilos
Isolated Chapel

This is the list of cards I considered using in the design and building process. This shows a reasonable depth within the tribe.

Blood-Chin RagerPath of Mettle
Start // Finish
Earthshaker Khenra
Spike jester
Ahn Crop
Battle Brawler
Blood-Chin Fanatic
Bloodrage Brawler
Devoted Crop Mate
Foundry Street Denizen
Goblin Rabblemaster
Brighthearth Banneret
Honoured Crop Captain
Ghitu Encampment
Lovisa Coldeyes
Mardu Hoardcheif
Oketra the True
Oketra's Monument
Raider's Spoils
Secure the Wastes

Arashin Foremost
The deck can be refined but it can't be made all that much better without no longer being a tribal warrior deck! The Cartouche is probably the first thing that should go. It might be quite powerful but it isn't really worth it on several fronts. This should be a slot used to help out with the lack of disruption or it should be a card that stands on its own at least. Radiant Destiny was only average, this list is sufficiently fragile that I wanted as many cards able to do things on their own as possible. A couple of the two drops feel like relatively easy cuts as well. Sadly you probably need to replace them with cards of the same CMC, this list is already a bit even on the CMC for my liking and would benefit from being bottom heavy. It is already dangerously even colour split on the one drops just to get the numbers up.

Obsidian Battle-AxeI don't think we need to look in detail at what the cards are doing. The deck is pretty straight forwards and most of the cards are self explanatory, they either are one of the few tribal warrior cards or they are one of the few good on theme warriors, or indeed they are a high powered interactive card attempting to be crutches for the deck. The three new additions are all very powerful. In theory you can even trigger the ability on Najeela in this build although that is more for the EDH community. Here you have probably done enough just churning out a few tokens. Mindblade Render is great but it is a little off theme in this deck, it is more midrange than aggro even though this is the best build to ensure early triggers.

The two standout cards in the deck were the Battle Axe and Arashin and not the newer stuff. Arashin could really pack a punch. I had a few games were I just did someone 10-14 damage out of nowhere. More evasion would really help this tribe but unless it is on a warrior like Blood-Chin Rager then it is going to be a pretty hard sell. Battle Axe just spelled Danger. It turns the weakest threats into serious ones, a 4/2 haste for 1 mana is quite scary! On any of the three drops you have yourself a very impressive card. The auto equip functionality removes basically all the things I dislike about equipment from the Axe. So yeah, a fairly simple aggro deck with some novel cards and novel interactions that isn't terrible! You try and curve out threats and you try and attack with them each turn and you hope that you get there with that plan!


  1. Another nice write-up. We really come to the same deck ideas when new sets arrive. I think the mechanical identity of the warrior tribe is 'attacking matters' which it shares with pirates. Focusing on this might lead to more special decks. I found that reconnaissance can work wonders in the right deck and you can also include Kari Zev, Lannery Storm and Ruin Raider. Another thought is to up the land count by one and add Zealous Conscripts. I built a version with more burn to finish the games. It was more of an attempt to try out Flames of Keld but the deck felt different from generic aggro. Brutal Hordechief and Fiery Confluence were headliners in that strategy.

    How was Rushblade Commander for you. Did it feel special?

    1. Yes and yes! You are spot on. That is exactly how I should build warriors, thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I also love the Reconnaissance tech, literally don't recall seeing that card before and it is a total blinder! Lots of fun will be had with that! I look forward to revisiting warriors with a bit more focus in their plan.

      Rushblade Commander was only OK and a little on the win more side. To be relevant in combat you either needed him so buffed up that any warrior is winning and any wrath is killing you. As such I would just rather have a less vulnerable way of gaining haste if that is what I am after. You still probably play the card but you shouldn't rely on it or build much around it. Just expect it to bait removal and be happy with that. On balance both the Chief cards (Edge/Scale) felt a bit better. Obsidian Axe felt a lot better!

  2. Really nice and useful article. I also read some articles from the archive. Unfortunately I couldn't find a filter option. It would be nice if could just look through your .dec articles to get some ideas for some archetypes. I am especially interested in your article about the zombie archetype really appealed to me. Thank you for your effort!

    1. Thanks for the support. You are right, I really should make some more searchable database. I have not because I have no real clue where to start and a technical noob. Also there is quite a variable best before date on articles. Some are timeless and a lot age, some to the point now of being counter helpful in part I am sure. Sorting through all that and making sense of it sounds like a gargantuan task!

      Apparently there is a clever way to use google to specifically search terms within a site and so you can use that function to navigate the blog a little less arduously!

    2. Thank you for the advise

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