Tuesday 1 September 2020
Lurrus Auras .dec
I did a battle of the companions series where I built a showcase deck for each of the new offerings and battled them off against each other. This was the winner of the event - a Lurrus deck making use of aura synergies. It was very low to the ground giving it great tempo and early option density yet it had more longevity and gas than most other decks, both in the mini meta I made and compared to aura decks in general resulting in an impressive and scary list.
I have done many a Bogle and aura based deck in the past and none have done so well as this iteration by quite a significant margin. The issue with aura decks I have had in the past is that you are vulnerable to disruption and blowout plays. The Bogle variation remedies this issue rather well but comes with issues of its own as you have to trim the card draw elements which makes you very all in and linear. Bad draws or one of a few specific cards from your opponent can just ruin your day. This build was less all in on the synergies and contained more generically good cards making it more robust all round. Value was not tied just to cards like Sram but comes in a variety of places. There is also plenty of protection effects in this list too giving it a little bit of that Bogle feel. This list was played prior to the rules change on companions however it should still play very well with the new rules and I would likely only change one card as a result of that.
Lurrus of the Dream Den
Alseid of Life's Bounty
Giver of Runes
Sram, Senior Edificer
Aphemia the Cacophony
All that Glitters
Eidolon of Obstruction
Kor Spirit Dancer
I would likely also cut Lingering Souls despite the high power of the card. This is a synergy deck and the more things you have that work with those synergies the better everything is. I really only played the Linger as it felt like I was cheating a bit on the Lurrus requirements! The card is not bad by any means but I feel like we can do better in a synergy list.
The bestow cards were really impressive and ensured you had threats or creature buffs as the game required. They also empowered the various cards firing off your enchantment count. While not very powerful they just fired on every synergy cylinder and gave a healthy portion of options.
Baubles not only have their own synergy with Lurrus in this deck, they can buff up All that Glitters too! In reality what makes them so good is that your smaller deck means your best synergy cards are lining up more often. Small decks are best in general but they are most best in a deck like this.
The Hateful Eidolon was exceptional all round. It was a fine body for starters, lifelink, reasonable stats for a one drop and an enchantment to boot! It helped protect your own investments but also made the black removal auras a really strong inclusion. Mire's Grasp and Dead Weight did huge work and really gave this deck an interactive tempo edge it has not enjoyed in the Bant coloured aura lists I have mostly run in the past. Sure, they have some enchantment flavoured removal spells but they are typically clunky or don't hit all the synergies. The black versions are cheap and clean and generally impressed. They are doubly brutal with Lurrus as they can take out two things in one turn. Auras that generally go straight to the graveyard are a surprisingly nice thing to have in this list.
So, we have Lurrus for value, we have Hateful Eidolon for value, we have Sram and Spirit Dancer for a lot of value, that should be enough right? Probably but why not have more when it is on theme or just suitable and busted. Dark Confidant is well known for being great and works at his best in a deck like this cheap proactive one. Aphemia gives a bit of indirect card advantage too and has enough overlap synergies with enchantments and attacking to seem worth it.
With all these value creatures and investments we need a lot of protection and that is exactly what this list provides. We have some totem armour and protection givers in our aura package which is a nice start. Ward is doubly nice as you can just bounce it to trigger draws with Sram and Spiritdancer if you fancy. Alseid of Life's Bounty is a great addition as it protects and helps force through damage. It is also a cheap saccable dork with the enchantment tag to ensure it too is firing on as many of those synergy cylinders as possible. Karametra's Blessing gives another angle for protection that affords interaction and tempo and makes life super hard for your opponent. A worthy addition for one of the few cards that isn't a Lurrus recursion target or an enchantment or a creature. Then we just have a Giver or Runes and a Selfless Spirit to round out the ranks on protection. Spirit is fairly obnoxious with Lurrus. Both are just good agro cards in general.
This looks heavy handed on draw and protection for an aggressive deck but when you are so synergy heavy you want to be maximising interaction between your cards. This means having a lot of them, which you do by keeping them in play and drawing more. Everything works better with more stuff and so we want as much as we can squeeze in without compromising the deck. We have a lot but they all work with what we are doing and so they are not costing us to include them. A Thoughtsieize would obviously be a great inclusion in this deck being a good card and helping with the protection side of things. It however is not a dork that can be enchanted and attack nor is it a thing we can recur with Lurrus nor is it an aura that triggers our draw effects and so including it would be more of a cost to our plan. I still don't think it would be bad, it might be better than the Anguished Unmaking which is in the same spot. Just trying to illustrate a point. Brain Maggot is clearly less powerful but the cost of running it is lower and so it is a happy include.
I would have liked to run On Thin Ice but with such a low land count I didn't have the requisite basics. I could rejig the build for snow and pack an Arcum's Astrolabe and that would be a fine tweak. The black auras seem to provide enough dork control with better synergies overall than On Thin Ice and other white options. Cartouche of Solidarity was the next buff aura I would have played. It is very good Edict protection but this list wasn't scared of Edicts like a Bogles list often is and so it was serving the least important role. I would probably play a Hopeful Eidolon before it if I were on the look out for more auras. Thrull Retainer and Mogis' Favour are the other two aura options looking like they have a chance at making this list.
Other options for the list include Kytheon, Adanto Vanguard, and Seasoned Hallowblade as good cheap aggressive dorks that offer good bodies to slap auras on. Vanguard is especially nice as you have quite a lot of lifegain in this list. I looked at some cute cards like Orzhov Charm, Necrogen Spellbomb, Transcendant Envoy, Underworld Coinsmith, and Legion's Landing. They all do a thing I quite like and have a bit of synergy but in practice they don't do enough on either front to merit inclusion. I just get excited when unusual and cool cards look viable! I looked at some heroic cards but they are somewhat win more. You want auras on guys that will live, not on ones that give you small perks when things go without hitch. That is the same reason I didn't bother with any artifact lands either.
This was sufficiently good fun and potent that I imagine it would scale up well into an EDH deck. You could keep Lurrus as a companion but that would be pretty limiting on the power of the deck. I would be more inclined to have him as the commander or dip into a 3rd colour and have Alela or an Abzan commander. You could have some fun and push some extra synergies with Doran! A lot of new tools have arrived with and since Theros Beyond Death and with them aura best decks have significantly leveled up to the point where they are viable from constructed formats all the way to commander! I love a deck that has a lot of raw power (read - the ability to draw and play lots of cards) and plays a slightly different game to normal without being uninteractive. I love it when those decks are option rich and competitive. This ticked all those boxes. Whatever format you are into you can give this, or something very like it, a good old whirl.