Nicol Bolas, the Ravager Rules the Skies

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
The world belongs to Nicol Bolas, the Ravager. We just live in it.

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager didn’t quite win

We’ll talk a bunch about Nicol Bolas, both here and on the podcast… But it’s important to note that despite three appearances in the Top 8 (three-Bolas each time), Grixis finished second.

The top performing deck of the tournament was actually StOmPy! Already one of the strong archetypes last format, StOmPy added a tight little two-drop that is appearing as a four-of in almost every list:

Thorn Lieutenant
Thorn Lieutenant

Thorn Lieutenant is actually easier to cast than Elvish Warrior… But retains its 2/3 body. On top of that are a pair of powerful abilities. Imagine how cool the token-making ability might be with Blossoming Defense!

Thorn Lieutenant’s pump ability is deceptively relevant. Do you play it every game? No. Do you want to be in a position to use it in most games? Still probably not. But you’ll be happy it’s there sometimes! StOmPy gets tangled in a surprising number of games where its mana is plentiful but its drops are best suited for early game.

Great that Thorn Lieutenant can essentially suit himself up!

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager out-stripped other control cards

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager appeared in three decks at the recent Classic. All three decks played three copies. This put Bolas at a higher level of play, generally, than incumbent control finishers Torrential Gearhulk and The Scarab God.

For example, Todd Stevens placed fifth with:

  • 3 Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
  • 2 Torrential Gearhulk
  • 2 The Scarab God

There was a decent amount of variation among these decks, with no consensus around Arguel’s Blood Fast or Search for Azcanta. A possible sign of a sea change in the format? Four main-deck copies of Glint-Sleeve Siphoner in Jonathan Job’s second-place list. Who’s afraid of Goblin Chainwhirler?

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is four-of sometimes, too!

Mike’s favorite Bolas build was Trevor Mensinger’s 11th place deck.

Unlike the Top 8 decks, Trevor played a Dragon-centric Red Deck. He not only ran four copies of Nicol Bolas, but four Glorybringers and a pair of Demanding Dragon! Much of the rest of Trevor’s deck were typical Red Deck cards like Scrapheap Scrounger, Pia Nalaar, and Unlicensed Disintegration. The red-centered deck employed Sarkhan, Fireblood to great effect. Not only did the new planeswalker help deploy Dragons, but could discard Spit Flame for more and more card advantage!

For those few listeners who are interested in non-Dragon-centric topics, this podcast discusses when you should play Lyra Dawnbringer, Viashino Pyromancer, and Sifter Wurm. Check it out!

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