The Many Homes of Jaddi Offshoot

Jaddi Offshoot
Patrick Chapin and Michael J. Flores go over three new-ish and cool Standard decks, two of which feature Battle for Zendikar uncommon Jaddi Offshoot.

Jaddi Offshoot is proving to be a powerful main deck and sideboard card; it is awesome with both fetchlands and green acceleration cards a la Explosive Vegegation.

“If I had a four year old sister I think this is the mana base that she would make.”
-Patrick Chapin

Patrick was talking about the mana base of this sweet deck:

Four-color Rally the Ancestors by Pascal Maynard

4 Grim Haruspex
4 Nantuko Husk
4 Zulaport Cutthroat

4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
3 Sidisi’s Faithful

4 Catacomb Sifter

4 Collected Company
4 Elvish Visionary

4 Rally the Ancestors

2 Canopy Vista
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Flooded Strand
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Plains
4 Polluted Delta
1 Prairie Stream
2 Sunken Hollow
1 Swamp
4 Windswept Heath

4 Jaddi Offshoot
4 Murderous Cut
3 Dispel
2 Arashin Cleric
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Merciless Executioner

There are lots of interesting things to talk about with this deck, but the most aggressive has to be the mana base! That is right friends / neighbors / listeners… There are four Evolving Wilds and one of each of the four different basic lands in this deck!

The mechanics of this deck are a little bit different from other Rally the Ancestors decks. Unlike some of the earlier Rally decks, Maynard’s build plays the mighty Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (arguably the single strongest card in Standard) to start setting up the Rally the Ancestors graveyard action.

Ultimately the plan is to use Nantuko Husk to get mad card advantage with Grim Haruspex and potentially grind the opponent to death with Zulaport Cutthroat.

Grim Haruspex
Every time you sacrifice a creature to Nantuko Husk, Grim Haruspex allows you to draw a card. You can get some of them back later with Rally the Ancestors (or conversely, maybe you were going to lose all of them anyway due to already coming back via Rally the Ancestors).

Zulaport Cutthroat
Zulaport Cutthroat might look like it’s carrying a chainsaw, but with Nantuko Husk sacrifices, it is more like a machine gun.

Important to note in Maynard’s sideboard: Jaddi Offshoot

Of the three awesome new-ish decks, Jake Mondello’s Eldrazi ramp may be the most exciting.

Eldrazi Ramp by Jake Mondello

4 Hangarback Walker
3 Hedron Archive
4 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
3 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

2 Dragonlord Atarka

4 Explosive Vegetation
4 Jaddi Offshoot
4 Map the Wastes
3 Nissa’s Pilgrimage
4 Sylvan Scrying

1 Blighted Woodland
14 Forest
1 Haven of the Spirit Dragon
1 Mountain
4 Sanctum of Ugin
4 Shrine of the Forsaken Gods

1 Ruin Processor
1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
2 Whisperwood Elemental
2 Winds of Qal Sisma
3 Rending Volley
4 Seismic Rupture

Mondello’s Eldrazi Ramp might look like a sledgehammer… But it is actually a very elegant and subtly built version.

One of the things that is most important about this deck is what is missing. There are no instants! Map the Wastes might look like the oddball, but including it as a four-of… But the fact that so many decks play Dispel means that Mondello will win some games for free because even G/W tokens plays Dispel main 🙂

Another card type that is missing is enchantment. Mondello played many four mana accelerator cards like Explosive Vegetation and Hedron Archive; but From Beyond and Frontier Siege are both comparable… But they are enchantments. Because Mondello had none, he was less vulnerable to Dromoka’s Command.

That said, Map the Wastes is actually pretty good in this deck. Adding Bolster to an acceleration card isn’t too bad when you run four copies of Jaddi Offsoot main!

And speaking of Jaddi Offshoot, it has lots of text in this deck. While Mondello had no fetchlands for double triggers, he did have tons of cards that either find or put into play multiple lands with a single card.




Esper Control by Reid Duke

2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

2 Murderous Cut
1 Painful Truths
2 Ultimate Price

2 Anticipate
4 Clash of Wills
4 Dig Through Time
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Negate
1 Scatter to the Winds

4 Ojutai’s Command
1 Silumgar’s Command
2 Utter End

1 Arashin Cleric
2 Planar Outburst

1 Bloodstained Mire
4 Flooded Strand
1 Haven of the Spirit Dragon
4 Island
2 Mage-Ring Network
1 Plains
4 Polluted Delta
3 Prairie Stream
2 Shambling Vent
3 Sunken Hollow
1 Swamp
1 Windswept Heath

2 Duress
1 Foul-Tongue Invocation
2 Dispel
1 Negate
1 Dragonlord Ojutai
2 Dragonlord Silumgar
3 Arashin Cleric
3 Surge of Righteousness

A deck strategy near and dear to Patrick’s heart (and a player near and dear to all our hearts) is Reid Duke with Esper Control. Patrick and Michael talk about the differences between Reid’s take and Patricks, and the ins and outs of Awaken and Ugin. Reid’s deck, unfortunately, does not feature Jaddi Offshoot 🙁

All these decks and more in “The Many Homes of Jaddi Offshoot”

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Double Strike!

Temur Battle Rage
Temur Battle Rage is probably the most important Double Strike card in Standard right now…
This week Top Level Podcast brings you “Double Strike” … a double-sized recap of the top decks from Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar!

These and other topics are discussed:

  • In some ways, this Standard is the same as the last Standard… but with battle lands :/
  • Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is probably the best card from Battle for Zendikar (at least excepting the new lands)
  • Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy is probably the best card — and certainly the best creature — in Standard (albeit less ubiquitous than Gideon)
  • The pros and cons of playing four copies of Valorous Stance (not to mention only 24 lands) in your Jeskai deck
  • When to cast Tasigur, the Golden Fang and for how much mana
  • Atarka Red wants more spells for Spell Mastery and discounting Become Immense; but Gruul Landfall exploits cretures like Snapping Gnarlid to avoid Surge of Righteousness (of course both builds Double Strike you to death)
  • Esper Control (aka Orzhov Control splashing blue) has a branding problem… But Patrick takes care of that, no problem.

All this and more — colossally more given this is a two-hour podcast — is jammed into “Double Strike”

… Give “Double Strike” a listen:

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Emeria Shepherd Makes HOW MUCH Mana?

Emeria Shepherd
Wait for it… Wait for it… We’ll get to Emeria Shepherd…

Pro Tour Champion Patrick Chapin and onetime Resident Genius Michael J. Flores return to the world of the Star City Games Open Series for one more pass at Standard before this week’s Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar.

“I love that we live in a day and age when he Top 32’d a major event with three Siege Rhinos and it didn’t even derail the sentence.”
-Patrick Chapin

What a weird Standard this is!

The Top 8 of the Atlanta Open was all G/W Megamorph variants and Jeskai variants. Literally every deck in the Top 8 had either four Den Protectors or four Mantis Riders.

At the same time we have decks that either cut the fourth Siege Rhino… Or can loop lots of Siege Rhinos with cards like Kolaghan’s Command.

Speaking of Siege Rhino, Ali Aintrazi improved his performance week over week, missing Top 8 on breakers (9th place). Patrick in particular likes the move away from Eldrazi; Mike likes moving Siege Rhino to the main, and the top-to-bottom stack of just super premium cards.

Five-color Control by Ali Aintrazi

2 Hangarback Walker
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

2 Dig Through Time
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy

4 Abzan Charm
4 Catacomb Sifter
1 Dragonlord Atarka
2 Dragonlord Dromoka
4 Siege Rhino
1 Utter End

1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

3 Draconic Roar
4 Radiant Flames

4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Canopy Vista
1 Cinder Glade
4 Flooded Strand
1 Forest
1 Island
2 Lumbering Falls
1 Mountain
1 Plains
3 Polluted Delta
1 Prairie Stream
1 Shambling Vent
1 Smoldering Marsh
1 Sunken Hollow
1 Swamp
2 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills

1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
1 Murderous Cut
2 Transgress the Mind
2 Exert Influence
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death
1 Sultai Charm
2 Fiery Impulse
1 Radiant Purge
2 Surge of Righteousness

Our intrepid hosts go over tons of Top 32 decks — all flavors of G/W, Jeskai, Abzan, and Red Decks — until which point Patrick makes the point that 28/32 were white decks.

And yet…

We haven’t seen the emergence of certain cards yet; like…

Emeria Shepherd.

In typical Top Level Podcast fashion Patrick leaves the podcast with quite the first falling domino. Just imagine playing the card Emeria Shepherd in a format with Sakura-Tribe Elder.

Think about that for a sec.

Depending on the configuration of your deck, this combination can get quite a few lands out of your deck; maybe not all of them, but then again…


All this and more in “Emeria Shepherd Makes HOW MUCH Mana?”

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Arashin Cleric Just Isn’t Good Enough

Arashin Cleric
Arashin Cleric just isn’t good enough.

As a plan… Arashin Cleric isn’t a plan.

In the past, Arashin Cleric could be a bridge… A tool that you could use to get you from the pressure of the first turns to a card like Siege Rhino (which might incidentally get you even more life)… But as a plan? It’s not going to be able to win a game by itself.

What’s the problem with Arashin Cleric these days?

This, dear listeners, is the hot new deck:

Atarka Red, by Brian Demars

4 Atarka’s Command

3 Become Immense

4 Abbot of Keral Keep
2 Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh
4 Dragon Fodder
2 Lightning Berserker
1 Makindi Sliderunner
4 Monastery Swiftspear
3 Temur Battle Rage
4 Titan’s Strength
4 Wild Slash
4 Zurgo Bellstriker

4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Cinder Glade
1 Forest
8 Mountain
2 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

4 Hangarback Walker
3 Arc Lightning
2 Fiery Impulse
2 Goblin Heelcutter
2 Roast
2 Thunderbreak Regent

The Demars take on Atarka Red is ultimately a combo deck, not a straight beatdown deck. As a beatdown deck it is actually kind of mediocre. But as a deck that uses Bloodstained Mire, Windswept Heath, and Wooded Foothills to fill its graveyard so that it can land a super quick Become Immense (and maybe lethal Temur Battle Rage)?

… Now that is a plan that Demars can get behind!

But because the deck isn’t about playing fair; not largely about trading burn spells for creatures, Arashin Cleric is much less effective than it has been against other Red Decks in other contexts.

That is not to say that Arashin Cleric is somehow bad… You just can’t rely on it 100% to win sideboard games for you… The way Demars actually landed on this deck is that he got beat up in testing, even in the games he had Arashin Cleric sided in!

Patrick and Michael talk about most of the new Battle for Zendikar Standard strategies, but mostly Atarka Red; and largely about how Arashin Cleric isn’t enough.

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Ob Nixilis Reignited in Abzan

Ob Nixilis Reignited
Ob Nixilis Reignited might seem slow, but think about it like this:
Either they have a creature (and you kill it) or they don’t… And you draw an extra card.
And you keep drawing an extra card for the rest of the game.

“Ob Nixilis Reignited in Abzan” starts at a familiar place for Top Level Podcast… One of our hosts expressing his admiration for Siege Rhino!

(for once, it’s Mike)

So this episode of Top Level Podcast is dedicated to building Abzan decks with new tools from Battle for Zendikar.

Drana, Liberator of Malakir
Drana, Liberator of Malakir

Drana, Liberator of Malakir is a standout three drop… That Mike somehow didn’t have in his starting Abzan Aggro deck. There are lots of good three drop creatures, but Drana is the rare card on the order of Anafenza, the Foremost or Brimaz, King of Oreskos at that point on the mana curve.

Some Drana, Liberator of Malakir highlights:

  • Drana is great against removal! Drana is too big on the backside for Wild Slash; generally too small for Abzan Charm or Valorous Stance; and benefits from the absence of Bile Blight and Lightning Strike (plus the general lack of popularity of Ultimate Price).
  • Drana is a super deadly attacker! Because Drana has first strike, damage potential for all your attackers who don’t have first strike will go through the roof on every successful attack.
  • Drana works with both sides of Hangarback Walker! Drana gives Hangarback Walker itself a +1/+1 counter, but can be even better with several small creatures at your beck and call.

Woodland Wanderer
Woodland Wanderer

Patrick convinces Mike to try Woodland Wanderer; previously Mike considered it just some guy.

“The difference between Butcher of the Horde and Woodland Wanderer is like the difference between Prognostic Sphinx and Baneslayer Angel.”
-Patrick Chapin

… Sometimes Prognostic Sphinx is “right” but Baneslayer Angel gives them the business. Woodland Wanderer just gives them the business.

We conclude the episode with Patrick putting together an Abzan Control deck on the fly!

Abzan Midrange by Patrick Chapin

4 Hangarback Walker

2 Languish
2 Ob-Nixilis, Reignited
2 Transgress the Mind
1 Reave Soul
3 Ruinous Path
1 Ultimate Price

4 Abzan Charm
4 Siege Rhino

3 Den Protector
2 Greenwarden of Murasa
3 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

2 Caves of Koilos
1 Canopy Vista
3 Forest
4 Llanowar Wastes
3 Mortuary Mire
2 Plains
4 Sandsteppe Citadel
4 Shambling Vent
4 Windswept Heath

1 Duress
1 Ob-Nixilis, Reignited
2 Painful Truths
1 Self-Inflicted Wound
1 Transgress the Mind
1 Dromoka’s Command
3 Arashin Cleric
1 Planar Outburst
1 Righteous Surge
1 Tragic Arrogance
1 Gaea’s Revenge
1 Infinite Obliteration

Give “Ob Nixilis in Abzan” a listen now:

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