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February 5, 2016

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Bad Brews – Jeskai Infiltrator

Hello and welcome to Bad Brews, where we take the most unplayable rares and try to find them a happy home in a new deck!

Since this is our first bad brew, here’s what you can expect from Bad Brews: While every pack of Magic: the Gathering comes with at least rare card in it, not all are created equal. Some get left by the wayside, never seeing the light of play. Well, we here at Bad Brews intend to change that, by making it our express goal to play these unplayable rares. That’s right, we’re going to crack open a fresh pack and brew up a deck centred around the rare inside!

For our first Bad Brew, let’s crack open a pack of Fate Reforged, the evil stepchild of the Magic standard scene. The last middle set ever created, it’s known for having Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in it and… that’s not what we opened today. But before we get to the rare in our pack let’s take a quick look at what else we got today.

So far, not a bad pack. It could get better once we flip to the rare in the pack. So let’s take a look…

A mildly disappointing pull, Jeskai Infiltrator barely passes the Vanilla test. For those of you who don’t know, the Vanilla test is a metric for seeing if a creature is worth playing in a Magic deck. You want a creature’s power and toughness to be equal to its converted mana cost. In the case of Jeskai Infiltrator, we have a creature that has 2/3 for 3 mana. Like many rares, this one has an ability that might just make up for the fact that its power and toughness don’t quite muster.

In this case, Jeskai Infiltrator has some pretty hefty abilities.

First, so long as you control no other creatures, Jeskai Infiltrator cannot be blocked. This is helpful in activating his second ability. Manifesting itself and the top card of your library in a random pile creating two creatures for your opponent to deal with. Manifesting the top card of your library is a little risky, as you could lose an important card to the Manifest ability, but you can get it back if it’s a creature card.

Knowing that we have to run the Jeskai Infiltrator sets the tone for this deck. Obviously, we are going to go as Manifest heavy as possible. So let’s take a look at the pack and see what we can use in this new deck. Three cards stand out as perfect contenders for the deck in that they are perfectly on theme. Write Into Being has you look at the top two cards of your library and Manifest one of them. For removal we have Reality Shift, which allows us to replace our opponents bigger threats with a 2/2 Manifested card from the top of their deck. In addition to being effective removal, it is instant speed so we can use it to deal with an imminent attack. Last, we have Lotus Path Djinn. While it’s not a heavy hitter by itself, with Prowess we can buff it up to something a little more scary for an opponent. Plus it’s evasion ability, Flying, can make it harder for an opponent to deal with.

As for maybe cards from the pack, we have two options. Jeskai Runemark isn’t a bad card, but once we start mixing in cards from other sets we will have better options to fill up slots in our deck. Additionally, any enchantment will fall off our Jeskai Infiltrator when we Manifest him with his second ability. That said, we might want to run the Temur Runemark in our deck, since it could add Trample to our creatures and given that our deck is mostly blue so far, we are likely to have a blue permanent.

Let’s take a look at card from other sets that might help us take full advantage of all these manifested creatures we are creating. Trail of Mystery makes sure that every time we get a face down creature into play, we end up with a basic land in hand to play. For the sake of clarity, it should be noted that even if the card we end up manifesting with Jeskai Infiltrator isn’t a creature card, when it comes into play it is still considered to be a face down creature. As an added bonus, any time we flip over a creature, it gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Which means our Jeskai Infiltrator is menacing 4/5 whenever we flip it over.

Secret Plans buff our manifested creatures, giving our Jeskai Infiltrator no real downside even when it is manifested. Plus, since we will want to flip any unblocked copies of Jeskai Infiltrator, it will let us draw a card. Let’s try doubling down on that card draw by throwing in a few copies of Alhammarret’s Archive. While we aren’t going to be gaining much life in this deck, we can always use the ability to draw more cards. However, since it is a legendary artifact, we’ll only run three copies of it. As for other artifacts, we can throw in a few copies of Lens of Clarity. The Lense will allow us to to view the top card of our library, which will allow us to avoid Manifesting a card that we might actually want to play next turn.

Finally, we should add a few one and two drop creatures. My personal favorites are Kin-Tree Warden, as its ability to regenerate can be very annoying to your opponents both late and early game. Then we are going to add in some Whisperer of the Wilds for mana generation.

So gang, let’s take a look at what kind of deck we have come up with.

Bad Brews – Jeskai Infiltrator

Creatures: (13)
Jeskai Infiltrator
Kin-Tree Warden
Lotus Path Djinn
Whisperer of the Wilds

Artifacts: (5)
Alhammarret’s Archive
Lens of Clarity

Sorcery: (4)
Write into Being

Instant: (4)
Reality Shift

Enchantments: (12)
Secret Plans
Temur Runemark
Trail of Mystery

Lands: (22)
15 Island
Forest

So that’s it for this week’s Bad Brews! Join us next week when we crack open a pack of Khans of Tarkir and hope to get something other than a fetchland.