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Brewer's Kitchen: The Junk Winder Massacre


Well, hello there! Brewer’s Kitchen here, with another freshly brewed historic deck.
Full disclosure: There will be squirrels harmed in today's deck... it's going to be massacre.

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It has been about two weeks since Innistrad Midnight Hunt officially released in paper. And while Standard is mostly Wrenn’s pet treefolk is cruising around in Esika’s Chariot, Historic hasn’t seen much of an impact from the new Innistrad set. And to be honest, I kinda like that. It reminds me of Modern before Wizards cranked up the powerlevel in recent years.

Today’s deck picked up a few cards from the new set but originally started when I was brewing around with Lonis, Cryptozoologist after Jumpstart Historic Horizons released back in August.   

The deck is called “The Junk Winder Massacre” and, reading the card Junk Winder, it is no surprise, that we are going to create a lot of tokens. The “Massacre” part is a bit more complicated though. The best way to explain what the deck is doing, is to separate it to three gameplans:


Plan A


Looking at the decklist, you will notice that a lot of our cards are creatures that create various forms of tokens. Gilded Goose creates Food, Prosperous Innkeeper creates a Treasure, Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia creates Zombies and Lonis, Cryptozoologist creates a Clue whenever we play a creature. “But what about the squirrels?”, you might ask. Chatterfang, Squirrel General will create a cute little squirrel whenever we create any form of token. Look at them, they are so cute! Too bad we are going to slaughter most of them…

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These cards on their own create a lot of value, but not enough to keep up with the pressure of the historic metagame. Luckily, Historic Horizons gave us Junk Winder, a little uncommon that fits this gameplan like it was specifically designed for it… because it was… there are literally squirrels and treasures in the artwork. With affinity for artifacts, we usually cast the Winder for only two or three mana and start locking our opponent’s board. But that’s still not enough to compete with Historic’s powerlevel. Plan A has one last step to really hammer the nail in our opponent’s coffin. Since Junk Winder technically costs seven mana, we can Neoform it into an eight-drop.
And what’s this? A Craterhoof Behemoth? Now that should do it!

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Plan B

Wait? You think dealing hundreds of damage to your opponent is not considered a massacre? Well, I guess we have to kill all of their creatures then… and if that’s still not enough, we can even go on an endless sacrificing rampage which will end the game in a devastating final blow.

Chatterfang, Squirrel General is not only amazing at flooding the board with tokens, it’s also easy to combo with. Neoform can not only tutor up out the Behemoth, it also helps us assemble various combos that range from wiping our opponent’s board to drawing our entire deck.
The core of these is the interaction between Chatterfang, Squirrel General and Pitiless Plunderer.

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Whenever a creature dies while these two cards are on the battlefield, we will create a treasure with the Plunderer and a squirrel with Chatterfang. Chatterfang’s second ability allows us to use the treasure and sacrifice the squirrel infinite times to wipe our opponent’s board. Now if we combine this with a free sacrifice outlet or sacrifice multiple squirrels with each activation, we generate an infinite amount of treasures. Woe Strider allows us to scry while generating mana and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician mows down our opponent’s board and draws us cards.

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Yawgmoth’s ability has two limiting factors in the life loss in the activation costs and the reliance on creatures to destroy. The life loss is counteracted by Prosperous Innkeeper which is also our way of gaining infinite life. The reliance on creatures to destroy is a bit trickier, since targeting the same squirrel we are sacrificing will fizzle the ability. We could hold priority (Full Control on Arena) and target the same creature multiple times but the ability doesn’t continue resolving once the creature is dead. We need to have two squirrels on the battlefield to contain the combo on our board. Once we destroy one creature to sacrifice the other and recreate both of them afterwards, we draw our deck, create treasures along the way, cast our deck and… Oops, this plan also ends in a Craterhoof Behemoth

Plan B.2: If the Behemoth is already in the graveyard or exile, we can activate Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse to pump our creatures to insane sizes after drawing our deck.

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Plan C

Some games just don’t go as planned. Our creatures get removed, combo pieces get countered, board gets wiped… Sometimes it’s just a good way to go the value road. A lot of our creatures accumulate some form of value over time but nothing beats the insane card draw of Toski, Bearer of Secrets.

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We often find ourself in a position where our opponent removed our relevant creatures and we are left with our squirrel tokens. That’s when we switch plans, slam down a Toski and go to town with our little critters. Sometimes it might even be the right call to Neoform a Chatterfang into a Toski to draw a fresh hand of cards after attacking with some tokens. Another ace in our sleeve against control is Ulvenwald Mysteries. The card is usually underpowered for the format but it’s amazing synergies with this deck have warranted it a one-off slot in the list. It protects us from getting blown out by board wipes and makes Lonis’s activated ability into an on-board token engine that very few people play around when attacking.

*I’m currently testing out Agadeem's Awakening in this list. It is a way to assemble our combo out of the graveyard and get back into grindy games. It is hard to cast and might mess with our manabase though. If it is in the decklist of this article, it did a good job in playtesting.


Matchups

Infinite life, mana, removal and card draw are obviously a good way to win a game but most your opponent will do everything in their power to stop us from assembling our combos.
This deck can clog up the ground with an endless supply of chump blockers. Flyers are a problem though. We have to combo into an early Craterhoof Behemoth or try to find our creature removal in Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and Chatterfang, Squirrel General or lock them down with Junk Winder. It gets bad when flyers are coupled with interaction though. Delver and Phoenix decks are an almost unbeatable matchup. Cheap removal keeps our combo pieces off the table while we get beaten up in the air.

We can combo very fast if our opponent doesn’t interact with our gameplan. Sometimes it is just a race that might be decided by who went first. The life gain from Prosperous Innkeeper helps a lot in these games.

Since a lot of our cards create incremental value, we have a decent matchup against control decks. As soon as we realize that our opponent will interact too much to assemble our combos, we try to get Toski as quick as possible. It can’t be countered and survives board wipes and a lot of spot removal.

The only way to interact with our opponent is through Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, Chatterfang, Squirrel General and Junk Winder. Since they sit on the battlefield, our opponent can play around them. An especially notable matchup is Scurry Oak combo. They use Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Scurry Oak and a creature that gains life when a creature enters the battlefield to create infinite tokens. If their third combo piece is a Soul Warden we will trigger their combo with our combo. In the one match I had against them where both players assembled the combo I just conceded since they technically gain infinite life and create infinite blockers while we only deal a very very large number of damage with a Craterhoof attack. I’m not sure how it would play out on Arena since both combos take time off the player’s clock. If we have a Prosperous Innkeeper we can probably gain enough life on our clock to put them out of reach with the tokens they can create with their time.
It would just be a battle of who can click faster and which combo works better on Arena.


Cards that didn’t make the cut

Since the deck has many gameplans there are a lot of cards that synergize with aspects of the deck but didn’t make the cut.

Woodland Champion grows with every token we create. It was in the deck in early playtesting. It’s insane in matchups that care about creature combat and got too big to handle very fast. Since it doesn’t create tokens on its own it often stagnated our gameplan development and got cut for Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia.

Chitterspitter is a one-card engine. You can exchange it with the Ulvenwald Mysteries since it fills similar roles. I decided to play Mysteries but I’m very bias since I love everything that creates clue tokens. They draw cards after all.

Scute Swarm is unbeatable for some decks. It creates ungodly amounts of tokens once we hit our sixth land. The copied tokens can even be Neoformed into four-drops since the manacosts are part of the copy. Too bad we almost never make our sixth land drop.

Tireless Provisioner… look we already have Briarbridge Tracker as an homage to Tireless Tracker, which is my favorite creature in Magic. Both of these substitutes are probably not better than a third copy of Woe Strider in our deck but I had to include one.

Focusing on Plan B

Ok some of you may be wondering: “How is the deck called The Junk Winder Massacre but doesn’t include The Meathook Massacre”. Good question, since the card would even enable a win condition from our infinite sacrifice loops. It sadly does very little in our interest before we assemble the combo, though. Sure, it’s a modal board wipe but it often felt like a dead card in playtesting. To make use of this we have to ditch the Junk Winder plan and go all-in into the various infinite combos.

Once we focus on assembling combos we can include Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons which will create tokens off Yawgmoth activations and thus create another infinite combo as soon as we add a Chatterfang to the mix. Early versions of the deck played her as a one-off to Neoform into off a Gilded Goose.

Now that we have a higher chance to assemble various combos that repeatedly sacrifice and kill creatures we can include Blood Artist as an additional payoff.

Since all of these combo pieces are permanents that cost five or less, we could try to cheat them out with Storm the Festival.

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Is that a powerful gameplan? Not really, but it may make for some fun games. 

*Edit* Would you look at that: I've built the deck and it actually works way better than expected:

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Tips and Tricks

Neoform gives the deck a lot of options. We have to assess the gamestate and use it accordingly. Sometimes it’s best to wait for the Junk Winder for the finish in blow. Sometimes we Neoform our Gilded Goose into a Prosperous Innkeeper for that extra life gain to stay alive. It is always important to keep all options in mind.

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician can be used on our own creatures in case of a board wipe. If all of them die anyways, they might as well die with a -1/-1 counter. Just don’t target the same creatures you are sacrificing, or the ability will fizzle.

Chatterfang, Squirrel General can generate infinite mana as soon as we have two or more squirrel token and a Pitiless Plunderer. We can just target one of the squirrels, sacrifice both and a treasure for Chatterfang’s ability and create two new squirrels and two new treasures. This loop will create one extra treasure with every repetition. The more squirrels we have, the quicker we create mana.  

Chatterfang, Squirrel General, Pitiless Plunderer, Prosperous Innkeeper and one squirrel can generate infinite life. We could hold priority and activate Chatterfang's ability an infinite number of times on the same creature before the first trigger resolves since sacrificing the creature is part of the ability's mana cost. It's way easier to target the same squirrel we are sacrificing though, since all we need is a creature to die to create the loop. 


Addition in the Future

I’m sure there’s a lot of highly synergistic cards that could be added to this deck. The new Innistrad Commander Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth would synergize and even combo with a large part of our deck. But there are two cards that really stand out:

Academy Manufactor would push the power of the deck to a completely new level. Its token production is absolutely unreal. If we had this, there might be an argument to switch over to a Collected Company version of the deck like we see in modern. (Like this one)

Tireless Tracker. It’s not just my favorite creature in Magic, it would even synergize with the deck. Creating a clue with every land drop will keep us in the game in grindy matchups and activating Lonis to sacrifice multiple clues will pump it up into a huge threat. Someday, we will get Shadows over Innistrad Remastered and my dreams will finally come true.


Wrap Up

This deck is incredibly fun to play. The various gameplans and combos make for diverse matches and play patterns. It is, however, not the strongest deck in the format. Due to a lack of early and efficient interaction we really have to bank on our chump blockers and life gain to stop our opponents from killing us. But even if we lose, the complex game decisions and the chance to draw into a combo at the last moment make it fun all the way to the grave.

I hope we see some more sweet additions to the deck in future sets since this is exactly the kind of deck I love to play with.

If you have questions or ideas for this or any other deck, you can reach me on Twitter @Brewers_Kitchen or at brewerskitchen@mtggoldfish.com.



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