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Budget Magic: $91 (29 tix) Standard Naya Evolution


Ngurrju mayinpa, Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week, we have a super-spicy combo deck for Eldritch Moon Standard that takes advantage of one of the most powerful but underplayed cards from the set: Eldritch Evolution. In fact, our deck contains not one but two different combos that loosely synergize with each other. The first looks to go infinite with a flipped Pious Evangel, while the second is looking to loop Eerie Interlude twice each turn cycle and win with enters-the-battlefield triggers!

Let's get to the videos; then, we'll break down Naya Evoultion. A quick reminder: if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Naya Evolution: Deck Tech

Naya Evolution vs. GB Delirium

Naya Evolution vs. UR Thermo-Burn

Naya Evolution vs. RB Vampires

Naya Evolution vs. Bant Company

Naya Evolution vs. Evolutionary Dredge

The Deck

Naya Evolution is actually a fairly complex deck, both because it is playing a lot of one-ofs as tutor targets for Eldritch Evolution and because it has two different combos that only slightly overlap. As a result, instead of running down each card in order, today we are going to focus more on the combos, how they work, and what each card does to further our game plan. 

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Eldritch Evolution is essential in helping us set up both of our combos and allows us to get away with playing only one copy of cards that are very important in specific situations but not all that great when we aren't using them to combo off. The goods news about Eldritch Evolution is that it's extremly good a finding the creature we need in any given situation, and since we are playing 23 creatures in the deck, we usually have some sort of sacrifice fodder lying around. The bad news is that it matches up poorly with Spell Queller, which is likely why it hasn't made a huge impact on Standard thus far (although it has been picking up steam in Modern, to some extent). Basically, for only three mana, Eldritch Evolution lets us turn a creature into whatever combo piece we happen to be missing, which makes it amazing in our deck. 

You're probably wondering why Eyeless Watcher is next to Eldritch Evolution, and that's a fair question. Eyeless Watcher is unique in our deck, since it's the only creature that isn't part of a combo. Instead, we are playing Eyeless Watcher because we have three different six-drops that we want to tutor up with Eldritch Evolution and Eyeless Watcher is one of the best four-drops to sacrifice to Eldritch Evolution

Combo 1: Eerie Interlude Loop

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It was actually Eerie Interlude that pushed me towards building Naya Evolution in the first place, with my goal being to make a Standard-legal version of the Ghostway combo deck in Modern. The basic idea is that we can overload our deck on creatures with enters-the-battlefield triggers, blink all of our creatures twice each turn cycle (once on our turn, once on our opponent's turn) with Eerie Interlude, and genenrate a ton of value. Greenwarden of Murasa is essential to the plan because it allows us to get back our Eerie Interlude from the graveyard each turn (with its enters-the-battlefield trigger). As such, with enough mana, the combo of Greenwarden of Murasa and Eerie Interlude "goes infinite," not in a way that wins us the game on the spot, but by making a value-generating loop we can do over and over again. 

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With Greenwarden of Murasa and Eerie Interlude, we have the ability to blink our creatures repeatedly. How do we turn this blinking into an advantage? Drawing cards, of course! Thraben Inspector and Elvish Visionary are the two cards that make the Eerie Interlude loop good; without them, we're not really making any headway, but with them, every time we resolve a copy of Eerie Interlude, we are drawing some number of cards, which helps us cycle through our deck and find a way of winning the game. 

Sage of Ancient Lore might look weird, but it's essentially a five-mana Elvish Visionary. Now, it might seem strange to want a five-mana Elvish Visionary when a "real" Elvish Visionary only costs two mana, but in a deck that actively wants to search out six-drops with Eldritch Evolution, having a five-CMC creature that draws a card when it enters the battlefield is actually pretty good. Plus, it can get really huge when it flips, and since nobody has actually ever played against a Sage of Ancient Lore, we sometimes pick up free wins by having a random 12/12 on turn five.

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Finally, we have Soul of the Harvest, which generates an insane amount of card advantage, allowing us to draw a card for each other creature we control every time we cast Eerie Interlude. Most of the time, this means we are drawing at least five (and sometimes even more) extra cards each Eerie Interlude, which normally puts the game out of our opponent's reach. 

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Cryptolith Rite does two things for our deck. First, it turns all of our random, little card-draw creatures like Thraben Inspector and Elvish Visionary into Birds of Paradise, which helps us ramp into our more expensive and powerful creatures earlier in the game. Second, and more importantly, it combines with Chasm Guide to make sure we always have enough mana to fully take advantage of the Eerie Interlude loop. 

One of the problems with Eerie Interlude is that our creatures are all summoning sick when they enter the battlefield, which means that even if we have a Cryptolith Rite on the battlefield, we can't tap our creatures for mana until our next turn. As a result, we end up with a bunch of Clue tokens that we can't crack, and sometimes, we don't even have the mana to cast Eerie Interlude again and keep the loop going. Well, Chasm Guide takes care of this problem by giving all of our creatures haste, so that we can immediatly tap them for mana and continue comboing off. 

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So, how do we actually win the game with the Eerie Interlude loop? We have three ways. First, we can just draw so many cards that we overwhelm our opponent with creatures and win with combat damage. Second, we can gain enough life that our opponent simply can't kill us, with the help of Pious Evangel (technically, this doesn't win us the game, but once we get to the point where we are gaining 50 life each Eerie Interlude, it's really hard to lose, and we'll figure out a way to win eventually). Third, and most importantly, we can draw into our one copy of Impact Tremors, which turns each Eerie Interlude into damage equal to the number of creatures we control and sometimes even more, thanks to token-creating creatures like Eyeless Watcher

Combo 2: Infinite Drain

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This combo might look familiar. Actually, we played a version of it right after Eldrazi Displacer was spoiled. The basic idea is that with an Eldrazi Displacer and a Brood Monitor on the battlefield, we can go infinite by using the Scion tokens produced by Brood Monitor to activate the blink ability on Eldrazi Displacer (targeting Brood Monitor), make some more Scions, and do it all over again. The end result is that we have infinite enters-the-battlefield triggers (which is another way of winning the game with Impact Tremors) but also infinite "dies" triggers. 

The interesting new addition to the combo is Pious Evangel. Last time we built the deck, we had to splash black for Zulaport Cutthroat to be able to close out the game, but Pious Evangel (when flipped) is a Zulaport Cutthroat, so now we can access all of the combo pieces we need without splashing an additional color. The downside of Pious Evangel is that it's a bit slower than Zulaport Cutthroat. While finding the mana to flip it typically isn't a problem, we do have to wait an extra turn to activate its transform ability (barring Chasm Guide trickery). The benefit is that Pious Evangel is also extremly good with the Eerie Interlude loops, as we talked about a minute ago, essentially putting the game out of reach by gaining us insane amounts of life. 

Of course, the entire combo is also much more efficient now thanks to Eldritch Evolution; we can sacrifice any creature in our deck to tutor an Eldrazi Displacer or a Pious Evangel directly onto the battlefield, and we even have six creatures that we can sacrifice to find a Brood Monitor to close out the game. Also, while our two combos might not directly synergize, the fact that the Eerie Interlude loops draw us so many cards does help us assemble the combo pieces we need to finish off the game with Pious Evangel triggers.

Ultra-Budget Naya Evolution

We have to make some major changes to get the deck down in the $50 range, most importantly by dropping the Eldrazi Displacer combo, since Eldrazi Displacer is expensive in and of itself, plus it forces us to play more dual lands to be able to reliably activate its colorless ability. As a result, we go all-in on the Eerie Interlude combo. The other issue is that we have to cut back on Eldritch Evolution, since it is also a bit expensive for an ultra-budget deck. The end result is that we play more copies of Greenwarden of Murasa, Chasm Guide, and Impact Tremors to maximize our chances of naturally drawing into the combo and then fill in the gaps with some other enters-the-battlefield creatures like Pilgrim's Eye and Foul Emissary. While I think this version of the deck is fun, the big problem is that we lose the ability to win the game with Pious Evangel triggers, instead relying on gaining a bunch of life and then tapping our opponent's creatures down with Subjugator Angel to win with a big attack. All in all, I think the ultra-budget build is a fine starting point, but I'd try to add in the Eldrazi Displacer / Brood Monitor part of the combo as soon as possible, and don't forget the colorless lands!

Non-Budget Naya Evolution

I almost didn't include a non-budget list this week because there really aren't a ton of changes to be made. Like Dredge last week, the main deck is fairly tight and full of synergistic combo pieces that are necessary for the deck's success. However, I did change up the sideboard a bit, adding some Dromoka's Commands and a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. As far as the main deck goes, there were a couple of small changes to the mana base and a single copy of Nissa, Vastwood Seer, as another powerful "enters-the-battlefield" creature, over one Thraben Inspector. All in all, I don't think these changes are really that important, so I wouldn't run out and buy cards specifically to upgrade Naya Evolution, but they should give you an idea of some possible improvements, if you have the cards on hand.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. All in all, we went 4-1 in matches, losing only to Bant Company in a match where I really wish we had drawn some more lands. While I imagine Bant Company is a tough matchup even when we do run well, because Spell Queller is pretty good against Eldritch Evolution and Eerie Interlude, I would have liked to see how it played out with our deck funcioning optimally. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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