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Deep Tracks: Darigaaz


Greetings, everyone! Today, we travel back to the dawn of the new millennium. It was a time when the world trembled in fear of the Y2K Bug and mass hysteria swept the nation, as we awaited the impending shutdown of global communications! It was hard to ignore all the apocalyptic hype… for most people. While everyone else was preparing for the end of the world, I found myself enthralled with a game called Magic: the Gathering!

Thinking back, there are a few choice cards that really remind me of the “Generation X” era. One of my favorites was unveiled in the year 2000, as we ushered in the release of Invasion:

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I vividly remember Darigaaz, the Igniter sitting in my Magic binder. Every random thumbing through the pages concluded with Darigaaz staring at me intently, as if he were taunting me. Look at the beckoning pose in which he’s presented. To my dismay, I recall failing time and time again to appease the legendary Dragon’s wishes, and Darigaaz continued to waste away in my modest collection.

Years passed, and I eventually found my chance to ignite the spark within, as I discovered a newly evolving Magic format known as Elder Dragon Highlander, more commonly referred to (nowadays) as Commander. It was perfect. After all those years of looking the other way, I was finally able to hoist Darigaaz into the high throne, from which he would command me into battle, wielding a bevy of powerful Jund spells! We stood together in both victory and defeat, but in time, I retired Darigaaz back into the depths of my trade binder. I suppose we both felt remorseful for making our opponents suffer through so many rounds of Destructive Flow. But we've lain dormant for too long; old flames have a tendency to rekindle, and the time has come to reignite the spark!

It’s present day, we’re settled on Dominaria, and I stare into a densely smoke-filled twilight sky. “My general, you’ve returned!?”

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From the ashes, Darigaaz Reincarnated emerges in full flight, ready to lead us into the epic battles ahead!

I decided to celebrate the second coming of Darigaaz by brewing up some fierce decks based on the legendary Dragon! We’ll be heading to Modern and Standard, but first I’m venturing down the streets of Legacy with an ultra-spicy Darigaaz, the Igniter decklist:

Basic concept: Keep the opponent’s hand filled with cards via Howling Mine, use Painter's Servant to turn all cards into the same color, set up a Sneak Attack, and then swoop in with Darigaaz, the Igniter! I love brewing "hybrid" decks like this; we’re having fun trying to simply pound in damage with our Dragons, but there’s also the possibility of setting up a game-ending Painter's Servant / Grindstone combo as a secondary win condition. And to top it off, we can jank out our opponent with a first-turn Blood Moon, à la SaffronOlive!

Now, please humor me for a moment... I have one more Legacy idea that I’d like to share:

If you haven’t caught on, I love Legacy. But you know what I love even more? Seeing new players get involved with Legacy! Seriously, everyone should be able to enjoy this wonderful format. There has to be a solution that addresses the steep (price) barrier to entry.

Here, I’ve presented you with a legitimate budget build of Reanimator. Give it a shot. It really does play like typical Reanimator and can be upgraded over time. In this version, we’re relying on Putrid Imp as a Turn-1 discard outlet, as opposed to the commonly seen Faithless Looting or Careful Study. We have a great mix of utility creatures to play with, mana acceleration, and a solid protection package. The post-sideboard plan involves hard-casting big threats like Grave Titan, Massacre Wurm, Phyrexian Obliterator, and even Griselbrand. And don’t forget, Putrid Imp can attack too. :)

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Modern

Modern is a funky format. With so many viable strategies at our disposal, I think the metagame data can be deceptive at times. The presence of Jund (in particular) has fluctuated quite a bit in recent times, but rest assured—the torch still burns bright, and the principles of the archetype remain the same: grind away and dominate the opponent into submission!

Here’s a decklist that’s aiming to infuse the fury of Dragons into Jund:

Jund Dragons is a straightforward midrange deck. I prefer having Birds of Paradise as an option in the one-drop slot, and we’re topping off the curve with our Dragons: Darigaaz Reincarnated and Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury. Also, to reinforce the Dragon theme, I included an old favorite from Worldwake:

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Other than the cards mentioned above, we’re banking on our arsenal of essential Jund all-stars, such as Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant, and Liliana of the Veil, backed up by a versatile suite of disruption and removal spells!

Standard

Darigaaz Reincarnated is easy to get excited about for Standard. He’s a 7/7 for seven mana and has some potent keyword abilities. Also important is the fact that Darigaaz is a resilient threat. I think the card is pushed and could be the “lead singer” of a competitive midrange deck.

If I were planning to refine a Jund deck for Standard, it would start off looking something like this:

Good old-fashioned Jund Midrange! We’re packing a variety of top-end options like Glorybringer, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Vraska, Relic Seeker, and of course, Darigaaz Reincarnated! The deck features a solid removal package to lock down opposing threats. You’ll also notice a light energy theme. I’ve included Aether Hub to help with mana consistency, Harnessed Lightning for additional creature removal, and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner for card advantage. And can I just say, I love the fact that we have Llanowar Elves in Standard again. Thank you, Wizards!

Looking back, I’m quite pleased that the world didn’t crumble in the wake of Y2K… we would have never gotten the chance to bask in the glory of Darigaaz, and we certainly would not have made it back to Dominaria! But we did it, and life as a spellslinger is good! By the power of JUND, I send you on your way.

That concludes our journey for this week.  Let me know what you think!  What are your thoughts on Darigaaz Reincarnated? How about Y2K? I’m always down for a good doomsday story! As always, all comments are welcome, thank you so much for reading, and have a great one!

Twitter: @WallofOmens

Email: mtgelixir@gmail.com

—John
 


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