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Much Abrew: Demonic Drake Fling (Pioneer)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we're heading to Pioneer to see if we can use Demonic Bargain to exile our own library, in order to grow Crackling Drake big enough to Fling it at our opponent's face for lethal with Kazuul's Fury! Can the plan work? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Demonic Drake Fling

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  • Record-wise, Demonic Drake Fling was a lot better than I expected. We ended up going 4-1 in a Pioneer league, with our only loss coming to a Five-Color Omnath pile that simply out-valued us. The deck looks weird and a bit janky, but it actually played really well.
  • The deck's goal is simple: find Demonic Bargain to fill our exile zone with spells. In some cases, we can chain together Demonic Bargains to exile most of our deck. Eventually, we want to use the tutor to find either Crackling Drake or Serpentine Curve—creatures with power equal to the number of instants and sorceries in our graveyard and in exile. Thanks to all the cards we've exiled with Demonic Bargain (and because our deck is almost all instants and sorceries), either creature should be big enough to one-shot kill our opponent in a single attack. But we don't even need to attack to win because if we can also find Kazuul's Fury, we can throw our threat directly at our opponent's face to close out the game with direct damage. If we end up in a position where our Crackling Drake or Fractal isn't quite big enough to kill our opponent in one attack, we can tutor up Temur Battle Rage to give it trample and double strike, which should almost always be lethal!
  • The rest of our deck is mostly ways to find and protect our combo pieces. Cards like Consider and Opt dig for Demonic Bargain. Stubborn Denial is basically a one-mana Negate, assuming we have a creature on the battlefield, making it a great way to protect our Drake or Fractal from removal. Sheoldred's Edict gives us some removal, while Thoughtseize and Collective Brutality proactively protect our combo by stripping answers from our opponent's hand. Importantly, all of these cards are instants or sorceries, so they also grow our Crackling Drakes and Serpentine Curve tokens once they are in the graveyard or exile. 
  • Importantly, Demonic Drake Fling is essentially a combo deck and should be played as such. If we try to play fairly, we're not likely to have much success; instead, we always want to be thinking about what we need to do to set up the one-shot kill, either by attacking with one of our threats or setting up the Fling combo. 
  • The nonland cards in the main deck seem really solid. I don't think I would change anything about them. On the other hand, two aspects are really, really weird and definitely can be improved. The first is the mana, which is all shock lands and buddy lands—which feels a lot like a Standard mana base from a decade ago. I added one basic Island to the deck because the original had zero basics, which felt a bit risky in a world where Field of Ruin and Boseiju, Who Endures exist. The issue is that it can be pretty painful if we draw a bunch of shock lands, and it can be pretty clunky if we draw all buddy lands since all of our lands will come into play tapped. I think dropping most of the buddy lands for fast lands, pain lands, pathways, and such likely will improve the mana quite a bit. While we did go 4-1 with the current build, the mana felt like the weakest part of the deck.
  • The sideboard of Demonic Drake Fling is also super odd. All 15 cards interact with creatures—Dreadbore and Power Word Kill kill them, while Blue Sun's Twilight and Entrancing Melody steal them. While this is fine if we run into a creature deck, we have literally zero sideboard cards to bring in if we play against combo or control. This happened to us multiple times during our league. Thankfully, our main deck was strong enough that we were able to win anyway, but cutting about half of the creature-removal spells in the sideboard and replacing them with things that are good against combo (like graveyard hate) and control (like discard and counters) seems wise. In reality, even if we play against a creature deck, we can't really bring in 15 cards from our sideboard anyway, so we're essentially just wasting a bunch of sideboard slots on cards we'll never be able to use. Again, we were able to win a lot of games even with the weird sideboard, but I'm pretty sure the sideboard can be greatly improved by having more diversity, just like the mana base.
  • So, should you play Demonic Drake Fling in Pioneer? I think the answer is clearly yes! We went 4-1 despite the awkward mana and the odd sideboard, which shows just how strong the deck's game plan can be. With some tuning, Demonic Drake Fling could be a real deck in Pioneer; plus, who doesn't like winning by throwing a massive creature at an opponent's face? Here's the build I would play now with some of the updates we've been talking about:

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Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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