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Much Abrew: Explosive Jeskai (#MTGNEO Standard)


Hello, everyone! Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is here, and today, we're playing a deck built around one of my favorite synergies from the set: Mindlink Mech with Efreet Flamepainter. Efreet Flamepainter has the most powerful combat-damage trigger in Standard, letting us cast an instant or sorcery from our graveyard for free without any restriction. Thanks to double strike, if we can get an attack in, we actually get to cast two big spells from our graveyard for free. The problem is that Efreet Flamepainter is a four-mana 1/4, which makes it super hard for it to deal combat damage because most decks can kill or block it by the time it's attacking on Turn 5. This is where Mindlink Mech comes in. We can play Mindlink Mech on Turn 3, play Efreet Flamepainter on Turn 4, use it to crew Mindlink Mech, and attack with what's essentially a hasty 4/3 flying version of Efreet Flamepainter, giving us eight combat damage and two spells for free—hopefully Explosive Singularity for 20 damage to the face or, at worst, a Magma Opus for damage, card draw, and tokens. Oh yeah, and as a backup plan, we have Hinata, Dawn-Crowned to reduce the cost on our spells and potentially let us hard-cast Magma Opus for just two mana! How good is the combo of Mindlink Mech and Efreet Flamepainter in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Standard? What about Hinata, Dawn-Crowned with Magma Opus? Let's get to the video and find out!

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Much Abrew: Explosive Jeskai

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, we finished 3-1 with Explosive Jeskai (technically 4-1 when counting another match I didn't bother to show where the opponent timed out for no apparent reason in the middle of game one). While we did get got by a pretty unique Enchantress deck (which we might have to try in the future), we managed to beat UW Tempo, Mono-Red, and Werewolves. The deck felt surprisingly competitive, and it's definitely one of the most fun Standard decks I've played in a long time.
  • The plan is simple: Our goal is to manipulate the game into a position where we can kill our opponent with one big turn of spells, either with the help of Efreet Flamepainter and Mindlink Mech or with Hinata, Dawn-Crowned ramping us into Magma Opus
  • Plan A is Efreet Flamepainter with Mindlink Mech. As I mentioned in the intro, Efreet Flamepainter has an extremely strong combat-damage trigger, but it's hard to actually deal combat damage with it because it is small and slow. Mindlink Mech fixes pretty much all of Efreet Flamepainter's problems, making it big and evasive. Assuming we play Mindlink Mech the turn (or turns) before we play Efreet Flamepainter, it sort of gives Flamepainter haste as well since we can use Efreet Flamepainter to crew Mindlink Mech the turn it comes into play. 
  • Of course, we need to get some spells in our graveyard for Efreet Flamepainter and Mindlink Mech to work. We can do this with looting with Prismari Command or Unexpected Windfall, or with the help of cards like Magma Opus and Creative Outburst, which can discard themselves to make a Treasure token.
  • Speaking of Magma Opus, it's the reason why Hinata, Dawn-Crowned ended up in the deck. Initially, the deck was going to be straight Izzet and focus exclusively on the Flamepainter / Mech combo. But once Magma Opus found its way into the deck, Hinata, Dawn-Crowned offered too much value to pass up. Since Magma Opus can have up to six targets (four targets for its damage and two more targets for tapping), with a Hinata, Dawn-Crowned on the battlefield, we sometimes can cast Magma Opus for just two mana, which is an insane deal, giving us two cards, four damage, and a 4/4 and tapping two permanents (potentially all at instant speed)! We had one game where we cast five copies of Magma Opus (including some from our graveyard) over the course of just two turns, which seems hard for most decks to beat.
  • There are four reasons why I really love Explosive Jeskai. First, it's super consistent thanks to all of its card draw and card filtering. Second, the Mindlink Mech / Efreet Flamepainter combo gives us the ability to pick up free wins. Sometimes, we just do nothing all game and then win out of nowhere by throwing 20+ damage at our opponent's face! Third, the deck is has a ton of inevitability because we can start hard-casting Magma Opus and Explosive Singularity if the game goes long. Fourth and most importantly, the deck is super fun to play! 
  • One note if you decide to try the deck: Play it patiently. It's tempting to just run out Hinata, Dawn-Crowned on Turn 4, or Efreet Flamepainter without a Mindlink Mech, but this usually ends poorly. In general, it's better to take the slower path. With Hinata, Dawn-Crowned, if we can get up to six mana, we can cast it and a Magma Opus in the same turn, so even if our opponent kills Hinata, Dawn-Crowned, we still get a lot of value out of it. The same is true of Efreet Flamepainter. While there are times when we just run it out as a creature, it's often better to hold it in hand until we get a Mindlink Mech and a window to attack so we can surprise our opponent with a potential game-ending flurry of spells from our graveyard. Running out Hinata or Efreet Flamepainter just because we can, only to have them get killed before they can do anything powerful is one of the easiest ways to lose with Explosive Jeskai.
  • So, should you play Explosive Jeskai in Standard? While we're only a few days into Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Standard and the sample size is small, I think the answer is yes. I found the deck incredibly fun to play and surprisingly competitive too! If you like slinging big spells, janky combos that actually are oddly effective, and maybe even winning some games, it seems like a really fun option for our new Standard format!

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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