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Much Abrew: Lukka-Hoof (Historic)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Craterhoof Behemoth is one of the most exciting Jumpstart reprints, but our first attempt at making it work in the Historic format in Elves was a disaster (we went 0-4 on stream and got wrathed about a million times). Perhaps the problem with Elves wasn't so much that we were trying to win with Craterhoof Behemoth but that we were paying full price for Craterhoof Behemoth. Today's deck is all about cheating Craterhoof Behemoth into play by Turn 4 or 5 with the help of Transmogrify or Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast. The rest of our deck is overloaded with cheap sorceries that make tokens, both so we know that our Transmogrify or Lukka will hit Craterhoof Behemoth 100% of the time and also so we have a few creatures on the battlefield when Craterhoof Behemoth comes into play, hopefully allowing us to win the game on Turn 4 or 5 when Craterhoof Behemoth hits the battlefield! How good is Craterhoof Behemoth in a deck token shell built to maximize its power in Historic? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Lukka-Hoof

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Discussion

  • In general, Lukka-Hoof worked extremely well. We ended up going 4-1 with the deck, getting a ton of Turn 4 Craterhoof Behemoth kills along the way!
  • The deck itself is pretty straightforward. We are overloaded with two- and three-mana sorceries like Dragon Fodder, Forbidden Friendship, Saproling Migration, and Goblin Gathering that put two 1/1 tokens on the battlefield. The idea is that we can play two of these cards over the first three turns; then, on Turn 4, we can cash in one token to Transmogrify for Craterhoof Behemoth, leaving us with three tokens and Craterhoof Behemoth itself. The tokens become 5/5s with trample, Craterhoof Behemoth becomes a 9/9 with haste and trample, and we can hit our opponent for 24 damage! Even if our opponent manages to do a bunch of chump blocking to stay alive, they are likely to fall to less than five life and have a mostly empty board, allowing us to kill them on the following turn with our tokens and Hoof.
  • Otherwise, there isn't a whole lot to the deck: we're essentially an all-in combo deck looking to mulligan fairly aggressively for the Turn 4 / 5 kill. Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast is a more expensive Transmogrify, killing on Turn 5 rather than Turn 4, but adds redundancy to our deck. With our Lukka and four Transmogrify, we're likely to have at least one of these cards in our starting hand each game. 
  • We also have a couple of token planeswalkers. Saheeli, Sublime Artificer gives us extra tokens as we cast our various spells. It can also do a cool trick of turning one of the Servo tokens it makes into a copy of Craterhoof Behemoth, potentially allowing us to kill with fewer tokens on the battlefield. Meanwhile, Tibalt, Rakish Instigator is basically a slow Goblin Gathering, making two tokens across two turns for three mana, although it has the upside of shutting down Soul Sisters and other lifegain-based decks thanks to its lifegain-preventing static ability. 
  • The upside of Lukka-Hoof is that it is super consistent and fast, offering fairly consistent Turn 4 / 5 kills. On the other hand, our plan does come with a downside: if our opponent can kill the tokens we are trying to Transmogrify or Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast with the ability / spell on the stack, it fizzles, and we don't get Craterhoof Behemoth. This makes decks that are light on instant-speed removal super-easy matchups. But decks that are overloaded with ways to kill things at instant speed are much harder since we don't really have a good way of protecting our combo because Veil of Summer is banned. Still, the speed and consistency of the deck more than make up for this drawback. 
  • If instant-speed removal seems likely, waiting a turn or two before going for Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast or Transmogrify often makes sense. Sooner or later, most opponents tap out (and doubly so if they haven't seen the combo yet). So rather than running Transmogrify into open black mana (for example), it's often better to be patient and hope that our opponent goes shields down by tapping out on a future turn, rather than risking our Transmogrify being fizzled by removal.
  • After playing a bunch of games with the deck, the one thing I'd change is adding Castle Embereth to the mana base. Our backup plan is to go wide with tokens and beat our opponent down with a bunch of 1/1s. Being able to use a land that (mostly) comes into play untapped to pump all of our tokens would be super helpful in games where our primary combo kill doesn't work out, either because we don't draw Transmogrify or Lukka or because our opponent has instant-speed removal to fizzle our combo.
  • All in all, Lukka-Hoof felt pretty competitive. We had a bunch of Turn 4 kills and finished with a solid 4-1 record overall. While we probably got a bit lucky to dodge removal-heavy control decks, Lukka-Hoof might have a home in Historic as the Goblin Charbelcher of the format—a deck that can put the opponent to the test very early and consistently and—if our opponent doesn't have the right answers—win the game on the spot!

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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