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Much Abrew: Mardu Ratadrabik Dragons (Dominaria United Standard)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we're heading to Dominaria United Standard to play one of my favorite brews for the format: Mardu Ratadrabik Dragons! The idea is to survive the early game so we can grind out an absurd amount of value later by playing legendary death-trigger Dragons like Atsushi, the Blazing Sky, Ao, the Dawn Sky, and Junji, the Midnight Sky; getting non-legendary token copies of them when they die thanks to Ratadrabik of Urborg; and then casting them from our graveyard to do it all over again with Rivaz of the Claw! Once the deck gets going, the value is almost unbeatable. As an added bonus, it lines up really well with all of the removal-heavy black decks people are playing in Standard. There's really no way I can do the deck justice in text form—the synergies are just too sweet! What absurd things can the combo of Ratadrabik and Rivaz do in our new Standard format? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Mardu Ratadrabik Dragons

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The Deck

  • Record-wise, we went 4-2 with the deck, which is pretty impressive considering we played against a surprising number of aggro decks when we're much better suited for the popular midrange battles of Dominaria United Standard. I've been playing the deck for fun as well, and overall, I've been winning slightly more than 60% of the time with the pile of Dragon value!
  • The goal is pretty straightforward. In the early game, we're just looking to stay alive with removal. We really don't start doing powerful things until Turn 3 or 4. This is, in part, why aggro can be a tricky matchup. Against various midrange decks, it's pretty easy to stay alive until we start casting Dragons, while against aggro decks like Mono-Red or Delver, we can sometimes get run over before we do anything cool if we have a removal-light draw.
  • So, let's assume we live long enough to get our engine online—what does that look like? Well, it starts with our legendary death-trigger dragons Ao, the Dawn Sky, Junji, the Midnight Sky, and Atsushi, the Blazing Sky. Our main goal is to abuse these Dragons' death triggers over and over again, generating card advantage with Atsushi, flooding the battlefield with Ao, and using Junji to either clear away our opponent's hand or reanimate some of our non-Dragon engine pieces. While each of these death triggers is powerful on its own, they are even better in our deck because we're planning to use them over and over again.
  • How do we keep looping these Dragon's death triggers? There are two ways. First, we have Ratadrabik of Urborg, which will make a non-legendary 2/2 copy of our legends when they die. When a Dragon dies, the token will have its death trigger, so we'll get the effect a second time when the token dies. Second, we have Rivaz of the Claw, which not only ramps us into our Dragons but also lets us cast a Dragon from our graveyard each turn. This lets us recast Ao, Junji, or Atsushi to get their death trigger again once they die a second time. It's pretty crazy when we get things fully set up: when a Dragon dies, we get a 2/2 Zombie token copy from Ratadrabik and then can recast the Dragon with Rivaz to get the original back on the battlefield!
  • The deck is super fun to play, but more than that, I think it might actually be pretty good. In a world where everyone is playing Liliana of the Veil and grindy black decks, overloading on death-trigger synergies is surprisingly powerful! If you're looking for something spicy but competitive to play in new Standard, I'd recommend taking Mardu Ratadrabik Dragons out for a spin. The only drawback is that the deck is absurdly expensive pretty much everywhere, with 65 rares and mythics on Arena and costing nearly $700 in paper, in large part because Liliana of the Veil and The Meathook Massacre cost a ton at the moment. The good news is that the deck can function without those cards. Liliana's just a sideboard card anyway, and while not as strong, Depopulate can replace The Meathook Massacre (just don't use Farewell because we want our Dragons to die, not go to exile).

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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