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Much Abrew: Naban Elemental Wizards

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week we're heading to Pioneer for a deck that I've been dying to play: Naban Elemental Wizards. The deck is basically a weird take on Mono-Blue Devotion, splashing into green for Risen Reef and using a lot of Wizards to power up Naban, Dean of Iteration. Rather than just grinding out value the deck has a sweet combo kills involving the curve of Naban, Dean of Iteration into Risen Reef and finally Master of Waves to make a ton of Elementals and trigger Risen Reef a bunch of times. In the late game this can allow us to draw our entire deck in a turn and with the help of mana from Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx win the game by casting our one Jace, Wielder of Mysteries and drawing on an empty library. Does Naban have a home in Pioneer? How many cards can we draw with Risen Reef and Master of Waves? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Naban Elemental Wizards

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  • Record wise, we finished 4-1 in our video matches, but lost an additional match to WU Control bringing our total record to 4-2 which is still very solid for a spicy, under-the-radar deck. Our other loss was to Sultai Control which felt like a miserable matchup, mostly because Liliana, the Last Hope kills basically every important creature in our deck while also ticking up towards ultimate. 
  • While our record was good, our combo turns were even better. We had a game where we started the turn with more than 30 cards in our deck and thanks to Risen Reefs and Master of Waves were able to draw our entire deck, cast Jace, Wielder of Mysteries with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx mana and win the game without allowing our opponent to untap. 
  • In general, I loved this deck. It's incredibly fun to play, with Gadwick, the Wizened and flash creatures like Merfolk Trickster and Harbinger of Tides offering a bunch of instant-speed tricks, Risen Reef providing card advantage and Master of Waves beating some decks (especially ones relying on red removal) almost by itself. 
  • The one card I really didn't like in the main deck was Nivmagus Elemental. It's basically just a one-mana way to trigger Risen Reef, which is important, but it seems like Siren Stormtamer might be better in the roll since we don't really have many spells to grow Nivmagus Elemental and the few spells we do have we don't really want to eat to add a couple of +1/+1 counters to a random one-drop. Meanwhile, Siren Stormtamer might not trigger Risen Reef but it's protection ability seems like a good way to keep our important combo creatures on the battlefield. Otherwise, Embodiment of Spring, Vortex Elemental or Healer of the Glade could all be worth testing at the very least. Note: initially the article stated that Siren Stormtamer could trigger Risen Reef. It has a lot of creature types, but Elemental is not one of them, so it doesn't actually trigger Risen Reef.
  • The other place the deck could improve is the sideboard. While overloading on counterspells seems like a good plan for competing with control (which feels like our hardest matchup), the problem is if a single Teferi, Time Raveler or Oko, Thief of Crowns slips through our defenses, we have a really hard time getting it off the battlefield. [Brazen Borrower]] to make our opponent pick up a planeswalker (hopefully allowing us to counter it on the way back down), while also offering an evasive body to pressure planeswalkers could go a long way towards fixing the problem. Cards like The Immoral Sun or Pithing Needle to answer planeswalker from the battlefield could also work, or even Imprisoned in the Moon
  • The good news is that the deck eats creature decks for lunch. We played Temur Energy, and with the help of Gadwick, the Wizened, Merfolk Trickster and Harbinger of the Tides were able to stabilize against a massive board at a low life total for several turns until we eventually assembled our combo to win the game. While cards like Merfolk Trickster and Harbinger of the Tides are also why we struggle against control (especially in game one) they are extremely powerful against creature-based decks.
  • If you decide to play the deck, consider Unsummon a combo piece. While we can use it to bounce one of our opponent's creatures in a pinch, it's at its best when it allows us to pick up and recast something like Master of Waves to get a bunch more Risen Reef trigger. As such, you shouldn't just throw it away as a random tempo play in the early turns unless you are in dire straits and in danger of dying.
  • So, should you play Naban Elemental Wizards? I think the answer is a resounding yes. While the control matchup isn't great, it can hopefully be fixed with some of the updates we've been discussing. Otherwise, the deck is competitive, extremely unique and a blast to play. If you like winning by drawing your entire deck and annoying opponents with tricky flash creatures, Naban Elemental Wizards is a great option for the Pioneer format!


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! 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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