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Much Abrew: Raising Hell in Standard


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Capricious Hellraiser is a weird card. It's enters-the-battlefield is undoubtedly powerful but with a heavy dose of randomness, which means the card offers a super-high ceiling—when things go well, it can cheat a One with the Multiverse or Portal to Phyrexia into play for just three mana—but also a low floor—when things go wrong, it does quite literally nothing except exile a few cards from our graveyard. When you add all this together, does it equal up to a playable Standard card? Well, that's what we're going to find out today as we go all-in on Capricious Hellraiser in Standard! Can we harness the randomness and use it to cheat something massive into play early in the game? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Raising Hell in Standard

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, Jeskai Hellraiser crushed it. We swept through five matches with the perfect 5-0! Apparently, cheating things like One with the Multiverse and Portal to Phyrexia into play on Turn 5 is pretty good in Standard. Who would have thought?
  • The deck's plan is simple: fill our graveyard as quickly as possible, either with Jace, the Perfected Mind to mass-mill cards or with looting effects like Scrapwork Mutt, Big Score, and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. Ideally, we'll get one of our big payoffs—Portal to Phyrexia, One with the Multiverse, or The Eternal Wanderer—into the graveyard early in the game, and then we use Capricious Hellraiser to (hopefully) cheat it into play with its enters-the-battlefield trigger.
  • Capricious Hellraiser itself is a super-weird card with a lot of choices and tensions. Our first big choice with Hellraiser is whether we are trying to get as many cards in our graveyard as possible—which lets us reduce Capricious Hellraiser's cost all the way down to three mana but gives us little control over what we exile with its enters-the-battlefield ability—or if we are trying to keep three or fewer cards in our graveyard, which means Hellraiser will cost six mana, but we'll know exactly what we are cheating into play. Honestly, which path is best really depends on the situation. Sometimes, our hand lets us guarantee a Portal to Phyrexia or One with the Multiverse on Turn 5, which is amazing. Other times, it's better to just fill our graveyard and hope for the best when Capricious Hellraiser enters the battlefield. 
  • Perhaps the biggest revelation about Capricious Hellraiser to come out of our matches is that its floor is a lot higher than it looks. We cast a lot of Hellraisers, and I believe we only hard-whiffed (exiling three lands) once. Every other Capricious Hellraiser gave us something for free from our graveyard, and it turns out that a 4/4 flier for six that comes along with a free Abrade, Big Score, or Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is a pretty awesome card. Even when we are hitting some of our weaker non-creatures with Capricious Hellraiser's ability, it felt more than good enough. And then we always have the possibility of living the dream and hitting a Portal to Phyrexia or One with the Multiverse and essentially winning the game on the spot. Basically, heading into our matches, I thought that the floor on Hellraiser was that it would be unplayable but that the ceiling was a broken card. In practice, the floor is a good card, and the ceiling is a great card. 
  • As far as our big Capricious Hellraiser hits, the two best are Portal to Phyrexia and One with the Multiverse, but The Eternal Wanderer is also solid, in large part because it can blink Capricious Hellraiser to give us another shot at reanimating something huge with its enters-the-battlefield trigger.
  • Otherwise, thanks to Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Big Score, we have a realistic backup plan of ramping into our big finishers if our graveyard gets shut down.
  • It's also worth pointing out that this is another deck where Jace, the Perfected Mind is great. It helps fill our graveyard for Hellraiser, either by –2'ing to draw a card and mill three or by –X'ing to mill enough cards to make Capricious Hellraiser cost just three mana. It can also be another backup win condition. If we can –X Jace targeting our opponent and then use Capricious Hellraiser to cheat it back into play from our graveyard, it's very possible we can mill our opponent's entire library!
  • So, should you play Capricious Hellraiser in Standard? I think the answer is clearly yes. You can't do much better than going 5-0! Plus, the deck is super unique and really fun to play because of the high-risk, high-reward aspect of our namesake Dragon. If you're looking to win some games while also praying hard to the Magic gods for some luck, Raising Hell seems like a great option for our current 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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