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Much Abrew: Six-Drop Tribal (Standard)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, the crazy Sunbird's Invocation deck Six-Drop Tribal was the clear winner, which means we are heading to Standard this week to answer the age-old question, how many six-drops is too many? The basic idea of the deck is simple: maximize the power of Sunbird's Invocation by chaining six-drop into six-drop and hope for the best! 

Before we get to the video, I should tell you about a small update I made to the deck. The original build had 23 six-drops and zero ways to kill a creature in the early game, which meant if the opponent played a Longtusk Cub on Turn 2 (which happens a ton in Ixalan Standard), we quite literally just scooped up our cards. In an effort to fix this problem, I added four copies of Harnessed Lightning and trimmed back four of the six drops (although all of the cards from the original deck tech are still in the deck, we just trimmed back on six-drops that came in multiples). While we still usually lose if our opponent plays a Longtusk Cub on turn two, at least with a few Harnessed Lightning we have a slight chance of living long enough to cast a six-drop or two.

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Six-Drop Tribal (Deck Tech)

Six-Drop Tribal vs. Ramunap Red (Match 1)

Six-Drop Tribal vs. WB Tokens (Match 2)

Six-Drop Tribal vs. Sultai Energy (Match 3)

Six-Drop Tribal vs. UW Approach (Match 4)

Six-Drop Tribal vs. UW Embalm (Match 5)

Six-Drop Tribal (Wrap-Up)

Discussion

  • Even with the slight change to add some early-game removal to the deck, Six-Drop Tribal is pretty high on the list of worst Much Abrew decks of all time. Thankfully, we eventually managed to win a match, giving us an overall record of 1-4. 
  • So, what made Six-Drop Tribal so bad? The long and short of it was that the curve was horrible. Most games, we simply spent the first three or four turns passing while our opponent played creatures, and by the time we could actually start casting six-drops, we were so far behind that it didn't really matter. 
  • Six-Drop Tribal actually provides a very good reminder of the importance of curve. Based solely on raw power, Six-Drop Tribal might rank at the top of Standard. The problem is that the curve was so clunky that we never got to deploy the power. Choose the worst one-, two-, three-, and four-drops in Standard. If our opponent simply played those cards in order, starting from Turn 1, it's very likely they would beat Six-Drop Tribal as we sit around with a bunch of powerful, expensive creatures stuck in hand. 
  • Oddly, Six-Drop Tribal did a really bad job of harnessing the power of Sunbird's Invocation. While on paper it seems like this should be a great Sunbird's Invocation deck, the problem we ran into is that we rarely found a window to cast Sunbird's Invocation. Even if we beat the odds and live until we have six mana, we usually have to cast a six-drop creature rather than Sunbird's Invocation in an attempt to stay alive for another turn. 
  • The original build of Six-Drop Tribal had a massive 23 cards that cost six or more mana (along with a bunch of five-drops), and even our slightly updated build has 19 six-or-more-mana cards (in an attempt to maintain the spirit of the deck). This is simply too many. Even apart from the fact that our curve was horrible, we don't need nearly this many six-drops to make Sunbird's Invocation work. With 23 six-drops in the deck, we are roughly 95% to hit a six-drop off Sunbird's Invocation when we cast a six-drop. On the other hand, if we cut all the way down to 10 six-drops, we'd still have about a 70% chance of finding another six-drop with the enchantment. Basically, we are destroying our curve for a relatively slight increase in our odds of chaining six-drop into six-drop. 
  • As such, for the deck to have any chance at working, we need to cut at least half of the six-drops to improve our curve and then use these extra slots to play some combination of cheaper creatures to block, ramp, and removal. 
  • Which six-drops should we cut? While it's probably a matter of personal preference more than anything, The Locust God and Demon of Dark Schemes weren't especially impressive, and while I like Ajani Unyielding, but it doesn't seem especially well suited for this deck. 
  • There is a problem with cutting at least half of the six-drops: the deck is no longer Six-Drop Tribal. But maybe this is a good thing. I'm not sure it's possible to build a six-drop tribal deck that also has a functional curve. 
  • So, should you play Six-Drop Tribal? As it currently stands, the answer is a clear no. Not only was the deck bad, but it wasn't especially fun to play because most of the time, we just didn't cast anything while our opponent beat us down with cheaper threats. If you do want to play something similar, cut at least half of the expensive cards and play a more well-rounded Sunbird's Invocation deck, or better yet, play something like the Sunbird Panharmonicon deck we played for Against the Odds a few weeks ago, which was both more competitive and more fun!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, 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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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