Bo1 Alchemy Dragons Deck Guide: Here Be Dragons

Hello everyone! Today I’m going over a deck that I extremely misevaluated in the spoiler season: Dragon Aggro. With Alchemy’s release there was a litany of cards coming out supporting different archetypes. Most of them helped them tangentially, but none were more on the nose than Fearsome Whelp.

Fearsome Whelp despite the cute name and art has an absolutely terrifying ability. Permanently reducing the cost of every Dragon in your hand is one hell of a mana rock and although you could argue most mana producers do functionally the same thing, Whelp can allow ridiculous double spell turns really early on in the game. Considering the ceiling of this card, it’s safe to say I perfectly evaluated it upon first inspection.

Dang it

Ok, maybe I can’t get them all right without playing them! As I said in my blurb, I figured there weren’t many decks that would want to make themselves really clunky just for the opportunity to get the cost reduction. What happens when you don’t draw the Whelp right? Well apparently you’re still allowed to play a good curve so you don’t just lose when you don’t draw a 2 drop! Who could’ve known?

Nevertheless, after getting killed by a turn 2 Whelp one too many times I decided that I had to craft the deck myself and give it a try. Where I was expecting a clunky mess I was delightfully surprised with a very reasonable aggressive deck. Sure the curve looks super high for an aggro deck, but the game plan is so reminiscent of aggro I think it fits the bill. Although you know you want to play a lot of Dragons, the rest of the list is up in the air. Like all my lists, I had to keep testing and tuning until I got to a point I was happy with and here we are.

Bo1 Alchemy Monored Dragons
by DoggertQBones
Alchemy
best of 1
14 mythic
31 rare
11 uncommon
4 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (20)
4
Fearsome Whelp
$0.00
2
Moonveil Regent
$11.98
4
Goldspan Dragon
$179.96
Instants (7)
4
Dragon’s Fire
$1.00
Sorceries (8)
Artifacts (4)
Lands (21)
3
Faceless Haven
$20.97
60 Cards
$356.06
7 Cards
$2.79

To start the curve, we don’t have to go over the merits of Fearsome Whelp again. To help in that capacity, we also get Orb of Dragonkind as a second accelerant for our high curve. Also at the 2 drop slot we have the best removal spell in the deck with Dragon's Fire. Pretty much always a 2 mana deal 4, this will take out nearly any threat that could be plaguing you early.

The three drop slot is a little light as we’re always trying to play a 4 drop on turn 3, but it’s not completely barren. I currently play 2 Reckless Stormseeker as just a solid creature that can curve really well into the 4 drop dragons should I not have a mana accelerant on 2. The second and more controversial three drop option of the deck is Igneous Inspiration. I’m likely in the minority here but I think this card is pretty good, definitely not Divide by Zero good, but what is? That said, 3 damage draw a card for 3 mana is really not a bad deal in my opinion and having access to the Lesson board in Bo1 I think is very important. If you’re not a Igneous Inspiration fan you definitely could just go up to 4 Reckless Stormseeker and play 2 Abrade, I wouldn’t blame you.

Finally we reach the crux of the curve, the four drops. The only four of here is the new Dragon on the block, Town-razer Tyrant. Extremely punishing on the play or when it’s played early, Tyrant can interact with creature lands and pressure both the opponent’s life total and resources simultaneously. Then I decided to split between 2 Manaform Hellkite and 2 Moonveil Regent. Manaform Hellkite is better when followed up with some spells (especially Shatterskull Smashing) and Moonveil Regent is better when you’re closer to having no cards in hand. Considering I found both of those scenarios being equally likely depending on the game, I did the scientific decision to just play two each.

Finally we have the top end of the deck. Despite the nerf, Goldspan Dragon is still alive and well as a super punishing attacker that can easily help you double spell. The really spicy element of the list though is the two Inferno of Star Mounts. In normal decks this wouldn’t be a good card, but with all our mana accelerants this can come down unexpectedly and deal massive amounts of damage. It’s not that uncommon to deploy this turn 7 or so and just hit the opponent for a casual ten damage, however since it’s so expensive we can only afford to play 2.

Before I continue on to the next section, I would like to talk about the alternate version of this deck as well so you know your options.

Bo1 Alchemy Rakdos Dragons
by DoggertQBones
Alchemy
best of 1
11 mythic
25 rare
14 uncommon
10 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (7)
1
Abrade
$0.25
4
Dragon’s Fire
$1.00
2
Infernal Grasp
$4.98
Sorceries (4)
Artifacts (4)
Lands (21)
4
Mountain
$1.00
1
Swamp
$0.25
4
Haunted Ridge
$51.96
60 Cards
$415.82

This is a Rakdos build that is extremely close to the base Dafore made and there’s definitely a lot to like about the list. The biggest advantage this list has over the Monored variant is the inclusion of Kalain, Reclusive Painter. With 12 turn 2 accelerants rather than 8, you are significantly more likely to play a Dragon ahead of schedule compared to just 8. Secondly, you get access to Immersturm Predator which can be an extremely powerful threat in matchups where players only have damage based removal (which admittedly there aren’t many.) Lastly, you get access to Black based removal which can be nice in certain metagames even if we aren’t taking much advantage of that.

Those are all the upsides, but what are the detriments to this build? Two colors is going to bring a layer of inconsistency to the deck. You have significantly more lands that can come into play tapped which can mess up your curve (which is pretty counterintuitive considering we’d play Black to help not mess up our curve.) Furthermore, with more mana accelerants we’re more privy to drawing too much of the “wrong half” of the deck. If you have a hand of all accelerants no payoff or vice versa (which both can still happen in the original version), then that adds another layer of inconsistency.

Over all, I’m personally unsure on which version is better as both have their strengths and weaknesses so play the one that appeals to you more!


NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS

Leyline Tyrant Art by Chase Stone
Leyline Tyrant Art by Chase Stone

Valki, God of Lies

For the Rakdos version, this could be another early game tool that is extremely relevant late. Considering the deck doesn’t play Inferno of the Star Mounts and has twelve 2 drop accelerants, I could see this replacing Florian in the list.

Crippling Fear

Another potential for the Rakdos list. Almost certainly too cute, but it’s something to consider.

Blood on the Snow

The Rakdos Control decks pre-Alchemy were somewhat similar to the Dragons deck with a strong curve and Blood on the Snow to top off just in case things got a bit tenuous for you. I would think that’s too much clunk, but it is an option to be aware of.

Frost Bite

If the metagame move mores heavily towards creatures, you could definitely play this in the Monored version for more cheap removal.

Abrade

I mentioned it before and there is a 1 of in Rakdos, but it may be Abrade’s time to shine soon. Key to the Archive is getting more and more popular and being able to kill it is definitely pretty nice.

Magda, Brazen Outlaw

You can play this as a mana accelerant if you want, but I don’t like how fragile it is and how easily it can be blanked in combat.

Chandra, Dressed to Kill

Although I love Chandra, she doesn’t work that well in either list as the one mana ability doesn’t do enough and we can’t adequately defend her.

Leyline Tyrant

I like this card somewhat, but the biggest thing holding it back is that it’s not good. Definitely puts a damper on it.


TIPS AND TRICKS

Manaform Hellkite Art by Andrew Mar
Manaform Hellkite Art by Andrew Mar
  • If you suspect you’re in the mirror, I will functionally never play my Spikefield Hazard as a land. The mirror is generally decided by who curves out harder and letting a Fearsome Whelp live is a really easy way to lose.
  • Perpetual is a weird mechanic that confuses me so this note is for my other confused friends. If your opponent bounces a Dragon that was cost reduced, it just keeps it. For whatever reason I feel like it shouldn’t so I have to constantly remind myself that’s how it works.
  • I feel a lot of Dragons players keep their Orb of Dragonkind around for too long. If you’re not actively double spelling with it, I like aggressively cracking it to find more pressure.
  • This is pretty niche, but Manaform Hellkite‘s illusory Dragons die at the beginning of the next end step not end of turn. You could wait until the end of turn, cast an instant, and have that Dragon Illusion around for the next turn.
  • Be careful if you’re trying to manually tap Orb of Dragonkind. For whatever reason the interface with it is kind of wonky so I tend to just let autotapper use it.
  • If you’re playing the Rakdos version, keep in mind that if you play Kalain, autotapper will attempt to use all your Treasure first when casting a creature spell. Also with Kalain, it grants a +1/+1 counter for each mana spent using a Treasure so you can make huge dragons if you accrue a lot of Treasure or have Goldspan Dragon out.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

7 Responses

  1. explodingcat says:

    I didn’t have enough wild cards to craft Town-razer Tyrant for the Rakdos version, so I replaced it with Ebondeath Dracolich. That has been fun! Get the Fearsome Whelp to reduce Ebondeath Dracolich’s cost to two mana perpetually. Then you have a cheap dragon to keep flashing in from the graveyard when you sacrifice stuff to Immersturm Predator.

  2. leopold919 says:

    As always, a great article. I’ve been playing several varieties of dragon decks including Mono Red, Rakdos and Izzet with pretty good success except against the Inquisitor Captain. That card seems totally busted. Any ideas how to deal with it?

    • DoggertQBones says:

      It’s more or less a race. If they don’t have a synergy piece already on board then captain itself is not necessarily going to be stronger than a 4/4 Dragon I’ve found.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  3. Laurainthesky says:

    What are your thoughts on the 5 color Tiamat decks? It was way more reliable than I expected.

  4. craiggebz says:

    I made a red dragon deck with black Shadow’s Verdict. The top decks right now are the gain life pump up creatures and the annoying black sacrifice blood token. Creature removal that exiles destroys these decks. Add in Alchemys Gambit for a nice extra turn win! You could try white Divine Purge but your going to want to play red lands first. By the time you have 5 lands you will have two of black/white and you might as well go with Shadows Verdict.