Hello Planeswalkers from all across the globe! Welcome to the second episode of “Chance for Glory”, where we try to give life to those cards that have being warming our benches since their creation, waiting on the sidelines for a chance to shine. Those cards that you know could have potential, a specific role in competitive play. The ones that you open in a booster pack and think to yourself “Okay not bad, it clearly does something, but what on earth am I going to do with this?!”.
Today we won’t be working with a card you can get in booster packs though, oddly enough. How much affinity can anyone have with a big blue untargetable dragon that draws a bunch of cards per turn? I would say a lot! The thing is, no one has this card in their collection unless they actually want to play with it, because it is not part of the main Throne of Eldraine set, but rather comes from the Brawl Decks; you won’t get a copy of it unless you throw some wildcards at the problem. Let’s try to convince some of you to spend your precious gold cards, shall we? Let’s work with Shimmer Dragon, and see if we can work around it and give it its glorious moment in the spotlight.
Not to confuse with the Xbox 360 game, this blue dragon has decent stats for its mana cost, and two powerful abilities attached to it. It is not hard to imagine that, given the right context and circumstances, a card like this could take over the game in a couple of turns if left uncontested, assuming we are not struggling to survive on our way there. Being a six mana creature that requires a specific set up, it is very clear that the route we should take is a controlling one – a deck that can play a long game to stay alive comfortably, all the while setting up the perfect scenario for the big flyer to come down with instant protection, and to start drawing cards to quickly bury our opponents in card advantage.
Of course, tons of artifacts will have to be included, and thankfully there are many of them playable in Standard right now. Some of them are obvious inclusions, others not so much. Let’s take a look at the decklist and talk through it:
A Blue-White tap out control deck with artifact synergies, to make full use of Shimmer Dragon.
- Solid control game plan, with answers to almost every problem in Standard.
- Lots of synergies built within, that no other deck is playing.
- Great mana base that allows for multiple utility lands.
- VERY fun to play
- Takes too long to win. Like days long.
- Being a Yorion 80 card deck, some hands might not align well with what the opponent is playing.
- Requires cards that no one has in their collection!
Card Choices by Group
We have a total of 24 artifact cards, or cards that can get artifacts, in the deck to enable our powerful dragon, which means around a third of our library is composed of this permanent type. This includes both the actual artifacts and things like The Birth of Meletis (that conveniently creates an artifact token) and Karn, the Great Creator (that can grab specific artifacts from the sideboard). Every card in this list contributes to the control game plan of the deck, whether is by drawing cards, gaining life, or functioning as removal/answers to specific threats (Soul-Guide Lantern to attack opposing graveyards, Stonecoil Serpent to block or pressure opposing Planeswalkers). Most of these cards give us value as soon as they come into play, and create an artifact permanent that can stay in play, so that when our big dragon arrives, it already has that special protection and can start drawing infinite cards. It is also worth mentioning that most of them also work well with Yorion, Sky Nomad, by having useful enter the battlefield triggers.
The blue white control combo you can’t leave the house without, if you want to survive a harsh environment like today’s Standard, where everyone is doing all sorts of crazy stuff. The beloved combination of Teferi plus Narset, whose roles are already well-known, plus wraths to control the board, some Shark Typhoons, and Elspeth Conquers Death. All these cards will ensure that we are able to compete against everybody and survive long enough to get our special engine going. Important to note the Dovin’s Vetos in the sideboard, that fit into this same category: a card that is very good in many matchups and has to be included somewhere in any blue white list. We are starting with it in the sideboard because of the tap out nature of our build – we won’t be passing the turn with mana untapped too much, but depending on the metagame you are facing, you could easily find them a place in the maindeck for them.
Of course, Shimmer Dragon will be our absolute best payoff for filling our deck with all these sweet artifacts, but what happens in those games where we don’t find it? We need to have some other purpose or synergy for them built in. Dance of the Manse is exactly that, a card that will let us put all those artifacts to good use (and enchantments), letting us even sacrifice them for value only to bring them back later as creatures. It is a good spell to close out games but, even if it doesn’t do that right away, the card and board advantage gained should be enough to draw rapid concessions from our opponents.
The other big payoff for having random colorless permanents in play is the mighty Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: a card that does not need explanation at this point, capable of winning games by itself. The only thing we should be aware when using it here, is the nonbo with Glass Casket, but at that point in the game it should be easy to work our way around that, either by bouncing the artifact back to our hand with Teferi first, or leaving other permanents in play on our side of the board that are not affected by the dragon and can protect it.
Playing the Deck
We played various matches in Traditional Standard Ranked in Mythic while on stream, and finished with a little bit over 50%-win rate overall, which is not too bad a record for a “Chance for Glory” brew. Shimmer Dragon feels extremely powerful in the games where everything lines up for it to come into play and start doing its thing right away. Other times we were playing a six mana 5/6 flyer in our deck, and it really shows that something like Dream Trawler is much stronger in that it doesn’t require any specific synergy to do what it is supposed to do. Still, the deck is running good cards regardless of the blue dragon, that will win games of magic without any help.
As far as changes you could make to the deck… well, you can try and change anything! In fact, I’d love to see your ideas for making this card work! Do you also like creating off-meta decks?