Somehow, I have accidental committed a grave error. I’ve been doing a bunch of Best of 1 Standard guides recently because Bo1 is gas and I was looking at the tier list to see if we were missing any important ones. Lo and behold, one of the last decks that needed a guide on it was Selesnya Magecraft! Maybe this doesn’t mean much to you, but to me, it’s like forgetting to call your best friend on their birthday; so, a pretty big mess up.
I don’t know if there’s a term to group these decks together, but decks like Magecraft, Heroic from Khans of Tarkir Standard, and Modern Infect are far and away my favorite types of deck to play. There is just something about playing small creatures, protecting them, and buffing them into a victory that I absolutely can’t get enough of. So much so that, players saw a lot of success in the Alchemy Midweek Magic with my budget build:
It feels like an aggro deck, but every game is much more of a puzzle so the wins feel much more satisfying. If you want to have that same satisfaction with your games, this is the deck for you!
Like other aggressive decks, you always need to start with a one drop! While most lists use Clever Lumimancer in this slot, I’ve always been privy to Monk of the Open Hand instead. Lumimancer is more explosive which can lead to really cool nut draws, but I find those are few are far between. Too often, Lumimancer can’t attack at all barring dedicating a few spells to it, so if you don’t want to use your spells, you have blank cardboard. Monk of the Open Hand on the other hand is a one drop that can continuously grow and isn’t reliant on you casting spells on turns you want to attack which can make a huge difference. There’s going to be games you have a lot of defensive spells you don’t want to use and not being able to defend without using them is super whack.
Moving to the heart of the threats suite, we have our incredible two drops. Starting off, Leonin Lightscribe is our anthem on a stick as with each spell we cast EVERY creature we control gets +1/+1 until end of turn, which unsurprisingly, can lead to super swingy turns.
Dragonsguard Elite is the heart and soul of this deck as it’s a 2 drop that will grow with every spell cast. This will let it grow out of control extremely quickly and is one of the main reasons this deck is so threatening. If you manage to untap with this and ever draw a Charge Through or Wild Shape, you’re going to be dealing massive amounts of damage.
Finally for the new creature to the squad, Illuminator Virtuoso is the perfect card for this deck. A double striker is obviously obscene, and one that can grow extremely quickly whenever you target it only sweetens the deal. Furthermore, having a second two drop that can scale gives this deck a higher level of redundancy it was lacking before.
Mavinda is another card that I’ve seen many other lists drop, and I have absolutely no clue why. It’s extremely rare that someone can beat you in a race, it’s generally you run out of threats or spells. Mavinda works double duty as it’s not only a super scary threat in it’s own right, but it lets you rebuy every spell you’ve cast which is an unbelievable effect to have.
For our final threat, we play a lone Legion Angel as that card is just really good, especially in Bo1. Simple enough!
Now let’s move on to the spell suite! The spells are divided into two broad categories (with many of them overlapping, but I digress): pump spells and interaction. For the pump spells, it’s pretty simple. Vastwood Fortification is the weakest of the pump spells, but it doubling as a land makes it quite versatile and powerful.
Homestead Courage has been another amazing addition to this strategy as growing your creature, getting Vigilance for the turn, and then getting it again is a lot of value in a deck that likes casting a lot of instants and sorceries.
Finally, Show of Confidence is your show stopper as you can get a bunch of triggers and counters as this storms for each instant and sorcery you cast allowing you to have extremely swingy turns in the mid game.
For the final spells of the deck, we have the interaction suit. To help protect our creatures, we have both Snakeskin Veil and Wild Shape, and while both grant Hexproof, they also give additional value. For Snakesin, you get a modest +1/+1 counter which can definitely add up so it’s well worth it. For Wild Shape, you can also use it to give a creature trample in the late game which is invaluable in a deck where our creatures can grow extremely large.
In a similar vein, Charge Through gives creatures trample and nets a card, and while this doesn’t feel like interaction, it functions similarly to removal as it clears a blocker.
Finally, we have Blizzard Brawl which is our lone piece or proactive interaction. In old Magecraft builds, the deck always played four Blizzard Brawl and I’m unsure if four or two is the correct number now. Two seems fine as there’s a lot more spot removal as Boros is so popular so two is probably fine, but if that changes, I would likely go back to four.
Tips and Tricks
- Remember that Monk of the Open Hand can grow from the second spell you cast on each turn, not just your own.
- This applies to all your Magecraft creatures, but most so for Leonin Lightscribe. You can attack and threaten a pump spell and most of the time the opponent won’t block. Bluffing is a pivotal part of this deck so keep it in mind!
- Don’t discount the ability to double the counters on Dragonsguard Elite as opponents will either overly respect it or forget about it.
- Although you want to scale Illuminator Virtuoso, most of the time you don’t want to discard spells to connive. The main exception is additional creatures that you don’t plan on playing.
- Keep in mind that Mavinda, Students' Advocate can be activated on both players turns, not just your own.
- Try to save your Trample spells as long as possible unless you desperately need to push damage, need to cantrip with Charge Through, or need Hexproof with Wild Shape.
- It’s ok to play creatures off curve to protect them with Snakeskin Veil.
- Remember that the Elephant mode on Wild Shape gives creatures a base power of 3 so that’ll be an additional power or two as all the scaling on our creatures are +1/+1 counters.
Thank you for reading!