Faithless Looting #13: Cruising with Commons

Welcome back to Faithless Looting, my weekly look at budget lists and budget formats.

If there is one truly contentious card brought to us by Khans of Tarkir, that card is [c]Treasure Cruise[/c], and it is contentious because it just might be “too good.” Its effect, after all, is very similar to [c]Ancestral Recall[/c], and while you’ll never cast Cruise on turn 1, it is pretty easy to meet the conditions on t4-5 to cast it for 1-2 mana. In long, grindy games, it’s a powerhouse.

People think it should be banned in quite a few formats; other people act like you’re trying to steal their baby when you try and ban cards. It will be interesting to see what WotC decides to do, if anything. Today we’re going to look at Cruise in Pauper. After all, if a card is considered OP in formats like Modern and Legacy, it must REALLY be OP in our beloved all-commons format, right? It certainly makes Blue that much more powerful and consistent; things that Blue really didn’t need since it already dominates the meta. Let’s take a look at other places the card shines, starting with Daily lists from this past weekend.

ScionOfJustice, who usually wins with black cards, decided to splash blue to include 4x [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] in the main, and a singleton [c]Ghostly Flicker[/c] for good measure. Basically he is playing MBC with Cruise in it; I guess you really can play it in every deck. Here is the list.

[d title=”MBC Cruise by ScionOfJustice”]
1 Augur of Skulls
4 Chittering Rats
1 Crypt Rats
4 Cuombajj Witches
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
2 Liliana’s Specter
1 Mulldrifter
1 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
3 Phyrexian Rager

4 Chainer’s Edict
1 Syphon Life
4 Treasure Cruise
1 Wrench Mind
1 Devour Flesh
1 Ghostly Flicker
1 Undying Evil
2 Oubliette
1 Pestilence

4 Dimir Guildgate
4 Dismal Backwater
15 Swamp

1 Crypt Rats
2 Child of Night
2 Choking Sands
1 Disfigure
2 Font of Return
2 Geth’s Verdict
1 Nausea
1 Pharika’s Cure
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Stinkweed Imp [/d]

Surucucu added 2x Cruise in Delverfiend, which seems like a very natural inclusion.

Dirknight put the full set into UR Control, and I think this deck is one of the biggest Cruise winners. Enough to push it into consistent Tier 1 territory? I guess we’ll see, but the deck seems very strong. Here is his list:

[d title=”UR Control Cruise by Dirknight”]
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Mulldrifter
4 Sea Gate Oracle

4 Firebolt
4 Flame Slash
4 Preordain
4 Treasure Cruise
4 Counterspell
2 Electrostatic Bolt
4 Exclude

6 Island
3 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Izzet Guildgate
3 Mountain
1 Radiant Fountain
4 Swiftwater Cliffs
4 Terramorphic Expanse

2 Curfew
2 Curse of the Bloody Tome
1 Electrickery
4 Hydroblast
2 Negate
4 Pyroblast [/d]

RainbowSlushy played a faeries version of UR Control with a full set. Zakurero22 4-0ed with a list that is a cross between Delverfiend and UR Control and ran 3x Cruise.

Funny enough, the dominant blue deck in the format, Delver (or Mono Blue Faeries), is only checking in at 1x Cruise for the most part, with the greedier lists reaching for 2.

We’re not seeing [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] make its way into green decks like Stompy or White Weenie lists quite yet. Sensible choice, or simply lack of imagination? While we’re being hypothetical, does Cruise make [c]Thought Scour[/c] playable in blue decks? I was a little surprised to see zero Cruise in the various Affinity decks that placed; it seems like a fair 1x or 2x in a lot of those lists, especially the lists that are sacrificing all those 1-mana artifacts to draw cards anyway.

Outside of daily lists, there are other places where Cruise might fit. I personally tried Burn and, like most attempts at adding a color to Burn (or any similar “win fast” list), I felt like diluting the deck made it worse rather than better. Even so, two distinct threads popped up just for Cruise Burn on Reddit, so people are having similar thoughts.

Dredge & Delve

If there are two mechanics that work well together, these two seem like they’re it. The synergy is simple and natural: one adds cards to the GY, often for a beneficial effect, and the other takes cards away from the GY, also for a beneficial effect.

Aside from Cruise, Delve has a couple good cards we can experiment with, including [c]Death Rattle[/c], [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c], and [c]Sultai Scavenger[/c]. We only get 7 cards total at common level with the Delve mechanic, though we’ll likely see more in upcoming sets. That’s still more cards than we have with Dredge, though, which clocks in at only 5. Notable players include [c]Stinkweed Imp[/c], [c]Golgari Brownscale[/c], [c]Moldervine Cloak[/c], and [c]Shambling Shell[/c].

Based on the cards we have with each mechanic, we are looking at Black cards with both mechanic, Green cards with both mechanic, and Blue cards with … oh wait, it’s just [c]Treasure Cruise[/c]. We could consider [c]Logic Knot[/c] as well, but Cruise is strictly better, I think, and we need to be careful about how many Delve cards we include in a list.

So a D&D list would be UG, UB, or GB. Mono-colored lists could be possible, but I think two colors makes a lot more sense. We’re not playing a speedy aggro deck in any case, so the additional color should only help us. We could even go all three colors if we want to get greedy.

In UB, we definitely want Stinkweed Imp and Treasure Cruise, which automatically has us looking at a grindy control deck with card advantage. Cards like [c]Pilfered Plans[/c] let us draw cards AND fill our GY, which seems pretty good with Cruise. [c]Soul Manipulation[/c] is another fun include, while [c]Lurking Informant[/c] is FAR too fiddly, but scrying every turn and adding cards to the GY seems fun in a casual list. [c]Scarscale Ritual[/c] is another of my favorite UB cards and works particular well in lists with Undying, which UB also has, namely [c]Stormbound Geist[/c]. [c]Death Rattle[/c] and [c]Ghastly Demise[/c] are both good pieces of removal that care about how many cards we have in our GY; we don’t want too many, but a few fit in nicely.

GB has the other best synergies (UG seems unappealing, really). [c]Shambling Shell[/c] is the only self-sacrificing recursive creature in the game. He single-handedly sends himself to the graveyard AND brings himself back, filling our GY with more cards in the process. [c]Grisly Salvage[/c] helps us dig for creatures or land and fills the GY as well. [c]Drown in Filth[/c] is decent removal if our GY is full. Golgari also gifts us with Scavenge creatures like [c]Sluiceway Scorpion[/c] if we want another angle on GY shenanigans. Cards like [c]Desecrator Hag[/c] and [c]Pit Keeper[/c] let us gain card advantage from having creatures in the GY, and we could even go for an [c]Exhume[/c] angle (or at least back-up plan) using Dredge to throw an [c]Ulamog’s Crusher[/c] or another fatty in the GY and (if we want) a singleton [c]Dragon Breath[/c] just for kicks.

I don’t have any lists for you, but I think there are some there asking to be built. Even though there isn’t a contest this week, feel free to look at some of the cards above and submit lists in the comments if you think something’s there.

Until next time, keep the faith!