Legacy on Mondays: Cascade Aggro

Welcome Back!

This week I wanted to share a list with you that is in an early stage of development. I hinted at it last week when I mentioned an aggressive cascade deck, one that was even more aggressive than my Shardless BUG list, and it has changed substantially since. I have decided to morph my initally creature-laden list into a five-color build, and I have only played two testing games.

This article is about getting your opinion and maybe making this into something killer. The deck is primarily {B}{U}{G}, with a nice splash of {W} and {R} for just a couple of cards.

[d title=”Five Color CascAggro by Peyton”]
4 Baleful Strix
4 True-Name Nemesis
4 Shardless Agent
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Abrupt Decay
1 Domri Rade
1 Sylvan Library
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Polluted Delta
2 Misty Rainforest
3 Tropical Island
2 Bayou
3 Underground Sea
1 Taiga
1 Savannah
1 Volcanic Island
1 Scrubland
1 Badlands
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Sower of Temptation
2 Thoughtseize
2 Engineered Plague
1 Gilded Drake
2 Mana Maze
2 Qasali Pridemage
1 Ancient Ziggurat
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Meddling Mage [/d]

The big question is: Why play a five color deck based around one mechanic? It is quite simple: cascade creatures are not only decent-bodied themselves, but they also provide a ton of value in potentially cascading into other relevant threats.

The aspect of having five colors gives us lots of diverse creatures that tap into different aspects of what makes a creature “relevant” in any given matchup. An example of this would be the white splash for [c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c] main deck (and a couple of cards in the ‘board) to hose against combo, burn, and the like.

The red splash facilitates the presence of one big lady: Madame [c]Bloodbraid Elf[/c] is what makes this a cascade deck instead of a goodstuff-y creature deck. She and Se├▒or [c]Shardless Agent[/c] make the deck tick. A hasty 3/2 with the potential to cascade into every other maindeck card, including the other cascader, is very potent in a format devoid of [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c]. People are playing Lily less and less, as the metagame shies towards Blue-Red Delver where the edict is not that great.

Otherwise, Red lets us play a fun-of [c]Domri Rade[/c] as a cascade possibility that, with a whopping twenty-eight creatures in the main deck, can draw into more answers and serve as impromptu removal when necessary. Speaking of removal, four main deck [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] provide the bulk of removal for this list. I will stand firm in my belief that, despite their dying popularity, they are a solid answer to many common speed bumps one may face piloting a creature deck. These, along with the [c]Ancestral Vision[/c]s and a cool [c]Sylvan Library[/c], make up the rest of the non-creature, non-land cards in the deck.

As far as lands are concerned, I am not sold on my choices. Rather than running a ton of multi-lands like [c]City of Brass[/c] or [c]Ancient Ziggurat[/c], I like using fetches and duals. This lets [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c] act as more mana fixing, and is not too awful since there are only two splash colors. In my two testing games, I never felt I was color screwed, despite playing all five colors.

My main issue is how I fit my splash colors into my fetches and duals. I would like to fit in a [c]Tundra[/c], but I am not sure what to take out. Probably the [c]Scrubland[/c], but then I have less black. I might also like to run an extra fetch or two. In the board I do have a Ziggurat. This is for my extra dudes that have extra colors, and when I bring in [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c] against control. I am not sure of this either. All of these minor details will be ironed out through more testing, and just deciding what feels best with the list.

The sideboard is incredibly iffy. It is a slightly modified port of my sideboard from Shardless BUG Aggro, and I am not sure that it fits with the theme at all. While I do like hedging my bets and having answers to the unfair stuff, maybe I want more against decks like Burn. Once again, I must play more than two testing games to determine how I want my board to look.

I have been speaking of these testing games for several paragraphs now, and it’s about time to explain what happened. I lost to U/G Infect 0-2 and beat Post MUD 2-0. In both games against Infect, my opponent was dead on the next turn before they killed me. Both games were so close, and Infect is so rare that I do not believe it is worth it to play more Infect hate. I basically brought in [c]Meddling Mage[/c] and [c]Engineered Plague[/c] and hoped I could prevent his creatures from sticking around too long. [c]Meddling Mage[/c] came down on turn two game two, naming [c]Blighted Agent[/c] and shutting him off of that. Turn three I was able to play [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] and DRS, and the beats commenced with only his [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] in play. Eventually, he was able to [c]Crop Rotation[/c] into [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c], which I could not [c]Abrupt Decay[/c], and [c]Berserk[/c] me to death. Still, he was at only three life and dead on board next turn, so I was fairly happy.

My next opponent was playing Cloudpost MUD. I love MUD; I think it is a wonderful deck, but here it did not stack up so well. In both games, I was able to effectively overrun him with my creature barrage, with a little help game two from [c]Qasali Pridemage[/c], who took care of an untimely [c]Metalworker[/c] before it comboed with a [c]Staff of Domination[/c]. In both games, there were moments when I felt that I was falling behind a bit, like when he cast his [c]Batterskull[/c] game one, or his [c]Lodestone Golem[/c] game two. These both messed with my plan a bit, but both times I was able to draw into a cascader and get back in the game immediately. The sheer board presence generated was too much in both games, and I walked away with a victory.

What’s Next?

You can help me. I will hopefully continue working on this awesome brew, and maybe if I get some suggestions, I can do an article with an update of its performance and list. Some thoughts of mine:

– Jitte in sideboard? (Almost certainly)

– Cut white out entirely? It gives me some excellent sideboard options, but are the four maindeck Legendary creatures worth it for the headache of the fifth color?

– Removal that can deal with big stuff, i.e. [c]Maelstrom Pulse[/c], [c]Vindicate[/c], maybe even [c]Utter End[/c]?

– One less land main? My curve is pretty low as only four maindeck cards cost four mana, plus [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c].

Any suggestions you may have, please post them in a comment below. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you next week!