Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fate Reforged Prerelease Primer: Mardu

Today, I'm featuring the Mardu in their respect for the speed of dragons. With Mardu, the best way to walk away victorious is to move fast. This means creatures with haste, utilizing the new mechanic Dash, and backing up your team of creatures with Raid (the mechanic from Khans of Tarkir, not that brand of insecticides and pesticides). We're moving fast, so keep up!

The Commons

Abzan Runemark  Mardu Runemark

Yeah, I'm just going to get my "Runemarks are great!" spiel out of the way early on. Vigilance from the Abzan one hits with black, but the best and most useful one is obviously the Mardu Runemark. First strike provides the best offense and defense your creatures can have because you want them hitting first, either being the first player to attack, or have damage dealt first.

Aven Skirmisher  Pressure Point  Sandblast
Aven Skirmisher is not just for the Jeskai. A 1/1 flying creature for one mana is great any day. If you run white, run this. Chances are you'll have one anyway.

Pressure Point is good because you tap down a blocker and draw a card. Drawing is for Blue and Red primarily. Well, Red forces a discard most of the time it has draw capabilities, so take the free card.

Sandblast? Yes. In Modern, I've run White/Red Burn, I've run Black/Red Burn. You could probably even make a Mardu Burn deck in Modern given all the tools available to you. Bring that to limited with Sandblast. Direct damage can't hurt. Well, not you if you're the one casting it, anyway...

Sandsteppe Outcast  Alesha’s Vanguard  Douse in Gloom

Modal creatures. Pretty awesome if you ask me. Since there won't be many flying options available in Mardu colors, make it a 1/1 Spirit with flying, please.

Alesha's Vanguard is a 3/3 for three mana. With haste. Next turn, it's a 3/3 for three mana with haste. Rinse and repeat. Well, until someone kills it that is...

What did I say about direct damage? It's a Lightning Helix for one more mana, one less life and one less damage, and it's in the one Mardu color not used in Lightning Helix. Might not be competitive in Standard, but that's why you use it here. You'll hurt its feelings if you don't.

Hooded Assassin  Reach of Shadows  Typhoid Rats

Do I need to explain myself here? Death and destruction everywhere!

Bathe in Dragonfire  Collateral Damage  Goblin Heelcutter

Direct damage. Moving on...

Lightning Bolt with a twist. Good in limited, will be good in Standard. Collateral Damage is very usable.

Goblin Heelcutter is probably one of the best Mardu creatures at common. A 3/2 for three mana with haste and it forces a creature of your choice to stay out of combat.

Lightning Shrieker  Mardu Scout  Temur Battle Rage

A 5/5 dragon for five mana. With flying, trample, and haste. Yes, this is good!

Sorry, did I say Goblin Heelcutter is the best Mardu creature? I made a mistake. Mardu Scout is better. A hasty 3/1 on turn two can win games...

Sure, it's Temur, but we used Abzan ad Jeskai spells earlier in white. Doublestrike for two mana with the ability to also give it trample with a big enough creature is important.

Harsh Sustenance  War Flare

Direct damage again. You'll just have to stop using Dash long enough to have creatures stick to the battlefield first, but still a great spell.

Boost all of your creatures in power and toughness paired with creatures that have first strike or trample is good.

Bloodfell Caves  Scoured Barrens  Wind-Scarred Crag

Obligatory dual lands available to you.

The Uncommons

Mardu Woe-Reaper  Valorous Stance  Wandering Champion

Mardu Woe-Reaper is a good answer to Sultai's Delve. most of your creatures will likely be Warriors too.

Valorous Stance either protects one of your creatures or destroys an opponent's creature to protect yourself (and your creatures). Either way, It's pretty useful.

Wandering Champion triggers with red permanents. See, this is red's card draw. Discard to draw. Gets rid of lands if you have too many in your hand.

Battle Brawler  Diplomacy of the Wastes  Mardu Shadowspear

A 3/2 with first strike for two mana is good.

See? Warrior subtheme. Thoughtseize a card and smack your opponent with two damage. Er... loss of life because it doesn't say "deals" or "damage."

One mana 1/1s are useful for starting fast out of the gate. Not sure about Dash on this one, but it means haste, 1 damage and 1 life lost in addition. Seems good.

Bloodfire Enforcers  Dragonrage  Friendly Fire

First strike is good. You'll have a spell in your graveyard based on all the spells I'm suggesting...

A card that pays you to boost your attacking creatures. Sure...

Direct damage once again!

Shockmaw Dragon  Vaultbreaker  Wild Slash

Direct damage and a dragon. Seems flavorful and good. Let's call that "tasty."

Vaultbreaker has dash. And it helps cycle lands or spells you don't want/need out of your hand for more useful spells/creatures.

Shock, but with a possible Skullcrack ability tacked on. (Those of you new to the game, two years ago... Actually, just click the link. But I'm talking about the "damage can't be prevented" clause.)

Goblin Boom Keg  Hero’s Blade  Pilgrim of the Fires

I like the name. And the burn combination seems good.

Like I said the last three days... Hero's Blade is good with and without legendary creatures.

Also like I have said three times before, a fatty with first strike and trample is a good fatty.

Rares and Mythics

Citadel Siege  Palace Siege  Outpost Siege  

The Sieges just sort of seem best suited to the Mardu. Not sure why...  But all I'm going to say is Khans Dragons Dragons. Not necessarily, but those seem the most Marduish, if you will.

Dragonscale General  Brutal Hordechief  Mardu Strike Leader    

If you're swinging in with hasty first strike creatures, you're bound to still have a couple tapped. Bolster just makes them better.

I like Brutal Hordechief. You can either get all the creatures to not block or direct them so they all die all while forcing your opponent to lose life.

The Warrior theme is strong here. Make some tokens either by using Dash or waiting a turn and then attacking.

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death  Flamerush Rider    Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury

As the "old" Khan, Alesha is pretty good as a regular creature, but then she brings back some other creatures to the battlefield from your graveyard.

Flamerush Rider may cost a bit, but it copies already attacking creatures. With Dash, you can cast it a turn early and get some extra damage in.

Kolaghan boosts your creatures, is a solid 4/5, and has flying so there is some evasion available. If you have one, play it.

Supporting Characters from Khans of Tarkir

Firehoof Cavalry  Mardu Hateblade  Mardu Hordechief

Well, looks like KTK will supply a good portion of your white common one mana creatures. Both Firehoof Cavalry and Mardu Hateblade are solid choices for a Mardu limited deck. Mardu Hordechief gives more Warrior tokens. This will help with the overall Warrior theme found within the Mardu.

  Molting Snakeskin  

Forcing discard is good. Gives a small advantage to you, so Mardu Skullhunter is a good creature to have.

Molting Snakeskin is here for protection and boosting a creature that hopefully has first strike and/or trample.

Raider's spoils boosts your creatures and also allows you to exchange life for cards if you have a Warrior creature.

Arrow Storm    Valley Dasher

Damage, mana fixing, and haste on turn two. Seems good.

Chief of the Edge  Chief of the Scale  

Warrior creatures boosting other warrior creatures and then the Mardu Charm. All important aspects of a Mardu deck if you happen to pull them...


Obligatory mana fixing.

Join me tomorrow for the final segment of our prerelease primers where I visit the Temur.

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