Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fate Reforged Prerelease Primer: Sultai

It's Wednesday. For those keeping track, we've made it to the black-centered clan, the Sultai. So what's in their arsenal that you can use during the prerelease? Let's take a look:

On Monday, we looked at the Abzan. The Abzan respect the endurance of dragons the most. Endurance is survival, protection, toughness. Bolster and Outlast help with that, but they have creatures that get bigger and can endure more by having a higher toughness.

On Tuesday, we reviewed the Jeskai. The Jeskai respect the cunning of dragons the most. Cunning is tricks, patience, control. Prowess deals with the spells cast, but the other side of their methods are the control spells that remove creatures from play, stop them from entering play, and just slow the game down to the speed they want.

Today, we're looking at the Sultai. They respect the ruthlessness of dragons. The key here is having tricks up your sleeve. Sure, I can't play this eight mana spell, but let me exile my graveyard and cast it for two mana. Sultai cares about creatures, tricks, and the graveyard.

Oh, and if some of you would care for a history lesson on the aspects each clan respects, I invite you to step into our Archive and look at the clans again. But now, we need to review some cards...

The Commons

Enhanced Awareness  Refocus  Sultai Skullkeeper

It may be five mana, but drawing cards and discarding is something useful to the Sultai. Discard a huge creature and then bring it back the next turn. Or get rid of a land from your hand. Possibilities are endless. Refocus, on the other hand, has more of a Jeskai vibe. Still fits in here. Who doesn't want to draw cards? And then Sultai Skullkeeper... It's cheap, has a descent body, and populates your graveyard. Just have to be careful about what's in your deck and run multiple cards that you can cast from the graveyard or use to bring cards back.

Will of the Naga  Ancestral Vengeance  Gurmag Angler

There's the control aspect I'm talking about! Based on the number of cards that will get dropped into your graveyard playing Sultai, this will wind up being pretty cheap. Ancestral Vengeance might be more of an Abzan card, but you can reduce a creature or kill a creature all while boosting a creature you control. Gurmag Angler is a 5/5 for one mana. Well, after you exile your graveyard anyway, but that won't be a problem, will it?

Hooded Assassin  Sibsig Host  Sultai Runemark

Modal creatures. Got to love them... I like charms for the same reason. Sibsig Host visits the good milling and the bad milling. Depending on the side of the table you're on, I'll let you figure out which is which. And the Runemark. Perfect for Limited formats. Actually, come to think of it, I'm going to put the cycle in the pauper cube I'm designing...

Tasigur’s Cruelty  Typhoid Rats  Ainok Guide

Force your opponent to empty their hand. Maybe more of a sideboard if you'e playing against someone running a control deck, but still good to clear a path. Typhoid Rats should be self explanatory. A 1/1 deathtouch creature playable on turn one. Yes please! Now, Ainok Guide has an interesting explanation: Either cast a 2/2, set up a land for your next draw, or later in the game, find a land you don't need, put it on top of your library, then mill yourself to cast more Delve spells. That's thinking outside the box.

Return to the Earth  Temur Runemark  Whisperer of the Wilds

Er... I guess Sultai has a problem with flying? I mean, there isn't much flying in black and green, so that's likely the main weakness the Sultai have. Temur Runemark is here because it's a Runemark. I seriously think they're amazing in Limited. And Whisperer of the Wilds is here to help with mana fixing. You probably don't need it, but it could come in handy.

Ethereal Ambush  Grim Contest

Maybe it's a bias, but I really don't care for Manifest. Blocking with a flipped instant, sorcery, or land helps fill the graveyard. Beyond that, I really don't see using this. Grim Contest, on the other hand, may be more of an Abzan card due to the importance of toughness, but if you can clear the other side and add to your graveyard, why not do it?

Dismal Backwater  Jungle Hollow  Thornwood Falls

Lands. Mana fixing. Moving on...

The Uncommons

Fascination  Frost Walker  Rite of Undoing

There's that good and bad milling again. Drawing cards off Fascination is more of a group hug EDH deck. In limited when you represent the Sultai, mill. Helps you and hurts your opponent. Frost Walker because an easy to kill creature fills the graveyard. And if you get it out early enough, it's pretty strong. Rite of Undoing is control magic again, and Delve helps make it happen.

Fearsome Awakening  Grave Strength  Sibsig Muckdraggers

Both Fearsome Awakening and Sibsig Muckdraggers are both important in getting creatures back from the graveyard. They're both powerful spells and Sibsig Muckdraggers doesn't easily succumb to burn spells. Grave Strength is great for adding to cards usable in Delve, but also in boosting a creature based on what is in your graveyard.

Abzan Kin-Guard  Ruthless Instincts  Sudden Reclamation

Abzan Kin-Guard is aligned with another guild, but lifelink can't hurt anything, right? Ruthless Instincts is here because deathtouch is important to black and green so it fits into the Sultai game plan. Sudden Reclamation is another recursion spell. You have to mill with it, but you do get a creature and a land back to your hand.

Hero’s Blade  Pilgrim of the Fires

As with the past two primers, I see no problem running either of these.

Rares and Mythics

Temporal Trespass  Torrent Elemental  Archfiend of Depravity

The mythics may be a bit hard to get, and I honestly am not sure an extra turn does much in Limited, but take what you can get... Torrent Elemental is a flyer for the Sultai and can be played again over and over from exile. So you can use it to pay a Delve cost, then cast it. Archfiend of Depravity is one of the rare black cards with flying. By rare, I mean not seen often due to how flying isn't really a black creature thing. It clears the battlefield on your opponent's side, so that's always good...

Tasigur, the Golden Fang  Frontier Siege  Silumgar, the Drifting Death

Tasigur is the Khan of the Sultai 1,280 years before the events of Khans of Tarkir... Delve to cast, return cards from your graveyard to your hand... It's good. Frontier Siege is here because I didn't see any really good green rares applicable to the Sultai. The only way this applies is that by choosing Khans, you get more mana each turn to exile less from your graveyard for Delve. And then we have Silumgar. 3/7 isn't great, but hexproof makes up for it. And he reduces the strength of an opponent's creatures. Not bad at all.

Supporting Characters from Khans of Tarkir

Taigam's Scheming  Treasure Cruise  

Taigam's Scheming is good for sorting your next few draws and getting some cards ready to use with Delve. Treasure Cruise is Ancestral Recall. Well, with Delve and seven more mana. Seems useful... Bitter Revelation fills your graveyard and gets you cards at the cost of life. Not too bad.

  Become Immense  Scout the Borders

Murderous Cut is an instant kill spell that, when using Delve, pretty much costs one mana. It's great! Become Immense is a pretty powerful card. It's a costly double Giant Growth, but delve makes it more affordable. Scout the Borders helps get you a creature or a land depending on what you need and fills your graveyard. Definitely could be useful.


Obligatory charm and obligatory mana fixing.

Join me again tomorrow when I explore the Mardu clan!

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