When researching the Open Hostility deck I wanted to take a unique spin on “swing all out and hope for the best” as a strategy. The problem is that there isn’t much beyond that to do unless we want to deal small chunks of damage each turn, which would not be playing to our deck’s full capacity. So instead of trying to find a way to be super unique in combat, we will instead just go for the throat and hope for the best. I can think of no other way to do this than to pair Tana, the Bloodsower with Tymna the Weaver.
There is a very wonderful synergy going on with these two ladies. Tana wants you to deal damage with her to create tons of 1/1 Saproling tokens. Seems rather straightforward. Tymna wants you to deal damage to opponents. Also very straightforward.
With Tana we get some awesome results from dealing damage. Normally when you attack you don’t want to get hit on the “crack back” as I like to call it. In less stupid terms this just means you tap out to attack and your opponent attacks back. This deck really wants to tap all out and there are pros and cons to this strategy. First and foremost, if you tap all of your creatures you are left without any blockers for the aforementioned crack back. Lucky for you Tana will generate some potential blockers, normally a minimum of two. This means we want to make Tana bigger so we get more value. I’ll speak more to this in a later section. But the best synergy in the deck with Tana is Skullclamp. Turn those Saprolings into immediate value by just paying a single mana per token. Absolutely nuts.
Tymna wants us to hit every opponent possible. In most situations her ability will most likely be a Sign in Blood at best, but drawing cards is normally a blue thing and since we lack blue we will absolutely take advantage of this. The bad news is that there really isn’t a way to increase this number without increasing players in the game so the wider we would need to go, which is not easy. The good news, however, is that we have multiple ways to gain life in the deck which I will cover below. This life gain will easily offset the life loss from drawing cards.
While I like Tymna’s ability, we will want to focus on making Tana as close to unblockable as possible. We can do that with Iroas, God of Victory, Goblin War Drums, Gruul War Chant, and Whispersilk Cloak. If our opponent has the ability to block efficiently, our next option would be to create as many threats for our opponents to deal with so Tana is able to get in for damage. So let’s look at a threat that our opponents will want to block instead…
I mentioned that making combat interesting isn’t something that is so easily done. The inclusion of Alesha in the deck’s stock list makes me happy. I’ve built Alesha before and loved the synergies that come with her. Assuming we can keep her alive and attacking we can have some ridiculous plays. It’s important to note that Alesha’s ability doesn’t put the creature into play attacking the same opponent, so we are able to throw our reanimated creature at another opponent. It is always important to have options!
Something great about Alesha is that she just got a great new addition to her toolbox that has been printed in Aether Revolt: Hope of Ghirapur. Most saw the immediate synergy with Alesha upon this card being spoiled. This creates a soft lock on a specific opponent. It’s amazing in one-on-one matches and can be a saving grace if you manage to get it to hit an opponent that most likely has removal for your commander or Alesha.
Something to keep in mind is that a deck full of power 2 or less is very underwhelming, and I’ve kept that in mind while crafting this deck. Alesha is great and will have plenty of reanimation targets, but we won’t be focusing our entire effort on her since we won’t get her out every game. Instead let’s put our focus on Tana’s ability to create tokens.
I’ll just come right out and say it: I love token strategies. If I had to pick a favorite strategy it would be tokens followed closely by +1/+1 counters. I’m truly a Selesnya mage at heart and that’s really why I jumped on the opportunity to write about this deck. The amount of tokens that can be generated by this deck seems to be absurd. So that being said I’ve basically woven in a populate strategy that benefits from red with cards like Impact Tremors and Purphoros, God of the Forge. Go for the throat strategies don’t slow down. This strategy only gets more absurd the longer it is in play (which, to be fair, is true for most strategies).
Each turn you’ll be pumping out tons of damage, and there is an insane combo to be had between Ghave, Crystalline Crawler, and Cathar’s Crusade (seen in the stock list of Breed Lethality). Throw in Purphoros or Impact Tremors and you will win the game on the spot. And the best part about this is that each card plays its own role in our strategy beyond this infinite combo, which is the best type of infinite combo to have.
On top of that we have a suite of token generators that look like they belong in a Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice deck. And we also have Trostani because the life gain and populate ability is too hard to pass up. Speaking of life gain, Soul Warden, Soul’s Attendant, and Essence Warden are all here to ease the pain of drawing cards from Tymna. A personal favorite of mine, Scion of Vitu-Ghazi, makes an appearance to give you a big body plus two tokens. And finally Intangible Virtue makes an expected appearance to make your tokens much better than face value.
There are cards that you see their inclusion in a list and think “yeah that just makes sense.” Panharmonicon is a newer EDH all-star that makes enter the battlefield (ETB) effects even more ridiculous. Who doesn’t like an extra trigger? Well Purphoros, Impact Tremors, and the Soul Sisters among many other cards in this deck absolutely love an extra trigger. In terms of originality I am sure I am not the first but this is just an absurd card to make your job easier. It combos with basically everything in the deck so I feel I don’t need to explain it further
Other Fun Cards
When playing non-blue we tend to lack purely unconditional card draw. Tymna will get us an extra card or two each turn assuming we’re playing our deck correctly. Harmonize is an amazing green card that is going to be our only purely unconditional card draw. Beyond that we have the absurdity that is Skullclamp. Shamanic Revelation might be really stupid when combined with the mass amount of tokens we have. And to finish everything if 1/1 tokens isn’t doing it, Overwhelming Stampede and Beastmaster Ascension are perfect for finishing the game.
What Else Do We Need?
In terms of board wipe I think we really only need a few. Most of the time we will want to be overwhelming our opponents, so ideally we won’t need to destroy the board. But there may be games where we’re getting picked on (because being so adamantly aggressive will warrant that), so we should have a backup plan to get things under control.
After that comes noncreature answers in the form of Aura Shards, Krosan Grip, and Sundering Growth. These allow for a small but effective removal suite alongside some of the out-of-the-box removal like Artifact Mutation and Aura Mutation that also play into our token strategy. We should have nonland permanents under our total control. In the land destruction suite we only run Ghost Quarter. It is cheap, not oppressive, and answers any problematic lands our opponents may pack (looking at you Maze of Ith) without being as ridiculous as something like Armageddon. Lastly we have Desert Twister that will literally answer anything.
Vault of the Archangel will make your tokens not only deadly but powerful in the lifegain strategy and Gavony Township will keep making them bigger. Ghost Quarter (alongside Desert Twister) will help keep any problematic lands in check. And beyond that there isn’t much to add to the stock list without recommending wallet-breaking upgrades, so I’ll leave that to you.
There are a ton of options in this list that make me excited to pick up the smaller pieces I need. This fast and aggressive deck will definitely keep your opponents on edge and will force them to react before turn five. I hope you enjoyed this brew and I can’t wait to hear what your ideas are in the comments.
As always, happy brewing!