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Hulk Smash!

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The letter I!t's Adventure Week here on magicthegathering.com, so strap on your Adventuring Gear and get ready for a wild ride. This week I am proud to introduce a new Extended archetype that has the ability to win games on the first turn!


I was shuffling a random pile of cards at a friend's house last week when I saw a copy of Through the Breach. I started asking around about Through the Breach with Protean Hulk. Carrion Feeder is not legal in extended anymore so the Reveillark / Body Double loop just doesn't work. A few people suggested that I could use the Protean Hulk trigger to fetch up a playset of Hedron Crabs along with a Sakura-Tribe Elder and a playset of Dryad Arbor. The idea sounded a bit silly, but I decided to throw together a list and see how things panned out.

I will start by explaining the combo:

Once you have assembled Protean Hulk and Through the Breach in your hand you cast the Through the Breach and put the Protean Hulk onto the battlefield. At the end of the turn you sacrifice the Protean Hulk. You search your library for four copies of Hedron Crab, four copies of Dryad Arbor, and one copy of Sakura-Tribe Elder. Each crab mills for three per land. The math works like this: 3 x 4 x 5 = 60. If you already drew combo pieces, it usually doesn't matter. If you draw Hedron Crab you can usually get a few mills out of it before your opponent decides to kill it. You also have an army of blockers post-combo that can usually buy you an extra turn to play a land and fully mill out an opponent if you had an awkward draw.

Once you have assembled Protean Hulk and Through the Breach in your hand you cast the Through the Breach and put the Protean Hulk onto the battlefield. At the end of the turn you sacrifice the Protean Hulk. You search your Library for four copies of Hedron Crab, four copie, of Dryad Arbor, and one copy of Sakura-Tribe Elder. Each crab mills for three per land. The math works like this: 3 x 4 x 5 = 60. If you already drew combo pieces, it usually doesn't matter. If you draw Hedron Crab you can usually get a few mills out of it before your opponent decides to kill it. You also have an army of blockers post-combo that can usually buy you an extra turn to play a land and fully mill out an opponent if you had an awkward draw.


Seething Song and Simian Spirit Guide: Mana acceleration is very important. Turn four is the norm nowadays in Extended. We need cards like this to break serve. I won one of my first test games on turn two with a Simian Spirit Guide and Seething Song.

Through the Breach: A key combo piece.

Protean Hulk: I chose to play only two copies of the Protean Hulk. Summoner's Pact seemed strictly superior to me because I could grab it with Peer Through Depths.

Peer Through Depths: This is the best tutor available for a deck like this. Peer Through Depths finds our mana acceleration, Summoner's Pacts, and Through the Breaches.


Ponder: I have a hard time not playing Ponder in my blue combo decks.

Sakura-Tribe Elder: The most impressive Snake in the history of the game serves two purposes here: Sakura-Tribe Elder accelerates our mana and acts as a combo piece.

Hedron Crab and Dryad Arbor: The fruition of the combo.


Here's the list!

Hulk Smash
Extended


Remember to mulligan aggressively with this one. You don't want too many Hedron Crabs or Dryad Arbors in your opening hand.

People seemed pretty excited about the ticket count in my last column. This deck's count is a bit higher than last week's, but still significantly lower than most Extended decks. Here's what these rares were trading for as of this writing:

Protean Hulk, 0.5 tickets each (2 copies) = 1 ticket
Through the Breach, 0.2 tickets each (4 copies) = 0.8 tickets
Misty Rainforest, 3.2 tickets each (4 copies) =12.8 tickets
Shivan Reef, 0.5 tickets each (4 copies) =2 tickets
Summoner's Pact, 6.5 tickets each (4 copies) =26 tickets

Total cost of rares: 42.6 tickets

I played the deck in a few heads-up tournaments online. I'd like to share some of my experiences with you.


I lost the roll, mulliganed down to five, and kept Simian Spirit Guide, Seething Song, Through the Breach, Summoner's Pact, and Mountain. If I drew a land I could win on the second turn. My opponent played a fetch land into Stomping Ground and cast Wild Nacatl. I draw a Telling Time, play my Mountain, and pass the turn. My opponent played a Hallowed Fountain, attacked for 3, and cast a Tarmogoyf. I drew a Hedron Crab and passed the turn. My opponent played another fetch land, attacked for 4, cast Knight of the Reliquary, and passed the turn. I drew Peer Through Depths and passed the turn. My opponent played another fetch land, aimed a Lightning Bolt at my face, and attacked for lethal damage. I posthumously drew a card and found the land I needed. Boo.

Sideboarding: -1 Telling time, -1 Protean Hulk, -1 Island, -1 Mountain, +4 Firespout


I kept Island, Misty Rainforest, Protean Hulk, 2 Ponder, Seething Song, and Simian Spirit Guide. I played my Island and Pondered, finding Through the Breach. My opponent played a land and a Loam Lion before passing. I played my second land, exiled Simian Spirit Guide, cast Seething Song, cast Through the Breach, put Protean Hulk onto the battlefield, sacrificed it on my end step, and milled my opponent for 60 cards.


I kept Island, Misty Rainforest, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Summoner's Pact, Firespout, and 2 Ponder. My opponent opened with a fetch land and a Wild Nacatl. I drew another Summoner's Pact, played my Island, cast Ponder, put a Through the Breach into my hand, and passed the turn. My opponent played a land, attacked for 3, cast another Wild Nacatl, and passed the turn. I played my Misty Rainforest, cast Sakura-Tribe Elder, and passed the turn. I was Lightning Bolted on my end step. My opponent attacked with both creatures, and I blocked one and sacrifice my Sakura-Tribe Elder. My opponent played another fetch land, popped it, and cast Knight of the Reliquary. I drew a Mountain, cast Ponder, found nothing of note, played my fourth land, cast Firespout, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked for 4, cast a Meddling Mage naming Through the Breach, and passed the turn. I drew an Island, cast Firespout again, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked for another four and passed the turn. I went for the Through the Breach, but my opponent countered it with Bant Charm, and attacked for the win the next turn.



I won the roll, mulliganed, and kept Forest, Mountain, Peer Through Depths, Summoner's Pact, Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Seething Song. I played my Forest and passed the turn. My opponent played a land and passed back. I drew another Peer Through Depths, played my mountain, and cast Sakura-Tribe Elder. My opponent cycled a Deadshot Minotaur on my end step, and I figured I was playing against Living End. My opponent played another land and passed the turn. I sacrificed my Sakura-Tribe Elder on my opponent's end step to find an Island. I drew an Island for my turn, played it, and passed. My opponent cycled a Jungle Weaver on my end step, then played a third land and passed the turn back. I cast a pair of Peer Through Depths on my opponent's end step and found Through the Breach on the second one. On my turn I cast Summoner's Pact finding my Protean Hulk, cast Seething Song, cast Through the Breach, put Protean Hulk onto the battlefield, and milled my opponent's entire library on my end step.

Sideboarding: None


I mulliganed to five and kept Misty Rainforest, Terramorphic Expanse, Seething Song, Through the Breach, Island. My opponent played a land and passed the turn. I drew an Island, played my Terramorphic Expanse, and passed the turn. My opponent cycled a creature on my end step. My opponent played another land and passed the turn again. I drew Dryad Arbor, played Misty Rainforest, and passed the turn. My opponent cycled a pair of creatures on my end step, then played another land and passed. I drew a Ponder, cast it, found a Summoner's Pact, played my Dryad Arbor, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a cascade spell, spinning up Living End as always, killing my Dryad Arbor but bringing my Sakura-Tribe Elder and all his friends back to the battlefield. I drew a Hedron Crab for my turn, played my land, cast Seething Song, cast Summoner's Pact finding Protean Hulk, cast Through the Breach, put Protean Hulk onto the battlefield, and passed the turn. I was a bit short in the milling department, but I had plenty of chump-blockers for the next turn. My opponent attacked, and I blocked something to stay alive. I played a Hedron Crab and a land on my turn, and the game was over.




I won the roll and kept Island, Misty Rainforest, Through the Breach, Seething Song, and 3 Ponder. I played my Island and cast Ponder, I saw nothing that resembled a Protean Hulk or Summoner's Pact, so I shuffled those three away and drew a Mountain. My opponent played a Mutavault and passed the turn. I cast another Ponder and again saw no Pacts or Hulks, so I shuffled and drew another Through the Breach. My opponent played a second land and passed the turn. I Naturally drew Protean Hulk, played my land, and passed the turn. My opponent played a third land and passed the turn. During my draw step, my opponent attempted to cast a Vendilion Clique. I cast a Seething Song and Through the Breach with the Vendilion Clique on the stack, letting me put Protean Hulk onto the battlefield. My opponent looked at my hand and let me keep it, and lost to milling on my end step.

Sideboarding: -1 Telling Time, -1 Protean Hulk, -1 Island, +3 Guttural Response


I mulliganed to four and kept Mountain, Ponder, Peer Through Depths, Terramorphic Expanse. My opponent played a land and passed the turn. I drew another Terramorphic Expanse, played the first one, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Chrome Mox, removed a Mistbind Clique as the imprint, played a land, and passed the turn. I popped the Expanse for an Island. I drew another Ponder, played the first Ponder, saw a Through the Breach and a Summoner's Pact, and drew one and left the other on top. My opponent cast a Vendilion Clique on my end step and took away my Through the Breach. (It was replaced by the Summoner's Pact on top of my deck.) My opponent played a fourth land and passed the turn. I drew a Forest, played my land, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Pestermite on my end step, and cast Peer Through Depths in response. My opponent tapped me out with Pestermite, then untapped, cast Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and made about 30 hasty Pestermites. Looks like I'm not the only combo deck.

Sideboarding: -3 Guttural Response, -1 Mountain, +4 Magma Jet


I kept Island, Misty Rainforest, Terramorphic Expanse, Peer Through Depths, 2 Protean Hulk, Simian Spirit Guide. I played my Terramorphic Expanse, popped it for a Mountain, and passed the turn. My opponent played a land and passed. I drew another Simian Spirit Guide, played my Misty Rainforest, and passed the turn. My opponent suspended an Ancestral Vision and passed the turn. I cast Peer Through Depths on his end step and found another Peer Through Depths. I drew a Through the Breach for my turn. Played my third land, exiled both Simian Spirit Guides, cast Through the Breach, put Protean Hulk onto the battlefield, etc. I milled my opponent out on turn three.


The deck performed decently for me in further testing. It lacks the consistency to be a top-tier tournament deck, but it is certainly a lot of fun to play. The deck sometimes gets unbeatable draws. (I don't mean Bitterblossom into Mistbind Clique unbeatable, I mean Black Lotus into Ancestral Recall into Yawgmoth's Will unbeatable.) If you're the type who likes to play mill decks, then I strongly recommend trying out this combo. It also seems like a good alternative for people who have been playing with Hive Mind this Extended season.

Happy brewin!

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