Odyssey Preview: Atogatog
Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time.
Let's deal with this right now: if you are looking for the latest Standard tech, and you have absolutely no interest in cards that don't win on turn five, you have sharply turned around the wrong corner. Put your Fact or Fiction down on the ground, get your hands where we can see them, and slowly back away.
If you are looking for a bit of potentially crazy interaction between creature types, graveyard recursion, and five-color silliness, then this may work just fine. I tend to prefer those multiplayer cards that have tournament playability - like Pernicious Deed, or Misdirection - but there's nothing wrong with kicking back for a moment and imagining a little insanity.
Until more of the set is revealed, we won't know how practical a five-color creature is in Odyssey Limited (or Block Constructed) formats. It's worth noting that even in Invasion, which practically dunked our collective head into multicolor decks, the superior Cromat was considered only occasionally playable. Odyssey probably has other themes in mind, and busting open an Atogatog in your first pack isn't exactly a reason to celebrate.
Unless, of course, you want to take the King home, and make your own little Atog-Graceland.
Let's focus on multiplayer constructed possibilities. There are at least two different ways to crystallize the Atogatog's power: giving him a deck of pre-made Atogs, and letting them feed off of their natural prey so that they're larger when the king gets hungry; or making your own Atogs to feed the legend.
Either way, you have a job to do with your mana.
Ready-to-Eat Atog Meals
The more conventional use of the Atogatog (if any use at all can be called "conventional") will be to work three or four of your favorite Atogs into a deck, make them larger, and then feed them to the cannibal-king.
Since my preview of the Atogs preferred the black ones, I'll slide over to the other end of the spectrum and work the green-white end of the spectrum:
And we'll add some old-school recursive tools:
4x Brilliant Halo
4x Planar Birth
You know, there's a lot of cards I want to add that are going to break the 60-card theoretical "barrier". Since we're halfway to an Enchantress deck anyway, why not pull out the stops and go 250 cards? How about a Five-Color Magic deck? Bear in mind, we're still thinking of multiplayer, here:
4x Argovian Enchantress
4x Verduran Enchantress
4x Opal Gargoyle
4x Opal Acrolyth
4x Opal Titan
4x Gaea's Blessing
4x Dismanting Blow
4x Benalish Heralds
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Jeweled Bird
4x Eladamri's Call
Yes, yes, I know Eladamri's Call and Benalish Heralds aren't "classic" Enchantress. So what are you, the Enchantress police? It's an Atog deck, for crying out loud.
That gives us 36 green, 28 white, and one red card. (We'll count the Atogatog as a red card, since that'll be the least common color.) I'm not going to do out an entire deck; the base ought to be sufficient. Build to taste. Here are suggested bases for the other three colors:
Black (needs 18, I'll throw out 24):
4x Contract from Below
4x Vampire Hounds
4x Skyshroud Vampire
4x Mystery Card*
(* Mystery Card: There's a black sorcery coming in Odyssey that you want in here. I can't divulge it now; so don't email me to ask. But believe me, this deck will work a lot better with it. You'll know it when you see it.)
Blue (needs 18, I'll suggest 20):
2x Alexi, Zephyr Mage
Red (needs 14, I'll suggest 20):
4x Arc Mage
4x Goblin Bombardment
For artifacts, I suppose you'll want four Chaos Orbs. Other than that, I'd suggest a little food for the Sarcatog and Lithatog: Urza's Bauble, Mox Diamond, Lotus Petal, and Junk Diver. Maybe Dragon Arch? (It would be quite humorous to make people think you're about to swing out Cromat, Sliver Queen, or Crosis... and out comes this freakazoid.) Keep non-basic lands to a minimum, beyond Thawing Glacier: the Planar Birth only works with basic lands.
Home-Cooked Atog Meals
All right, let's say you'd rather have an Atog deck, but without all the annoying Atogs. What do you do then?
4x Unnatural Selection
2x Volrath's Laboratory
Now we get to make our own Atogs, the way we like them. Find the most efficient, high-power creatures you can, and turn them into Atogs with Unnatural Selection. I'm pretty much all five-colored out, so let's keep this deck small, and two-color:
4x Fog Elemental
2x Phyrexian Negator
2x Ashen Ghoul
2x Avatar of Woe
And then 4 Quicksilver Amulet, to get both the Atogatog and other creatures out at instant speed; and 4 Undermine, to stop the worst of the artifacts or enchantments that might hit the board.
You might also consider a near-creatureless (except for Atogatog) blue-black model that uses Conspiracy not on your deck, but the juiciest opponent's. Then use Reins of Power and Ray of Command to steal food.
Use It Onceonce, Then Whatwhat?
There will be plenty of other synergies to explore in the casual world. There will be lots of room for exploration - with Ghitu War Cry, flowstone spells, Infinite Hourglass, and who knows what else. Unfortunately, I imagine that group play will be the extent of the Atogatog's domain. Impractical in Limited, and inefficient in Constructed play, the Atogatog comes at least one expansion too late to do anything but amuse casual enthusiasts for the next few months.
It is pretty amusing, though. Good to see the folks at R&D just toodling around, here and there.