Daily Digest: Eyes On The Prize

Syracuse Modern Open Champion Ross Merriam has more than a few thoughts on Prized Amalgam…some of them in Standard! Is a Top 32 decklist from Grand Prix Rimini the future of Emerge decks? Give it a try at #SCGINVI!

After this weekend, I may be a touch smitten with Prized Amalgam. Haunted Dead is no slouch either. And now we get to play them both in Standard?! Sign me up.

The Four-Color Emerge archetype saw some play at the Pro Tour but flew under the radar due to the lack of a top finish. It appears to have done so yet again, putting a couple people into the Top 32 of Grand Prix Rimini, but it once again failed to break through into the Top 8.

Like the better-known Temur and Jund variants, Four-Color Emerge is trying to set up an undercosted Eldrazi, in this case Elder Deep-Fiend. But rather than ramp into them with enablers like Primal Druid and Matter Reshaper, the plan is to skip your way up the casting cost ladder with Haunted Dead.

Haunted Dead can easily be put into the graveyard with Grapple with the Past or Gather the Pack, at which point reanimating it will also bring out any copies of Prized Amalgam. Putting six, nine, or even twelve power worth of creatures into play as early as turn 3 or 4 may seem like the ultimate payoff, but wait, there’s more!

With a four-mana creature on the battlefield, Elder Deep-Fiend now only costs three mana and has an army of creatures that can attack once your opponent’s blockers are tapped. If your opponent doesn’t have any relevant creatures, you can simply tap all their lands on their upkeep and get a Time Walk with your undercosted Eldrazi creature.

This sets up Four-Color Emerge to be the most aggressive variant of the archetype, although Haunted Dead and Prized Amalgam mean it is no less resilient in the face of opposing Languishes and Kozilek’s Returns. You also have space for the strong late-game that Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy; Nissa, Vastwood Seer; and Ishkanah, Grafwidow provide. This deck can compete at every phase of the game.

I like avoiding the Emrakul, the Promised End haymaker fights that a lot of the other Emerge decks get involved in, and going under decks that don’t put a lot of pressure on you and are lacking in interaction is generally a good plan. The resilience of the graveyard theme lets you play through the removal heavy black control decks, and the ability to spew those creatures onto the battlefield quickly should help against Bant Company and U/R Thermo-Alchemist.

The primary worry for the deck is the mana, but despite the name this is really a Sultai deck, so Evolving Wilds and Traverse the Ulvenwald along with your other green spells should be more than enough in most games.

The graveyard has always been a powerful resource that Standard leaves mostly untapped. Now that it’s readily available, it’s time to push graveyard synergies to their limit.