A couple months ago, Shouta Yasooka tried splicing Jeskai Ascendancy Combo with a Den Protector + Deathmist Raptor package but had only mild success. Another Japanese player (Atsushi Ito, aka _Matsugan) has worked the shell into yet another deck. Once again it appears to be an odd fit, but that package adds a lot regardless of what the rest of the shell looks like.
Ito’s deck is another take on the Ensoul Artifact + Ghostfire Blade deck that remained solidly Tier Two. His minor graveyard shenanigans do add a few synergies to the deck – for example, Satyr Wayfinder can find Darksteel Citadel for your Ensoul Artifact. Hooting Mandrils is another card that turns on Stubborn Denial, and Ghostfire Blade is excellent with Den Protector whether it’s face-down or face-up. Commune with the Gods helps set the graveyard element and even finds Ensoul Artifact.
I think a tempo deck could be very good in Standard and this shell looks like it has a lot of potential. There’s the aggressive starts with Ensoul Artifact, the disruption with Stubborn Denial, and the staying power of Den Protector. Overall, I think the deck needs more to interact with creatures than just Shrapnel Blast, but the sideboard fills that void to some degree. Vapor Snag is the card I really want and Void Snare is not very close.
With so much self-milling, I could totally see this deck being able to support some additional delve spells. I think some Treasure Cruises and a more varied sideboard would be where I’d start.
- 4 Ornithopter
- 2 Elvish Mystic
- 4 Satyr Wayfinder
- 1 Hooting Mandrills
- 2 Stratus Dancer
- 4 Den Protector
- 4 Deathmist Raptor