I Asked for This: Scion of the Ur-Dragon in Legacy

Drew is seriously regretting putting Scion of the Ur-Dragon among his poll choices last week, but a promise is a promise! Read his step-by-step building of the deck he’ll take into battle in next week’s Legacy videos.

Spring 2014 State Championships

I should have known better than to test you all.

I should have known that something like this would happen.

Each week, I make a poll. Each week, you vote on that poll. Each week, I look at the card that gets the most votes, make a deck around it, and play that
deck on Magic Online over the course of the next week.

The options on polls always come from suggestions written in by all of you, dear readers. And it just so happened that one (or more) dedicated soul kept
writing in “Scion of the Ur-Dragon.” So I figured, hey, what the hell, let’s put it on there. It’s not like they’re going to pick it, right? And besides,
there has to be something that can be done with the card. It’s a repeatable tutor. It has to be fine.

You can guess how this story ends. Scion of the Ur-Dragon crushed the competition last week. It was the Republican-margin-of-victory-in-Utah kind
of not-close.

So here we are. You, me, and Scion of the Ur-Dragon.

Let’s get started.

Our goal here is to win the game on the turn that Scion of the Ur-Dragon enters play. We won’t always be successful, but we should be capable of doing so.
That’s non-negotiable – we’re not going to be playing a wildly competitive deck, but we should at least be kill people with our five-mana Legacy card.

An important rules component of Scion of the Ur-Dragon is that once it turns into another Dragon, it loses its original ability. It’s not like Dimir
Doppelganger or Thespian’s Stage – once it has changed forms, it’s stuck there for a while.

You know, unless you stack multiple activations. See, now we’re getting somewhere. If we swap Scion of the Ur-Dragon into something that has an activated
ability, we can activate that and then shift into something else. Since Dragons are known for Firebreathing, it makes sense to start with that.

Let me save you a search for everything Dragon-related on Gatherer: there are a LOT of 4/4 fliers for six mana with marginal abilities. Like, a WHOLE lot.

Alabaster Dragon Volcanic Dragon Pardic Dragon Preyseizer Dragon Canopy Dragon Catacomb Dragon Mist Dragon

No, seriously, there are a lot of these things.

One of those 4/4s for six, though, is our ticket to fame, fortune, and one-turn-kills. Say hello to my friend and yours, Moltensteel Dragon:

Moltensteel Dragon is exactly the card we’re looking for, because we’re going to be mana-constrained by our activation costs. We’re happier to have the
option of paying two life per point of power, especially if it turns out that we can double up on those points somehow…

If we have five mana and thirteen life and Scion of the Ur-Dragon, we can kill with Skithiryx. If we have four mana and nine life and a non-summoning-sick
Scion of the Ur-Dragon, we can kill with Dragon Tyrant.

How are we going to get our Scion into play? This is the core question of the deck, right – whether or not to try to hardcast our WUBRG creature? If we go
in that direction, we end up with a pile of cards that probably can’t use our random Dragons to good effect. If we don’t go in that direction, we’re going
to end up playing a wacky, Dragon-themed version of Sneak Attack.

Personally, I’d rather play the Sneak Attack deck. Yes, I get that some of you are groaning right now, but I think there’s something to be said for Sneak
Attacking a Nicol Bolas. I’m also very interested in Sneak Attacking a Scion of the Ur-Dragon with only two mana up, turning it into Zodiac Dragon, hitting
for eight and rebuying, and then doing the same thing next turn and making it a Dragon Tyrant to hit for twelve. It’s a beautiful thing when numbers add up

Not having to play a bunch of dual lands that get Wastelanded is also pretty nice, since we can play Blood Moon and maindeck Pyroblast and have a fighting
chance of dragging the game out long enough to actually Scion of the Ur-Dragon some people out. Blood Moon is a pretty important card to have regardless of
whatever else we’re doing, since we’re absolutely dead to a Karakas otherwise.

Believe me, I thought long and hard about playing more than just red. I looked at Kaalia of the Vast, I looked at Dragonspeaker Shaman, I looked at
Bladewing the Risen…I did my homework, believe me. But at the end of the day, if our goal is to actually win games with Scion of the Ur-Dragon, we want to
stick to red with the outside possibility of getting a single black mana for Skithiryx’s haste activation.

So let’s say we’re Mono-Red Sneak Attack. Actually, forget that. We’re going to reclaim the name “Dragon Stompy.”

I get that it was once a deck where people would play Rakdos Pit Dragon and had a bunch of lock pieces and blah blah blah, but that deck had like four
actual dragons in it. This deck is going to have twelve dragons, minimum. Who’s the real Dragon Stompy now? We’re going to stomp some people with actual

“What dragons,” you say? I’m so glad you asked, rhetorical-reader-device. This is the best part of the article, right here. The part where we go through
Gatherer’s 113 non-Changeling dragons and find the ones we want to play.

We obviously want a full set of Scion of the Ur-Dragon. After that, we want Dragon Tyrant. That thing does twelve damage on a regular day, it’s not
legendary, and we can smash through flying chump-blockers like Insectile Aberration with ease.

From there, it gets more subjective. I’d like a Nicol Bolas in the maindeck and a few more in the sideboard against combo – Mind Twisting a combo deck is
probably going to win that game. Zodiac Dragon lets us rebuy Scion with Sneak Attack. Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon and Moltensteel Dragon enable our Scion
one-turn kills, so let’s get a few in there. Moltensteel Dragon is obviously a bit better, since we can actually cast it and go to work, so let’s bump that
up a bit.

In a perfect world, I’d like to play Spellbound Dragon because I would love to loot away a Dragon Tyrant and hit for thirteen, but I think that’s a reach.
Besides, we have thirteen dragons already – I think we’re probably just about set on that front. Check it out:

4 Scion of the Ur-Dragon

4 Dragon Tyrant

2 Moltensteel Dragon

1 Zodiac Dragon

1 Nicol Bolas

1 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

How are we getting these things into play?

OK, perfect – how do we cast those?

That stands to reason. We’re shooting for a cross between:


…except, you know, with more Dragons.

Where are we on slots for this deck, anyway?

Mana (16): Chrome Mox, Sandstone Needle, Ancient Tomb, Seething Song

Dragons (13): Scion of the Ur-Dragon, Dragon Tyrant, assorted other friends.

Big Cheats (8): Sneak Attack, Through the Breach

As it stands, we have 23 slots to play with. We’d like to get some disruption, some dig, and some more lands into the deck. At the end of the day, I’m
interested in having at least 25 mana sources including Seething Songs and Chrome Moxes, and I’d be happy to increase that number. That means that we have
around a dozen spells left to include. What should they be?

4 Blood Moon

I think this one is straightforward. We’re going to need a way to buy time, something that answers Karakas, and a way to flat out steal wins from various
people. Blood Moon is all of those things.

4 Faithless Looting

Sure, we don’t happen to have any graveyard synergies, but we’re very interested in sifting through cards. Faithless Looting is just about the best way
that red can do that.

I’d prefer to play more than 25 mana sources – 27 is a lot, but we have a lot of ways to recover from being truly flooded. To that end, I think we just
want one more spell four-of.

I’m not sure about the last slot. I kind of just want to play some Pyroblasts and troll some people who are unlucky enough to be playing blue cards. Since
this isn’t exactly a tournament-caliber deck, I feel like “trolling people” is a legitimate rationale for a card’s inclusion. If we’re being really real, I
think that there are more objectively-powerful cards than Nicol Bolas, but I just want to Mind Twist some poor guy out of nowhere. Get Elder Dragoned, etc.

Blue decks are enough of the format that I don’t feel bad about running the maindeck Pyroblasts. Sure, we don’t have Painter’s Servant, but who cares? At
least half of the decks in Legacy are playing blue anyway.

With those four Pyroblasts, our maindeck spells are locked up. How are we building this manabase?

Here are our starting sixteen of 27:

4 Seething Song

4 Chrome Mox

4 Sandstone Needle

4 Ancient Tomb

It’s possible that we just want eleven Mountains, but I’m not so easily convinced. Once we’re playing eight two-mana lands, there’s not a great argument to
be made for “staying Wasteland-proof.” If we splash, though, it would be for some number of sideboard cards. After all, our creatures are always going to
have haste, so activating Skithiryx’s haste ability is meaningless. For now, let’s slot in eleven Mountains and keep a second color in mind for the

Speaking of the sideboard, how should we build that? What issues are we going to run into?

For starters, removal is going to be a real problem. Fighting through Swords to Plowshares is not my idea of fun. We can solve this in a number of ways.
Either we can stop them from casting it…

…or we can stop giving them targets for it.

I’m open to either method. Pyromancy is especially nice with all of our Dragon Tyrants, since nugging them with two of those is the natural twenty. Let’s
go with that method – after all, we’re going to have to fight through enchantment and activated ability hate regardless, so we might as well diversify and
overload than try to dodge.

Speaking of activated ability hate, we really don’t want to play against Pithing Needle or Phyrexian Revoker. Either card can name Scion of the Ur-Dragon,
and either card resolving is just a bad time for everyone. Since we’re also interested in killing Batterskull and trolling people who show up with
artifact-centric decks, let’s get a few Shattering Sprees in here. The three damage from Smash to Smithereens is unlikely to matter, but blowing up an
extra few artifacts can be game-changing. It’s not like we’re going to be short on red mana, you know?

I definitely want to be able to max out on Nicol Bolas against combo and with Pyromancy, so get the other three of those in there.

Of course, some people are going to be all about discard spells and making sure that we’re hellbent. Liliana of the Veil is going to be an utter beating
against us – we don’t have any pressure, Deathrite Shaman can power out Liliana as early as turn two, and we’re basically a ramp deck – exactly the
archetype that discard is good against. What do we have for those people?

We could play a reactive card like Dodecapod, but let’s just beat them up.

We can accelerate Koth out on Turn 2 or 3, we can use Koth to pressure opposing Planeswalkers, and we can force our opponents to spend early mana on
threats instead of disruption to keep us off of going ultimate. In the midgame, we can also put Koth’s -2 to use with Scion of the Ur-Dragon and Through
the Breach – we’re always interested in more mana on our key turns.

Once we know that we want Koth of the Hammer, the basic Mountain manabase falls into place nicely.

That brings our finished 75 to the following:

I have to be honest with you – I have no idea if this can win a game, but I also can’t wait to play with it. This may be the worst deck of all time, but
good lord is it going to be a blast to play with.

Of course, if Scion of the Ur-Dragon isn’t your cup of tea, feel free to let me know what you’d like to see next week in this nifty poll:

As for the rest of you, I’ll see you all next Tuesday. Enjoy your weekend!

Spring 2014 State Championships