The Most Broken Card In Guilds Of Ravnica Is Already Out

Yeah, it’s not a Dredge deck per se, but Gottlieb wants you to pay close attention to Narcomoeba! The little pest may soon be flying all over Standard with these fresh decklists!

last week’s GAM Podcast
, Gerry Thompson and I discussed one of our favorite forms of deckbuilding.
Taking lots of inspiration from Sam Black (found
) and Michael Majors, Gerry and I advocated identifying powerful packages
of cards and trying them in various configurations designed to maximize
their potential. While this is a process which will yield a lot of misses,
my experience has shown me that it’s also the most reliable way to find
yourself a truly broken deck for week one of a new Standard format.

On the cusp of a new Standard, I always find myself anxiously pouring over
previews, waiting for the key point when enough new cards have been
revealed so I’m able to finally identify the packages which demand
immediate attention. Powerful standalone cards are fine and good, and I’m
always thinking about the applications of that new source of card advantage
or the new cheap removal spell. But the real fun comes when we get a
sufficiently large sampling of the set and I can seek to push the
boundaries of what was previously possible in Standard.

Imagine my surprise when Guilds of Ravnica provided me with the
tools to build one of the most exciting packages in years on its very first
day of previews.

I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly. Or *checks creature type*
Illusion. Whatever.

I admit it: It’s easy to identify that a card can be broken when it has
been part of a dominant archetype in Modern, Legacy, and Vintage. In all
these cases, Narcomoeba relied on the dredge mechanic to push it to
stratospheric heights. Stitcher’s Supplier is not Golgari-Grave Troll, but
as far as self-contained graveyard enablers go, it is able to put more
cards in the bin for less mana than almost any card that has come before
it. Plus, Narcomoeba is about to find a new mechanic to exploit.

While surveil might not be on the same level as the all-time mistake that
was dredge, I have the feeling this new mechanic will prove to be something
special. I’m seeing far too many people lazily equate surveil to scry. This
false equivalence is going to do a number on your card evaluations if you
don’t work it out of your thought processes right now. If you take nothing
else away from this article, at least recognize this one fact:

Surveil is dramatically better than scry.

While a favorable interaction with Narcomoeba is just one obvious instance
of the upside inherent in surveil, let us not forget that jump-start is
also being introduced in Guilds of Ravnica, further incentivizing
us to deposit cards in our graveyards. And there’s also a certain blue card
that is currently dominating Standard, Modern, and Legacy and loves to see
cards in your graveyard.

I won’t lie, there are limited returns on doing any deckbuilding prior to
the reveal of the entirety of a new set. We are certainly missing essential
pieces of information at this time, and it is unlikely any of our decks can
withstand the reveal of 200+ additional cards. Despite this fact, the
powerful combination of surveil, Search for Azcanta, Stitcher’s Supplier,
and Narcomoeba is enough to send me sprinting for my notebook. Cataloging
the ideas that merit further exploration will provide a great starting
point to return to once the full set is previewed. Without any further ado:

This is certainly a weird place to start, but hear me out. This deck has
incredibly reliable access to free Narcomoebas. Between the eight surveil
spells, Search for Azcanta, and Stitcher’s Supplier, we’re going to
efficiently make an army of flying 1/1s almost without trying. Protecting a
powerful planeswalker behind a flying army…where have I seen that trick

Okay, so we’re a pretty long way from Caw-Blade, but keep in mind this is a
sketch. The biggest draw to this setup is just how powerful our Search for
Azcantas are. Turn 3 transforms are going to happen with some regularity,
and turn 3 Karn, Scion of Urza sitting behind a couple Narcomoebas may
prove a difficult thing for many decks to overcome.

Things to watch out for in the coming preview season:

  • The removal for black-based control decks is completely
    underwhelming outside of Vraska’s Contempt. Any viable one-mana
    removal spell could be a real difference maker.
  • This deck is really screaming for some additional ways to generate
    value from cards that are already in the graveyard. All viable blue
    jump-start cards should be carefully considered.
  • If this deck is ever going to rise to the level of something as
    iconic as Caw-Blade, we will also need a powerful piece of
    equipment and a better, more synergistic planeswalker than Karn,
    Scion of Urza to protect.

Protecting Teferi, Hero of Dominaria with fog effects has been a lot of
fun, but that era is coming to an end. Our best fog is leaving, and we’re
going to have to get more creative in our quest to keep Teferi, Hero of
Dominaria on the battlefield. The disposable bodies of Stitcher’s Supplier
and Narcomoeba are perfect candidates for chump blocking duty. Again, this
deck benefits from an incredibly consistent transformation of Search for
Azcanta. However, the real benefit of getting Stitcher’s Supplier and the
surveil cards in the mix is the rapidly dwindling deck size it creates.
Fewer cards means a higher ratio of Nexus of Fates in our deck in the
lategame, and we have seen what Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin can accomplish in
that scenario.

Things to watch out for in the coming preview season:

  • This deck’s manabase is just awful. We would love some Aether Hubs
    here, and we’ll have to see if we get a new option for our
    three-color decks.

This next option might be more in line with what you were expecting from a
Narcomoeba/Stitcher’s Supplier collaboration:

Inspired in no small part by Ryan Lavery’s list from the most recent
StarCityGames.com Dallas Open, we finally come to a classic small-ball
style graveyard deck. Designed to lean on the synergy between Makeshift
Munitions, Reassembling Skeleton, and Desecrated Tomb, this deck now gets
an acceptable Plan B of flooding the battlefield with small creatures or
producing one giant creature in Torgaar, Famine Incarnate. Adding some
additional Desecrated Tomb triggers in the form of Narcomoebas might be
just what the deck needs to present viable clocks without access to
Makeshift Munitions.

It’s unfortunate that this deck is unable to take full advantage of
Quasiduplicate-the first of our previewed jump-start cards-but the only
true high impact creatures in our deck are legends. Still, a singleton copy
could prove useful for generating more graveyard velocity in conjunction
with Stitcher’s Supplier.

Things to watch out for in the coming preview season:

  • Makeshift Munitions is a Limited card trying to fill a Constructed
    need, but you get the sense that there may be a more powerful
    option waiting in the wings. A Blood Artist style effect would be
    predictably amazing here.
  • Reassembling Skeleton guarantees that all jump-start spells will at
    least merit consideration.

Looking to get aggressive with your Narcomoebas? Want to create your own
jellyfish pirate? I’ve got just the deck for you! Look, there are some bad
cards here. But Narcomoeba provides an important angle of attack via its
evasiveness, and Liliana, Untouched by Death is happy to do her part to get
your Narcomoebas onto the battlefield for free. In addition, aggression
with access to sideboard Negates is a great strategy in week one of a new

This seems like as good a time as any to address the elephant in the room.

I can’t write an article about the synergy between two 1/1 creatures
without mentioning The Chainwhirler. Quite frankly, I’m not sure
you care all that much. If your Stitcher’s Suppliers die, you get more
graveyard fodder. If your Narcomoebas die, they were free anyway! In
addition, we just don’t know what red decks will look like in the new
Standard. They have lost some powerful tools, and there is no guarantee The Chainwhirler will immediately find a top-tier home. Even if it
does, I don’t think its presence alone is enough to disqualify Narcomoeba
from being a player in Standard. Narcomoeba is a vintage-level card, with a
great running mate. Let go of your fear and find a way to build the
format’s new boogeyman.

Things to watch out for in the coming preview season:

  • Zombies
    ! Any Zombies that can fill up some of the weaker slots on the
    curve have the capability to make this deck a contender. Death
    Baron and Graveyard Marshal are solid payoffs for the tribe. Now
    they just need the proper support.

These early stabs at post-Guild of Ravnica decks represent the tip
of the iceberg when it comes to exploration of this powerful synergy. Is
there a Grixis Control deck that wants to use Sticher’s Supplier and
Narcomoeba to protect and fuel Ral, Izzet Viceroy? I’m dying to see what
Patrick Chapin has to say on the topic today. Are we supposed to be playing
the combo in conjunction with Underrealm Lich? I hear Todd Stevens is
already looking into that powerful Golgari Mythic. The incredible thing is
that all these possibilities are presenting themselves, and there are still
200+ cards to be previewed! I can’t wait to pore over each one and figure
out how to break Narcomoeba one more time.