I have always loved creatures that on the surface clearly gain value. One of my favorite cards ever printed is Bloodbraid Elf. It has a reasonable body for a reasonable cost and the potential for so much upside. I know I’ve passed the turn with two Howling Mines in play and had my opponent Bloodbraid Elf into Maelstrom Pulse.
Some of the best value creatures of all time have been printed at the four-drop slot. Not just Bloodbraid Elf, but other greats like Flametongue Kavu and Restoration Angel have ravaged formats from time to time.
The creature I want to talk about today can gain so much value that not even Bloodbraid Elf can stand up to it. This creature is so powerful and has such insane upside that I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts tearing up Standard over the next few months:
Ok, maybe I exaggerated a bit. To be fair, I do think Bogbrew Witch is a bit underestimated right now. It is fragile, but if left unchecked it can completely take over a game. Recently I have been throwing together decks using the package of Bogbrew Witch, Bubbling Cauldron, and Festering Newt.
I have seen a bunch of lists running around on the Internet, but I’m pretty confident in the ones I am going to show you today. While there’s a lot of room for preference, the core of the deck is very strong. The first version that I want to talk about not only uses the Bogbrew Witch package but also incorporates Angelic Accord, which has some strong synergy with Bubbling Cauldron.
Originally I started with a deck that was very all-in on Angelic Accord. The Bogbrew Witch package was still good, but unless I got a good Angelic Accord draw, I typically fell behind fast. Most recently I realized that Angelic Accord could become more of a solid finisher and Trading Post did not have to be a four-of.
Making the decision to focus less on Angelic Accord and Trading Post freed up a lot of room in the deck while still keeping it very consistent. The deck runs a lot smoother and is less reliant on Angelic Accord. After a bunch of tuning, here is where I’ve gotten the list to:
First things first, the Bogbrew package. I opt to play the full playset of Festering Newts, which is pretty obvious. Three Bogbrew Witches is a nod to the fact that I really want to draw one per game but it can be slow and clunky. I usually have time to draw it and don’t always want to just jam it on turn 4. The three Bubbling Cauldrons was originally four because of its synergy with Angelic Accord, but I realized that finding one was very easy every game and never really wanted to draw two.
Three Angelic Accords made the deck, as four was a bit much. I want to ensure I draw one late in the game without getting cluttered with them early. Trading Post is useful to both gain extra value with things like Ratchet Bomb and trigger Angelic Accord more often. Elixir of Immortality is also another cool trick with Trading Post. You can activate its ability and then sacrifice it to draw a card with Trading Post. It also triggers Angelic Accord and resets Festering Newts to be tutored up again.
Lingering Souls is, in my opinion, the best card in the deck. It is also one of the best cards in Standard right now. Against aggro, it helps defend you while you try to set up your engine, as well provides more fodder for Bubbling Cauldron. Against midrange and control, it’s a resilient threat that can slowly get them in range of dying to Bubbling Cauldron plus Festering Newt.
Ratchet Bomb is a nice little wrath effect that has a lot of versatility and can do some cool things with Trading Post. Sign in Blood is a solid way to dig for the pieces you need, and the life loss is very easily mitigated in this deck.
Orzhov Charm and Tragic Slip are the removal spells of choice in this deck. Orzhov Charm kills anything at the cost of life, which again is easily mitigated. It also rebuys Festering Newts and in a pinch can protect your Bogbrew Witches from removal. I’ve used all three modes a solid number of times and love the card. Tragic Slip is also another solid removal spell, as morbid is easily attainable in this deck.
Last but not least, we have Blood Baron of Vizkopa. This is the card that really makes the deck flow. It gives you something to do when you aren’t on the Angelic Accord plan, supports you well when you are, and gives you a solid plan against aggro. It’s a really sweet addition the deck, and I can’t imagine playing fewer than two.
Rounding out the deck is the mana base. 25 lands may seem like a lot, but you usually want to hit five mana and don’t have too many ways to manipulate your library. Sign in Blood is the only consistent draw spell in the deck. I could see playing 24, but so far 25 has been working well. The deck may also have the ability to play a colorless land, but I have found it both unnecessary and potentially harmful. Vault of the Archangel is cool with Lingering Souls, and I haven’t found Mutavault particularly good. If you’re feeling a little bit greedier than I am, I’d try out a Vault of the Archangel or two.
The sideboard is the least tested part of the deck, but it definitely has some things I like. So far I’ve found the control matchups to be very good, but the Jund matchup has been a little less than even. The aggro matchups are also pretty good if they don’t have Thundermaw Hellkite and mediocre if they do. I tried to add cards that would help the Jund matchup, solidify the control matchup, and add some extra points versus aggro. While the exact sideboard is probably incorrect, I do like what it’s doing.
The second version of the deck that I want to talk about is currently the one I find less good but much more fun to play. Basically, when I had decided the list was too dependent on Angelic Accord, I tried cutting it from the deck entirely and taking a more Aristocrats-style approach. Here is the current list, which while it hasn’t been very competitive has been a lot of fun to play.
- 4 Doomed Traveler
- 4 Blood Artist
- 4 Cartel Aristocrat
- 3 Bogbrew Witch
- 4 Festering Newt
- 2 Xathrid Necromancer
This deck is a bit less all-in on the Bogbrew Witch plan and just tries to scrape out value as the game progresses. I was originally a bit skeptical about Dark Prophecy, but the card has performed very well. I would play more than two if it weren’t for how atrocious the card is versus aggro. I had the third and fourth in the board for a little while.
25 lands may seem like a lot in this list as well, but I found that the deck is super mana-intensive. You aren’t playing too many expensive spells, but you are playing a bunch of little ones and using all of your mana every turn. It’s important to focus on mana efficiency when playing this deck.
This deck plays another package of cards in place of the Angelic Accord package. Doomed Traveler, Blood Artist, Cartel Aristocrat, and Xathrid Necromancer represent a good way to put on a solid but resilient clock very quickly. Supreme Verdict is pretty terrible versus this deck. The last time my opponent had to Supreme Verdict me, I got a Spirit, three Zombies, and drew three cards off of it. Then I flashed back a Lingering Souls on my turn.
The sideboard is mostly an amalgamation of assorted things that I wanted to try, so you can pretty much try whatever in those slots. The package of Fiend Hunter, Sin Collector, and Restoration Angel has been pretty solid, and it may even warrant the addition of Lifebane Zombie in the sideboard or maindeck. I’ll keep trying different combinations to see what I like best.
I hope you like these two decks. I have had a blast playing both of them, and I recommend you give them a try. I have heard good things from my friend Rob who has been jamming a list similar to the first at our local Standard event. While Bogbrew Witch may not be able to blow up a ban list like Bloodbraid Elf, it can certainly kill people who don’t give it the respect it deserves.
I’d love to see how you have been playing Bogbrew Witch. I’ve seen a bunch of different lists, ranging of from mono-black to five-color, and they are all pretty cool. Feel free to share what you’ve been jamming in the comments.
That’s all for me for this week. Look for Anthony Lowry article next Friday as he continues to impress us all with his insight into the game. You can certainly learn a thing or two from him. Plus he likes to name-drop me, so it’s pretty good value. Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have anything specific you’d like to read about from either me or Anthony. We have a few cool ideas of our own in the works!