Video Daily Digest: Adorned Pouncer And Friends

The top decks of Pro Tour Ixalan were mostly known quantities, but several players went rogue and walked away with cash! Today’s highlight from the PT Top 64 runs…Adorned Pouncer?! Ross Merriam has some explaining to do!

For the most part, the Pro Tour metagame was highly predictable. Energy variants were almost half the field, Ramunap Red highlighted the aggressive decks, and there was a smattering of control, God-Pharaoh’s Gift, and Anointed Procession decks.

Vampires became the first tribe to make some impression in the format, taking up the mantle of Oketra’s Monument from last season, but a little sleuthing down the decklists revealed an even more unexpected deck, W/G Aggro.

This isn’t a tribal deck, but one that simply plays the best cards it can at every spot on the curve. I’ll admit that the collection of creatures here doesn’t look impressive at first read. Merfolk Branchwalker and Adanto Vanguard are solid, and the other two-drops at least have some built-in card advantage with eternalize, but the one-drops are weak enough that the deck plays a couple of copies of Aethersphere Harvester to get a use from them when they can’t profitably enter combat.

But if you think about it, there’s a method to the madness here. There are lots of pump effects and creatures that pair well with them. The one-drops mostly have lifelink and Adorned Pouncer can kill out of nowhere with double strike. Adanto Vanguard is also difficult to block and easily protected, making it a prime target for pump effects. This deck gets creative to get its beatdown on, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.

Under this lens, the standout card here is Appeal // Authority. There aren’t a lot of good removal options for the color pair, especially if you want to keep the curve sufficiently low, so Authority is one of your best ways to clear a path for your creatures. This deck is really trying to get into races, so the early lifelink is actually very important. If the game does go long, you can try to take over with eternalize creatures, Oketra the True, and Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter.

Decks like this are very fun to play because you often steal games out of nowhere and that can often lead your opponents to play scared. Leveraging that fear is one of my favorite ways to win games of Magic, and if it’s not one of yours, then you don’t know what you’re missing.