B/R Hollow One has gone from fringe curiosity to tier one over the span of a couple months. The combination of recursive threats and the explosive potential of Hollow One has proven potent enough even in the era of Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
However, the deck actually lost some of its explosive capability when it moved away from Vengevine to the B/R shell. Having eight four-power
creatures that can make it to the battlefield on the first two or three turns of the game is a lot more than four, and that Vengevines have haste often led to games where your opponent was drawing dead on their second turn.
Today’s list tries to bring that raw power back, but with a twist that I particularly like. One of the ways Vengevine was awkward in the initial Hollow One decks was when you had to spend your first two turns just getting it into the graveyard. At that point you’d have to wait until turn 3 to recur it, which can be too slow or make you more vulnerable to graveyard hate in sideboard games.
Creatures that can be cast for zero mana – think Hangarback Walker and Walking Ballista – are an easy solution to that problem, but not a clean solution, since by producing no value by themselves they make you all-in on Vengevine, and thus vulnerable to Path to Exile or other exile effects.
And that’s why we see four copies of Bridge from Below. With Bridge, your zero mana creatures leave behind a Zombie token or two when they die, which is often enough to clean up should your opponent find an answer to Vengevine. The card also works nicely with Insolent Neonate, a key enabler in the deck, since any Bridge from Below you discard with Neonate will see the creature die and net a token.
Bridge from Below gives the deck some much needed consistency by acting as another payoff for the zero mana creatures. And since they cost zero, you can spend all your mana on the initial turns stocking your graveyard and still get the payoff immediately. That key factor often takes a full turn off your clock, which is huge for a low-interaction deck looking to race in most matchups.
It may not be as stable as Hollow One, which will likely keep it from ascending quite as far as its predecessor in the metagame, but this deck is plenty powerful, and the X creatures do give you some ability to play a longer game. Still, I’d be looking to mulligan aggressively for powerful opening hands.
- 4 Street Wraith
- 4 Vengevine
- 4 Hangarback Walker
- 4 Endless One
- 4 Insolent Neonate
- 2 Walking Ballista
- 4 Hollow One