Video Daily Digest: The Glorious Evolution

Simic fans, rejoice! Between creatures with the evolve mechanic, Rapid Hybridization, and Pongify, this Modern deck is a mad scientist’s dream…and it went 5-0 in a Magic Online League!

When Mono-Blue Devotion was around in Standard, Thassa, God of the Sea and Master of Waves got all the press, since they were powerful enough to win the game with sufficient devotion, no matter where that devotion came from. But the cards in the deck I liked most were Cloudfin Raptor and Rapid Hybridization.

Cloudfin Raptor was just an underrated aggressive creature, easily made a 2/3 flier so long as you follow it up with some other creatures, with the potential to get even bigger. It was a poor draw late in the game, but most one-drops are, so trading early efficiency for late-game power is typically a net positive.

But Rapid Hybridization really stole the crown due to its versatility. It could kill a Pack Rat, Desecration Demon, or Stormbreath Dragon when necessary, but I actually liked targeting my own creatures more often. Targeting a creature in response to a removal spell let you effectively turn the card into a 3/3 for one mana in order to keep up the pressure, and you’d often evolve a Cloudfin Raptor or two in doing so. The surprise pressure was frequently significant and caused the opponent to completely reevaluate their situation.

Today’s deck pushes Rapid Hybridization and its older twin sibling Pongify to their limit. You have another evolve creature in Experiment One to work with and multiple creatures with undying that you can aggressively destroy for value. Curving Cloudfin Raptor into Young Wolf plus Rapid Hybridization on Young Wolf leaves you with a 3/4 flier, a 2/2, and a 3/3 on Turn 2, quite the battlefield.

The synergies in the deck are clear, but there are a few crowning touches that are far from obvious that really make me like this list. The first is Narnam Renegade, which is solid on rate alone, but also easy to play with revolt in a deck with fetches and removal it wants to cast on its own creatures. It’s also another creature with +1/+1 counters, thus further enabling the second diamond in the rough, Avatar of the Resolute. Avatar is the deck’s top-end and easily cast as a 5/4 or bigger, given the rest of the creature suite.

Last, we see a singleton Dryad Arbor, which does two important things. It can get the evolve train started on Cloudfin Raptor, but most importantly, for the cost of one slot, it significantly increases your density of cards that generate a target for Rapid Hybridization and Pongify. With the full eight copies of those cards, you want all the targets you can get so they don’t rot in your hand, and being able to turn a spare land into one is a stroke of genius.

Now, I’m not normally one to focus on flavor, but this deck strikes me as the most Simic deck of all time. It has lots of strange creatures that you morph into other types of creatures with strange spells. The entire thing is one giant, sadistic science experiment. Why that tickles me so much is another story entirely.