Augur Of Autumn Isn’t The Next Courser Of Kruphix… Or Is It?

Augur of Autumn has Brad Nelson thinking midrange. Why is “Jund Guy” comparing the Innistrad: Midnight Hunt preview to past powerhouse Courser of Kruphix?

Augur of Autumn, illustrated by Billy Christian

I’m a Magic boomer. I love talking about the glory days of Team Drafting in hotel lobbies all throughout the night until our eventual morning flights. I despise the idea that this young-blood whippersnapper generation of players has a leg to stand on when compared to the titans of yesterday. And I go to bed at 10 PM, dreaming of waking up to my morning coffee and newspaper. You know — the important stuff in life. Hell, I’m such a Magic boomer that the Mythic Ladder means nothing to me.

That’s why I was so very excited about the preview of Augur of Autumn.

Augur of Autumn

After I put my hip back into place from my elated jumping of joy, I quickly went to my favorite news station Twitter to share my reveling glee.

There I found many like-minded individuals who were also excited about the second coming of our deity Courser of Kruphix. For anyone who remembers, Courser of Kruphix was the linchpin of a famous archetype called Abzan Aggro/Midrange/Control. It also was in decks like Abzan Hangarback, Abzan Whip, Gruul Ramp, Mono-Green Ramp, Selesnya Ramp, and let’s not forget Jund Monsters. Courser of Kruphix defined a Standard format for its entire lifecycle, and we collective midrange players were better for it. 

Courser of Kruphix

Here’s to you, our beloved Centaur. May you rest in peace in the underbelly of Theros.

Surprisingly, many took to my Augur of Autumn Tweet like a Magic boomer takes to change. After thinking about it for longer than three seconds, it did make sense why Augur of Autumn wasn’t going to have the same initial impact on everyone that Courser of Kruphix had. The drop in toughness means it won’t be blocking all that much, as well as being more susceptible to removal like Frost Bite and Dragon’s Fire

Standard’s also had a pretty steep power creep since the days of Courser of Kruphix. Back then, there was enough time to fiddle around with Courser of Kruphix until eventually catching back up with Dragonlord Atarka; Elspeth, Sun’s Champion; or even Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Nowadays that catchup mechanic isn’t really there, nor would you have enough time to deploy it if it were. 

Esika's Chariot

Beep Beep!

So yeah, casting Augur of Autumn on Turn 4 in hopes of having a land on top of the library really won’t cut it in this day and age. Nor does green-based midrange really sound all that appealing when the threats are Esika’s Chariot, Goldspan Dragon, and all of these Goblins and Vampires running around. We now live in a world where you die if your hand is filled with the wrong interaction. The real question though is, “Do we have to play Augur of Autum in a midrange-control deck?”

Coven – As long as you control three or more creatures with different powers, you may cast creature spells from the top of your library.

Augur of Autumn has a completely different ability that Courser of Kruphix never did, which makes it pretty unfair to compare them so equally when they’re wildly different cards in wildly different metagames. Augur of Autumn says on the card that it wants to be paired with creatures more than interaction and planeswalkers like Courser of Kruphix did. Sure you can do some cool things with the card when paired with a card like Wrenn and Seven resetting the top card of the library, but it doesn’t have to go down this way.

We have to banish from our mind the memory of Courser of Kruphix, and instead start looking at this card in a completely different way. The days of old are gone, whether we want to admit it or not. Sure, maybe some sort of Golgari Midrange deck with Binding the Old Gods is playable, but odds are it’s not. If we’re looking to play with Augur of Autumn in a competitive setting, we must start reimagining how those homes will look. 

It Can’t Live

Assuming we’re not up against a traditional control deck, two things will happen after a player casts Augur of Autumn. Either the opponent will be able to ignore it by simply doing more powerful things, or they will feel the urge to kill it, eliminating a free stream of potential card advantage. In theory, our Augur of Autumn deck will have enough power behind it that the former won’t happen. If that’s the case, an opponent will most likely throw a removal spell at it. 

These exchanges can be very advantageous as it’s highly unlikely that removal spells will be heavily played. Of course they’ll exist, but odds are the number will be as low as four and as high as ten or twelve when counting Shatterskull Smashing from some Gruul decks. If that’s the case, our goal should be to pair Autumn of Augur with high-impact creatures that also don’t want to be killed. That way, when they do take the time to take down our Augur of Autumn, we have a great follow-up to punish them.

Mind Flayer

One creature in particular that comes to mind is Mind Flayer. This card really didn’t get a time to shine in the previous Standard format, but I have a feeling it will be pretty damn powerful moving forward. Especially when paired with green, it has a high chance of dodging the most common removal spell that will be used against the color: Burning Hands. It’s also a great way to catch back up after investing a turn into Augur of Autumn when it lives. 

Today’s theme will be “rough-looking decklists.” It’s just how it goes this early in preview season. Like, I would never ever in a million years suggest you sleeve up this 60 this early in the process, and I’m assuming you wouldn’t want to. The deck is just far too one-dimensional in its execution. 

We’re not looking to find the best shells, because many more cards are still to be previewed from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Today we’re trying to find possible shells to test cards in, and I really love the idea of some sort of blue and green deck (maybe with a splash) that prioritizes the power behind Augur of Autumn and Mind Flayer. I just love them, as few nonblack removal spells kill both.

As for the rest of the deck, I think it stinks because I think just straight Simic is going to be bad. It just doesn’t have the best interaction against the rest of the field. Who knows, maybe a deck like this splashes black or red, but odds are it will want a third color. Maybe something like this. 

…I built a midrange deck, didn’t I? Look, this is quite awkward, but I am who I am. This deck may look like it slaps, but the reality is…

Well it probably slaps.

Valki, God of Lies is poised to be one of the best finishers in Standard moving forward, so it makes sense to pair it with Madga and Goldspan Dragon. It’s also insane to me how good these Jund manabases look. Seriously, we’ll easily be able to cast all of our spells. Maybe Jund will be great! 

We can probably stop the article right here, because Jund Monsters is back, baby! Oh, I should keep going? Well, alrighty then! 

Go-Wide Strategies

Another way to utilize Augur of Autumn could be in a low-to-the-ground, go-wide strategy. Old templates of Naya Adventures seems like a fine place to start when exploring this option. Clarion Spirit can go a long way in helping turn on the coven ability, and then once active Augur of Autumn will help fuel the spells needed to continue to trigger the spirit-making two-drops. Synergy! 

Add two of the white Adversary to this list:

Again, this shell is rough. The Adventure package gave this deck a robust suite of creatures, interaction, and card advantage. Without them, I’m not the most confident in the strategy, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be trying it once the set is released on Magic Arena next week. I’d imagine the card choices will change significantly, but the theory that a low-to-the-ground creature package will help fuel Augur of Autumn still feels sound.

I think this will be especially true when we look at all the cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. It seems like there will be some other fast aggressive decks like Zombies or Vampires. Oh, and it’s not like Mono-White Aggro is going anywhere thanks to all the new toys it now has. A deck that can keep up with the early assaults and then pull ahead with cards like Augur of Autumn and Showdown of the Skalds should be poised to sit on top of these early assaulters. 

Graveyard Strategies

Can't Stay Away Ghoulcaller's Harvest Wrenn and Seven

It seems to me that there’s a ton of support for graveyard-based Golgari decks in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Odds are a card like Augur of Autumn would slot nicely into them, but something tells me that strategies like this will have a difficult time standing up to the rest of the format. When it comes to Magic, the amount of steps you need to take to make something happen is important. When cards like Goldspan Dragon and Esika’s Chariot exist, the amount of steps you have to take to replicate their power needs to be similar. That means you should take two actions to be better than they are. That’s just not possible with graveyard decks. 

I assume these decks will be fun to work on, and I assure you I will be doing just that on my streams once this set is released on Magic Arena. I’m just not going to hold my breath because it’s very rare for decks like this to replicate the consistency or power of what we already have access to simply by casting other spells. Time will tell though, and I’ll be happy to eat crow on this one. 

Anyway, that’s going to do it for me today. In the end. Jund Midrange is going to be the best deck in Standard and we will all bow to the sheer power of playing all the best cards in the same deck. Augur of Autumn will help shepherd in a new era of Gruul-based midrange decks that we’ve all been dying to have be good in Standard for some time now.