One of the slower, more fun, and admittedly quite strong decks in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014, Chant of Mul Daya isn’t too big on strategy. Ramp up, summon big guys, summon even bigger guys, stomp.
It’s reminiscient of Ancient Depths back in DotP12, ramping up like a speeding fighter jet and horribly powerful in the late game unless it is stopped before then. Unlike that deck, it’s stuffed full with even more ramping spells, to the point where you’ll have to take out many of them simply in order not to die before the game even gets started, i.e. you get up to 12 mana.
Deck Overview: Whom you gonna summon?
Let’s start out with the bad news. Against opponents with actual brains, Chant is not nearly as good as it looks against AI. It’s ridiculously easy to disrupt and there isn’t much space in the deck for redundant cards, meaning that horrible luck will spell your doom even more than with other decks. Ironically, Chant might be the deck which suffers the most from land screws. I know, right?
Beyond that however, if you do manage to get going, there isn’t much your opponent can do against it. With seven or more lands on the field, which is reasonable by turn four if all things go well (yes, seriously), you’ll be able to just play whatever you’re drawing, at the very least. Barring manaflood, you cannot be stopped once in that stage.
Also, did I mention this deck’s win condition is dropping fucking Eldrazi on your opponent? You won’t get any of the legends, but the “small” ones stomp hard enough already, it’d feel uncouth to ask for more than them. Coming to think of it, doesn’t the game start exactly when the Eldrazi are freed, but then dodges around dealing with them in favour of more pointless planeswalking? Well, I suppose nobody liked Zendikar anyway, so you might as well use those things while they’re here.
General strategy: Turtle, durdle, and… win?
Let’s face it: This deck is the slowest ever built in any DotP game ever. Hell, even Dream Puppets got up a sizable army before this one does. Speaking of which, or rather its mutated sister That DotP14 Illusions Deck Whose Name I Forgot, its largest weakness is being rushed down and people messing with its stuff, both of which Illusions will be glad to do. It also sports a whopping zero fliers and two creature-targeting cards, so having to face that deck is tricky at best.
Despite being in the big guy colour, you have absolutely nothing that’d speak for itself early on, and even fewer creatures that you actually want to use in combat. Your goal is purely to survive until later in the game, when you’ll easily turn it around. Due to this, your early game strategy depends heavily on deterioration, keeping yourself up to card advantage, and getting punched in the face so that your creatures won’t have to. When playing this deck, it’s very likely you’ll end up at 5 or less life by the end, especially if you’re playing a too greedy variant. Just keep calm, don’t throw away any cards that don’t have to die, and keep ramping up towards your goal.
With promos now out, the above paragraph is somewhat invalidated as non-Eldrazi builds have become somewhat viable. They’re stupidly fun to play as your opponent sits on a hand full of removal waiting for your Eldrazi to come out. For completion, one such build is listed below, submitted by Evil Mee. Also, both builds assume you have all promo cards. If you don’t, you can get them here.
Chant of Mul Daya deck list (by mana cost, Eldrazi build)
60 cards, 25 Forest, 1 Eye of Ugin
- 1 Scute Mob
- 2 Green Sun’s Zenith
- 4 Explore
- 1 Rampant Growth
- 2 Tangle
- 3 Grazing Gladeheart
- 3 Oracle of Mul Daya
- 1 Harmonize
- 1 Plow Under
- 2 Primeval Titan
- 2 Summoning Trap
- 2 Pelakka Wurm
- 2 All Is Dust
- 1 Tooth and Nail
- 1 Gaea’s Revenge
- 1 Ulamog’s Crusher
- 2 Artisan of Kozilek
- 1 Pathrazer of Ulamog
- 1 It That Betrays
- 1 Eldrazi Conscription
Chant of Mul Daya deck list (by mana cost, green stompy build)
60 cards, 26 Forest
- 1 Scute Mob
- 2 Exploration
- 2 Green Sun’s Zenith
- 2 Tangle
- 3 Explore
- 2 Rampant Growth
- 3 Glazing Gladeheart
- 1 Farhaven Elf
- 3 Oracle of Mul Daya
- 1 Harmonize
- 1 Sporemound
- 1 Plow Under
- 1 Dramatic Entrance
- 3 Primeval Titan
- 1 Vigour
- 2 Summoning Trap
- 1 Avenger of Zendikar
- 1 Pelakka Wurm
- 1 Tooth and Nail
- 1 Gaea’s Revenge
- 1 Eldrazi Conscription
Chant of Mul Daya card-by-card analysis
Eye of Ugin: 4.0
It’s costly to activate, doesn’t produce mana on its own, and doesn’t help you if you’re losing. That being said, if you’re playing Eldrazi, this card is a must; It’ll chop a solid 2 mana off of all of your bombs and tutors for them once you’re starting to run out of steam late game, when you have the mana to cast them.
Scute Mob: 3.5
In the Golgari deck, this was decent even though it only activated turn 6 and onwards. Here, it can be a 5/5 and growing from turn 4 for one mana which you paid right as you began the game. It’s not very likely to survive, but that also makes it useful as a removal magnet which robs your opponent of the means to stop your bigger and meaner dudes. Not to mention that if it doesn’t get pinged dead immediately, you’ll have an escalating beast.
It’s from Urza’s block. That should say enough already. Its effect diminishes heavily after the first few turns though since there just isn’t anything in this deck that’d fuel your hand with as many land drops as you can afford – oh wait. Especially in a deck that has literally three cards for turn 1 (two of which are this one), this is worth playing. Remember that a turn 1 Exploration is why Ramaz is considered a dangerous enemy. That being said, Exploration doesn’t really do much for you. (In the Eldrazi build, that is.) While it does allow for some plays that’d make the nearest female’s clothes fall off in awe, it’s simply far too likely that you’ll soon run out of land to fuel it, even with an Oracle out. Even then, what would you have gained? Beyond twelve lands, one of which being an Eye, and often before then, any extra become completely unnecessary. What are you gonna do with all your land drops then?
Green Sun’s Zenith: 4.5
It’s anyone you’ve ever met, directly into play, for but one mana more. Didn’t draw an Oracle? Now you did. Wurm? Yup. I hesitate to rate it a 5 though as it’ll fetch only green creatures, no Eldrazi. You’ll have to settle with just a Primeval Titan instead. It also reshuffles itself, so there’s a chance slightly above zero that you’ll be able to do it twice.
Explore/Rampant Growth: 4.0
There isn’t much that Explore and Rampant Growth hold over one another, hence I discuss them as one. Drop it turn 2, have an Oracle turn 3, profit. Past the early stages, it also helps to get yourself an extra land drop or two off the top of your library with the Oracle. With that in mind, I’d say that Explore is slightly stronger than Growth as the odds are the same that you’ll get another land out of the Oracle, but Explore gives you the card that used to block you from dropping another land. In another version of the deck, i.e. Ancient Depths, I might recommend against using Explore for its randomness, but this deck pretty much literally runs on land drops and before long you’ll be using Explore for its one-mana draw more than anything else. The Growth is a little more consistent though. Use whatever suits you. I’d recommend running plenty of them either way, around 5 should do the trick. You really want this card early on. Stay tuned for additional testing or, heavens beware, math to arrive.
Khalni Heart Expedition: 2.5
Look, I know it’s good. In fact, it even saw tournament play, which puts it somewhere into the best 0.01% of all cards ever. Still, that was in Landfall decks. This isn’t one of them. I tried to play it, especially since the game gives you a full playset right off the bat, but this deck would prefer to play an actual ramping spell turn 2, and by the time that it goes online the land probably doesn’t matter any more. That being said, I can already see a Landfall variant of this deck where this would shine. Not my build, nothing else to say.
Could be better, could be much worse. The 1G cost is still rather cheap for the sort of crazy deck that you’re playing, and this card single-handedly neuters both an opponent’s alpha strike and her entire defense, two turns in a row. You know what, screw it, this card is a 4 at least. I’d consult what the (pro) community thinks about it, but it doesn’t actually exist yet, so bonus points for literally being from the future.
Vastwood Hydra: 3.0
Eh. Just eh. I admit, it saved my butt a few times while testing by holding off attackers until my big stuff arrived, but that’s the wrong mentality, as I could have taken it out and drawn more big stuff instead. As is, it’s a flexible, but meh card if cast in the midrange (and that’s exactly where it’s useful). The counter battery thing is nice, but rarely relevant; If it’s going to die before some of your other stuff, it’s most likely due to an All Is Dust, that you played yourself, and in that case you’re going to have a free field either way. Also, it’s functionally a strictly better Modular, which it probably would be if R&D wasn’t afraid of printing powerful keywords. Negative credit for that.
Farhaven Elf: 2.0
Again, I rate cards based on how well they play within the specific deck. This one is a Rampant Growth stapled onto a 1/1, or rather a 1/1 stapled onto a Rampant Growth. Yes, it generates card advantage. Technically. Practically, it’s a 1/1. In another deck, such as Ancient “Fucking OP” Wilds in DotP13 which sported the, for Green, strictly better Wood Elves, getting a land up with a free chump block might be worth it. Here, its size is pathetic, so most of the time you’ll be paying 3 for a Rampant Growth. Not only that, but Chant loves to skip 3 mana and go straight for 4 mana, where much better can be played. Like Khalni Heart Expedition, this card is unfortunately costed so that by the time it does something, you won’t care about that something.
Fierce Empath: 3.0
See what this world has done to me. I watched as entire planes were devoured, its denizens fading without so much as a whimper. Yet all throughout, my own heart devoid of emotion, of empathy. I have felt nothing! Wait, this isn’t the support group? How awkward. Either way, like Farhaven Elf, this card does something, but I just don’t feel like it does enough. Especially since most of the things that he tutors are more likely to show up (due to more than one fucking copy) than he himself, you can comfortably run without this card. If you could get multiples, maybe. Edit from the future: Nope, still sucks. In DotP’s environment, a 1/1 might as well not exist since he’s certainly not gonna do anything worthy, so you’re paying 3 mana for a limited creature tutor.
Grazing Gladeheart: 3.5
Now this is how 3 mana is done right. Down to the basics, you get a relevant body, which also goes a great way towards keeping you alive. When you’ll have 2-5 lands entering under your control a turn and even one of these beauties running about, you’ll literally heal faster than Jace can beat you, without blocking anything. That is neglecting multiples, too. Does 8 life at no additional cost per land sound good enough already? Eat your heart out, Staff of the Noob Mage. Run at least three, no matter what you do. The lifegain alone will keep you alive much longer than expected, and the body will do its part too, especially as opponents will have difficulty judging this thing’s value to you (i.e. whether or not you’ll use it to trade) before it’s already gained you a ton of life.
Rites of Flourishing: 1.0
Being a professional troll, I am obliged to give at least one card 1.0. I usually look down on people dismissing cards like Howling Mine because they also help out your opponent, but here they are right. Sure you get extra fuel for the fire too, but the entire point of this deck is to reach higher mana levels before your opponent is ready for it. If you play this, even if we imagine it was free and you got to play something useful on the same turn, your opponent will be able to keep up and play their own bombs possibly before you manage, since theirs will be costed much lower. If you play this, don’t come back whining when you get whooped.
Elvish Piper: 3.5
I understand it’s good. I also understand that it’s a 4-mana 1/1 that does bugger-all until it survives to untap, except having a target the size of Texas on its forehead. If your opponent lets this survive to do something, it sure is lovely to flash out anything you want for one mana, but it also means that she is not holding any removal, so you have practically already won whether or not you pay for your legged doom. (If you actually need the cost reduction, you were not going to win in the first place.)
Into the Wilds: 1.5
It’s like an Oracle of Mul Daya, except once a turn, giving you no additional information beyond what card you are going to draw moments later, and unable to block or attack. Reminds me of comparing Tales of the Winter Magic Academy to Harry Potter and finding absolutely no difference whatsoever, except that the Winter Magic Academy was actually sort of alright, which this card isn’t. Tell me again why exactly you should ever play this. It is, notably, another card from the future, but that is not exactly an advantage. All it tells us is that the future sucks and that I already pity anyone who had to pull this in M14 drafts. In case my point isn’t clear yet, this card is very very very bad bad bad. Don’t don’t don’t play it.
Oracle of Mul Daya: 5.0
Onwards from really really really bad bad bad cards onto very good ones. In case you didn’t notice from the discussion of the above cards, Oracle of Mul Daya is a very good card which serves as the cornerstone to any possible builds for this deck and to which I recently got engaged. Coming down turn 3 consistently, this not only helps you ramp up like you stole something but also shaves any land pockets right off the top of your library so that all of your actual draws will be spells. When we’ll get the fourth copy with promo unlocks*, include that as well and toss maybe a Wurm or something.
It’s not an Oracle, but unlike Into the Wilds, it does something, namely help you draw into one. There are rarely situations where drawing three cards for four mana in green isn’t an extremely sexy deal.
If you desperately need midrange support, maybe this could be useful. As is, this competes with the Oracle for both deck and mana slots, and it rarely ever actually does something since you’ll probably have won if you can afford two creatures in a single turn. Meh. Next card.
Bountiful Harvest: 1.000000001
Other than Rites of Flourishing, this actually does something besides help you lose faster. In fact, it helps you lose slightly slower. Being less shit than something which is absolute shit on a platter doesn’t make it good, mind you. In fact, if you ever even considered this card in your deck, you should go and think about your life as a scrub. Maybe it could be decent at 1G, perhaps with a 1/1 on top of it, or 2 life per land at 2G or 3G. Please, Wizards, there are other ways to help newbies realise that pure lifegain is garbage, you don’t have to clog up our slots with it!
I’m torn on this card. Blast from the future, wee! Still, I feel like it could do more than just crap out 1/1 chump blockers. Like so many unfortunate Elves, this is stuck on a mana level where you don’t actually want to cast anything and instead go straight for Titans and co, but you’ll want to make the most out of its ability, so in playing it, you’ll delay your Titan and hurt yourself more than it helps! More research is required on it, I’ll report back once I have it.** As stands, perhaps it could be worth it to swap out two of the worse cards in this deck for it, though it’s not great by any means.
Dramatic Entrance: 3.0
“Ah, Mister Jura… I’ve been expecting you.” Except that will never happen because it’s limited to green stuff only. As a result, you’re paying a card for instant speed and a maximum of two mana discount. In my opinion, don’t bloody bother, though it could be worth the slot in the stompy build.
Woodborn Behemoth: 3.0
Yet another card in the category “Not terrible, but I’m not playing it, so 3.0”. 5 CMC hurts this as well, as does only being an 8/8 when you’d have the mana to summon a static 8/8. Sideboard it in against disruptive decks. I personally find it somewhat off tempo, but an 8/8 (blocker) is nothing at which to scoff.
Plow Under: 4.5
If you play this at the kitchen table, say on turn 4 after going first, chances are you’re going to wake up without a face. It’s evil and sets your opponent even further back than they already are when you’re taking off with an Artisan of Kozilek by the time that they play their third land. It also goes beautifully to illustrate that top of the library is sometimes worse than the graveyard. Sure they get their lands back, but only after two draws which will certainly be lands. That makes it wonderful to use lategame when mana isn’t an issue and you’re both topdecking for spells. Also particularly fun to manascrew those silly 3-colour decks which aren’t running any fixing.
Primeval Titan: 5.0
A 6/6 Trample is already quite a package considering how early you can get it. When it leaves you with two lands every time it attacks and as soon as it enters? Madness. It can also pull out your one Eye of Ugin to make it much more consistent, so make sure to do so with every ETB trigger.
It’s something about her/him/it. Sure it’s another trampling fatty like Primeval Titan, and sure it makes your other guys literally immortal, at least to damage, but I can’t help but feel like she could do more. Like, you know, ramp up two lands for free each turn. Regardless, decent card, deserves to be played.
Summoning Trap: 5.0
I don’t always rate 5.0, but you can be certain that the card which receives that rating is an absolute powerhouse. Like this one. For six mana you get to pull up a fatty of any cost which doesn’t even have to be in your hand at instant speed. With as many big guys as Chant has, it’s near impossible that the Trap isn’t worth it; After all, even if it’s just a Titan you fetch out, you got instant speed practically for free. Not to mention that you get a free pass on it should one of your things get countered, providing a nice way of giving Jace a digital stinky finger. Considering that counters are one of your deck’s major weaknesses, there’s no deck that should be without it or it’s soon-to-be cousin.* (Edit from the future: Someone answer the phone because I fucking called it.)
Pelakka Wurm: 4.0
If things go well, this can come out turn 4. However, it’s worth the cost even late on. The initial lifegain will make up for any life you lost up to this point, and the draw, together with the huge body, will make sure that any way of getting rid of it means card advantage for you.
Gaea’s Revenge: 4.0
“Hey look! It’s Vengevine‘s older brother! And he heard all the mean things you were saying about Vengevine!” Essentially hexproof and extremely stompy. Run it in both builds, whatever you do.
All Is Dust: 4.5
(Lands are colourless.) Chant’s best and, sadly, only option of dealing with stuff that can’t be adressed by stomping on it, this card will easily win games. While it’ll often consume some of your things as well, the fact of the matter is that you should have an Eldrazi on the field or ready to drop by the time it comes around, ready to swing into an open field. Its cost is also reduced to a measly five mana by the Eye of Ugin, so that’s another plus.
Tooth and Nail: 5.0
You want power, you get it. Tutor up whatever you want, lay it down, and do both for half than what you would’ve paid for the creatures themselves. There’s no excuse for ever not running this.
Avenger of Zendikar: 3.5
In the Eldrazi build, no. In the stompy build, yes fucking please. An army of chumps is only awesome for as long as you can make them grow enough to actually do something.
Eldrazi Conscription: 3.5
Its buff alone could very easily win you matches. Not to mention it gives you an instant fucking Eldrazi. Well, still sorcery speed, but you can play it on a creature able to attack and completely catch your opponent off guard. You can also toss it onto an Eldrazi to give it additional Annihilator (yes, it stacks) and Trample to bring through its then exorbitant power. Why? Because reinforcing a space tentacle monster with additional space and more tentacles somehow makes it twice as powerful. It can then also survive an All Is Dust (and swing in for 20+ on a clear board). Can’t go wrong with including one.
Meh. It can deal with evil noncreatures (because there are so many of those in DotP14, such as… Staves. Tee hee.) or create 18/18 on your side at the cost of three lands. Some might say that’s enough. Some might say I’m too hard to please. But riddle me this, when the same mana would get you something bigger that kills your opponent’s stuff without compensation, it’s not easy to root for this giantophant.
Not really any point in discussing any of them separately, or for that matter any of them, as each of them will spell doom for your opponent when it lands in return for having the highest price tags in all of magic. You should run all of them to maximise chances that you’ll get one. If you have to take out one, Ulamog’s Crusher is probably the best choice as you’ll probably be needing blockers in that scenario. So instead, let me give you a list of silly nicknames for It That Betrays. It That Yoinks. All Your Land Are Belong To Us. Arise, Sleeping Princess. “Wait, This Isn’t Legendary?” . Game Nommer 3000.
Call me silly for discussing Forests here, but this deserves mention. I’ve found that this deck doesn’t at all suffer from additional lands. In fact, getting all your land drops is crucial and having lands in your library is nearly irrelevant as the Oracle does its work. Thus, I’ve proposed a 26 land build; If you feel like some card isn’t pulling its weight, you can try replacing it with Forests, now that the game lets you manually regulate land count. To do that, clicky on the land card at the side in the Deck Manager screen.
*This information was obtained using a combination of experience, common sense, and actual future sight. There is no official information as to what the promo unlocks will be, so don’t take this for granted.
**Read: I’m tired because playing DotP14 is pretty much literally all I did since it came out. On that note, Wing, you’re paying me extra for this article. Or don’t. You know, whatever you wanna do is fine.