Yes, Dragonlord Atarka is a fantastic card in Dragons draft. But what about her clan? Do you want to draft red-green decks? Doesn’t green suck in Dragons of Tarkir draft? Not exactly. I got a few chances to try out the color pair online and had a lot of success. Winning with individual decks doesn’t prove the strength of an archetype, but these decks should help illustrate useful cards and strategies.

My first Atarka deck takes a longer-game approach. I consider it part of the formidable archetype. This deck doesn’t have a ton of formidable creatures, but it does want to build up a board and take over in the late game.

Whisperers Amuse

Creatures (13)
Dragon Whisperer
Whisperer of the Wilds
Scaleguard Sentinels
Glade Watcher
Guardian Shield-Bearer
Frontier Mastodon
Gore Swine
Dragon-Scarred Bear
Thunderbreak Regent
Conifer Strider
Atarka Pummeler
Flamerush Rider

Spells (9)
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Epic Confrontation
Roast
Temur Battle Rage
Tail Slash
Press the Advantage
Dromoka’s Gift
Fierce Invocation
Lands (18)
Rugged Highlands
Mountain
Forest

Sideboard (20)
Dragonlord Silumgar
Lose Calm
Kindled Fury
Defiant Ogre
Formless Nurturing
Servant of the Scale
Sandsteppe Scavenger
Battlefront Krushok
Archers of Qarsi
Temur Runemark
Dromoka Dunecaster
Custodian of the Trove
Spidersilk Net
Anticipate
Reduce in Stature
Elusive Spellfist
Ojutai’s Breath
Sultai Skullkeeper
Refocus

Opening three mythics often leads to a strong deck, or at least a valuable one. My first two picks were Dragon Whisperer and Roast, but then the packs dried up completely and I had few other playables, split between red and blue, by the end of the first pack. Taking Dragonlord Silumgar was thus not completely a rare-draft. I had nothing close to a coherent deck, so I could have shifted into blue-black had the cards come that way. Instead, I was passed Thunderbreak Regent and managed to get enough red and green cards, plus the pack three Ugin, and the deck really came together.

Whisperer of the Wilds is an unsung hero in Atarka decks of all stripes, and it did great work here. Everyone laments the lack of strong green cards in Fate Reforged, listing Hunt the Weak as the only good common. Well, Whisperer of the Wilds is good too, and it is not hard to pick one up.

The concern of being short of cards in pack three is overblown anyway, because Dragons of Tarkir has so many playables that you can have a coherent deck going into Fate Reforged. From there, you can pick up whatever cards help your deck the most. This deck actually was on the short end of playables after two packs, and even though I got no signal in pack one that either red or green were open, I still got enough to fill out the deck. If you do choose to play green in Dragons, just know that you want to focus on picking up enough main deck cards that you don’t have to learn too hard on Fate Reforged.

Whisperers Amuse took me to a 3-0, 6-0 win in an online 8-4 draft. I never cast Ugin, and the one time I cast Dragon Whisperer it immediately ate a Douse in Gloom. Even taking the two best cards out of my deck, I still cruised through the opposition. Curving Whisperer of the Wilds into Thunderbreak Regent certainly helped, but that success is a strong sign for the viability of the strategy.

Deck two follows more of the Khans of Tarkir style of Atarka decks: play efficient beaters and punch faces.

Dragon Punch

Creatures (16)
Ire Shaman
Ainok Guide
Atarka Beastbreaker
Glade Watcher
Whisperer of the Wilds
Smoldering Efreet
Hardened Berserker
Dragon-Scarred Bear
Frontier Mastodon
Atarka Efreet
Aerie Bowmasters
Salt Road Ambushers
Bloodfire Enforcers
Summit Prowler
Stampeding Elk Herd
Stormcrag Elemental

Spells (7)
Epic Confrontation
Twin Bolt
Roast
Tread Upon
Tail Slash
Hunt the Weak
Lands (17)
Evolving Wilds
Mountain
Forest

Sideboard (19)
Atarka Monument
Volcanic Rush
Lose Calm
Collateral Damage
Fierce Invocation
Hungering Yeti
Vandalize
Ainok Guide
Formless Nurturing
Ainok Artillerist
Shape the Sands
Explosive Vegetation
Grim Contest
Sibsig Host
Channel Harm
Misthoof Kirin
Palace Familiar
Dirgur Nemesis

Good creatures and good removal. That’s all you need! People disrespecting green in Dragons of Tarkir makes it easier to pick up Epic Confrontation, and Glade Watcher is a premium two drop you can get late as well.

Should I have played Hungering Yeti over Bloodfire Enforcers? I went with the cheaper card, but I switched them after sideboard a few times. I think Bloodfire Enforcers is better in an agressive strategy, but Hungering Yeti is a nice card to have against decks that can slow you down or easily kill two-toughness creatures.

This deck went 2-1, losing in the finals to a crazy-broken esper deck with six powerful rares: Supplant Form, Secure the Wastes, Monastery Siege, Ojutai’s Command, and Silumgar, the Drifting Death. The rest of the deck was full of powerful cards, and I was constantly surprised at how many great cards I had to fight through.

I managed to grind through my opponent’s entire deck in game two, winning with Tread Upon on Atarka Efreet when my opponent was two turns from decking with Monastery Siege. Unfortunately my opponent drew too many good cards too quickly in the other two games and I lost. But again, being able to compete against a broken deck in the finals highlights the strength of Atarka decks. The tools are there.

This last one is sort of a red-green deck, right? It has Sarkhan Unbroken so I say yes. I mostly include it for awesomeness.

Format Unbroken

Creatures (13)
Sidisi’s Faithful
Glade Watcher
Jeskai Sage
Palace Familiar
Zephyr Scribe
Ojutai Interceptor
Monastery Loremaster
Gurmag Drowner
Ancient Carp
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Pristine Skywise

Spells (9)
Sarkhan Unbroken
Mastery of the Unseen
Monastery Siege
Anticipate
Epic Confrontation
Map the Wastes
Return to the Earth
Ethereal Ambush
Lands (18)
Evolving Wilds
Blossoming Sands
Jungle Hollow
Rugged Highlands
Island
Forest
Plains
Mountain
Swamp

Sideboard (17)
Scion of Ugin
Custodian of the Trove
Cunning Strike
Pinion Feast
Shape the Sands
Revealing Wind
Explosive Vegetation
Rakshasa’s Disdain
Glint
Ancient Carp
Dirgur Nemesis
Harsh Sustenance
Dragon Fodder
Kindled Fury
Defiant Ogre
Sage’s Reverie
Graceblade Artisan

First-picking Sarkhan encourages drafting mana fixing. I came out of pack one with Explosive Vegetation (which maybe is better in the deck than Map the Wastes?) and Evolving Wilds. Then I started opening and getting passed off-color bombs. The deck just builds itself!

The splashes work because the deck is mostly green-blue, and the off-color cards are all bombs that are strong plays at any point in a game. I even managed this sweet interaction:

Tasigurl

Is this the first Tasigur ever cast off Sarkhan?

Good old planeswalker mana-fixing. The best part is, before casting Tasigur, I cast Map the Wastes fetching a Plains instead of a Swamp, and then on my Sarkhan +1 I drew Mastery of the Unseen for full value. This deck went 2-1 and lost a close match in the finals to red-black dash.

I hope this walk through Atarka decks shows what you can do with the color combination. Good luck at the draft tables!

Brendan McNamara (MTGO: eestlinc, Twitter: @brendanistan) used to play Magic in the old days. His favorite combo was Armageddon plus Zuran Orb. After running out of money to buy cards and friends who were willing to put up with that combo, he left the game. But like disco, he was bound to come back eventually. Now he’s a lawyer by day and a Dimir agent by night.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.