Wizards announced this week that all in-store play is suspended until autumn. Personally, as a resident of South Carolina, I don’t expect to see the inside of a games store for a year or more. This means that Arena is my only connection to the game. So I’ve found myself seeking out unique decks after I got my fill of Uro-and-Ugin mirrors (about thirty minutes in).

Over the last week especially, I’ve been cruising through the Best-of-One queues whenever I get the chance. Bo1 queues on Arena have the reputation of being a scrubstravaganza—unfairly, I’d argue: they’re a laboratory for creativity and an organic way to test your deck’s viability in an open field. If you’re not interested in running a metagame gauntlet, it’s a refreshing way to run into archetypes you don’t generally see. I’ve played against Deathtouch Tribal, Sultai Mutate, a dozen iterations of Soul Sisters, and Vampires, but a few decks stand out.

It’s rare that I lose to a deck and immediately chuck all my precious wildcards into building it, but this week I played against one of the more creative decks I’ve seen on Arena. The core components of its strategy were: Yidaro, Wandering Monster, Transmogrify, and Outlaws’ Merriment. My opponent Transmogrified an Outlaw token into Yidaro for the quick win, but Merriment is underrated as a game-winning card in and of itself, giving it some resilience and flexibility. Even without the Yidaro, they were overwhelming me with a band of merry men.

I’ve replicated it as closely as I could without access to their decklist, but the deck won too quickly for me to see the bulk of it—another mark in its favor. Here’s a modified version, based on what I saw and what I can extrapolate:

Boros Transmogrify

Creatures (4)
Yidaro, Wandering Monster

Planeswalkers (4)
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Gideon Blackblade

Spells (27)
Angelic Ascension
Light Up the Stage
Fire Prophecy
Raking Claws
Outlaws' Merriment
Idyllic Tutor
Storm's Wrath
Lands (25)
Fabled Passage
Sacred Foundry
Temple of Triumph
Savai Triome

Yidaro may not be the absolute best threat in Standard, but his inclusion is genius. The downside of Through the Breach and Reanimator archetypes is what happens if you draw your threat early, basically counting as a mulligan. Yidaro, by cycling for 1R, allows you to defang that drawback while putting it back in your library for future Transmogrification.

I enjoyed playing this version, but the fastest it can spit out a Yidaro is turn five: four for a Merriment, five for a Transmogrify. I think we can do better in a different shell—something a little more martial perhaps.

Rakdos Transmogrify

Creatures (5)
Massacre Wurm
Yidaro, Wandering Monster

Planeswalkers (3)
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Spells (29)
Dreadhorde Invasion
Fire Prophecy
Angrath's Rampage
Honor the God-Pharaoh
Bleeding Edge
Widespread Brutality
Storm's Wrath
Lands (24)
Fabled Passage
Blood Crypt
Temple of Malice

By including Black, we shave off a turn, and are able to drop an Honor the God-Pharaoh or Dreadhorde Invasion on turn three, followed by Transmogrify for Yidaro on turn four.

I’ve been experimenting with Massacre Wurm to supplement the Yidaros—while it doesn’t hit for a hasty eight damage, it’s still a massive threat, and it handles Jolrael exceptionally well. It also gives us a bit of insurance against Necromentia, should that prove relevant. It could also be another target—most likely Vilis, Broker of Blood or potentially Terror of the Peaks for a combat-free finish.

We’ve cut the copies of Light Up the Stage, because we lack a way to do consistent damage; if we have a Yidaro on the board, we don’t need extra cards. I’ve also flirted with a steal and sacrifice version of this deck, that runs less token production and instead casts Claim the Firstborn with a Lukka on the field; but it’s less effective and clunkier, albeit very tilting for the opponent.

Of course, sometimes you get tilted by this deck—that comes with the territory when you play this sort of concoction. I’ve been burned by Polymorph, by Shape Anew, by Proteus Staff. But Transmogrify has been printed into a different format, one with a density of token producers actually worth playing on their own. We no longer have to run Darksteel Relic or Krenko’s Command or costly creature lands—all you need is a set of Dinosaur Turtles and the drive to Transmogrify them.

A lifelong resident of the Carolinas and a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Rob has played Magic since he picked a Darkling Stalker up off the soccer field at summer camp. He works for nonprofits as an educational strategies developer and, in his off-hours, enjoys writing fiction, playing games, and exploring new beers.

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