Maelstrom Muse Decktech
20 Jan 2022 - 10 min read
What’s up everybody and WELCOME to our first deck tech of 2022! As we covered on the Hexdrinkers After Dark Podcast, we spent the last couple months of 2021 building a PDH Cube with over sixty possible commander options. So today, I thought I’d walk you through one of my favorites with a full 99 to accompany it.
That’s right, we’re going back to Strixhaven and school is in session: Welcome, Maelstrom Muse.
Recently The Hexdrinkers have been teaming up with the Tryhards for some cPDH content and we’ve even got a few brews of our own coming down the pipeline… but this ain’t a combo-tastic, competitive list. This is a good old fashioned, hip-shooting, face-punching, casual aggro deck.
Without further ado, let’s dive in: “Whenever Maelstrom Muse attacks, the next instant or sorcery spell you cast this turn costs x less to cast where x is Maelstrom Muse’s power as this ability resolves.” We get a single, massive discount as opposed to something like Storm Skreelix that provides a small cost reduction to each instant and sorcery. This means our general gameplan will revolve around pumping Maelstrom Muse’s power up as high as possible to cast battlecruiser-esque spells in the post-combat, and less the traditional UR spellslinger route of Firebrand Archer and cantrips.
Maelstrom Muse to the Moon
Even though Maelstrom Muse’s base power of 2 will let us hit the ground running with the discount, this deck is all about turning that to 11. Hopefully literally. We’ve got the classic red auras like Undying Rage and Frenzied Rage , as well as my personal spicy pick of Bestial Fury
- damned if you do, damned if you don’t. However, we also get to pull in some pretty interesting blue auras to this build that serve as protection while still pushing our gameplan of pumping Maelstrom forward. Starlit Mantle and Eel Umbra can come down in the knick of time to save our Muse, while also beefing them up for our next combat.
Outside of auras, we’re also running plenty of equipment as more resilient pieces of tech for our Commander. Amorphous Axe and Bonesplitter lead the charge netting us great gains in the power department, but I think my real favorites are:
Dueling Rapier - There aren’t many good equipment with flash, making this pokey stick from AFR stand out like a road flare. Sure, the re-equip is steep but after a single attack with this thing we’re netting mana. Cast it as a trick or just with some leftover mana, I don’t think it’ll ever be a dead draw.
Goldvein Pick - A more conventional piece of tech, buffing while also generating a decent supply of mana is perfect in this attacky-themed non-green deck.
Armory of Iroas - Quite possibly one of the most powerful pieces we have, giving Maelstrom Muse the opportunity to grow gigantic and sling absolute heaters if left untreated.
Okay so now we’ve got a super-sized djinn wizard, what next? Well…
The bigger they are…
That’s right, X spells. Between Disintegrate , Kaervek’s Torch , and Rolling Thunder , our real goal for this deck is teaming Muse up with a big fireball effect to hopefully take two players out at once. One with direct damage from our star Prismari student, and the other(s) with a heavily discounted burn spell.
And don’t worry, we’re running the one and only Fireball as well. Gotta respect the original.
Outside of our wincons, there are a couple other big spells worth mentioning since we won’t always be able to deal 10+ to the face. I went searching for the biggest spells Izzet offers at common to fill out our 99, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Elemental Masterpiece - Giving us two decent 4/4 bodies or an early game “ramp” effect? Awesome.
Unexplained Vision - We can easily get this great draw spell down to 1 or 2, refilling our hand later in the game. Even an un-modified Maelstrom Muse makes this a great 3 for 3, it’s crazy.
Introduction to Annihilation - Sometimes, things just gotta die.
This category is a little overly broad, but I wanted to use it to discuss some specific cases that are helpful to consider while piloting this deck. I’ll introduce them with individual card discussions:
Teach by Example - What’s better than one Rolling Thunder you say? Well, two. Because Teach by Example affects the next spell this turn you can get away with casting Teach by Example pre-combat, swinging with Maelstrom, and then duplicating whatever shenanigans come after. Timing is everything though, so be careful.
Balduvian Rage - Long mocked as the poor man’s Berserk , Balduvian Rage will play second fiddle NO LONGER! Provided a decently hefty Maelstrom Muse, their ability will trigger as they attack meaning you can cast Balduvian rage for 1 Red to double Maelstrom’s power for the turn dealing lethal damage far out of left field. Oh, and then instead of needing to sacrifice your creature you just get to draw a card next upkeep. #Winning.
Teetering Peaks / Looming Spires - Common utility land cycles are always a bit hit or miss, especially in red. But in this build, Looming Spires pays for itself coming in tapped and gives our most-likely top-heavy Maelstrom Muse first strike for a turn while Teetering Peaks actually just provides bonus mana if utilized properly. They’re just neat.
Battle-Rattle Shaman / Battle Plan - Not equipment, not auras, but combat buffs all the same. Providing a consistent +2/+0 each turn is well worth the 4 mana cost on either, and in case Muse is down and out - targeting an equipped Champion of the Flame isn’t too shabby a Plan B. Solid power buffs that don’t fall into the aura trap of bounce or kill spells hitting you with a 2-for-1.
Vanishing - One of the most underrated and powerful cards in PDH, Vanishing is an absolute dream in this deck. You’ve got the conventional “removal”/political play of attaching it to a problematic creature you don’t control to disrupt opponents. Or you could enchant Maelstrom Muse, protecting it from harm by either phasing out in response to kill spells or attacking and then phasing to still net the cost reduction despite walls of blockers. Big brain stuff.
And to tie it all together, your classic PDH package of ramp, protection, and draw so you can keep slinging turn after turn. Just make sure to save your Dizzy Spell for Disintegrate or Kaervek’s Torch and you’ll be fine.
Check out the full list below, or on Moxfield!
1x Armory of Iroas
1x Bonder's Ornament
1x Darksteel Axe
1x Dueling Rapier
1x Goldvein Pick
1x Honored Heirloom
1x Neurok Stealthsuit
1x Wayfarer's Bauble
1x Whispersilk Cloak
1x Balduvian Rage
1x Brute Force
1x Dizzy Spell
1x Frantic Search
1x Lightning Axe
1x Muddle the Mixture
1x Seething Song
1x Soul's Fire
1x Teach by Example
1x Thrill of Possibility
1x Battle-Rattle Shaman
1x Champion of the Flame
1x Drift of Phantasms
1x Etherium Spinner
1x Goblin Electromancer
1x Kazuul's Toll Collector
1x Maelstrom Muse
1x Unblinking Observer
1x Bestial Fury
1x Deep Freeze
1x Eel Umbra
1x Frenzied Rage
1x Starlit Mantle
1x Undying Rage
1x Evolving Wilds
1x Looming Spires
1x Mystic Sanctuary
1x Opal Palace
1x Path of Ancestry
1x Prismari Campus
1x Swiftwater Cliffs
1x Teetering Peaks
1x Terramorphic Expanse
1x Volatile Fjord
1x Elemental Masterpiece
1x Faithless Looting
1x Grasp of Phantoms
1x Introduction to Annihilation
1x Kaervek's Torch
1x Mana Geyser
1x Merchant Scroll
1x Rolling Thunder
1x Serpentine Curve
1x Step Through
1x Treasure Cruise
1x Unexplained Vision
1x Winged Words
Thanks so much for reading, and let us know what you think of this more streamlined Deck Tech! Do you like sticking to the cards that make this UR build unique? Would you prefer more time spent on the staples just to re-familiarize yourself? Let us know in the comments below or reach out wherever!
Tune in next time when we’ll be showing off a brand new cPDH deck sure to wear your opponents’ down with its… persistent strategy!
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