Deck Review : Naya Cats

Hello ladies and gents, Harrison here with another cat-tastic deck for your perusal (that’s 1). It’s the brew I’m the most happy with and I think the most competitive one, Meowdern Cats! (that’s 2). So let’s get right to it!

4 Loam Lion 1 Sword of Feast and Famine
4 Wild Nacatl 1 Ajani Steadfast
4 Lightning Bolt 4 Temple Garden
4 Path to Exile 4 Windswept Heath
4 Fleecemane Lion 3 Cavern of Souls
4 Qasali Pridemage 2 Sacred Foundry
3 Boros Charm 2 Stomping Ground
3 Lightning Helix 2 Plains
4 Qasali Ambusher 1 Mountain
2 Brimaz, King of Oreskos 2 Forest
2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Maindeck: 60 Cards
3 Leonin Arbiter 2 Rest in Peace
2 Leyline of Sanctity 2 Stony Silence
4 Mana Tithe 2 Torpor Orb
Sideboard: 15 Cards

 

The Creatures

4 Loam Lion 4 Wild Nacatl 4 Fleecemane Lion 4 Qasali Pridemage 4 Qasali Ambusher 2 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

 

This ain't your average kitteh

This ain’t your average kitteh

So one of the things I figured out fairly quickly after arriving in the Modern format was that all the best Zoo creatures were Cats (with the exception of Kird Ape and Tarmogoyf). So, I decided to make a Cat tribal deck. There was a couple of directions I could go. The first was playing equipment with Leonin Shikari and Kemba, Kha Regent. This proved to be a bad idea, as the deck was way too slow, and vulnerable to you getting blown out by opposing removal. The second option was enchantments with Ajani’s Chosen. Again, same problem, except even worse. So my final decision was to throw out the tribal synergies and just play the good cards, and it turns out that that was the purr-fect fit! (that’s 3).

So the creatures all do fairly similar things; getting in more damage than their mana cost. The main exceptions are the Qasalis: Ambusher and Pridemate. Qasali Ambusher is easily my favorite card in the deck. The blowouts against Burn, Delver or other aggro decks is just amazing. Qasali Pridemage is a Naturalize that can also attack AND buff your other attacking creatures. Fantastic card.

The Removal

4 Lightning Bolt 4 Path to Exile 3 Boros Charm 3 Lightning Helix

Buy one Bolt, get one Salve free!

Buy one Bolt, get one Salve free!

Red and White have some (if not the best) removal in the game, and you see most of it here. With 10 burn spells in the main deck, just straight up burning my opponent out is an incredibly viable option. Boros Charm does double duty as protection vs opposing removal spells.

The End Game

2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride 1 Sword of Feast and Famine 1 Ajani Steadfast

The Nick Fury of Planeswalkers

The Nick Fury of Planeswalkers

Planeswalkers are just fantastic at allowing you to attack from a different angle. I can’t count the number of times my opponent has reached across to read one of my Ajanis, looked at their hand, read the Ajani, looked at their hand, then scooped. Caller of the Pride is fantastic at pushing damage through, and Steadfast turns any of my dudes into an absolute house. Once I finished the deck I found myself at 59 cards. So until Umezawa’s Jitte gets unbanned (which is totally going to happen you guys), we’ll be playing one of the best value pieces of equipment in modern.

The Land

4 Temple Garden 4 Windswept Heath 3 Cavern of Souls 2 Sacred Foundry 2 Stomping Ground 2 Plains 1 Mountain 2 Forest

Mystical Glowy Portal of Summoning. Makes sense.

Mystical Glowy Portal of Summoning. Makes sense.

A fairly standard distribution of Naya Lands. Five basics give me options for my fetches, or if my opponent hits me with Path to Exile. Sometimes we get screwed needing the third land type for our kittehs, but until they print tri-type lands you can fetch ….

 

The Sideboard

3 Leonin Arbiter

If our opponent plays a significant number of fetches or you know, searches (Scapeshift being the main target). Or if my Paths are completely dead and I need a slightly useful replacement.

2 Leyline of Sanctity

Burn, pure and simple. Have fun having 12+ dead cards you boring person. Also some combo decks need to target, and I like denying that.

4 Mana Tithe

Anytime my opponent is greedy on mana. Bonus points if they have no idea what just happened.

2 Rest in Peace/ 2 Stony Silence/ 2 Torpor Orb

Silver bullet answers to various decks. Even if they can answer it, your opponent has spent resources on that, which means they have less resources to kill your kittehs.

Playing the Deck

Playing Naya Cats is a lot like playing your typical Zoo deck. You stick an early, high value creature (preferably Wild Nacatl) and proceed to back it up with burn and removal. You are vulnerable to ‘infinite’ combo Game 1 (Twin, Scapeshift) but the sideboard can help a lot with that. You’re very well positioned against other aggro decks such as Burn, as your creatures are (typically) much better than theirs and you have the extreme value of Qasali Ambusher. There is no better feeling than ‘Temple Garden tapped, go. Fetchland, Shockland, attack with Goblin Guide. AMBUSH!’ This deck is my favorite meow-dern brew, and I’m very happy with how it’s turned out (that’s 4).

So thanks for reading ladies and gents, please feel free to check out my other articles, and I’ll talk to you again next time.

Cheers,

Harrison

 

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