Deck Tech: Jeskai Black Dragons

Hello ladies and gents, Harrison here with another Magic: The Gathering article for you folks. Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have noticed that just about every Magic format you can play has been taken over by one card, Mister Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy.

So incredibly powerful, for such a little man.

So incredibly powerful, for such a little man.

So, seeing as the best way to beat them is to join them, I’ve put together a deck that I think takes full advantage of the powerful ‘creature’.

Jeskai Black Dragons

3 Dragonlord Ojutai

3 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy

3 Mantis Rider

2 Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury

2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

2 Soulfire Grand Master

3 Crackling Doom

3 Dig Through Time

3 Draconic Roar

3 Painful Truths

2 Crux of Fate

2 Kolaghan’s Command

2 Ojutai’s Command

4 Bloodstained Mire

4 Flooded Strand

4 Polluted Delta

2 Prairie Stream

2 Shambling Vents

2 Smoldering Marsh

2 Sunken Hollow

1 Plains

1 Island

1 Swamp

2 Mountain

Maindeck : 60 Cards

3 Disdainful Stroke

2 Dispel

3 Fiery Impulse

2 Radiant Flames

3 Transgress the Mind

2 Ultimate Price

Sideboard: 15 Cards

The Cards

3 Dragonlord Ojutai, 2 Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury, 2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

All seven of these legendary creatures are capable of taking over a game and potentially winning it. The surprise value of Kolaghan’s ability to gain haste from the Dash mechanic, especially in combination with an Ojutai, can turn a three-turn clock into a one-turn one.

Suddenly, DRAGON!

Suddenly, DRAGON!

3 Mantis Rider, 3 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, 2 Soulfire Grand Master

The rest of our creature suite is very reminiscent of that played by more mainstream Jeskai Black lists. The Rider is one of the best value-for-mana creatures you can get in Standard, being beautifully well positioned on both offense and defense. Jace is, of course, Jace, and needs no more introducing. The Grand Master is capable of both extending us into the mid- and late-game where this deck shines, and providing a strong source of reusable card advantage.

3 Crackling Doom, 3 Draconic Roar, 2 Crux of Fate, 2 Kolaghan’s Command, 2 Mardu Charm

One of the best ways to win games in Magic and particularly Standard is to get sweet two-for-ones, and (almost) all of our removal spells are capable of that. Doom takes care of the biggest beast on the board, as well as a cute two damage that quickly stacks up. Roar combines with our Dragons and with Grand Master to get additional damage through as well as gain a very respectable amount of life. Crux cleans out the board and allows us to maintain a presence with our Dragons, and K-Command is the definition of two-for-one value. And the final piece of our removal suite is one you might not have considered, Mardu Charm. While the value of this card has gone down with Courser of Kruphix no longer being a part of the format, all three modes are powerful and with our multiple ways to cast the same spell twice it very quickly stacks up.

Cool guys don't look at explosions!

Cool guys don’t look at explosions!

3 Dig Through Time, 3 Painful Truths, 2 Ojutai’s Command

As well as getting two-for-one value, another powerful tactic is to see more cards than your opponent. Our card draw suite is very capable of that, with a resolved Dig or Truths usually refilling our hand and setting us up for some great plays. O-Command also plays nicely with our two-mana mythic creatures.

That hat looks dumb on you. That was a terrible play. You need to brush your teeth more.

That hat looks dumb on you. You need to brush your teeth more. That was a terrible play.

Game 2 and 3

Some decks, particularly in older formats, don’t care about their sideboard and usually just jam in some specific hate and some alternate removal and call it a day.

This is not that deck.

By choosing to move our more specific cards to the sideboard and keeping our generic answers in the main, we improve our matchup against anything in the middle – Abzan variants, primarily – but sacrifice our games against either end of the spectrum – Atarka Red and Esper Dragons. We can then transition in our second and third games into having the specific answers that those decks require – cheap removal and counterspells/hand attack, respectively. Or, alternatively we keep our deck in the middle and maybe just open up some additional options.

Got your nose level: Extreme

Got your nose level: Extreme.

The Game plan

Our game plan operates on two main axes, and which one you focus on depends on both the cards you have access to and what you’re sitting across from. Either you take the tempo role, jamming Mantis Rider on turn three and attacking both the board and the hand aggressively, or you play as the midrange/control deck, with Jace, Truths and Dig fueling the engine of Ojutai. Land sequencing is just as key here as it is in more traditional Jeskai Black lists, often being the difference between a win and a loss. Sunken Hollow, combined with a white source and a red source enables every card we have at three or less mana, and any fourth land can open up Grand Master plus Roar, or O-Command.

Master ancient selfie-stick kung fu, you must.

Master ancient selfie-stick kung fu, you must.

To wrap up, what happens when you take traditional Jeskai Black, cut the four-ofs down to two and three, move the counter spells to the sideboard, and throw in a top end of high-powered flying death machines? Hopefully a deck that’ll give me some great games of Magic. Thanks for reading folks, and remember: the only one who can beat you, is you. Always do better.



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