With Born of the Gods being released this weekend, I figured it’s time to try out some deck brewing! Today’s theme: Minotaurs! Now, there are Minotaur decks that exist today, but with additions from Born of the Gods, it just might be enough to make it a force to be reckoned with. Let’s go over the new tools we got!
Right now, the only other two drop minotaur in standard is Death Bellow raider, which while a decent card being a 2/3 creature with a drawback, it’s a little hard to make a full on minotaur deck with just a single two drop… let alone no one drops. Luckily, we got Felhide Minotaur, a decent 2/2 body with a very minor drawback if you plan on doing minotaurs in the first place. Is it worth running compared to other potential two drops like Ash Zealot or Gore-House Chainwalker? I think it remains to be seen, but the fact that the option is available is nice. With 2 two drops available, it seems feasible. Now if only there were a good one drop minotaur in Journey to Nyx.
Here’s a card I learned about in making this article. It reminds me of Minotaur Skullcleaver, minus the haste but with more chances for big damage. Not sure if he’s worth running in the deck, but depending on the matchup, might be an okay sideboard card.
I really like the ability associated with this guy, but unfortunately, I feel that as a four drop it’s just a wee bit too slow to run effectively. That said, there could be neat little combos with the likes of Fanatic of Mogis, and Minotaur Skullcleave to get that extra bit of damage, but the damage won’t come until turn 6 at earliest, which if you’re not winning by then, then you’re either playing wrong or playing a control deck.
Oracle of Bones
This four drop seems pretty neat. Being either 5 damage or 3 damage and any instant or sorcery spell you’d like to cast. Might be a great card for a burn heavy deck, but for a creature heavy minotaur deck, it’s not our ideal card. Luckily, the only other minotaur really pushes minotaurs to what we want.
And the all-star card that I think will make Minotaurs playable! For a three drop, this guy makes your other minotaurs much cheaper and as such, you can overrun your opponent using Kragma Warcaller for three and if you get enough of the monger out, Boros Reckoner becomes free to cast! If minotaurs are to become a thing, then Ragemonger is going to be the reason.
So with that in mind, let’s make a rough draft for a Minotaur Deck!
Now I’m sure there are a few that look at this list and ponder a few questions. Well, let’s address some of them here and now:
Q: Why Dega (RWB) Minotaurs? Why not just go Rakdos Minotaurs?
A: This is mainly because of two main threats: Supreme Verdict and Master of Waves. While the deck could potentially run fine as a Rakdos Deck, the threat is always there and this isn’t as fast as other RDW type decks. Therefore, it’s important, if not essential to have answers to those threats, particularly having Boros Charm to combat against Supreme Verdict and Chained to the Rocks as an answer to Master of Waves. These will stop them dead.
Q: There’s Deathbellow Raider for the 2 cmc slot, but what about one drops?! You can’t function without a Minotaur One drop!
A: Yes, the lack of a one drop minotaur is saddening. Hopefully Journey to Nyx will help correct that issue, but until then, we have to work with what’s available and thankfully, one of the best lands in Standard is available: Mutavault. Since Mutavault is considered all creature types, it benefits from all the Minotaur Buffs, including Rageblood Shaman’s +1/+1 and Trample, and Kragma Warcaller’s Haste and +2/+0 when attacking. As a bonus, the lack of a one drop makes the first turn decision between a scryland or shockland very easy to make.
Q: One of these things is not like the other! Purphoros isn’t a minotaur! Why don’t you run Mogis in the main board! He totally fits in with the Minotaur theme!
A: Despite having bull horns and rocking that battle axe with minotaur pride, Mogis doesn’t count as a minotaur himself. He still a good card to have, but I feel he should only come in against those who don’t pride themselves on large numbers of creatures. So why Purphoros? When you have a lot of extra mana to spare, what’s a better option than to pour it into some extra damage the turn of your minotaur rampage?
Q: What’s that Legion’s Initiative card? Seems like a rather pointless mythic!
I thought so too after the initial glamour wore off, but as I was building this deck, my head began churning. All the creatures are red or at least have red associated with them, so they’ll hit even harder. Also the card is another answer to board wipes, even against wipes that aren’t necessarily about creature destruction. It even manages to foil Maze’s End Riot Control. Then I also began to think, ‘Hey! I’m running Purphoros! And if he’s on the field when the creatures reenter, or hell, he’s among the creatures that reenter, that’s at least 4-8 damage for what is essentially evading a boardwipe!’ So I figure it’s worth trying out. Worst case scenario. It’s room for a Dreadbore.
Playtesting with the deck seems promising, as all the creatures escape the wrath of Shock, Pharika’s Cure, Magma Jet, and other forms of cheap removal, with the exception of Lightning Strike, Chained to the Rocks, and Doom Blade. The early damage output can be low sometimes, but generally by turn four, the stampede of minotaurs can end up dealing 16 Trample Damage on that turn alone.
So will it be good? Who knows! Will it be fun? It definitely seems that way. Hopefully, I’ll get back with some good results from playing with this deck. Nothing’s more painful that getting your face smashed by a Minotaur Hoof.