Deck Tech – Sultai Aggro
09 Jul 2019

When we’re talking about deck tech consistencies, I can name of a few right now in the Standard format. Known for being a powerhouse and its ability to transform into another deck postboard, this is Sultai Aggro.

The Sultai Terror of Standard!

Ramp, lifegain, and removal. Sultai Aggro, or Sultai Midrange to some, is a very consistent deck that’s able to go toe-to-toe against Aggro, Control, Tempo, and other Midrange decks.

It’s also flexible enough to make changes on a decklist without its strength levels taking a huge hit. This is where the deck shines because its sideboard actually transforms it into another deck altogether!

This decklist comes from Hareruya player Hoshino Kazuki that scored 3-0 in their Weekday Standard Tournament.

Sultai Aggro – Hoshino Kazuki

4 Forest

1 Swamp

4 Breeding Pool

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetery

3 Hinterland Harbor

1 Watery Grave

3 Drowned Catacomb

Creatures

4 Llanowar Elves

2 Paradise Druid

4 Merfolk Branchwalker

4 Wildgrowth Walker

4 Jadelight Ranger

3 Hydroid Krasis

Spells

2 Cast Down

1 Assassin's Trophy

3 Command the Dreadhorde

1 Finale of Eternity

Planeswalkers

3 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

2 Vraska, Golgari Queen

3 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

Sideboard

2 Ripjaw Raptor

2 Cast Down

2 Duress

2 The Elderspell

1 Negate

1 Massacre Girl

2 Disdainful Stroke

2 Thrashing Brontodon

1 Vraska's Contempt

Early Game Mana Dorks

 

Much like Gruul Midrange and Bant Ramp, you have two creatures that give you mana-ramping abilities early on in the game: Paradise Druid and Llanowar Elves.

Paradise Druid helps you secure color fixing for your tricky spells, which is essential for this deck during the early game.

When you have both Paradise Druid and Llanowar Elves in play by turn 3, you could have 5 mana available with 3 lands.

Explore Engine Is So Good!

 

12 copies of creatures that synergize so well is the reason why this deck is so consistent across the board.

Jadelight Ranger and Merfolk Branchwalker get bigger every time you explore, or give you additional card advantage.

Merfolk Branchwalker has the potential to turn into a 3/2 creature early game and can dish out decent damage before it gets removed.

Jadelight Ranger gets up to 4/3 that provides you with a strong attacker or blocker as you set up the board.

But the piece that holds the Explore Engine together is Wildgrowth Walker, which lets you gain life and gets a +1/+1 counter every time a creature explores.

In theory, you could have one Wildgrowth Walker get up to 12 +1/+1 counters and 36 potential life gain.

Wildgrowth Walker immediately kills any Aggro deck’s tempo because it’s a solid blocker and its life gain is enough to help you gain back life lost during the early turns.

Removal and Board Control

 

To help you get rid of stubborn creatures, you have access to targeted removal such as Cast Down and Assassin’s Trophy.

These spells are also meant to help you navigate your way from the early game to dropping your endgame creatures and Planeswalkers.

Both spells are quite handy for out-of-reach creatures where damage spells are not enough, such as Nullhide Ferox and Skarrgan Hellkite.

Finale of Eternity lets you destroy up to three target creatures with toughness X or less. Its additional bonus of returning all creature cards you control from the graveyard to the battlefield can turn the tides to your favor.

Planeswalkers

 

Sultai Aggro gives you somewhere between 6 and 10 Planeswalkers on your mainboard, but your core PW’s are going to be Nissa, Vraska, and Tamiyo.

Tamiyo’s passive ability helps protect you against cards such as Thought Erasure and Nicol Bolas, The Ravager’s ETB ability.

Its +1 ability lets you fish out a named card out of the top 4 cards of your library. So if you named Merfolk Branchwalker and you get 2 copies from the top 4, you get to put these 2 copies into your hand.

And its -3 ability lets you return a target card from your graveyard to your hand in case the +1 ability doesn’t get you the card that you want but the card that you need gets pitched to the graveyard.

Vraska, Golgari Queen is a spot removal for nonland permanents that cost 3-mana or less, so apart from creatures, you get to remove PW’s, enchantments, and artifacts.

Its +2 ability gives you card advantage if you do sacrifice something, but if not, no worries. You still get the +2 counter because of the keyword MAY.

And then there’s Nissa, who Shakes the World. She needs no introduction because she’s in all the other decks that can run Green mana.

She turns any land into a creature while giving Forests additional one Green mana, which ramps you up even further to drop the big fat flying squid.

Hydroid Krasis, the BFF Squid

I call him the Big Fat Flying Squid because he’s just too much to handle for a single card.

Flying, trample, card advantage, and life gain, this creature just churns out so much value, regardless if you drop him with 3 counters or with 6 counters.

Playstyle

Just like Gruul Midrange and Bant Ramp, Sultai Aggro plays defensively as opposed to its namesake.

Your early Explore creatures provide enough pressure on the game that your opponents will be forced to deal with them.

Drop Overgrowth Walker first when necessary before dropping your Explore creatures to maximize their synergy.

Go wide as fast as you can, or work your way towards setting up for endgame.

Hydroid Krasis can also help you in terms of providing an aerial attacker early game even with just 2 counters on it.

Your ability to filter out your library a lot frequently, thanks to Explore, helps you get to the cards that you need as soon as possible.

Sideboard – Sultai Control

By making space to accommodate cards such as Duress, more copies of Cast Down, Disdainful Stroke, and Vraska’s Contempt, the deck transforms into Sultai Control during the postboard rounds.

This gives you an advantage over certain aggro and tempo decks, as well as being able to take control over Control decks.

Check out MTGRock’s Sultai Aggro Deck here:

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