If you would like to see this deck in action, be sure to tune into my stream twitch.tv/TuesdayTastic October 6th at noon MST!
Hello and welcome to Only On Tuesdays!
Guilds of Ravnica is finally out, and with it means brand new decks! Rotation is always a bittersweet time because even though we are getting brand new cards, some of my favorite cards from the past sets have to go away. But that’s ok, because with change means new decks, and today’s deck is seeking to attack Standard in a way that no other deck currently is. Today’s deck is Turbo-Surveil, a deck that aims to cast one card and win the game on the spot.
Here is the gameplan. Start with a Dimir Spybug on the battlefield. Cast a Doom Whisperer. Pay life until you surveil 4 Creeping Chills, and make Dimir Spybug an 8/8. Swing for lethal. That is the bare minimum needed to take your opponent from 20 life to 0 in one turn. With a little setup in the form of Enhanced Surveillance, finding 4 Creeping Chills is almost trivial, and in the event that the combo doesn’t go quite the way you envisioned, a 6/6 flample is more than sufficient to get the job done. Turbo-Surveil is Standard’s equivalent to Dredge and is a force to be reckoned with.
Doom Whisperer is a card that everybody knew was going to be powerful. Upon it getting spoiled, one of the first comparisons that everybody came to was Griselbrand. Griselbrand is one of the most busted creatures that Magic has ever seen printed. The premiere reanimation target in both Modern and Legacy, having something comparable to Griselbrand in Standard is saying something! When I saw this card, I knew that there could be some way to break it. Paying life for cards is one of the most powerful things you can do in Magic, as evidenced by Necropotence, Yawgmoth’s Bargain, and Dark Confidant.
As of right now, the only deck that is playing Doom Whisperer is Dimir Control. Dimir Control seeks to establish a lock on the game, cast Doom Whisperer, and then kill the opponent with a 6/6 while they occasionally surveil. This kind of surprised me. We have the closest thing to Griselbrand since Griselbrand himself, and nobody is trying to take advantage of what it can do! Being able to pay life to move cards from one zone to another defines some of the most iconic cards in Magic’s history. After seeing this, I decided to seek out ways to break Doom Whisperer in Standard.
Almost immediately I discovered Creeping Chill. This new card has already given Dredge a resurgence in Modern and is very powerful. If paying life to draw cards is considered broken, paying life to cast spells is something else entirely. A free Lightning Helix is very good. 4 free Lightning Helix’s often just wins you the game. When you are churning through your deck with Doom Whisperer, finding just 2 of these gives you 3 more surveil triggers, which in turn helps you to find even more Creeping Chills. If Creeping Chill is seeing play, it stands to reason that Narcomoeba should also see play in this kind of deck. Unfortunately, in my testing Narcomoeba did not do very much. Ideally, you will win the turn of or after you cast Doom Whisperer and Narcomoeba does not help this gameplan. And there aren’t enough surveil effects in the early stages of this deck that it is unreliable to come out early enough to matter.
Doom Whisperer isn’t just putting cards in your graveyard though. Thanks to the sets focus on surveilling, being able to surveil multiple times in a turn could mean something. With that many surveil triggers in one turn, this has to break something. Dimir Spybug is the perfect card for this. With both flying and menace, Dimir Spybug is almost impossible to block, which makes it perfect for our combo turn. Thoughtbound Phantasm is Dimir Spybug number 2, and while it is much worse, redundancy is important, and this is an early blocker for the deck.
The only issue I have with the combo I presented at the beginning of this article is that you are asking that all 4 Creeping Chills be in the top 18 cards of your library and that you haven’t lost any life. (Of course, if you can cast 3 Creeping Chills, you now have an additional 8 life to work with to find the last Chill). While 18+ cards is impressive, it could be better. And this is where Enhanced Surveillance comes in. With only one Enhanced Surveillance out, you are digging twice as deep for each surveil. If you have 2 or more you will be dumping cards into your graveyard faster than Golgari Grave-Troll can! Go too deep, and Enhanced Surveillance can refresh your entire deck, assuming your opponent isn’t already dead by then. If I could change one thing about the original combo I presented, it would be to add Enhanced Surveillance to the battlefield. With that out, all you need is Creeping Chill to be in the top 36-52 cards of your deck which basically guarantees the combo if you are at full life.
One of the things I find most interesting about this deck is that the entire deck is that Doom Whisperer is the only really expensive piece. Normally, we are used to standard decks costing much more, due to every card in the deck being worth a couple of bucks which then all adds up to something over a few hundred dollars. With this deck, the only cards worth more than a dollar are Doom Whisperer and the lands. Every other card is worth less than a dollar, so if you already have the Doom Whisperer’s it is easy to build. And if you don’t want to shell out for Doom Whisperer’s, a budget version of this deck could exist where you play a lot of cheap surveil cards, and throw in Narcomoeba so you can overwhelm your opponent with free spells.
While most decks at the beginning of the new Standard season simply seek to beat your face in, Turbo-Surveil is trying to break the fundamental rules of Magic. Milling your entire deck and casting spells for free is something reminiscent of Dredge, and for a brand new Standard format with such a limited card pool, that is pretty impressive to see. If you would like to purchase the cards for this deck, you can support me and my sponsor by buying the cards at www.gglehi.com. I will be streaming this deck on Saturday at noon MST at twitch.tv/TuesdayTastic. Thank you all for reading, I hope you have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!