The Beck//Call to Adventure

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“All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day of spoiler season! Every day of spoiler season is like a day on the farm. Every reveal’s a banquet! Every pre-order’s a fortune! Every deck a parade! I love spoiler season!”

(Five Internet points to the first person to guess this quote).

Yes, it’s that time again, those wonderful days when we wake up each morning and rush to Daily MTG or MTG Salvation to get a fresh dose of our favorite cardboard carcinogen. Spoiler season is upon us, and with extra shock lands, legendary guild champions, and the promise of an epic conclusion to the second-best setting in all of Magic (I’m still a Dominaria man at heart), Dragon’s Maze is poised to be one of the most exciting spoiler seasons we’ve ever seen.

Or course, it only took one day for Dragon’s Maze to blow my mind:

beck-and-call

… Fuse. Cool ability. Seems like something we’ve always wanted to do with split cards anyway. Makes four birds for six mana—not exactly great, but you can’t discount multiple dudes (just ask Evan Erwin). The other half looks like… Wait, let me reread that. Is that… That looks like… Could it be?

Glimpse of Nature

lol

Glimpse of Nature is very rightly banned in Modern. It fuels absolutely degenerate effects that only a dirty, filthy, degenerate mind like mine (and LSV and 63.78% of the rest of the people who attended Pro Tour: Berlin) would consider generating. Glimpse is a powerful enough engine to fuel Legacy Elf decks. Adding a blue mana to the casting cost is prohibitive, obviously. The jump from one mana to two is the biggest leap in the game, and I’m sure that the development team has tested the ever-loving Hell out of this card.

That said, I’m obviously going to try and break the thing to make them look like assholes. Sorry, folks at Wizards of the Coast.

Note: From this point on, if I reference Beck//Call, I’m only looking at the left half of the card. There’s really no need for me to even look at Call. It could make fifteen birds for six mana, Wrath their board, and fix me a nice ham sandwich, and I wouldn’t give a damn. Glimpse is back, baby!

Here’s a look at some cards I think we have to reconsider now that we have Beck//Call:

Promise of Bunrei: As a fan of the old BW Ghost Husk deck, I’ve had my eye on this card for a while in Modern. It’s simple to trigger if you build with it in mind, and as a “free” way to draw four cards with Beck//Call, it may be the starting point for a Bant or four-color deck.

Cloudstone Curio: When Gatecrash came out, I built a Shamans deck that chained two Burning-Tree Emissary into Grapeshot for infinite damage. The deck worked surprisingly well, and it felt like I might have had something. Alas, Modern PTQ season ended, and I shifted most of my focus to Standard. Curio seems to be an ideal card to break with Beck//Call since it can give you a never-ending stream of creatures.

Bloodghast and Gravecrawler: Cast Beck, drop a land, draw a card (or more if you have multiple copies of Bloodghast in the graveyard), or play a Gravecrawler multiple times in a turn, sacrificing it to something like a Spawning Pit. You could probably find a way to include Vengevine in there somewhere. BUG seems like a color combination that could really exploit Beck.

Intruder Alarm: It seem like there is some overlap in the type of decks that would feature this and the type of decks that would feature Beck//Call, since both have synergy as engine cards. I’f you’re pumping out one-drop mana elves and untapping them every time one of them enters the battlefield…

Memnite and Ornithopter: Free creatures that also draw cards? Yeah, I’m fine with that, especially when played with Hurkyl’s Recall.

Parallel Lives: While I’m hesitant to speculate about Standard with 50% of Dragon’s Maze still in the dark, I thought I’d throw you a bone on this one. There are so many good token makers right now, and this seems to have obvious overlap with Beck//Call. Beck could take up Prime Speaker Zegana’s role in a tokens deck, allowing you to fill your hand in the event of a Supreme Verdict.

Forbidden Orchard: One of the bigger departures Beck has from Glimpse is that it also counts the creatures that enter your opponent’s battlefield as well. Forbidden Orchard makes a fantastic mana enabler and potential card drawer in this regard. I don’t really mind giving you a 1/1 if I’m going to draw a card and fix my mana with it.

Deck Ideas:

Modern is still a gunslinger’s format, where just about any deck can prosper with a pilot who’s put in the proper preparation and has comfortable familiarity with the deck and format. It’s this, along with the monstrous cardpool to draw from, that makes Modern the ideal format to take Beck//Call for a test drive. First up, the deck that got Glimpse of Nature banned in the first place.

Note: I won’t post sideboards at this time since I’m still working on the main decks. However, having access to blue mana does open up a new range of options.

I tried to squeeze Cloudstone Curio in here, but it may be that Summoner’s Pact, or even Chord of Calling, is better. When LSV won PT: Berlin he had Grapeshot as a backup win condition, but we get the awesome Craterhoof Behemoth instead, right on color. Scryb Rangers don’t fit the elf theme, but its ability to return Dryad Arbor as a “free” card draw with Beck was too intriguing to pass up. Essence Warden is another “let’s see if this sticks” card. It’s a great way to fight Splinter Twin, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, and random Zoo decks.

Next up, how about we try free dudes, with the ability to lock an opponent out of the game on turn two?

This deck should have no problem flipping Erayo as early as turn two, a feat that will leave many decks stone cold. It may be that Beck//Call is a little too cute for this build, but I do think it warrants testing. Dropping a few zero-mana creatures and then bouncing them with Hurkyl’s Recall could fill your hand very quickly, helping you recover from a disastrous opening (or an opponent who cast a Creeping Corrosion).

Finally, the deck I’m most excited about, and the one I’d probably sleeve up first.

Similar to the elves list I posted earlier, this deck has the ability to get out of hand very fast, with infinite creature and infinite life as early as turn three. Turn one: play a Llanowar Elves. Turn two: play an Imperious Perfect. Turn three: play Intruder Alarm and a one-mana elf, preferably an Essence Warden or Heritage Druid. This elf untaps the Llanowar Elves and the Perfect. Tap the Llanowar Elves and the Perfect to make an elf token. The token untaps the Perfect and the Llanowar Elves. Repeat.

I have again chosen Craterhoof Behemoth as the “I win right now” card, but never underestimate an army of angry, pointy ears. I love the explosiveness of this deck and really think that Intruder Alarm may be better the Cloudstone Curio.

There you have my quick take on Beck//Call. I’m excited about the possibilities it gives us for Modern, and maybe even Standard, once we get a few more spoilers. If the rest of Dragon’s Maze is as good as the first day of previews we, are in for a real shake up for the formats.

If you like my suggestions, you can follow me on Twitter: @travishall456. I throw around random observations and deck ideas every day. You can also hear me on the Horde of Notions podcast each week, discussing deck ideas for FNM level events and the PTQ grinders.

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