I’ve recently made a new friend, and his name is Acedonis. This dragon buddy does it all – he dodges a lot of removal, flies over the enemy to achieve his Mastery, and brings the party with Cinder Clutch. He’s so much fun that I’ve been playing Skycrag Dragons in both constructed formats!

Throne

4 Blazing Salvo (Set8 #1)
4 Cinder Clutch (Set1007 #1)
4 Oni Dragonsmith (Set1003 #2)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Provoke the Dragons (Set8 #92)
4 Spellbound Vestige (Set8 #152)
4 Teething Whelp (Set7 #8)
4 Burningcore Drake (Set8 #14)
4 Acedonis, Untainted (Set8 #153)
4 Crimson Firemaw (Set1002 #3)
4 Tattoo Dragon (Set8 #21)
4 Sindok, Rage Incarnate (Set2 #34)
4 Emblem of Shavka (Set7 #1)
3 Shugo Standard (Set4 #1)
4 Emblem of Linrei (Set7 #91)
4 Skycrag Banner (Set2 #186)
4 Skycrag Insignia (Set7 #162)
4 Common Cause (Set3 #279)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
————–MARKET—————
1 Backlash (Set1 #200)
1 Ice Bolt (Set6 #151)
1 Torrential Downpour (Set4 #163)
1 Draconic Ire (Set7 #11)
1 Pyre Elemental (Set4 #45)

The main benefit of playing Dragons in the more powerful format is Oni Dragonsmith. Doubling your number of accelerants (Spellbound Vestige being the other one) means you can re-draw any hand without one, even down to 6 cards, and have a very good chance of finding one. Once you do, that’s when things get crazy. This deck is similar to the old Unstable Rush decks, only with more dragons and burn instead of silly Unstable Form packages.Your strongest power moves are turn 3 Acedonis into turn 4 Cinder Clutch for 4 or more, turn 3 or 4 Sindok into Provoke the Dragons, and Spellbound Vestige into two dragons and Cinder Clutch turn 3.

Some of the sillier openings I’ve had include:

Oni Dragonsmith->Teething Whelp + Blazing Salvo the opponent’s blocker->Sindok

Oni Dragonsmith->Spellbound Vestige + Teething Whelp->Burningcore Drake + Sindok

Turn 2 Spellbound Vestige->Acedonis->Tattoo Dragon + Decimate an Emblem to get a 2/2 + Cinder Clutch for 6 (classic 4 power for 24 strength across 8 bodies)

Turn 2 Spellbound Vestige->Crimson Firemaw->Torch a unit + Sindok->Provoke the Dragons for 24 in the air

Oni Dragonsmith->Oni Dragonsmith + Teething Whelp -> have Teething Whelp die while attacking and still cast Burning Salvo and two Sindoks

Turn 2 Spellbound Vestige->Acedonis->Cinder Clutch face for 5 + Sindok

A fair and balanced turn 4

Sindok adds to your nutdraw potential, and can even come out turn 3 if you play turn 1 Oni Dragonsmith, turn 2 Teething Whelp or Burningcore Drake, and both are able to connect turn 3. Torching face can also enable him, and Acedonis buffing Torch->Torch face->free Sindok is not an uncommon line turn 4.

Another other crazy card besides those previously mentioned is Provoke the Dragons. To quote Isomorphic, “Provoke is literally [Korovyat] Palace,” and it doesn’t feel that far off from true. If you can give two dragons Berserk you almost always win on the spot, and the extra attacks also give you faster Mastery on Acedonis and Burningcore Drake and more cost reduction from Crimson Firemaw. It’s pretty hard to concoct a situation where hitting Acedonis’s Mastery 12 doesn’t win you the game, even if you are getting ‘only’ three more basic Torches instead of 7 damage ones from the first Mastery and Vestige. Which, yes, is a thing I’ve done, and the only sad part was that my opponent died before I could cast all of them

.The key to playing the deck is to throw back any hand that doesn’t do something busted by turn 4. Three power, Burningcore Drake, Torch, Blazing Salvo, Crimson Firemaw looks like a reasonable hand, but I would redraw it to 7 looking for Dragonsmith or Vestige. The deck is really on another level when it can play a 4 power dragon on turn 3.You almost always want to deploy your units before interacting with your opponent, even if it means forgoing attacks for a turn. Setting up turns where you get in damage in big chunks works better for Sindok and Provoke the Dragons, and it is okay to pick your spots a little and let the game stretch out to turn 5 or 6.

Expedition

4 Blazing Salvo (Set8 #1)
4 Cinder Clutch (Set1007 #1)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Provoke the Dragons (Set8 #92)
3 Sear (Set8 #8)
4 Skywatch Zealot (Set7 #99)
4 Spellbound Vestige (Set8 #152)
4 Burningcore Drake (Set8 #14)
4 Cozin Darkheart (Set7 #10)
4 Acedonis, Untainted (Set8 #153)
4 Tattoo Dragon (Set8 #21)
4 Eclipse Dragon (Set6 #35)
3 Spitflame Draconus (Set1007 #13)
7 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
4 Emblem of Shavka (Set7 #1)
6 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Skycrag Insignia (Set7 #162)
————–MARKET—————
1 Edict of Linrei (Set7 #95)
1 Edict of Shavka (Set7 #3)
1 Kaleb’s Favor (Set0 #3)
1 Unseal (Set3 #167)
1 Draconic Ire (Set7 #11)

The core power plays of the Throne version of Skycrag Dragons are preserved in Expedition: Spellbound Vestige and/or Acedonis into Cinder Clutch. The deck is less explosive without Oni Dragonsmith, however, so it needs to incorporate more power and play a more midrange game plan without Sindok. In their place, in come Eclipse Dragon and Spitflame Draconus to overpower the opponent in the mid-to-late-game, and Skywatch Zealot and Cozin Darkheart to help bridge to these more expensive cards.

This deck isn’t going to win on turn 4 or 5 very often (though it still can with turn 3 Acedonis into turn 4 Cinder Clutch draws), but it can hold the ground with Skywatch Zealot and Cozin Darkheart and grind value with Treasure Troves until the Dragons can cross the finish line. Eclipse Dragon in particular is very powerful in the Expedition format, and works very well with Blazing Salvo, enabling you to hold up a Backlash or burn spell every turn while still developing your board.

Spitflame Draconus is close to unkillable, as he only dies to Edict of Kodosh, Edict of Linrei, and 4 power removal spells, meaning he only realistically dies to one card in the market of Fire-Primal or Fire-Justice decks since almost no one plays Edicts, Fell Ritual, or Cremate main deck.

With Expedition Skycrag Dragons, you do not need to re-draw nearly as aggressively as in Throne. While having a Spellbound Vestige is nice, it isn’t essential to do something broken in the first four turns and you can afford to play a longer game, so you can keep any hands that have good power and do things in the first few turns.

Cozin is on the weak side here without any weapons or pump spells to get her Mastery off early, but she does enough to justify her continued inclusion and there aren’t many other options. You often need to block small ground units, and she does a great job of that while sometimes sneaking in for Mastery and a Dragon. The Treasure Troves help you hit power drops to get to Spitflame Draconus, and trigger Tattoo Dragon for an extra 2/2 on turn 4. Teething Whelp is similarly weak without pump spells or weapons, you don’t need the cheap Dragon density to activate Oni Dragonsmith’s Ally ability, and you frequently don’t want to spend turn 3 on removal to get the first Mastery through, so I’ve omitted Whelp entirely in favor of Cozin.

Skycrag Dragons has captured my imagination in both formats, and I’ve been having a blast Clutching out games. If you like Dragons and going Berserk for huge damage, then you will enjoy it, too.

Until next time, may your Vestiges always be timely.

LightsOutAce

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