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Welcome to the Scion Dragon Combo Primer. As the name implies, this deck is all about using Scion of the Ur-Dragon to copy dragons in our deck to make two card combos. The backup plan of this deck is a strong suite of single target and mass reanimation spells that can be used as a powerful midgame beats strategy should our combo pieces get removed. Since we’re in rainbow, we have access to our pick of any card in Magic’s history (that isn’t currently banned), which gives this deck plenty of options. This primer hopes to explain the basic game plan, how to pilot in basic terms, and why the cards in the deck were chosen over others. Scion of the Ur-Dragon was the first EDH deck I ever built (way back in 2009, I think), so I’ve spent a good deal of time learning and refining. Hopefully, I’ll be able to show all of you why I love this commander and this deck so much.
>Why to Play
This is an incredibly fun combo deck with potential for fast wins and big plays, but can also be run as a reanimator dragon tribal deck in weaker metas or as a backup. Scion provides us with a fantastic toolbox of dragons for anything from protection to board wipes to game-ending combos. Having an Entomb with a body in the command zone is powerful, and access to all colors means this deck can lean a lot of different ways while still maintaining a consistent core. Want to lean into reanimator? This deck has lots of black spells to get our dragons back. Want to focus more on interaction? The reanimation package can be largely subbed out for a suite of counter magic. Want to play big stompy dragon spells and swing for the win? Close this primer and look up the EDHrec page for The Ur-Dragon. In short, almost every card we play in this deck feels powerful, and that can be a very enjoyable feeling.
This is a combo deck in five colors. It can be expensive, especially if taken to the extreme, and can also be very powerful. If your meta can’t handle someone dying to infect before turn five or a board of ten dragons a few turns later, this might not be the deck for you. If you don’t like unintuitive rules interactions or infinite combos, other decks would probably be more appropriate. Finally, if you don’t like solving the puzzle of having enough mana in several colors to do everything you want as quickly as you want, playing this deck might be a bit difficult.
The basic plan in this deck is to ramp out Scion as quickly as possible (often waiting until we have an extra two mana to swap to Silumgar, the Drifting Death in response to removal). It is incredibly important to get off to a fast start, so having a turn one play and a plan after that are our main concern. A mana dork, a rock, or Farseek, as well as some card draw or another ramp piece would be a good start. Remember, hitting all of our colors is top priority until Scion is on the field. Once we have Scion on the battlefield, we appraise our hand and board to see if we have a combo piece ready to go. If so, copy the dragon half of the combo with Scion and play through. If not, we focus on more ramp, drawing cards, and dealing with threats around the board. Someone look dangerously close to comboing off? Kill them with MoltenSkittles. Someone amassing mana dorks or tokens? Swing in with Balefire Dragon or Silumgar. Have a reanimation spell? Pump Karrthus and some other big bois into the yard for a big swing or set up the Worldgorger loop for infinite mana. Your opponents have a board full of mana rocks and you’ve misplaced your sense of decency? Steal everything with Hellkite Tyrant. Remember that it is often easier to simply reanimate Scion rather than always recasting from the command zone.
This isn’t intended to be a competitive deck. To increase the power level, more interaction and protection can be subbed in for less necessary cards. Balefire Dragon, Ramos, Bladewing, and Vorosh can be removed for cards like Heroic Intervention and Cyclonic Rift. Weaker draw spells and ramp effects like Night’s Whisper and Faeburrow Elder can be traded out for tutors, though this deck doesn’t need creature tutors and effects that put cards on top of the library can get shuffled away by a forced Scion activation into protection. As it is, this deck can be very hard for many decks to contend with, so use caution when adding in any of these effects, especially if adding counter magic and control effects.
- Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind : This Niv doesn’t win the game on the spot, why not Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius to finish out the Worldgorger combo?
This Niv provides a source of variable card advantage with either Curiosity or Keen Sense. It’s also occasionally worth using two mana held up for interaction to swap Scion into this Niv for a card before our turn. This Niv can give repeatable draw for just a tap, while the other either requires mana or unblocked combat to do the same. While there is certainly an argument that the other or both belong in, this one seems less useful outside of a combo.
- Bladewing the Risen : This creature isn’t part of a combo, why run it?
Bladewing effectively turns any reanimation spell into “reanimate a creature and create a 4/4 dragon with mass firebreathing,” which is pretty good. This card would likely get subbed out for other cards if aiming for a higher power level, but it fits in really well here.
- Balefire Dragon : This seems like an expensive and inconsistent board wipe.
This is excellent for wiping out mana dorks or non-flying token armies. Scion attacking unblocked can change into this before damage and wipe one player’s board. There are better options if the opponent is going tall or there’s more than one threatening board, but the fact that Scion can tutor for this and it’s often six commander damage and an asymmetrical board wipe is pretty great.
- Loot effects : Surely there are better draw options in rainbow.
Yes and no. While Faithless Looting is not the best draw spell, it serves the important function of dumping unwanted dragons into the yard. This deck rarely, if ever, wants to pay retail for its dragons. Because of that, drawing into dragons often means they can sit around in your hand for nothing. It’s much better to cheaply dump them into the yard, where they can later be reanimated, in exchange for more cards.
Honestly, there are quite a few cards that could arguably added to make this deck more powerful. This is the paper list that I run (or close to it; I often update this version before my physical copy) and it is meant to be a powerful casual deck. This is not as powerful as Scion, or even this strategy, can be, but that is intentional. Topping out Scion puts this deck into an awkward position between casual and cEDH, in that I doubt many casual decks would be able to win against it, but it likely wouldn’t have the speed or resilience for cEDH without drastically altering the strategy.
Because of this, rather than trying to list all of the cards that can be argued should be included, I would ask people to leave comments asking about specific exclusions.
>Starting Hands and Mulligans
This decks is aiming for fast combos or strong midgame board states, so starting off with three 6+ CMC dragons in hand is a bit of a no-go. The most important aspects of a starting hand in this deck are 2-3 lands in different colors (any color lands are best), at least one ramp piece (again, any color or land ramp), and either a draw or removal spell under 3 CMC. This isn’t terribly hard to do, and it sets us up for a strong chance of a turn three or four Scion and a turn four or five threat to kill one or more players. Having a combo piece in hand is good, assuming it’s not the dragon half of the combo or something like Rite of Replication, but shouldn’t be prioritized. It’s much easier to bide our time and dig for a combo than to topdeck a ramp piece. Hands with more than one dragon likely need a mulligan, and aggressive mulligans can mean the difference between threatening a turn five or six win and hard-casting a dragon on turn seven. The main exception would be having multiple dragons and Chrome Mox, as dragons are often multicolor and make excellent targets for imprinting. Also, while not ideal, it’s much better to take a hand with too many lands than the opposite. Scion is a great outlet for too much mana, as you can always entomb more dragons and even turn Scion into Teneb, the Harvester to start reanimating without the need for a spell (I’ve played multiple games in which I entombed Teneb, then reanimated him with his own trigger copied on Scion, then sacrificed Scion-Teneb to the Legend Rule for reanimation on a later turn).
Well, that’s it for the first draft of this primer. If you feel I’ve missed anything important or you’d like me to clarify anything, please feel free to ask questions in the comments. Even if you’d just like to say you enjoy the deck, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for making it all the way through, and I hope some of you can enjoy Scion as much as I do.
Primer Comment Thread : https://deckstats.net/forum/index.php?topic=53380.new
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