Built Like a Horse

“All questions will be about Centaurs.” –From the skit “Centaur Job Interview” on SNL

It’s a horse. Deal with it.

Centaurs are typically seen as a half man-half horse creature from Greek mythology. They are often depicted as liminal creatures, caught between two natures of beast and man. Their stories are compared to the Titanomachy, the defeat of the Titans by the Olympian Gods, which itself describes the metaphoric struggle between civilization and barbarism. Today, they are often associated with Fraternities, seen as a symbol of Honor and Masculinity.

As for me, I see them as an awesome magic deck. Why did I play this deck you ask? Because Centaurs. After Adam Barrientez decided to make a Minotaurs deck and finished 4-2 at a local FNM, I decided to accept his challenge. I looked for a tribe to call my own, and I found Centaurs (or maybe they found me depending on how profound you are). I started out with Naya Centaurs, a three-colored combination of Red, White and Green.

Here is the list I started out with:

I get it. There are non-Centaurs in the deck.

I wanted to have an efficient one drop and unfortunately there is no Centaur that is as good as Experiment One. Ghor-Clan Rampager is a good bloodrush card that helps push damage through and punishes bad blocks, but again, not a Centaur. I played this deck to a 3-2 finish. While the deck drew well, the mana was not very good. I wanted all my lands to tap for green, sans Mutavault, as I am playing double and triple green spells in Swordwise Centaur and Fated Intervention.

I also felt that I needed a bit more acceleration at the early stages of the game. Playing a turn three lord is very crucial to push damage through, especially against decks like Control and Black Devotion, where turn four is where they start to take over the game with cards like Supreme Verdict and Desecration Demon. While playing Red makes the deck do better things on certain turns, I felt like it made my draws clunky, and the mana was not good. So I cut the Red and decided to play Green/White.

Two colors makes casting certain spells much easier. Since we have to cast Swordwise Centaur on turn two and Fated Intervention on turn five, two colors makes much more sense. While we don’t get Fanatic of Xenagos anymore, Centaur Healer fills the spot just fine given that aggro decks and burn are very popular at local events. Scab-Clan Charger is no Ghor-Clan Rampager, but giving a fellow Centaur +2/+4 can be crucial, and we have to think of Centaurs first.

While I would rather play Domri Rade over Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, the Green-White Planeswalker is very powerful in its own right. It fills out the top of the curve very well. If you have an established board presence, putting three +1/+1 counters on a Centaur becomes very problematic for the opposition. Coming down on turn five is also perfect against control decks. If they wipe your board on turn four with a Supreme Verdict, then you can cast Ajani and immediately dig for more Centaurs.

I took this deck to a Thursday Night Standard at Gamer’s Gauntlet and finished 4-1. Go ahead. Joke about Centaurs now. I beat some top tier decks like Jund Monsters, Junk Midrange, and B/G Devotion. My only loss came to 4-Color control where I had to fight through multiple Supreme Verdicts and several removal spells and still put him to less than three life in our three games.

How do you wipe?

This deck creates a lot of problems for most opponents. The ability to spit out Centaurs and pump them maximizes damage in very efficient ways. You can play the tiny game with cards like Swordwise Centaur and Call of the Conclave, but drop end of turn creatures like Fated Intervention and Selesnya Charm. These token producers become scarier when the Warchief or Ajani comes down. Overall, this deck impressed me very much. In conclusion, Centaurs rock. They may be creatures of myth and lore, but they will always live in my memory as an awesome tribal deck.

Do I recommend you play Centaurs? Sure. While I want people to play this deck and take it seriously, I also encourage brews like this. Try something different. Heck, somebody try Satyrs, I’m sure there’s potential there. While I like playing the top tier decks, like Monster variants and B/G Devotion, I always like trying off the wall decks. It brings me back to my days of tabletop magic, which are some of my most cherished moments in Magic.

Do it!

Baller B

Props:

Centaurs

Zach Greinke for dominating Fantasy Baseball this week

FOC (Friends of Centaurs)

Nigel for proofreading

Slops:

Minotaurs

NFOC (Not friends of Centaurs)

Kegger for beating me and screwing up my perfect Centaur record

Tigers starting pitching