Hey Magic players! Welcome to 2023! Let us celebrate its bounty!
I’ve had my eye on building a ridiculous gimmick deck, helmed by Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty, for a while now. My LGS finally had a copy of the key card I needed, and I grabbed it last month and put the deck together.
Without introduction, here’s the list.
Everything with a Side of Flies
Have you figured out what the deck does? Well, with Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty out, every spell in the deck will eventually cascade into Beacon of Creation. That includes Imoti itself. When Beacon resolves, it shuffles itself back into the deck. Resetting it as the end of our cascade chains.
All of the cards with a mana cost of 6 will only cascade into Beacon of Creation, but things get really interesting the higher up the mana cost we go. Since Imoti gives all spells 6 mana or more cascade, and cascade casts the spells it cascades into, all those spells will also have cascade if they’re also 6 mana or more.
That means a 9 mana cost card can theoretically cascade into an 8 which can cascade into a 7 which can cascade into a 6, which cascades into Beacon of Creation. Mad value.
The trouble with the deck is that we don’t really do anything until turn 5, where we cast Imoti, and then turns 6+, where we do actual game things.
Another is suspend, on cards like Inspiring Refrain and Reality Strobe. Both are good any time, as they will keep suspending themselves and eventually cascade with Imoti out. Suspend does not affect the cost, it casts the card without paying it.
Finally we have a few niche tricks, like the mana cost of ‘six’ on Advice from the Fae, the evoke on Cloudthresher, and the prototype on Spotter Thopter, Hulking Metamorph and Cradle Clearcutter. Despite the terrible name, the Clearcutter is really strong in the deck as the only way to ramp.
But basically we play lands until we can play Imoti and hope we don’t draw Beacon of Creation and that it never gets countered.
But once we get going… Cascade city!
We also have several clever ways to cheat on mana and play multiple high-mana cards per turn.
Emerge, on cards like Elder Deep-Fiend and Mockery of Nature, works in a sort of similar way, where the card’s mana cost is unaffected when the emerge cost is paid. Emerge is extra good here because you can get a high mana spell for just a couple of mana sometimes. Even an insect token will reduce the costs.
Convoke is another mana-cheating mechanic where the cost doesn’t change, even if the card ends up being free. Tapping insects can easily cast a high mana card like Arboretum Elemental or the amazing-in-the-deck Obelisk of Urd.
Finally we have Delve, which works the same way. The cards exiled help pay the cost, but don’t change it. Casting Treasure Cruise for a single blue mana and starting the cascade chain with an 8 is unreal, same with Dig Through Time for a possible 2 mana, but at instant speed.
To help get the best cascades, the deck packs plenty of scry and library manipulation cards, like Sifter Wurm, The Temporal Anchor and Tomorrow, Azami’s Familar, including some in the mana base. Both Interpret the Signs and Nissa’s Revelation combine scry with big card draw based on our big creatures and high mana cost spells.
Once the insects start piling up, we have cards like Archetype of Imagination, Kamahl, Heart of Krosa,Thunderfoot Baloth and even Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, to turn them into a lethal army. Day of the Dragons offers a finish with a twist.
While it’s rare to run out of gas, since every single card is tons of value and probably most of our available mana, cards like Garruk’s Horde, Zendikar Resurgent, Dawnglade Regent and Regal Force can keep the cards flowing. Regal Force can be particularly insane, and Beacon of Creation will resolve first in the cast chain, so you’re going to draw cards.
I don’t know the exact ceiling of Aminatou’s Augury here, but it’s going to make a lot of bugs.
The deck has some clear weaknesses. A timely Counterspell on Beacon of Creation. Flying creatures. The entire table turning on you. A lack of efficient removal and sweepers. Opponents keeping Imoti off the table.
While the deck could use better removal, we do have some cool cards to help play defense, including Urza’s Armor and Woodfall Primus. New card Wondrous Crucible seems like some crazy power, and gives a great defensive bonus too. Stormtide Leviathan will shut down the table, including our own non-flyers which is less than optimum, but the effect is so strong it’s worth it.
There are a few less than optimum card interactions. Brass Herald has only one insect target in It of the Horrid Swarm, but at least buffs the insects or maybe the beasts created by Ezuri’s Predation. If I want to try and draw cards, there are 7 Eldrazi, 4 Elementals, 3 Beasts, 3 Shapeshifters, and 3 Humans. Less than optimum for Brass Herald but still ok.
As well, Junk Winder might only cost a couple of mana with token affinity, which does change the cost, but the ability to stun permanents every time we get insects is possibly dominant.
Finally, Sakashima’s Protege and Sweet-Gum Recluse can’t really double cascade, because Beacon of Creation won’t be in the library on the second cascade trigger, but they both work without Imoti at instant speed, and both can be really powerful under the right circumstances.
The best thing about this pile is that it’s extremely customizable. There are approximately 1150 cards in green, blue and colourless with a cost of 6 or more.
If you want to play this seriously, you also probably need Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth. Mine’s in… another pile. Boseiju, Who Endures and Otawara, Soaring City are probably auto-includes also. It’s very possible to do entirely green outside of Imoti’s blue pip, and maximize the Forest count, too.
Naturally, the other lands can be upgraded with various forest/islands, like Breeding Pool, Rimewood Falls, Tangled Islet and of course, Tropical Island. I would also add Gingerbread Cabin and consider the other scry lands like Castle Vantress, Crystal Grotto, Isolated Watchtower, Path of Ancestry, Quandrix Campus, Study Hall and Zhalfirin Void. Cycling lands and land ceatures will cut into your Forest count, but will add to the things you can do without 6 mana or Imoti on the table.
Cards like Apex Devastator and The Great Henge will add some turbo-charging to the deck. Deadeye Navigator will probably find some combos. Any of Essence of the Wild, Synthetic Destiny and Mass Polymorph will end things quick.
A card like Nephalia Moondrakes might be really sneaky-good out of the graveyard. Vitalizing Wind has silly potential. Djinn of Infinite Deceits could be fun. Cultural Exchange might make some memories. Deep-Sea Kraken could get there as a huge mana cost beater that can be suspended early.
We all know about Craterhoof Behemoth and maybe even Decimator of the Provinces, both of which would do very well in the deck. To a lesser extent, End-Raze Forerunners, Klothys’s Design, Overwhelm, Earthshaker Giant, Great Oak Guardian, Pathbreaker Ibex and even Tajuru Beastmaster can ready up an alpha strike.
Cycling can be really good in a deck like this that doesn’t have much to do until turn 5. If your meta allows searching and you don’t mind it yourself, Shefet Monitor and Greater Tanuki are great additions. Beanstalk Giant and Nissa’s Renewal too. Mental Journey is decent, and Krosan Tusker and other landcycling cards might be worth it if you’re struggling to make land drops. It’s tough to justify New Perspectives but with some cycling lands replacing basic islands, there might be enough cards to make it worth it.
There are plenty of generically powerful cards to put into a deck like this. Stuff like Hornet Queen, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and other planeswalkers, Akroma’s Memorial, Sandwurm Convergence, Towering Titan, Bane of Progress, Avenger of Zendikar and so many others. Try not to make it all about Temporal Trespass, the Praetors or Eldrazi Titans.
Let me know in the comments what’s missing! Here’s a handy Gatherer prompt to get you started with your search!
Thanks for reading!