CUT #28 Finals - Aurelia vs Alquist Proft

Travis Stanley • February 15, 2024

Welcome back to the finals of CUT #28! Last time, we had three Ravnican legends go head-to-head to see who would reign supreme, and for the past couple of weeks you all have voted, so let's see who came out on top:

Looks like Mike's Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker and my Trostani, Selesnya's Voice won you guys over! A huge thank you to Cooper and his Teysa, Orzhov Scion deck. Even though you didn't make it to the finals, I loved reading about your cool Orzhov creation and the way that it generates silly value from janky cards. Thanks so much for being a part of CUT, I have truly appreciated your contributions!

Let's get right to the action, shall we? With Murders At Karlov Manor released and populating (get it?) stores everywhere, I figured it was a nice finals group of challenges. Without further ado, here are the challenges that Mike and I had to build around:

  • Commander must be from Murders at Karlov Manor base set or the Commander set
  • Must play 10 newly printed cards from MKM or MKC
  • Must play at least 5 Detectives in your deck (changelings count)
  • Max 15 mythics/rares (not including your commander)

First up is Mike: what conclusions did he come to with these challenges?

Mike CUT 28 Finals

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Commander (1)
Creatures (33)
Lands (35)
Artifacts (11)
Enchantments (9)
Instants (8)
Sorceries (3)

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I never expect to make it to the next round on CUT, but here we are, so thank you! I downed a Monster energy drink and had 30 minutes before I headed out to a show, so here comes.

Let's be real: I love an engine, but sometimes I just need to smash, so I thought, maybe I should challenge myself to build colors I don't have a deck for and make something that's going to just get in the red zone.

Out of all the new commanders, Aurelia, the Law Above and Nelly Borca, Impulsive Accuser caught my eye, and since Nelly is a precon face commander, Aurelia gets to be the star. Aurelia presents different challenges, and the rare cap definitely doesn't help. It's hard to find mass goad effects at lower rarities, but there are some real treats in this deck.

So what's the plan? Create a ton of token creatures and send them into combat. Help your opponents make creatures and make them attack so you can take advantage of the card draw and Lightning Helix on Aurelia, the Law Above. I've found some fun cards, like Faramir, Field Commander, that force your opponents to consider their blocks carefully. Angel's Trumpet is a card that punishes your opponents for making a pillow fort. Throne of the God-Pharaoh is an all-star in any creature token deck, but with all of these combined, we're looking at putting your opponents into some tough situations.

My favorite card in the deck is one I run in my Grand Warlord Radha token swarm deck: Last-Ditch Effort. Oh my god, what a silly card. Swing all out to take out one player and then sacrifice the board to unexpectedly take out another. Take the win!

I hope CUT voters are ready to SMASH!

Thanks, Mike! After you're finished reading this and voting, make sure you go and check Mike out on the brand new podcast Am I the Bolcast? based on his article series Am I the Bolas?. After you've gone and listened to the podcast and read some of his articles, feel free to reach out to him on Twitter/X @mikecarrozza.

Now it's my turn! This deck challenge was simply a matter of deduction.

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What I meant by my earlier is that I systematically went through the challenges one by one and let them influence my deckbuilding. You might be thinking, "But wait, didn't you come up with the challenges?" and while you may be correct, I never build a deck unless I absolutely have to. Upon looking at the challenges with deckbuilding intent, I got to work. With the exciting new creature type, Dectective, I knew I had to build around them. Why settle for any less than the best Detective in all of Ravnica: Alquist Proft, Master Sleuth.

I have always loved mystery novels and TV shows, of course including the great Sherlock. With the limited time the story had, I quite enjoyed the time spent with Alquist Proft, and his Sherlock-esque demeanor and mystery solving abilities. Of course I know that he's just a play on a trope that was made well-known by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but excuse me for falling for his roguish, albeit a little pretentious, charm. After the commander was decided, I had to choose what direction to take the deck in. I originally thought of taking advantage of his Sphinx's Revelation on a stick and leaning into a lifegain/card draw strategy, but then I realized why I started this deck: I want to lean into the mystery element of the set. What's imperative in any mystery story? Clues.

I should have called this deck "Clue Factory", on account of the innumerable ways it can create the little token artifacts. As they say, when life gives you Clues, make clue-ade? What I mean to say is that there are lots of ways to make use of those Clues and solve the mystery of how this deck wins. All-star Academy Manufactor was a no-brainer in this deck because of the absurd amount of value it can generate with any Clue-generator. To make sure our opponents slow down and don't mess with our plans of solving the case, we're loaded with counterspells, like Arcane Denial, An Offer You Can't Refuse, and the classic, Counterspell. A good detective always has a back-up play: if our opponents somehow see past our counters, then removal spells like Swords to Plowshares, Generous Gift, and a card that synergizes with Clues, Dispatch, can come to our rescue.

Ah, the case is coming to close, the players are all gathered, and you're wondering, how do you win? Simply put, with our abundance of evidence (Clues), cards like All That Glitters and Merchant of Truth give us a a giant creature (or two) to crash in for the victory. If the board is too full of distractions and a stand-off forms, then we can pull out Psychic Corrosion and Sphinx's Tutelage to slowly strip away our opponents' decks and therefore their answers to our cards. If everything else fails, we'll just have to solve mysteries the old-fashioned way by having all the Clues in front of us and believing in our skills of deduction, or just have Mechanized Production attached to one of them and win the game on our upkeep. 

Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and don't forget to vote for your favorite below! We'll find out next time who won CUT #28! Until next time, remember: if you don't love it, CUT it!