Welcome, squirrels and squirrel dealers, to Un-season at Rain of Salt! Unstable is in the midst of dropping on us, bring with it a whole host of new Legendaries and factions to play around with! Representing the fantastical Crossbreed Labs, I present you with: Dr. Julius Jumblemorph!
This should be a super easy question to answer:
1) He’s the only true Legendary for the Crossbreed Labs Faction. If we’re about to get down and dirty in the magical world of unEDH, anything else just wouldn’t do.
2) He perfectly supports the Crossbreed Labs theme of Augmenting creatures, without demanding too much space be devoted to it. Hands held high, I almost went 5 colour Augments under Maelstrom Archangel, but there weren’t that many other hosts or augments that weren’t just taking space up, and cutting it down to G/W freed up space for support and other shenanigans!
3) He’s a Camel Dinosaur Angel Dragon. As well as Uncle Istvan. And a Brushwagg. You can’t really ask more of a typeline like that. (Ouphe!)
…or here it is on TappedOut, if you’d prefer.
The deck itself looks to have everything it needs to function: Creature count is decidedly low (29 not including augments, while most stompy decks typically run 35+), the Augment keyword males it difficult to cram more in without snipping the theme. Because of this, I’ve doubled down on tutors and recursion to artificially increase the likelihood of live creature draws:
I’ll start the breakdown at one of the most necessary stages: when we’re looking to assemble giant overpowered abominations of nature, we’re going to need some presence to make sure we live to see them.
Atinlay Igpay – While this guy looks like a bit of a joke (I mean, he kind of is), in the unEDH format he’s actually a pretty premier beater. Creatures aren’t usually unnecessarily huge when they’re looking to build and invent, so the the Doubleday ikestray (or Double strike) is likely to have this little piggy come crashing all the way home. Just brush up on your Pig Latin beforehand.
Cardpecker, Creature Guy, Laughing Hyena – Standard (if boring) bodies that are incredibly resilient around the unaware. If people aren’t paying attention (which happens a lot in edh), you can have up to 3 creatures with The Scarab God‘s ability, which is great when you need to hold on.
Earl of Squirrel – a bonkers card in a Nutshell, this card threatens an army like no other uncard. If he gets pumped up (as Crossbreed Contraptions are prone to do), this guy can easily crank out 5+ squirrels each turn, every turn, which pays for itself rapidly.
Hydradoodle – a potentially beefy threat, the hydra acts as a mana sink for the impressive amount of mana this deck can put out. Slap on a couple relevant keywords, and you have yourself a monster.
Our Market Research Shows that Players Like Really – another super dumb card (I love it), the OMRSTPLRLCNSWMTCTHTALCNEE is actually a really hard working beater. Coming out of the gates early on, the elemental packs a punch against anything relying on cards representing swarms or collaborations – The League of Dastardly Doom and the Goblin Explosioneers don’t have much on this card. The only thing hurting more will be your voice after saying this card’s name too much.
Slaying Mantis – a call back to fan favourite Chaos Orb, this card represents an impressive removal tool with the ability to take out multiple creatures on entry. It is far from guaranteed, but an Insect Wrestler is too good a prospect to pass up.
Squirrel Dealer – A great low drop with synergies with Earl of Squirrel, unless you are particularly disliked at the place of your playing, you can find people that like squirrels more often than not.
Timmy, Power Gamer – Quicksilver Amulet on legs (or an Elvish Piper without the need to tap), Timmy is a monstrous threat that can power out hosts and other beasties quicker than they can be dealt with. Hooked up to a decent amount of mana and something like a Creeping Renaissance, you can have a very easy time rebuilding.
Adorable Kitten – a weak effect on an acceptably cheap creature, this is easily the cheapest host we have. When you roll high it’s great, and combined with a decent Augment to make the trigger happen often (When you take damage, for example), it can more than pull its weight.
Angelic Rocket – the most expensive host comes with an appropriately destructive trigger. With the right trigger (particularly ones that care about creatures entering or dying), you have yourself an engine to ensure nothing sticks. Ever.
Eager Beaver – one of the weaker hosts (in my opinion), at worst this creature triggering each turn is pseudo vigilance. At best, it offers a decent amount of combo potential (none of the augments triggering on token creatures hinders combo potential with Splinter Twin effects, however)
Gnome-Made Engine – an army in a can, augments can turn this card into a board-hogging machine. I’m particularly fond of this with the Half-Kitten augment, forcing it to create tokens whenever you take damage, similar to Darien, King of Kjeldor.
Labro Bot – an absolute beast of an engine, this is a value host that allows you to crank (heh) value out of your other pieces. If your hosts and augments keep dying, a decent amount of triggers from this guy will allow you to mix up the combinations until something sticks!
Mother Kangaroo – an interesting ability for a Kangaroo indeed, this host has the ability to grow very large, very quickly. With the right host trigger, she could become a chunky threat that gets out of control fast – combining with Rhino- makes for an intimidating rattlesnake effect!
Ordinary Pony – Flicker effects given a facelift (and a new creature type to boot), this host infamously goes infinite with Half-Squirrel, Half-, creating infinite flickers and potentially winning the game straight up. This just won’t do in unEDH, so while this combo can get nuts in this deck – Joyride Rigger assembles infinite contraptions, Eternal Witness puts your yard in your hand, Voracious Vacuum makes your creatures infinitely large – there’s nothing that wins the game outright. (It’s also been brought to my attention that this combo has been errata’ed out anyhow, but this can be circumvented if you REALLY want it – Look no further than R&D’s Secret Lair)
Shaggy Camel – a great host for the aggro-token plan, this is the go to host if your Gnome-Made Engine or Earl of Squirrel are paying appropriate dividends. While pretty difficult to properly capitalise on (the End of Turn augments like Robo- may as well make it flavour text), a proper trigger on a mid-to-large board makes this an incredibly explosive ability.
Voracious Vacuum – probably the least interesting of the host abilities (infinite combo aside), it has it’s job to play, especially in grindy attrition battles. With a vacuum handy, if your creatures aren’t the biggest on board, they will be in short order!
Wild Crocodile – one of the hosts I’m happiest to run out quickly, this guy can single handedly smooth out your game and ensure that you can keep your momentum going long after everyone else has run out of gas by creating live draws and ensuring you can afford your heavy hitters.
I’ll keep this section brief as, despite being the lifeblood of the main theme of the deck, they all boil down to auras that can’t do much on their own. The most valuable augments by miles have to be Half-Squirrel, Half- for that super abusable trigger (counts once for hosts and once for augments, as both are non-token creatures), same with Monkey- due to the amount of sheer value that they can put out in bursts. That said, I’m also quite fond of Steam-Powered for offering on demand, instant speed utility.
Curiously, Crossbreed Labs only has one card that assembles contraptions. As such, I’ve had to subcontract to the other contraption-focused factions for help. It wouldn’t be unEDH without a few contraptions to share, right?
Aerial Toastmaster – the Toastmaster is a versatile Rigger who converts artifacts into contraptions at instant speed. Instant speed is a huge boon here, as he can assemble a contraption at the end of your turn so you don’t need to wait, or in response to removal!
First Pick – a card I always figured was ironically named (but could have done with during my Unstable draft experience), this lets you take out an opposing contraption/other artifact nasty (there are a few), while assembling a contraption yourself.
Joyride Rigger – a surprisingly durable card in the Unformat, nobody wants to blow removal on the 3/3 for 4. The fact that you get his contraption instantly is gravy.
Riveting Rigger – another Rigger who cuts down to build up, it is a super high tempo card if you can line it’s enter the battlefield ability up on curve.
There’s more going on here than meets the eye, so I’ll dive in with the slickest tech:
Bane of Progress – in a format where people are guaranteed to have a whole host of artifacts (between rocks, contraptions, and the entire Order of the Widget), Bane of Progress is a silver bullet from which enemies often never recover. Reset all contraption engines, and destroy anything your foes planned to do with Krark’s Other Thumb or As Luck Would Have It. Glorious!
Krosan Grip – Also comes through in the clutch in the chaotic world of Un-Mander, presenting a nearly uncounterable way to deal with troublesome contraptions.
Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares – Quintessential creature spot removal, will help you out of a bind and keep others from messing with you (just, for the love of Jumblemorph, hit Infinity Elemental with Path to Exile).
Really Epic Punch – an underrated powerhouse of a card, the pump remaining attached to our aberrations is huge. While it can’t be used as a combat trick (amen), our resident Medical Professional of Jank rocked a draft of ours with a playset of these, and they were routinely good for criminally cheap.
Wrath of God – Finally in our suite, a premium board wipe that kills things dead. No ifs, ands, or buts. Completely necessary, and a slot that I’m happy to fill.
While I feel like the lands and tutors speak for themselves, the recursion has some nice little workings going on to talk about (Note: none of this hits contraptions, unfortunately. They have their own zone when they get destroyed):
Cogmentor – While this doesn’t have the effect I wanted (restoring broken contraptions is a desperately underexplored bit of space in this format), it technically comes under the recursion umbrella by reattaching your contraptions at will, making your sprockets into a (heh) toolbox, meaning with a full network of contraptions, the best one for the situation is never too far.
Creeping Renaissance – While this doesn’t hit Contraptions (my heart bleeds), this DOES hit creatures, which we have a lot of. This includes both hosts AND augments as well, giving us an ungodly amount of value, and keeping the Science train a-rolling.
Eternal Witness – one of the most flexible recursion pieces in the game, this will be what you want, when you want it.
At it’s core, this deck is a midrange build designed to control the board with superior threats and wins on attrition. You’ll start off slowly (just like every other deck in the Un-Mander format), but the large amounts of ramp, draw and tutor will keep your options stocked up long enough to lay down the pain.
Dr Julius is actually a lynchpin in this deck, allowing his pilot to practically hard mulligan for host heavy, augment light hands, keeping consistency and lessening the effect of the otherwise dead cards in hand.
Strictly speaking, augments are usually dead draws unless you specifically want them, which is why we need to limit our dead cards by enriching the rest of the deck by going heavy on tutor (to let us find something we need on cue, even augments), or draw spells (to lessen the blow of drawing augments by providing extra opportunities to draw a host to combine it with).
That just about covers Julius! What do you reckon, guys? Am I wasting my breath? Does it look like a blast? Be sure to let me know, and if you like what you see, be sure to tune in on Facebook to get more of the latest and greatest EDH tech! For now though, Unmistakable out.