Death's Shadow has been a premium threat in Modern for much of the past five years, and the methods for building around it are pretty well established at this point. So when Scourge of the Skyclaves was printed, those methods formed a natural starting place for using it as well.

I'm here to tell you that this is a trap. That's not to say that it's not worth building around Scourge of the Skyclaves, but rather Scourge is a powerhouse in its own right and should be considered far more than a backup Death's Shadow.

Growing Your Scourge

Simply playing a typical Modern fetch-shock manabase is enough to put yourself to around 12 without going out of your way or committing to a particular set of spells. This means any sort of additional life loss effects are unnecessary for enabling Scourge of the Skyclaves. By the time their life total has been reduced enough for your own life total to be the limiting factor, it's probably already attacking for lethal damage—or close enough to do the job.

That doesn't necessarily mean we can't put Street Wraith in our deck if we have another reason, but it does mean we shouldn't be wantonly damaging ourselves. Thoughtseize on the other hand is actively opposed to our plan, as casting it early prevents us from developing attackers so that we can push damage and enable our Scourge of the Skyclaves in the first place.

The plan of backing up our big threat with interaction is also far less effective than it is with Death's Shadow, for two reasons. First, Scourge of the Skyclaves costs an additional mana, which makes it far more difficult to deploy alongside interaction without falling behind. Second, Scourge requires additional threats to push damage before it comes online in the first place, which reduces the importance of protecting it to begin with.

There's also a more general rule of deck building to consider, which is that you don't always draw your key card, and your deck still needs to be functional without it. A draw full of copies of Thoughtseize and Lava Spike lacks any coherent game plan, and attempting to support multiple separate angles of attack in this manner will often cause these kinds of inconsistencies.

I find it's often a useful exercise to remove the card I'm building around from my deck and examine what typical draws look like without it. Obviously they won't be as powerful, but if we can't win games with these hands our deck is almost certainly too inconsistent.

Scourge in Burn

If our goal is to cut all the shadow nonsense and just focus on getting our opponent low as quickly as possible, the logical extreme is to simply slot four copies of Scourge of the Skyclaves into an otherwise topical Burn list.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Rakdos Burn by Baker Neenan

'Rakdos Burn' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Baker Neenan

Event:

Rank:

Modern

Market Price: $815.96

Cards

Searing Blaze

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/58107_200w.jpg

Searing Blaze deals 1 damage to target player or planeswalker and 1 damage to target creature that player or that planeswalker's controller controls.
Landfall — If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, Searing Blaze deals 3 damage to that player or planeswalker and 3 damage to that creature instead.

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Skewer the Critics

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183223_200w.jpg

Spectacle {R} (You may cast this spell for its spectacle cost rather than its mana cost if an opponent lost life this turn.)
Skewer the Critics deals 3 damage to any target.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235546_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Scourge of the Skyclaves

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $10.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222085_200w.jpg

Kicker {4}{B}
When you cast this spell, if it was kicked, each player loses half their life, rounded up.
Scourge of the Skyclaves's power and toughness are each equal to 20 minus the highest life total among players.

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Lightning Bolt

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216484_200w.jpg

Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to any target.

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Rift Bolt

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233922_200w.jpg

Rift Bolt deals 3 damage to any target.
Suspend 1—{R} (Rather than cast this card from your hand, you may pay {R} and exile it with a time counter on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter. When the last is removed, cast it without paying its mana cost.)

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Scalding Tarn

Market Price: $71.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128282_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Scalding Tarn: Search your library for an Island or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Bump in the Night

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67853_200w.jpg

Target opponent loses 3 life.
Flashback {5}{R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Cleansing Wildfire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221913_200w.jpg

Destroy target land. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle their library.
Draw a card.

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Monastery Swiftspear

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $5.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145323_200w.jpg

Haste
Prowess (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)

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Fiery Islet

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $14.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190806_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life: Add {U} or {R}.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Fiery Islet: Draw a card.

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Eidolon of the Great Revel

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $7.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161444_200w.jpg

Whenever a player casts a spell with converted mana cost 3 or less, Eidolon of the Great Revel deals 2 damage to that player.

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Fatal Push

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218830_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature if it has converted mana cost 2 or less.
Revolt — Destroy that creature if it has converted mana cost 4 or less instead if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

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Goblin Guide

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $5.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218846_200w.jpg

Haste
Whenever Goblin Guide attacks, defending player reveals the top card of their library. If it's a land card, that player puts it into their hand.

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Lava Spike

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180812_200w.jpg

Lava Spike deals 3 damage to target player or planeswalker.

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Bloodstained Mire

Market Price: $34.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92830_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Bloodstained Mire: Search your library for a Swamp or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Abrade

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227309_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Abrade deals 3 damage to target creature.
• Destroy target artifact.

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Skullcrack

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67373_200w.jpg

Players can't gain life this turn. Damage can't be prevented this turn. Skullcrack deals 3 damage to target player or planeswalker.

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Blood Crypt

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $25.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182838_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {R}.)
As Blood Crypt enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Wooded Foothills

Market Price: $36.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92831_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Wooded Foothills: Search your library for a Mountain or Forest card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Tormod's Crypt

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215346_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Tormod's Crypt: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2021/tormods-crypt

Scourge of the Skyclaves offers this shell significantly increased access to turn three kills, which is always welcome in Modern for breaking serve or outpacing the strong draws from other linear strategies. Scourge of the Skyclaves also plays nicely in some of the creature-based combo matchups as a high-impact threat that can close the game while our burn spells are aimed at creatures to prevent retaliation.

Unfortunately, it starts to fall apart against opponents who can interfere with our plans. While this deck excels at growing Scourge of the Skyclaves quickly, it has issues actually leveraging it to the fullest extent.

The first problem is its lack of backup—Goblin Guide and Monastery Swiftspear quickly get outclassed by blockers after the first two turns and we don't have enough of them to really go wide. This often leaves Scourge of the Skyclaves as our only viable attacker, which makes it far easier to stall with chump blocks or answer with double blocks. While immediately forcing through damage with one-drops is valuable for enabling Scourge on turn two, we still need those creatures to maintain some combat relevance into the later turns.

The other problem is that its feast-or-famine nature can cause problems in a deck like Burn that typically wins on the margins. While Scourge of the Skyclaves often locks up the game in our favor every time it actually connects for damage, it also is liable to leave us one burn spell short away at the end of the game when it fails. This is largely an issue of playing too many low-impact cards and being all-in on the first wave getting there without any way to reload in the mid game.

Scourge in Prowess

We could address this by cutting down on direct damage cards for additional threats, or by adding card draw.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Rakdos Prowess by Baker Neenan

'Rakdos Prowess' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Baker Neenan

Event:

Rank:

Modern

Market Price: $849.09

Cards

Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235546_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/strixhaven-school-of-mages/mountain-372

Blood Crypt

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $25.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182838_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {R}.)
As Blood Crypt enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ravnica-allegiance/blood-crypt

Monastery Swiftspear

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $5.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145323_200w.jpg

Haste
Prowess (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/iconic-masters/monastery-swiftspear

Fatal Push

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218830_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature if it has converted mana cost 2 or less.
Revolt — Destroy that creature if it has converted mana cost 4 or less instead if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/double-masters/fatal-push

Thoughtseize

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $16.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218934_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card. You lose 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/double-masters/thoughtseize

Lightning Bolt

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216484_200w.jpg

Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to any target.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/jumpstart/lightning-bolt

Lava Dart

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190635_200w.jpg

Lava Dart deals 1 damage to any target.
Flashback—Sacrifice a Mountain. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Crash Through

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215891_200w.jpg

Creatures you control gain trample until end of turn. (A creature with trample can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)
Draw a card.

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Fiery Islet

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $14.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190806_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life: Add {U} or {R}.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Fiery Islet: Draw a card.

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Scalding Tarn

Market Price: $71.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128282_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Scalding Tarn: Search your library for an Island or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-masters-2017/scalding-tarn

Bloodstained Mire

Market Price: $34.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92830_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Bloodstained Mire: Search your library for a Swamp or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/khans-of-tarkir/bloodstained-mire

Cleansing Wildfire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221913_200w.jpg

Destroy target land. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle their library.
Draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/cleansing-wildfire

Mishra's Bauble

Market Price: $3.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218598_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Mishra's Bauble: Look at the top card of target player's library. Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.

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Wooded Foothills

Market Price: $36.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92831_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Wooded Foothills: Search your library for a Mountain or Forest card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Nihil Spellbomb

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161909_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Nihil Spellbomb: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.
When Nihil Spellbomb is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, draw a card.

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Lava Spike

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180812_200w.jpg

Lava Spike deals 3 damage to target player or planeswalker.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ultimate-masters/lava-spike

Bump in the Night

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67853_200w.jpg

Target opponent loses 3 life.
Flashback {5}{R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Manamorphose

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $3.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218810_200w.jpg

Add two mana in any combination of colors.
Draw a card.

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Bedlam Reveler

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/120430_200w.jpg

This spell costs {1} less to cast for each instant and sorcery card in your graveyard.
Prowess (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
When Bedlam Reveler enters the battlefield, discard your hand, then draw three cards.

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Scourge of the Skyclaves

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $10.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222085_200w.jpg

Kicker {4}{B}
When you cast this spell, if it was kicked, each player loses half their life, rounded up.
Scourge of the Skyclaves's power and toughness are each equal to 20 minus the highest life total among players.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/scourge-of-the-skyclaves

Abrade

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227309_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Abrade deals 3 damage to target creature.
• Destroy target artifact.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-legends/abrade

Soul-Scar Mage

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $7.53

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/129885_200w.jpg

Prowess
If a source you control would deal noncombat damage to a creature an opponent controls, put that many -1/-1 counters on that creature instead.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/amonkhet/soul-scar-mage

Prowess decks have been struggling for a while to find an additional threat they're actually happy to play, with little success. Scourge of the Skyclaves represents a significant breakthrough on that front. Adding cantrips also keeps the prowess threats large into the midgame and fuels Bedlam Reveler, which nicely addresses some of the issues we faced when constructing the more traditional Burn variant.

In order to best enable Scourge of the Skyclaves, I've chosen to play Bump in the Night and Lava Spike over cards like Burst Lightning and Firebolt that have been more popular in prowess lately. The tradeoff in flexibility makes us worse at controlling the board against other small creature aggro decks, but the addition of a two-mana 8/8 should more than compensate us. If we really need to kill the small creatures after all, reverting the swap is a real option. Alternatively, now that we have fetches, Searing Blaze is a stronger but more narrow tool for those matchups if we feel the need to tech for them.

While I did throw a lot of shade at Thoughtseize earlier in the article, it's still a reasonable sideboard card in the variants heavy on high-impact threats, particularly the ones with prowess. Use it sparingly though—its purpose is primarily to fight combo decks that are attempting to race you, and boarding it in against anyone else is at least somewhat questionable. Even against control decks I'm skeptical we actually want any copies, much less all four, though obviously the exact details of the matter fluctuate with the specifics of your opponent's deck.

Scourge in Zoo

One of the perks of building around Scourge of the Skyclaves that does actually carry over from Death's Shadow decks is that once you're already fetching shock lands constantly, you get a lot of freedom to expand into additional colors at relatively low cost. So far we've just been wasting that on four copies of Blood Crypt though, so let's push the limits a bit.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Four-Color Zoo by Baker Neenan

'Four-Color Zoo' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Baker Neenan

Event:

Rank:

Modern

Market Price: $919.44

Cards

Assassin's Trophy

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $18.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175575_200w.jpg

Destroy target permanent an opponent controls. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle their library.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/guilds-of-ravnica/assassins-trophy

Path to Exile

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $3.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218377_200w.jpg

Exile target creature. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle their library.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/double-masters/path-to-exile

Cleansing Wildfire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221913_200w.jpg

Destroy target land. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle their library.
Draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/cleansing-wildfire

Veil of Summer

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $11.88

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192543_200w.jpg

Draw a card if an opponent has cast a blue or black spell this turn. Spells you control can't be countered this turn. You and permanents you control gain hexproof from blue and from black until end of turn. (You and they can't be the targets of blue or black spells or abilities your opponents control.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2020/veil-of-summer

Atarka's Command

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $2.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/96470_200w.jpg

Choose two —
• Your opponents can't gain life this turn.
• Atarka's Command deals 3 damage to each opponent.
• You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.
• Creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain reach until end of turn.

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Verdant Catacombs

Market Price: $69.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128280_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Verdant Catacombs: Search your library for a Swamp or Forest card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Sacred Foundry

Color Identity:R,W

Market Price: $15.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175200_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R} or {W}.)
As Sacred Foundry enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Blood Crypt

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $25.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182838_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {R}.)
As Blood Crypt enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ravnica-allegiance/blood-crypt

Thoughtseize

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $16.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218934_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card. You lose 2 life.

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Steppe Lynx

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/33439_200w.jpg

Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Steppe Lynx gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

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Temple Garden

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $11.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175203_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {W}.)
As Temple Garden enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Nihil Spellbomb

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161909_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Nihil Spellbomb: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.
When Nihil Spellbomb is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, draw a card.

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Boros Charm

Color Identity:R,W

Market Price: $1.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236109_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Boros Charm deals 4 damage to target player or planeswalker.
• Permanents you control gain indestructible until end of turn.
• Target creature gains double strike until end of turn.

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Burning-Tree Emissary

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $0.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/129466_200w.jpg

When Burning-Tree Emissary enters the battlefield, add {R}{G}.

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Narnam Renegade

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.24

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Deathtouch
Revolt — Narnam Renegade enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

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Arid Mesa

Market Price: $40.62

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{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Arid Mesa: Search your library for a Mountain or Plains card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.43

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({T}: Add {R}.)

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Scourge of the Skyclaves

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $10.84

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Kicker {4}{B}
When you cast this spell, if it was kicked, each player loses half their life, rounded up.
Scourge of the Skyclaves's power and toughness are each equal to 20 minus the highest life total among players.

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Reckless Bushwhacker

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/110696_200w.jpg

Surge {1}{R} (You may cast this spell for its surge cost if you or a teammate has cast another spell this turn.)
Haste
When Reckless Bushwhacker enters the battlefield, if its surge cost was paid, other creatures you control get +1/+0 and gain haste until end of turn.

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Goblin Guide

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $5.45

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Haste
Whenever Goblin Guide attacks, defending player reveals the top card of their library. If it's a land card, that player puts it into their hand.

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Bloodstained Mire

Market Price: $34.74

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{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Bloodstained Mire: Search your library for a Swamp or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Overgrown Tomb

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $12.87

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({T}: Add {B} or {G}.)
As Overgrown Tomb enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Stomping Ground

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $9.48

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({T}: Add {R} or {G}.)
As Stomping Ground enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Wooded Foothills

Market Price: $36.45

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{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Wooded Foothills: Search your library for a Mountain or Forest card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Lightning Bolt

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.51

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Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to any target.

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Marsh Flats

Market Price: $41.42

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{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Marsh Flats: Search your library for a Plains or Swamp card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Wild Nacatl

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.43

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Wild Nacatl gets +1/+1 as long as you control a Mountain.
Wild Nacatl gets +1/+1 as long as you control a Plains.

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Another way to make sure our early creatures don't get invalidated as easily is to play more of them and supplement with Atarka's Command to force through damage on a wide board. Other pump spells that we could use for this purpose are generally lackluster in Scourge of the Skyclaves decks, as direct damage not only grows Scourge of the Skyclaves pre-combat but also is more reliable and doesn't get blown out by removal. Fortunately Atarka's Command offers both, and even insulates us from life gain to keep our opponent in burn range.

Boros Charm offers a somewhat similar flexibility, although its use cases as a pump spell are far more narrow. Giving Scourge of the Skyclaves double strike puts out obscene damage, as the Scourge of the Skyclaves grows itself off first strike damage and then comes back twice as large for regular damage, allowing it to deal up to three times its initial power if your life total allows for it. None of the rest of our creatures make good use of the double strike so we can't really justify putting Temur Battle Rage in our deck, but Boros Charm still ends the game on an uncontested Scourge without the risk of a dead draw.

Adding the fifth color to support Tribal Flames was tempting, but in practice it actually made the mana substantially worse to add blue lands, and we're already pushing it as is. Not needing blue shocks also lets us play more fetches to enable Steppe Lynx and Narnam Renegade more reliably.

My main concern with this shell is that we aren't quite getting enough out of access to black mana to warrant stretching the mana for a black splash, as black's options for raw aggression are fairly limited. That said, the raw power of Scourge of the Skyclaves is so much higher than the alternative of something like a Tarmogoyf that it's worth considering even with no other black cards in the 75.

* * *

I suspect we're only scratching the surface here in terms of ways to build around Scourge of the Skyclaves. Its power level warrants consideration in most aggressive strategies with access to some amount of direct damage. Just avoid the bait of Death's Shadow comparisons, Scourge of the Skyclaves is no second-best!