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  • Writer's pictureAvacyn Believer

Deck Update - May 2023

Updated: Feb 2

This update is even smaller than the January update. I don’t expect any sweeping changes to the deck unless some core functionality of it would be completely rebuilt, since the deck is already highly optimized and I only consider swaps when new cards are printed that improve the deck’s consistent performance. This update’s one card change is a ‘strictly better’ update.

Sword of the Animist > Bitterthorn, Nissa's Animus

The main purpose of the Sword has always been to provide an early game ramp. On average the Sword is cast on a turn after I've cast a creature. This then meant that in the following turn I had to spend 2 mana to equip the Sword to make it effective (unless I had mana available to cast and equip on the same turn). This presented two concerns, firstly it reduced the mana available during the turn the Sword was equipped, and secondly it put the creature at risk by attacking. The early game creatures are mostly for utility and I do not want them to die just yet.

As a Living weapon, Bitterthorn removes all of those concerns. It is 1 mana more to cast than the Sword, but it can still be cast on curve, and it does not have any further cost to be useful straight away. So the way I see it, Bitterthorn is 1 mana cheaper. Furthermore, the Germ token is not a utility creature, so I do not care if it dies in combat in the early game. Yes, an opponent could kill it before the Germ gets to attack, but that just means the opponent did not use the removal spell (or ability) to target a more useful creature, and I am in the same position as if I cast the Sword and then had to equip it.

In the later game, the 1 mana higher equip cost compared to the Sword is not much of a disadvantage. Most other Equipment in the deck has equip cost 3. The Germ token is also useful to trigger Avacyn's transform ability by simply equipping Bitterthorn to another creature, causing the Germ to become 0/0 and die.

So overall, Bitterthorn is a strictly better card in this deck. It does the same job as the Sword, and it has no practical disadvantages. I do not plan to run both cards because of the limited number of basic lands (6 as of this writing), it is quite easy to get all basics out in a game already. Though it is definitely worth it to run both in a deck with higher basic lands count.

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