Has the best Squirming deck Emerged?

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Explore whether the ultimate Squirming deck has finally surfaced in Magic: The Gathering. Analysis, deck profiles, and competitive insights inside.

Welcome Magic lovers!

With the new Temur Worldsoul’s Rage ramp deck attracting all the Standard buzz of late, its easy to forget that there are several other ways to abuse the graveyard right now that are also extremely powerful. The Squirming Emergence decks have been floating around the top 8 of several Magic Online Challenges, Regional Championship Qualifiers and even the Regional Championships themselves for some time now. However, the deck’s development has taken an interesting turn recently, as well-known Magic Online grinder aspiringspike won an RCQ with a unique take on the archetype.

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Here we see the core of the reanimator deck still intact: Founding of the Third Path, Picklock Prankster, and to a lesser extent, Wail of the Forgotten to fill the graveyard and find or flash back our key card, Squirming Emergence. The reanimation targets have been cut down to only the two best: Atraxa, Grand Unifier, of course, and Titan of Industry. While One with the Multiverse and Phyrexian Portal were extremely powerful and could easily steal victory from the jaws of defeat, at eight and nine mana, they were much more difficult to cheat into play early with Squirming Emergence. Cutting back on the seven-mana spells also increases the consistency of the deck by reducing the number of unplayable draws that strategies like this can often suffer from.

The New Plan

Magic the Gathering Card - Consider - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Ledger Shredder - MTG Circle

Speaking of increasing the consistency, by sliding a full playset of Ledger Shredder and Consider into the Squirming Emergence shell, the deck is suddenly capable of a proactive early game plan that, while not as explosive as the previous build with Otherworldly Gaze and Fallaji Archaeologist, allows the deck to apply pressure to the opponent and their planeswalkers while also discarding key reanimation pieces or filling the yard with permanents for Emergence.

This means the deck can easily put opponents on the back foot with an early Ledger Shredder, Picklock Prankster and/or Steamcore Scholar soaring over to peck away at their life total, forcing them to deal with the pesky, vigilant fliers. If the opponent does manage to stem the bleeding, an over-the-top haymaker like Atraxa or Titan coming into play off of a Squirming Emergence can completely blindside them and end the game on the spot. After playing some with the deck, it’s become very clear that a large number of the games one wins with the deck come at the hands of the small, blue, evasive creatures that come out in the early turns. By using reanimation combo enablers which can also simply win the game by themselves really lets the deck attack from two very different, and difficult to deal with, angles.

Magic the Gathering Card - Sheoldred, the Apocalypse - MTG Circle

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse may seem out of place in a reanimation deck like this, as bringing back a four-mana creature with a three or five-mana sorcery isn’t exactly awe-inspiring. However, when one considers how effective the cheap flyers are at putting pressure on the opponent’s life total, Sheoldred suddenly becomes a lot more appealing. Often, its Sheoldred sealing up the game once a large Ledger Shredder and a Steamcore Scholar have put the opponent to single-digit life totals. Sheoldred can also be a useful target to put into play from the graveyard as it requires only three other permanents in the graveyard in order for it to emerge, squirming, from the mud to stabilize one’s life total against aggressive decks, or put an early clock on the control decks.

Magic the Gathering Card - The Cruelty Of Gix - MTG Circle

One other significant change here is the addition of a couple of Cruelty of Gix, which obviously work perfectly with the reanimation plan despite being a bit slower than Squirming Emergence. If Cruelty of Gix is in one’s graveyard, it also allows one to accelerate an Atraxa or Titan into play by requiring only four other permanents to be present in order for the Squirming Emergence to bring back the Cruelty, which in turn brings the seven-mana creature into play.

By shifting to a more proactive gameplan built around the cheap, blue flyers, it also allows the one to shrug off the increasingly ubiquitous graveyard-hate cards that are popping up in many deck’s sideboards. This can be an invaluable edge to have when opponents over-board against what they believe to be a graveyard-centric deck, only to lose to a couple of beefed-up bird advisors. It’s hard to describe how satisfying it is to see an opponent slam what they believe to be a game-winning sideboard silver bullet, only to watch it slowly dawn on them that the graveyard is irrelevant, as some angry flying creatures keep hammering their life total each turn. In fact, sideboarding against this new build of the deck can be a nightmare, as opponents will find themselves wanting to leave in cheap removal to deal with Shredder, Scholar and Prankster, like Cut Down, while also needing to find room for cards which attack the graveyard, like Unlicensed Hearse.

Sideboarding

Magic the Gathering Card - Malicious Eclipse - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Terror Tide - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Duress - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Negate - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Spell Pierce - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Tear Asunder - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Pick Your Poison - MTG Circle

Speaking of the sideboard, here we find something for every matchup, from Malicious Eclipse and Terror Tide for the aggressive opponents, to Duress, Negate and Spell Pierce for control decks. Tear Asunder and Pick Your Poison are there to manage any graveyard-targeted hate cards opponents may bring in, such as the aforementioned Unlicensed Hearse. Long Goodbye is the perfect removal spell for everything from a Raffine, Scheming Seer and Preacher of the Schism, to Subterannean Schooner or creature lands.

If you’d like to try a very powerful, graveyard-based combo deck that doesn’t just roll over and die to targeted graveyard hate-cards, give this new version of Squirming Emergence a whirl!

Hi, I'm Damien! I'm a Canadian television and voice actor turned streamer! I've been playing Magic: the Gathering since the early 1990's when the game first released, and was heavily involved in competitive Magic for many years.
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