Jank Brew: Queen Kayla bin-Kroog

Explore the art of jank brewing with Queen Kayla bin-Kroog in Magic: The Gathering. Dive into deck-building tips, strategies, and unique gameplay.

Why is this Deck?

Like so many brews we discuss here, this brew solely exists because I saw an ‘I dare you’ build around that I haven't touched in a while that I wanted to attempt. This time, it was Queen Kayla bin-Kroog. My queen sports a bizarre ability to wheel our hand at sorcery speed and take up to three creatures or artifacts from among the cards wheeled (based on mana value) and deposit them directly to the board. This ability interests me because it lets us play multiple creatures from our hand without spending cards and we might even go up on mana if the cards discarded line up well.

Magic the Gathering Card - Queen Kayla bin-Kroog - MTG Circle

Total Cards:

A Verbiage Crash Course

Throughout this article, I’m going to use the expression “wheel” a lot because it’s the colloquial term to describe discarding your hand and drawing cards. The expression is named after Wheel of Fortune which first appeared in Alpha.

Magic the Gathering Card - Wheel of Fortune - MTG Circle

Some might argue that a true wheel always affects each player and has them draw seven cards, but it’s sometimes used to describe moments when a single player discards their hand and draws a number of cards afterward, as I’ll be using it today.

Primary Brew Considerations

As we’re choosing which cards to include in this build, we need to keep Queen Kayla bin-Kroog’s ability front and center in our mind. As a result, we need to select creatures and artifacts with mana value three or lower whenever possible. We should think this through in terms of how we want the game to play out from beginning to end with an emphasis on how we're going to actually close out the game in the end. I say that because building around cheap creatures often works great in the early game, but might lack the top-end power to end a game when opponents are playing simply stronger creatures.

The Early Game

Having creatures we can play out in first few turns to establish a board presence, bait interaction, and possibly provide some pressure is important. Finding valuable one-drops is absolutely key because they set the tone while laying a foundation we can build upon later.

Magic the Gathering Card - Lunarch Veteran - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Lunarch Veteran - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Skrelv, Defector Mite - MTG Circle

Lunarch Veteran might seem out of place since we aren’t doing a life gain matters build, but the impact it has on a game is massive. Survivability in the late game is paramount against the current aggressive meta and it also synergizes with many of the larger creatures we’ll be talking about later.

Skrelv, Defector Mite is here to be a lightning rod for removal. If your opponent hits it with Cut Down or Long Goodbye, don’t fret because those are removal pieces that won’t be aimed at our queen later. If they don’t remove Skrelv early, its activated ability can help protect Queen Kayla from removal in the late game. Note: cards like Lithomantic Barrage or Long Goodbye cannot be countered, but they can still fizzle because their target is no longer eligible; these spells will not bypass Skrelv’s protection and, in my experience, many players on the ladder don’t realize this.

Magic the Gathering Card - Spirited Companion - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Ambitious Farmhand - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Ambitious Farmhand - MTG Circle

In the two-drop slot, we have cards that replace themselves naturally in our hand. This is important because to keep drawing large numbers of cards off of Queen Kayla’s ability, you need to be discarding a large number of cards as well. Spirited Companion and Ambitious Farmhand have been staples in various white-based decks over the years because of this utility and it happens to align with Queen Kayla perfectly.

Magic the Gathering Card - Extraction Specialist - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Loran of the Third Path - MTG Circle

At the three-drop slot, we have a handful of bombs that can help recur our previous threats or remove our opponent’s resources. You’ll notice that Loran of the Third Path and Extraction Specialist are split between our main deck and sideboard. Against aggressive matchups like Boros Convoke or Mono Red, Extraction Specialist’s lifelink is incredibly valuable while Loran of the Third Path is at her best against foes that include a lot of enchantments or artifacts such as Domain or Esper Midrange.

The Secret Commander

Magic the Gathering Card - Delney, Streetwise Lookout - MTG Circle

While Queen Kayla bin-Kroog is our primary build around, a secondary player clicks into place alongside her shockingly well in Delney, Streetwise Lookout. Because so many of our cheap creatures have enter-the-battlefield triggers, Delney doubles them even if Delney enters at the same time as them. This allows us to net positive cards through Spirited Companion or gain a whole bunch of life through Lunarch Veteran.

Delney’s secondary mode of offering up evasion for small creatures is also important as it prevents blatantly favorable blocks as we try to race our opponent to the finish.

Plan B

Magic the Gathering Card - Agatha's Soul Cauldron - MTG Circle

It’s only a one-of in the main, but Agatha's Soul Cauldron deserves a special mention. If Queen Kayla is killed, this artifact is a way to get her ability back onto the field onto another creature so her designs can be carried out. It also offers some level of graveyard hate in the main, though it’s not as good as Unlicensed Hearse which is absolutely in our sideboard.

Honorable Mentions

There are a number of cards that could work in this build that I simply didn’t get the chance to try before this deadline approached, but I wanted to call out here. I will likely attempt them for future builds that you can see me experiment with on my Twitch channel.

Magic the Gathering Card - Mirror Box - MTG Circle

Mirror Box is an odd card in that it does almost nothing in most decks while being the best card in others. Given that our deck relies on multiple legendary creatures, this would allow us to play four Skrelv and four Delney without second thought, plus it would buff redundant Spirited Companions or Lunarch Veterans we have lying around.

Magic the Gathering Card - Werefox Bodyguard - MTG Circle

Werefox Bodyguard provides some redundancy with Brutal Cathar while also providing flash interaction which the deck otherwise lacks. Adding these to the mix would likely improve the deck’s game against midrange where it currently struggles.

Magic the Gathering Card - Cathar Commando - MTG Circle

Cathar Commander is a bit redundant with Loran of the Third Path, but it being a flash threat with three power can make it creature removal in a pinch by blocking unsuspecting attackers. Honestly, I think this card is underrated in general and it slots nicely into our curve.

Magic the Gathering Card - Intrepid Adversary - MTG Circle

Intrepid Adversary is an interesting case and I did have it in early builds of this deck. It works best if you’re going for an aggressive, attack-first finish which the current build isn’t exactly optimized for. I decided to cut it because its Glorious Anthem-style buff presents a conflict with Delney. If our creatures become larger, their triggers stop doubling and they lose evasion.

Magic the Gathering Card - Helping Hand - MTG Circle

It’s not a creature, but it enables everything the deck likes to do for a single mana, and if it gets stranded in our hand and we don’t need it, Queen Kayla can simply wheel it away and look for something new. In this particular deck, it resembles Unearth even more than usual, which is pretty neat.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, this deck can be built a number of different ways and I look forward to future testing. The engine of Queen Kayla bin-Kroog and Delney, Streetwise Lookout is a powerful one when it’s able to start humming that can line up nicely against the current aggro meta. It’s still a jank brew, of course, that often looks like a suboptimal Boros Convoke, but the wins make the trials worth it.

When brewing, you can often tell when a build is dead because the idea is flawed versus when the idea is sound, but you haven’t found the perfect 75 for it. I suspect this is the latter. If you have suggestions for cards you think would bolster this engine, please leave a comment below or tag me on Twitter.com (@hocks42)! I’d love to see what you come up with!

Happy Brewing!


See it in action!

Graham, also known as HamHocks42 on the internet, is a Twitch streamer who adores Magic: the Gathering in all its forms and tries to find the fun, even in the most competitive and sweaty environments.

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