Standard Brew: Invoke Calamity

Unlock the secrets of the Invoke Calamity deck in MTG Standard. Strategies, card picks, and gameplay tips to elevate your game.

Why is this Deck?

A lot of powerful cards exist in Standard right now that require a fair amount of build around and, as a result, aren’t seeing much play. One such card is Invoke Calamity, which can deliver up to two cards and six mana worth of action at instant speed for five mana, but requires a lot of setup. It’s possible to build around this card in a multitude of ways, but you all know me by now and know how much I love my graveyards, so that’s where I had to start.

Honestly, even as I write this, I need to stop myself from booting up Arena and trying to build five more decks with this theme. Don’t worry, an Invoke Slime Against Humanity deck will no doubt show up later.

Total Cards:

The Centerpiece

Magic the Gathering Card - Invoke Calamity - MTG Circle

Invoke Calamity is a bizarre card because it was included in a cycle with the now-banned Invoke Despair and the very playable Invoke Justice/Invoke the Ancients, but it reads as an absolute dud by comparison. The other invokes require minimal or no building around and provide obvious value, whereas Invoke Calamity can provide card advantage, tempo advantage, and mana advantage but only if the freaking stars align and you’ve built your deck to take advantage.

In order to build a deck that can maximize Invoke Calamity, we need to fill it with spells (ideally sorceries) that cost fewer than six mana. When selecting those spells, we need to be careful about how their mana adds up, meaning that filling our deck with four-drops might leave us in a lurch because we can only ever invoke one of them at a time, whereas a deck filled with one-drops might leave us not getting good value off of our five-mana spell.

The Selected Spells

Magic the Gathering Card - Demand Answers - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Big Score - MTG Circle

Our support spells in the main deck are primarily spells that will help us churn through our deck while also filling our graveyard. Demand Answers and Big Score are both great for progressing our gameplan and being lovely fillers if we hit Invoke Calamity late in the game and want to add extra value to its resolution.

Magic the Gathering Card - Invoke Justice - MTG Circle

The big one we’re bringing here is Invoke Justice. This card is a house when you’re targeting Etali, Primal Conqueror or Portal to Phyrexia and Invoke Calamity gives us the opportunity to cast it at instant speed potentially catching our opponent’s attacking creatures in terrible blocking positions or even catching creature lands in Portal’s enter the battlefield trigger.

The Bombs

Magic the Gathering Card - Etali, Primal Conqueror - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Etali, Primal Conqueror - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Portal to Phyrexia - MTG Circle

If you’ve played with Invoke Justice or Squirming Emergence before, you’re probably familiar with both of these beautifies. Given that we’re trying to get repeatable value off of generically decent spells, Etali felt like a natural fit, meanwhile Portal give us inevitability in long games while providing a potentially back-breaking effect upon entering. Basically, these two beasts are our main way of actually winning the game and, if we’re successful, well do so by instant-speed blasting Invoke Calamity.

Magic the Gathering Card - Trumpeting Carnosaur - MTG Circle

Given that both Invokes are five drops, and our top-end involves Portal to Phyrexia, Trumpeting Carnosaur fits like an absolute glove. Early removal at three mana that puts a bomb into the yard is fine, but it also is an aspirational cast at six mana being only one more than our main target while requiring no setup. This trampler attacking will likely be a factor in our victories while also fueling our engine in a couple of ways.

And the Rest

Magic the Gathering Card - Spirited Companion - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Bitter Reunion - MTG Circle

We have a few two drops that don’t directly feed into Invoke, but they do increase card velocity (the number of cards we see in a game) while also giving us added utility in the late game. Spirited Companion can be a repeatable source of card draw if Portal is live, or be a counter carrier if online when Invoke Justice resolves. Bitter Reunion, on the other hand, can make that 11/11 Etali we just reanimated hasty to help close out games quickly.

Against Aggro

When playing against Boros Convoke, Mono Red, or any other flavor of hyper-fast aggro deck, you want to prioritize surviving the first few turns. In game one, that might just be holding your breath and hoping for the best, but in game two, you can slot out multiple copies of Portal and Etali in favor of Knockout Blow, Get Lost, and Elspeth’s Smite.

Magic the Gathering Card - Elspeth's Smite - MTG Circle

Smite is especially useful here because it can piggyback onto an Invoke Calamity in a way Knockout Blow cannot. If you Invoke on your opponent’s turn and hit a five-drop like Invoke Justice, you can get a free Elspeth’s Smite to assist. Honestly, this might belong in the main deck.

Against Control

Control can be patience testing when trying to play a deck like this, but we have some play in these matchups if our cards cooperate. Don’t be quick to discard your game-ending bombs because you will likely get time to cast them honestly and when they’re countered (assuming it’s not with Dissipate or No More Lies) you can reanimate them later with one fewer counterspell to worry about. This sideboard isn’t great against control, but Brotherhood’s End is surprisingly good against The Wandering Emperor.

Also, make sure to play on your opponent’s turn whenever possible. If they counter your spell, they won’t have that mana when you untap. Trying to threaten them on their end step with a Big Score can clear the way for an Invoke Calamity or very late game Etali, Primal Conqueror hard cast.

Against Midrange

Magic the Gathering Card - Surge of Salvation - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Get Lost - MTG Circle

Esper and Golgari midrange decks continue to be common archetypes in the meta and they’re one of our better matchups. Surge of Salvation from the sideboard stimies interaction while get lost is clutch if your opponent has Sheoldred, the Apocalypse in their deck.

Against Domain Ramp

Magic the Gathering Card - Loran of the Third Path - MTG Circle

Loran of the Third Path is great against Leyline Binding and Up the Beanstalk. You’ll also want to bring in the fourth Sunfall in the matchup against Domain because their deck has almost no haste but often floods the board through Herd Migration or simply casting three creatures in a turn.

With any brew against Domain Ramp, you need to draw well because that deck generates practically incalculable value every turn. It’s been top tier in the meta for months for a reason.

The Bottom Line

This deck, like most of the ones I discuss here, is an attempt to find value in an underrated card in Standard. Invoke Calamity is a fun buildaround and I look forward to tinkering with it more, though I don’t think this deck is perfected by any stretch. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on how you’d improve the 75.

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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