After having a very negative first impression of Vannifar, I’m now committed to find a solid list for her to go crazy in. My initial idea was to make a Temur list that curves up and gets lots of big dinosaurs into play, but it was super inconsistent, instead I decided to use her to try and get an already strong synergy list, stronger. Think of it like this: Branchwalker into Jadelight, Jadelight into zegana, Zegana into Lizrog, opponent concedes.
The list with export codes for MTGA
4 Merfolk Branchwalker (XLN) 197
4 Forest (RIX) 196
4 Wildgrowth Walker (XLN) 216
4 Jadelight Ranger (RIX) 136
3 Rhythm of the Wild (RNA) 201
3 Domri, Chaos Bringer (RNA) 166
3 Prime Speaker Vannifar (RNA) 195
4 Galloping Lizrog (RNA) 175
4 Llanowar Elves (DAR) 168
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
4 Hinterland Harbor (DAR) 240
4 Rootbound Crag (XLN) 256
4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259
2 Sulfur Falls (DAR) 247
2 Zegana, Utopian Speaker (RNA) 214
3 Pelt Collector (GRN) 141
2 Vivien Reid (M19) 208
2 Reclamation Sage (M19) 196
First we look at the basic explore package; we’ve got playsets of Wildgrowth walker, Merfolk Branchwalker, and Jadelight ranger, all of which get +1/+1 counters on it for Lizrog / Zegana synergy. Then we’ve got Rhyhm of the Wild and Domri to give our Vannifar / Lizrog haste, Vannifar with immediate activation is super powerful, and lizrog needs haste for the instakill. It looks something like this:
In the screenshot that turn played out like this: Draw Rhythm of the wild for turn, with Lizrog in hand, cast Rhythm, activate Domri +1, Cast Lizrog with Riot, Riot, Riot, Choose Haste, then +1/+1 counters, remove counters from everything with the enters the battlefield trigger, then attack with my Hasty 27/27. Yes this is kind of all All-eggs-in-one-basket approach, but the boardstate that you build is pretty hard to beat. The rest of the deck is basically stacks of utility, the Domri -3, and the Vivian +1 both let us dig for creatures / Lizrog, Reclamation sage is almost vital as enchantments are so powerful in this set. Zegana will always draw us a card, and can turn into an 8/8 Haste trampler off the top of the deck with enough mana open. The list is solid, and surprisingly strong, being able to instantly win against deadlocked midrange lists, by dropping an X/X so big, that your opponent emotes “Nice!”, is pretty satisfying.
Any hand that lets you play T1 Llanowar elf, and then T2 Rhythm of the wild, is usually a keep, but here’s a look at some hands and how we kept them:
This is a pretty slow opening hand, but can become pretty live off the top of the deck. The only downfall it has is that it has no explore or life gain in the occasion of a RDW opponent. (spoiler alert they were playing RDW and I got wrecked) Normally I’d keep something like this, at risk of seeing a mull to 6 with no land.
This is mch more what we’re looking for, we’ve got the Wildgrowth walker, and 3 explore sources. Our opening hand doesn’t require Vannifar, as she’s a turn 4-5 threat that usually stabilizes or ends a standstill boardstate. It’s better to have a pack of creatures that get +1/+1 counters.
This is pretty much the same as the hand above, but has a more consistent early game. You’re basically always looking for 2-3 land, and 1-2 explore creatures, and anything else is whatever.
This is probably one of the more fun-to-play standard decks I’ve brewed, and I’m excited to see if Vannifar makes it into any top 8 lists in standard, I don’t think this deck is tier for competitive as it’s pretty weak to removal. As always good luck in your ranked grinding, or have fun with your casual games, and hope you got something out of this deck tech!