Drafting Hyper-Aggro in Amonkhet Limited: It's Back!

Discussion Limited 
By: Kagros - 15 Aug 2020

I have a huge soft spot for Amonkhet Limited. One of my favorite ways of playing Magic is going wide and then blindly turning all my creatures sideways. Triple Amonkhet is quite a controversial set as it was an overly aggressive set thanks hugely in part due to Exert: if you weren't attacking you were losing. Hour of Devastation slowed the format down a little bit, but it was still a pretty fast format.

Amonkhet Remastered dropped today and combined cards from both sets. Will Hyper-Aggro still hold up? Let's take a look!

Deck Overview

Your deck will consist of 25 nonlands and 15 lands. Don't change the lands at all, you want to be playing exactly 15. You only really need 3 lands to function, and you will have an edge due to the fact that you can keep 2 landers and not having to mulligan. You want about 15-17 creatures and 8-10 non-creatures. Among the non-creature cards, you want at LEAST one card that buffs your board as that is one of the main methods for the final push. Several enchantments and equipments were removed in Remastered, so we need to play more creatures instead. Color-wise, you want a color pair that is in Jeskai. The color pairs with blue have Slither Bladeimage, your main wincon, but RW has a lot of good Exert creatures as well as ways to untap them.

I forced hyper-aggro every Amonkhet Draft. I'm not going to debate the merits of whether or not you should force an archetype; I just enjoyed playing this deck so much. However, if you'd like to see whether or not this deck is open, I recommend letting Slither Bladeimage wheel the table and see whether or not someone else picks it up. If it comes back to you, you can be quite sure it's open. The archetype is a lot more well-known now , so even if it wheels, there still might be someone in it. If you don't think it's open, you can pivot to another archetype. I recommend starting pack 1 in Jeskai so you can figure out which color pairs are most open, whether or not you are going to force this.

Due to the changes in the set, your color pair is important. While your game plan is generally to turn sideways, you will need to look at the secondary themes that your color pair provides to really put your foot on the gas. For example, the UR deck will want Firebrand Archerimage more while the RW deck will want Dauntless Avenimage more.

Creatures

I'll separate the creatures by their mana costs below. I'll avoid rares, but in generally, the only rares you should take are ones that advance the Hyper-Aggro strategy. Rares that draw you cards aren't as useful as you think; if you are casting a 5 drop, it should win you the game. If a rare has Exert somewhere on it, you should probably take it.

You want about 3-5 1-drops,  6-8 2-drops, 2-4 3-drops, and 0-2 4-drops.

1-Drops

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Wizards definitely nerfed the 1-drop slot for Amonkhet Remastered. There are not a lot of options regarding the 1-drop slot, so these should be top picks if you are in the colors.

Fan Bearerimage is a great 1-drop as well and if it's in the same pack as Slither Blade, should be taken over it as it's actually harder for Fan Bearer to wheel.

Slither Bladeimage in the later packs should be grabbed as soon as possible. It's the best creature in the deck as it will heavily advance your game plan. The only cards you should be picking over Slither Blade are the Cartouches and Fan Bearer.

The other 2 one-drops aren't much to talk about. Bloodlust Inciterimage is great for giving Haste to your 3- and 4-drops. Sacred Cat embalms, which helps if you draft the UW uncommon, and it can help race against other Hyper-Aggro players.

2-Drops

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Gust Walkerimage is by far the best 2-drop. All of your Exert 2-drops can come down and attack freely until your opponent plays their first creature. After that, the Exert creatures can Exert to get the damage in. Battlefield Scavengerimage helps ditch extra lands while Nef-Crop Entanglerimage and Oketra's Avengerimage, once Exerted, are very difficult to block properly.

Binding Mummyimage is another great 2-drop and once you get 2, you might start looking for more Zombies to really take advantage of the ability to tap down opposing defenders.

New from Hour of Devastation, Spellweaver Eternalimage is the best blue 2-drop. Whenever it attacks, you are guaranteed 2 damage thanks to Afflict 2. If it isn't blocked, you can deal even more damage thanks to Prowess. This card does a lot of work in the UR archetype as you will likely have several combat tricks waiting in the wings. On a similar note, Burning-Fist Minotaurimage is also quite hard to block, and if it isn't blocked, you can pump it for even more damage.

Pathmaker Initiateimage allows you to get in those last couple points of damage if you don't have Slither Blade or fliers. Don't sleep on this card.

3-Drops

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Ahn-Crop Crasherimage and Aerial Guideimage do almost the same thing: they help make your creatures unblockable. Crasher is definitely better as it takes out their best blocker and breaks through board states where the opponent has only one flier in the way of your creatures, but Aerial Guide can attack every turn.

Thresher Lizardimage is just a nice body when you're out of cards. It might not be very good the turn it comes down, but we are usually out of cards by turn 5.

The next 6 cards are all new from Hour of Devastation. Khenra Scrapperimage is a hard to block creature that can Exert to pump itself for extra damage. Eternal of Harsh Truthsimage makes your opponent choose whether or not they want to take additional damage or let you draw a card.

Dauntless Avenimage is a nice 3-drop flier, but it's strength is letting you untap an Exerted creature. If you pair this with Crasher, you will get in a lot of free damage. This card is especially good in RW where most of your creatures will have Exert.

Fervent Paincasterimage is basically a 3-drop Slither Blade that guarantees you one point of damage a turn and can be useful if your opponent has a 1-toughness creature in the way.

Thorned Molochimage really shines in UR where you can really take advantage of Prowess.

The remaining 3-drops are just filler and if you have really good 2-drops, play the 2-drops over those

4-Drops

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Outside of Rares, Tah-Crop Elite is really the only good 4-drop you can play. Aven Wind Guideimage can be good if you pick it up early and can pick up some token synergies. The other 2 options are really filler and you should only play them if you are really hurting for a 24th and 25th card.

Overall, White and Red lost a lot of good creatures while Blue definitely gained better creatures. Because of this, I recommend leaning more towards Blue at the beginning of the Draft, but as always draft what's open.

Spells

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Those cards are the reason why Hyper-Aggro can exist. Trial of Zeal and Solidarity should be first picks if you see them as you can keep re-playing them for value after every Cartouche. Trial of Knowledge is a lot weaker, but it's still free card draw.

After Trials, you should draft every Cartouche you see. This is the real workhouse of the deck and the more Cartouches you have in your deck, the more games you will win. You can play all Cartouches in your nonland slot if you draft that many, but having at least 5 in your deck is solid.

In my first Amonkhet Remastered draft, I passed The Scorpion Godimage for a Cartouche of Knowledgeimage because I really wanted to win. For the record, I normally take every rare I see. That's how good Cartouches are.

Removal

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Removal isn't very important and you can take of them as filler for Cartouches. It's important to figure out whether you would prefer to have Removal or more Tricks. Removal should obviously just serve to open a path for your attackers.

I really don't like reactive spells in this set as holding up mana is definitely not something you want to be doing. Counter-magic is generally only good once all of your other cards have been emptied out of your hand.

Tricks

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In Oketra's Nameimage and Pursue Gloryimage are ways to buff your entire board and I recommend having at least one, no matter what color pair you are in. The other combat tricks are used to help push damage through.

Blur of Bladesimage is another way to push through damage as well as shrink opposing creatures. It's worth mentioning here.

Here's an example 7-0 deck that I drafted. I started in Jeskai, but a Gideon of the Trialsimage was passed to me in pack 2, so I locked in UW. I even had a Trial of Zealimage and a Cartouche of Zealimage at that point. I only saw Gideon once, but never played it. The real MVPs in this deck was Binding Mummyimage who kept blockers tapped down as I suited up creatures with Cartouches. I had one game where I played Trial of Solidarityimage 3 games after I kept looping it with Cartouches. The Trial gives your creatures vigilance, so it's even better if you have an Exert creature out since the Exert attack becomes "free".

I hope this served as a good guide for drafting Hyper Aggro. Good luck with your Drafts!

About Kagros:

Aether Hub News Team member. Writing thoughts on Magic news and fun gameplay!

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1 comments

Intrepid_Tautog
Haven't had a chance to draft this yet, but man, do I miss all the shenanigans with trials and cartouches when this was in standard. Super fun.
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