Jadelight Ranger is the new Rogue Refiner

by Simon Nielsen on 16 January 2018, Tuesday

Simon Nielsen

 

Jadelight Ranger Is The New Rogue Refiner

And ode to Rogue Refiner.

 

Rogue Refiner


O, isn't he great, our magnificent leader? Our inspiring role model. Our most courteous king Our chosen one. He who chased away all fringe decks from our land of pure energy. He who increased the sheer card advantage for the common folk. He who gave us plenty of resources and gave us a sense of direction.


But in the outskirts of the realm, amongst the misty rainforests and riverbanks of the water people, a challenger is born. She has the skill and determination to be fit for a queen and she too wants to enrich the lives of the people. The reign of Energy has lasted too long. She wants to put an end to it and give a chance for others to flourish.

Her name is Jadelight Ranger

 

Jadelight Ranger


While there is still nothing to take over Rogue Refiner's spot in Energy decks, Jadelight Ranger does provide a similar effect outside of Energy-decks which might allow them to compete.

The two cards are actually quite comparable. Frequently Jadelight Ranger will be a 3/2 that draws you a land and allows you to scry. Sometimes it will be a 2/1 Mulldrifter impression, and sometimes it will be a 4/3 that will dig you towards your good cards. All scenarios certainly makes it look like constructed mainstay.

Jadelight Ranger does introduce some interesting play patterns to Explore. Because what if you reveal a semi-good spell on the first go? Are you going to keep that on top, essentially “wasting” the scry of the 2nd explore and not allowing you to hit a land? I think this will mean you put the first card into the graveyard more frequently than you would with the second card.



An Appealing Authority

A way to exploit this explore ability would be to run Jadelight Ranger in a deck that attains value from putting some of its cards in the graveyard. One of the first spots I thought to put it in was Willy Edels Green-White Zoo deck with Appeal/Authority.

This deck has plenty of cards with Aftermath or Eternalize, and conveniently it was looking for some quality 3-drops. This deck even got a Planeswalker that fits perfectly into the strategy by providing more Appeal-effects, a new and very welcome 1-drop, and even a cheap removal spell that it so badly needed. 



Green-White Zoo

 

The deck aims to curve out with a great mishmash of different early-drops in a zoo-style manner, and finish things off with huge bursts from Appeal and Huatli, Radiant Champion.

 

Appeal // Authority Huatli, Radiant Champion


With so many cards added to a strategy that already produced a winning record at the Pro Tour level, it's hard not to be excited about this deck. All the Eternalize cards and Deserts makes it so that you frequently have a use for extra lands in the lategame which gives Jadelight Ranger even more value. And with so many permanents, I'd be surprised if Skymarcher Aspirant rarely gets sent to the sky.

My biggest concern with this strategy isn't actually about individual power level of the cards (they've all proven to be better than they look), but rather the manabase. Without access to Razorverge Thicket, Green-White gets really punished for being ally-colored. It's quite hard to construct a fulfilling manabase that has both enough sources to play your white 1-drops while also supporting the double green on Jadelight Ranger.

The final product comes up short on both ends, so that is a major concern. 




Fish!

With multiple new ways to support the archetype, it's hard not to look into Jadelight Rangers creature type: Merfolk.
At first I wasn't including Jadelight Ranger in my Merfolk builds, but then I realised that it's just a power card on equal footing with Rogue Refiner that even happens to be Merfolk. Suddenly, it seemed stupid to not auto-include 4.

Let's check out this Merfolk Aggro deck:

 

 

Merfolk Mistbinder Metallic Mimic


I ended up with way too many 2-drops in my first draft of this, so I ended up cutting out Merfolk Branchwalker. Instead I focused on including as many lords as humanly (mermanly?) possible. I had Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca at my prerelease and I can concur that it takes over the game absurdly quickly given enough fish around him. 

Both Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca and Deeproot Elite wants us to produce as many Merfolks as we can, which makes us interested in Deeproot Waters to create an Oketra's Monument-esque strategy. I think we have enough 1-drops to regain the loss of tempo after we play it. 

I do wonder if Merfolk Branchwalker is a power card very close in power level to Silvergill Adept, and one that is just heresy to cut from the deck, in the same way that Jadelight Ranger is. If we do want to include it, maybe we can cut down on some of of the lords and focus on a more value-based approach:

 


Vineshaper Mystic Baral's Expertise Seafloor Oracle

 

Now that we are more interested in accumulating card advantage, Vineshaper Mystic finds its way to the maindeck to help us survive while we do so. The full playset of Unsummon is there for the similar reason to buy back tempo.

Our big finish is Baral's Expertise into Seafloor Oracle, bouncing all their blockers, drawing us some cards and providing the breathing space we need to deploy those extra cards. Introducing double blue does make the mana base more questionable, so that's something to keep in mind. 



Exploring Another Strategy

 

Winding Constrictor Rishkar, Peema Renegade


You've heard of Winding Constrictor into Rishkar, Peema Renegade. Now get ready for…

 

Wildgrowth Walker Jadelight Ranger


Wildgrowth Walker into Jadelight Ranger!

 

 

Once the sheer power of that opening has sunk in, let's explore the finer features of this list. All explore cards, even our pay-off card Wildgrowth Walker, works well with Winding Constrictor. This is a return to form with a straight Green-Black list that sports good old Verdurous Gearhulk. Walking Ballista is even something that lets you utilize all the extra lands you get from explore!

Maybe the deck needs to sneak in some Seeker's Squire to fully make Wildgrowth Walker viable, but I also wanted to try out Ripjaw Raptor to combo with Walking Ballista



Closing Thoughts

I'm not sure if any of these lists can quite compete with Temur Energy and the power of Rogue Refiner, but at least Jadelight Ranger helps give Energy a run for their money. I'm actually kinda sad that the upcoming Pro Tour isn't Standard, because this is just the tip of the iceberg of what Rivals of Ixalan can deliver.

Whatever card or strategy you're excited about, I wish you a happy brewing and some sweet wins to start off 2018!




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