With the new support mechanic from OGW, I decided to give Hardened Scales a spin in Standard. Hardened Scales will take our cheap creatures and turn them into giants with the help of our supporters.
We aim to drop Hardened Scales turn one, to squeeze the most benefit out of it, and then drop several aggressive creatures turn two, then start supporting them turn three. Joraga Auxiliary serves double duty in this deck. It has a decent body to support on to, and also repeatably supports in longer games. We only play one, due to the fact that six mana is a hefty amount in Standard. Lead by Example was a meh card, but Hardened Scales turns it into four total power for two mana, which is amazing. Hardened Scales synergizes especially well with support, because whenever you put a +1/+1 counter on something, it puts that many plus one on it, and support has multiple targets, so that’s just more counters for your creatures!
Relief Captain is a nice four drop, giving us 9 power for four mana. Keep in mind this is a four drop, so I only play two in my deck, to not slow down the deck significantly. Servant of the Scale is an ideal turn two play. It comes in as a 2/2 for 1, and when it dies, it dumps 3 counters on target creature, ideally more than 3 because you’ve supported it some already.
The Hydras in this deck are our main beaters that win us most of our games. Hooded Hydra is usually a three drop 2/2 that gets supported and then when it dies, you get a large number of snakes to support onto. In a non-budget situation, Hooded Hydra would be replaced by Hangarback Walker, which can drop turn two as a 2/2 and gives you fliers, but a playset is 60$, well over our total budget. Managorger Hydra took up 12$ of our budget, but, gee is it worth it! It grows by two counters every spell, and quickly grows out of range of burn, and swings in for tons of damage until they finally remove it.
The Other Guys
I don’t really know what to call these three as a category, so let’s just call it… value cards. Honored Hierarch is a great mana dork. It’s the only card that you would one drop over Hardened Scales. You one drop this, then two drop scales, swing with this, and then you have a 3/3 Vigilance that ramps you. Hidden Dragonslayer is great removal against Siege Rhinos and Dragonlord Ojutais. It also megamorphs as a 4/3. With lifelink, this card really is great all around. Woodland Wanderer is a nice beater, as a 3/3 Trample Vigilance for 4. Not the best, but still good.
There’s only one card in the Inspiring Call category, and that is: Inspiring Call! It not only protects your creatures at instant speed, allowing you to mess with combat, it draws you a good three or four cards.
Well, that’s the deck. To amp it up, I would play a playset of both Hangarback and Den Protector. Play four Dromoka’s Command, and spice up the mana base with Windswept Heaths and Canopy Vistas. Here’s the deck on TappedOut. Hope you enjoyed this deck!