While the Investigate mechanic hasn’t made much of an influence on competitive play (outside a very Tenacious Hunter), there are a lot of crazy things you can do with them in casual settings. A favorite card of mine, Ashnod’s Altar, happens to synergize greatly with Ulvenwald Mysteries. That gets me thinking. Can we make a casual deck that does nothing but cracks Clues for the win?
The Cast and Creatures
If our deck is going to be built around Ashnod’s Altar and Ulvenwald Mysteries, we’ll need some creatures to sacrifice. Any creature that can replace itself in some way or another works wonders here. Burning-Tree Emissary, Hidden Herbalists, and Elvish Visionary can all do some serious work. Akki Rockspeaker, Mardu Warshrieker and Coal Stoker, while not “free” like Emissary and Herbalists, essentially cost only one mana and provide a Clue with Ulvenwald Mysteries. We probably won’t use them unless we have to, since we’ve got the “free” creatures.
So Emissary and Herbalists is our “engine”, replacing the mana spent to cast future copies of themselves, and Elvish Visionary is a great way to dig for another copy when we’re running low on gas. We can also use Collected Company to dig for more copies of our mana creatures. Manamorphose is a free cantrip that gets us one card closer. The nice part of this deck is that Clues themselves help us dig toward our engine pieces, meaning all these additions are just bonus consistency.
Winning Could be Necessary
Of course, we could combo off perfectly, playing our Altar and Mysteries and having an amazing hand that we just spit out the next turn. Well, we’ve drawn our deck, and now what? There are a couple ways we could win. First, we could flashback Conflagrate to discard all the cards in our hand, burning the opponent out, but this only works if A) we didn’t play out most of our deck already and B) we only have one opponent. Ghirapur Aether Grid turns our Clues into deadly pingers, but that’s a pretty slow win. I want to be more explosive, so we’re going to have to look at cards that explicitly state we win the game. Laboratory Maniac will fit in just nicely.
Now that we’re in blue, let’s look at some ways to add some consistency to our brew. Ponder is one of the best cantrips we can use. Gitaxian Probe doesn’t cost any mana, so it can be good here too. Preordain and Serum Visions are also possibilities, but I think Ponder and Preordain are enough, so we can skip the Serum Visions. This lets us cut a few lands from our deck and gives us the ability to keep hands that might otherwise be a mulligan.
A deck like this can go a lot of ways: Krark-Clan Ironworks, Daring Sleuth, and Fleeting Memories are all interesting options that change how we want to play. For this build, I won’t be using any of them. However, it’s almost impossible to not add Tireless Tracker to this deck. In case our deck doesn’t go off, we can always just smash with the Tracker. I’ll also be adding a couple copies of Byway Courier, because it looks like it fits in here. It does cost a lot of mana, but it generates two Clues instead of one when it dies, so that gives it a pass.
Here’s what we’ve got:
Cool! Some of the cards in this deck are expensive (looking at you, Collected Company), but most of these cards have either been printed often enough or recently enough or are in low enough demand that the deck is overall affordable, especially on Magic Online. If you want to show off a spicy brew to your friends over the weekend, consider picking this up and making some changes to personalize it.