Deck Tech: Etrata the Multifarious
2nd Feb 2019
Etrata the Multifarious (v1) 60 cards
I am a massive fan of the alternate win condition. When I first saw Etrata, the Silencer I knew I wanted to win some games with her ability. This deck has taken me a while to put together and requires some very careful piloting1 but the results are worth the time investment.
The General Technique
Bomb #1: Attack of the Clones
There are only a few ways to get around the legend rule2 and I’ve chosen Lazav, the Multifarious to do my dirty work. He has the ability to become any creature in your graveyard (subject to you paying the mana cost) but he retains his name thus avoiding the conflict of having two cards named “Etrata, the Silencer”. He is also fairly nice as you can bring him in a turn prior and then turn him into Etrata when he is no longer encumbered by summoning sickness - in fact you can even do it at the point of declaring attackers. Sadly he can only pull people from the graveyard and Etrata doesn’t go there unless countered or destroyed. My tactic is therefore to use Repudiate // Replicate to clone Etrata; this trigges the legend rule and so I discard her (not the token!) thus putting her in the graveyard ready for Lazev to transform and swing in with two Etrata’s. Note that Lazev is himself legendary and thus you can only have one of him in play.
Bomb #2: Ptera in the skies
The general aim is to either exile creatures with Etrata or smack the opponent in the face with Etrata and her airborne mana sink friends. There are several low-level creatures so a good draw will see you play Pteramander, Lazav, the Multifarious, Thief of Sanity, and then Etrata, the Silencer. If you can’t pull off the perfect ramp, cards like Pteramander and Siren Stormtamer will help plug the gaps.
I’ve already mentioned that Etrata isn’t that helpful if your opponent has no creatures but also beware those that can do shenanigans with sacrificing. At the point Etrata does damage to the player, you get to choose which of their creatures gets exiled; they can then respond to that by sacrificing them to something meaning you don’t get an exile counter3. You also need to beware things like Justiciar’s Portal that ‘blink’ the creature you have targeted; when they come back they are technically a different target so the ability does not resolve. Thankfully you do not need to worry about creatures you’ve exiled ever being bought back; there are no cards in Standard that allow that to happen. One final thing: don’t try and exile a token — a token is deleted as soon as it is exiled but it would still cause Etrata to be put back in your library which would be bad.
- Final Parting is fairly expensive but is a really good way of fetching two Etrata’s and putting one in your hand (ready for use) and one in your graveyard (ready for Lazev). Similarly, Mastermind’s Acquisition can be used to fetch whatever you need from your library or from outside of the game4.
- Sphinx of Foresight is good both as a 4/4 flyer but also as a way of getting a free scry before you draw on upkeep. Definitely useful in a deck that requires a number of pieces in hand to operate at full potential.
- Helm of the Host is another tactic for duplicating Etrata and could be used to remove the green splash from this deck. It’s an equipment that creates a duplicate of the creature it is attached to (Etrata) except the token isn’t legendary thus skirting the legend rule. The nice thing with this is that you could leave it on a real Etrata and just keep attacking with the token ones as they are given haste. The reason I don’t have this in the main deck is that I haven’t had much success with this tactic but your mileage may vary.
This is definitely not a deck that you’ll see wins with instantly; it definitely has some nuance and requires a few losses until it all clicks into place. My god it is satisfying when it works though! ↩︎
704.5k. If a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the “legend rule.” ↩︎
You don’t lose Etrata either but it is still frustrating, especially if you only need 1 more counter to win and you are low on life. ↩︎
Which begs an interesting question: can you fetch a 5th copy of a card? The answer is… no (at least in a tournament). The rules state you can only have 4 copies of a card across your deck and sideboard and Mastermind’s Acquisition can only fetch from your sideboard in a tournament setting. ↩︎