News : Chord of calling after Fate Reforged

Chord of calling after Fate Reforged


By Neil T Stacey


I must confess that I have a pet card in Standard. I shove it in decks where it doesn’t belong. When it does belong in a deck, I run more copies than I should. And who can blame me? Chord of Calling is a sweet card. It offers incredible flexibility; not only can it fit at almost any point of your mana curve, it puts a toolbox of creatures at your disposal. It gives creature decks an unprecedented ability to play at instant speed.

The power of the card is well established. It was major force in Standard when it was first printed and it went on to become a staple of the Modern format. When Magic 2015 hit the shelves, there were great expectations for Chord’s return to Standard.

It fell flat. With the prevalence of Mono-Black devotion and Blue-White control, it wasn’t a format where creature decks could build the kind of board presence needed to enable Convoke. Chord of Calling was shelved, to be re-examined at rotation.

However, the new tools in Khans of Tarkir pushed it to the wayside once more. Why give up mana efficiency to get access to a suite of conditionally powerful creatures when you can instead just play Siege Rhino all the time? Green creature decks have been a consistent feature of this Standard but they depend on raw power rather than on interaction or flexibility.

There are two things that can change this equation. The first of those is the release of a new set that adds some cool new cool stuff to fetch and the second is an evolution in the format that makes otherwise-marginal creatures conditionally very powerful.

The first one of those happens next week when Fate Reforged brings in a handful of interesting new creatures. The second one might have already happened; the rise of Whip of Erebos decks have seen a resurgence of Anafenza in aggressive Abzan decks. Certain builds of Abzan Midrange have come to feature copies of Reclamation Sage because of its ability to kill Courser of Kruphix, Whip of Erebos or Perilous Vault while adding a body to the board.

The colour combination best able to cast Chord of Calling is Red-Green. Xenagos, the Reveler makes a stream of tokens that enable convoke and his mana ability can give you the kick you need to Chord in even the biggest threats. Goblin Rabblemaster is a great creature to fetch with Chord as well as producing enough tokens to power up Convoke. Here’s a deck-list to leverage this synergy and flexibility to end games quickly.

Green-Red Chord Aggro


Lands (22):

4 x Wooded Foothills

4 x Temple of Abandon

1 x Mana Confluence

8x Forest

5 x Mountain

Creatures (28):

4 x Elvish Mystic

4 x Rattleclaw Mystic

4 x Heir of the Wilds

4 x Goblin Rabblemaster

1 x Yasova Draognclaw

1x Courser of Kruphix

1x Reclamation Sage

3 x Polukranos, World Eater

1 x Shaman of the Great Hunt

1 x Ashcloud Phoenix

3 x Stormbreath Dragon

1 x Whisperwood Elemental

Spells (10):

3 x Xenagos, the Reveler

3 x Chord of Calling

4 x Crater’s Claws


Sideboard (15):

2 x Arc Lightning

2 x Wild Slash

2 x Lightning Strike

2 x Eidolon of Blossoms

2 x Courser of Kruphix

1 x Hornet Nest

1 x Nylea’s Disciple

1 x Reclamation Sage

1 x Hornet Queen

1 x Eidolon of the Great Revel


This build is a little rough, particularly the sideboard, but it’s a good starting point and it’s a deck I will be testing with. Fate Reforged hasn’t contributed much to this deck but it has added some singletons capable of changing the face of a game.

Whisperwood Elemental is an incredible standalone threat that takes over the board all by itself while also give the deck an option against sweepers. Fetching Yasova at the end of your opponent’s turn changes combat maths completely. I can see it letting you overrun even quite considerable defences. Shaman of the Great Hunt is the most speculative inclusion. It gives the deck a way to convert a mana glut into a stream of cards while also providing a decent threat that works particularly well when adding +1+1 counters to Rabblemaster tokens. The singleton Courser of Kruphix gives you a way to change gears when your life total is under pressure.

The sideboard has enough cheap removal to play the control role when it’s necessary, but other than it’s a toolbox of creatures. Playing a tutor like Chord amplifies the effect of sideboarding changes by giving you easy access to any creature you bring in. Hornet queen and a pair of eidolon of blossoms offer a long game to rival the format’s midrange decks. An additional Reclamation Sage is available to give more enchantment removal. Eidolon of the Great Revel is another odd choice, aimed at pro-actively attacking Jeskai Ascendancy Combo.  It might well be better to just put in some copies of Destructive Revelry but I’m inclined to test out a few creative solutions at this stage.

Red offers the most pro-active strategy built around Chord of Calling, but it’s not the only way to go. White offers a number of cheap silver bullets prime for fetching with Chord. Aegis of the Gods at instant speed can fizzle a Thoughtseize or a burn spell aimed at your life total, as well as protecting you from a follow-up until it’s removed. Spirit of the Labyrinth is useful against control decks trying to draw cards, while Hushwing Gryff is a phenomenal tool against a number of decks in the format.

Green-White lacks the aggressive options of Red-Green, so this build will be playing a longer game, leveraging specific answers from a more typical Monsters Shell.


Green-White Chord Monsters


Lands (23):

4 x Windswept Heath

4 x Temple of Plenty

2 x Blossoming Sands

2 x Mana Confluence

4 x Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

6x Forest

1 Plains

Creatures (29)

4 x Elvish Mystic

1 x Mardu Woe-Reaper

1 x Warden of the First Tree

4 x Sylvan Caryatid

3 x Fleecemane Lion

1 x Heir of the Wilds

4 x Courser of Kruphix

1 x Reclamation Sage

3 x Polukranos, World Eater

2 x Eidolon of Blossoms

1 x Arbor Colossus

1 x Whisperwood Elemental

1 x Wingmate Roc

1 x Soul of Theros

1 x Hornet Queen

Spells (8)

2 x Valorous Stance

3 x Banishing Light

3 x Chord of Calling

Sideboard (15):

1 x Reclamation Sage

1 x Hushwing Gryff

1 x Spirit of the Labyrinth

1 x Aegis of the Gods

1 x Phyrexian Revoker

1 x Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt

1 x Fleecemane Lion

1 x Heir of the Wilds

1 x Wingmate Roc

1 x Hornet nest

2 x Nylea’s Disciple

3 x Erase


Again, the Fate Reforged additions are minor. Chording in Mardu-Reaper is a cheap, instant-speed response to a Whip or Erebos activation which leaves behind a 2/1 and incidentally gains a bit of life. Whisperwood Elemental makes an appearance, once again as an amazing standalone threat that doubles as protection against sweepers. Valorous Stance is another new inclusion, serving to protect a key threat from removal or keep something alive through a sweeper, all while doubling as cheap removal for some of the most important creatures in the format. This is a card we’ll be seeing a lot of in Standard and it fits in quite nicely in this deck.

The sideboard is fairly regulation aside from the string of singleton creatures. Post-board, this deck gets access to answers to every major deck in Standard without giving up its pro-active game plan.

These decks both have the potential to be fairly competitive but I don’t see them as contenders for the format’s top deck. If I’m honest, I expect that Chord of Calling will continue to glide under the radar in Standard. Despite that, I enjoy playing toolbox decks enough that I’ll keep trying it out in every deck I can think of.

Don’t be surprised if you see me Chording in a Siege Rhino in the near future. Abzan Midrange is an archetype with access to an array of creatures that are conditionally backbreaking and besides, how can you go wrong with extra copies of Siege Rhino?