Primeval Stronghold (Playsession Report)

By: Jason Waddell

For some time, I’ve had a theory that one of the most powerful things you can do in my cube involves the following two-card combination:
Primeval TitanVolrath's Stronghold

The archetype is basically a Golgari Timmy deck, that wants to ramp out powerful cards and recur them for value until you trample over the opponent for lethal. I’ve won with this archetype before, but when I last played if my cube was sporting the Recurring Nightmare engine, which is no longer in my list. Those who have followed or played my cube will know that ramp isn’t a very central focus of the design, and can be a dangerous prospect given the powerful aggro decks running around and the plentiful Wasteland effects in the format.

In last night’s draft, I dove into the archetype straight away with the following two picks:
Primeval TitanVerdant Catacombs

Unfortunately, this would the last relevant land-based fixing I would see in the packs. Two seats to my right, an ambitious second-time drafter was amassing a very color intensive BUG deck. The first time he drafted our cube, he made the rookie mistake of drafting a fixing-free two-color aggro list that stumbled on mana and never managed to hit the ground running. This week he took things to the polar opposite extreme by picking fixing in seven of his first ten picks. Needless to say the Bayous and Overgrown Tombs never made it to my end of the table.


The deck was very resilient, and had multiple ways to get its engine online.

Demonic TutorPrimal Command

Primal Command was exactly what this sort of deck was looking for. I brought in Primal Command in place of Plow Under in the Gravecrawler update, and have been impressed with its versatility and impact. Over the course of the night I tutored up Deathrite Shaman, a land (off Demonic Tutor), Vampire Nighthawk and Primeval Titan. The 7 life had huge impacts on the race math, and the tutors gave me a sense of control over the games that I don’t always feel when piloting a ramp deck.

Most interestingly, I never wanted to tutor up Grave Titan. Sure, Grave Titan is a great threat, but Primeval Titan gives you a game-long engine and the mana to use it.
Volrath's StrongholdTreetop Village

Even if your Primeval Titan is killed or exile, the deck was perfectly content to bring back Skinrenders and Wolfir Silverhearts from the graveyard.

Further, the deck had some fairly effective sideboard cards, including:
Pernicious Deed
Awakening Zone
Hymn to Tourach
Kozilek’s Predator
Wall of Roots
Innocent Blood

Keeping Pernicious Deed in the sideboard feels like a crime, but with my decks reliance on 1-drop elves it felt like a losing proposition. The other three drops were absolutely vital to our acceleration and board stabilization plans, and were far more vital to the deck.

Ultimately the deck 3 – 0’d, but not without some punts and scares along the way.

In the finals I beat the following deck piloted by forum member Hannes:

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