Umezawa, the Rat Queen

Magic the Gathering is a complex game with lots of rules and subtle nuances. The minimum size of a deck, starting life totals and how many of a certain card you can field are all things that we all need to know. However, occasionally Wizards of the Coast like to mess with the status quo and print cards that break one of the fundamental rules of the game. Rat Colony is one such card.

A 2/1 common from Dominaria, Rat Colony has two key pieces of rule text. Firstly, each copy gets +1/+0 for each other rat you control. Secondly, your deck can have any number of cards named Rat Colony. This marks only the third time a card has broken the ‘four of’ rule in the history of Magic, and each time budding brews have tried to abuse this fact to create some interesting and often fun decks. Well, not been one to ignore such a tradition, I set to work build a deck that revolved around an army of these pesky rodents. What I came up with was not only fun, but also fairly powerful too.

Rat Colony

The deck was obviously going to have a great number of rats at its disposal, but the question was what else we could do to maximum its effectiveness. Well, how about making our rats unblockable? Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive is a Legendary 1/3 Human Rogue that has only a single ability, to make all our creatures with power or toughness unblockable. Since our rat buff only affects the power of our creatures, Umezawa can allow us to get in a ton of damage in the space of only a few turns. This does mean that we will be running a blue and black deck and it would be rude not to play with the best blue and black creature in the format.

Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive

The Scarab God is a ridiculously powerful card, been incredibly hard to remove and allow all graveyards to become a resource. So even if our opponent can destroy the first couple of rats we play, we can just start returning them to the battlefield as 4/4 that still get the ‘horde’ buff. The rest of the deck is full of removal and card draw spells. Fatal Push, Cast Down and Vraska’s Contempt give us a broad range of removal options for most threats in the format, while a playset of Chart a Course helps keep our hand full of gas.

The mana base is incredible simple the playsets of Drowned Catacomb and Fetid Pools, paired up with six Islands and eight Swamps. The side board is heavily tailored to combat control decks, with Lost Legacy and Duress able to replace most of our removal package in order to attack our opponents hand. Crook of Condemnation allows us to have targeted graveyard hate when facing opposing Scarab Gods. Negate is simply one of the best sideboard counterspells, able to stop sweepers, Planeswalkers and removal spells. Finally, Golden Demise works as a one sided wrath if we have the City’s Blessing, or as a turn three sweeper if our opponent gets off to a great start.

Creatures (26)
19 Rat Colony
4 Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive
3 The Scarab God
Non-Creature Spells (12)
4 Fatal Push
4 Chart a Course
2 Cast Down
2 Vraska’s Contempt
Lands (22)
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Fetid Pools
6 Island
8 Swamp
Sideboard (15)
2 Lost Legacy
4 Duress
3 Crook of Condemnation
4 Negate
2 Golden Demise

And there you have it, Blue/Black Rat Colony for Standard. It’s surprisingly strong for a deck that runs nineteen 2/1’s, able to put opponents under a lot of pressure early on while been able to fight it out in the late game. The deck is also very customizable, with many other cards that could make the cut. Bontu’s Monument not only makes our rats cost only a single black mana but can drain our opponents out of the game if left unchecked. Secret Salvage is a bit expensive but can put every copy of Rat Colony into your hand if you so wish. You can even play Soul Salvage in order to recur your rats is The Scarab God is a little bit out of your price range. The possibilities are huge, so have fun and experiment.

But what do you think of the deck? Is this the kind of brew that floats your boat? Would you take it in another direction, or even add another colour? Why not let us know about it in the comments below, and while your there subscribe to the site to stay up to date with all the going on’ here at Master of Magics. We still have a load of ideas for more Dominaria inspired brews, so keep your eyes peeled for more deck techs in the next week or so. But until next time remember, Good Luck and Have Fun.

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