Draconic Destruction - Upgrade Guide

Draconic Destruction Upgrade
(Atarka, World Render | Art by Camille Alquier)

Hey friends! It’s time for another precon upgrade guide, courtesy of your favorite budget team, the Scrap Trawlers. I’m Andy, and today I’ll be showing you how to unleash more “Death from Above” with the Draconic Destruction Starter Deck. We’re adding MOAR DRAGONS, lowering the mana cost a bit, and reducing the removal so your friends don’t hate you when you slaughter them with your flying beasts. Because destruction should be fun, yes?

Here’s the original decklist:

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer

Dragons Want Hugs

Our Dragon lord is Atarka, World Render, a 6/4 flyer with trample who gives all of our Dragons double strike when they attack. The original list only had 21 Dragons, which is a bit low for a creature type-themed deck. Sadly, it’s difficult to go much higher since Dragons aren’t terribly useful for card draw or ramp, especially since they generally have high casting costs, and we can’t lose slots in those important categories if we want the deck to function well. But we did get a small boost to our ramp suite from Commander Legends 2 with Ganax, Astral Hunter and Scaled Nurturer. The Nurturer is especially good since cheap ramp is so important to the deck.

I beefed up the ramp with a few other non-Dragon cards as well. Fellwar Stone is just a simple, cheap mana rock that may not always get you the colors you need, but usually does. Domri, Anarch of Bolas has 3 effects, all of which are highly relevant to this deck, so it seemed like a no-brainer to include him. The ramp and protection for our Dragon spells is great, but that additional one power point is so much more meaningful when the creatures have double strike. The fight effect is just icing. And last, though it’s not exactly ramp, it does help us to get our creatures out cheaply, and at instant speed! It’s Monster Manual, a sort of artifact version of Elvish Piper that is much more efficient since it won’t have summoning sickness and doesn’t die to removal.

Double Or Nothing

Improving the card draw in the deck was much more difficult. It was hard to find cards that would be meaningful for the deck that also wouldn’t hurt our chances of lowering our mana curve. But I was able to add two Dragons to this suite. Well, one Dragon and a Changeling, which still counts! Dragonborn Champion draws us a card whenever we deal 5 or more damage, which will be vastly improved with double strike. And Realmwalker allows us to look at the top card of our library and play Dragons from it! For just a touch more card draw, I threw in a Return of the Wildspeaker, which can also potentially function as a finisher with its pump option.

For other additions, I pulled in two more cards from Commander Legends 2: Chaos Dragon and Thrakkus the Butcher. Chaos Dragon is a cheap 4/4, which is exactly what the deck needed, and Thrakkus is just plain nasty with double strike. Like, Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” could be Thrakkus’s WWE walk-on song for this deck. It’s that good.

We’re also adding a Wrap in Vigor, which is a “Heroic Intervention we have at home” type of deal, but still very worth it as a cheap addition to protect your horde from board wipes. Kessig Wolf Run will take one of our land slots because it belongs in every red/green combat deck. And last is Bower Passage, a two-mana enchantment that makes your flyers practically unblockable. Wait, what? Yes, that’s what it does. I thought it was crazy and had to re-read it a couple of times. And it’s cheap! You can buy it for less than a quarter! The only thing that can still block your flyers is creatures with reach, which is not a terribly common ability in Commander.

Dragons Raze

Okay, we added in a bunch of cards. Now, as is customary (according to some rules thing or other), we have to cut some cards so we’re back down to 100. Taking out cards from this list was not easy. At all. Especially when I realized that not every Dragon from the original list was gonna make the cut. Rapacious Dragon got the ax because two treasures for 5 mana just wasn’t a good enough investment, especially since it’s only a 3/3. And Furnace Whelp is gone because it’s just not good. I don’t care how much you like Firebreathing, 4 mana for a 2/2 is just not keepable. Thankfully, we’re still left with 24 Dragons in the deck. Not the 30 I wanted, but still an improvement.

Some non-Dragons facing the chop are Dragonkin Berserker, Drumhunter, and Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker. The Berserker requires you to attack with a 2/2 to get any kind of effect, which is unlikely to happen more than once. Drumhunter was a tougher cut, since it’s both ramp and card draw. But it needed to go to make room for more Dragons. And Sarkhan is out for his high cost.

Remember in the original list there were 22 removal cards? We cut several of those. In addition to Sarkhan, I’m taking out Spit Flame, Sweltering Suns, Chain Reaction, Frontier Siege, and Provoke the Trolls. But don’t you fret; there are still 16 cards in our removal suite. 

Unleash Fury is a neat combat trick, especially with double strike, but just felt like a win-more card. And last, we’re cutting Shamanic Revelation. This isn’t exactly a go-wide deck, so we don’t want to be stuck with this as our card draw if we’ve only got one Dragon on the field. We’re much better off with Return of the Wildspeaker.

And finally, I took out two Mountains and added one Forest. Just to even things out a bit better.

Dragon’s Hoard

For those less budget-conscious who, for reasons I can’t fathom, would like to throw a bunch of money at this precon, I’ve got some fantastic ideas for you.

If there’s one card I could make super cheap to include in my upgrade list, it would definitely be Urza’s Incubator. Dragons need this card more than any other creature type, since they’re so expensive to cast. Also for ramp, throw in The Reaver Cleaver to go swimming in treasure. For more card draw you can add The Great Henge and Vanquisher’s Banner. And for protection you’ve got the aforementioned Heroic Intervention, as well as Asceticism.

This being a Dragon deck and all, we can’t forget about those expensive Dragons! Ancient Copper Dragon and Ancient Bronze Dragon both love to have double strike. Utvara Hellkite makes a ridiculous number of friends. Terror of the Peaks can speed up the game nicely. And Hellkite Tyrant is a fun alternate win condition if smashing face starts to get boring.

Final Thoughts

Here’s the final upgraded deck list:

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer

We didn’t manage to make much improvement to the Dragon count or the average mana value. We only netted 3 additional Dragons and lowered the average MV from 3.82 to 3.73. Small changes, but with this new list we’ll be getting our Dragons out more quickly, and not constantly pinging our opponents’ things off the board. Which I’m sure they’ll appreciate. And the upgrade only cost us about $15! Well worth it.

Okay friends, that’s all I’ve got for you for the Draconic Destruction Starter Deck. What do you think? Tell me in the comments below, or hit us up on Twitter. You can also catch our other budget content on YouTube and Twitch. And keep your eyes peeled here for more precon guides, because the precon party don’t stop. Until next time, remember to budget…before you buy it.

Scrap Trawlers is a Magic: The Gathering budget EDH streaming and video group, with gameplay, deck techs, chats, and more. Catch our videos at youtube.com/scraptrawlers. Andy, Nick, Lenny, and Bert.