There was a good long while when Birthing Pod was a big portion of the metagame in more than one format. Since then there are still dedicated fans to the effect Birthing Pod gave us. Prime Speaker Vannifar isn’t exactly new but it could see a branch of magic revived again with the advent of a few good cards.
I have a decklist for you. It’s full of spice and of my own creation. However, first I want to give you a rundown on all things Prime Speaker Vannifar and exactly what this card is capable of even in Pioneer.
First off, let’s identify what’s needed to “go off” in combo terms. Obviously we need to be able to activate Prime Speaker Vannifar, which notably does come into play without haste. The new planeswalker, Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler, has a static ability that lets Vannifar bypass its summoning sickness.
In addition, Tyvar can bring back a creature to be recycled by Vannifar. Another good way of bypassing the slowness of summoning sickness is by utilizing Bloodlust Inciter. Not only does this let you begin going off right away, it is also the sacrificial lamb to begin the whole cycle as well.
Back to going off. This is really only facilitated by using Vannifar more than once in a turn. This can be done by getting a creature with a come into play triggered ability that untaps another creature. It can also be facilitated by grabbing a creature that returns a creature from the graveyard to the battlefield, so long as the creature it is returning has the original ability of untapping another creature.
If you are having a hard time visualizing it, let me give you an example. Lets say you’ve cast Vannifar and used your Bloodlust Inciter to give it haste. Next you can activate Vannifar to sacrifice the Bloodlust Inciter and search out Corridor Monitor.
Using Corridor Monitor’s come into play ability you will untap Prime Speaker Vannifar. Then use Vannifar’s ability sacrificing the Corridor Monitor and search out an Extraction Specialist. Extraction Specialist returns the sacrificed Corridor monitor to the battlefield and again untaps Prime Speak Vannifar.
Then we can sacrifice the Extraction Specialist to find Breaching Hippocamp. Which untaps Vannifar yet again and by sacrificing Breaching Hippocamp we can now find a card like Hero of the Dunes. In order to yet again use a creature with a return ability we need a Corridor monitor effect in the graveyard. So we may preempt this line by sacrificing a Corridor Monitor to grab something like Bounding Krasis. Then Hero of the Dunes can return Krasis upon our climb and untap Vannifar yet again. We can go even higher by then searching out Shepherd of the Cosmos. Return Corridor Monitor, untap Vannifar, Sacrifice Shepherd and now we can search out: Atraxa Grand Unifier, Agent of Treachery, or even Titan of Industry.
Now climbing from 1 to 7 is a lot of work. It’s taxing for a deck to have that many fluff cards on the way to climb to the top. Then what happens if you draw them? Do we play built in redundancy or effects to shuffle back in perhaps? Both methods aren’t so great and so I build a deck that tries to just extract a lot of value out of things we mostly want to be playing anyway.
I’m hoping that this deck catches on and can evolve even further with the help of new cards and better deckbuilders. Here’s the concept I am going for though: Turn 1 llanowar Elf, Turn 2 Kinnan and Mox Amber, between Mox and Elf we get four mana to play Prime Speaker Vannifar. Turn 3 we activate Vannifar and sacrifice Llanowar Elf. We get Corridor Monitor and untap Vannifar. We use Vannifar sacrificing Corridor Monitor to get Extraction Specialist. We bring back Monitor and untap Vannifar. We sacrifice Monitor again and grab another Specialist. Repeating the same lines four times. Then a Glasspool Mimic to do so a fifth time. Then we sacrifice a Specialist to grab the Breaching Hippocamp and use it with Vannifar to grab Kenrith. Using Kenriths red activation we attack for lethal on turn 3.
Obviously the ideal hand doesn’t always come and the real lynch pin to this decklist is Kinnan. There are 14 cards that gain additional benefit from Kinnan. Then Kinnan’s seven mana activated ability can find Prime Speaker Vannifar usually before the opponent will have a chance to set themselves up with interaction. If someone tries to kill Kinnan, well we have four copies of Extraction Specialists in our main deck to reanimate Kinnan with. Then we could even Neoform away a Specialist and have a Prime Speaker with a five toughness evading much of the formats removal spells.
In the sideboard we get lovely silver bullets and singletons that are especially powerful against specific archetypes. For instance, an Archon of Absolution will almost single handedly take down a Mono White Humans opponent. If one isn’t enough we can use Glasspool Mimic to create a second copy for the true finish. Reidane is for Lotus Field decks. Phyrexian Revoker is for Mono Green Devotion. We have most of our bases covered with creature options.
So this deck plays with elements of speed, value, and threatens a combo finish. Some games you’ll just return and play a Jegantha on turn three even. Or you’ll play a grindy game with Extraction Specialist shenanigans. Sacrificing Fblthp to Neoform to get a 4/3 lifelink Extraction Specialist that returns the Fblthp to draw a card just feels powerful most of the time.
This deck wants to see a way to make the many colored mana base even more spread out while remaining consistent. A creature to give the team haste in a Bant color and not just red would further facilitate the development of this deck. More ways to facilitate protecting Prime Speaker would be a boon. Lastly, more creatures with relevant come into play abilities would further help having cards that go up the chain while not making certain draws feel underwhelming.
I look forward to where this deck might go. Hopefully you like it and want to give it a swing for the fences. It’s an ideal deck for those that want to play something competitive and fun. It attacks from a surprise angle!