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A Junk Midrange-Control deck that wins by dragging the game out with cheap removals and blockers and then overpowering the opponent and gain board control with bigger, better, more efficient creatures and planeswalkers. Restoration Angel increases the value of herself and other ETB creatures on the list such as Thragtusk , Obzedat, Ghost Council , and Angel of Serenity .
Garruk, Primal Hunter usually shifts the game in your favor when resolved. He can either get you a sizable token to attack or block with or the card draws (most of the time 3+) to keep you going.
Abrupt Decay and Doom Blade are by far the best removals in standard. The first spell is able to kill pretty much anything on aggro lists, removes annoying cards like Liliana of the Veil , Oblivion Ring , Detention Sphere , Boros Reckoner , Blind Obedience , etc. Doom Blade can kill most creatures in the format at instant speed and at a very affordable cost and color. Also, Abrupt Decay can kill Ravager of the Fells Flip !
Tragic Slip is very versatile in this list. It can be a simple weenie removal early game while it can damn near kill everything with morbid trigger that will happen VERY often with all of the little tokens I make. This spell also goes through indestructibility and regeneration.
Lingering Souls is one of the best cards, in any format. Getting 2 flying chump blockers for 2W, 2 more for 1B, or 4 at once for 3WB is excruciatingly efficient. These guys do serious work at chump blocking (for you or for your planeswalkers) and your opponent will think twice before turning sideways when these tokens and a Vault of the Archangel and 2WB are open on the field. They are also very painful with Sorin, Lord of Innistrad 's emblem. Huge nightmare for control decks. Definitely worth the 4-of.
Loxodon Smiter is just fat. He is a nightmare for control decks and is a pain for aggro decks to deal with. Sure, a Mizzium Mortars can beat him, but a 4/4 for 3 with extra effects isn't something to scoff at. He dodges Ultimate Price , Searing Spear , Pillar of Flame , which are all popular removal spells. And should someone be foolish enough to +1 his own Liliana of the Veil , well let's just say they will get a LEGO-mallet to the face. I literally have him in my deck just because he's a 4/4 for 1GW. The extra abilities are just icing on the cake.
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad is great against aggro or any deck, for that matter. He protects himself coming in with a lifelink token and is usually protected further by other creatures (especially other spirit tokens) and once comfortable, he can either make an emblem that turns my chump blockers into flying clumps of nightmare or sit on his counters and blow up to take up to three of my opponent's creatures/planeswalkers, which usually will win me the game.
Cloudshift is such a seldom played sleeper spell! This bitch is a body-less Restoration Angel that abuses the crap out of other creatures' ETB abilities and opens up further combat trick options. This spell basically has the following modes in this deck: "W: Choose one: Counter target spells or abilities that targets a creature you control; or Untap target creature (or target creature gains vigilance until the end of turn); or abuse ETB ability/ies on target creature you control." One of the best things you can do with this is swing through with Restoration Angel and another creature and surprise block or dodge targeted removals with Cloudshift targeting Restoration Angel and use her to target the other creature. Many plays can be made with this spell, and all that for just one mana. This card has won me numerous games and I am so glad I found it.
Since this deck leans on the slower side of the Midrange archetype, Staff of Nin is there to give me the card advantage/damage to finish the game and/or remove any pesky creatures/chump blockers. Drawing two cards every turn when most decks would start running out of steam and go into topdeck mode will usually put you so far ahead to secure the win.
Angel of Serenity is in many cases a win-con by herself if she resolves, being a pseudo-sweep to swing in for lethal or to return those creatures that a, say, Supreme Verdict has swept away back to my hand should she leave play. Should I have enough mana, I can also make a play where I bounce her with Orzhov Charm in response before her ETB ability resolves and exile my three targets indefinitely, which is pretty darn awesome. Same play works with Cloudshift , except you get 3 more targets to exile!
Sigarda, Host of Herons is very well positioned in the current meta, which is one full of removals due to prevalence of high-impact creatures. She is extremely hard to remove and the only way to remove her is by board sweeping or through combat, but her size makes the latter a challenge.
Sin Collector - Great 3-drop to come in against control. Takes out things like Supreme Verdict and/or Sphinx's Revelation before they can happen. Also the knowledge of what's in your opponent's hand is huge. He also synergizes with Restoration Angel .
Sever the Bloodline - This comes in against aggro and midrange lists and in many cases can act as a board sweep that counters Undying and Indestructibility. I can always flash it back for more removal as well, letting this spell be a threat throughout the game. It is also great against Voice of Resurgence .
Purify the Grave - A graveyard hate that is much harder to deal with since they can't remove it, per se. Cast this in response to their targeting something with Unburial Rites or Angel of Serenity or Snapcaster Mage or target key pieces against Humanimators. Very useful.
Abrupt Decay - Card is way too good to not run 4 total somewhere. Perfect side-in against aggro and weenies.
Witchbane Orb - This is there mainly to combat Esper Control's Nephalia Drownyard but it's also good against Bonfire, RDW, Geralf's Messenger , Blood Artist , Skullcrack , Mill, Rakdos's Return , Slaughter Games . etc.
Blood Baron of Vizkopa - Protection from Black and White is ridiculous against a lot of decks in the meta. He's immune to a lot of popular removals like Azorius Charm , Feeling of Dread ,Dreadbore , Doom Blade , Oblivion Ring , Detention Sphere , etc. His superman ability is simply icing on the cake and should not be too difficult to pull off in this deck. He also can't be blocked by the Aristocrats.
Unflincing Courage - Most of the time a blowout against aggro thanks to lifelink. Slap it on any of the creatures to turn it into a lifegain beatstick.
Any suggestions are welcomed!
Also, be sure to check out my other decks on my profile!
So there were only 12 people playing tonight, which means "the money" is in the Top 4 as opposed to the usual top 8.
I went 2-2 and so I was out of the money, boooo. I am positive I still got top 8 though, given my tiebreakers. Anyway, I got the report:
R1: Naya Midrange/Aggro (W 2-1)
A naya midrange deck that ramps with dorks into things like Boros Reckoner , Savageborn Hydra , Aurelia, the Warleader , Thragtusk , etc. Lost game 1 when I ran out of steam late game and drew into lands 3 turns in a row while his monsters kept swinging in. Game 2 was close. He has a Savageborn Hydra with 3 counters and Unflinching Courage attached to him, making him a 5/5 lifelink trample double strike WITH his own Rhox Faithmender on the field. He jumped straight from 7 to 27 life in one swing but the game was won when I played Garruk, Primal Hunter and drawing 5 cards off of Thragtusk which got me Abrupt Decay to take out the hydra just in time. Next turn I casted Angel of Serenity that I drew from last turn and sealed the game. Game 3 was just bad luck for him as he couldn't get past 1 land and a couple mana dorks. I eventually got to 5 mana and casted Acidic Slime destroying his only land.
R2: Junk Rites (L 1-2)
Bah. I did great in the first game thanks to early Loxodon Smiter and Thragtusk getting it in before he got online. Game 2 was poop. Couldn't do anything when I wasn't drawing the right lands and the only green source I had to survive was destroyed by Acidic Slime . Game 3 shared the same fate thanks to timely Angel of Serenity .
R3: Jimhawk's deck:the-sunfist-brigade-dgm-update (L 0-2)
So this was the knock-out round for both of us. His usual aggro-ness was way too fast for my deck. He had the nuts both games with T1 Champion of the Parish into T2 Lightning Mauler into T3 whatever-the-hell else. It was way too much damage early for me to recover from since I didn't draw into any efficient removals. (Unfortunately, he didn't make Top 4..)
R4: RBW (Aristocrats?) (W 2-0)
It was a RBW deck but I didn't see any Falkenrath Aristocrat or Cartel Aristocrat or even Doomed Traveler . He ran Boros Reckoner , High Priest of Penance , Master of Cruelties , some other spells like Mizzium Mortars , Searing Spear , Boros Charm , Dreadbore , etc. He wasn't able to do much when I started gaining life with Thragtusk into Obzedat, Ghost Council into two Restoration Angel s. The life gain was too much for him at that point. Game 2 ended even more swiftly when I was able to cast Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and he tried to Boros Charm it before I used his ability, which he couldn't do due to me having priority. Knowing his next play, I just made an emblem and let him kill Sorin anyway. Started swinging in with spirit tokens while chump-blocking Master of Cruelties . Eventually I had enough damage in the air for him to concede.
All in all, deck did alright tonight. Made more trades towards the secondary deck, deck:obliterate-the-mind. If I can get enough testing and tweaking done on this deck in the next week, I may even bench Ghost Dad for the first time in favor of the second deck to take to States next weekend!
So this is the report of LAST WEEK'S FNM. I couldn't get to it in a timely manner due to prereleases and such.
Went 3-2 and did not top 8. That night was prerelease night so it was 5 rounds with auto-split in top 8.
R1: RUG Elves (L 0-2)
One of the coolest non-netdecks I've seen in a while. This deck accelerates hard with Arbor Elf and Gyre Sage and Elvish Archdruid into Master Biomancer and possibly Craterhoof Behemoth after a few Clone s or so. This deck is designed to go over the top of midrange decks and then some so naturally I got my ass handed to me. Man I love Master Biomancer .
R2: Humanimator (W 2-1)
Your usual human reanimator deck. He got the combo off in game 1. Won game 2 thanks to Purify the Grave targeting Angel of Glory's Rise and locking his combo down until I have damage to go over. Game 3 wasn't too much of a problem when he went limp after missing the combo and me putting the pressure on with Thragtusk and a few recurs.
R3: Grixis Mill (W2-0)
Ah. This deck again. He never got a good mill streak going other than the Mind Grind for 5 in game 1, which I somehow recovered from.
R4: Orzhov....???? (W 2-0)
Not sure what this dude was running. He was running BW something. I completely blanked out on key cards he played but the records on life totals indicated that Obzedat, Ghost Council got played at some point. Wasn't too much of a highlight that night so that's probably why. Sorry.
R5: ???? (L 1-2)
I forgot to write down the deck I played in this round. A very small sliver of memory suggests that it was Rakdos Aggro since the life totals on his side never went back up (which eliminates pretty much everything BUT the most aggro of aggro) so I am going to safely assume that it was in fact Rakdos Aggro. Ridiculous curving paired with a few cards I did not expect to see sealed it for me. Firefist Striker is such a sleeper card and is fantastic against midrange and aggro alike. Turn 4 Hellrider into turn 5 Falkenrath Aristocrat in two of the games is hard to deal with.
Welp. That is all for that week.
Alright back on track with the reports. I went 3-1 then drew the fifth round into 3-1-1 for Top 8! I finished 5th and we all decided to split the packs after much debate.
R1: RUG Elves (L1-2)
Agh. This deck again! And even better with DGM cards! Won game 1 because he couldn't get any lands after I Tragic Slip ed his turn 1 Arbor Elf , which he was banking on using to cast his two Farseek s in hand. Quick game. Game 2 he was on the play and was able to get Acidic Slime out first, which ended it for me since shortly after he played Progenitor Mimic targeting the slime. GG. Game 3 was similar except instead he copied my own Loxodon Smiter before stabilizing. Also GG. This deck is legit.
R2: Bye (W 2-0)
Woot! Went to get some food and watched some people play.
R3: 4C Goodstuff (GUBW) (W 2-0)
He could not get it up in game 1. Was stuck on with all the lands of the colors he didn't want more of. Game 2 was also stupid. He wasn't able to hit his big creatures while I smacked him over and over with Thragtusk and Restoration Angel .
R4: Jund Midrange (W 2-1)
Wow. This round was intense! This guy is already good at MTG so I knew I was up for some beating. Beating came game 1 when I got him down to 5 life with my spirit tokens plus some emblems, but he drew and played a clutch Sire Of Insanity , making me discard my finisher hand of Blood Baron of Vizkopa , Thragtusk , Restoration Angel , and Thragtusk . (Blood Baron was online the next turn I play him since I was at 32. He continued to put salt on the wound by peeling Bonfire of the Damned off the top, killing my Sorin, Lord of Innistrad who was my only way out at the time. He eventually stabilized enough to ult Garruk, Primal Hunter with 7 loyalty counters on him. Game 2 was incredibly on luck for me. I mulligan'd to 6 cards, but accidentally drew 7. Being the competitor that the guy was, he said I was supposed to go down to 5 for that error and so I did. I thought this game was over since I ended up with only one land in the 5-hand, but I had to keep it anyway. Guess what? Turn 2, drew land. Turn 3, drew land. 3 mana was all I needed to get going early thanks to Lingering Souls and flashing it back the next turn. I swung hard at his life total while he set up with nothing on the board. Turn 5, land came and I played Sorin, Lord of Innistrad , knowing I need to shift to aggro at this point and so I made an emblem and swung in for 8 more. I eventually got to 5 mana and casted Obzedat, Ghost Council and tango'd with him for a while before he went to 2. He thought he was safe since he had blockers to stop my Ghost Dad....until I casted Cloudshift on my Ghost Dad after my upkeep. GG. Game 3 was somewhat slower. He played Olivia Voldaren after I played my Sorin, Lord of Innistrad with a token. He killed my token and knowing that Sorin was as good as dead next turn, I made an emblem out of him before letting him take one for the team. Seeing his open mana, I decided to not cast Thragtusk on the turn I got 5 mana since he could either triple ping him to death or play one more mana and ping then take him for keeps. I played Thragtusk on my 6th mana, leaving a mana open and ready for a Cloudshift . He decided to not kill the Thragtusk (not sure why) and decided to ping him once for the vampire marker and swing in at my life total instead, which let me swing in with Thragtusk . He decided to take his time and drew some cards with Underworld Connections and passing turn with 7-8 mana open. I flashed in Restoration Angel at the end of turn to bait his ability, which he bit hook, line, and sinker. He responded to my Resto trigger by trying to take control of Thragtusk , but I responded to that with Cloudshift , which he responded with another ping. Ping resolves. Then Cloudshift resolves, granting me a token and 5 life and the very important fact that the Thragtusk is no longer a vampire. Olivia Voldaren 's ability whiffed, but so did Restoration Angel since her original target was no longer there. Still, I ended up with Thragtusk , Restoration Angel , and a beast token. I swung in and he blocked angel with Olivia Voldaren and took 10 thanks to sorin's emblem, putting him at 1. I then proceeded to play Staff of Nin during second main phase and activate it for the win. I feel like I made all the right plays in the games that I won this round and I am very proud of this fact.
R5: Rakdos Aggro (Draw into Top 8: 1-0-1) (W 2-1 in funsies)
Played the Rakdos Aggro deck for funsies since I never beat this guy before. He's fun to play with and he really knows how to play an aggro deck well so I was willing to play more to get experience. Game one he swung in hard with the usual curves when I couldn't get past 2 lands. Game 2 he was stuck with 3 lands for the longest time, but he still put on a ridiculous amount of pressure. My life total was hopping up and down thanks to Obzedat, Ghost Council and lifelinking tokens with emblem. I eventually did the math and double Cloudshift ed Obzedat, Ghost Council to put me just out of range of his Hellrider in the event he hits his fourth land and plays it. He did hit it and played it but was not able to close the game and left me at 3 life while I just upkeep'd his 1 life away with Ghost Dad. Thanks, Ghost Dad! Game 3 was won thanks to both of my Golgari Charm in the opening hand taking care of Knight of Infamy and Lightning Mauler and saving me against quite a few points of damage since he had Hellrider on the board. Was finally able to resolve Thragtusk then Restoration Angel to put myself way out of reach and swung in for win.
Ended up in fifth place and I was perfectly fine with it since we split the packs in top 8 and I got my promo Judge's Familiar which was so friggin' darn cute.
That is all for tonight, guys!
P.S. OH I almost forgot! Earlier in the day, I decided to make a few changes to my deck as you may have noticed. The changes I made are as follows and probably will be changed further:
-2 Abrupt Decay
+1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa - wanted to give him a test drive. He seems a lot like a win-more card against most decks. Usually by the time I can get him online as a 10/10 flying, I have already won the game. He might be cut.
+1 Abrupt Decay - This thing came from the main, one of them was cut altogether
-1 Witchbane Orb - Probably don't need more than one since its use is quite limited.
Overall, I think Putrefy can perfectly sit pretty where it is, but some cards in my deck will need to me moved around to make room for the new DGM ones that I find useful.
5 Rounds. Went 3-1 then drew into Top 8 for a final 3-1-1 record and 5th Place. Split prize.
Somehow got knocked out of the Top 8 tab by an older deck. Boo.
When the heck did I break 10k views! That's awesome!
In other news, FNM report will be up soon. Did two prereleases this weekend and am kinda wiped out.
So after some moments of analyzing last week's matchups and the list in general, I have found that the deck is rather weak against planeswalkers on a well-established board. Therefore, I am bringing back the following changes to my sideboard:
I love Sigarda, Host of Herons as much as the next guy, but having just one of her isn't going to win me enough games to justify the precious one in fifteen slots. Though cutting Purify the Grave seems iffy, I haven't really run into any reanimators at my LGS. As far as I know, there are only a few of those decks that require their siding-in so I'm going to see if I can get by with just 2. I was thinking between Oblivion Ring and Pithing Needle and I've decided on the latter. Oblivion Ring has the perk of being able to remove creatures and enchantments as well as planeswalkers, but the purpose of these two slots is to combat planeswalkers so Pithing Needle works much better in this case since they won't reset their loyalty counters like Oblivion Ring does and Pithing Needle also can be used on key lands like Nephalia Drownyard and Kessig Wolf Run and Vault of the Archangel , just to name a few.
As mentioned in the last FNM report, I will be cutting Desecration Demon out of mainboard. They are atrocious against swarm aggro and don't nearly pull enough weight to justify two precious spots in the main. Giving my opponent the option to tap him out is sometimes lethal.
I always wanted to see Angel of Serenity more constantly in matches since she's one of the win-cons. Obzedat, Ghost Council is yet another win-con that can give me the pushing I need to keep my life totals high against aggro (through he usually isn't that great against them) and losing either of these two to a combat trick or a kill spell without a way to recur them makes winning the game that much harder. Of course, I could also use the two open spots for Unburial Rites to give my creatures a second chance (or even third). Another option I'd really like to try out is Undying Evil . It will be yet another neat trick my opponents will rarely see coming. It makes my dying creatures bigger, AND it could be used to abuse ETB abilities. A Thragtusk with undying is devastating against aggro.
Went 4-2 out of 6 rounds and placed 11th out of....36 players? There were several 12-pointers, me included, and one or two of them even made the cut, but my atrocious tiebreaker knocked me out of the money.
R1: Simic Midrange (L 1-2)
A simic Biovisionary midrange combo that has the Biovisionary as one of the win-cons but I lost to an army of Wolfir Silverheart copies which were way too big for me to deal with. The games 1 and 3 that I lost were very likely from the fact that I couldn't ramp away from him and his deck is designed to go right over most midrange decks.
R2: Golgari Aggro (W 2-0)
This match wasn't too difficult. The deck consisted of your usual Golgari members, Lotleth Troll , Strangleroot Geist , Blood Artist , Geralf's Messenger and other resilient creatures. Game 1 was back-and-forth for a while until I got Staff of Nin out and started devastating him through card advantage. Game 2 he was stuck on 3 lands the entire game and I got a chance to ultimate Garruk, Primal Hunter at 7 loyalty counters, netting me 7 6/6 wurm tokens and still was able to pump out more beast tokens...but he conceded.
R3: Prime Speaker Bant (L 0-1-1)
Man, was game 1 ridiculous. Game 1 was basically us throwing Thragtusk s at each other until he started winning after getting the draws from Prime Speaker Zegana . Game 1 ended with his life total in the low 200s thanks to Conjurer's Closet and Vault of the Archangel . Could not finish game 2 in time so I took a draw in game 2 resulting in a loss for the round.
R4: BUG Aggro (W 2-0)
A fun BUG aggro deck that ran undying creatures and Blood Artist and a few counterspell supports. Kessig Wolf Run did the work in finish him off while I was at 9 life and at risk to get stomped. Game 2 went smoothly thanks to Rhox Faithmender setting up the Thragtusk into Restoration Angel into Cloudshift and gaining me beast tokens and a truckload of life.
R5: Grixis Mill (W 2-1)
Wow, was this deck fun to play with/against. It was a grixis control deck that centers around milling as win-con through Mind Grind and Consuming Aberration with plenty of removals to support the strategy. Got milled out game 1 thanks to Jace, Memory Adept , couldn't even touch his life total since he milled out all the key cards. Won game 2 thanks to exiled Consuming Aberration due to Appetite for Brains turn 1. He didn't draw anything threatening after that. Game 3 had similar results, this time taking out Jace, Memory Adept and once he had 2 Consuming Aberration in play and attacked, I activated Vault of the Archangel (that he forgot to take into account and blocked them with my tokens. That combat won me the game since he was going to mill me for pretty much everything after that.
R6: RDW (W 2-0)
Maybe there's some bad luck aura coming from me when I play this guy but every time I play him he seems to get flooded for loss. Game 1 he got me as low as 5 before I started stabilizing thanks to Thragtusk and Vault of the Archangel . Game 2 was close. I was at 13 life, I had a Rhox Faithmender as the only blocker on field, with a beast and vampire tokens and Loxodon Smiter tapped from attacking last turn. He grabbed Loxodon Smiter with Zealous Conscripts and swinging in with Hellrider for 4 trigger damage up front (putting me at 9), 3 from Hellrider , 3 from Zealous Conscripts , and 1 from Stonewright while I blocked my own Loxodon Smiter with Rhox Faithmender . He tapped out to pump the Stonewright 3 times, sending in a total of 10 combat damage, but he forgot to take into account that my Rhox Faithmender returns 2 life to me, putting me at 1 which let me swing out for lethal the next turn. He was rather displeased.
So from tonight, I have decided that Desecration Demon s do not pull nearly enough weight to earn a spot especially in an aggro-rich meta where they can choose to tap him down for relatively cheap. Therefore, the two will be cut in favor of other spells that I will come up with in near future. The Kessig Wolf Run package definitely won me some games today and it was the right decision to take it for a spin.
As for sideboard, Rhox Faithmender did win me a few games, but I am still a bit iffy on the pick since he doesn't usually remove the threat outright, he's just there to block and gain me life. Some sideboard changes will need to be made to accommodate anti-midrange cards such as Selesnya Charm since that seems to be my weakness.
That is all for now. Thanks for reading!
After a few matches of testing against aggro and midrange decks, the Kessig Wolf Run package proved its worth by providing me the reach in late game to finish the opponent despite blockers. I've decided to cut another Sunpetal Grove to add one more Kessig Wolf Run to get more reliable draws. We'll see if this will screw with my mana catches or not.
Desecration Demon proved useful against the midrange deck (and very possibly control), being too big to burn outright and can hit hard at the same time. They also don't have any cheap creatures to sac to him without taking a net loss. However, this guy is rather atrocious against weenie aggro where they can just pitch their smallest dude just to eliminate a blocker and swing through. It's a complete nightmare when he gets tapped on my own turn since that's a full turn cycle where he's on the bench. Definitely side out against weenies.
Tests were very productive tonight. Will try new setup at FNM.
It is that time once again where I want to try out something new with this deck and see if it improves.
+1 Blood Crypt
Unburial Rites as a one-of wasn't consistent enough of a draw for me to want to rely on so it was one of the first to be cut. Lingering Souls , though one of my favorite cards in the format, probably could get cut down to 3. In comes Desecration Demon . I've been wanting to run this bad boy ever since this deck was still an Orzhov midrange deck. He's a fat 6/6 for only 2BB which isn't by any means hard to pull off. Better yet, he can remove creatures for you! Huge pressure early. Definitely worth a try. That whole running a couple of red-producing lands to get access to Kessig Wolf Run is starting to get my attention. The power level of the card is just way too good to not have in a deck that runs gigantic creatures whose power is stopped by just chump-blocking.
Gonna try to take a more proactive and permanent approach to aggro: Rhox Faithmender . His fatness ensures he can blocks pretty much anything and he can favorably block a Boros Reckoner without fearing too much retaliation. His ability is also a huge blow to aggro decks when you play Thragtusk the turn after. I don't have a lot of good board sweep options and since my creature quality will usually better than aggro, a board wipe drawn late game will be just a dead card.
So the minor change I made to the mainboard probably costed me many games tonight. Therefore, I am reverting back to the previous setup by making the following changes:
I was greedy in wanting a second Angel in hopes that my other support card could do well enough job in stalling the game. Turns out, that fourth Thragtusk really made a difference. I wasn't hitting Thragtusk as much as I used to and that costed me most of the games tonight. No bueno.
Sideboard is also getting changed:
+1 Abrupt Decay
Selesnya Charm was too awkward to side in and Appetite for Brains almost does the same intended job just more proactively and less conditionally. Abrupt Decay is way too good of a card to pass up. With the abundance of aggro in my meta, this card wins me games. They're back in.
Ok so that concluded the new changes (or rollback) made after tonight's results. I went 2-3 out of 5 rounds but it was a fun and productive night nonetheless. I was able to trade for over ~$230 worth of cards thanks to my modern and legacy collection (and some of the cards whose prices I had no idea was that high) so my binder is now full of RTR block staples and am ready for the next set.
R1: RDW (W2-0)
This is the same RDW kid that I played against last FNM. He was able to get me down to 4 in game 1 before I started lifelinking with Restoration Angel and Loxodon Smiter and put myself way out of his reach. Game 2 was much quicker but in the similar manner thanks to Thragtusk .
R2: Naya Midrange (L 0-2)
Ah. This is the same guy (still a good friend of mine) I played against in the finals last FNM. Of course, he finished me off with a topdecked Bonfire of the Damned both games. All of the games I've played against him so far, he's been able to kill me in the exact same manner. I was about to turn game 2 around too! Oh well. It was hilarious for both of us.
R3: Naya Humans (L1-2)
Lost game 1 to a swarm of humans plus Frontline Medic with no answers. Won game 2 when he scooped after being stuck on 2 lands and I Golgari Charm whatever creatures he had left on the board. Game 3 was textbook blitz. Having found only one Thragtusk was not good enough to stay alive.
R4: Gruul Aggro (L 1-2)
At this point my only hope was to win out to top 8. Won game 1 after a relatively long game in which I eventually stabilized after a barrage of animals he sent at me thanks to Lingering Souls . Lost game 2 to a hard blitz, once again, no Thragtusk . Lost game 3 after having found just one Thragtusk and taking a heavy wave if loaded Hellrider to the face for more turns than I can handle. In games 2 and 3 he managed to hit Mizzium Mortars on my Loxodon Smiter right after he hit the board. It was quite annoying.
R5: Orzhov Heartless (W 2-0)
Since both of us are out of the money, we decided to just play anyway. She ran a monoblack with splash white, running Heartless Summoning and big black creatures. It was an easy matchup as I was able to easily deal with her relatively slow pace and I was under no pressure from the 1 or 2 big creatures she ended up hardcasting.
So tonight was not the best night for the Circus, but I learned my lesson of not ever cutting Thragtusk again until I can find a reliable way to efficient replace him without hurting my stabilization. Thank you all for the support and comments! The Circus will be back in town next Friday!
Going to try the following change in sideboard:
-1 Abrupt Decay
I don't ever get to side in Oblivion Ring against anyone (though it is a good spell) and I completely forgot that Appetite for Brains EXILES the card, which is huge against graveyard tech and flashbacks. Going to try these against control/midrange/rites. Also trying a second Selesnya Charm for more consistent draws against big creatures (also rites). I don't think I need the fourth Abrupt Decay anyway.
I am going to try adding another angel to give me better chance of drawing into her. She wins games and I have other cards to help me offset the life gain I will lose from the fourth Thragtusk .
Went 2-2-1 this FNM. Exhaustive week plus crappy hot weather (and me improperly insulated) made for a night where I wasn't "feeling" the rhythm or the mojo of the deck. Sorry, deck.
R1: Wolf Run Bant (D 1-1-1)
Your bant control with a tinge of red for Kessig Wolf Run as win-con. Game 1 took extremely long. The lowest I got him was 10 before he started the chains of Sphinx's Revelation and Thragtusk flickering shenanigans. He eventually took back board control and swung in for exactly lethal with Kessig Wolf Run . With 3-4 minutes left for rest of round, my best option is to try to win the game to force a draw. I quickly did my sideboarding and shuffling and proceeded to shift to aggro mode with disregard for humanity. Won the game after 4 combats and got myself a draw for round 1. This is a midrange deck, right?
R2: BDW (Boros Deck Wins) (W 2-0)
Well, this match was rather easy. Your RDW with white splash for things like Frontline Medic and Boros Charm (those are literally all the white spells I saw other than Boros Reckoner ). Was brought down to 13 in game 1 before I start throwing down Thragtusk and shaking him off with Vault of the Archangel to blow him out with sheer overwhelming life gain. Game 2 was much quicker. He made the mistake of tapping out to play a lone Frontline Medic instead of leaving mana open for his Skullcrack . I promptly casted Thragtusk and game quickly ended soon after. This guy was very verbal about his hatred for Thragtusk .
R3: Esper Control (W 2-1)
Ah. My not-so-favorite time-consuming matchup. Blew him out game 1 when he couldn't find answers to my threats in time. I didn't even see one Nephalia Drownyard . Game 2 took your usual amount of 500 years to play and when he was at 1 life, he was able to play Tamiyo, the Moon Sage and permatapped my Staff of Nin with plenty of blockers behind to make sure no damage got through before he found lifegain. The game quickly ended after he miracled Entreat the Angels for 10. Game 3 was quick and painless. Was able to recur Thragtusk a few times to swing in with tokens for win.
R4: Junk Rites (L 0-2)
I knew I was overdue to face one of these at the FNM since I haven't faced one in the past few weeks' FNM and after all the major events, Junk Rites became THE deck to play. Died a miserable death when I couldn't catch the lands I need on game 1. Game 2 seemed close on paper. I got to 43 life and he went down to 1, but the tables turned when he started hard-casting Angel of Serenity that returned another Angel of Serenity and Thragtusk and taking my creatures, which got him locked in a loop of lifegain and removal that I couldn't catch up with. No sideboard cards were found that game.
R5: Boros Humans (L 1-2,)
For the first time (I believe since Zendikar block was still standard), one of my best friends, Jimhawk, and I were matched against each other. He was using his usual The Sunfist Brigade. We know each other's decks inside and out since we helped each other on them and the matchup records are around 50-50 so it was the matter of who has the better draws. Since I was 2-1-1 going into this match and he was 3-1, I agreed that I will give him the round no matter what since he had a better chance of making top 8 than I did. We played anyway. Lost game 1 to ultra aggro hands and my ultra slow hands. He had to mulligan to 5 (or was it 4?) on game 2 and was stuck on 2 lands so I proceeded to wipe him out. Game 3 was similar to game 1. Swarmed before I could stabilize.
Didn't even check standings after that. Jimhawk did end up in top 8 and they all split the prizes. He handed me my share of the spoils and I was ok with it.
Due to special circumstances that caused Jimhawk to not be able to participate in this weekend's SCG Open Orlando (that we planned to go to), I decided to also not go due to me being too exhausted to spend all day doing competitive MTG and the fact that he won't be sharing the experience with me.
Meanwhile, I'm working on my Bant Aggro deck, deck:prime-speakers-pre-school, as my secondary standard deck so check it out! I am also brewing a couple other lists as possible candidates for my secondary standard decks. The lists are on my profile page so check them out. Or don't. I don't care.
Went 3-0 then drew into top 8. Played it out. Won the first 2 rounds then lost in the Finals.
There weren't as many people tonight so there were only 5 rounds.
R1: Bye (W2-0)
R2: Grixis Zombies (W2-0)
The same BR Zombies list I've played in the past splashing blue for Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (I didn't see him during play but he told me later after I asked about why the blue splash). He didn't resolve one Geralf's Messenger the entire match which really helped. All I saw were Knight of Infamy , Gravecrawler , Diregraf Ghoul , and some skill spells. Game 1, took a few hits from Diregraf Ghoul before stabilizing at 12 and spirit tokens Restoration Angel took over. Game 2 was able to resolve a Thragtusk start gaining life back thanks to spirit tokens and Vault of the Archangel (only 3 a turn but it was more than he could handle since he was pretty much out of steam at that point).
R3: American Flash (W 2-0)
Your garden variety American Flash with the usual UW spells and counterspells and Sphinx's Revelation and Boros Reckoner and Aurelia's Fury and such. Game 1 took forever but things started going downhill for him when I resolved Obzedat, Ghost Council and when he tried to remove it, Cloudshift sealed his fate. Game 2 was a lot quicker, siding in Golgari Charm won me the game on that one when he tried to board wipe me to buy him more time, which probably would have gotten him a bit back in the game.
Since there are 5 rounds and I went into R4 with 3-0 record, I was safe to draw out the last two rounds into top 8, but we played for fun anyway.
R4: American Flash (Draw 1-1-1) (W 2-0 after play)
Another American Flash deck (It seems that this deck just naturally beats it due to abundance of non-damage removals to deal with Boros Reckoner and token generators that continue to apply pressure). He ran pretty much the same strategy as the previous deck. Won game 1 after letting Thragtusk resolve ETB 3 times. Did it twice in game 2 as well. Restoration Angel and Cloudshift were hard at work protecting him.
R5: Aristocrats (BWR) (Draw 1-1-1) (L 0-2 after play)
Pretty much Tom Martell's list. Doomed Traveler , Champion of the Parish , Cartel Aristocrat , etc. Fast starts both games meant I had no way to recover and eventually got swarmed. Then Zealous Conscripts game 2 sealed the game for me. Glad we weren't playing for real.
After 5 rounds going 3-0-2 and 11 points under me, I finished in 3rd on the standings (thanks to my poop tiebreaker from R1) and one of the guys wanted to play it out so we did.
R1: American Flash (W 2-0)
Same deck and player as R3. Pretty much the same old stuff. Stomped him as I did before.
Semifinals: Naya Midrange (W 2-1)
This match further confirmed that I lose the game whenever Huntmaster of the Fells Flip resolves. This pattern hasn't failed so far in my MTG career. Game 1 I was able to pull ahead of him when Staff of Nin hit play and I started drawing 2 every turn. Game 2 I was short on lands and the turn after I hit 5th land, he played Acidic Slime to kill it and I never found another 5th land to do anything after that. Game 3 was close. He resolved Blind Obedience , which I responded by playing Restoration Angel before it resolved. Then he began to take over the field with Boros Reckoner and Thragtusk . Top-decked land number 7 and played Angel of Serenity tapped to take his entire field save the beast token from Thragtusk 's LTB. He played Zealous Conscripts targeting my angel and I foiled his plan by playing Cloudshift , returning the previous creatures to his hand, but exiling his Zealous Conscripts and the beast token and allowing me to swing in for win since he was tapped out then.
Finals: Naya Midrange (L 0-2)
Ouch. This guy is a friend of mine and we joked around, but his deck was solid. Game 1's back-to-back miracled Bonfire of the Damned was brutal. Game 2 I was able to put him down to 3 with tons of spirit tokens and what do you know, miracle Bonfire of the Damned at the last second and Obzedat, Ghost Council couldn't do anything to stop his army, he was going to swing for exactly lethal whether I exile him or not. He had pretty good top decks and it happens. No feelings were hurt.
So I ended up in 2nd place and this deck FINALLY makes top 8! I am very proud of it and will keep making improvements to the list. Thank you all who made this possible!
Thanks for checking out my list!
Making a few changes in the sideboard and mainboard:
Lilly just isn't as good as she is when she's a one-of. In most cases, she usually just ends up being a subpar sorcery speed Diabolic Edict and then gets removed the next turn since usually when I casted her, my hand was always too loaded to pitch anything. Putting in the fourth Thragtusk will give me a better chance of drawing him when I need him most.
+3 Acidic Slime
Centaur Healer is great but not as a 2-of and in the sideboard. I don't really have room for him in the main (plus mostly only Junk Rites run them main and a full set). Nevermore tends to not come up to my hand when I need them to (or at all) so I'm gonna ditch it. I've never seen any success with the card so I guess it's just bad juju.
Acidic Slime was suggested to me and it seems to synergize very well with the mainboard with all the flickering. It takes out key threats like Assemble the Legion , Nephalia Drownyard , Kessig Wolf Run (or any land for that matter). Playing him on turn 4 to choke out their key mana/color is pretty huge and could result in a win.
Elixir of Immortality was the old school way of dealing with mill (if it doesn't get milled first) and some form of aggro. It also lets you replenish your spells for quite cheap. If this doesn't work, I'm considering putting in one Rhox Faithmender or Trostani, Selesnya's Voice to have some fun with aggro.
These changes are still experimental and there still are a few cards I'm considering. The hardest part is cutting since the list is tight and I need to keep the synergy:
Unburial Rites - I've tried a couple of these in the main before and it worked just like it should. Obviously it won't be as potent as it is Junk Rites but it still lets me replenish my big threats should they get milled/killed.
Sigarda, Host of Herons - Cheap and extremely hard to remove efficiently. She has won me a few games on her own and has proven her worth.
Gonna need to make a few cuts for those slots. Cuts pending.
So Jimhawk and I brought our decks (his The Sunfist Brigade and this one) to the TCGPlayer's Orlando 5k event on 3/16 to see how the lists will do in a competitive environment (and a shot at the prizes). I finished 63rd with a 5-2-2 record out of 331 participants in the event. I was thoroughly impressed with how well it, and I, performed and those losses/draws definitely could have easily been wins if I hadn't made the few mistakes (which I now know not to make). There were 9 rounds of playing that took pretty much all day and I will report each match as I remember it.
R1: Naya Aggro (W 2-0)
This one didn't last very long. Game 1 he got out the usual Burning-Tree Emissary but failed to follow it up with anything turn 2 so it didn't do too much to me and I eventually resolved Obzedat, Ghost Council which basically won me that game. Game 2 saw a bit more action. He was able to chain 2 Burning-Tree Emissary into a Flinthoof Boar so I was quickly on a clock. I was brought down to 7 life before resolving a Centaur Healer and blinking it with Restoration Angel then casted Sever the Bloodline that I sided in on Burning-Tree Emissary and doing it again on Boros Reckoner and activating Vault of the Archangel to gain 6 life a turn, sealing his fate.
R2: Junk Rites (W 2-0)
Game 1 was all about who could get bigger things down first. We both resolved a couple Thragtusk s and when he returned his Angel of Serenity to the field, targeting my tokens and my own Angel, I casted Cloudshift in response and exiled his angel instead. Game was quickly over then. Game 2 didn't see much action. I resolved Obzedat, Ghost Council before he could get his thing going and was left without answers for the rest of the game.
R3: 4C Rites (?) (L 0-1-1)
This was a 4c rites deck that ran a bunch of big creatures like Angel of Serenity , Armada Wurm , etc. supported by cards like Sphinx's Revelation and Supreme Verdict . Game 1 took 47 minutes out of the 50 minutes round. We kept going back and forth in life totals but he eventually won the race with shear number of large tokens and card draws. We really didn't have time to do anything on Game 2 since we had less than 3 minutes and I could only got him down to 4 life before turn 5 ended. Needless to say, this game took so long that my deck ran out of steam (so did I) and he eventually took over the board.
R4: Wolf Run Bant (Draw 1-1-1)
Sigh, another long match. I won game 1. He won game 2. Game 3 took too long. I now am starting to learn to just play faster and be more aggressive when I get the chance to.
R5: Esper Control (W 2-0)
Game 1 took the bulk of the time this round. He made the mistake of end-of-turn milling himself this one turn and that resulted in a Planar Cleansing that he so desperately needed going into his graveyard instead of going to his hand the next turn. He couldn't survive the few turns he needed to mill me out. Game 2 was much quicker, thanks to Lingering Souls and Thragtusk . I swung in hard and fast before he could get his wheels spinning.
R6: Naya Midrange (W 2-1)
Lost game 1 thanks to Huntmaster of the Fells Flip (apparently I lose every game he resolves), among other things. Won game 2 thanks to Obzedat, Ghost Council . Game 3 took a bit longer but he eventually started drawing dead after I resolved a couple Thragtusk s.
R7: Prime Speaker Bant (W 2-1)
Blew him out with spirit tokens plus Vault of the Archangel and Staff of Nin 's draws in game 1. Game 2 caught be COMPLETELY off guard when he slammed in Collective Blessing when I thought he was playing more towards control (which I naturally named Sphinx's Revelation for my Nevermore , whiff) so I was getting bashed in the face quite hard. Game 3 was over when he failed to notice that he could Detention Sphere my Oblivion Ring on his Angel of Serenity and instead he targeted something else (I think it was a smiter or a Thragtusk or a Resto) after letting his Sigarda, Host of Herons (I had no way of removing her outside combat) die to my deathtouch spirit token (I tried to contain my poker face then). Eventually swung with what I had to finish his last 2 life.
At this point, I was 26th in the standings so all I needed was two wins to secure my top 32.
R8: Naya Humans (L 0-2)
Well, blowout would be an understatement in this matchup. Combination of sub-standard keeps and draws and his turbo curve swiftly ended my match in defeat, both games.
R9: Naya Midrange (Draw 1-1-1)
Typical midrange matchup in game 1. I won because I triggered Thragtusk more than he did. Game 2 took quite a while and when he was down to 7 life, I didn't think to cast Staff of Nin as soon as I could so I could draw into my outs against his 2 Assemble the Legion s. I probably could have come out of this with a win had I had that staff out a few turns earlier just to put him on the clock but mainly to draw into finishers.
As I mentioned before, those mistakes costed me the top 32 spot (even a loss in R8 and a win in R9 probably could have put me close). Lessons I took from this event:
Play faster (sometimes I overthink some decisions that usually would take mere seconds to make)
Have better knowledge of certain decks' sideboard cards and how to play around them. (Assemble the Legion caught me off-guard since I forgot that Naya decks run them in the side and that was one of the reasons I didn't win that game (Didn't side in Golgari Charm to account for the card)).
Play faster. This was the main reason for those draws I got that could have been wins.
All in all, I am still very proud of this list. It's come a long way and it can do better. It caught a lot of people by surprise and now that they're seeing more of it, they'll be more ready.
Thank you all for checking this deck out and all the comments so far.
P.S. another thing I need to remember is to remember more details of each match -_-
Went 5-2-2 at the tournament on Saturday 3/16 and placed 63rd out of 330. I wish I had won one more of those rounds and grabbed top 32 but I'm still pretty damn impressed by my and my deck's performance and this is definitely a list to be proud of.
Details on matches soon!
Went 3-3 on the third week of this deck at FNM and first for this specific list. Went 3-1 then lost the last 2 rounds. Since there were 6 rounds, I believe there were roughly 32 players give or take a few. This deck placed 14th after 6th round.
R1: BR Zombies (W 2-1)
The same BR zombies that I played against before. Lost the first game to Geralf's Messenger and Diregraf Ghoul and morbidded Brimstone Volley . Just couldn't draw anything useful all game. He didn't have much to do second game other than a couple creatures that I promptly removed. I eventually took over from 9 life to 17 with Thragtusk and more of it. Pretty much the same happened in the third game. He had to take a few hits from Centaur Healer while my spirits token held my side of the board and by the time he was able to cast something it was way too late.
R2: Jund Aggro (L 0-2)
I have to say this was the most potent aggro list I've ever witnessed in standard. It isn't as fast as Naya Blitz (pretty much nothing is) but it has the beef to both take over the board AND remove whatever's on the other side. I just got blown out by Experiment One , Burning-Tree Emissary , Flinthoof Boar , and lastly Falkenrath Aristocrat . It wasn't very fun. On the bright side, the guy went on the rest of the night undefeated and drew to 1st place so good for him.
R3: Esper Control (W 2-1)
I believe I played against this list two FNMs ago. Your average garden variety Esper Control deck that aims to stall out and uses Nephalia Drownyard as the win-con. Got milled first game when the first few Drownyard activations hit my draws in the testicles, basically making me draw up empty for the rest of the game before he finished me with more draws. Game two he just couldn't get anything going and wasn't running into many board sweeps and spirit tokens just took over. Pretty much same thing happened game 3. The thanks went to Lingering Souls and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad for the win.
R4: BUG Delver (W 2-1)
A BUG deck that contains Delver of Secrets Flip , Duskmantle Seer , and a suite of digging mechanics like Grisly Salvage , Mulch , and counterspells. Won game one quite handily when he drew into nothing but lands for several turns. Once again, Lingering Souls and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad did the work. Game 2 went to him when I was the one drawing dead this time and his delvers and Lotleth Troll just went to town on my life total. Game 3 was back and forth for a few turns until I was able to wade through all the counterspells and removals and still come out with more creatures to bash face with.
R5: Junk Rites
Ah, junk deck. Once again, your usual junk rites with Unburial Rites , Craterhoof Behemoth and other diggy dig cards that just tosses his deck into the graveyard so he can reanimate things back for cheap. Game one was just nasty. His first Mulch got him enough lands up for him to have to toss Craterhoof Behemoth AND Unburial Rites by turn 2 and flashed it back for 16 damage on turn 4. Could not come back from that. Game two took extremely long. I was able to stay alive with Vault of the Archangel gaining me 13-14 life every turn with his tokens on the field and Craterhoof Behemoth threatening to be cast, but he was never able to swing in for lethal since he was below 10 life and had to block with at least a token every turn so he was constantly losing power for the behemoth to swing with. Time was eventually called and I was only able to get him down to 6 (within one turn's attack) on turn 5 and he just passed turn for the win since he got the first game.
R6: Jund Midrange (L 0-2)
Ouch. Out of all the decks I could run into round 6, it had to be the jund. Lost first game when he got to draw 5 twice with two Garruk, Primal Hunter s and just blew out with card advantage alone. I had one in my hand, but I needed the triple green to cast him and I kept drawing into my BW lands. Second game he had all the right kill spells at the perfect time to remove my beaters and yep surely enough he finished it off with Olivia Voldaren . I hate that card even more now.
All in all, going 3-1 before R5 gave me hope of winning round 5 and just draw out to top 8, but luck wasn't on my side tonight and I just lost out. Pretty sure I wouldn't have made top 8 even if I went 4-2 after R6, since the jund guy got 9th, but who knows? I did lose to the 1st place deck so my tiebreaker was looking pretty decent.
This list is definitely getting to the sweet spot and with a few minor improvements and luck, this deck is definitely capable of contending with the top-tier lists.
I will be participating in the Orlando 5k MTG tournament tomorrow (today) along with Jimhawk so wish us luck and I will return with a report and possibly top 8!
Thanks for checking out my deck!
Whoa. The changes made to the deck really took off. I used to mostly get blown out by those decks because they are really good at what they do which is win hard and win fast, but not tonight.
Please note that all but two (I think just two) of the games we played were done without any sideboarding so we pretty much played almost the entire night under Game 1 conditions (still best of 3) with moderately strong familiarity to each other's list and we (mostly him to me) correct each other's plays occasionally to give the best possible plays. After all, the purpose of playtesting is to teach you about your own list and what goes where in certain matchups.
Boros Champions is a midrange-boros-weenie-superfriends deck that leans on the aggro side with its curve topping at 4. I win this matchup about half the time, the other half being either a slow starting hand, mana flooding, or just plain overwhelmed by creatures without enough answers (fat Gideon is fat). In this matchup, I did the following sideboarding:
+2 Oblivion Ring to deal with his planeswalkers
+1 Abrupt Decay to break things with
I didn't side in Centaur Healer because the list is slightly larger than most aggro decks so I need to keep Loxodon Smiter for the beef he provides. Also, this list doesn't burn out as hard as usual boros decks so the lifegain is unnecessary on top of what I already run.
One of the plays I did was block both Boros Reckoner with Loxodon Smiter and Restoration Angel after activating Vault of the Archangel and when he directed the triggered damage to both of those creatures, I Cloudshift targeting the Angel which in turn targets the Smiter, saving both of my creatures, killing both Reckoners and gaining 7 life. Cloudshift earned its spot just for that one play alone. It probably was the one that won me that particular game.
Match against The Sunfist Brigade was also a fun and intense match but the records leaned in my favor, winning roughly 2 out of 3 times.
The key to winning this matchup for me is a combination of half-decent starting hand and proper use of removals and spells to stay alive and work my way to stabilization around turns 6-7 or so where I can being to take over the board with better draw quality.
Lingering Souls , Loxodon Smiter , Restoration Angel , Vault of the Archangel , and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad are the stars against this matchup. I mainly run my opponent's gauntlet of hasty, lifelinking, double striking, indestructible weenies and targeting key cards with my removals while stalling with Lingering Souls chump blocks while protecting my planeswalkers (which makes more chump blockers) and surviving the initial onslaught until he starts running out of steam around turns 6-8 where he usually ends up with 0-1 card in hand. At that point it's just the matter of cleaning up what's left on the board and drawing into my finishers. Vault of the Archangel means that I can block efficiently, gaining tons of life from my fat blockers (that also don't die because they're fat) and making my spirit tokens a bitch to deal with (if Frontline Medic battalion isn't there), forcing Boros Reckoner to activate first strike and forego the direct damage ability. Staff of Nin cleans up any lingering weenies and wins me the game through card advantage. One of the games I was able to create enough tokens to chump block for Sorin, Lord of Innistrad long enough to blow his ultimate, taking his Frontline Medic , Silverblade Paladin , and Nearheath Pilgrim and force concession the turn after.
It was a very fun and productive night (Magic-wise) and special shout-outs go to hollandboys and Jimhawk. The first user for nagging me to throw Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and more Lingering Souls back in (They did hard work!) and the second for playtesting with me, making me a better player, second opinions, and just for being a great friend in general.
I feel very positive about the current list and I hope it does well in tomorrow's FNM. The Circus is LIVE!
P.S. All comments up to this update will now be in here.
After some experimenting, I'm beefing up my early game and diversifying my late-game by making the following changes:
Lingering Souls just a great card, essentially being able to stop 2 combats with just one card. It's great against control and they're a pain to deal with without sweeps and they synergize well with Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
-1 Armada Wurm
Selesnya Charm is nice and all, but Cloudshift synergizes way better with my creatures and works very well as a replacement for possible combat tricks and gives my creatures some protection against removal.
More results to come. Chances are this build will be, if not exactly, close to the final build that I will be taking to FNM this week.
Played against a list similar to Craig Wescoe's Boros Champions list which is basically a boros humans list that runs the usual early game plan of Champion of the Parish and Precinct Captain along with the usual Humans shell staple like Silverblade Paladin , Knight of Glory , Boros Reckoner , etc. and transitions very well into mid- and late-game by playing Gideon, Champion of Justice and Ajani, Caller of the Pride which is capable of doing massive damage if left unchecked.
We just kept playing without sideboards (he didn't have one with him) for a few hours or so, letting the loser of previous game play first. The matchup was relatively even with me having a slight advantage. As long as I am able to get into turns 5-6 without being completely swarmed (thanks to removals and the 3-4 drops), I could usually just go over the top of their curve and take the game over from there. Lingering Souls does a very good job at stalling the early game and taking the punishments from Gideon and everyone else(though Gideon loves the tokens as it gives him huge amount of counters off of +1). Loxodon Smiter is able to take a lot of punishment with his 4 toughness, being able to trade with a paired Silverblade Paladin or his partner (as long as the Champion has 2 or less counters) and breaking the bond. The 3 Abrupt Decay was absolutely perfect against this kind of aggro matchup, having multiple targets to choose from (sometimes I run into a Faith's Shield , but I usually watch their open mana before I cast it and even then it's a 1-for-1). Selesnya Charm worked great against a zero'd Gideon, Champion of Justice or as a combat trick to bait the weenies into hoping to trade with one of my creatures. Garruk Relentless Flip also worked great as a removal and basically a decoy, since they'd have to kill him before my next turn unless they want me to tutor up my finisher (in most cases, Angel of Serenity ). Obzedat, Ghost Council was also a star in this matchup as he nicely survives Gideon, Champion of Justice 's ultimate (opponent blew Gideon up twice that night) and at least gives me some wiggle room if not killing Gideon outright. Staff of Nin and Garruk, Primal Hunter gave me the card draw I need to keep drawing into more removals or finishers (just for game 1 though, I usually would side at least one of him out against aggro since he's slow).
This was a very productive playtest as it demonstrated that the new changes made this list a bit more resilient against all but the fastest aggro (like Naya Blitz or RDW) and is able to go over the top of midrange lists while remaining a threat against control.
Huge milestone! Thanks for all the comments and support guys!
Made quite a few changes to the board to smooth out the curve:
I love Sorin but I don't have too many ways to generate tokens cheaply and reliably to abuse his emblem, using only 2 Lingering Souls . If I had 3 or 4 then I might consider throwing him in. He also crowds up the very important 4-cmc slot. Cut one Ghost Dad since I really only need to see one every game and everytime I see him and not Thragtusk , I wish it was the tusk instead. I also can't both abuse Obzedat, Ghost Council 's ability and make a blocker at the same time. Added the 2 charms to give me more cheap spells to cast and possible late game answers. Maybe Ultimate Price instead of the charms..just maybe.
+1 Armada Wurm
I don't think I need 4 Thragtusks given all other options I have of big creatures and spells so I gave big Garruk a second spot because he is quite the bomb in the control matchup and is just a great planeswalker in general, being able to protect himself and generating ridiculous card advantage. The other spot went to Armada Wurm to get a curve-topper that can give and take a bit more punishing than Thragtusk while still remaining an attractive flicker and Serenity target.
-2 Arbor Elf
+2 Tragic Slip
I went back to being against mana dorks since I can't have more than 2 of them without risking the list falling apart and losing synergy. Added Tragic Slip back in for early removal and synergy with other kill spells and Disciple of Bolas (the spell wasn't as good until this guy came in).
Subbed out Trostani, Selesnya's Voice for a Glaring Spotlight to combat the possibility of running into Geist of Saint Traft or Sigarda, Host of Herons , both of which are very very troublesome if left unchecked.
I still believe that Blind Obedience works better in a pure aggro or pure control list and it doesn't really stop aggro decks that effectively in the long run (although it makes Restoration Angel less of a surprise). Still iffy over the Curse pick against aggro due to its high mana cost. I might put Blind Obedience back in or use Rhox Faithmender instead. Thoughts?
Also thinking of somehow putting Sever the Bloodline in the mainboard but the list is very tight right now and I have no idea what to take out.
Man, my curve looks so curvy now.
Went 3-3 tonight at FNM (which is better than last week) and learned a bit more (from my mistakes among other things) about my deck and how to deal with certain decks:
R1: UW Flash (L 0-2) - Mulligan'd to 5 both games and got stuck at 3-4 lands both times while Geist of Saint Traft bashed my face in. Couldn't recover out of that. Bad start for the night but I guess that got the bad luck out of the way.
R2: RDW (W 2-1) - This guy was just angry and pissy all the time. Won game 1 when he didn't block my Loxodon Smiter with his Stromkirk Noble , which let me put him to 3 from 7 and then he realized that I had 4 spirit tokens from Lingering Souls ready to attack next turn. Lost game 2 to a nut hand of Stromkirk Noble into Ash Zealot into another Ash Zealot and Stromkirk Noble into Hellrider . The face was FUBAR. Won game 3. Nothing special, really. He kept drawing into lands after I killed his first wave of creatures.
R3: Human Reanimator (I call it Humanimator) (L 0-2) - Man I hate this deck. He got the combo off both games with Undercity Informer , Burning-Tree Emissary , Fiend Hunter , and Angel of Glory's Rise . I was able to cast a Nevermore on game 2, my dumb-ass naming Unburial Rites when it wasn't in the graveyard instead of Angel of Glory's Rise so he just hard-casted the angel for the combo. Poop. (That's the second humanimator I've run into in the past week).
R4: Selesnya Wolves? (Just Selesnya. I have no idea if it was aggro or midrange. The list was everywhere) (W 2-0)- This round was a cakewalk for me. Her list seemed like it was built around a wolf theme or something. All I saw from her were Kessig Cagebreakers , Young Wolf , Silverblade Paladin , Gatstaf Shepherd Flip , Divine Reckoning so yeah. I played at a pretty relaxed pace and eventually stabilized. Nothing to see here.
R5: BW Zombies (I name this one Orzhombies!) (W 2-1) - Game one took a while. He plays his Diregraf Ghoul s the first two turns and swung in a few times and then Vampire Nighthawk also joined in. He got me to 10 life before I got my Thragtusk out, and then a second one. By this time, I had mana OUT THE ASS and was able to just take everything he swings at me and then swing out, activating Vault of the Archangel and gaining 13+ life every turn and it took a total of 2 turns after that before he conceded the game as he had nothing left to play after having to block me. Liliana of the Veil was that game's MVP. He got two Blood Artist s out on game 2 and that shit HURTS. Whenever something dies, He gains 2 and I lose 2, and that turns into 4 when we trade. He had spirit tokens out to chump block any thing I send at him and still deal me damage and I couldn't block anything he sent at me because I would still take damage. Rest in Peace and Sever the Bloodline that sided in were nowhere to be found. Sad day. Game 3 we traded back and forth early (No Blood Artist this time thank goodness) and I was able to play Obzedat, Ghost Council which kept his life gain from Nighthawk in check while replenishing the life I lost. Time was called and I was able to get him to only 2 life on turn 5 so he decided to give me the win and went home. Good Guy Orzhombie.
R6: RDW w/ white splash (L 0-2) - Ugh. This guy hit the nuts on game 1 (And I didn't). T1 Stromkirk Noble , T2 Ash Zealot , T3 Hellrider into a Searing Spear and Pillar of Flame . It was hot. Game two I had to mulligan to 5 and couldn't find a removal spell to save my life while being stuck at 3 lands and a hand full of 4+ CMC spells. Circus got burned again.
All in all, the list performed a lot better than it did last week (the land up to 25 definitely made a difference). I finally can narrow down a bit further on what the list is weak against. This is a relatively slow midrange deck compared to the more robust and sassy (yes, sassy) Jund and Naya midrange which has access to Huntmaster of the Fells Flip (I hate that card) and Bonfire of the Damned and Thundermaw Hellkite and Olivia Voldaren and Dreadbore and blah. List is slow and could be considered a midrange-control type rather than midrange-aggro type. While Jund and Naya midrange are proven to do well in standard, I don't want to jump on the bandwagon and join everyone else. I want my list to be something people usually don't see and thus have trouble dealing with. So I decided that my deck needs to somehow get faster to deal with aggro while able to do a better job closing long drawn-out games. Thus, I'm going to try the following changes:
-1 Sigarda, Host of Herons , -1 Vampire Nighthawk , +2 Arbor Elf - Yes, I did mention that I try to stay away from creature-based ramp, but I also mentioned that this list doesn't have access to faster, more aggro creatures that red provides so the best way to compensate is to accelerate my early game the only I know how outside of Farseek : Mana dorks. I'm still keeping the land at 25 since there are only 2 elves. They're there to help me accelerate into midgame.
-1 Liliana of the Veil , +1 Staff of Nin - This is an experimental swap as I know for a fact that Liliana of the Veil is a bomb against control and midrange, I just want to see if hitting the Staff of Win on turn 4-5 will give me enough card advantage (on top of my usual draw mechanics) to give me what I need to win the game. I saw one in action and getting to draw that extra card, especially for a midrange deck, is HUGE.
I also moved my sideboard around to try to better deal with things dying and things coming back from dying and also blitz aggro:
-3 Centaur Healer , +1 Rest in Peace , +2 Blind Obedience - Yep. The Obedience is back. It seems that while Centaur Healer 's life gain is nice, I always wanted a Loxodon Smiter in its place whenever I draw one just for its sheer size. Blind Obedience to better deal with RDW and hasty creatures and allowing my stampede to swing in unblocked (extorting is nice too). Added an extra Rest in Peace since I seem to run into at least one Humanimator or a Zombies deck every week and this card just shuts. them. down.
-1 Vraska the Unseen , +1 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice - Vraska's always been very awkward to side in. She usually only good against slower midrange and control lists, both of which the mainboard is already pretty good against so I've decided to let Trosty back in to take Centaur Healer 's place of anti-aggro. Her 5 toughness is nothing to scoff at and blocking with her then activating her ability to make a beast token is just fun. Her lifegain effect is phenomenal against aggro too. If this doesn't work, however, then I might put in second Witchbane Orb or a one Selesnya Charm to deal with bigger creatures.
That is all for now. Thanks for all the +1's and comments so far! I am determined to get to top 8 with this list before Dragon's Maze comes out!
Did another test against my RDW, deck:Overheat. The new RDW ran a lot better than the old version, but the Circus still came up on top (this time!).
The deck kept burning off my attempt at stalling of playing Vampire Nighthawk s with Searing Spear while Stromkirk Noble s and Rakdos Cackler kept the beats going for the first few turns. I was at a dangerously low health of 5 but was able to stabilize just in time thanks to the 4th turn Thragtusk which got me out of lethal range and blocking 4/4 Stromkirk Noble , killing him and leaving a token behind for the next turn should the other noble attack. Turn 5's second Thragtusk pretty much sealed the game for the RDW as it finally ran out of steam and I was able to resolve Garruk, Primal Hunter and start pumping out tokens with Disciple of Bolas coming in to recharge my hand with the two Abrupt Decay s that I used on their remaining creatures to swing in with tokens for lethal. Victory for game 1.
Decided to run it again without sideboarding from either side to similar results. This time, it was the two Liliana of the Veil that did the stalling job for me. Vampire Nighthawk s needed to be burned before they can get the sustain going so there weren't any left to target Liliana of the Veil with, giving her an opportunity to remove one of the two creatures and forcing the last one to attack her. I then played a second Liliana of the Veil to remove the last creature while the RDW kept drawing into mountains which let me regrow Liliana back up and forcing any new creatures that came in to attack her instead of me. This bought me enough time to catch the Thragtusk I needed to switch to offense and eventually win out.
This showed that the changes I made actually helped me deal with faster decks and further tests will still be done to see if the list can still hold its own against control matchups and if there are any improvements against midrange.
Gonna take this circus to FNM the second time and see how I do. I can't possibly do worse than I did last week...can I?
In Professor Farnsworth's style
Good news, everyone!
Holy crap, did the change make a difference. Playtested tonight against a WR weenie humans aggro deck, Knights of the Blood Oath (the list was either exact or extremely similar), to favorable results. Granted, the person who played the deck was relatively new to the game, but he knew almost everything there was to know about how to play that deck and I helped and corrected him so that he makes the best possible plays (without having the information on what he has in his hand, which means the plays could also be better still). Since it's a pretty darn fast aggro deck, this playtest is still perfectly valid and can accurately reflect how my deck will do against similar aggro decks in competitive setting to a degree.
Anyway, enough of the jabbering. The junk list, newly dubbed Ghost Dad's Circus Stampede, ran reasonably well against the aggro. I feel that the new land count of 25 really helped me hit that land every turn, which is extremely important especially against aggro decks since I need to accelerate into bigger creatures and stabilize before being overwhelmed by the legion of shin-kicking midgets (with double strike).
I was almost always able to either playing Farseek or leaving my mana open for the one or two removals that I usually have in my hand to deal with early threats like Champion of the Parish and War Falcon . After that, Vampire Nighthawk or Liliana of the Veil hits the field and slows the advance by a good degree until I play my 4th land, which I usually can either leave open for a couple removals, or play Restoration Angel or Garruk Relentless Flip . The gears really start turning on turns 4 or 5 when I am able to cast Thragtusk (which seemed to always find its way into my hand by then tonight) and the lifegain and another body (with another body behind it) usually slows the aggro to a stop and begins to shift the tempo in my favor. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben was a female canine to deal with, but then everything was 'kay when I just Abrupt Decay for 1GB. Disciple of Bolas really showed to me that night that this overlooked and forgotten heck of a card really does deliver, getting me even more life gain to shake off the race and the card draws to fuel my removals and stampedes. Trostani, Selesnya's Voice , I'll miss you. But it's not you. It's me--I mean Disciple of Bolas .
After all the card draws and showcasing of my tusks, Angel of Serenity stole the show when she seemed to show up at just the right time, taking most of their board and paving a way for my circus show to commence.
In conclusion, the change was in the right direction and I can't wait to test the list further and more vigorously. Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is one of the best if not the best planeswalker around and his power definitely rubbed off some on his disciples.
Today, I've decided to try the thing I didn't think I would do, and that is to cut one of our featured star Trostani, Selesnya's Voice from the main deck. I love the Selesnya's Angels trio to death, but the card is very, very mana restrictive and it sometimes won't be able to see play on turn 4 due to the lands not being just right, which happens more often than I want to when I don't find a Farseek within turns 0-2. Also, I rarely get to populate with her as my mana will be tied up to cast better spells and I don't have the luxury of creature ramp to give me unspeakable amount of open mana. The more I thought about the card, the more I think it just has to go to make room for things that better fit the current meta of aggro and midrange where stabilizing early is the key to even have a chance at winning the matchup. Sorry, Trosty, but I'm benching you. I'm sure you'll get another shot, maybe post-rotation.
And thus, the new cards come in. Disciple of Bolas is taking over the 4-drop slot. He is a lot less restrictive on colors and gets me the card draw to fuel my hand and the life I need to, well, stay alive. Thragtusk will usually be the target, gaining me another 5 life and drawing me 5 cards, and still leaving a 3/3 behind. This also adds another ETB creature to target with Restoration Angel and I can always bring back the tusks with Angel of Serenity if needed.
The two Oblivion Ring were a tad too slow in game 1 against fast aggro decks so I'm moving them to the 'board to side in later against things like Boros Reckoner , hard-to-remove creatures like Falkenrath Aristocrat and Olivia Voldaren , and planeswalkers.
This made room for the 25th land and a second Liliana of the Veil . She is deadly against control and can hold her own in midrange and moderately useful against aggro in game 1 (I side her out against aggro since they have way too many creatures). The 25th land is justified by the fact that I have only one way to ramp so I REALLY have to hit my lands every single turn or I risk falling way behind and losing. If I was running something like Avacyn's Pilgrim , then I might be able to get away with 24.
Sorry if I disappoint any of you, but the current meta forced my hands and I have a feeling this change will be for the better.
Trostani, Selesnya's Voice . Never forget.
Took the list to FNM for the first time and didn't place in top 8 but I did learn a lot from playing all 6 rounds. The rounds' matchups were in the following order: Esper Control, Naya Midrange, BR Zombies, Naya Midrange, 4C Rites, and BR Vampires.
The control matchup was, as expected, very long and we went to time on game 2 but since I won game 1, the round win went to me.
The 2nd round's midrange matchup was pretty even and he got mana flooded game 1 and the same happened to me game 2 so it was down to game 3. The game was pretty even until I was a turn or two away from stabilizing and then he played Zealous Conscripts , taking my Centaur Healer and then did it again the next turn with Restoration Angel targeting the conscripts and swung for lethal with Selesnya Charm 's +2/+2 trample. He had two life remaining when he won. Where's a G/B/W burn spell when you need one, right?
3rd round was against BR Zombies. I won game 1 with Lingering Souls 's spirit tokens and Vampire Nighthawk and Sigarda, Host of Herons , the latter of which he couldn't interact with. Lost game 2 after not having drawn any more creatures after the 2 in my opening hands. Lost game 3 to Blood Artist and Geralf's Messenger when my Rest in Peace or Oblivion Ring were nowhere to be found.
4th round was against another Naya Midrange. Lost game 1 when he hit his 5 cmc creature before I did and out of all of the ones he had, it was Sigarda, Host of Herons . I had no way to deal with her outside of combat and I didn't draw into any flyers that game. Game 2 was sad. Had to mulligan down to 4 and just pooped out after that. Bad luck was bad.
At this point, I wanted to just keep playing to further test the list. 5th round came the 4C Rites that hit its infinite mill combo in both of the first two games when I once again didn't draw into any Rest in Peace .
Last round was BR Vampires. Lost game 1 when a few surprise Undying Evil got played and I was eventually overwhelmed by burn spells and Blood Artist triggers. Game 2 could have been different had I not realized that in this one turn I could have played Rest in Peace to shut down Blood Artist and Geralf's Messenger and flash back Lingering Souls to make blockers and stall until I stabilize, which I was likely was going to be able to. Learned from my mistakes.
Many lessons were learned the hard way that night but the event also gave me a better idea of the current local meta and thus enabled me to make quite a few changes to the list to deal with the threats.
Decided to take out Rhox Faithmender altogether. The lifegain is nice but it's a bit too cute and gimmicky and it really slows me down on the offense when he can neither hit hard nor stay behind to block flyers.
Maxed out on Abrupt Decay combined between MB and SB. That spell is sick and having any less than 4 is just a crime.
Gave more spots to Vampire Nighthawk . He has been nothing but a godsend ever since he got released and he still performs as spectacularly as ever in terms of versatility and ability to play both offense and defense at the same time.
Also gave more room to Restoration Angel . She makes a great surprise blink-blocker, especially when paired with Vampire Nighthawk . However, she doesn't have as many good ETB targets to blink (only Thragtusk and Obzedat, Ghost Council , the latter usually not being there to get blinked and thus would have to be blinked during my turn which eliminates the element of surprise) so I am keeping her at 3 and not 4.
Still moving the sideboard around. If I see more reanimators, I might have to move Rest in Peace up to two and maybe cut an Underworld Connections or a Centaur Healer . Still torn on whether to use Merciless Eviction or Sever the Bloodline or Glaring Spotlight . Options 1 and 3 can deal with Sigarda, Host of Herons but also have their own perks and drawbacks. Option 2 relies on just flyer combat in my main to deal with her. I'm still unsure how many of her I will run into on an average night but I have to always be ready when she hits the board.
That's all for now. Thanks for all the comments so far!
Had a chance to play against a BUG Control deck tonight. The list ran around removals, sweeps, a few counters, Duskmantle Seer , Garruk Relentless Flip , and your usual suite of card advantage cards most control decks run.
Since he didn't have his sideboard with him, we just played with our mainboard the entire time.
In most of the games, we just spend the first couple turns playing land-go and Farseek and then I was able to open most games with a Loxodon Smiter and was able to get a decent pressure in early, usually getting removed by Abrupt Decay or Liliana of the Veil 's -2 ability. Sigarda, Host of Herons was the star in this matchup as it was virtually unkillable if it resolves since by the time he has enough swamps for Mutilate to kill her, it's usually eithet already too late or he had to use it on the board against my other creatures (I almost always saved her for after he'd used his sweep and was tapped out since I had only one copy of her (plus Unburial Rites except that he usually has a Deathrite Shaman on the board)). Duskmantle Seer also turned out to be a complete flop against me in most of the games since I can easily take the CMC damage with all the life gain I have.
This, along with other playtests I performed against other variety of control decks, confirmed that this list does pretty well against control matchups, being able to still play out threats after board sweeps and other removals where many aggro decks would run out of steam.
It also seems that I was having a bit of a land draw problem (which I shouldn't) and since I have only one spell to ramp with, I am cutting both Blind Obedience to throw in an extra Sunpetal Grove to better match the color pie and also a third Lingering Souls because that card's still awesome. Blind Obedience seems to better fit a pure control list or a pure aggro list.
I have also realized that my whining about this deck being a bit too slow for aggro is somewhat false. I just need more practice on knowing which opening hands to keep, whether on the play or on the draw. A half-decent hand should statistically be able to accelerate to keep up with aggro and eventually come out on top.
Thanks for all the +1's and suggestions so far, guys! This deck is definitely one of the top three (or even two), if not the top standard list I've come up with and I would live to see it improve and actually do well competitively. Keep those tips comin'!
Thanks to Frank Lepore brewing a junk midrange deck of his own, his list gave me some cards that I never thought of that answer my problems quite nicely:
Cut Sigarda, Host of Herons back to 1 and instead added Angel of Serenity . Every time I see her in play or I play against her, she was pretty much a win-con. Added 1 Cavern of Souls in place of a Vault of the Archangel to address the possible mana problem I might run into with this change.
-2 Ultimate Price and +2 Vampire Nighthawk . The kill spell turns up dead against many popular targets in standard and Nighthawks will let me play an efficient blocker early- and late-game and serves a similar purpose.
-2 Merciless Eviction and +2 Golgari Charm . This charm just flew right over me and I never thought of how it pretty much addresses the problems I'm currently having. Eviction is more of a mainboard card and is a tad too slow to work well. Charms can either act as a sweep (especially against someone who decided to abuse Lingering Souls or other weenies) that can hit through indestructibility or enchantment removal such as Oblivion Ring and Blind Obedience (Which is a huge problem for me).
-2 Unburial Rites and +2 Lingering Souls . Rites don't seem to see play that often in this deck since I almost always have creatures to play. I've always loved Lingering Souls ever since I started using it in my Orzhov Midrange deck that this list morphed from. I didn't want to use it since I'd have to side it out to side in Rest in Peace but it turns out that Lingering Souls sucks against reanimators anyway.
Threw in 2 Nevermore in place of Vampire Nighthawk that got moved to mainboard. This will let me deny control decks of their late-game lifeblood Sphinx's Revelation and other key cards of other decks if needed.
Will try this out and see what happens. I feel pretty good about this change.
|Date added||1 year|
|Last updated||6 months|
|Legal formats||Extended, Legacy, Standard|
|Top rank||#5 on 2013-03-08|
|-2||Advent of the Wurm||main|
|-1||Angel of Serenity||main|
|+1||Cavern of Souls||main|
|-1||Staff of Nin||main|
|+2||Rest in Peace||side|
|+2||Garruk, Primal Hunter||side|
|-1||Sigarda, Host of Herons||main|
|-2||Purify the Grave||side|
|-2||Garruk, Primal Hunter||main|