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How To Play Fair: The GW Hatebears Primer

Modern Aggro Budget Competitive GW (Selesnya) Hatebears Midrange


Hello! Welcome to my primer for Green-White Hatebears. This is my second primer in my series of primers for the modern format. I've done what I can to condense the many primers I've found online and combine with my own personal experience, in order to create the ultimate primer for the deck.

GW Hatebears has been competitive for a while now, as unlike many decks in the format, Hatebears makes everyone play fair, as cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Leonin Arbiter make it difficult for a lot of decks in modern to operate correctly, we just play around their effects so they aren't problems for us.

Hatebears is also very budget friendly, as while some cards are expensive, there are many viable options for budget players to use while building towards the full deck.

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Hatebears is an aggro/midrange strategy, meaning most of our cards are low cost and are effective by themselves. We really want to "Hate" on decks in the format by playing cards that disable their decks, similar to decks that focus on Blood Moon.

This style of play makes hatebears a meta dependent and adaptable deck, as you need to know exactly what it is that needs to be hated on when you are playing.

Also, since we are a very creature heavy deck, sweepers and boardwipes are not something we play, as we would much rather have strong value creatures and heavy hitters for the mid-late game.

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Surgical Extraction: For just 2 life, you can take out fetch lands, dredge pieces, combo peices, and many other cards, although many decks choose to not play it, it has seen some fringe play.

Tormod's Crypt: The cheapest graveyard hoser ever printed.

Razorverge Thicket: GW fastlands are a must for a hatebears deck, as we want to make turn 1 plays consistently, and not have to pay for fetching a land.

Temple Garden: The GW shockland, seen in most decklists.

Brushland: It used to be a budget alternative to Temple Garden, but thanks to Bant Eldrazi, it's price has shot up.

Gavony Township: This land gives us infinite Kitchen Finks, Township is our mid-late game plan to simply pummel our opponent with big creatures.

Horizon Canopy: The price of this card is through the roof, but that is because of the card draw attached to it.

Ghost Quarter/Tectonic Edge: Land destruction to hate on decks like tron, Quarter is almost always with a playset.

Stirring Wildwood: This manland can be useful as a one-of due to reach and it's abiltiy as a 3/4.

Treetop Village: I've seen this card run in some more aggressive hatebear list.

Windswept Heath: Heath and other fetchlands should only be used if you don't run Leonin Arbiter.

Forest & Plains: The Basics, we need a few of them in the deck.

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Noble Hierarch: One of the best turn 1 plays this deck can make, Hierarch ensures mana fixing while giving exalted on a body for 1 mana.

Birds of Paradise: This one drop is the most immediate budget replacement for Hierarch, but they are often run together.

Avacyn's Pilgrim: An extreme budget Hierarch.

Path to Exile: Our true remvoal spell, path kills everything in the format, and with

Student of Warfare : A decently strong creature that is good against control and is a mana sink.

Dryad Militant : A 2/1 with built in graveyard hate can be super useful, as it destroys decks like Jeskai Control since their snapcasters aren't the best when everything gets exiled.

Soldier of the Pantheon : Sees play in some hatebear lists as an extra Savannah Lions .

Judge's Familiar: The U/W version of Cursecatcher, familiar is better when used in a death and taxes version of hatebears.

Mana Tithe: The white version of Force Spike, mana tithe can really mess with some opponents.

Aether Vial: Very prevalent in the Death and Taxes version of Hatebears, Vial allows you to cheap on paying costs for creatures and bypassing counter spells.

Sunlance /Condemn: These cards are extra paths that can be played if the meta requires it.

Rancor: Purely for the aggressive approach.

Burrenton Forge-Tender: Good against red decks.

Grafdigger's Cage: Works against decks like dredge, often played as a one-of with 1-2 Rest in Peace in the sideboard.

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Thalia, Guardian of Thraben:Thalia is good against non creature decks by taxing them. First Strike also makes her effective against certain creature builds as well. She really shines against combo decks that want to cast multiple spells in a turn, and can also slow down control by making removal and sweepers cost more. The down side is having bad synergy with non creature spells we might be looking to run. Despite that, Thalia is still very powerful against a broad spectrum of decks.

Leonin Arbiter: Arbiter is a cornerstone of the GW version of Hatebears. It cripples the mana base of most decks in the format, due to fetch lands being a thing. It also stalls out other decks where searching is a central part of the strategy. Also, Arbiter can turn Ghost Quarter into Strip Mine, and Path to Exile into Unmake.

Kor Firewalker : This card is the best anti burn card we have available.

Scavenging Ooze: This creature is very good against decks like Dredge that put a lot of creatures itno their graveyard, you also gain the ability to nullify the cards that Snapcaster Mage tries to bring back. The only downside to this card is that in multiples it doesn't do too much.

Qasali Pridemage : A strong utility card, Pridemage's exalted is very useful when trying to get in hits, and with the added Disenchant attached, you can take out cards like Blood Moon and Steel Overseer.

Voice of Resurgence Voice is great against any deck that wants to cast spells during your turn. So basically, good against every control and tempo deck in the format. It also holds value through it's graveyard trigger, which can buy extra turns against aggressive decks.

Selfless Spirit: One of the main problems that hatebears faced was that it was weak to wrath effects, but Selfless spirit changes that.

Spellskite: Skite is particularly good against decks that either want to target their own creatures with spells, or want to kill you with spells or abilities that you can redirect to Spellskite. His redirect ability is also useful for saving your bears against midrange decks, and his 0/4 body survives Lightning Bolt, can absorb Path to Exile, and can block most early game threats. It can also block Etched Champion , which is something we traditionally have problems with.

Gaddock Teeg: Teeg pretty good at stopping cards that cost more than 3. He is specifically good at stopping cards that are win conditions for a deck, but is also good at stopping cards like Wrath of God and Cryptic Command. Unfortunately some of the decks he is good against have an excessive removal suite.

Phyrexian Revoker: This card has the ability to neutralize several cards in the format. It is effective against certain combo decks specifically, but has a worthy board presence across other match ups as well. Revoker tends to shine against decks that are light on removal.

Disenchant/ Revoke Existence : These cards are alright if prevalent in your meta.

Celestial Purge: Effective at removing everything from Blood Moon to Liliana of the Veil, strong meta dependent removal.

Stony Silence: Great against Tron, affinity, eggs, anything that uses artifacts.

Rest in Peace: Outstanding against graveyard strategies.

Kataki, War's Wage: Artifact hate that works well with Collected Company.

Melira, Sylvok Outcast: Melira is one way to stall out infect, as we can usually grind the game out easily when she enters play.

Suppression Field: Hate for decks that play fetchlands and use activated abilties.

Auriok Champion: A pro black and red is very relevent in a format where decks like Jund and Grixis control are prevalent.

Torpor Orb: Good against decks that play cards like Primeval Titan, as well as any other creatures that have effects when they enter play.

Ethersworn Canonist: Good versus decks that want a high storm count, as well as decks like UWx control that want to play many spells in a turn.

Mark of Asylum : While traditionally a more budget card, this card could definitely see play in certain metas.

Back to Nature: Solid hate for decks like Bogles.

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Loxodon Smiter: The best high power 3-drop we have, smiter works well against decks like Jund and abzan where Liliana can get us one for free. It also doesn't die to cards like Anger of the Gods and Lightning Bolt. Smiter is also great against control builds since it can't be countered.

Kitchen Finks: This modern staple is recurring lifegain on a 3/2 body, and can basically keep coming back with Gavony Township.

Choke: This card can be lethal against some control builds, but is a very meta dependent card in general.

Vryn Wingmare: A nonlegendary Thalia that flies, Vryn can see play in metas where noncreature spells are a large portion of the meta.

Flickerwisp: This card lets you bounce cards like Blade Splicer and Kitchen Finks and a 3/1 Flyer is very aggressive.

Aven Mindcensor: Mindcensor is good against decks that rely on searching out their library. Being a flyer, he also has evasion, which some decks in the meta really have problems with. The flash ability is relevant against decks that want to combo or counter our spells as well. While not having the most impressive body for a 3 drop, the combination of abilities provides value against many decks in the format.

Mirran Crusader: Crusader is a solid finisher that is resistant to removal outside of Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile. Exalted triggers and other buffs such as Sword of War and Peace can make him devastating. Also being able to block and dodge cards like Tarmogoyf makes Crusader a very good choice in some metas.

Knight of the Reliquary: KotR is a powerful card that provides a lot of versatility with a variable toolbox of lands you can fetch out. Running a singleton Bojuka Bog can ruin entire strategies if you respond at the right time. Fetching up extra Ghost Quarter and Tectonic Edge can hurt a lot of decks that rely heavily on their mana base, such as Tron, Jund and Zoo. He also can get really huge. The downside is that there is bad synergy with Leonin Arbiter.

Blade Splicer: Splicer is a solid card that provides immediate card advantage upon entering the battlefield. It's good against Jund (Liliana of the Veil in particular), and is one of the few playable creatures we have available that can block Etched Champion . Splicer is best played in decks with Aether Vial and flicker effects such as Restoration Angel and Flickerwisp.

Damping Matrix: This card can be like a budget Linvala, primarily good against decks like lantern control.

Eidolon of Rhetoric/Rule of Law: Great sideboard card against combo decks like Storm.

Ghostly Prison: A card that is amazing against aggro strategies, as some decks like Elves and Affinity can be very hard matchups for us.

Spike Feeder: This card has appeared as a one-of in some hatebears lists that want to use it and Archangel of Thune to produce an infinite combo that can end many gams very quickly.

Sword of War and Peace/Sword of Feast and Famine/Other Swords: These cards can make your creatures game ending, as many of the swords simply have no response in some decks, and often can win the game.

Crucible of Worlds: Crucible gives you the ability to use ghost quarters again and again, making Leonin Arbiter a destructive force.

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Obstinate Baloth: Sideboard material for Jund usually, but can also be brought in for Burn where the 4 life can be very relevant. A 4/4 Body also stops most of their threats.

Collected Company: While it requires build-around, company allows this deck to pump out more threats then it normally would, all the while going through lands and other cards that may not be relevent to the current board state.

Archangel of Tithes: A tax creature that flies! This card has seen play in some hatebear lists.

Creeping Corrosion: Affinity is a very tough match for us. If you have seen games against skilled Affinity players, it can be scary how easily that deck laughs off our game plan. I recommend pretending like your sideboard is 13 cards, because this card is a must-have in every Modern event.

Thrun, the Last Troll: You want this against all of the Blue decks that are otherwise hard to stick a spell against. Thrun is also something you can board in in conjunction with Worship to provide a "soft-lock" against many decks.

Worship: Speaking of Worship, this card is key to staying alive against a lot of random opponents and combo decks when all else fails. Try this if you are getting burned out at your local events. With Thrun, some opponents simply can't kill you.

Wilt-Leaf Liege: This GW liege can end games very quickly, as cards like Qasali Pridemage and Loxodon Smiter go from being annoying cards with decent power, to being ground pounders that end the game quickly.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence: Linvala is outstanding against decks like Kiki-chord, as well as locking down Elves' ability to Overrun thanks to cards like Ezuri.

Restoration Angel: Being able to blink at instant speed is incredibly useful when cards like Kitchen Finks get repeated usage.

Leyline of Sanctity: Decks like Ad Nausseum and Titanshift will do everything they can to kill us as soon as possible, Leyline makes them have to search for an answer before they have the opportunity to kill us.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant: Elspeth does double duty, as she can generate creature to fuel Voice of Resurgence, as well as make cards like Loxodon Smiter become huge problems for our opponent.

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Baneslayer Angel: This game-ending creature is spectacular in builds that need a finisher, as Baneslayer fulfilles many roles that other cards simply don't cover for their mana cost.

Archangel of Thune: You could easily build around this card in a GW hatebears deck, it also makes Spike Feeder an infinite life and counter combo.

Sigarda, Host of Herons: Sigarda can finish games off pretty quickly, and is excellent at dealing with cards like Liliana of the Veil.

Fracturing Gust: Can be used against Affinity and Bogle, but unfortunately it is a bit too slow for those match ups. There may be other match ups where this could be effective, but I wouldn't recommend it unless it's favorable for your specific metagame.

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GOOD MATCHUPS: This deck wants to face unfair decks like Tron, 8-rack, Lantern Control, as well as decks like Jund, Abzan, Dredge.

FAIR MATCHUPS: Decks like UWx, Titanshift, Ad Nausseum, Burn, and many other combo builds.

POOR MATCHUPS: Mono colored decks, and aggro builds, such as Elves, Affinity, Merfolk, Mono-black control.

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Besides the current decklist, here are some examples:

Best $50 You'll Ever Spend [MODERN]

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If you like this primer or have a suggestion, please leave an upvote or a comment! I always appreciate constructive feedback for deckbuilding.

If you want more builds and brews, check out my profile @Sargeras.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 year

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.05
Tokens 1/1 Elemental
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Revision 2 See all

1 year ago)

+4 Collected Company main
+4 Noble Hierarch main
+3 Loxodon Smiter main
+2 Qasali Pridemage main
+2 Scavenging Ooze main
+4 Temple Garden main
+2 Horizon Canopy main
+3 Selfless Spirit main
+3 Kitchen Finks main
+4 Forest main
-4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben main
+4 Voice of Resurgence main
+3 Plains main
+2 Gavony Township main
+4 Path to Exile main
+4 Birds of Paradise main
+4 Razorverge Thicket main
+1 Rest in Peace side
+2 Spellskite side
+4 Leyline of Sanctity side
and 25 other change(s)