Category Archives: Decklists

JundWave

Ever since we brewed a Genesis Wave deck on episode 33 of Horde of Notions, there’s been a lot of interest in the list from listeners of the show. It’s tremendous fun to play, it’s explosive as hell and even if you don’t draw a Genesis Wave you’re still on the mono-Titans plan. All the ramp means you are more often than not dropping a Titan on turn 4, and then every topdeck is a potential nightmare for your opponent.

Here’s the list, with explanations of each choice.

1 Pristine Talisman – I’m not sure this needs to be in the deck. The life gain rarely matters and this might just be better as another Manalith.
4 Primeval Titan – Go on, pretend you’re surprised. Every ramp deck should be running this card, at least 3 and probably 4 in most cases.
3 Manalith – One of two maligned cards in the deck. Seriously, you need this. It ramps you AND lets you use it the turn you play it, plus it helps with the three-colour manabase without limits on usage.
3 Dawntreader Elk – Speed bump that ramps you. Be careful when you use it as it enables Morbid. Helpful against attacking Obliterators.
2 Massacre Wurm – A necessary evil. If you Wave into it, it helps clear the way of Spirit tokens and blockers. If you hard cast it, it keeps you alive.
2 Solemn Simulacrum – I would try up to 4, but normally by the time I can cast the second I would rather be casting a Titan. Good speed bump though.
4 Birds of Paradise – If there were a non-creature 1cc ramp spell, I would play it. Relying on this in a world of Tragic Slip, Gut Shot, Vapor Snag and Galvanic Blast is perilous to say the least. Still, there’s no better choice right now.
1 Shrine of Boundless Growth – People have stopped reading when they see this. Don’t sleep on this card. You drop it turn 2 or 3 and it beats a Mana Leak on your GWave by itself. I might play a second but any more would be wrong for sure.
2 Grave Titan – A case of it being better than any other creature option in these three colours, and it’s just stupid with Urabrask off a Wave.
3 Urabrask, the Hidden – Absolutely vital to the deck, especially against sorcery-speed sweepers. You can board this out against decks without them for more beef, or for like a Karn maybe. The only thing better than Waving into 3 Titans is Waving into 3 hasty Titans. Well, maybe Waving into 4…
4 Genesis Wave – You might actually be able to get away with 3 in the deck. Risky though.
4 Sphere of the Suns – I want Fellwar Stone back 🙁
3 Inferno Titan – The best Titan when you have Urabrask. Just a beating.

1 Inkmoth Nexus – Plan C, in case something goes wrong (waving into nothing, for example).
1 Kessig Wolf Run – See Inkmoth.
5 Forest
3 Mountain
1 Swamp
4 Woodland Cemetery
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Copperline Gorge
2 Evolving Wilds
2 Dragonskull Summit

 

The mana base is solid, I have only had issues with BBB for Wurm once or twice. Sideboard needs something to answer heavy permission (likely Autumn’s Veil), a plan in case you want to side out of GWave (Garruk 3.0 or Karn seem fine, even 2.0 would work), more beef against decks without sweepers (extra Titans probably), potentially Acidic Slime for Pod (which has been a rough matchup) and maybe Markov Warlord (against Obliterator, which is BAD for you) or Warstorm Surge.

 

So how does it play? Against Delver they basically have to either counter your ramp and race you or counter your beef and hope you die before you run out. Neither plan is particularly good for them. Remember many Delver decks are only running 3-4 counters main. Post-board they likely bring in Dissipate and maybe Flashfreeze, so you need either the Autumn’s Veil plan or the planeswalker one. Massacre Wurm is a bomb against the non-anthem versions of the deck, so never cut those. Urabrask however is a liability as it WILL be Vapor Snagged after the Wave. If you have the Veil then that’s not a concern, but consider siding him out.

 

Wolf Run needs a nut draw to compete. You’re both ramping in the early turns but their turn 4 or 5 Titan looks really bad next to your turn 5 or 6 Genesis Wave. Slagstorm can be an annoyance if you don’t play out your Elks with mana open, but otherwise you just shrug and go off. The white version on the other hand can be a real problem. Gideon Jura can ruin your day, especially if they have Day of Judgement in hand. Elesh Norn is also not something you want to see. That’s a bad matchup for you and I’m still trying to figure out how to beat it, though it probably involves Karn.

 

Zombies can be bad if they get a fast start. The nine-power-attacking-turn-three draw is tough for any deck to handle, and we’re not exempt from that. It’s made worse by the fact that a Massacre Wurm will wipe their board…and deal 3 to you in the process. Obliterator can also be nasty, though sometimes your Wave will be good enough to just attack on through it. Karn, Warstorm Surge and Markov Warlord are all options here, as well as playing out Urabrask before they can drop Obliterator, then Waving the turn after they do.

 

Humans needs anthems to have a hope. Champion into Gather is a tough start but fortunately it doesn’t have trample. Without anthems your Massacre Wurm is just that – a Massacre. Acidic Slime is a must out of the board, as is the fourth Inferno Titan.

 

Standard Brew: BG Birthing Pod

One of the major afflictions I have when it comes to Magic is an addiction to brewing. Good ol’ Smitty seems to suffer from the same thing. No matter how much success I have with a given deck, I always feel like I should be building a new one because I thought of or heard about or saw another cool idea. Then I lose a lot and get down on myself and start brewing again. Go go vicious cycle! Gradually I have learned that success means you did it right, which means you can stop brewing and start tweaking. Given the recent success this BG Pod deck has had, I think I am in that phase now. There’s also a lot to be said about familiarity with your deck and what it can and cannot do.

I am far from a great Magic player. I am good in theory, and when watching matches I see way more than I do when playing, but when the cards are actually in my hand I rush and cannot force myself to think things through for some reason. I also tilt way too easily. With that said, I have played this deck at 5 events and lost one match at each. In testing it does exceedingly well. It’s not perfect and even I can see a couple of slots that are underperforming, but there are no matchups that are autolose. I never feel like the underdog when I sit down with it and it is capable of some very, VERY unfair things. Dark Ascension essentially pushed the deck from “good” to “scary.”

Last time I played it, I found the Phyrexian Rager and the Grave Titan came out A LOT. There are few matchups where I can see me wanting to keep the Rager in, but a lack of good 3-drops means that right now it stays in the main deck. Against decks with artifacts and/or enchantments to remove, Replica and/or Corrupter come in. I can’t see running the second Replica main as it does nothing on offense, and Corrupter can be a liability. Can we please have Civic Wayfinder back in Standard?

Titan is good against Vapor Snag but I often wanted Massacre Wurm more, and having a second to fetch made more sense. Entomber Exarch never really did much for me, and might end up being Phyrexian Obliterator again. Now, if only I can fit a Prey Upon in here…

The board needs more Ratchet Bomb and more Perilous Myr. Myr is VERY good against Mirran Crusader and also against werewolves, especially Huntmaster of the Fells. With the amount of spot removal decreasing, Precursor Golem might also be a possibility in the board.

Carnifex Demon is very, very good right now. Podding a Vorapede into it and then activating it once resets the undying on your Vorapede, which means you can then turn it into a Wurmcoil Engine. Carnifex also loves blocking Inkmoth Nexus. Two Sheoldred might be too many, I don’t know that the deck even needs a seven. One is probably fine though, if you untap with it you just don’t lose.

Glissa is really good in this deck with all the utility artifacts. She’s the reason you’d run Precursor, she makes blocking anything with Wurmcoil into a profitable venture and turns Ratchet Bomb or Perilous Myr into machine guns. Oh, and Geralf’s Messenger is nuts. You haven’t lived until you Pod Messenger into Metamorph copying Messenger. Oh yeah, and Metamorph is pretty good with Glissa too.

How many of you are scoffing at Praetor’s Grasp right now? I get that a lot. Well let’s look at what my deck can do with it. Against ramp, it steals a Primeval Titan. It can also grab anything from Mono Green. Against the big control decks I can steal Karn. [/mtg_card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/mtg_card] anywhere? MINE. A lot of people have said that Memoricide is just better but I don’t agree. I have literally never lost a game in which I resolved Grasp. I’ve even stolen a Mana Leak to counter Life’s Finale. It’s not the greatest card ever but it DOES swing games and I cannot recommend it enough.

There are a couple of things I’m considering. One would be a main deck Traveller’s Amulet for some fixing, since it plays well with Glissa. Also thinking or boarding into Garruk Relentless against Grafdigger’s Cage, taking out the Pods. I haven’t had to play against Cage yet but siding Pod out when artifact hate comes in might be worthwhile. Garruk does a similar thing to Pod when he flips and has the added benefit of breaking ground stalls.

I love almost every deck I’ve played and done well with, but this feels better than any of them. It’s definitely worth a run at an FNM where people are not expecting it, you’ll be surprised just how powerful it is.

Here’s the list as it stands:

BG Robot Pod

Creatures (26)
Birds of Paradise
Perilous Myr
Viridian Emissary
Geralf’s Messenger
Glissa, the Traitor
Phryexian Rager
Sylvok Replica
Phyrexian Metamorph
Skinrender
Entomber Exarch
Acidic Slime
Vorapede
Massacre Wurm
Grave Titan
Wurmcoil Engine
Carnifex Demon
Sheoldred, the Whispering One

Spells (10)
Doom Blade
Ratchet Bomb
Beast Within
Birthing Pod
Curse of Death’s Hold

Land: (24)
Woodland Cemetery
Ghost Quarter
Forest
Swamp
Sideboard: (15)
Curse of Death’s Hold
Naturalize
Nihil Spellbomb
Despise
Go for the Throat
Praetor’s Grasp
Massacre Wurm
Sylvok Replica
Viridian Corrupter
Acidic Slime

 

Mayor? I hardly know ‘er!

Mayor of Avabruck is a very powerful card that has yet to really make an impact outside of Limited. When played early it puts pressure on control decks to tap out to prevent it flipping, and against aggro decks it excels late game when they are often in top deck mode. In pairs they work REALLY well, especially flipped when they are churning out a pair of 4/4 Wolves each turn. It has plenty of weaknesses of course: it dies to the currently-ubiquitous Gut Shot, even flipped it dies to Brimstone Volley and Incinerate and it has no evasion. All of these things are true, but if you play the card in a blue shell with plenty of permission then some of those difficulties are mitigated.

So we know we’re in green/blue, and we also know we want to be able to ship the turn without casting anything in order to flip our Mayors. We also want to ensure we have multiple Mayors in play, have ways to protect our Mayors and also have an alternate plan to win the game. That all sounds like we want a lot of instants, so Delver of Secrets would appear to be a natural fit. Mayor also pumps Delver, no matter which side is face-up. Cackling Counterpart lets us copy a flipped Mayor (or Delver) at instant speed, allowing for both combat tricks and responding to a flip-back trigger for the Mayor. We want a strong suite of counters, which conveniently flip the Delver as well. Frost Titan is not seeing a lot of play right now but seems fairly well-positioned and is also a great target for Cackling Counterpart.

I had a pair of Runechanter’s Pike in the deck but I always found myself wishing they were something else. They are now Rampant Growths. I somehow only have 1 Dissipate online so I’m playing with Cancel instead, but if you’re going to make the deck then you really want Dissipates there. I’m also short 2 Hinterland Harbor. I’d consider Ludevic’s Test Subject, at least in the sideboard against decks that have trouble dealing with it (not decks running Vapor Snag or any black deck, basically) as it is a good early blocker that is great to copy when it flips.

So, let’s get to the list!
[cardlist title=Mayor Says No style=width:500px;layout:cardbox 2 right;category:tabbed 8;options:true false;]

[spells]
*4 Ponder
*3 Rampant Growth
*4 Disperse
*4 Mana Leak
*4 Cancel
*4 Cackling Counterpart
*1 Dissipate
[/spells]

[creatures]
*4 Mayor of Avabruck
*4 Delver of Secrets
*2 Frost Titan
[/creatures]

[lands]
*3 Ghost Quarter
*9 Forest
*12 Island
*2 Hinterland Harbor
[/lands]

[Sideboard]
*4 Flashfreeze
*4 Steel Sabotage
*2 Phyrexian Metamorph
*1 Phantasmal Image
*4 Moonmist
[/sideboard]
[/cardlist]

Not the layout I was hoping for but I couldn’t get the one I wanted to work. The sideboard is a work in progress, the Moonmist feeling especially loose. Steel Sabotage has felt very good, however. The deck has trouble against mono-red, so Tree of Redemption might need to be in the board. You have enough counters to keep nasty things off the board, but dropping Mayor or Delver early is still sometimes the best play. Disperses help there but something like Quicksilver Geyser might be an option worth considering. Wow, there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Anyway, this is very much an FNM deck at best, but I’d love to hear your thoughts, advice and results with it. Have fun!

Martyr-Proclamation in Modern (and the bannings)

The banhammer has once again dropped on the nascent Modern format, brewers everywhere are once again donning their chapeaux de brewing to break the format before the Pro Tour Qualifiers start with earnest in the New Year. Being one of those brewers I naturally have something fermenting in the boiler right now, but before we get to that I want to talk about the banned and restricted announcement.

Let’s start with Punishing Fire. Leading up to the announcement you would have been hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t think that one half of the Punishing Fire/Grove of the Burnwillows combo would or should be banned. Opinion was pretty much split right down the middle on which half would get the axe (can something get both the axe AND the banhammer?), but personally I expected the land to go. I guess WotC didn’t want another banned rare.

Taken individually each card is fair. Red getting a burn spell that fights one of its biggest weaknesses in a small but possibly effective way is fine, and a land that gives your opponent life in exchange for mana fixing is also not game-breaking. You could even argue that the combination of the two isn’t broken. What it is though is oppressive and unfun. It’s a two-card combo that is heavily resistant to countermagic and renders unplayable an entire swath of creatures. Merfolk, for example, has not taken hold in the format despite being a staple in Legacy and being largely transplantable to Modern. On top of that Grove/Fire is quite possibly the slowest and most grindy way to win a game from behind a creature stalemate that has ever seen play in a high-level aggro deck. With the prevalence of multicolour strategies in the Modern format, the combo was popping up in numerous decks that were already running powerful strategies, which likely made it feel even more dangerous. Although it would be unfair to call the combo “format-warping” it certainly defined what creatures were considered playable.

Wild Nacatl is a bit more perplexing. He becomes the first creature banned for being too aggressive since Kird Ape, which ironically will likely take the crazy kitty’s place in Zoo decks. There’s no question that a creature attacking for 3 on turn 2 is strong, especially in a format where players are effectively starting on 14 life due to shocklands and fetches. But strong enough for a ban? That’s pushing it somewhat. Especially when there’s a nasty-looking 2-drop sitting over there in the corner. Yeah Tarmogoyf, we’re talking about you. I’d ask if your ears are burning but I’m fairly sure you don’t have any.

Nacatl is ultra aggressive, no question. It’s probably in the top 5 one-drop dudes in the history of Magic. It’s also very easy to kill. Modern is not wanting for 3-damage burn at instant speed, and Nacatl has no innate protection. He also has no evasion. Tarmogoyf can easily have 4 in the caboose the turn he comes down, depending of course on the deck he’s in. He’s likely more widespread than Nacatl, since any deck playing or splashing green can squeeze him in. He’s generally played in the same Zoo decks as Nacatl too. The only thing that stops ol’ Tarmy and not Nacatl is Spell Snare, which seems an unusually narrow reason to call one fair and one bannable.

What it feels like to me is Wizards being careful, and not about the health of the format. After the Jace banning, they appear to be gunshy about banning another $100 card. You don’t have to be Jonathan Medina to understand that a banning in Modern would tank the value of Tarmy significantly, and that makes for unhappy players. So instead they ban a common. I wonder, when was the last time two commons got banned? Is Modern the format with the most banned commons?

Regardless of our thoughts on the bannings, we now have the parameters within which we will need to operate if we want a plane ticket to Barcelona. Our next challenge is to bust those parameters, and the format, wide open. Now I’m no Patrick Chapin or Conley Woods but I think I’ve hit on a spicy little number that can make an impact on this brand new meta. A quick note before we get to the decklist: this is built for my local meta which is light on control and heavy on Affinity, Storm and Twin. The nature of the deck makes it highly adaptable to suit your local meta, basically switching out main deck answers for sideboard ones.

Creatures

4 Martyr of Sands

3 Figure of Destiny

2 Serra Ascendant

1 Weathered Wayfarer

1 Kataki, War’s Wage

2 Ethersworn Canonist

1 Gaddock Teeg

3 Fauna Shaman

4 Qasali Pridemage

1 Knight of the Reliquary

2 Aven Mindcensor

3 Ranger of Eos

1 Reveillark

Spells

4 Path to Exile

4 Aether Vial

3 Proclamation of Rebirth

Lands

1 Emeria, the Sky Ruin

3 Mistveil Plains

2 Ghost Quarter

4 Temple Garden

9 Plains

2 Razorverge Thicket

Sideboard

1 Kataki, War’s Wage

2 Ethersworn Canonist

1 Gaddock Teeg

3 Tormod’s Crypt

3 Leyline of Sanctity

2 Grand Abolisher

3 Brave the Elements

Now I will point out here that this list is running off some very limited testing. Locally the meta is Storm, Zoo, Goblins and MeliraPod.

The deck is fairly versatile and has main-deck weapons to shut down most of the popular decks. After boarding it dumps the useless cards to bring in more hate against whatever it’s facing. Martyr of Sands is one of the most powerful cards in the format, and in this deck Proclamation can also get back our win conditions in Serra Ascendant and Figure of Destiny. The toolbox nature of the deck makes Fauna Shaman very important, and pitching your 1-drops early is often the correct play as you just bring them back later with Proclamation, Mistveil Plains or Emeria, which of course can be tutored up with Knight of the Reliquary or Weathered Wayfarer. Ranger of Eos can also find you the pieces you need, either to beat down or to jack your life back up. Aether Vial is of course a key piece to the deck and should always be dropped turn 1 if you have it. It might seem like common sense, but you’re setting it to 2 and leaving it there. Reveillark is likely not needed in the deck, it might become a third Mindcensor or Ghost Quarter.

Although on the face of it the deck looks like an aggro deck, it isn’t. The Martyr-Proclamation combo will enable you to stay alive for a very long time, so there’s no hurry to win. You are equipped for the long game anyway with Emeria, Mistveil, Proclamation and Knight of the Reliquary, and Martyr is more effective with a full hand. Against decks with ways to kill your Martyr, you don’t want to drop him turn 1. Make sure you can sacrifice him in response to any kill spell they may have.

Decks that attack your hand are a scary but I don’t know how prevalent they will be. Blightning is a bit of a worry but Thoughtseize and Duress can take our Proclamation turn 1. Leyline in the board should help you post-board. Graveyard hate is also a concern, so using your Pridemages carefully against it will be crucial. You might also need to switch to beatdown mode a little faster against those strategies, or tutor up the Mistveils in a hurry. Teferi is something of a concern as he stops our Martyr combo, so it might actually be worth siding it out in that matchup for more beats and the Grand Abolishers.

Overall the deck is a blast to play and does some absurdly powerful things. I’d love to hear your thoughts and results with the deck, should you decide to take it for a spin.