Holy irrelevant format, batman!
While everyone’s getting excited about Neil Patrick Harris, I’m still cracking away at block constructed on MODO, where it’s not released for another couple of weeks. Apologies if this isn’t your bag, but really, it’s the next Pro-Tour format, so it should. This format is still super fun, and I’m having a blast playing it. It’s pretty lucrative too, as it’s not really attracting too many highly skilled players in the 2-mans. This will probably change upon NPH‘s release in a few weeks due to being the PT format, and people wanting to test brews while not having the decklists published.
After last times Grixis control list, I moved back to a straight UB Shell, cutting the Skinrenders (irrelevant in the mirror) for Darkslick Drakes (Solid vs almost everyone) and a couple Disperses to help Neurok Commando. I really enjoy this deck, and I’d be really surprised if a UB Control deck wasn’t popular post NPH. It’s really been hurting for a Preordain type spell, and a combination of Tezzeret’s Gambit and Gitaxian Probe should help fill that role. I’d be tempted to move away from the Commando’s, and into these, enabling me to cut some of the 1 shot removal for more Black Sun’s Zenith and the new goodness, Despise.
Thrun, the Last Troll is pretty good against this type of deck, so proactively stripping him from the opponents hand, and having more wraths seems pretty good to me.
The deck I’m going to show you was built when the meta was largely Tempered Steel aggro decks, with a smattering of UB Control and Mono-Red. Looking at the Top Decks section on the Wizards site here (updated every Thursday), we can see that there are currently 5 decks that we need to consider:- UB control, TezzInfect, Big Red, Tempered Steel WW and RUG. I’ll try and be a bit more specific when I cover the matchups later on.
This deck is capable of some pretty busted draws. It’s specifically designed to prey on the UB lists, which have a pretty hard time with Mirran Crusader (esp on the play) and Thrun, the Last Troll. Hero of Bladehold is a beating as well, though it’s one they’ve usually got an answer for, due to general reluctance to use kill-spells on Viridian Emissary and Relic Warden. C’est la vie.
Consider the following sequence:-
Seems pretty reasonable, right?
Molten-Tail Masticore is the newest card on this list. It may seem unusual in this type of deck at first, but I think the card is criminally under-utilised, and in addition to the Red Sun’s Zeniths, gives this deck some post Wrath reach, and is an outstanding card to have access to.
Hero of Bladehold is an utter beating here. If it gets to attack, you should win. You have beaters all the way up the curve, and so many decks are ill equipped to stop her. She’s got 4 toughness, which means on the play, she’s outside the Red Sun’s Zenith‘s lethal range, which is one of the best ways to deal with it outside black. Tumble Magnet is one of the better answers to it, but we run our own Magnets, in addition to the full suite of Leonin Relic Warders to proactively, and hopefully pre-emptively deal with this.
Viridian Emissary is a phenomenally powerful card, and is truly indicative of the power-creep over the past few years. Rampant Growth on death, plus a 2 power body make this a much more aggressive Sakura Tribe-Elder. There’s no post-M10 rules changes tension with our Emissary, and he’s not an unreasonable sized beater that our opponents can afford to ignore for long. A beautifully designed card, and very welcome in this deck.
I really can’t speak highly enough of Mirran Crusader. He’s the best card in the deck, for sure. He carries swords, is nuts vs Infect, blocks incredibly well. Any less than 4 is a mistake. I’d run 8, if I could.
Red Sun’s Zenith is exceedingly powerful, and not too difficult to splash. This kills Wurmcoil Engine, Necropede, Perilous Myr, and even opposing Emissaries very well indeed, and the fact that it shuffles back in should aid decisions to use it early on creatures, while still offering late game to the dome. Another powerful card.
I’m not much of a fan of SB guides, as I think something like that should be fairly fluid, but on this occasion, I’ll try and help out. Obv everything’s not set in stone, so don’t be too rigid. It’s more important to understand the WHY than the WHAT in SB’ing.
This matchup is around 50/50, I think. Winning the roll is really good here, as sneaking your big threat (Mirran Crusader) under Stoic Rebuttal drastically increases the speed with which you shut the game down in. Play your threats on-curve, don’t worry about getting extra value out of things, you just want to knock them from 20 to 0 as fast as possible.
You’re unlikely to get much value out of Hero of Bladehold or Leonin Relic Warder in this matchup. Hero eats removal, as they’ve so much, and we’ve so few good targets. Relic Warder doesn’t have many targets, so is just a Bear. If you can eat a Volition Reins later on, great, but just play them as soon as you get the chance. Worst case, he’ll trade with a Neurok Commando or a removal spell that had your Hero’s name on it.
This is our best matchup. We have plenty of Artifact removal as well as efficient blockers to weather the early turns. All we need to do is live til Hero of Bladehold comes down, and we should be grand. The Relic Warders are best utilized on Tempered Steel itself, making us one of the few decks that actually has an answer to it in G1. Plus, they don’t run any MD Removal, so it’ll be safe unless we’re stupid enough to get it killed in combat.
Elspeth Tirel is really good here. The life gain is really relevant, tho making blockers is mainly what we’re using her for here. They don’t have nearly the reach that we do, so we’re pretty happy to face this matchup all day.
This deck hasn’t changed much. Koth, backed up by burn and hasty guys. Koth’s really good against us, but then he’s good against everyone, so that’s no surprise. Generally, by the time he hits, we’ve got a bit of a board presence, so it’s not game over the way it is for the control decks. Tumble Magnet will help fend of the angry mountains, and help us actually hit Koth.
We’re leaning pretty heavily on Hero of Bladehold to win this matchup, as our Crusader can get burned out pretty easily, so won’t pull his weight quite as much as in most other matches. Thrun is excellent here, so we’re very reliant on our 4-drops. Try and get a Viridian Emissary killed early here, so that you we can cast them a turn earlier.
This matchup is pretty good, I think. They’re quite reliant on artifacts, and we have plenty of ways to stop that. Phyrexian Crusader is really good against us, but we have ways to deal with it. Thrun being the best one. Don’t be afraid to block Crusader as soon as possible, we’re going to win this match by weathering the storm, and using Masticore for the close.
Our Divine Offerings make Inkmoth Nexus a liability, which means that they’re really reliant on Phyrexian Crusader and Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon to get the win here. Tumble Magnet + Green blockers (ideally holding Sword of Feast and Famine) should be enough to contain these threats while we find our Mirran Crusaders and take the game.
This deck is not one I’ve played against much, so I doubt my comments will be too helpful. It’s pretty similar to UB, in that they’re very reliant on getting to 6 mana, and leaning on Consecrated Sphinx.
We have Pistus Strike in the Board for that, and our Relic Warders do a pretty good job at throwing off their tempo by eating Corrupted Conscience and Volition Reins and their ilk. We can legend rule their Thruns, and rely on Crusader and Hero of Bladehold, again, ideally holding Sword of Feast and Famine for the win.
4 Pistus Strike
I think this is an incredibly well positioned deck for the last few weeks of this format, and the fact that it’s still very under the radar gives a pretty big advantage, as all rogue decks do.
It’s also fun for me to play a different style of deck, setting aside the counterspells, and actually turn creatures sideways. I keep meaning to buy a headset and video recording software, and actually show you some matches, but I’m lazy as hell, and haven’t bothered yet. Soon… Maybe… Probably not soon…
Any questions, I’m vaughnswift on MODO.
Stay classy, MTGuk.