Crucible of Words – That’s ‘Maw Like It by Cyrus Bales

Crucible of Words – How do you solve a problem like a Mindsculptor? By Cyrus Bales

Crucible of Words – That’s ‘Maw Like It by Cyrus Bales


Over the last few weeks, Standard has really been allowed to flourish and develop. Thragtusk has found itself playing second fiddle to Thundermaw Hellkite">Thundermaw Hellkite in the form of RB aggro. Back to back GP wins and a presence in all three of the top 8’s in the last month show that this deck is certainly a force to contend with, even in the face of the large amounts of life gain being played.

So, where does that leave us deck wise?

Where is the next innovation in standard coming from? Possibly a Jund list packing plenty of removal, or an updated build of the WUR tempo deck could be the next big thing; however if it’s not broke, why fix it? I’m a fan of the RB aggro deck, and see myself running it till Gatecrash in one form or another, so I’m not looking to play the deck that beats it, but rather build to beat the mirror and anticipate the changes in the format.

The reason I like this deck, is its ability to get free wins, like aggro decks throughout history, you give your opponent a limited time to put together a game plan, and if your opponent stumbles just once, it’s often game over. Aside from that, there’s a lot of longevity and reach in the deck, which gives you more of a real game of magic rather than hoping to kill them before they start doing their plan. This makes RB aggro more enjoyable to play with, as you do get to make decisions and contribute in the mid-game, rather than hoping your early game gets there in time.

Taking this on board, what should this deck now look like?

There’s a lot of cards I’m a fan of that I’d like in this deck, Knight of Infamy and Crimson Muckwader give you a choice of two drops who are just flat out good cards without needing synergy to make them relevant like Blood Artist and Bloodthrone Vampire.

With that in mind, I’ll throw out a list.

4 Gravecrawler
4 Diregraf Ghoul
3 Knight of Infamy
2 Crimson Muckwader
2 Vampire Nighthawk
4 Geralf’s Messenger
2 Hellrider
4 Falkenrath Aristocrat
3 Thundermaw Hellkite
4 Pillar of Flame
4 Searing Spear
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Blood Crypt
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Rakdos Guildgate
7 Swamp
1 Mountain


2 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Olivia Voldaren
2 Appetite for Brains
2 Zealous Conscripts
3 Ultimate Price
3 Cremate
1 Sever the Bloodline

Why the changes?

Firstly, Vampire Nighthawk is a very strong magic card, not just in the mirror, but in general, where it’s able to attack into a potential Restoration Angel without fear. I suspect WUR decks and BR aggro will be all over the place for the next short while, and this card is great against both. I’m tempted to run even more of them in the main deck, but I feel having other creatures could be an asset.

The Crimson Muckwader is a good man to attack into Thragtusks with and can dodge a lot of removal coming from Jund decks, which essential for maintaining pressure. I’ve found sometimes Hellrider is not the easiest to cast, whilst I do like the card a lot, I felt scaling him back to just one copy in favour of a Nighthawk would help the curve of the deck so you get less hands full of four and five drops.

I’ve stuck to just 8 burn spells, whilst I would like more; I feel having more threats is better in this environment. Nighthawk can act a bit like removal and the life gain should make up for any shortcomings.

The sideboard

Sideboard wise, I wanted a big threat to take over games with. We already have some vampires, so why not make our Caverns better and run this one as well? I was almost tempted to put her in instead of the Hellrider to free up some sideboard spaces, this might become the right option at a later date.

The rest is pretty obvious; however the Ultimate Price’s are a nod to the Thundermaw mirror amongst other things. As I’m sure you’re aware, the metagame will differ from place to place, making a lot of these decisions specific to location, but I expect the larger trend in coming weeks will be WUR midrange and Jund, however MODO has shown a few Naya decks which are full of value rising to the top.

£1K – 1st Place Money Events?

This format has many cycles to move through still and each GP will show a pull in another direction I’m sure. There is also talk of a larger £1K event right here in England in the next year or so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on travelling to The Midlands in order to participate in such an event, so we can gauge feasibility.

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing.

Cyrus Bales

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