Crucible of Words – You see me Trollin’ by Cyrus Bales
Firstly, I’d like to apologize for not offering you up an article for a while. I’m afraid I’ve been very busy with other elements of life and my only magic based time was spent working on standard for the PTQ’s. Now that they are all finished with for me, I’ll spend today talking about what I am/was playing in standard at the moment.
I break down the Magic Online results each week for my local play group and see which archetypes are doing well and how they are adapting and changing. Over the last week, the format has returned to Junk Rites and Gruul Aggro as the most well represented decks in the field; however Naya and other decks are also very much around, and Aristocrats seems ever popular in the UK.
I started playing control decks like BRW and WUR, however you spend the whole game trying to squeak out small advantages here and there, and drawing a couple of cards at the wrong time can suddenly shift a game against you. This made me want to abandon control decks for the time being as they seemed too fair in a world of Burning-Tree Emissary.
So I wanted to play a deck that was aggressive, but in being so, it needed to deal with the road block that is Boros Reckoner and Lingering Souls, both spelling bad news for those of us trying to swing with two power guys and get the game finished by turn 6. This led me to the deck below which I played at the last PTQ.
4 Diregraf Ghoul
3 Deathrite Shaman
1 Rakdos Cackler
3 Blood Scrivener
4 Lotleth Troll
4 Geralf’s Messenger
4 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
4 Abrupt Decay
3 Grisly Salvage
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Woodland Cemetery
4 Overgrown Tomb
So, black green zombies is where I got to. It has plenty of good aggressive creatures, Lotleth Troll being very good against 1/1 flying tokens, reach in the form of Deathrite Shaman and Geralf’s Messenger and a very sweet mid game plan with Varolz. There’s a fair bit of card advantage here, and Grisly Salvage is often a draw three spell, or more with Varolz around. These green spells forced me to include a forest to up the count slightly, which is fine aside from the occasion you have Messenger and nothing else, but I’ve often discarded a Messenger to Troll due to not being able to cast it, and it never felt terrible at all.
A few of the numbers are worth mentioning, the singleton Rakdos Cackler is there because I wanted nine creatures with two power that cost only one mana, and often drawing multiple Deathrites against some decks is a waste of time. The general game plan of the deck is to rush them early on with aggro and remove a few blockers along the way, if the game goes longer, you can outpace their creatures with Varolz and Lotleth Troll. Ten power Lotleth Trolls definitely get the job done, Blood Scrivener is pretty sweet here since your curve is low and you often end up hellbent.
Looking at the sideboard is relatively straight forward. Liliana of the Veil is a sweetheart against control decks and Jund, being able to go hellbent or get lots of value out of your discarded cards means in those match ups it’s excellent, although obviously not main deckable in a world of Reanimator and Naya decks.
Gloom Surgeon is a nice road block for Gruul decks and can keep them at bay or just eat an attacker each turn. The extra graveyard hate was because when Deathrite is good, it’s very good, so I wanted to have access to multiples. The Tormod’s Crypts are a good way to wipe a graveyard without having to target the cards in the graveyard like Deathrite does, because Junk Aristocrats can play Ground Seal etc. Dead Weight is a cost effective removal spell for Gruul, the Nighthawk another good road block for numerous things with life gain that can get out of hand with Varolz. Pretty sure I don’t have to explain why Golgari Charm is here.
Playing with it?
Sideboarding is a bit more interesting, as in some match ups, you become the control, since you have more durable threats than decks like Gruul, and you have access to a very potent removal suite. Don’t be afraid to cut Diregrafs and Cacklers for Dead Weights, Deathrite and Putrefy, but always keep an eye on your curve, if you’re putting in Liliana’s, you don’t want to be drawing hands of all three drops, so you need to shift things out of the slots etc.
The list seems pretty tight, and I’d be happy to play it again, although I’d tweak the sideboard with another Dead Weight for sure. I’m uncertain about Gloom Surgeon, perhaps more Dead Weights and a Nighthawk would get the job done better, Gaze of Granite also has a lot of potential, especially with all the tokens flying around at the moment.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing.