GB Rock (Standard) at GP Paris 2015 by Fabrizio Anteri

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GB Rock (Standard) at GP Paris 2015 by Fabrizio Anteri

Hello everyone,

Today I want to share with you the deck I played in GP Paris, for a 44th place.

After the success of Esper Dragons in GP Krakow, I wanted to find a deck to beat this archetype, without sacrificing the matchup against Mono-Red. I tried different brews: some were horrible, others were decent. Deathmist Raptor + Den Protector was the path I chose for it.

Den Protector was at his best when mixed with a good number of non-creature spells, Black was the best companion for this goal. But at the same time 8 morphs didn’t feel enough to maximize the value of Deathmist Raptor.

I discarded Abzan Megamorph for the high number of creatures, mana requirements, and because Satyr Wayfinder was the best two-drop I found to mix with Protectors, Raptors and Tasigur, the Golden Fangs, so Sultai got my attention, but [card]Sidisi, Brood Tyrant"> was not enough to push me into White.

Sultai got my attention, but [card]Sidisi, Brood Tyrant pushes you to play more creatures. I thought about splashing Blue only for Treasure Cruise and Stratus Dancer, but finally decided to give an honest Green/Black mana base the chance.

As for additional on-colour morphs, Grim Haruspex was the closest to playable I found. After a quick testing I found out that Whisperwood Elemental was the tool I was missing: very good win condition by itself, manifest was good enough to find more creatures to trigger the Raptors from the graveyard, and it’s one of the best answers to Crux of Fate.

After some 10 days testing online, this was the list I put together for the trip, with some additional cards in my bag to make last minute changes:

Paris GB Rock by Fabrizio Anteri

(60)
Satyr Wayfinder
Den Protector
Deathmist Raptor
Courser of Kruphix
Whisperwood Elemental
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Garruk, Apex Predator
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Thoughtseize
Hero’s Downfall
Bile Blight
Ultimate Price
Murderous Cut
Read the Bones
Temple of Malady
Jungle Hollow
Llanowar Wastes
Wooded Foothills
Bloodstained Mire
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Forest
Swamp

Sideboard

(15)
Self-Inflicted Wound
Drown in Sorrow
Duress
Ainok Survivalist
Feed the Clan
Read the Bones
Pharika, God of Affliction
Crux of Fate
Nissa, Worldwaker
Liliana Vess

Right before leaving to the airport, I got warned by a friend that French players love Control decks – so I should be prepared to play against Esper Dragons many times. I got to the venue on Friday evening and did a little scouting between the Trial tables to get an idea of what decks were more popular. The earlier warning was true: the numbers of Esper Dragons I saw were massive.

Before going to sleep I decided to improve a bit the control match for my deck, so I made the following changes:

DECK OUT

[draft]Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Ultimate Price
Hero’s Downfall[/draft]

DECK IN

[draft]Nissa, Worldwaker
Read the Bones
Murderous Cut[/draft]

SIDEBOARD OUT

[draft]Nissa, WorldWaker[/draft]

SIDEBOARD IN

[draft]Duress[/draft]

With these maindeck changes I was improving one of my threats (Nissa instead of Tasigur) and reduced dead cards by one, getting an extra Read the Bones in the process. I didn’t want to add more five-drops, so the Nissa I moved from sideboard was replaced by an extra Duress.

Game 1 against Control is still hard, close to 50-50 or worse if they are prepared against Green Raptor decks. Sideboard improves the match a lot, at least 60-40 I would say.

By removing all the copies of Ultimate Price, Stormbreath Dragon became a problem – but I wasn’t expecting as many Mardu as they actually were. Going forward, I would cut one of the Self-Inflicted Wounds from the sideboard for one copy of Ultimate Price.

Mono-Red could be punishing, if you keep a slow hand game one, but post-board games are very good. Mulligan aggressively is a priority to success here.

Midrange mirrors are, as expected, going to be long. Having access to powerful planewalkers as Garruk, Apex Predator and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon from Game 1 is the key to win these matches.

Overall the deck is an honest and classic Rock deck: game ones are going to be hard to win, but never impossible. Post-board games are always going to be better, they will rarely have something relevant against you, while you are cutting your bad spells for good ones.

SIDEBOARD GUIDE

Esper Dragons:

OUT

[draft]Satyr Wayfinder
Satyr Wayfinder
Bile Blight
Bile Blight
Murderous Cut
Murderous Cut
Courser of Kruphix
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/draft]

IN

[draft]Duress
Duress
Duress
Read the Bones
Self-Inflicted Wound
Self-Inflicted Wound
Liliana Vess
Ainok Survivalist[/draft]

Ainok may be relevant, if they are bringing Perilous Vault from the sideboard. Even if not, it’s a morph that will represent a threat for them and can trigger the Raptors. I would bring one Murderous Cut back for game 3, if they have Tasigur.

Mono-Red, Atarka Red:

OUT

[draft]Thoughtseize
Thoughtseize
Thoughtseize
Thoughtseize
Read the Bones
Read the Bones
Read the Bones
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/draft]

IN

[draft]Drown in Sorrow
Drown in Sorrow
Drown in Sorrow
Feed the Clan
Duress
Duress
Duress
Ainok Survivalist[/draft]

Hands without Bile Blight or Drown in Sorrow should be sent away 95% of the time. Duress into Courser of Kruphix could be an exception for the rule. Garruk, Apex Predator is quite slow and awkward, but even gaining 2 life by killing Monastery Swiftspear sometimes makes the difference between winning and losing. So I would rather have it and not any other of the options.

Abzan Aggro:

OUT

[draft]Courser of Kruphix
Courser of Kruphix
Courser of Kruphix
Courser of Kruphix
Thoughtseize[/draft]

IN

[draft]Self-Inflicted Wound
Self-Inflicted Wound
Self-Inflicted Wound
Crux of Fate
Pharika, God of Affliction[/draft]

I don’t like Thoughtseize here, but I just hate what Dromoka’s Command does to a Courser, so I would rather cut all of them and avoid two-for-ones. If they start casting creatures on turn 2 and you don’t have a two-mana removal, it may get problematic. Otherwise you should have the time to answer all their threats and start casting your own – which are bigger and scarier to them.

Other decks have many different builds and the sideboard plan may change according to how aggressive they may be or not. I think the idea of the deck and the cards you want in each situation are clear.

dragonlord ojutai

Now’s the time for a quick report how I’ve got to 44th place at GP Paris.

I reached the 11-4 record.

After my three byes, I beat two versions of Abzan, before losing to the third I played. Both games he won, the opponent topdecked his best and only outs the turns before dying. Then I beat Esper Dragons, lost to Mardu Dragons – the lack of Ultimate Price cost me here – and beat Esper Dragons again to make Day 2.

Sunday started well with two wins to Green/Red Devotion and GW Collected Company. Then I lost my chance to Top8 to Esper Dragons in the feature match. I drew too many dead cards and found no Raptors game 1, then I got mana screwed game 3. I beat Mardu Dragons and lost to GW Collected Company, because I rushed and misplayed game 2. In the last round I beat Sidisi Megamorph.

Three of my twelve opponents were Grand Prix Champions. Another one had multiple Grand Prix Top8s. Yet another one was a Pro Tour Champion. There was also a Pro Tour finalist sitting across a table. Overall I played against more top players than what an average Grand Prix should look like. I was expecting to get more free wins for playing a rogue deck and having opponents misplaying for not knowing what to do or how to sideboard, but it was not the case. Still, I am really happy with the performance of the deck and I will keep working on it. I think it has potential and I would recommend it to whoever is looking for something new and competitive to play.

If you have any questions or suggestions for the deck, I would love to hear it.

Thanks for reading,

Fabrizio

Community Question: Do you have any suggestions for this Rock deck?

Do you have any suggestions for this Rock deck

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