Hello there and welcome to my first article for the MtGUK blog.
As a competitive player and Manaleak regular, I wanted to share my deck choice for next month’s Arena PTQ: an updated version of Gruul Adventures. This deck got me to high Mythic (I’m currently ranking around 114 at the moment) and queued me in for the Arena PTQ.
Here’s what I’m playing main deck:
4 Stomping Ground
4 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Edgewall Innkeeper
4 Kraul Harpooner
4 Lovestruck Beast
4 Questing Beast
4 Rimrock Knight
3 Embereth Shieldbreaker
2 Skarrgan Hellkite
4 Domri’s Ambush
3 OTHER SPELLS
Gruul Adventures opens with a choice between two 1-mana turn one plays: Lovestruck Beast’s Heart’s Desire adventure or Edgewall Innkeeper. Rimrock Knight quickly lets you pump your creatures – stick on an Embercleave and you can add another 4 damage on top.
Bonecrusher Giant gives early Stomp removal to then become a big turn three threat. Lovestruck Beast stonewalls a lot of early beats in the format and adds aggro heft if you can bring another guy to overcome the passive ability. And Questing Beast… if you put an Embercleave on it can do 10 points of damage over the head of your opponent’s 2-power creatures, or trample over any big enough to block – and with Deathtouch interacting with Trample and Double Strike, Questing Beast only has to deal 1 damage to the blocking creature in First Strike, then deals the full remaining damage to the player, clearing the way for a win next turn if not this one. It’s unreal.
With a stock 24 land manabase (10-10 plus the four shocklands), the deck runs as a classic red-green aggro.
But then Edgewall Innkeeper draws so many cards that the late game still feels like you’re grinding.
The original list includes 2 Embereth Shieldbreakers in the sideboard, but because of the card advantage from these creature spells, I’m using 3 Embereth Shieldbreaker and 2 Skarrgan Hellkite maindeck, replacing 4 Once Upon a Time and 1 Veil of Summer.
As well as including more creatures, Shieldbreaker in the main gives handy artifact removal against Witch’s Oven and Dance of the Manse engines, which are looking to be strong. If your opponent isn’t on Oven or Dance, then its a 2 mana 2/1 with card draw from Innkeeper. The two Hellkites can just get you over the line for win: with Domri’s Ambush, Skarrgan Hellkite can take haste turn five, gaining the +1/+1 counter from Ambush, and maybe winning from there on turn 6.
Moving the Embereth Shieldbreakers to main deck, taking out Dominguez’s Experimental Frenzy, 1 Cindervines and of course Veil of Summer gave room for 2 additional Lava Coils, 1 extra Sweep another Shock, Spyglass and 2 The Great Henge.
Coil is one of my favourite removal spells in the format, and it exiles the Cauldron Familiar before they can sacrifice it to either Oven or Priest, removing their mechanic.
The Great Henge gives you card draw against other midrange decks, digging in to reach the big red threats (including Hellkite).
Flame Sweep is there for all the small aggressive decks in the format, as are the Shocks. Sorcerous Spyglass works against Fires of Invention, Oven and food decks, whilst Cindervines is for the control rec. and Fries.
Thank you for reading and good luck on the grind.
Here’s Freddie’s decklist in full (just select the text and copy it to your clipboard via a text programme (Word, Notepad etc) for import to Arena):
10 Forest (ELD) 266
10 Mountain (ELD) 262
4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259
4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
4 Edgewall Innkeeper (ELD) 151
4 Kraul Harpooner (GRN) 136
4 Lovestruck Beast (ELD) 165
4 Questing Beast (ELD) 171
4 Rimrock Knight (ELD) 137
3 Embereth Shieldbreaker (ELD) 122
2 Skarrgan Hellkite (RNA) 114
4 Domri’s Ambush (WAR) 192
3 Embercleave (ELD) 120
3 Cindervines (RNA) 161
4 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
2 Flame Sweep (M20) 139
2 Shock (M20) 160
2 The Great Henge (ELD) 161
2 Sorcerous Spyglass (ELD) 233