Five Decks You Can’t Miss This Week
Welcome back! We've had some time to play with Gatecrash; time to find out what the big players are and how the metagame plays out. What comes next is the best part; once people know what the metagame looks like, they can build sweet decks that come from new and unexpected angles to steal games and tournaments. This week we've got five sweet decks to take a look at, so let's get started!
Let's start with a Standard deck from Travis Woo (@travisdwoo) which was featured on ChannelFireball this past week. If you like the idea of extorting people to death or enjoy High Tide in Legacy, this might be the deck for you:
Black Tide - Standard | Travis Woo
This is a Crypt Ghast deck like no other. Most Crypt Ghast decks are looking to power out Griselbrand or Rakdos's Return while using extort to stay in the game. Travis is looking to just kill you. Travis does a great job of breaking down how the deck functions in his article, but here's a quick rundown.
Step one: find a Crypt Ghast.
Step two: make multiple copies of Crypt Ghast with Evil Twin and Clone.
Step three: Float a bunch of mana, cast Rewind on something.
Step four: Cast cheap blue card drawing and extort to your heart's content.
With multiple Crypt Ghasts you can generate absurd quantities of mana, especially once you get to Rewind a spell. Then you start burning Think Twice and Forbidden Alchemys to dig through your deck, extorting as you go. Maybe you want to Rewind one of your spells to keep the chain going?
The Modern season is finished, but gave us a few more sweet decks before the end. First let's take a look at a deck from the Magic Online PTQ. We know that Jund and Junk are at the top of the format, but cjlack92 took Jund in a different direction that gave him increased flexibility and topdeck potential in the mirror. Here's his list:
Glittering Wish Jund - Modern | cjlack92, T8 Modern PTQ
So...Glittering Wish. How many of us expected to see this crushing Modern events? As strange as it seems, as Modern becomes more varied and midrangey, Glittering Wish gets better and better. One of Jund's biggest strengths is its ability to build the best sideboard. Having access to powerful sideboard cards like Rakdos Charm and Slaughter Games in games one is very powerful, and is not something that should be overlooked.
The card also gives you a ton of flexibility and a mechanism of going over the top of other mirange decks. Your opponent stuck an early Dark Confidant? Find a Lightning Helix and zap it. It's late in the game and your opponent ripped a Tarmogoyf? Bituminous Blast should help bail you out. I'm a little surprised that there's not something like Sarkhan the Mad, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, or Huntmaster of the Fells that takes over an empty board in the Jund mirror, but that may just be unnecessary.
Is Glittering Wish the way of the future? It certainly gives you more utility at the cost of sideboard slots. Deathrite Shaman will make sure your mana works out just fine. Maybe next week we'll see Jund with Rhox War Monk!
Some people don't like Modern because it doesn't have a villain, and the decks sort of blend into one another. I love Modern because Gifts Ungiven is making a comeback. We've seen Gifts Ungiven decks that set up Unburial Rites and Gifts Ungiven decks that set up Punishing Fire; but last week in San Diego, Gerry Thompson used Gifts Ungiven to set up Mindslaver. Let's take a look:
UW Tron - Modern | Gerry Thompson
This looks an awful lot like the Mono-Blue Tron decks that have been showing up on Magic Online, just...better. You get access to White removal and sideboard cards, and particularly Timely Reinforcements to buy time against the Red decks of the format.
The most exciting piece of technology here is the addition of Gifts Ungiven, and how the deck is built to maximize Gifts packages. White gives you access to Unburial Rites and fatties, but now you have options against control decks. Against control you can Gifts for Crucible of Worlds, Academy Ruins, Expedition Map, and Mindslaver. Since the Expedition Map can get the second Academy Ruins, this package guarantees a Mindslaver lock as long as you can assemble enough mana.
The best and worst part about this Gifts package is how flexible it can be, and how much utility it affords you. Crucible of Worlds plus Ghost Quarter gives you an edge in Tron mirrors and makes you a much better Celestial Colonnade deck than most other UW control decks. As long as you don't die to Geist of Saint Traft, that is.
Let's head back to Standard for our fourth deck. In a format with ten shocklands and ten buddy lands, there's very little reason to play fewer than three colors. The thing that make's KThunder20's deck interesting is that he only plays one color. Let's take a look at the deck he played in a Magic Online Standard Premier Event.
Mono Green Aggro - Standard | KThunder20, 3rd Standard Premier Event
There is a Black-Green Predator Ooze deck that has seen some play in this Standard format that looks a lot like this. I like this Mono Green version better though. Basically, we're trading all of our midrangey black creatures and removal like Tragic Slip and Dreg Mangler for Garruk, Primal Hunter and other green curve-toppers.
To me, the most exciting cards in this deck are Wolfir Silverheart and Yeva, Nature's Herald. These cards are just fine on their own - Silverheart lets even an Arbor Elf go toe-to-toe with a Thragtusk and Yeva does a fine impression of Restoration Angel - but they are most impressive in combination. Mid-combat and end-of-turn Wolfir Silverhearts don't seem remotely fair, especially in a deck with Garruk, Primal Hunter.
I think I'd like to see some Garruk Relentless in a deck like this, since the four spot is a little empty and you might like a way to tutor up Ulvenwald Tracker so you can take over the mid game, but I think this is a very solid starting point for a deck. Both the Mono-Green and Green-Black versions have been putting up results, so give it a shot at your FNM!
Kevin Crimin does a great job of showing off the strengths of this budget deck in this series of videos on Gathering Magic.
Our Commander deck for this week picks up where Diaochan, Artful Beauty left off: with a series of sweet mono-colored decks. This week we've got a Green deck that does more than ramp into fatties. IBSPathfinder is looking to play a more aggro-control game, which is very unusual for Green decks. Let's take a look at his Troll Control deck:
Troll Control - Commander | IBSPathfinder
Thrun sees quite a bit of play in Modern and Legacy because creatures don't get much bigger than 4/4's and hexproof and regeneration make him almost unbeatable in the red zone. That's not true in Commander. Thrun will frequently get outclassed by larger creatures, and a significant portion of this deck is dedicated to changing that. From Cathedral of War and Okina to Swords and Increasing Savagery, this deck tries to make sure that Thrun can brawl with the biggest creatures in play.
The second key piece to this deck is that it denies you resources to interact with Thrun. There are already very few ways to interact with Thrun. How much harder does it become when you're stuck under Ritual of Subdual or Hall of Gemstone? Chumping becomes rather difficult with Ulvenwald Tracker in play. What if you just decide to race? Effects like Constant Mists and Tangle make that pretty difficult as well.
All of this is tied together by an awesome card advantage engine that scales with Thrun's power. Soul's Majesty, Hunter's Insight, and Garruk, Primal Hunter are very easily just Tidings, but will frequently become more like Sphinx's Revelation.
The one thing that surprises me is the lack of instant-speed pump spells. These generally have very little value, but become much better when you're trying to Voltron people to death and when you can draw cards based on Thrun's power. Primal Bellow and Invigorate seem like very good options.
One thing's for sure, this deck is awesome. There aren't especially many green aggro decks that have the same kind of late-game staying power that Troll Control does. This deck does powerful things that have to be answered at every phase of the game.