I always say that I’m excited on this article or that deck tech but today’s deck tech is pretty special because it received a lot of commendations from the opponents I played with.
They actually coined the name Mardu Answers because it’s basically a control deck with Planeswalkers and has answers to almost everything. What I’ll be presenting here is already a revised version but I will still say which cards I removed. Let’s now go to the deck tech!
We can safely say that the meta is 70% dominated by creature decks. Mono Red, R/B Aggro, RG monster, Naya Monster, BG Constrictor, Sultai Snakes & Ladders, BW vampires, UR merfolk, UW GPG all win via combat and we need to respect them or die.
Luckily Mardu has the best spot and global removals in standard today. Fatal Push and Magma Spray conveniently solves Turn 1-3 plays from Bomat Courier, Toolcraft Exemplar, Tribal Lords, mana dorks and at times, 4-cmc creatures. More importantly, the split of 3-2 in favor of Magma Spray is a meta call to make sure Scrapheap Scrounger, Dread Wanderer, Resilient and Earthshaker Khenras stay dead. The biggest problem for removal heavy decks are threats that keep coming back because it loses the trade of resources 1-for-1.
For go-wide decks, Fumigate, Settle the Wreckage and Sweltering populate the mid-to-late game curves to ensure us that we have the right sweeper at the right curve, for the right purpose.
Doomfall was a surprise tech for my opponent because they didn’t expect I can deal with hexproof creatures, or permanently kill Gods and embalming creatures. It also cross functions as hand disruption against control players. Even if they choose to counter it, he were successful at taking one counter magic off their hand.
Another solid removal spells that functions as psuedo-card advantage is Ixalan’s Binding. If we can cast this on a permanent that the opponent has several other copies in their hand, we essentially stopped them from pressuring the board and end up top decking to find the answer they need.
Vraska’s Contempt is another versatile answer that kills Planeswalkers and indestructible creatures like Hazoret, The Scarab Gods and what have you. The 2 life is super relevant to keep you in the game against aggro decks.
What Mardu is bad at is drawing cards but thankfully we have Treasure Map to help fix our draws and nets us 3 free cards once we get to flip it. Another tech I saw Conley Woods played was using Leave // Chance.
Leave is super effective in many situations, like:
- Saves your Planeswalker if the opponent decides to go all in on it, saving you as well from damage.
- Returns your Treasure Cove to hand allowing you to replay Treasure Map and repeat the process.
- Returns your Ixalan’s Binding to avoid getting Cast Out. A tech here is to bounce it to reveal a creature then cast Fumigate to kill it and still have Ixalan’s Binding in hand for their next threat.
Speaking of walkers, we have a lot of high quality ones in our color.
In all my games where I played Gideon, I was able to use all 3 of his abilities to its full potential. I’ve shut down Kirans from getting crewed to swing into Gideon, it has punched his way to win games, and his emblem has kept me alive at -2 life against Mardu Vehicles.
Chandra is our card advantage Planeswalker and our inevitability if the opponent fails to have his threats stick to the table and do her some damage. She is less effective however against decks that play Glorybringer so you need to be mindful of that dragon taking her down.
Huatli is my new addition which I didn’t use in my previous tournament. I decided to play her for the life gain. Her ability to make 3/3 dinosaurs turns my opponent’s removal on so depending on the match up, I don’t want to create creatures if my opponent can cast Unlicensed Disintegration and kill the Dino and take Huatli down too.
Angrath is my other inevitability thanks to her discard + shock ability which is super devastating against midrange decks. With enough cards in the graveyard and several tick ups, the opponent should be in arms reach after Angrath goes ultimate, if he’s not dead yet. His ‘Threaten’ ability is also useful sometimes especially if you’re stealing something low cost and not give it back after.
If I were to play a creature, it has to be Gonti, Lord of Luxury. He is incredibly powerful that I think there should be no reason to side him out whatever your opponent is playing. He’s a 2/3 with deathtouch that kills whoever he touches in combat, has the ability to snipe the opponent’s best cards from their library and together with Leave, we can do this more than once with a single copy of Gonti. I really love him then and I love him even more now.
In a deck full of answers, I want to always have the right one and adding a single copy of Mastermind’s Acquisition technically adds 1 more copy of each answer we have in the deck, plus giving us access to more answers in the sideboard depending on the match-up.
What I took out from the original build is the token sub-them where I played Renegade Map and Hidden Stockpile to clutter the board, scry for answers, and sometimes with with a bunch of 1/1s.
Here’s how my Mardu Answers deck look like after revision.
3 Gonti, LoL (even his acronym is incredible)
Artifacts & Enchantments: 4
2 Treasure Map
2 Ixalan’s Binding
2 Fatal Push
3 Magma Spray
2 Leave // Chance
1 Sweltering Suns
1 Settle the Wreckage
3 Vraska’s Contempt
1 Mastermind’s Acquisition
2 Gideon of the Trials
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
1 Huatli, Warrior Poet
3 Canyon Slough
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Inspiring Vantage
4 Evolving Wilds
1 Field of Ruin
3 Lost Legacy
1 Oketra’s Last Mercy
1 Sweltering Suns
3 Moment of Craving
1 Authority of the Consuls
2 Cast Out
Good sideboarding approach is not to dilute your main strategy but instead make it more focused to combat your opponent counter plays post-board.
Against very fast, low to the ground decks that want to kill you before you get to Fumigate mana, we can take these high cost sweepers for cheaper and earlier interactive spells like Moment of Craving and Sweltering Suns. The life gain from Moment of Craving is backbreaking against decks that configured to be faster in exchange for longevity. Gaining some life in between turns 2-6 from Craving, Contempt, Huatli and Authority can easily translate to 6-8 free lives which is enough for you to get to your bigger spells.
The most problematic control deck is the Approach archetype because we cannot interact with it once the opponent gets to 7 mana. For these match-up we will side in all 4 copies of Duress and 3 Lost Legacy to push our discard spells to 10 thanks to Doomfall that’s already in the main board. 10 disruptions spells should allow you to force the opponent to exhaust his counter spells, or tap out and risk losing their draw spells only to be Lost Legacy-ed later. Lost Legacy can also be sided in against some aggro match up by investing the early turns killing their T1-T3 creatures than cast Lost Legacy to strip them of their end-game threats like Rekindling, Glorybringer, Carnage Tyrant, Regal Caracal, The Scarab God, etc.
Since we have Mastermind’s Acquisition, I want to have a one-off in the sideboard that can help turn the tables and win quickly.
Torment of Hailfire saw a slight spike thanks to Azor’s Gateway and the Saffron Olive effect helped spread it around. We can fetch for it when the games drown out while we have 10+ lands in play, and no creatures on the opponent’s side, to deal 9-24 damage depending on the opponent’s hand size.
I really like the deck primarily for its ability to remain competitive regardless what my opponent is playing. It has answers to any type of permanent, can win without combat which mutes the opponent’s removal, has hand disruption pre and post-board, uses the formats best Planeswalkers and is extremely super fun to play.
I hope you like this and do follow the page for more crazy deck techs that work!