When I said in my previous article that I’ll be playing my black green Menagerie deck in the gold rush, I decided on the last minute to shift gears a bit and I reworked the deck’s framework a bit. After a couple more dozen test games in Arena, I felt that the Menagarie deck was very explosive, very high value, and very potent… as long as you don’t unluckily mill your Menageries or fail to draw them. My win percentage was 51% after 60+ competitive test plays (non-gem/gold events) and majority of all my loses were due to milling the Menagerie or not drawing them enough. Milling them out versus not drawing them technically applies the same concept of the card not actually being “there”, which revealed its high dependency on one single card. The deck however remains fun to play, extremely well positioned to win the long games, and is a refreshing take on the popular BG lists that seems to be taking back its throne after GP Shizouka.
So back to the Lab, and back to the drawing board but I still wanted to take a BG deck for a spin in the Gold Rush because I think it’s the color that suits me the most (mainly because I do not have the Jeskai staples, the Tokens staples, the Red staples, and I don’t like Blue aggro).
I did some research online and tried to look into http://www.essentialmagic.com which is a very old website I used to post my deck lists and collections in. When I went into the combo section and filtered ‘Standard’, I came across this 2-card combo. Molderhulk and Memorial to Folly. Together they assemble into a never ending cycle of 6/6 for 12 mana.
However as I was de-sleeving my deck, I combined this combo with the Menagerie deck’s framework and I noticed the number of creatures that gets dumped into the yard thanks to Stitcher’s Supplier, Glowspore Shaman, Merfolk Branchwalker and Jadelight Ranger. From 12-mana recurring 6/6s, the deck can actually churn out an almost endless supply of 6/6 giants for 5 mana, 3 to activate Folly and 1 Black and 1 Green to play the Hulk.
The Glowspore Shaman does a perfect job at retrieving Memorial to Folly in case we don’t have one at the ready when we get Molderhulk on hand or in play. The elf surprisingly has very synergistic qualities which drove me to break the deck apart and mix-and-match new cards for a more Undergrowth themed deck. This time I went to Gatherer and pulled up more card texts.
We have 12 cards in Guilds of Ravnica that sports the Golgari-inspired mechanic and I chose to use 7 of them in the deck.
In testing, I have actually cast Necrotic Wound to kill Ghalta for 1 measly black mana in Arena and my opponent chatted “Nice” three times just because he can’t type anything else in Arena. This card is so good not just because it’s cheap and kills almost anything in the right shell, but because it erases Arclight and Rekindling Phoenix from this universe and beyond!
Kraul Harpooner in testing has been functioning as a G1 cast down which kills anything that flies in Standard which are Phoenixes, Drakes, and a conceited clever Dragon.
In the damage department, Golgari Raider is my green version of Ball Lightning that has the potential to deal 9-14 damage which can outright kill the opponent after they tap out for Nova or Settle the Wreckage, or decide to chain their spells to swing in with their Nixes. In testing, I have stalled the game against Mono Green Aggro by trading creatures and feeding the smaller ones to his Steel Leaf Champions until he eventually played Ghalta to crash through the board. My response was a 14/14 Golgari Raiders that turned his Ghalta into an average critter before we ended up clashing in the red zone and me standing with the biggest creature on the board post-combat. Another one-off that can break stalled games is a mid-to-late game Lotleth Giant that can also deal as much damage as Golgari Raiders when it enters the field. I have won 3-4 games just by playing this Giant on an empty board and a packed graveyard. Banefire you for 14, and a 6 power body to deal the remaining 6? GGs!
Against Red aggro decks, Kraul Foragers has been exceptionally good at keeping my life total just above water to keep me attacking. I have purposely retrieved this with Memorial to Folly just to gain the life back twice and forced my opponent to scoop. It’s amazing really to see how an entire mechanic is able to glue 60 cards together that can pummel great decks to the ground.
Against go-wide decks like Selesnya and White Weenies, Izoni clutters the board really well to the point that the board is so gummed up that the opponent has no good attacks. And if they do decide to push through, 14-20 insect tokens can easily trade with his best dudes and my board remains intact when the smoke clears. However if you do end up casting Izoni the second time around via Folly, it should be game if there’s no Chainwhirler in sight because the sheer amoung of 1/1s are like Gut Shots to the dead after you swing in with the rest of your 2/1s, 3/2s, 2/2s, 6/6s, 6/5s and 14/14s.
Lasly is the 6/6 lovable giant that refuses to die, Molderhulk. He may not have the penetration power because he lacks trample or menace, nor the staying power due to the lack of Hexproof or any sort of protection however, he is a great lightning rod for removal, trades with Carnage Tyrants all day, and is a great beatstick you can possibly cast for BG on turn 3. (Stitcher ETB + Glowspore ETB + Stitcher LTB = 7-9 creatures dumped) that you can recur multiple times thanks to its ability to retrieve Memorial to Folly All. Day. Long. I have done this against mono Green and we traded early with his Nullhide Ferox which was a great trade from my point of view, then I proceeded to do the recursion and kept swinging until all his creatures got eaten up by the fungus. I promise to say “HULK SMASH” whenever I play this card!
So what other thing do I run besides undergrowth cards? A lot more creatures, that’s what!
My removal suite is mainly creature based to keep the deck’s creature density very high. This is important to make sure our millers hit dudes and not duds for a very fast Molderhulk, Ghalta-sized Raiders, Oketra’s Last Mercy-like Foragers and Banefire-ish Lotleth Giant. Plaguecrafter is pretty good against creature based opponents or control. It is a great answer to hexproof creatures or decks that play few creatures at a time like Izzet drakes. Ravenous Chupacabra is a borrowed technology from the BG midrange which is a rockstar at removing Lyras, Aurelias, Ghalta, Steel Leaf, Venerated Loxodon, Enigma Drake, Murmuring Mystic, Niv-Mizzet (no draws for you pal), and many more.
With plenty of trades happening in the red zone because the deck works best if it’s always on the offensive to keep the opponent on the back foot, we need ways to refill the hand and Midnight Reaper does a great by offering a good 3-power body that draws you so many cards. It also draws removal like a lightning rod, and then it replaces itself with a card!
Against Clarion-based decks, we want something more resilient and not too fragile to 3 damage removal. Thrashing Brontodon is an awesome 3/4 body that stops almost everything pre-turn 4 in their tracks. It also merits stronger removal spells like Cast Downs and Lava Coil to remove or a combination of Shock and Lightning Strike which is a grate 2-for-1 exchange. It also offers built-in hate against enchantment and artifact, especially now that Treasure Map is becoming popular in Jeskai and Big Red decks.
Nullhide Ferox is my favorite black sheep in the deck. In a shell with 35 creatures its drawback is literally non-existent. A 4-mana 6/6 that scoffs at Seal Away, Red-based removal, and cannot be tucked by Teferi on curve is super sweet! This card originally started as a sideboard tech against Jeskai but moving 2 into the main has dramatically increased the deck’s win rate against them. The other 2 copies are in the sideboard which comes in against Red and Jeskai decks specifically because it’s damn difficult to remove through damage, and equally hard to remove by anything else but Settle or Nova.
That rounds up the deck with 35 creatures, 3 spells and 22 lands.
We hate Tocatli Honor Guard so we dedicated a lot of SB slots to make sure we can answer her the moment she pops her nasty face! Trophy, Contempt and the fourth copy of Necrotic Wound comes in against her and against anything she brings with her.
Deathgorge Scavenger is a one-off that provides us some flexibility against mono Red and Phoenix decks in 1 slot.
Plague Mare is another flexi-slot that helps us against the Token match-ups and even against the fast red decks that play Firebrands, Pyromancer and Siege-Gang Commander.
Ritual of Soot comes in against white weenies, Boros aggro decks, BG explore decks and mono Blue fliers. We really don’t mind getting cleared by this because we got the resilience to come back with fat Raiders and the ever relentless Molderhulks. Just be careful when you got Midright Reaper on the battlefield because you might die to a burn spell after taking a lot of hits from the Reaper’s ability.
I was skeptical at first if The Eldest Reborn has a slot in the 75 because I felt it was too slow. I was converted into a believe when I was able to kill Teferi and a Niv-Mizzet in testing, milled several cards in between Saga 1 and 3, then decided to reanimate an Izoni and passed the turn with 12 insect tokens with all my lands untapped.
The Immortal Sun is our off-switch to all the pesky Planeswalkers we don’t like to deal with. It also makes our 1/1 insects into 2/2s which is great at closing games. Making everything cheaper is just icing on the cake and the extra card draw is just icing on the cake. I said icing twice. It’s that good.
No Duress. No Carnage Tyrant. No Find//Finality.
I didn’t mind so much not being able to peek at my opponent’s hand because Duress just sucks if you don’t draw it the turn you need it. I would rather prefer to keep my deck’s performance and creature density high and transfer the pressure of having the right draws to my opponent.
Carnage Tyrant was in my first iteration but ended up getting cut because I already have a recurring threat in Molderhulk that keeps control players begging for counter spells and removal to keep up. Slamming a Carnage Tyrant nowadays do not feel so bad now that Jeskai decks play Detection Tower, more Cleansing Nova in the sideboard, and can sometimes kill an unprepared dinosaur with drakes in the air hitting for 6-8 damage a turn.
I hope this is my last brew before the Gold Rush. I’m pretty excited to run this deck. At $162, I think this deck is by far one of the cheapest compared to the other decks in the meta excluding Mono Red and Mono Blue.
- Jeskai – $476
- Esper – $463
- BG Midrange – $368
- Grixis Control – $330
- Mono Red – $323
- Selesnya Tokens – $323
- Big Red Aggro – $265
- Izzet Drakes – $250
- Dimir Control – $221
- HULK SMASH – $162
- Mono Red – $122
- Mono Blue – $65
That’s it for now! I’ll post my results in the gold rush soon!