Hello everyone! I promised I’ll revisit this pet deck of mine and here I am with some match report, climbing from Gold 4-0/6 to Gold 2-2/6. The journey wasn’t easy and the deck had several minor revisions between Tier 3 and Tier 2 as the meta became a bit more aggressive.
First swap I did was Totem of the Guildpact over Chromatic Lantern.
They provide the mana fix but Tome does provide a very small amount of card advantage depending how early you get it the Board. I also removed Teferi from the entire list in the hopes to streamline the deck further and win the long games through combat and attrition. I was able to cast Knight of Autumn and Basilica Bell-Haunt much more consistently but there are still those games where variance kills whatever fighting chance you had left.
The first iteration ended with adding 2 copies of Gift of Paradise. It performed really well to make sure we got the double colors we need to cast Kaya’s Wrath on time. The 3 life is also quite relevant in my tests because it affords me to play my shock land untapped on turn 3, cast Gift and regain the loss of life. This is exceptionally important against the mono Red match-up.
After 40 B01 games, the deck showed a 60% win-rate which is pretty good for a jank deck considering we’re playing weird cards with weird combinations. The most significant information I can draw from the test is that Knight of Autumn and Basilica Bell-Haunt in one deck is a crazy one-two punch against aggressive decks, or any deck that tries to power through damage early in the game. I consider Mono Red, Mono Blue, BGx, Weenies, and Tokens to fall in this category. The sheer power of gaining back damage, chumping profitabliy in some cases, and attacking the opponent’s hand is super effective which positions the opponent right in the middle of a huge Kaya’s Wrath on turn 5.
The initial behavior of the aggressor is to ignore the blockers and punch through damage. In the case of Mono Red, they would spend a Lightning Strike on the Bell-Haunt to punch through damage or if we go back-to-back Knight of Autumn, they would easily play a Chainwhirler to out value us. Usually for them, and even for some BG and Token advocates, they dump more threats to out power us after wiping the board.
They do not usually expect people to play Kaya’s Wrath outside an Esper shell and it feels counter intuitive to run a sweeper in a deck that just played 2 high value creatures. Our deck does not mind sweeping the board because out end game involves retrieving them for more value.
The deck’s removal suite is versatile but not interchangeable. I have lost some games by choosing the wrong removal for the wrong threat.
A good example is Niv-Mizzet, Parun. There were 2 games where I used a Mortify or Contempt on it with an Eldest Reborn in hand and my opponent drew the counter he needed to keep him alive. Yes it was quite self-explanatory to use Eldest Reborn but I was too focused on using it for a Planeswalker that I played the game of variance incorrectly
Apart from Assassin’s Trophy, all our Planeswalker hate is mono colored and cannot be retrieved by Vivid Revival. This is why my latest iteration of the deck included a single copy of Golgari Findbroker to have at least 1 way to get the Eldest Reborn back when the situation calls for it. We won’t always drew it but I think the deck still wants his combination. Besides, a 3/4 body is still a respectable threat even if it only retrieves a dead Knight or Bell-Haunt.
The card that almost got the cut was Ethereal Absolution but I managed to keep at least 1 copy in the main deck because in the games that I get to play it against non-control decks, I usually end up winning. Even against decks that don’t run a lot of creatures like Gates, having the ability to remove the Gate Colossus forever is super important. Against BGx decks that have a lot of creatures that punch hard, Ethereal reverses the tide making our attacks more potent and our opponent’s block less profitable. This card really shines against the Arclight decks because not only does the Arclight become more susceptible in the graveyard, the clock is dramatically reduced. A 3/2 in the air is not as painful as a 2/1, allowing us to extend the game till we find the removal or more creatures to force them to on the defensive.
Here’s some situations where combat becomes easier for us against go-tall decks.
Jadelight Ranger’s biggest form is a 4/3 which is big enough to take out all our creatures but with Ethereal Absolution, Jadelight becomes a 3/2 which makes it small enough and unable to trade up with any of our creatures. Another case in point is Carnage Tyrant. As a 6/5, our 5/4 Knight of Autumn, 5/4 Seraph of the Scales and 5/5 Vona can now take it down.
In limited cases, Ethereal can also stop certain cards from functioning. I once had it against Simic Merfolk and he could not manage to develop a board state as long as I keep the Merfolk Mistbinder in check. Heroic Intervention’s 1/1 tokens also get snuffed before they get the buff. While Legion Warboss’s minions just never do anything anymore.
Here’s my personal match-up analysis against today’s popular archetype in BO1:
Good: >80% win rate
Favorable: >60% win rate
Challenging: 50/50 win rate
Disfavored: <40% win rate
Bad: <20% win rate
- Mono Red: Favorable
- Mono Blue: Favorable
- White Weenie: Favorable to Good
- Drakes: Favorable to Good
- Red-White Aggro: Challenging to Favorable (mostly because of the reach)
- Straight BG – Favorable to Good
- Sultai Midrange – Challenging to Favorable (no Thought Erasure build)
- Esper Control – Disfavored to Bad
- Jeskai Control – Disfavored to Favorable (depends if he runs a lot of counters)
- UG Merfolk – Challenging to Good (challenging if they run Kopala mainboard)
- Gates – Challenging to Good (the Planeswalker build is especially difficult)
These estimates are not absolute if we consider variance of not drawing any lands, taking mulligans, or if the opponent has the best start against our average opener. However if both are doing “just OK”, we should be able to get ahead naturally.
Our worst match-up is against control mainly because they have the ability to strip our hand clean of any action. The way to combat this is to fight fire with fire. 6 copies of discard spells split between Duress and Never Happened is a good way to hit their discard first if we are on the play. Never Happened comes in against Arclight and Nexus decks, but against the typical control we won’t need all 6 (my estimate is 3/1 or 3/2 Duress/NH split). If Castigate was reprinted then that would have been the best sideboard card.
I decided to give Sorcerous Spyglass another try mainly because there are a lot of Planeswalkers being played and we don’t have a lot of ways to recur our Eldest Reborn or Contempt. Shutting them down early and getting a peek at their hand gives us a lot of information to maneuver our next couple of turns. It’s also a good way to shut down Azcanta, Legion’s Landing, Experimental Frenzy, Theater of Horrors, Dawn of Hope, Treasure Cove/Map and many others. Overall it gives us that added flexibility to save our hard removals on something else and have Spyglass disable a couple of cards in our opponent’s deck.
I am a big fan of split cards and I was sad I couldn’t fit any of these in the mainboard. However on the side, Consecrate // Consume should have at least 2 spots. It comes in against 2 decks in particular: Arclight and Gates. Consecrate deals with Arclight while Consume can take down a 10 power Enigma Drake and that should buy us the time to replenish.
Against Gates, Consecrate won’t do much unless the opponent has a couple of Colossi in the graveyard, but Consume can take down a 16-power Gatebreaker Ram and that’s enough for us to take 2 hits from Gate Colossus while we dig or retrieve a Kaya’s Wrath.
The last card that survived the cuts is the 4 copies of Hero of Precinct One. This card comes in against control because they will probably side out their Clarions seeing it can’t kill our Basilica Bell-Haunt. Having Hero on turn 2, followed up by Knight of Autumn on turn 3, and Basilica Bell-Haunt on turn 4 is already 11 power. If the opponent will be busy countering our early plays, it helps ensure our removal gets through to take down opposing Teferi, Ral Zarak or Niv Mizzet.
To be honest, Hero remains my flex spot in the sideboard unless I increase the creature density of the sideboard to transform the deck into an aggressive shell. Depending on your local meta, you can definitely tweak much of the sideboard according to your preference.
Here’s the list I am running now on Gold Tier 2. Let’s see how much this list will change as I attempt to bring it to Platinum.
Thanks for reading! See you guys back in the lab soon!