This week I'll be playing my take on Kenji Tsumura's deck from Top 8 of Grand Prix Nagoya.
I've cut one Centaur Healer and a Craterhoof Behemoth from the maindeck for a Rhox Faithmender and a Deathrite Shaman. I've generally been more impressed with Faithmender than Centaur Healer as a card to buy time against aggressive decks. I think the first Deathrite Shaman is good enough to maindeck with Grisly Salvage, and I wanted an extra sideboard slot.
The reason I wanted to make room in the sideboard was to add two Tormod's Crypt since Reanimator is one of the decks that's been doing better lately and Kenji lost to it in the Top 8 in Nagoya (although even with Tormod's Crypts, I suspect maindeck Izzet Staticaster would be a serious problem). I cut the Deathrite Shaman that I moved to the main and a Somberwald Sage because while the card is excellent in the right matchups, I think it's not good against many of the most played decks right now.
That left me with:
- 4 Angel of Serenity
- 4 Arbor Elf
- 4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
- 3 Centaur Healer
- 1 Craterhoof Behemoth
- 1 Deathrite Shaman
- 2 Restoration Angel
- 1 Rhox Faithmender
- 4 Thragtusk
That match really demonstrated the deck's ability to grind long games with multiple Angel of Serenity forcing the opponent to deal with a substantial threat every single turn. Door to Nothingness can beat that, but even Nicol Bolas wouldn't have been able to without it.
That was a pretty clear case of Reanimator just going over the top of a midrange deck in a way it can't handle. Midrange is the exact kind of strategy Angel of Serenity is made to beat.
This was the same matchup as my first match, but this time his deck went over the top of what I was doing. This was more like how I expected this matchup to turn out. I'm hurt in this matchup by my decision to cut one Craterhoof Behemoth since it can steal games, but honestly, against a deck with Fog that shouldn't happen much.
Christian's deck looked sweet. I'm pretty sure I only won the second game because he waited until the end of my turn to Searing Spear my Elf rather than doing it on his turn. The third game I just didn't do anything.
I think one of the most important skills with this deck is knowing when to mulligan, which I think it wants to do more often than a lot of other decks because it really needs a good mix and can win with a relatively small hand.
All in all, I'm skeptical of this deck's place in the metagame moving forward. It feels vulnerable to Izzet Staticaster and Mega Ramp, though Kenji does claim that it's good against aggro. That's definitely true against green or white based aggro and likely also true even against Rakdos.
Thanks for watching,
@samuelhblack on Twitter