Return to Ravnica spoiler season is upon us, and while I'm dying to play with the new cards, they won't let me use proxies at FNM. For now, I'll settle with the boring old Standard format and play whatever I can get my hands on. As I told you in my previous article, I battled with a G/W Aggro deck courtesy of my friend Dan at FNM last Friday. This deck has started placing at StarCityGames.com Standard Opens lately, and the general idea of the deck is to play all the really good green and white cards.
Here's the list that Dan handed me to take into battle:
- 4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Blade Splicer
- 3 Hero of Bladehold
- 3 Restoration Angel
- 3 Silverblade Paladin
- 4 Sublime Archangel
- 3 Thragtusk
- 2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
As you can see, this deck just plays all the cards that green and white decks typically play. You have a bunch of mana dorks, some game winning creatures like Hero of Bladehold and Sublime Archangel, and some things to push them through like Rancor. I'll start off by talking about some of the games I played with the deck and then go more into detail about the deck. Unfortunately we only had about ten players for FNM, so I didn't get to play against a good variety of decks.
Round 1: Matt with B/R Zombies
We started off with me on the draw and him on six cards. He had a turn 1 Diregraf Ghoul into a turn 2 Blood Artist, but I used a Llanowar Elves and a Blade Splicer to stop his offense. A turn 3 Hero of Bladehold threatened to end the game very quickly unless he dealt with it, and luckily he didn't have much of an answer. He played some creatures to block it, but I used a Restoration Angel to keep it in the fight for the next turn. He drew his card and conceded.
Game 2 it was my turn to go to six cards, and he had the dream curve. He started with a one-drop, then a pair of one-drops, and then a Geralf's Messenger right on time. I had a Blade Splicer on turn 3, but when he played a Blood Artist the game ended shortly after.
For the last game of the match he went down to six cards again, and I had the curve of mana dork into Blade Splicer into Hero of Bladehold, with two Rancors to make sure it would get him. I got him to two, and he needed a land for his Zealous Conscripts to kill me. Luckily for me he didn't hit the fifth land and conceded to my severe overkill.
Something I realized after this match is that to beat Zombies with this deck it seems that you always need a mana dork. They can get off the ground pretty quickly, and you need to keep up with the pace they set. If you don't play Blade Splicer until turn 3, you have probably already taken too much damage to easily stabilize without a Thragtusk.
Round 2: Mike with G/U Infect
Mike started off on the play, and we both went down to six cards. He led with a Glistener Elf into a Blighted Agent, while I had a slow six-card hand with only a Blade Splicer to represent defense. I played a Hero of Bladehold on turn 4, but he was able to pump his Blighted Agent up enough so that it killed me.
For game 2 it was just me who went down to six cards, but this six was a little bit better than in the previous game. I led with an Avacyn's Pilgrim into Blade Splicer, while he only had an Inkmoth Nexus to poke for one. I then played a Sublime Archangel and got him for seven. He continued to only swing for one poison, and when another Sublime Archangel hit my side of the table, that was that.
He had a fast start in game 3 with a Glistener Elf and my hand was kind of slow, but I used a Melira, Sylvok Outcast to stop his action. I decided to hold up Restoration Angel while playing some more mana dorks to protect the Melira from a removal spell. Thanks to the mana from my extra mana dorks, I was also able to play a Blade Splicer and continue getting in for a few points.
He untapped and played Livewire Lash, which threatened to deal with the Melira. I played a Sublime Archangel and got in for a pretty hefty amount, having him dead if I got to untap. He equipped the Lash to his Glistener Elf then used an Artful Dodge to poke my Melira. Restoration Angel kept it alive, but then an Unnatural Predation got rid of it for good. He then used a pair of Mutagenic Growths to put me away with his unblockable, trampling Elf.
Between this match and the last one, I began to realize that Ajani, Caller of the Pride felt really mediocre. It can do some super cool things with Sublime Archangel, but overall it was just kind of a slow, low impact card. In the future, I would consider cutting it or shaving one from the deck.
Round 3: Nick with B/U Exalted
I was on the play for game 1, and we both kept our sevens. I started with an Avacyn's Pilgrim into a Blade Splicer, but I lacked a fourth land. He had a turn 1 Tormented Soul and a couple of exalted guys to hit me for four at a time. Finally, I hit a mana dork and had a Sublime Archangel next turn. When I played it I was able to hit him for half his life total and put him to seven. He played a Mark of the Vampire on his Tormented Soul and hit me for seven, putting me to six and him to sixteen. Luckily I had a second Sublime Archangel that I may or may not have topdecked, and that was enough to put him to at least zero.
For the second game he had a slow draw with only a Tormented Soul and a Duty-Bound Dead. I had a turn 2 Blade Splicer and turn 3 Sublime Archangel to put him on a real clock. He had a Go for the Throat for the Angel on the next turn, but he had taken enough damage that my freshly drawn Hero of Bladehold could finish him off.
Round 4: Daniel with B/W Exalted
For the last round of the Swiss I was on the draw and went all the way down to five. I still had a decent start with a mana dork into a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and another mana dork. He used a Go for the Throat to put the Thalia down, and unfortunately my only offense was two 1/1s and a Rancor that I drew. He had a Tormented Soul and about four exalted creatures that slowly chipped away at my life total, and I didn't draw any action in time.
In game two I went to six cards and had exactly three lands, two Sublime Archangel, and a Hero of Bladehold. My first few draw steps were lands, and he had a good start with a Tormented Soul into two Duty-Bound Dead. He had two Go for the Throats for my Hero and one of my Angels, and then he played an Angel of his own. I was on a two-turn clock, and unfortunately a Gavony Township off the top could not get me out of the hole I was in.
Unfortunately I was the only 2-2 to not make Top 4, but I was lucky enough to walk away with an FNM promo anyway. I noticed that throughout my games I had not really drawn a wide variety of cards that were in the deck, which made some cards seem better and some seem worse. I made a quick list of cards I did and didn't like in the deck.
- All of the mana dorks
- Blade Splicer
- Hero of Bladehold
- Sublime Archangel
- Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- Silverblade Paladin
Didn't Really Like It
- Restoration Angel
- Ajani, Caller of the Pride
The cards I liked are all good aggressive cards that can play defense when they need to. This deck really just wants to get out of the gates fast, keep attacking, and hope its creatures make enough of an impact to win the game. All of the creatures I listed do that with the exception of mana dorks, but they help with that plan.
Dismember was a fine card, but I hated paying the life, especially when I was racing and didn't have the life to spare. With Rancor, I never felt that I needed +2/+0 and trample. The creatures I wanted to be casting attack very well on their own, and it's only good on a handful of creatures. It's also not very good against decks with Gut Shot and Vapor Snag.
Restoration Angel was a good card for protecting my creatures, but it didn't really aid the aggressive plan. It was mostly there for some cool tricks, which are just what they seem: cool tricks. It doesn't really have a good mana to damage ratio to be super aggressive, and a lot of times to get the full effect out of it you have to leave hefty amounts of mana open. Ajani, Caller of the Pride was slow and did not impact much when it hit the board, so it was definitely my least favorite card in the deck.
I actually really loved the sideboard that Dan gave me to play with. I felt like I had some sweet cards for every matchup, and if I were to play the deck again, I would probably play the same sideboard.
The deck was a lot of fun, and I'd like to thank Dan again for letting me borrow the deck as well as congratulate him on getting engaged this past week. As for this Friday, I may not be able to get cards in time to play at FNM, but I plan on playing some Magic Online this week.
I have had some cool combo decks submitted like Clock of Omens combo and Deadeye Navigator / Deceiver Exarch combo that aren't really easy to take notes on in real life. If I can get a new headset in time, I will most likely record some videos. Otherwise, I'll do a write up on some matches I played on Magic Online.
For those playing in FNM, good luck tonight. As usual, continue to submit decks, and thanks for reading!