GerryT’s 10 Things: 8-Pact

Gerry has nine fresh Standard brews to comment on, but the main event? A new Modern deck that will kill you in a hurry! Watch out for it at SCG Minneapolis this weekend!

Today, we start with the spice.

10: Rage Against The Machines

If y’all have been following my work recently, you know that I’ve taken an
interest in Constructs in Standard. Metallic Mimic, Verdurous Gearhulk, and
Walking Ballista make up quite the engine, plus there’s even Foundry
Inspector to help. Goblin Chainwhirler weaknesses aside, if Standard is
about building a large battlefield, Constructs does the Affinity thing
pretty well.

This deck takes that a step further by incorporating Gate to the Afterlife
and God-Pharaoh’s Gift into the mix. I considered that more of a sideboard
plan while I was building my decks, but in this Goblin Chainwhirler
metagame, maindeck seems like a better place to me. Cards like Foundry
Inspector will likely draw an early Abrade, which leaves the door open for
the God-Pharaoh’s Gift to take over.

In order to facilitate Gate to the Afterlife, Glint-Nest Crane finds its
way into the deck as a way to find whatever the missing piece is. Bomat
Courier also helps in that regard and it’s also a Construct.

If you’re looking at playing artifact tribal, this is where I would start.

9: The Villain Becomes The Hero

Inb4 people start clamoring for the ban of Adventurous Impulse.

It’s been so long since I’ve been attacked by a 5/5 Longtusk Cub that
rather than dread it, I look forward to it. While their deck has been
neutered significantly, that doesn’t detract from how potent the Whirler
Virtuoso, Bristling Hydra, Glorybringer curve is. In fact, I wouldn’t be
surprised if Bristling Hydra and Glorybringer make the R/B Aggro matchup
solid on their own. Confiscation Coup is also a nice one.

Sulfur Falls and Botanical Sanctum do some interesting things to the
manabase that make casting Glorybringer on Turn 4 or 5 much easier than
before. There’s no more Attune with Aether to find the initial basic land
you need, but Adventurous Impulse should help with that to some degree.

Temur Energy is a shell of its former self, but it’s far from dead.

8: Don’t Get Tricked

Two untapped blue mana doesn’t exactly mean the same as what it used to…

Standard decks are quickly blurring the lines of identity. When you have
piles of powerful cards that don’t rely on synergy, you’ll quickly end up
in a format of “good stuff” decks with no discernable way to guess what’s
actually in their deck. Sure, there’s a range of a viable cards, but do
they have Glint-Sleeve Siphoner? Walking Ballista? How many counterspells?
What’s their removal suite?

Does UU untapped mean Syncopate or Merfolk Trickster?

Realistically, you just do the best you can. Maybe you’ll end up playing
around Fatal Push and walking into a Cast Down, but that’s just going to be
how it goes sometimes. The only real embarrassing part of the whole
equation would be if you walked into Merfolk Trickster.

7: If A Card Is Great In Limited, You Should Try It In Constructed

A singleton copy of The Eldest Reborn in the sideboard of your R/B Aggro
deck isn’t very good. However, if you more or less build your deck around
it, it can be quite powerful.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury is among the strongest options to return to the
battlefield, although I’m certain your opponent will have many powerful
options as well. Making them sacrifice their Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and
then beating them with it is a wonderful feeling. I wouldn’t mind seeing
some Never in this deck to remove their planeswalkers without exiling them
as well.

In this deck, The Eldest Reborn adds to the overall disruptive element of
the deck and feels like a slightly better Liliana, Death’s Majesty (which
this deck is already playing). If you repeatedly get worked by a card in
Limited, it’s at least worth trying in Standard, so kudos to AR for
actually doing the work.

6: I Forgot That Card Was Legal

My main reason for selecting this deck (aside from the fact that people
seem to have an irrational love for three-color control decks) is to help
people remember that Hour of Devastation is still a legal Magic card. It
doesn’t necessarily line up well against Karn or Heart of Kiran, but it
does cleanly answer Chandra and Teferi.

U/W Control is the current flavor of control, but that’s rapidly shifting.
The early red removal is excellent, but what they truly lacked was a good
sweeper. Hour of Devastation could very easily fill that role.

5: A Bigger G/B Deck

Black removal spells plus planeswalkers is a solid shell for this Standard
environment, but the creatures are somewhat lacking, as is your ability to
remove problematic artifacts and enchantments. Clearly what you need all
along was to splash Thrashing Brontodon!

Adding green makes Heart of Kiran playable, as you have no shortage of
three-power threats, plus you get access to Nissa, Vital Force, which is a
natural predator to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Getting access to Vraska,
Relic Seeker at the top end is just icing on the cake.

How good this deck is remains to be seen (although it has put up a 5-0
result since Kumazemi’s MOCS finish), but it’s an innovative way to play
green and black cards in this hostile Standard format.

4: Play One Way

If you want a deck under $50 that’s capable of lighting people on fire,
Magic Online has the answer. An intensely low mana requirement, The Flame
of Keld, and a bunch of burn spells is apparently a recipe for success.

With everyone focusing on Goblin Chainwhirler and how to beat Karn and
Chandra, dealing 20 damage as quickly as possible starts looking more and
more appealing. Many lists are shaving on cards like Fatal Push because of
how poorly it lines up in the midrange arms race, and that opens the door
for cards like Ghitu Lavarunner and Built to Smash to sneak into the

This sort of deck won’t last forever, but it could be a great metagame
choice at the moment.

3: Maybe Dreams Do Come True?

Vehicles, big green monsters, and powerful removal spells has often been a
winning combination in Standard. This deck takes that a step further by
adding Hour of Promise into the mix, giving the deck a sizeable mana
advantage over its competitors.

While that strategy is a plan, I don’t think it’s a viable one. Cards like
Josu Vess, Lich Knight just don’t have a home in this metagame at the
moment. The games are way more about getting a battlefield advantage and
mitigating the effects of your opponent’s planeswalkers, not ramping to ten
mana and kicking Josu.

This is a valiant effort to do something cool, but it will ultimately fall

2: Going Full Karn

I did some spellslinging with this deck at Grand Prix Toronto and it was a
lot of fun. If you manage to “go off” with a bunch of Karn’s Temporal
Sunderings with a planeswalker or two on the battlefield, you feel godlike.
That said, it was easier said than done.

The early removal suite definitely keeps your head above water, but I found
myself wanting either a way to filter through cards or something that
provided raw card advantage. Search for Azcanta was potentially excellent
but difficult to actually transform if Baral, Chief of Compliance wasn’t
active. Karn was typically doing the heavy lifting for me, and maybe that’s

If anything, this deck should highlight how powerful Baral can be.

1: Matsugan The Master

Japanese player Matsugan recently took another innovative deck of his to
first place in the Modern Challenge last weekend (and he will always have
first place in my heart). As the original creator of Death’s Shadow Zoo, he
already has quite the pedigree, but his Hall of the Bandit Lord Devoted
Druid deck also seems quite strong. He even finished the tournament with a
Turn 2 kill!

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another version of this deck that
focuses more on Postmortem Lunge, likely alongside Faithless Looting. Hall
of the Bandit Lord is a powerful way to utilize the Devoted Druid combo,
but it’s not the only way to give haste. As is, this version is centered
around Hall of the Bandit Lord, but that could potentially change.

As is, this deck struggles with decks like Jund, and while Jund is super
popular, I would also imagine that Humans is no cakewalk either. We’re just
getting started on the innovation for this archetype, and I can’t wait
until someone makes a truly broken build.