GerryT’s Ten Things: Of Dinos And Demons

Gerry’s latest adventures have brought him not just Magic Online gems but also Grand Prix and GPT brews! The best place for fresh decks just got even better!

While most of the Magic world is waiting for Dominaria to drop,
Magic Online is not waiting. There are always formats to break and tickets
to be made.

There’s also a Modern Grand Prix next week.

10: Inspiration for Grand Prix Hartford

I was already considering playing Bring to Light Scapeshift at Grand Prix
Hartford, hoping to have a good matchup against Five-Color Humans and B/R
Hollow One while also dodging the rise in graveyard hate. CJ made some
excellent updates to his Scapeshift list, including adding Relic of
Progenitus into the main deck to help fight Hollow One strategies and
cutting Remand for Izzet Charm.

The Remand swap is genius because of how the card is mostly dead against
the big two strategies. You still want a tempo tool for fighting the other
Modern decks, but Remand is the worst it’s ever been. Izzet Charm is a
positive swap in this metagame, even if it’s a poor choice in a vacuum.

Once I have an idea, like cutting Remand for Izzet Charm in these combo
control decks, I can incorporate that into every similar deck out there.
Maybe U/R Through the Breach is better? Maybe U/R Madcap Experiment? Hell,
maybe it’s time to bring back Jeskai Nahiri.

Thanks CJ!

9: In Order to Enter a Tournament with this Deck, You Must
Provide Proof of Being in the Hall of Fame

We get it, Guillame Wafo-Tapa, you’re incredible. You don’t have to keep
winning in Modern with Grixis Control to prove that. Counterflux and Think
Twice are among the fairest cards imaginable in Modern. Cruel Ultimatum
counts at this point too.

Things that are true about Wafo-Tapa’s deckbuilding:

  1. He’s usually a land lighter than me

  2. He has more expensive, powerful cards

  3. He has more card drawing

  4. He skimps on things like early removal spells

There are lessons to be learned here.

8: My Favorite Card in Standard!

In case you couldn’t guess, one of my favorite cards in Standard is Wayward
Swordtooth. Without Evolving Wilds and Ramunap Excavator, you’re not going
to get full value. Instead, you’re using it for incremental acceleration
when it comes up, plus it’s a Dinosaur for Thunderherd Migration.

These Hour of Promise ramp decks typically aim to go way over the top of
their opponents by using Mastermind’s Acquisition for things like Torment
of Hailfire, but that’s the wrong way to go about things in a field of red
aggressive decks. Flooding the battlefield with large Dinos is a better
plan against most of the field, even if it’s less fun and less flashy.

As it turns out, Carnage Tyrant and Walking Ballista is perfectly
acceptable as an end game.

7: Improving Mono-Green Aggro

What happens when you take a sketchy archetype like Mono-Green Aggro and
splice it with another sketchy archetype like Pummeler? I think the answer
is that you end up with Larger than Life in your Mono-Green Aggro deck,
wondering how in the hell this happened.

Real talk though — having multiple ways to give Electrostatic Pummeler
trample is a good idea. Larger than Life with Bristling Hydra is probably
cool too. Overall, this deck needs some help in the card quality
department, but Dominaria is going to help with that to some

I’m going to keep my eye on this one.

6: The Red Sea

Aside from minor things like a horrendous Affinity matchup, Merfolk is
largely thought to be a worse version of Humans. Still, that’s not entirely

Merfolk has some advantages, namely a great Tron matchup. There are also
various cards you can splash into Merfolk, allowing you to have a great
sideboard, whereas Humans doesn’t exactly have that option. Red cards like
Vandalblast, Blood Moon, Lightning Bolt, and Hazoret the Fervent are all
unique additions to Merfolk.

Humans has limited sideboard options because their manabase doesn’t give
them many options. If anything, that’s the one place where Merfolk could
have an edge. If you’re finding that tribal aggro decks are where you want
to be, but you need access to some sideboard cards in order to really
cement things in your favor, Merfolk could be what you’re looking for.

5: Modern is Collective Brutality: The Format

Quad Collective Brutality is aggressive, and I like it. I’m sure Cedric
would have liked to have them when he got clowned by Burn at Grand Prix
Phoenix. Outside of the Burn matchup, where does Valakut really want
Collective Brutality? Where does it need Abrupt Decay? Does using Khalni
Heart Expedition to manually kill opponents with Valakut actually come up?

There are so many unanswered questions. I would stick with the tried and
true lists. If you want to have a better Burn matchup, you can always main
deck Obstinate Baloths without giving up too much equity in other matchups.
For the truly psychotic, there’s the Collective Brutality splash.

4: Is Pure Control Viable in Legacy?

The answer is likely no.

Innocent Blood is embarrassing against opposing Baleful Strixes, and while
Counterspell is good again, not playing Deathrite Shaman is concerning. You
need a good reason not to play it, and Skeletal Scrying is certainly not
it. I mean, Skeletal Scrying is underplayed in general, but it’s not enough
to support a control deck on its own.

I like the idea of this deck, and it would love for a draw-go deck to be
viable, but this isn’t it. Maybe if Innocent Blood were positioned better
or if we could realistically make Standstill work, I could see it, but I’m
going to stick with my general skepticism.

3: Standard Creativity Continues

Having a deck that’s capable of controlling the early game and then
finishing with a powerful combo is basically the ideal scenario for a
control deck. Torrential Gearhulks can get Abraded, The Scarab God can lose
to a Vraska’s Contempt, and you’re left with no traction. With Indomitable
Creativity, you’ll have a large enough battlefield presence that it will be

Having to use cards like Depths of Desire and Hornswoggle to set up
Indomitable Creativity is a rough spot to be in, but if you manage to
resolve a large Spell Swindle, you should be in good shape for the rest of
the game. Since the deck needs a lot of slots for combo pieces, it can’t
pack too much spot removal, so the Sweltering Suns need to pick up the

Unfortunately, a 9-2 start for Andrew Tolson didn’t end well. Still, he
took a leap with his deck choice, started strong, and got some good press
out of it. Overall, I’d count that as a success.

2: A Shardless Sultai Update

Despite being my darling baby, I’ve basically written off Shardless Sultai
at this point. Paul winning a trial with the deck makes me hopeful,
especially with his innovative changes, but I’m still skeptical.

The main changes were removing Tarmogoyf and Abrupt Decay for some newer
options in Fatal Push and Leovold, Emissary of Trest. Tarmogoyf itself is a
fine card, and one that appears to line up well in the Lightning Bolt /
Kolaghan’s Command format, but those decks typically play four copies of
Baleful Strix as well.

There’s no good way for Tarmogoyf to beat Baleful Strix (although Liliana,
the Last Hope would help), so removing them entirely is a reasonable
decision. Without Tarmogoyf, you don’t have much of a clock, so that
pigeon-holes Shardless into taking a harder control stance, but that’s
something it’s rather good at doing.

Moving Abrupt Decay to the sideboard was the other big change, but Fatal
Push is mostly better. With Counterbalance more or less out of the format,
Chalice of the Void not being a huge issue, and Blood Moon being more or
less lights out, there isn’t a necessity for Abrupt Decay. Tagging the
occasional Umezawa’s Jitte was nice, but that’s another card that’s not
widely played right now.

I love Shardless Sultai to death. I really do. Shardless Agent into
Ancestral Vision just happens to be less efficient than what everyone else
is doing. It’s a sad day, but that’s reality.

1: The Best Legacy Deck in the Universe

This deck is pure genius. Lion’s Eye Diamond has always synergized well
with the Wish cycle, enabling you to do potentially broken things very
quickly, but Living Wish was always the one left out. With various Dark
Depths combos, Living Wish finally has its time to shine. Loyal Retainers
out of the sideboard even gives you a way to Wish for a reanimation spell!

It just so happens that reanimation effects work well at giving you
additional ways to piece together the combo. At that point, Griselbrand
becomes the perfect backup plan. A single Griselbrand activation might not
win the game on the spot, but you’ll almost certainly be able to set up
another combo of some sort on the following turn.

Matt Nass also got 12th at Grand Prix Seattle with the same deck the day
before, so this deck is putting up some solid results. It wouldn’t surprise
me if, after some fine tuning, this deck becomes a great choice for Legacy,
especially for those who don’t want to cast Brainstorm (or shell out
thousands for Underground Sea).

This deck is one of the coolest that I’ve seen in a very long time.