Ah, wasn’t that refreshing?
New sets being released and shaking up the format are a beautiful thing.
Wait, what’s that? Sixteen?! There were sixteen Pack Rats in the Top 8 and Mono-Black Devotion won Baltimore?
I can’t that that I’m surprised, but I was definitely hoping for a different result.
I definitely expected there to be a lot of Mono-Black Devotion last weekend, but I also definitely expected the Top 8 to be a little more diverse. Some
type of Sphinx’s Revelation deck with a Jund or G/R Monsters and either a Green or Red Devotion deck are familiar faces that are missing from the Top 8.
To the surprise of exactly nobody, I played Jund Monsters in Baltimore, but it was a little closer than I had expected. I spent some time talking with Brad
Nelson on Friday after reading his article and almost switched to Mono-Black
I had played Mono-Black Devotion prior to the release of Born of the Gods to quite a few X-2 finishes, earning me some cash and racking up plenty of points
that helped me go into Season Two in good position. My biggest concern was that I hadn’t seriously played the deck since Bile Blight was printed which
changes the mirror match dynamic too much. Previously when everyone was on Nightveil Specter and there was no Bile Blight, you would just cut Desecration
Demon, and the mirror was all about Pack Rat and Underworld Connections. Now that we have Bile Blight and everyone is on Lifebane Zombie, Desecration Demon
stays in the mirror, and it’s a bit riskier to try and press Pack Rat advantage.
The reason I was even considering Mono-Black Devotion was that I didn’t have any hot new “tech” for Monsters. In fact, there were only a couple new cards
that I was planning on playing, and while one was probably right, I didn’t even know if the other was correct.
Here is the list that I sleeved up for the Standard Open in Baltimore.
- 3 Scavenging Ooze
- 4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
- 4 Elvish Mystic
- 4 Polukranos, World Eater
- 4 Sylvan Caryatid
- 4 Stormbreath Dragon
- 3 Courser of Kruphix
I had initially planned on just swapping the Overgrown Tombs for Llanowar Wastes and callimg it a day, but after playing the deck a bunch (albeit it
without any M15 cards) online over the last two weeks while
, I realized that was wrong.
I thought that with how often we want to use all of our mana every turn, Llanowar Wastes would do less damage to us in the long run than Overgrown Tomb.
Incorrect. Between Scavenging Ooze using a lot of green mana, and our sideboard having a lot of black spells, it appeared that the painland would do more
to us than the shock land would.
I did swap a Forest for a Llanowar Wastes because I wanted another black source in the deck to help support all of the black removal spells in the
I basically swapped the Nylea’s Disciples for the Reclamation Sages in the sideboard primarily as a catch all if anyone decided to play a deck with a bunch
of new artifacts, but it’s also additional enchantment removal for a constellation deck and for something like Hexproof. I can’t say that I was too happy
with it, although I did beat a Hexproof deck. Either way, I did miss the Disciples against the Boss Sligh deck that crushed me. That deck definitely got a
lot better with Hammerhand and Frenzied Goblin.
My other loss was to a U/W Control deck, akin to what Reid Duke played in the Invitational. He only had Jace, Architect of Thought and Elixir of
Immortality as his win conditions, and with Planar Cleansing over Detention Sphere, I always had to be weary of how many planeswalkers I wanted to jam to
try and press an advantage.
One of the advantages of Jund Monsters is that it has a powerful sideboard that we can tailor to attack a certain part of the metagame. The maindeck that I
continue to use is very effective against opposing midrange-ish strategies with the sideboard giving us tools against the control and hyper aggressive
strategies. I find with this list, when I lose to these polarizing strategies it’s usually due to drawing the wrong half of my deck in post-board matches,
but that could also just be me being blinded by how many games I’ve played with the deck.
It might be time for something new. Towards the end of last week I had an idea that I wanted to try out but never really got to. With Llanowar Wastes
available as a green source untapped on turn 1 when we want it and as an additional black source, if we swap the four Forests for Llanowar Wastes that puts
us at thirteen black sources (the same number of red sources that we run) not counting Sylvan Caryatid. This might allow us to support some double-black
Here is what the manabase would look like.
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Stomping Ground
4 Blood Crypt
4 Temple of Abandon
1 Temple of Malice
If we were to go this route and try to be more of a true three-color deck, we could potentially cut the Mutavaults and play another Temple of Malice and a
Temple of Malady.
There are a handful of heavy black cards that I could see trying to play in a Monsters type of deck, but the main culprits are Desecration Demon and Whip
of Erebos with Lifebane Zombie and Bile Blight being other considerations.
There have been a lot of people asking me if I’ve tried Desecration Demon and Whip of Erebos in Monsters and why I never had them in my list, and it was
never because I thought those cards wouldn’t be good in the deck, it was just that supporting the double-black in the casting cost was just too tough, but
now we have the manabase to support it.
We could easily take the list I was playing last weekend and swap the remaining Forests for Llanowar Wastes, swap the Ghor-Clan Rampagers for Desecration
Demon, and swap the Golgari Charm for a Whip of Erebos.
Whip of Erebos seems like it might be a little counterproductive with Scavenging Ooze, but I think the life gain that we would get from the whip is very
good, and the simple threat of being able to Whip back threats against removal heavy decks is worth the slot.
I’m not even sure if this build would work, but I will definitely be trying it out on Magic Online once M15 is legal there. I still feel like Jund Monsters
is a deck that can perform well, but with Mono-Blue Devotion continuing to regain the popularity it had after Pro Tour Theros, and with decks like Boss
Sligh gaining such powerful tools like Hammerhand and Frenzied Goblin, I feel like something has to change.
There was one “new” deck in the Top 8 of the Open, and I really like it. Stephen Reed took his Naya Aggro deck all the way to the Top 8, ultimately falling
in the quarterfinals, but I really think that his deck is an interesting take on this classic aggressive shell.
- 4 Gore-House Chainwalker
- 4 Rakdos Cackler
- 4 Burning-Tree Emissary
- 4 Experiment One
- 4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
- 4 Slaughterhorn
- 4 Boros Reckoner
- 4 Firedrinker Satyr
During the Theros preview season, I wrote an article about the plethora of
powerful one-drops that were going to be available in Standard, and I feel like this deck is what I had boggling around in my head but could never quite
figure it out.
With twelve powerful one-drops and the combination of Ghor-Clan Rampager and Slaughterhorn to enhance them in combat, this deck can get under the
opposition quickly and punch through a lot of damage. Ghor-Clan Rampager is no stranger to combo killing people with Boros Charm, but Slaughterhorn gives
the deck another pump spell to one-two punch our opponents into oblivion, not to mention how we can do an extra fourteen damage for the low cost of five
mana if we have all three.
I’m not terribly excited for Burning-Tree Emissary with just Gore-House Chainwalker to chain into on turn 2, but we also have plenty of one-drops that we
can cast with the mana, and Slaughterhorn can always just be a 3/2 creature.
I definitely like Boros Reckoner against the aggressive decks, but part of me wonders if Chandra’s Phoenix would just be better as a 2/2 haste flyer that
we can cast on turn 3 off Burning-Tree Emissary. We can really only buy it back with Boros Charm, but the evasion is pretty nice with the Slaughterhorns.
Gruul Charm in the sideboard is extremely cute, and I like the use of Destructive Revelry as a way to answer troublesome artifacts and enchantments while
still dealing damage. I love the idea of the Hammer of Purphoros, but only having twenty lands seems like we would be choking ourselves pretty badly when
that’s our gameplan.
One thing to keep in mind for the Open Series in Kansas City this weekend is that whenever these types of decks do well there is always a huge influx of
them the following weekend. They are fairly inexpensive, and most people love attacking. I won’t be in KC this weekend, but if I were, I would definitely
be familiar with my matchup against this deck and how to beat it.
There wasn’t much in M15 that was going to shake up Legacy, but the Legacy Open results are still pretty interesting. With a full 50% of the Top 8 being
Delver decks and every single one of them losing in the quarterfinals, last weekend was quite the event.
I had planned on playing Sneak and Show in the event, but sadly my alarm was set for PM rather than AM and with the time change I naturally woke up at
nine, which is now when the Legacy Open is slated to start.
My Sneak and Show list looks almost exactly like Andrew Boswell’s with the exception that I still am not a fan of Jace, the Mind Sculptor in the main and
prefer to play +1 Gitaxian Probe and +1 Mountain.
When I played the version with Jace in Providence (and Top 8’d my first Legacy event in a while), I found that I was boarding it out in almost every
matchup, and even when it was still in my deck I was pitching it to Force of Will a lot. I’m sure that a large part of it was that I was playing the card
wrong in the deck, and I plan on testing a bunch with the Jace build, but for now I prefer the other build. Having access to the fourth Gitaxian Probe is
always awesome, as the knowledge you gain about your opponents hand is extremely important in a combo deck that is as streamlined as Sneak and Show.
I also prefer to have access to a basic Mountain. Pyroclasm is such a good card against a large number of decks, and the majority of them have Wasteland. I
just hate leaving myself at risk of not being able to cast it. We still have Lotus Petals, but I just like having the extra land and it being a basic land
Boswell’s sideboard is fourteen of the same fifteen cards that I played in the Season Two Invitational (I played a Pithing Needle over the third Through
the Breach, but that was probably wrong). I wanted something else to interact with Karakas, but we can still beat that card so I don’t think it’s worth the
slot. It’s important to note that most Sneak and Show lists have stopped playing Ashen Rider in the sideboard completely, and with just an Echoing Truth
and a Shattering Spree, Ensnaring Bridge is just as good as ever against the current lists.
It’s actually pretty funny; I’ve been thinking about the old Hive Mind deck that I played a lot of, and I’m wondering if it could be playable now. Gerry
wrote about it recently too, so maybe I’ll put some time into the deck since I’m not the only one that thinks that it might be viable again.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone for their overwhelming support of my Kickstarter Project for the Beard Power shirts.
We have already hit the first two stretch goals (I will be dyeing my beard and getting a suit to wear at an Open), and we have almost doubled my
initial goal. You guys are all seriously awesome, and I can’t say enough just how much I appreciate it all.
Have fun in KC!