So You Think You Can Brew? Episode 6

So You Think You Can Brew? is back! Reigning champ Frank Ford brings Bant Control to his title defense, but challenger Trevor Humphries is looking to Junk that plan. Who’ll win? That depends on your vote!

Spring 2014 State Championships

Good evening everyone! Welcome to another episode of…


(Tremendous applause!)

…the show where we take a couple of everyday Magic players and see if they have what it takes to brew up a deck that can take down their local FNM…or maybe
even ascend to greatness at the SCG Open Series and beyond!

(More tremendous applause!)

It’s been a while since our last episode
, and our reigning champ Frank Ford has enjoyed the fame and status that the So You Think You Can Brew title brings, but we have
Journeyed into Nyx, and it’s time to battle once again for the crown!

Let’s hear it for the reigning champ, Frank Ford!

Frank Ford

Everyone give a big hand to the champ!

(Crowd chants: “Frankie! Frankie!”)

Let’s get a refresher on who Frank is, and where he hails from:

Frank Ford

Now let’s introduce our challenger. Trevor Humphries has seen a lot of action as a member of the United States Air Force…

(Crowd rises to their feet in respectful applause.)

…and now seeks to take down the action on the big stage! Trevor, come on down! You’re the next contestant on… So You Think You Can Brew!

(Crowd goes wild!)


Let’s take a look at Trevor’s bio:

    Humphries Bio

All right, we have met our contestants. Now for a quick rundown of the rules. Each contestant will present us with a brewed-up deck for the Standard
format. We will then discuss the deck, looking at a number of factors, and provide some analysis and feedback to you, the audience! When all is said and
done, every one of you will have a chance to cast your vote, and one of the decks will be crowned the winner! The contestant who brewed up the deck that
wins the vote will move on to the next round! The loser? The loser must deal with the mockery and shaming of the rabble!

(Ooooohs and ahhhhhs from the crowd!)


(Tremendous applause!)

As the defending champ, Frank has elected to kick first and let Trevor lead off! Trevor, however, is much more interested in the second go-around:

Trevor was a huge fan of Junk Reanimator in the old Standard format, and has looked to bring it back with a vengeance! Like the Junk Reanimator deck of
old, however, he is not all-in on reanimating stuff and can also just be a solid Junk Midrange deck as well.

While Trevor doesn’t have access to the absurdly powerful Unburial Rites, he does have the dynamic duo of Obzedat’s Aid and Whip of Erebos. Obzedat’s Aid
has the added benefit of being able to get back any permanent, such as Elspeth, Sun’s Champion or even his other reanimation tool Whip of Erebos. Whip of
Erebos gives him some major inevitability against any deck in the format. His fairly robust creature base will now be gaining him life and he can bring
back his huge monsters over and over again.

To fill up his graveyard, Trevor has gone with Grisly Salvage and Satyr Wayfinder. Both of these cards serve the deck well, as they are both reasonable
cards on their own regardless of their graveyard effects as a makeshift Impulse and Sylvan Ranger. This is one of the more important features of the deck,
as it allows it to use the graveyard as one of its resources, not its only one.

Also like the old Junk Reanimator deck, Trevor has chosen threats that are powerful but also very reasonable to just hardcast as well. He has decided to…

(A voice echos from the crowd: “Where the hell is Ashen Rider?!”)

Who was that? Anyway, Trevor has really…

(A fan gets past security and jumps onstage. He says “Excuse me, I’m gonna let you finish, but Ashen Rider is one of the best fatties of all time!”)

Sir, do I look like Taylor Swift to you? Now shut your mouth or I will have you escorted from the studio.

Anyway, Trevor has eschewed Ashen Rider because of its extremely high and prohibitive mana cost, choosing to instead go with the very similar Sylvan
Primordial. Interestingly enough, Sylvan Primordial has a pretty big bonus when compared to Ashen Rider:

One of the best ways to beat a deck like this is to quickly fly over it, and Sylvan Primordial is big enough to handle even a monstrous Stormbreath Dragon.

Aside from big papa, we also get the format staple Blood Baron of Vizkopa and the very powerful but difficult-to-use Shadowborn Demon, both very castable
threats that are also very good to reanimate as well.

The deck is rounded out with the pretty standard green acceleration package of Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid, and Courser of Kruphix. This gives the deck
another angle of attack, as it can play out just like a Junk Midrange deck and simply cast all of its threats the old-fashioned way. There’s no denying
that a third-turn Blood Baron of Vizkopa is pretty big game.

(A mildly overweight woman in the front who looks like she got lost on the way to a taping of
The View
shouts “And how!”)

While he hasn’t found a home for any Journey into Nyx cards in his build, Trevor has done a great job of mixing together graveyard elements with midrange

(Crowd cheers on the challenger!)

    Humphries Image

Why are we building this deck?

Now, the biggest question you need ask yourself when you are building new brew is…yep, you guessed it…”Why?” Why are we making this deck? What is our goal?
Are we trying to make a new, busted combo deck? Are we trying to make the fastest aggressive deck possible? Are we trying to utilize a certain powerful
card? Are we trying to exploit a hole in the metagame?

When it comes to deck building, context is EVERYTHING.

You may build a fast aggressive deck full of creatures and burn, but does it have advantages over Mono-Red Devotion or Mono-Blue Devotion?

You may build a grindy Grixis control deck, but can it compete with the control decks that have access to Sphinx’s Revelation?

And of course there’s the context of the format itself as well. A deck can be very good in the abstract, but it may not be able to survive if the format is
unusually hostile towards it. For example, when Affinity was the major deck in Standard, almost every non-Affinity deck was playing main deck Oxidizes and
loads of other artifact removal in their sideboards. Even though the Krark-Clan Ironworks combo decks were a completely different strategy than Affinity,
and might have even been overpowered in other formats, they were not as good as Affinity and could not complete with Affinity’s success.

So, back to Trevor’s brew.

Right now Standard is a very mid-rangey format, so one has to ask…

(Crown hushes in anticipation…)

Why play Junk Reanimator?


One good reason is that while Junk Reanimator is essentially a midrange deck itself, it’s also very capable of going far over the top. One of the best ways
to get ahead in a war of midrange decks is to present the bigger and better threats, and Trevor’s deck is more than poised to do that. Packing many of the
formats best threats like Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Trevor is not lacking in the fatty department. Obzedat’s Aid gives him access
to even more threats, while Whip of Erebos is the ultimate grindy advantage card. Any game where you can activate a whip a few times is likely going to end
in your favor, especially when the creatures you are bringing back are Sylvan Primordials and Shadowborn Demons.

Our only big issue is that while our graveyard package does give us a really good late game, in order to maximize it we are left playing almost no removal
ourselves. Most midrange decks are pretty packed out with Thoughtseize, Hero’s Downfall, and Detention Spheres, but we are more focused on using our
graveyard to get ahead. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

Our low land count and reliance on mana creatures can also be a liability. If our opponent can deal with them in a timely manner, we might be left stuck on
lands and never actually make it to our powerful five-drops.

I also think that this deck, and many decks in Standard for that matter, is a bit too Temple-heavy. Scrying is great, but so is actually casting your
spells in a timely manner.


Despite these risks however, Trevor’s deck seems like a very fun approach to midrange in the format.

Competitive or Fun?

The final question we need to ask about this deck: “What are we making this deck for?” Are we having fun at FNM? Or are we trying to take this deck to the
next level and take down a PTQ or SCG Open with it? FNM is supposed to be fun, and your beloved host has played some really wacky decks myself at various
FNMs in years past. One was a Heartbeat of Spring/Myojin of the Seeing Winds combo deck that would take infinite turns with Beacon of Tomorrows. It was
always a crowd-pleaser.

(Murmurs from the crowd about this crazy concoction!)

Settle down, settle down. As we said before, this deck seems like a nice approach to a midrange format and could be a very interesting choice if the format
continues as such. However, a deck like this seems like it would have a lot of trouble against a very aggressive deck, the R/W Burn deck, or a Mono-Blue
Devotion deck due to its slow lands and lack of removal.

Regardless, this deck plays some of the most powerful cards in the format and could be a contender!

    Humphries Image

(Rowdy applause!)

We’re going to take a quick commercial break, so stay tuned for our champion Frank Ford’s brew, coming up right after these messages from our sponsor!

All right, we are back, and Frank Ford has brought a deck that will appease the God of Horizons!

Frank has crafted a Bant control deck that looks to take advantage of powerful mana acceleration and big finishers!

While most U/W Control decks are light on finishers and threats, Frank’s deck is all about crashing with some of the most powerful creatures in the format
and putting that acceleration to good use. Angel of Serenity is a card that one might have expected to be in Trevor’s deck but is still just as powerful
when cast, as it provides an almost endless source of card advantage. Progenitor Mimic is a really fun and powerful effect that can be inconsistent but
game winning. Just imagine copying a Gray Merchant of Asphodel!

(The crowd laughs!)

Last, we have the new Hydra Broodmaster, who looks like a Limited-only bomb but has really been pushed. At 7/7, pretty much nothing in the format can go
toe-to-toe with it, and if you ever get to untap, you will have a rather large army to complement your now 10/10.

Oh no, it’s the most maligned god of them all!

Kruphix himself makes an appearance, and I’m left wondering why.

On the surface, it seems like Kruphix would be great here! We’ve got a mana-hungry deck that might just draw ten cards off a Sphinx’s Revelation and a
semi-reasonable shot at making him into a creature.

However, there is a problem. Kruphix doesn’t actually DO anything.

(The crowd looks insulted.)

Kruphix is kinda like a bank. He is never going to give you any money; all he is ever going to do is take money you already have and put it
somewhere where you can access it to occasionally buy crap you don’t need. If you mess up in any way, he is going to make you pay all sorts of interest and
fees, including his upfront signup cost of five mana. And once all that is done, he’s going to ask for a bailout when things go wrong and you lose the game
because you wasted five mana on a do-nothing card.

Hands in Front
    of Face

Yes, maybe you can store a bunch of mana for a big monstrous effect, or to cast a huge Sphinx’s Revelation, but why not just spent that mana on something
good in the first place?

Kiora is a bit more reasonable and a pretty nice control option.

Again we see the mana creature package, as Frank’s deck is all about the midrange and the acceleration. Courser of Kruphix is at its best in a deck like
this which is mana-hungry and has a high land count.

The deck also has some control elements, but they are used more supplementally than as a main plan. You can even use them as tempo tools if you get a fast
Loxodon Smiter draw to help put your opponent on the back foot.

If things go wrong we can always…

Wait… what?

(Crowd looks confused.)

Doesn’t this deck have over twenty creatures in it, including a bevy of mana creatures?

(Hemming and hawing can be heard from the crowd.)

While I can understand wanting a little help against aggressive decks, Supreme Verdict is going to be very hard to use effectively in this deck.

Hand on Chin

Frank’s deck definitely has a slightly aggressive slant and is playing a number of threats all along the curve. Both Loxodon Smiter and Polukranos are
powerful singular threats that can either defend or go on the offensive and pave the way to the midgame.

All in all, Frank has crafted a unique take on Bant Control!

Why Are We Building This Deck?

As we said before, when it comes to deckbuilding…

(The whole crowd chants in unison.)


Like we said before, this is a very midrangey format. Like Trevor’s deck, Frank’s deck seeks to fit that midrange mold while also going over the top of it
with even bigger and better threats. Angel of Serenity is definitely one of the biggest threats in the format, and this deck is designed to get to her and
make her shine. This overload of threats can be a powerful way to go, but it is very important to make sure we pick the right threats.

While many of the decks in the format are currently packed full of removal, Frank has so many must-answer threats that it seems like it will do a very good
job at taxing them. Then, after putting them on the back foot for so long, you can fire off a Sphinx’s Revelation to refill.

This deck seems like it might run pretty well against the midrange decks of the format, which are currently pretty popular, but might have trouble with the
format’s polar extremes. An extremely fast aggressive deck might be able to get under this deck before it even gets started; more dangerous, however, is a
true control deck packed full of answers. As long as they can answer your threats one-for-one and keep you off of Angel of Serenity or Sphinx’s Revelation,
a powerful, long-game control deck would probably also be pretty well-off against this deck.

My biggest concern for the deck is how we plan on dealing with some of the problem creatures in the format, namely the big, evasive ones. This deck is
extremely weak to Stormbreath Dragon, which it has very few answers for. It has a few more to Desecration Demon, but not many, and decks that play
Desecration Demon also often play Thoughtseize and Pack Rat, both cards that can really tax removal.

If the format stays fairly midrangey, this might be a deck that can go places, but time will tell.

Competitive or Fun?

One thing is for sure, and that is this deck seems quite fun to play. While some of the card choices seem a little off, the deck can still provide some
solid beatdown while still letting you have fun with Sphinx’s Revelation, Planeswalkers, and gods.


(Enthusiastic applause!)

The Moment of Truth

Well, folks we are down to it, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the moment you decide the winner of this episode of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN BREW!

(The crowd goes wild with applause!)

Does current champ Frank Ford have what it takes to freeze out the competition?

(The crowd sings “Iiiiiicccccceee Creeeaaaam!”)

Or will newcomer Trevor Humphries have the gusto to take it down?

(The crowd chants “Hump! Hump! Hump!”)

Uhhh…this is a family-friendly show, thank you.

Anyway, here’s how the voting works. Take your time and pick the brewer and deck that you like more! Remember, this is subjective. You can think the deck
is more competitive, more fun, more something you’d like to play, or just plain better for any reason you can think of!

In the comments of the article, I will post one comment with each of our contestants’ names. Simply “like” the one you want to vote for! It’s that simple!
And don’t be bashful… let us know why you liked the deck you picked! And why you hated the deck you didn’t!


The winner will be back to defend his title in the next episode. The loser? The loser will be laughed into obscurity by the rabble, never to brew on the
public stage again!


So cast your votes, and we will see you next time on the show where we ask everyday Magic players….


(Applause and theme music!)


Executive Producer: Jim Davis

Executive Editor: Cedric Phillips

Executive Copyeditor: John Dale Beety

Personal Fitness and Running Advisor: Will Singh

Official Stack Supervisor: Frank Skarren

Overseers of Hockey Operations: Tom Visconti and Aaron Rubinstein

Filmed live onstage at Brother’s Grim Games in Selden, New York.

So You Think You Can Brew?
is a StarCityGames.com production.)

Spring 2014 State Championships