Howdy Magicians! I’m Hal Brady aka Hbeezy from Dallas, Texas, and I recently won the StarCityGames.com Standard Open in Dallas with G/R Devotion (or as I like to call it Colossal Crunch). I’d been piloting the deck for a couple months before the tournament; it was the most unfair deck I’d tested with, and to be honest I don’t really like to play fair Magic if I don’t have to.
To start off the tournament, I got my deck registration sheet all filled out and double checked it as usual. I should probably also mention I am kind of notorious for getting game losses for misregistering my decklist. I won round 1 and was waiting around for round 2 to start when my buddy who was judging that day pulled me aside and said:
"Come here, you know what’s coming."
I could not believe I had done it again, but sure enough I had not registered my four Stomping Grounds on the deck sheet because I’m a dumb-dumb. So the judge sorted out my deck and got it all fixed on my sheet—or so we thought. I sat down for round 2 and let my opponent know he won game 1 and I will be on the play for game 2. About two minutes later after smashing face, I was relieved that the game loss ended up not mattering. Fast forward to the quarterfinals, I was sitting down ready to go when the head judge pulled me aside and let me know I was getting another game loss for misregistering my list; this time it was because I had put down too many Mountains and not enough Forests.
I was pretty furious at this point since it should have all been taken care of the first time, but he informed he that that was the decision that was being made. I sat down, trying not to explode, and shuffled up. Unfortunately for my opponent, I drew insanely well game 2, and he essentially mulled out of game 3. I then proceeded to not drop a game in the rest of the Top 8, so my only game loss was to the head judge. I still disagree with the second game loss; I take full responsibility for the first one for sure. I understand I completely butchered my deck sheet, but in my opinion it should have been completely fixed the first time. This time it worked out ok, but I would never want that situation to happen to anyone else.
Now on to the good stuff. Here is a quick rundown of the deck and a few tips on some of the common matchups.
- 2 Scavenging Ooze
- 4 Burning-Tree Emissary
- 1 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
- 4 Elvish Mystic
- 4 Polukranos, World Eater
- 1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
- 4 Sylvan Caryatid
- 3 Arbor Colossus
- 4 Voyaging Satyr
Ok, let’s get the ball rolling with a look at the card choices.
4 Domri Rade
4 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
2 Xenagos, the Reveler
This merry band of brothers is what makes this deck go. They keep the board loaded, your hand full, and your opponent crying. Domri is great against the aggressive decks, while Xenagos and Garruk give the control players some real issues, and I’m talking like, "Hey, you see that guy with no pants on ordering his Taco Bell and trying to pay with paper clips? He’s got issues." All in all, these guys are what help fuel the crazy unfair advantages this deck can create.
4 Polukranos, World Eater
3 Arbor Colossus
1 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
2 Scavenging Ooze
Beef!!! It’s what your opponent is about to be force-fed for dinner. First in the line-up we have Polukranos. This guy not only eats worlds but also eats aggro alive. Slam this guy on turn 3 with the help of a little acceleration and creature decks come to a screeching halt.
Arbor Colossus is an all-star versus Mono-Blue Devotion and Desecration Demons but also gets you GGG for devotion. If you ever untap with Nykthos and this guy in play, you usually will just vomit your hand onto the table the following turn.
The one-of Ruric Thar is just a house against any kind of midrange or control deck, and Nylea helps you get through stalled board states. The two Scavenging Oozes are probably the weakest cards in the deck, but they are kind of necessary as a follow-up to any kind of mass removal effect. The minimal life gain is ok, and eating cards in your opponent’s yard to counteract a Whip of Erebos isn’t the worst interaction.
The Mana Producers
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Voyaging Satyr
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
We have the full set of Elvish Mystics, Sylvan Caryatids, and Voyaging Satyrs. Having the full set of all of these is super necessary to get way ahead of your opponent. Turn 1 Elvish Mystic sets you up for turn 2 Domri Rade, which is still fantastic against most decks in Standard. The Caryatids do a nice job of helping you out with the red source and stopping you from getting hit in the face early, and the Voyaging Satyrs are an obvious combo with Nykthos but not one to take lightly
Now let’s take a look at some of the matchups.
I believe this to be one of the tougher matchups. An early Tidebinder Mage on your mana guys can really stall you out and deal some serious damage. Your goal in this matchup is to get as much mana acceleration out as possible and stick an Arbor Colossus to stabilize. Polukranos is also sick against them since for only three mana he can take out a Master of Waves (just beware of Cyclonic Rift or Rapid Hybridization in response to the monstrosity activation). Domri also provides a good way to deal with their creatures; try to use the fight ability as aggressively as possible to keep their devotion count down.
-4 Garruk, Caller of Beasts; -2 Xenagos, the Reveler; -1 Scavenging Ooze
+4 Mistcutter Hydra; +3 Wasteland Viper
Mono-Red, B/R, & W/R Aggro
These matches all go about the same for us. Burning-Tree Emissary and Sylvan Caryatid are amazing at mucking up the board and letting you survive to a Polukranos or Arbor Colossus. Domri is important here since fighting things early and often allows you to stabilize. These are the decks that we prey on and want to get paired against the most.
-4 Garruk, Caller of Beasts, -2 Xenagos, the Reveler, -1 Voyaging Satyr
+3 Wasteland Viper, +4 Nylea’s Disciple
Esper & U/W Control
Game 1 is all about the planeswalkers. Garruk is an absolute nightmare by refilling you grip and putting creatures into play that can’t be countered, Xenagos makes an endless supply of threats, and an early Domri can threaten to ultimate before they can find an answer. Try to do your best to play around Supreme Verdict by not playing all your mana guys out at once. The goal is to get an early threat into play like Polukranos or Xenagos to start applying pressure, but don’t overdo it so that Verdict doesn’t wreck you too badly. Also, remember if you have Domri in play to attack first so if they Azorius Charm your guy you can just +1 and replay it.
-3 Arbor Colossus, -4 Sylvan Caryatid, -1 Scavenging Ooze
+4 Mistcutter Hydra, +3 Burning Earth, +1 Destructive Revelry
Obviously the Burning Earths aren’t the best against U/W, so you can leave in the Colossus and singleton Scavenging Ooze.
Deck Changes Going Forward
As a whole, the deck is pretty solid as is. The only two flex spots are the Scavenging Oozes, and I’m not even sure what I would replace them with. I would, however, like an additional Ruric Thar in the board because it was great for me all weekend. It’s possible to cut one Nylea’s Disciple from the board if you don’t expect to see as much aggro, but I would keep everything else the same as is.
Well, it’s been fun guys and gals; I had a blast winning the Standard Open in Dallas and getting the opportunity to write an article for StarCityGames.com. Give the deck a spin if you like making tons of mana and attacking with jolly green giants. If you’ve got any questions or comments, fire away in the comments.