Paul Rietzl started off on a great run at Grand Prix: Kansas City, and his deck definitely caught my attention. While the straightforward aggressive approach is definitely more Paul’s style than mine, I definitely the like synergies, the prison elements, and how well the deck uses Aether Vial, one of the true underplayed cards in Modern.
For today’s videos, I haven’t made any changes from Paul’s list from the Grand Prix. I’m definitely not qualified to make changes through experience yet, and Paul said he was basically happy with what he played.
So, for reference, I’ll be playing:
- 1 Aven Mindcensor
- 3 Wilt-Leaf Liege
- 2 Qasali Pridemage
- 4 Leonin Arbiter
- 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- 4 Dryad Militant
- 4 Loxodon Smiter
- 2 Experiment One
- 4 Voice of Resurgence
Now, onto the matches:
Game one was really lopsided. I didn’t draw any spells and he comboed me quickly. In game two, my opponent made a huge mistake by (presumably) failing to notice that I could eat his Kitchen Finks by tapping my Relic of Progenitus, then compounded the problem by attacking Melira into Aether Vial – I still hadn’t made a second land drop, and any creature would let my elemental token eat Melira, so I’m not really sure how he expected this to go well. These mistakes let me win a weird game on turn nine without ever drawing a second land. Aether Vial is pretty good. In game three, my opponent conceded remarkably quickly to my board full or Leonin Arbiters. I can only assume his hand was full of cards that were bad against them.
That matchup felt horrendous. All my anti-shuffling stuff is bad, and my creatures are just outclassed. I’d need more removal than I have access to in order to have a chance. Obviously, letting Spreading Seas resolve at the end of game two was really bad, but I wasn’t in that game at that point.
Winning game one despite my huge mistake was surprising to me. I guess his hand must have just had cards like Mana Leak that didn’t really do anything, but it definitely felt like more cards than I should be beating. For game two, I just drew a good mix of lands and creatures that were huge, which makes relying on red removal very difficult.
The first game obviously just wasn’t a game. In the second game, I guess I learned that just hating the graveyard doesn’t really do enough, because at that point I’m playing a deck full of small creatures against a deck full of wraths and big creatures and I’m down a card. For the third game, one could argue that I might have been able to win if I’d played Loxodon Smiter first, since my opponent would Shriekmaw that and then my Thalia would stop him from cascading. There’s some chance it plays out that way, but I don’t think I could win if he just cascaded immediately, so I think my line was probably right and he just had all the answers.
Overall, I won two matches that felt somewhat difficult and lost two matches that felt mostly unwinnable. I think this is my problem with G/W “hate” decks in general–you don’t have a Plan B or much play, you just play your creatures and attack, and hope you have the right kind of hate. It’s easy to find yourself in an extremely difficult matchup if you don’t predict the field perfectly.
Thanks for watching,
@samuelhblack on Twitter