Why I Will Not Play Bring To Light At The Pro Tour

GerryT pulled a called shot Babe Ruth-style by telling you exactly what he was going to do last week and what deck he was going to do it with. So why doesn’t he feel confident in it heading to the Pro Tour and #SCGATL? Read to find out!

I basically crushed SCG Indy.

Last week,
I wrote about my deck choice for the event, but I naturally ended up changing some stuff. Rob Hunsaker, the creator of the original list, sent me his
updated version with the full amount of Deathmist Raptors and Den Protectors. I liked the idea of Deathmist Raptors instead of some removal spells, at
least in theory, but you couldn’t reliably cast them face-up on Turn 3.

My deck was, in essence, a control deck, but it had tap-out elements. In an alternate universe, I would have much preferred for the deck to be more
threat-dense, so the Raptor package was appealing, but it didn’t work out.

Since I was the full five colors, I tried plenty of different things, but I never really strayed from the Jace / Siege Rhino / Abzan Charm / Bring to Light
core. Ultimately, those seemed like the most powerful cards to build around for what I wanted to accomplish. The idea of splashing Abzan cards and finding
a different base didn’t really make sense to me, so I stuck with it.

This is what I ended up playing:

I made a few changes from my article. In addition to aggressive decks and Eldrazi Ramp decks, I was a little worried about Jeskai decks. Some of the decks
I ended up playing against online were tough matchups, but I couldn’t exactly pin down how they would be built for the Open since they had a ton of
options. Rather than try to focus on specific things, I decided to go for a threat that they’d have a difficult time dealing with.

If they decided to go with a heavy fetchland manabase (which I think is correct), they would likely end up with some black duals in their deck. At that
point, they can freely splash Crackling Doom if they want to, which makes Silumgar, the Drifting Death slightly less appealing. You can always Duress their
Crackling Doom or hope they have to use it on a Siege Rhino. If you can dodge the Crackling Doom issue, Silumgar, the Drifting Death is probably the single
best card against them.

Additionally, Silumgar assisted with cleaning up the mess left behind by Hangarback Walker. It also gave you something to attack planeswalkers with. It’s a
little awkward that I only had one Dragon, so I couldn’t take out Thopter tokens when they had a Gideon emblem or a bunch of manifests left over from
Whisperwood Elemental or Mastery of the Unseen, but Silumgar was still excellent. Overall, it was one of my best cards, if not the actual best.

Many people commented on how… clever this card choice was, but it was anything but. It was frequently my worst card and the card I sided out nearly every
time. In theory, it was something that could copy a planeswalker or some other big threat on the cheap, but in reality, I’d probably rather just search for
an answer to that permanent. It wasn’t even my idea!

I would not play this card again.

Aside from Clever Impersonator, not playing Silumgar’s Command maindeck was my biggest mistake of the tournament. One of the deck’s weaknesses (which I’ll
get into later), was that the toolbox created by Bring to Light wasn’t actually very effective. Other than a sweeper, a Vindicate, or a Siege Rhino, there
weren’t many other options. Silumgar’s Command was the best tutor target when things were hairy and those situations definitely came up in Game 1s. Going
forward, Silumgar’s Command should absolutely be maindeck.

After I submitted my decklist, I was kind of sweating because I forgot to find an Infinite Obliteration for my sideboard and thought I might run into some
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hungers. Thankfully, that didn’t happen despite some of those decks doing quite well. If those decks end up being reasonable choices,
I would definitely include a copy going forward.

I swapped out the Treasure Cruises for Murderous Cuts. The deck can support some number of delve spells thanks to the interaction and fetchlands, but not
many. As it turned out, I wanted a cheap removal spell more than I wanted more card advantage. It’s very rare that you’re completely out of gas, so
Murderous Cut was a great addition.

The manabase is still tough to figure out, and I don’t claim to have it down just yet. Use at your own risk.

The Tournament

I was 12-1 in the swiss with no byes before taking two intentional draws. All flavors of Abzan were easy matchups, and despite fearing aggro decks, I
defeated Atarka Red three times and G/R Landfall once. G/W Megamorph, arguably the best deck in the tournament, was also something I beat twice.

My only loss? The mirror.

In Top 8, I lost to Brian DeMars, who I beat in the swiss, but that was probably my fault. I stand by my Siege Rhino attack, but that’s not the issue.
After our match in the swiss, I gave him some sideboarding advice that he ended up using to win Game 3.

Good beats.

Overall, I feel like this was my tournament to lose. I was running good, my deck had good matchups against Week 1 decks, and specifically against the
majority of the Top 8. Oh, well. There’s always next time!

The Future

If I had to do it again, this is what I would have played:

This list is slightly better and doesn’t contain any of the nonsense like Clever Impersonator or an ineffective sideboard hate card like Anafenza, the
Foremost. I truly believe this to be the most well-rounded, tuned version of this deck.

That said, I don’t like this archetype very much.

Sure, I did well in the tournament, but it was Week 1, and I don’t think many people had a very good deck. There were definitely some cool ideas out there,
but nothing struck me as being a brutal killing machine, except for maybe Michael Majors’ G/W Megamorph deck. Five-Color Bring to Light is kinda slow,
kinda clunky, and has less than perfect mana for not much gain. Is this deck really doing much that a four-deck couldn’t do? After playing with it, I’m

During the tournament, my opponents weren’t putting me under a ton of pressure. Occasionally they’d have a good draw, but I was still live to win the game,
and even if I lost, that was only one game in the match. I just never seemed to get punished twice in the same match. The deck also takes a very long time
to win. If I hadn’t won many of my matches 2-0, I probably would have picked up an unintentional draw at some point.

In some of the games, I was lamenting my lack of threats. I also wanted cheaper interaction. Maybe a build closer to Kent Ketter’s is better.

Kent used Mantis Rider and Fiery Impulse to make his deck a little more aggressive, and I definitely like that approach. However, the mana was an issue,
and I can’t imagine Kent’s choice of spells makes that any easier. The ole 3/3/3/3/3 fetchland manabase doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either.


Using my updated list, this is how I would sideboard.

VS Atarka Red


Disdainful Stroke Disdainful Stroke Abzan Charm Abzan Charm Abzan Charm Abzan Charm Gilt-Leaf Winnower Silumgar's Command


Duress Silumgar, the Drifting Death Radiant Flames Radiant Flames Radiant Flames Radiant Flames Surge of Righteousness Surge of Righteousness

This is specifically against DeMars’ build of the deck, but it’s probably the same for each version. Cards like Utter End are a little too slow and
probably don’t belong in the deck after sideboard, but it’s not the worst thing in the world and people might try to get you with Outpost Siege, Retreat to
Valakut, or some such.

VS Five-Color Bring to Light


Reave Soul Reave Soul Reave Soul Languish Crux of Fate Silumgar, the Drifting Death Murderous Cut Murderous Cut


Duress Disdainful Stroke Disdainful Stroke Ob Nixilis Reignited Ob Nixilis Reignited Ugin's Insight Utter End

Instead of trying to kill Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy with Reave Soul after sideboard, I’m tempted to just let them have it. Their deck shouldn’t have any dead
cards and you should be able to remove Jace, Telepath Unbound before it does too much damage anyway.

Silumgar, the Drifting Death is difficult to kill and blocks Siege Rhino, but isn’t a particularly good threat in the matchup. What matters is grinding
them down to zero, and in order to get there, you’re going to have to not walk into their cards, like Disdainful Stroke, which will give them a significant
advantage when they trade up on mana.

VS Jeskai


Languish Crux of Fate Gilt-Leaf Winnower Siege Rhino


Silumgar, the Drifting Death Duress Ob Nixilis Reignited Ob Nixilis Reignited

How you sideboard here depends greatly on their configuration. Sometimes they load up on answers to Siege Rhino, but other times they might seem answer
light. Either way, Siege Rhino doesn’t win the important battles, such as their attempt to gain air superiority, so shaving on them is acceptable.

Disdainful Stroke is either solid, good, or very bad depending on their deck. Generally I err on the side of keeping in a couple until I find out whether
or not they have more Dragons or planeswalkers. Reave Soul is exciting against Jace, Mantis Rider, and Soulfire Grand Master, but rarely against anything
else in their deck. That said, those are also important cards to kill, plus Reave Soul can kill a bigger creature with the help of a Jace +1, so not all is

If they have other nonsense like Butcher of the Horde or Thunderbreak Regent, you can consider boarding in a Surge of Righteousness or two.

VS Abzan


Reave Soul Reave Soul Reave Soul Duress Duress Languish


Ob Nixilis Reignited Ob Nixilis Reignited Disdainful Stroke Silumgar, the Drifting Death Ugin's Insight Utter End

Again, your exact configuration depends a lot on what they’re doing. Disdainful Stroke is typically good against their scarier cards, but it is close to
useless when they have a bunch of Den Protectors. Duress ranges from unplayable to decent. If they are more aggressive, you may want some cheaper removal
like Languish or the Reave Souls.

VS G/W Megamorph


Duress Duress Gilt-Leaf Winnower Siege Rhino Siege Rhino Siege Rhino


Ob Nixilis Reignited Ob Nixilis Reignited Silumgar, the Drifting Death Radiant Flames Radiant Flames Utter End

Disdainful Stroke is useful for protecting yourself against Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, but don’t expect it to have many other targets.

They are slow enough that your slower sweepers are good enough, but I’d like to have more sweepers in general, so I don’t mind siding in some Radiant
Flames, especially on the draw. Their scariest cards are Evolutionary Leap and Gideon by a wide margin. Basically everything else is too slow to actually
beat you before you can stabilize.

Ob Nixilis Reignited could be a bad choice on the draw, but it’s not uncommon for you to -3 their only creature, allowing you to untap with your own
personal Howling Mine on the battlefield. Sometimes they can grind you out with Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector, but it’s difficult for them to do that
when you’ve got a planeswalker.

VS Eldrazi Ramp


Reave Soul Reave Soul Reave Soul Languish Gilt-Leaf Winnower Silumgar, the Drifting Death Murderous Cut


Duress Disdainful Stroke Disdainful Stroke Ob Nixilis Reignited Ob Nixilis Reignited Infinite Obliteration Utter End

Again, all these decks vary, so this is just a general guideline. You basically want to strip their ramp spells with Duress or counter them with Disdainful
Stroke. Meanwhile, you should be focusing on applying pressure with a Siege Rhino whenever you have an opening to safely drop one. If they get to start
casting Ulamogs, it’s lights out.

VS Esper Dragons


Reave Soul Reave Soul Reave Soul Languish Gilt-Leaf Winnower Silumgar, the Drifting Death Murderous Cut


Duress Disdainful Stroke Disdainful Stroke Ob Nixilis Reignited Ob Nixilis Reignited Infinite Obliteration Ugin's Insight

Be wary of Dragonlord Ojutai, but don’t overload on removal trying to beat it because they’ll find a way around that. Infinite Obliteration might leave
them low enough on win conditions that you could actually win a game by decking them, but that takes a long time and might not even work. It’s possible
that Infinite Obliteration isn’t even good against them, but I think it’s worth trying since you have it. I wouldn’t work too hard to punch it through.

Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar

I might be a bit of a downer in regards to my deck, but keep in mind that I’m always striving for perfection. In the end, the deck wasn’t even close, which
leads to me having a negative opinion of the deck, even if I’m winning. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if my opponents would have
actually been putting me under pressure or perhaps ever had a Turn 4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. At the Pro Tour, I’m not going to bank on being that lucky
again, even if this deck dominates other midrange decks like Abzan.

Going into Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar, I’m left without ideas, but thankfully, I have a pretty solid team to help with that!