Hey…is this thing on? How’s it going saltines?? I hope you all have been fantastic and that life has been treating you well. It has been a while since our last chat, and quite a few things have changed in the world of Magic.
Since we last spoke we saw the release of M19, the ‘return to return to’ set Guilds of Ravnica, and of course glorious rotation. With a total of four sets leaving standard we say good bye, and good riddance to; Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, Amonkhet, and Hour of Devastation.
First thing’s first, I am going to give a run down of my new standard deck, then we will go over FNM and see how it did!
So with the release of Guilds of Ravnica we see a return of everyone’s favourite two colour. The guilds represented in this set are; Boros (White/Red), Dimir (Blue/Black), Selesnya (Green/White), Izzet (Red/Blue), and lastly Golgari (Black, Green). Each of these guilds have their own unique mechanics; mentor, surveil, convoke, jump-start, and undergrowth respectively.
Now for a quick story time. When I first started playing magic, half way through the Gatecrash set, I picked up the Golgari starter deck and fell in love with the guild. That is why once I saw my girl Vraska getting a spicy new card I had to throw a list together and take advantage of the new graveyard based mechanic.
Filling the Bin
So we are building a deck around the new Undergrowth mechanic which cares about the amount of creatures in your graveyard. That being said, we need to find a way to get creatures into our graveyard, enter these nerds.
These three guys right here are our main way of filling our graveyard. Stitcher’s Supplier is a fantastic one drop that enables us to fill the graveyard early for some cheap undergrowth cards. Glowspore Shaman is not only a great way to put some creatures into our grave, but she also allows us to grab a land that we milled and put it on top of our deck, also three power is nothing to shake a stick at. Jadelight Ranger is an ok way to put creatures into our grave, the real upside of JlR is to peel through clumps of land as they just pop straight to our hand.
Now Underrealm Lich is a one of in the list. Having an indestructible creature can be good, but the main upside of this guy is being able to look at the top three cards of the library and maybe put some creatures in the grave. As a side note; if we have this dude on the field we cannot lose the game for having no cards in the library as he replaces any draws with a ‘look at and put in hand’ clause.
So now that our graveyard is full of creatures, what do we do now?
The Payoff Cards
These two ‘finishers’ are one ofs in the list. We use the graveyard filling cards to power out either a bunch of tokens with Izoni, and go wide against our opponents. Lotleth Giant is an a whole ‘nother level. This is the card we want when the board state has ground to a halt and we just need to end the game, this thick boy gets there.
The Things That Kill Things
The best part about playing a black deck? The kill spells. Necrotic Wound is a fantastic one drop -x/-x spell that exiles when it removes the creature. This is helpful for indestructible creatures as well as creatures with death triggers. Need I say anything for Assassin’s Trophy? Turn anything into a basic land. I can hit planeswalkers, creatures, enchantments, artifacts, even lands are not safe from getting wrecked. Finally we are playing Ravenous Chupacabra. I decided that instead of playing instant removal spells like Cast Down, I opted for a creature with a kill on ETB. Not only is it a body that can attack and block, it also contributes to undergrowth once his job is done.
A lot of people may be a little bit curious as to why I chose to run four copies of Llanowar Elves, it’s because I can drop a 6/6 flying, trample demon on turn four. They are early game ramp, and late game they contribute to undergrowth. Mausoleum Secrets is probably the best card in the deck. Being an instant speed fetch for anything is amazing. I can grab a removal spell, I can grab a threat, I can grab whatever I wish. I can even grab a beefy Doom Whisperer. This undercosted, overpowered monster is such a beating. A five drop dude with a wall of text that makes your opponents take a pause if they have no answers for it. Paying life to peel some cards is awesome, and the flying trample combo is icing on top of a nightmarish cake.
All hail de queen! Vraska, Golgari Queen is not only an Abrupt Decay on a stick, but she is also our alternate win condition. After we get the emblem, all we need to do is connect with a Llanowar Elf. We only run one copy of Ritual of Soot. We can grab it using Mausoleum Secrets, and it works as a ‘silver bullet’ against token decks and various other go-wide strategies.
When it comes to this split card, we will be utilizing the Find half 80% of the time. We use the Find half to grab some of our one of creatures out of our graveyard in the off chance that we mill it or our opponent removes it from play. We can also take advantage of the Finality and use it as an emergency sweeper if things get out of hand. Sure we may lose some if not all of our stuff, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay. I wasn’t too sold on this card until a regular at my LGS suggested it, and after a few plays of the deck I knew it was a good pick up.
I’m not going to bother doing a write up of the sideboard, I believe all of the cards are pretty self explanatory. Here is the full list. B/G Undergrowth. So how did we do at FNM? Let’s find out!
Round 1; Win in 2 vs Dimir Aggro
This list is super spicy. When WotC spoiled Lazav, the Multifarious I thought ‘hey that’s pretty spicy!’ My opponent had concocted a list that took advantage of early creatures like Thoughtbound Phantasm and Whispering Snitch in order to take advantage of the new scry-esque surveil mechanic. The deck also featured a surprise threat in the form of Etrata, the Silencer. Game one I had to take a mulligan to six. The game was very back and forth with my opponent spamming out a myriad of small threats and myself equally throwing out wheenies. The game took a massive swing in my favor once I managed to resolve a Doom Whisperer. With a significant lack of flying creatures and a flurry of removal spells I took the win. For sideboard I took out one copy of Lotleth Giant, and one Glowspore Shaman, and brought in two copies of Ritual of Soot. Game two my opponent had stuck three copies of Whispering Snitch and began to drain me for quite a bit. I used a copy of Mausoleum Secrets to fetch for a Ritual and wiped the board. I rode on the wings of another Doom Whisperer to victory.
Round 2; Win in 2 vs Mono-Black Drain
So this particular opponent and I have been discussing this deck idea for a while. It didn’t receive anything new from Guilds of Ravnica, but that doesn’t mean the deck is any less nasty. The deck consists of a plethora of spells that give the deck its’ namesake, drain. My opponent was playing cards like Tattered Mummy, Skymarch Bloodletter, and Vampire Sovereign, all cards that just straight make me lose life, and lose life I did. Game one was insanely close, with myself only sporting a pair of Llanowar Elves, and Vraska. My hand was loaded with removal spells and I used them to kill everything my opponent played….until he dropped Chainer’s Torment. At the point in which he dropped the saga I was at seven life. I dropped to five and my opponent passed the turn to me. I upped Vraska and sacrificed a land to go up to six life. My opponent’s turn consisted of him drawing a card, ticking Chainer’s Torment, bringing me to four, dropping ANOTHER Torment, bringing me to two, and then passing the turn back. I drew my card, land, upped Vraska, drawing another land and bringing me to three life, and then I passed the turn. My opponent top decks a land, brings me to one, and then third ticks the first saga, creating a 14/14 Nightmare Horror. My turn I draw a Stitcher’s Supplier, ult Vraska, and then swing with both Llanowar Elves. My opponent could only block one elf, and since Vraska emblem gives my creatures the ability to one-shot my opponents I won! Game two was kind of similar with me winning with another Vraska ult!
Win in 3 vs Jeskai Control ft. Dargons
Game one saw my opponent mulligan to six, and I thought I had the upper hand. It was all going well until my opponent managed to stick a Sarkhan, Fireblood. He managed to control my board state, until he ulted Sarkhan and brought out four big dragon boys, leading me to scoopsville. For the sideboard I brought out Ritual of Soot, Izoni, Underrealm Lich, and a Shaman. I brought in three copies of Carnage Tyrant and two Vraska’s Contempt. In this second game I had to mulligan to six, but things just didn’t formulate for my opponent as he got stuck on two lands. Game three just had my name written all over it. I ran my opponent out of counter spells and got there with a copy of Doom Whisperer and Stitcher’s Supplier. I was a big fan of my opponent’s list as he was also sporting a few copies of Niv-Mizzet, Parun.
Loss in 3 vs Mono-Green Aggro
Welp, what can I say. I had to take a mulligan to six in game one and my opponent dropped the turn two Steel Leaf Champion with the help of a turn one Llanowar Elf. I thought it was alright until my opponent windmill slammed a turn three Nullhide Ferox, and the game ended pretty quickly after that. Game two was a wee bit better when I sideboarded in two copies of both Vraska’s Contempt and Ritual of Soot. My opponent had to mulligan to six for game two and I used the extra card advantage to leverage a win. Game three was super unfortunate. I had to mulligan to six, but kept a hand of Overgrown Tomb, Forest, Llanowar Elf, Llanowar Elf, Vraska’s Contempt, and Doom Whisperer. I scry’d a nonland to the bottom of my deck, and then proceeded to draw into another Vraska’s Contempt, and three copies of Ritual of Soot. This wouldn’t have been an issue, except for the fact that I only had one black source. My opponent got out to a mediocre start, but with my lack of interaction I just died.
So, after all of the hype what came of the deck? I freaking loved it. The deck feels so cohesive, and the ability to play it a variety of different ways by utilizing Mausoleum Secrets. We went 3-1 and the last game lose to Mono-Green would have been really close if only I hit a second black source, but that’s just how it goes I guess. Can’t win ’em all!
I’m not too sold on the sideboard so if you guys have any ideas feel free to sound off in the comments. How did your new standard decks fair in the post-energy meta, let me know!
I also just wanted to give a special shout out to my fantastic sponsor Jack’s on Queen! Not only did they run a flawless prerelease weekend, but they got permission from WotC to run a special prerelease event at the Wasaga Beach Youth Centre! Kim and the people at Jack’s are phenomenal, so if you want to show your support, click the logo below and order some shtuff!
Until next time, stay salty my friends!