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Decks of the Week - 6/7/2016

It’s me again this week, not sure how that happened. I would have expected hidsnake to read my article from two weeks ago and revoke my MTG posting privileges. Let’s see how he feels after this week, I take a look at WG Tokens taking over Standard, Nahiri going full ‘murican in Modern, and Death and Taxes in Legacy. Lesgo.



Standard


W/G Tokens had a pretty big showing and was played by nearly every 1st place player. There were 4 WG tokens lists in the top 8 of 2016 Grand Prix Costa Rica and one Naya Tokens. I was going to write up something for Bant Company value town which is doing fairly well, but WG Tokens dominated these past two weeks and seems to be the most popular deck in the format so I decided to write about the top two from GP Costa Rica.

[d title="WG Tokens by Seth Manfield"]

Creatures

4 Archangel Avacyn

2 Den Protector

3 Hangarback Walker

2 Lambholt Pacifist

4 Sylvan Advocate

Planeswalkers

4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

4 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

Sorceries

1 Declaration in Stone

1 Tragic Arrogance

Instants

4 Dromoka's Command

2 Secure the Wastes

Enchantments

4 Oath of Nissa

Lands

4 Canopy Vista

8 Forest

4 Fortified Village

7 Plains

2 Westvale Abbey

Sideboard

1 Angelic Purge

1 Clip Wings

1 Declaration in Stone

1 Den Protector

2 Evolutionary Leap

1 Hallowed Moonlight

1 Hangarback Walker

1 Lambholt Pacifist

1 Linvala, the Preserver

1 Silkwrap

2 Stasis Snare

2 Tragic Arrogance

[/d]

[c]Archangel Avacyn[/c] is a late game threat that protects the board from destroy effects when it enters the battlefield. Makes combat unfair and has blowout potential, fear the open 3WW.

[c]Hangarback Walker[/c] is a two mana Doomed Traveler that must be answered quickly before it gets out of hand. Pairs well with .

[c]Lambholt Pacifist[/c] is an early game blocker that works well with Dromoka's Command. While sometimes it is a 3/3 wall, all it takes is 1 power and it can attack regardless of which side is facing up.

[c]Sylvan Advocate[/c] is an early game blocker that works well with a turn 3 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar as well as a late game cheap threat.

[c]Dromoka's Command[/c]  can be used to prevent the damage from damage based removal/sweepers, put a +1/+1 counter on a creature, be green’s slice of the removal color pie if you have a creature that can fight an opponent's creature, or serve as an enchantment edict. Great utility card.

[c]Oath of Nissa[/c] can dig up a creature, land, or planeswalker from the top 3 cards of your deck while fixing mana for your two double mana symbol walkers (Nissa GG, Gideon WW, sometimes Chandra RR). Also helps in variants that play [c]Chandra, Flamecaller[/c], [c]Arlinn Kord[/c], or even [c]Nahiri, The Harbinger[/c]. Yes, that walker list is in order of "probably wins you the game" to "why would you play that in this list?"

Lands will depend on which variant being run. Pure Selesnya or splash for Naya; your lands will vary, but any list will probably have [c]Westvale Abbey[/c]. Decks that can go wide like tokens lists should be running Westvale Abbey.

Variants

As mentioned above splashing red can turn on [c]Sylvan Advocate[/c]'s synergy with [c]Needle Spires[/c] or will allow for playing some walkers like Chandra, Arlinn, or Nahiri. I am not a fan of the Needle Spires plan, it is pretty bad without Advocate. But I like what Raphael Levy did at GP Manchester last week relying on [c]Oath of Nissa[/c] to pay Chandra’s RR. To all the

Some run [c]Stasis Snare[/c] sometimes shows up, but I think [c]Declaration in Stone[/c] is the way to go in most cases. I saw a You can keep both Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Gideon if you +1 Gideon before casting Tragic Arrogance.

 

[d title="W/R Humans by Shota Takao"]

Creatures

3 Abbot of Keral Keep

3 Dragon Hunter

2 Expedition Envoy

4 Knight of the White Orchid

3 Kytheon, Hero of Akros

2 Reckless Bushwhacker

4 Thalia's Lieutenant

4 Thraben Inspector

4 Town Gossipmonger

Enchantments

4 Always Watching

3 Gryff's Boon

Sorceries

4 Declaration in Stone

Lands

4 Battlefield Forge

4 Needle Spires

12 Plains

Sideboard

2 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit

4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

1 Gryff's Boon

3 Hanweir Militia Captain

1 Plains

2 Silkwrap

2 Stasis Snare

[/d]

The deck has sixteen 1-drops most of them with 2 power or a way to get to 2 power putting this deck in an aggro archetype.

[c]Dragon Hunter[/c] can help against dragons, but normally he is just another [c]Savannah Lions[/c]. Do you really want to be still playing with this deck if a [c]Dragonlord Atarka[/c] gets played?

[c]Expedition Envoy[/c] is Savannah Lions, but with a more relevant subtype.

[c]Kytheon, Hero of Akros[/c] is Savannah Lions with an un-ignited spark. If you are able to flip him he can clear the way for your attackers with his +2, protect himself as long as you have another creature with his +1, and can get in for damage with his 0 ability. Being able to dodge sweepers when he flips is good as well.

[c]Thraben Inspector[/c] and [c]Town Gossipmonger[/c] save you from this god awful "everything is Savannah Lions HurrDeeHurr" joke by breaking the 2/1 mold with "Inspector Thraben" being a 1/2 Investigate and Town Gossipmonger being a pseudo 2/2.

[c]Abbot of Keral Keep[/c] feels like a turn 4 or 5 play (as he usually does) with the hopes of hitting a creature; ideally [c]Thalia's Lieutenant[/c]/ [c]Reckless Bushwhacker[/c] on turn 4, or [c]Always Watching[/c] on turn 5.

[c]Gryff's Boon[/c] is great in this deck, throwing it on any of your 2/1s on turn two and smashing in 3 damage each turn wins games if left unchecked. Even if they kill the first creature Gryff’s Boon is attached to it will probably be back on turn 4 to lift something else .

 

Modern


[c]Nahiri, The Harbinger[/c] was released and everyone blew her off as a [c]Mad Prophet[/c], all except for Jeff Hoogland. He caught some flak a few weeks ago for defending Nahiri on twitter, he even backed up his claims by piloting 2 DIFFERENT decks that ran 3-4 copies of Nahiri to 5-0 on MTGO and still there were non-believers. Nahiri Jeskai has since proven itself week after week by tutoring flying spaghetti monsters or [c]Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker[/c] combo pieces.

[d title="Nahiri Jeskai by Adam Tellis"]

Creatures

1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

4 Snapcaster Mage

1 Vendilion Clique

Planeswalkers

3 Nahiri, the Harbinger

Sorceries

1 Anger of the Gods

4 Serum Visions

1 Supreme Verdict

Instants

2 Cryptic Command

1 Electrolyze

4 Lightning Bolt

2 Lightning Helix

1 Logic Knot

2 Mana Leak

4 Path to Exile

2 Remand

2 Spell Snare

Lands

4 Celestial Colonnade

1 Desolate Lighthouse

4 Flooded Strand

2 Ghost Quarter

2 Hallowed Fountain

2 Island

1 Mountain

1 Plains

1 Sacred Foundry

4 Scalding Tarn

2 Steam Vents

1 Sulfur Falls

Sideboard

1 Anger of the Gods

1 Celestial Purge

1 Counterflux

1 Crucible of Worlds

1 Crumble to Dust

1 Dispel

1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion

1 Lightning Helix

2 Negate

1 Relic of Progenitus

1 Supreme Verdict

1 Timely Reinforcements

1 Vendilion Clique

1 Wear // Tear

[/d]

[c]Nahiri, The Harbinger[/c] has a +2 that filters your cards by letting you draw a card if you first discard a card. Her -2 deals with tapped creatures, tapped artifacts, and enchantments. Nahiri’s -8 lets you tutor an artifact or creature to put on the battlefield and give it haste then put it in your hand at the end of turn. I have yet to find a good non-creature artifact to fetch with Nahiri, but on the creature side you can cheat in a flying spaghetti monster.

[c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] is the win con we want to tutor for off Nahiri’s ultimate, normally winning the game. If you draw Emrakul you can discard her to Nahiri’s +2, one of Emrakul’s many abilities will make you shuffle her back into your deck. Don’t forget to make sure Emrakul is IN your deck when you decide to fetch for .

[embed]https://youtu.be/UfsDSgNPrC0?t=25s[/embed]

[c]Celestial Colonnade[/c] is a good plan B for when you forget the card you are fetching for is in your hand as shown in the video above, or if you can’t get Nahiri’s Ultimate, or if someone takes an Emrakul to the face and decides to play it out.

[c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] adds value to all of the instants and sorceries in the deck, but watch out for [c]Grafdigger's Cage[/c] shutting down the graveyard.

Other than the Nahiri/Emrakul “combo” the deck functions as a pretty standard American Control list. There is an [c]Electrolyze[/c], [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], [c]Lightning Helix[/c], [c]Path to Exile[/c] removal package. A [c]Cryptic Command[/c], [c]Mana Leak[/c], [c]Remand[/c], [c]Spell Snare[/c], [c]Logic Knot[/c] counterspell package. An [c]Anger of the Gods[/c], [c]Supreme Verdict[/c] board wipe package. Since [c]Serum Visions[/c] is the best cantrip currently in modern that’s in there as a 4 of. Visions is a $7 common that you WILL feel bad about buying, but that’s where Blue in Modern is right now.

 

[d title="Stompy by Vicent Nehemiah"]

Creatures

4 Avatar of the Resolute

4 Dryad Militant

4 Dungrove Elder

4 Experiment One

4 Kalonian Tusker

4 Leatherback Baloth

4 Scavenging Ooze

4 Strangleroot Geist

Instants

4 Collected Company

4 Vines of Vastwood

Lands

21 Forest

1 Treetop Village

Sideboard

1 Deglamer

4 Dismember

3 Natural State

4 Nylea's Disciple

1 Unravel the Aether

[/d]

Not much to say about this deck, except it turns sideways. It beat out Jund, Abzan Company, Grixis Control, Burn, and W/U Tron. I don’t think I would favor this deck in any of those matchups. Looks like a straight beatdown plan, flood the board with high power/toughness to mana cost vanilla creatures.

If [c]Experiment One[/c] has been evolved, [c]Strangleroot Geist[/c] has died, or [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] has exiled something [c]Avatar of the Resolute[/c] comes down with some counters.

[c]Dungrove Elder[/c] or [c]Leatherback Baloth[/c] outclass most creatures power/toughness to mana cost ratio and help finish off your opponent if the ExOne, Geist, Ooze plan falls through.

[c]Collected Company[/c] is in here to flood the board while [c]Vines of Vastwood[/c] protects your creatures from targeted removal. If you knew [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] fizzles if the creature it is targeting gains Hexproof, good for you! If you didn’t, spells aren’t “countered” when their target becomes an illegal target so Abrupt Decay’s “uncounterable” ability doesn’t matter if the target gains hexproof through Vines of Vastwood.

 

Legacy


Oh boy, it’s Legacy Death and Taxes.

[d title="Death and Taxes by Adrian Throop"]

Creatures

4 Phyrexian Revoker

4 Eldrazi Displacer

3 Flickerwisp

4 Mother of Runes

4 Stoneforge Mystic

1 Vryn Wingmare

2 Mangara of Corondor

4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Artifacts

4 Aether Vial

1 Batterskull

1 Sword of Fire and Ice

1 Umezawa's Jitte

Instants

4 Swords to Plowshares

Lands

11 Plains

2 Mishra's Factory

4 Rishadan Port

4 Wasteland

2 Karakas

Sideboard

1 Grafdigger's Cage

1 Pithing Needle

2 Ethersworn Canonist

2 Containment Priest

2 Veteran Armorer

1 Leyline of Sanctity

1 Rest in Peace

1 Warmth

2 Path to Exile

1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

1 Cataclysm

[/d]

Hey its [c]Eldrazi Displacer[/c] in a legacy list, and I gotta say there are some fun things to do with that. [c] Mangara of Corondor[/c] with Eldrazi Displacer is a repeatable exile for the cost of Eldrazi Displacer's ability, and Mangara doesn't exile itself! [c]Karakas[/c] can also be used to save your Mangara from itself, but then you need to replay it. You can cast [c]Stoneforge Mystic[/c] (or preferably use an [c]Aether Vial[/c] activation so she doesn’t get countered) to grab [c]Batterskull[/c], then blink her to grab [c]Sword of Fire and Ice[/c] or [c]Umizawa’s Jitte[/c].

The deck runs [c]Mother of Runes[/c] to protect your creatures and [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c] to remove your opponent's creatures.

[c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c] is a 4 of in the deck with [c]Vryn Wingmare[/c] acting as Thalia number 5.

[c]Phyrexian Revoker[/c] deals with many threats or silver bullets in the format, but much like [c]Pithing Needle[/c] it takes knowledge of the format, your opponent’s deck, as well as what counters your deck to play well.

I have always been interested in the Death and Taxes archetype and this list seems like one of the Cheaper ways to get into Legacy, yes $80 lands, $60 artifacts, and $25 creatures is a cheap way to get into Legacy, especially if you don’t want to play .

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