Tag: bng-standard

Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - April 23, 2014

Champion’s Deck – UW Control by Simon Stahl (1st at SCG De...

U/W Control
Simon Stahl
1st Place at StarCityGames Standard Open on 4/19/2014
Fated Retribution
While it’s not a newcomer to the top of the pile this weeks winner was able to wrestle dominance away from the big bad Mono-Black menace. One of the most classic styles of control, UW is able to operate more fluidly then Esper versions even though they are relatively the same core concept. Control relies upon a good mix of permission and removal, backed up with a strong finisher once the board has been stabilized. This deck follows that structure to a tee while adding in a few interesting one ofs to round it out.

Since the printing of Return to Ravnica and with it the Azorius guild UW has had an arsenal of weapons that each decklist has been build on the foundation of. This deck is no different with four copies of each Jace, Architect of Thought, Sphinx’s Revelation, Supreme Verdict and Detention Sphere. That group alone is able to provide the deck with so much power and consistency, giving it answers to a plethora of threats. For permission we have a full set of Dissolve, which also help as pseudo-draw, and a pair of Syncopate, which can be key at stopping a dangerous two drop like Pack Rat. For removal you have primarily Detention Sphere to pick off pesky threats of varied permanent types or Supreme Verdict to sweep the board free of creatures, but also a Celestial Flare and two Last Breath as pinpoint removal. We also find the inclusion of Fated Retribution as a catchall reset against all creatures and planeswalkers if necessary. The deck keeps your hand full through the draw power of Sphinx’s Revelation and Jace, which both also help to keep your life total from falling too low, and also a couple of Divination. The finishers are a very tight package which has a one of Ætherling and two Elspeth, Sun’s Champion which you must be very mindfull to deploy only once you have taken over the game. Also, because the deck only runs two colors we find room to squeeze three Mutavault in the manabase which while small over time will produce more then enough damage on an empty board. Another versatile spell in the deck is the Azorius Charm which can either help gain back some life to stable against aggro decks, cycle itself away to dig for a necessary answer or as removal for a bothersome threat. The final card in the deck is some old tech in Elixir of Immortality which just keeps the deck churning even after you’ve depleted so many spells.

So with just a couple weeks left until new standard it is certain that people are looking forward to Journey Into Nyx instead of backwards at our current standard. While I don’t feel that this deck benefits too much from the new set there are two cards with an outside chance to slip in. Deicide could be a good piece of removal depending on how the Gods appear in the meta. Also, Aegis of the Gods is a great way to protect yourself from targeted oppression, but neither are backbreakers for the deck. We will see over the next few months how it plays out.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - April 15, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Mono-Black Devotion by Nicolas Schoolcra...

Mono-Black Devotion
Nicholas Schoolcraft
1st Place at StarCityGames Standard Open on 4/12/2014
Lifebane zombie
Yet again we have another victory notched into the belt of Mono-Black Devotion. It would seem at this point that people are hopeful that Journey Into Nyx will be able to offer some variety to a format which while mixed seems to cede in the end to this deck. And while this is a very similar deck to what has been played previously there are some interesting tweaks.


The most apparent difference in this list from those past is the exclusion of Nightveil Specter for a very different evil in Lifebane Zombie. It looks like taking the extra precautions to hedge against Green Monsters and White Weenies paid off. His removal package, which is usually constructed for what you’re idea of the meta calls for, consisted of a full four Hero’s Downfall, a trio of Devour Flesh and two copies each of both Ultimate Price and Bile Blight. The other interesting point of note is that he went for two sets of Temples for the Scry power, which is very handy in conjunction with Underworld Connections when you’re low on life but absolutely need to find something specific.

So with what has been spoiled so far from Journey Into Nyx I’m not convinced that we’ve gotten anything new to bolster this deck. We could stretch and say as a possible 1 of that Hall of Triumph would additionally beef up your already pretty big Pack Rat swarm, but I’d expect it more in the Mono-Blue Devotion instead to ensure your MASTER tokens didn’t disappear along with their Master. There is still many more cards left to come and so we will wait to see if it gets more weapons or if the rest of the field gets a level up to push Mono-Black Devotion back to a more equal footing.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - April 7, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Mono-Black Devotion by Robert Berni (1st...

Mono-Black Devotion
Robert Berni
1st Place at Grand Prix Pheonix on 4/6/2014

Bile blight

And so the song remains, the same as it ever was, playing that same old tune.  Black Devotion has proven itself to be a solid front runner consistently as one of the true tier 1 decks.  It has an array of weapons that make it difficult to beat when it draws it’s threats in sequence.  The deck also has two main lines either through Pack Rat or devoting itself up to Gray Merchant with ample removal and card draw to boot.  It’s no surprise to see it post results week in and week out.

The opening that this deck wants to see everytime it starts a new game is turn one Thoughtseize into turn two Pack Rat.   So often this will rob the opponent of a key defensive piece which will allow the Pack Rat to get to work multiplying itself until it has gotten out of control, which tends to happen very quickly.  The synergy with Mutavault which also happens to be a rat is another factor in boosting the lowly rats to monumental proportions.  The secondary line of attack comes with a curve of threats starting at the three drop with Nightveil Specter a formidable Flying attacker which has the added value of not only stealing life from your opponent but also can steal cards from the top of their deck, which can even be played as long as the specter remains in play.  Then at the four drop we have Desecration Demon which is quite simply a beat stick which you’ll use to grind the opponent to dust.  Finally we get to Gray Merchant of Asphodel which has a very useful Devotion ability that will drain the life from your opponent and add that amount which is based on your total Devotion to Black mana.  To help boost your Devotion count the deck also has Underworld Connections which provides a steady stream of cards at the price of some life and also a misers copy of Whip of Erebos that helps regain lost life point with Lifelink and will raise your dead creatures from the grave for a turn to fight for you again.  As is typical with a Black deck removal is a key element and this deck is no different.  There is a varied spread of spells but the key one is Hero’s Downfall which can deal with problem creatures and planeswalkers alike.  This is complimented by Devour Flesh and Doom Blade to vanquish other creature problems. Then we round out the package with pseudo-sweeper Bile Blight which is capable of removing some very significant threads but you must be mindful of its use in the mirror.  As mentioned before there is also Thoughtseize which not only takes care of any otherwise hard to handle problem but also provides very valuable information about the opponents plans.

I have serious doubts that this strategy will be oppressed come the new offerings of Journey Into Nyx. In fact I shudder to think of what new weapons might even enhance this deck.  One thing is certain, whether you decide to play this deck or not if you aren’t prepared to face it then you should consider yourself not prepared at all.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - March 26, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Esper Control by Kyle Boggemes (1st at G...

Esper Control
Kyle Boggemes
1st Place at Grand Prix on 3/23/2014
With the metagame in Standard much more defined now then it was a few months back it has slowly become time for the Control decks to shine. Once the major threats are known then Control mages are able to more easily prepare for the decks they expect to face. This has proven itself in the dominant showing of Esper Control this past weekend by winning both the Grand Prix and the SCG Open. And it is no secret that in the Esper colors of Blue, White and Black we find the integral pieces necessary to answer almost any threat that can be thrown at us.
The Control deck is a carefully crafted work of beauty and this list is no different. Looking at the win conditions of the deck we find a very precise package consisting of one Ætherling and a trio of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion which are meant to only be deployed once the deck has stabilized and taken command of the board. To do this we find a balance between permission and removal. For the permission suite there is a set of Dissolve and a duo of Syncopate used to deny the opponent from casting their most key of spells, especially if unable to handle it with the removal in hand. Then the removal consists of the requisite Blue/White staples with mass removal in Supreme Verdict to reset the battlefield in a pinch and the utility removal from Detention Sphere capable of dealing with almost any problem permanent especially those which are indestructible. For spot removal there is also two Doom Blade and a Last Breath to supplement and handle those threats which slip in especially creatures with Haste. As with any Control deck the final and perhaps most important aspect of the deck is its draw power and here we find that from full sets of both Jace, Architect of Thought and Sphinx’s Revelation both of which offer some extra utility be it in diminishing the opponents power or just straight lifegain to ensure continued survival. This deck also has the ’12 Temple’ package in its manabase which especially in the early turns can use the Scry ability to carefully craft it’s draw step. With the final odds and ends there is the utility player of Azorius Charm which is primarily used for the draw to cycle it at the end of an opponents turn, but is also very useful as a spot removal or can even prove as a savior by gaining a few points of necessary life. As far as hand control we only find discard in the form of two Thoughtseize to gain some important information and deal with any specifically difficult threat. Finally, there is also a duo of Mutavault which are able to skirt around sorcery speed removal and will be at time the final nail in the coffin.
As always Control decks need to adapt to an ever shifting metagame and this one will be no different. I am certain that this base will be a common sight going forward but expect to see constant tweaks and tuneups to stay a step ahead. All in all though Esper Control should continue to be a force to be reckoned with and you’ll need to be prepared to face it any round of your tournament.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Avatar Bruce Gray - March 25, 2014

Casual Encounters – UW Tempo (Standard Pauper)

 Wavecrash Triton

          I have never been a guy to quibble much over format.  I’ve mostly just played whatever I had in whatever deck I felt like building.  This can yield some very interesting and fun deck ideas, but it is really only practical if you play with your friends at the kitchen table.  However, sometimes, as an exercise to challenge yourself,  it is interesting to limit your deck building options and force yourself to do as much (or perhaps more) with less.

To this end, my friends and I are meeting for our monthly game.  We get together once a month and it is a collection of people from all the stages of my life.  Some of the players are guys I played with as a teenager, others are friends that I have made through playing Magic, while others are spouses or acquaintances I have made elsewhere.  It is a very eclectic group with some of them having all the top tier 1 competitive decks.  Others are very much interested in brewing with a small number of cards in order to keep the relative cost down.  This can result in some match-ups that just aren’t super fun as one guy plays a Legacy “Show and Tell” deck, while the other guy plays a random smattering of cards from the most recent set.

To level the playing field a bit and to make the evening a little different I challenged my friends to build Standard Pauper decks for this month.  In case you aren’t overly familiar, Pauper is a format that only uses common cards.  By limiting the cards even further by only allowing cards that would be Standard legal (Return to Ravnica and Theros blocks) we have limited the pool of options available and evened out the power level of the cards that can be played.

This is a relatively new experience for me as I have never consciously made a Pauper deck.  Sure, I have used common cards and tried to limit my choices, but I have never been one to purposefully limit my card choices so dramatically. Herein lies the challenge: build a deck that I feel can win without leaning on the cards that I come to rely on.  My friends all jumped at the suggestion and so it is ON! This weekend we will battle with Pauper!

The first dilemma when trying to build any winning deck is anticipating what you will be playing against.  If I were going to be playing at a Stadard event at a local game shop I would come prepared to play against all the top decks like Mono-Black, Mono-Blue, and G/R Monsters.  However, we have no meta…this is one off…and so I need to instead rely on my understanding of my opponents and what some of their tendencies are.

Some of the players will be wild cards.  They are relatively inexperienced players (even compared to me) and are likely to bring decks packed with creatures and just looking to turn sideways and smash.  This likely means inexpensive white, green, and red creatures and ramping into some sort of fatty that will be hard to deal with.  With those decks in mind, I will need to ensure I have access to enough removal to slow them down and give myself a chance to get into the game.

My friend David likes mill decks.  He likes to play B/U and will undoubtedly slide in some cards that are designed to force me to grind through my library.  He will also likely play hand destruction, so I need to come prepared for that.  If his mill cards are creatures, then I should be okay because my removal should be able to handle them too, so that isn’t a concern for me overly.  The bigger issue is seeing enchantments or artifacts that force the milling of my deck.  So, some enchantment destruction needs to be considered in order to close down this angle to some degree.  Hand destruction is tougher to deal with because I will need countermagic, but Duress on turn 1 totally ruins the hope of any counter spells, so I may hedge my bets and hope David goes for creatures and not hand destruction.

Sam is a terrific player but invariably will be running a U/x deck with a bunch of counter magic.  Sam is the quintessential control player and I expect nothing different.  This is always a troubling matchup and Sam is good at it.  So, if I can’t beat the control match up…I may have to join it. This is the matchup that I need to be most interested in performing well, so time to go to the old box of stuff and see what I can put together.

I start off with cards from the most recent set, Born of the Gods, and see what I can find.  Divine Verdict is a fine reprint of a reasonable removal spell.  Most creatures need to attack, and this gets rid of them and is a solid card.  Stratus Walk is another strong card.  It gives something flying, draws me a card, and is reasonably costed. The last addition is a little steep in terms of cost, but potentially a bomb.  Sphinx’s Disciple makes use of the Inspired ability, so for 5 mana (3 colourless and 2 blue) I get a 2/2 flier, but whenever it untaps I draw a card.  If I can protect this guy, it could be a real card draw engine.  Card advantage in this sort of game will be key and this could be just the ticket.

Next, I look at some options in Theros.  Prescient Chimera is one place to start that could be a pretty good bomb.  For 5 mana (3 colourless and 2 blue) I get a 3/4  flier that let’s me Scry 1 every time I cast an Instant or Sorcery.  As a 5 drop at the top of my curve this is pretty strong creature that allows me to draw into better cards as the late game continues.  It also works pretty well with Sphinx’s Disciple to set up the Inspired trigger to ensure that the extra card is more valuable to me.  Next I need to look at some enchantments and conclude that Chosen by Heliod is a solid, inexpensive Aura that is useful and pairs really nicely to help protect Sphinx’s DiscipleChosen By Heliod is also a very dynamic card with Wingsteed Rider to trigger the Heroic trigger. All in all, some good fodder for a viable Pauper deck.

The last additions to the deck are from Return to Ravnica block and include Lyev Decree. Lyev Decree is very interesting because it allows me to tempo my opponents out by rendering their creatures unable to block.  It is cheap and efficient and allows me to power through some extra damage.  Shielded passage is another interesting little twist that protects cards, either Sphinx’s Disciple, or enacts the Heroic trigger on Wingsteed Rider, and triggers the Scry on Prescient Chimera.  All three are very relevant abilities in this deck making Shielded Passage a very interesting card and neat combat trick.  The last creature is Keening Apparition which builds in a little enchantment destruction and a very reasonable 2/2 body.  This is in essence a “Bear” with a bonus and raises its appeal considerably.

Here’s the Decklist

 U/W Tempo – Standard Pauper

In building this deck I looked at a variety of things and considered what pieces went together.  I started with my curve looking to curve out into my powerful creatures and not miss out on any of the spots if I could help it.  There is no Turn 1 play, which is unfortunate, but I struggled to fit a solid 1 drop in this deck and opted to pass on it.  Turn 2 I can play Concordia Pegasus or Keening Apparition, at 3 there is Wingsteed Rider and Wavecrash Triton.  I almost stumbled at 4, but I noticed Runewing and immediately saw that it was a viable option with an upside.  I curve out at 5 with Prescient Chimera and Sphinx’s Disciple giving yet more flying threats.

The Spells really serve three purposes.  My first play is to try and straight up remove my opponent’s creatures from the battlefield with Divine Verdict or Last Breath. If that doesn’t work I can use Lyev Decree to slow them down and punch my own creatures through their defences. All the other spells are there to protect my creatures and to trigger Heroic abilities on my Wingsteed Rider or Wavecrash Triton, which can also serve the dual role of adding to the tempoing out of my opponent by tapping their creatures.

Overall, I think the deck looks pretty solid and like it may have a good showing this weekend when I sit down for my Casual Encounter with my pals.  If you have any suggestions, let me know as I would love to hear what you guys think.  I’ll also give you an update on how it fares and what adjustments I intend to make down the line.  I have really enjoyed this process and think that this may be something I continue to bring forward to my Casual Encounters to keep them fun and different.

Until next time keep it fun, keep it safe…and keep it Casual.

Bruce Gray


Avatar Bruce Gray - March 20, 2014

Casual Encounters – Boros Heroic (Budget standard deck)

Fabled Hero

For me the real joy of Magic is not so much playing, it is the chance to sit down and to be a little creative and make a new deck.  Sometimes it is fun to go and draw obscure cards and build around them, other times it is enjoyable to limit the pool to only commons, but sometimes I want to dabble in making a Standard legal deck.  Standard is extremely popular and the number of impressive deck lists across the internet is truly amazing, so to try and do something that is uniquely your own is difficult.  Also, I like to ensure that my decks are reasonably priced so that I don’t overspend on my deck, but this further complicates the process of putting together a deck.  Today I’m going to go through a budget Standard deck that exploits the Heroic mechanic from Theros and can offer a lot of fun and can be surprisingly challenging to play.

I have seen a number of Boros Burn decks that play virtually no creatures apart from Young Pyromancer and Chandra’s Phoenix.  However, my take on a budget brew goes the opposite direction.  I want a load of creatures and then I want cheap Heroic enablers to pump my creatures and punish my opponents as quickly as possible.

In evaluating the cards available to me two things were needed: a) creatures needed to be inexpensive and carry the Heroic trigger b) enablers needed to be inexpensive and versatile.  The first point was quite straightforward to put together starting with Favored Hoplite, Phalanx Leader, Wingsteed Rider, Akroan Crusader and Fabled Hero.  The enablers were trickier because I had the choice of using Enchantments and Auras or going with Instants and combat tricks.  In the end, I opted to go the route of combat tricks and instants rather than the enchantments due to the versatility because they could be cast on either my turn pre combat, as a combat trick to tip combat in my favor, or on my opponents turn to protect my creatures.  Enchantments are slower, and while often allow a more powerful punch, the lack of flexibility could be a point of vulnerability. The deck can cast every card in the deck for four mana or less, also ensuring that you rarely find yourself jammed for mana and at a loss for something to do. Let’s take a look at what I’ve put together.

Here is the Standard decklist: 

The game plan seems simple enough: Cast your dudes, pump them with your combat tricks, and smash your opponent until they quit, or you’re dead.  However, it is not quite so simple in order to maximize the explosiveness of this relatively innocuous deck.  Sometimes you have tricky decisions in order to maximize damage, but still hold back enough so as to not 2 for 1 yourself by committing overly to the board.  In other situations, you may be tempted to go for the throat but need to hold back to avoid getting caught by a removal spell or a sweeper. The target of your spells to maximize the benefits of the Heroic triggers is also a point to be considered and something that takes practice to get.    However, once these have been weighed, considerable damage can be done in short order. Here’s a plan to curve out into some massive damage.

Turn 1- Mountain, Akroan Crusader

Turn 2- Plains, Cast Titan’s strength on Akroan Crusader, Heroic trigger gets you a soldier token, and attack for 5. Second main phase, Cast Favored Hoplite.

Turn 3- Mountain, cast Coordinated Assault on Favored Hoplite and Akroan Crusader.   Heroic trigger on Soldier Token gives it +1/+1 making it 2/3 and then the +1/+0 and first strike from Coordinated Assault, and another Soldier Token from Crusader.  Attack for 7.  Second main phase cast Firefist Striker,

Turn 4- Plains, Cast Dauntless Onslaught on Crusader and Hoplite.  Heroic Triggers.  So now Hoplite is 3/4 and then get’s +2/+2 from Dauntless Onslaught so is hitting as a 5/6.  Cusader is now 3/3 for the turn, and another soldier token.  Swing with the team, trigger Battalion on Firefist Striker and punch through for a whopping 13.  Game over.

Yes, this is against a gold fish with no answers…but this is TURN 4 and you’ve crunched them for 25! That’s not something to mess with.  Oh, and you haven’t even got to the creatures that get silly like the Boros Reckoner, Tajic, or Fabled Hero.

You’ve seen how things like Dauntless Onslaught and Coordinated Assault can be used to produce cheap Heroic triggers that yield startling amount of damage, but what about some of the other pieces to the deck?  Battelwise Valor is another option for a Heroic trigger and a sizeable +2/+2 boost.  The nice piece with this common is the scry ability on the card to help ensure you continue to draw into what you need and not flood out.  Gods Willing can play double duty as an offensive trick to allow your most powerful creature to punch through for a bunch, or as a defensive trick to protect a creature in danger of dying.  It also triggers Heroic for a very reasonable cost and comes with Scry.  It’s a real All star.  Boros Charm is a no brainer in this sort of deck.  It can provide you with the reach to burn out an opponent if they can stem the bleeding from an early barrage, it can grant a creature double strike to crunch them for a huge amount of damage, or it can be used to protect your creatures by giving them indestructibility.  The other additions of a pair of Spear of Heliod and the Assemble the Legion are very complementary and can further push through damage and overwhelm an opponent if you get to that stage of the game

The creatures in the deck are mostly Heroic creatures.  Favored Hoplite and Akroan Crusader are crucial 1 drops.  The Crusader is a mini Assemble the Legion and can quickly get out of control and flood the board with soldier tokens. The Hoplite very quickly becomes a menace and is quite resilient in combat damage because the moment Heroic is targeted, all damage to it is prevented. At the 2 spot Firefist Striker is terrific to help ensure your creatures can punch through for damage. By the time you are attacking with this guy the board can very easily be flooding out with soldiers and inexpensive creatures so the battalion ability is very relevant.  Phalanx Leader is the ultimate in Heroic triggers for the whole team and is an auto-include in this deck. At 3 we have Wingsteed Rider just in case the ground game stalls and you need over the top.  Fabled Hero is a brutally unfair card because of the Double-strike and with the Heroic trigger can very easily get out of control for a ton of damage.  Boros Reckoner is a 1 of and is just a terrific creature, so no need to spend much time explaining this selection.  Tajic is the only 4 drop that is very resilient, and in a deck that can very easily be swarming all over the board can easily see the Battalion ability be triggered…which is gross.

The mana base for this deck is as simple as I can make it, with 16 basic lands (10 plains, 6 mountains).  4 Temples of Triumph allow for the Scry ability, which is extremely useful to continue to draw into the gas you need to keep the pressure on, and since they are on colour are an easy fit.  The Boros Guildgates are the only piece that I would change if I would be looking to upgrade the mana base in favour of Sacred Foundry.  However, in the interest of keeping this as budget as possible, Boros Guildgate is perfectly acceptable.

For me, the best part of this deck, apart from the ridiculous amount of damage it can inflict in short order, is the price tag.  This runs for a very reasonable $50, which in an age where Standard legal decks can cost far more, is a bargain.  So, for a modest investment you too can sit down and sling cards in Standard and still have money for the bus home, or a coffee.  Good deal! Is this deck going to redefine Standard?  No. Will it be a fun deck to run and let you have some fun games?  Absolutely.

As always, if you have any suggestions to help spruce up this deck and make it a little more enjoyable, I’m always open to suggestions.  Nothing would make me happier than looking at some fun ideas to tweak this deck, even if only in a sideboard (which is currently, sadly lacking).  I’d love the feedback and look forward to hearing from you because my next Casual Encounter is coming up and I want to be ready.

Take care and be good.

Bruce Gray


Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - March 20, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Jund Monsters by Philippe Monlevade (1st...

Philippe Monlevade
 1st Place at Grand Prix Buenos Aires Standard 2014
This deck has but one goal and that is to bring the beats. It is focused on fast acceleration to power out huge monsters. There is some support from a trio of powerful Planeswalkers but the primary goal is to get some huge threats into play way ahead of the curve. The core shell is that of Gruul Monsters but the addition of Black to it allows for some extra answers and interesting threats.

The opening strategy is focused on your mana dorks to come and ramp to the fatties. We find full sets of Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix all of which can speed you plan up by several turns. Also, removal aimed at them means less removal to deal with the big boys. As far as those ‘big boys’ are concerned there is Polukranos, World Eater and Stormbreath Dragon who’s ability to become Monstrous will often spell certain doom for your opponents well before they’re ready to deal with them. Then there are a few support creatures with Reaper of the Wilds with a Scry ability helpful when the opponent is removing your creatures or chumping with his, Ghor-Clan Rampager which can turn a game saving chump block into a game ending surprise, Scavenging Ooze with incidental lifegain and graveyard hate, and Xenagos, God of Revels pushing the beatdown plan into high gear. Speaking of Xenagos we find the same standard package of Planeswalkers as in Gruul with Domri Rade and Xenagos, the Reveler which both are invaluable in a creature heavy deck both accelerating and digging for them while also working hard to control the battlefield. The addition of Black is what allows an interesting one of Vraska, the Unseen which can spell certain doom if her assassins are able to infiltrate through the enemies defenses but will most often be used as removal of various types of threats. And speaking of removal the deck is completed with a minor removal suite which consists of a pair of Dreadbore and pair of Mizzium Mortars but is also somewhat supplemented by the Monstrous ability.

Definitely the addition of Black to the Gruul shell offers some more options to the deck but in all honesty this is really the Gruul Monsters with a splash of Black in it. Going forward it is going to be interesting to see if the splash is adopted or if the extra color offers an inconsistency to the manabase. In either case I’m certain that these monsters will continue to bring the beats in Standard for months to come.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - March 19, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Boros Burn by Neil Hartman (1st at SCG S...

Chandra Pyromaster
R/W Burn
Neil Hartman
1st Place at StarCityGames Standard Open on 3/15/2014

Oh burn…ever since the printing of Lightning Bolt there have been Red mages looking to blast their spells straight to the dome. Each block there is always a Mono-Red or R/x deck that is straightforward, efficient and appeals to highly aggressive players. This deck is just one like that exactly.

While this deck is Boros by strict definition Red is the primary color with White a splash to add a few excellent cards. The creature package is is set with a tight curve building from Ash Zealot which can be a highly effective beater and the First Strike coupled with burn allows you some utility. Boros Reckoner has always been interestingly unique with his ability often making combat math complicated enough to hold off enemy attacks from even happening. Then with seventeen burn spells in the deck and additional help from Chandra her bird Chandra’s Phoenix is able to attack with impunity knowing that getting it to rise from the grave back to your hand is an almost guarantee. There is also a pair of Stormbreath Dragon which help the deck just go straight over the top when the games start to run long and can also be a huge surprise you’re dead. Because of the primarily Red base to the deck it can squeeze Mutavault into the manabase easily to get additional ground pounders. Then we find Chandra, Pyromaster who is the only source of card advantage in the deck and if you can ultimate it is doubtless that she’s going to hit the paydirt on that roll of the dice, and incidentally can prevent a big blocker from thwarting your attack while building loyalty. For straight removal we have Standards newest best impression of a Swords to Plowshares in Chained to the Rocks which should not have issue with the enchant Mountain clause given 15 copies in the deck. The rest of the deck consists of a plethora of burn spells which can double as either removal or damage right to the dome. We find a mix of Lightning Strike and Searing Blood as simple burn for the deck while the others carry some utility with them. Magma Jet helps to filter through your deck which is a key ability for this style of deck as draw isn’t one of these colors strengths. Warleader’s Helix is a beast of removal with four damage it’s able to get into those bigger creatures and coupled with First Strike creatures can surprise a chump block into the removal of a huge creature. And finally the ‘Boros’ deck would not be complete without the utility from Boros Charm which can either be that knockout punch taking down four points of life, can save your army from sweepers or is able to turn one of your creatures into a formidable fighting machine to Double Strike your opponent to the death.

Whether this deck can sustain dominance as a tier one deck is always in question as the Burn deck is always a popular choice but doesn’t always find itself at the top table. But what it does have going for it is consistency and a simple game plan which involves just straight-up beatdowns on your opponent. I personally love Aggro decks and would without a doubt take this badboy for a spin anyday.
Eric Jeffrey Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter


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