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Anotha One

Written by John Cuvelier on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

After SCG Regionals, GP Atlanta, and the SCG Orlando Open I think it’s safe to say I’ve been doing pretty well as of late. To keep things going I didn’t have any crazy big weekend plans but just your average run in the mill PPTQ about an hour away. The format was Standard and I decided I would just try my luck with a similar build to what I ran at Regionals. I know I’ve wanted to try Bomat Courier and I simply haven’t had the time to give it a legitimate shot so I decided to do some theory crafting. This is what I registered for the event.

In order to make room for Bomat Courier some things needed to go. The functionality of Insolent Neonate is very similar to that of Bomat Courier so that seemed like a natural swap. Add in the fact that Bomat Courier is easier on the mana and a more realistic turn 1 play and I was happy to do that. I also haven’t been very impressed with Cathartic Reunion since Regionals so I decided to just give it the axe all together. This does mean that I needed to max out my Lightning Axes to give me a reasonable amount of cheap discard effects to fuel my Madness cards and Prized Amalgams. I had one extra slot left after this and I wanted to have access to unconditional removal in game 1 so I went with a single Unlicensed Disintegration with a couple more in the sideboard. Other than that the deck remains pretty much intact from how it was at Regionals. Let’s take a look at what I played against.

Bant Midrange
Grixis Control
Grixis Control
UR Emerge
Rakdos Aggro
Grixis Control
Grixis Control

**Spoiler Alert** I won the event. When you look at the matchups it’s pretty easy to see why. Bant Midrange gave me the most trouble in round 1 but my opponent had some mana issue’s game 3 and I was able to punish him for it. Grixis Control is a really easy matchup for you because they simply can’t handle repetitive threats. What exactly does a deck full of 1 for 1 removal do when you have Prized Amalgam and Scrapheap Scrounger? UR Emerge was not a deck I expected to see but it played pretty well and it turns out Elder Deep-Fiend is still a heck of a magic card. That didn’t matter though as it turns out Voldaren Pariah is also a heck of a magic card. I got to play against the other Rakdos Aggro deck in the quarterfinals. This deck is more aggressive and uses cards like Inventor’s Apprentice, Pia Nalaar and Unlicensed Disintegration to try and press the early game advantage. I had a tough three games here but managed to take home the win. The semifinals and finals where pretty similar as neither one could really handle the repetitive advantages of the recursive threats. Although I do have to say my finals opponent Bryan Nikla was ready for me with main deck Incendiary Flow and Ceremonious Rejection to give me a run for my money.

Here are some thoughts and musings after the event.

Bomat Courier – I still have no idea if this card is good or bad. I had it in my hand numerous times, but I also had Cryptbreaker. In each instance it made more sense to start making zombies on turn 2 which meant that I didn’t get to cast my Courier that often. My record amount of cards drawn off of Bomat Courier so far is an impressive five against a Grixis Control deck. I ripped my opponents’ hand apart with Collective Brutality and Transgress the Mind while piling on cards under my Bomat Courier. When I finally had the ability to sacrifice Bomat Courier while not much else going on in my hand I drew…… five lands. Suffice to say that wasn’t too exciting. But I suppose better than drawing five lands in a row earlier. Sadly the verdict is still out on this guy. Hopefully someone reading this can let me know their experiences with it in this shell.

Unlicensed Disintegration – This might be the mizer’s MVP of the tournament. I drew Unlicensed Disintegration a lot in game 1 and it was very timely for me. I could see an argument for adding an additional one to the main even though I mostly played against Grixis.

Collective Brutality – When you’re playing against a ton of Grixis Control this card is quite powerful. It might still be a bad two mana Duress, but it lets you pitch your Prized Amalgam or Haunted Dead when you don’t have another way. I’m interested in trying this out in the main as well. It’s pretty good against the majority of the format and at the very least is a dependable discard outlet on turn 2 but unlike Cathartic Reunion actually interacts with your opponent.

Discard Effects – I think what impresses me the most about this deck is the utility you get from playing so many different discard effects. When you’re playing things like Haunted Dead or Cryptbreaker no one draw step is truly a “dead draw”. If you compare this to something like Golgari Delirium which packs cards like Grasp of Darkness and Murder and you play against a deck like Grixis Control you have a bunch of dead cards and nowhere to use them. In my deck you have so many different ways to get rid of dead cards for value it really makes it so there isn’t a truly bad matchup. Well, at least I haven’t found one yet.

I’ve had a lot of sideboarding requests and I’ll give the best I can. Unfortunately not every deck is the same. For example of the four Grixis control decks I played against, two of them didn’t play Thing in the Ice or Weaver of Lightning and two of them did. Having cards like Lightning Axe in your deck is very bad if they don’t have those creatures but very good if you do. As I was saying earlier luckily you don’t get punished as bad if you have to play the guessing game since there are so many ways to discard cards in this deck for value. Anyways here we go with the more popular decks and a brief reason as to why I’m boarding the way I do.

Grixis Control
In: 3 Collective Brutality 3 Distended Mindbender 3 Transgress the Mind 2 Liliana, the Last Hope 1 Unlicensed Disintegration
Out: 2 Cryptbreaker 4 Fiery Temper 4 Voldaren Pariah 2 Lightning Axe

Hand disruption and Planeswalkers are good here. You have to respect cards like Thing in the Ice so keeping in a couple of answers to those and other creatures is pretty important. Voldaren Pariah isn’t very impactful in this matchup, Fiery Temper isn’t important and Cryptbreaker makes you vulnerable to sweepers even though that is one of the better cards in your deck.

Rakdos Aggro

In: 2 Collective Brutality 2 Liliana, the Last Hope 2 Unlicensed Disintegration 2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Out: 4 Bomat Courier 2 Scrapheap Scrounger 2 Voldaren Pariah

They are faster than you so you need to turn into the control deck. Bomat Courier doesn’t fit that roll. Scrapheap Scrounger is a solid card but you can’t afford to draw more than 1 since it can’t block. Voldaren Pariah is a nice way to close out a game but since we’re adding six cards that cost three or more mana you need to trim the curve. Collective Brutality doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of targets but enough to bring in a couple, but not the full three. All the cards we’re bringing in are good against aggressive decks and don’t really need much explanation.


In: 3 Collective Brutality 2 Unlicensed Disintegration 2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Out: 4 Bomat Courier 2 Scrapheap Scrounger 1 Voldaren Pariah

Here is another matchup where you need to be a bit passive so the same rules for sideboarding against Rakdos Aggro apply here as well with some minor differences. Collective Brutality kills more in the matchup and helps protect your most important card in the matchup (Cryptbreaker). The other two are fairly obvious inclusions but you’ll notice I didn’t include Liliana, the Last Hope because they simply have too many vehicles for it to be effective. Also there aren’t many targets for her either.

Aetherworks Marvel

In: 3 Collective Brutality 3 Transgress the Mind 3 Distended Mindbender
Out: 4 Fiery Temper 4 Lightning Axe 1 Unlicensed Disintegration

This is a pretty easy switch. You want hand disruption to stop the combo and the removal spells don’t do anything in this matchup.

Golgari Delirium

In: 3 Transgress the Mind 2 Unlicensed Disintegration 2 Liliana, the Last Hope
Out: 4 Bomat Courier 2 Voldaren Pariah 1 Fiery Temper

This is a harder one to gauge because there are so many different versions out there. This deck on paper does give us a lot of trouble. Liliana, the Last Hope kills all our one drops so Bomat Courier has to go. Ishkanah, Graf Widow protects them from Voldaren Pariah and clogs up the board nice and good so we need to take some of those out. This one often comes down to how many Prized Amalgam you get and how many Liliana, the Last Hope they get. Transgress the Mind can hit Liliana, the Last Hope before they can get it down, along with other threats like Ishkanah, Graf Widow. Unlicensed Disintegration is important against things like Verdurous Gearhulk but not all versions play that. Liliana, the Last Hope can win you a game if you get to ultimate range. Delirium typically slows down post board allowing this to be a legitimate route to victory.

Azorius Flash

In: 2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet 2 Unlicensed Disintegration
Out: 4 Bomat Courier

This matchup is pretty good. They don’t have a lot of interactive cards to deal with things like Cryptbreaker and Voldaren Pariah so they get out of hand really quick. You also get to play a lot of cards at instant speed. Bomat Courier isn’t very good here, especially with something as simple as Thraben Inspector can shut it down. Adding in more removal to pick off what’s important and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet as another permanent that’s hard to deal with and you can see why this matchup is pretty good.

Well that should just about do it. I’m pretty happy I won a PPTQ early in the season. That certainly frees up a lot of weekends to do other things. For me, that means I’ll be heading to GP Dallas this weekend to partake in some Modern shenanigans. I’m hopeful that I can continue a strong run and finally make my first GP top 8. Till’ then.

John Cuvelier
Gosu. on MTGO
@JCuvelier on Twitter

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