This Saturday there was a PTQ in Toronto, which I had been planning on attending for some time. I was graciously offered the position of bounty player for the day, entitling me to a permanent seat at the feature table, and giving me the opportunity to see all of the feature matches first hand. In between rounds I would be available for Gunslinging against anyone that wanted to take a shot. I of course had all my edh decks at the ready, and I was given a set of Tarmogoyf for the day, enabling my modern opponents to battle through the tribal flames should they desire the bounty. All this left me to do was find a Standard deck that had game against the field which I would enjoy playing for 14+ rounds of magic. Upon my first forays into Standard, I was drawn to some great GBx Midrange decks like Junk and Jund, but recently due to the meteoric rise of mono black and blue devotion strategies, I decided that I needed something that would be more focused and powerful than a deck trying to do everything fairly well. I consulted some of the people whose opinions I respect about some Naya options, but when Willy Edel and Brian Kibler both agree that three color Naya is just not possibly effective, you would be a fool to ignore that. I’m not one to play the rock deck of a format, so public enemy number one, Mono black was off the table. Given that I’d rather choke than play control decks for 14 hours, and sleeving two mythic rare playsets and a pile of draft rejects wasn’t on the menu either, I was almost ready to accept that GW was going to be where I ended up. That was until I saw the rise of GR monsters in the hands of the SCG stalwarts BBD and CVM.
GR Monsters – Chris VanMeter
I really liked a lot of what was going on there. Brian Kibler also posted a list on his article on the premium side, and I was looking at both of them quite seriously. It was around then that I received a list from my good friend, the #Edelgenius himself. He also was looking at the RG lists for some friends looking to qualify for the big show, but really felt like the deck was cold to both Master of Waves and fared poorly against a Desecration Demon if you were behind. His answer was a nearly harmless splash for Selesnya Charm and Chained to the Rocks. The initial lists were basically cutting the blood package and some extra numbers to accommodate three main deck Charms. In my testing, I found that the charms were doing exactly what I wanted them to. Everything from making a knight in game one of the aggro matches to ridding myself of Thassa, Polukranos, and big bad Demons. In the mirror, it’s another pump effect allowing you to push through the damage needed to finish the opponent, and having an instant speed answer to the blood combo is even better.
At SCG, there was a deck very similar to our list that placed sixth in the Standard open. I thought that this stream would be a great opportunity to get in some much needed playtesting, so I made sure that I had both lists to put through some paces. The SCG list goes a little deeper and runs two Advent of the Wurm, but was otherwise identical to the list that I had been testing.
Naya Midrange – Mike Reilly
Here is the stream.
Some things that I came to after the stream turned out to be very relevant for my final PTQ list. Firstly, the more I played with Boon Satyr, the less I thought of him. The 2 toughness ended up being far more of a liability than I expected it to be, and I was cutting it for sideboard cards almost regularly. On the other hand, Witchstalker consistently impressed me. It lands on two after Mystic, attacks through a Caryatid, and is immune to removal and Tempo plays like Tidebinder Mage. Having a series of trample pumps at your disposal also makes the hexproof far more relevant. Short article this week, as the PTQ breakdown and GP Vancouver suggested list will be coming later this week. I plan to go over the matches, sideboard plans, and what I learned about playing the deck that you’ll need to know to be successful. Tonight though, sit tight and come see us as we make it rain fire from the skies for a modern run back.
Thanks for your support!
Special thanks to Terry from Sudbury for the games and the amazing deck box that he handmade and gave to me at the PTQ!
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