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Compulsive Research: Good Ole Rock, Nothing Beats Rock

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

Compulsive Research 700x235
I have spend many streams complaining about the GB rock deck. I have read my share of articles by Mike Flores. I have The OMG. I have read Next Level Magic. I have played long enough to know that traditionally, in a healthy metagame, that the Rock is a trap. It plays creatures of efficient cost, high quality, enhanced resiliency, and even effective removal spells. What the rock traditionally lacks, is an effective card advantage engine. Again, in a normal metagame, the rock gets crushed by almost every control deck. Thankfully, standard right now is NOT a normal metagame. True Control decks are basically dead in this format. Jund and the other midrange decks have taken over and created for us a format of fractions. UWR is a Tempo deck in nature, but is the default control deck of the format due to its use of Sphinxs Revelation, and Islands. Even the aggro decks are banking on 4 drops like Hellrider to win the game. The Blurred Lines are all through the metagame, making THIS rock a little more appealing.


When I decided that I was going to play this deck, I went to someone that I knew was playing the deck at the PTQ level with confidence, and has also been regularly called The Best Player in Canada NOT ever in the Pro Tour. Glenn McIelwain(@glennmcielwain) is a local Toronto grinder, recently mentioned on The Eh Team, as the deck designer of the Naya deck piloted by Lucas Siow for GP Calgary. Glenn has been playing GB for the better part of the PTQ season, and was a prime target for the guest slot. I reached out to him on twitter and email, and we were both quick to put this stream together. He shipped me this deck list, as he played it in the last PTQ of his season, and we got into a daily event. Here he is discussing the deck with me at some length.


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We played a TON of games with the deck. We had challenges vs KYT(@kytmagic), father of Manadeprived.com, and an Eh Team co-host, piloting his BR Zombies list which he was testing for the MDSS tournament in Toronto. We also played a bunch of two man queues in between  daily rounds. I have broken down the matches of the daily for you below, so you can watch them in sequence. I will link the complete stream at the bottom of the article for you purists that need to get your fill without actually being there in the first place.

Round 1


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Round 2


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Round 3


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Round 4


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After going 3-1 in the Daily event, which is good for a QP and some packs, I was able to really put the event into perspective. I do not feel like I would bring this deck to a major event. I like a lot of the cards in the deck, and they are undeniably powerful. Geralf’s Messenger is a huge beating for most midrange decks that do not have access to Pillar of Flame, Thragtusk has been one of the most format defining cards since printing, and Mutilate is a huge card against midrange and aggro strategies who are all relying on creatures to do the heavy lifting. The cards that impressed me the most I think were the Disciple of Bolas and the Desecration Demon. A flying 6/6 for 4 mana is a huge threat, and seems poised to do some work post rotation with Lingering Souls exiting the format, and happens to be immune to current “It Girl”, Lifebane Zombie. Disciple seems like it is a great way to regain card advantage in this deck, making the inherent weakness of this strategy a little easier to manage. The creatures being able to die and still leave creatures behind make this even better. Mutilate being often a one sided wrath is a dream come true, but it comes with a steep cost….
I’m not sure that you noticed or not, but we mulliganed a few times tonight. Just a few. Only an average of 1.5 times per GAME. Granted, this was excessive by all accounts, but I really felt like despite being a 2 color deck, one of which was green, that the mana is terrible. This is never more sorely felt than in the aggressive matchups, where cards like Abrupt Decay and Putrefy become almost mandatory requirements for survival, and having the mana to cast them on time is never a guarantee. I don’t really know what we can do to try to fix this, as changes to the mana make major changes to the overall tempo of the list. One of the major strengths of the deck lie in the potential for curving through the middle of your deck, as Messenger into Desecration Demon into Thragtusk is a lot of power, life, and resilience.

The KYT Match


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Here is the whole show for all of you Degenerates!


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Thanks to Max Roberts for the comment last week. You are the winner of the LegitMTG credit this week! Please make sure you create an account at store.legitmtg.com and then email sales@legitmtg.com to collect! I’m sorry for the stream outage last week. I can assure you that these ones will not be going anywhere.

I’m waiting to see what decks come out of the MDSS that I did coverage for this weekend to determine what deck I will be running tonight. Knowing us as you do though, you can expect something interesting and likely someone equally so. Come see what we decided on, at twitch.tv/legitmtg at 930pm!

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