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Higher Standard: Week 4 Golgari Constellation

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

I’m a fairly lucky person.  For the past seven years I have been the content manager at Puremtgo.com (I know, I know, you’ve heard me say it before, it’s almost at the same level of MaRo saying he wrote for Roseanne.).  I’ve met a lot of great people, published a lot of great content and have seen writers leave for greater things, like positions at Starcitygames or Wizards of the Coast.  I’ve seen several writers take part in the Community Cup, and they have made my life (and job) much easier.   I will be celebrating a year at Legitmtg.com soon.  Same thing here, great people, great writers, moving on to things that make them happier, and Community Cup happenings as well.  My job is great, and I love both sites so much!

We’re doing Higher Standard a bit differently this week, and for the foreseeable future.  I am going to be presenting a look at Golgari Constellation this week, just like I said I would be last week (or last article.)  only this time, I’m going to be joined by a writer at PureMTGO.com.  Casper Mulholland (or CZML on the site) has volunteered his time to take a look at matchups with me.  With PTQ seasons happening on MTGO, and my desire to actually win one of these things at an all-time high, we both figured it would be better if we learned the ins and outs of a matchup, instead of just playing a few games in the two man queues.  Casper will have a companion article on PureMTGO.com as well, taking a look at his side of the matchup.

This week we played Constellation against Temur.

The hero of the story played this list.  It is from Grand Prix Stockholm. It was played by Lukas Blohon to a top four finish, where he was knocked out by Temur. That should be some kind of foreshadowing right?

I had played a different version of Constellation during the PreTQs the week before, and wanted to try this one out. I was intrigued by Brain Maggot. Oftentimes I thought the deck could use some hand disruption and the Maggot has a few benefits. It’s a cheap enchantment, so you can in theory play a Doomwake Giant and Maggot in the same turn to get two triggers. It plays well with Eidolon of Blossoms. In theory the card is fine.

In practice though, it was the first card I boarded out. It’s possible that Brain Maggot is just outstanding against other decks. I could see it being good against the control decks of the format. Against Temur though, it’s a not even a speed bump. It does not trade with anything in the deck. Eidolon of Blossoms is another card that I found underperformed against Temur. Of course when I am casting 2/2 dorks for four mana, and they are casting 4/4 beaters for three, it does not take long for Temur to outclass the board. To round out the post board games I took out Pharkia. She’s neat when the game goes long, and works well with the self mill cards, but the god was unreliable as a one of, and I did not want to try to board in a second copy.

While boarding I went through a few different ideas. Hero’s Downfall of course came in. That was a no brainer. Arbor Colossus was next. The beefy guy can come down early, block Stormbreath Dragon and helps us explode in the midgame with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. The last card that I brought in started off as Nissa, but I decided that another copy of Doomwake Giant was the way to go. Being able to stunt their development by killing off Mystics (both the Elvish and Rattleclaw kind) helped a lot. It made Crater’s Claws a bit smaller and less painful. It could potentially mana screw them, and a 4/6 means that Savage Knuckleblade has to at least pump to a 6/6 to be safe, which ties up the opponents mana, which keeps them from developing their board just a little bit more.

Let’s take a look at the games. We have five of them! Also making an appearance is my forgetful nephew, who forgot I was recording a lot!

That um, that went poorly.

I think this build is poorly positioned to do well against tempo decks like Temur (or for that matter, Jeskai, while Temur has the counter tempo in Charm, Jeskai has tempo in burn). When you think you have stabilized, Temur Charm can blow you out. Casting a Hornet Queen only to see the charm make your hornets unable to block is a not a good feeling. I mentioned Maggot earlier, as well as Blossom, and it bears repeating that blocking against Temur is not a thing that this build does well. There is little room to make fair blocks, and with that line I think if you’re blocking you’re behind. I think you have to take haymakers from them, while whittling them down and getting as much card advantage as you can during the game.

I do think Constellation is a fine deck in the Standard format though. I’m just not a fan of this build. During the last round of Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers I was playing Constellation and managed to qualify for the PTQ. I played the deck there as well. The build I was playing was different than this one, of course it is, why else would I have brought it up? I feel it is better against Temur, but still pretty meh against Jeskai. This is the list that I would recommend playing.

Why did I play the previous version in these videos? To be honest, having played the second version for twenty matches I wanted to see if the first version had the same kind of game. Matteo’s version is pretty outstanding. Reaper of the Wilds is an actual card, and it does work against Temur. See the Unwritten is also great, and can do stupid things with Doomwake Giant and Eidolon of Blossoms. The downside to this version is the lack of Hero’s Downfall. That card may very well be a crutch for me. I want it in every deck that has black in it. It does so much! Pharika is much better out of the board. It’s really strong against control decks, spitting out a threat whenever your giant dorks are dealt with, and puts damage on the board whenever Whip of Erebos no longer has a suitable target.

No one wants to whip a Sylvan Caryatid, so it might as well become something that triggers constellation right?

Next week I will be joined by Casper again, not sure what the matchups will be, but I am wanting to look at Azorius Heroic or Jeskai Heroic Combo. What do you all think?

Thanks for stopping by!

*Required Reading*  Jacob Wilson goes more in depth with this deck at ChannelFireball.  I got a lot of my sideboarding ideas from this article.  I may be lower on Brain Maggot than others.

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