Knowing is Half the Battle
With everyone talking about Standard, I thought it would be fun to talk the other new format on the block: Theros Block Constructed. In case you’re not in leagues with Hermes, let me get you up to speed. Public enemy number one is R/G Monsters, followed closely by R/W/B control and then Mono Black Devotion. Other decks include Mono G devotion, Boros Control, and R/W or Mono White heroes but, in my opinion, aren’t on the same tier, which I’ll get to later. For reference, here are some decklists.
”RG Monsters by djbmppwns”
This deck is self-explanatory: Play dudes, smash face. Rinse and repeat. The 8 burn spells are mandatory, as the ground can get clogged up by a variety of decks, and it would look rather silly to have a giant Mistcutter Hydra die to a 1/1 deathtouch. Hydra is a great end game threat, and it will force blue decks to either have black for Hero”s Downfall or white for Divine Verdict for the foreseeable future.
It’s probably almost always correct to 1 Xenagos, as ultimating him is the bees knees in this deck and will be way better than having a bunch of 2/2s. Obvious exceptions are if you need to defend him and/or your opponent has Hero’s Downfall.
If you suspect that the other player has burn spells, make sure to play hands that don’t fold to your dudes dying. Boros Heroes can go right underneath you if you let them.
”BWR Control by DaDawson”
This deck has everything and is a real reason why aggressive decks will have a hard time these next few months. Or they could always play Fleecemane Lion.
While a little on the slow side, this deck jams game ending threats while disrupting your opponents plan. Topdeck mode is awesome and few cards can get around or beat Chained to the Rocks. More than likely Ember Swallower becomes something else in three months, as its monstrous ability isn’t very good here, but a four mana 4/5 is still a sweet deal.
Mono Black Devotion by super_mAN
The best devotion deck by far, Gray Merchant of Asphodel is ridiculous as he’s able to swing huge life totals, he can even win games that shouldn’t be winnable. Almost every creature in the deck when Whipped back is awesome, and the life lost from Read the Bones and Thoughtseize is minimized due to Whip, Gray Merchant, and Pharika”s Cure. Nighthowler seems lackluster, and I would replace it with Mogis”s Marauder or Keepsake Gorgon.
Some of the other decks I’ve seen floating around can be considered tier 2. While they may get there sometimes, innovation needs to happen in order for them to be better and put up better results. First up we have:
Mono Green Devotion by Thalai
The only reasons to play this over R/G is Reverent Hunter can be a huge fatty fairly early in the game, and Polukranos’s ability combined with Nykthos can be devastating versus most decks. Losing access to cards like Polis Crusher and Destructive Revelry hurt, but losing burn spells is the biggest detriment to the deck. Mono Black’s ability to clog up the ground with deathtouch creatures will be troublesome, and the R/G mirror can kill your mana dorks . And if you ever go into topdeck mode, you’ll be hating life. If you were going to play this, I’d add 1 Nylea and 1 Reverent Hunter and cut the Colossus. Making sure your fatties have trample is the key to closing games, so 4 Nylea might even be correct.
I’ve seen versions that splash white casino online for Fleecemane Lion, Last Breath, and Elspeth, Sun”s Champion, and that’s certainly the direction I’d go if I didn’t want to play R/G but still wanted to play Polukranos.
Boros Control by Typhodius
While the manabase is more stable than BWR online casino control, you have to trade Hero”s Downfall for Divine Verdict, Thoughtseize for Ray of Dissolution, and Read the Bones for Spear of Heliod. While the latter trade is acceptable, losing two of the most powerful spells in the format is not. At this point in time, there’s nothing you can really do to make this better.
Mono White Heroes by pcain
Boros Heroes by AphesisBliss
The main reason to play Boros Heroes is Chained to the Rocks. There just simply isn’t a replacement card mono-white can utilize. I like Chosen by Heliod, as it lets your creatures survive all the burn in the format and it replaces itself. Be careful not to play it when an opponent has open mountains or swamps, as you may still 2 for 1 yourself.
Cavalry Pegasus is a mandatory 3 of at the least, just due to its ability to get your army through for damage. Fabled Hero likes braining opponents, he really does, and he is a mandatory four. Combat becomes really difficult for your opponent when you have open mana and swing with him.
Attacking the Metagame
Knowing what the format has to offer gives us an idea of what we need to have in order to take the format by storm. We need evasion or reach to get past ground forces, protection for our creatures against burn, and we need the ability to outrace Gray Merchant and Stormbreath Dragon. This is not an easy feat, but I’ve been brewing some decks that can theoretically do that.
Mono Red Devotion
Unless you’ve been living under Mt. Olympus, you know how good Fanatic of Mogis is. This deck has a lot of reach and can come out of the gates quickly, pressuring with both early and late game threats. And while the 2 drop slot leaves a lot to be desired, Deathbellow Raider into Rageblood Shaman into Fanatic of Mogis is not too shabby, and Arena Athlete can be burned by your own spells to keep a giant fatty from blocking. And with all the scrying going on, it’s not much of a stretch to have two Rageblood Shamans on the battlefield, thus putting all of your minotaurs out of burn range.
The sideboard is up for debate, but I feel splashing green is the best way to go. Destructive Revelry can help with Akroan Horse, Chained to the Rocks and Whip of Erebos, while Polis Crusher can’t be Chained to the Rocks or burned by Anger of the Gods. The forest should give you seven sources of green, which probably isn’t enough, but manabases are pretty lackluster in this format at this moment in time so being greedy is our best option.
Portent of Betrayal loves stealing the fatties and Spark Jolt loves killing the 1/1’s and 2/1’s. I wasn’t sure what to fill the last slot with; I wanted to try Peak Eruption to see if attacking the opponent’s manabase was a viable option but I’m already having doubts. It already seems like a very popular sideboard choice.
Between Returned Centaur and Commune with the Gods, I thought there were enough graveyard fillers to try out a reanimation strategy. And outside of Underworld Cerberus, which currently is seeing zero play, there is no direct graveyard hate, something we haven’t seen in some time.
As for the cards, I’m not sure what the numbers should be between Rescue and Whip, but I know I want both. Prognostic Sphinx is hard to deal with and Ashen Rider can take out any problems we can’t deal with. And if you haven’t chained Ashen Riders together with Rescue from the Underworld, you haven’t lived a complete life yet.
The manabase is a little wonky, due to their being no B/G scry land, but the other scrying temples should ease out problems a little.
As for the sideboard, Keepsake Gorgon and Reaper of the Wilds will be huge threats to R/G monsters. Pharika”s Cure[card] will keep small dudes at bay, [card]Dark Betrayal is pretty good at killing black creatures, and Thoughtseize is a catchall for anything you can’t or don’t want to deal with.
This one I’m a little unsure about, but the power level is certainly there. It certainly is gimmicky, in fact the deck’s entire plan is to stick Agent of the Fates or Fabled Hero and go to town, but all the cards actually contribute to getting damage through and protecting your guys to boot.
Tormented Hero lets you get some early damage in, while both Cavalry Pegasus and Mogis”s Marauder allow you to get past ground forces. And with the exception of the single Erebos, all the other non-pegasus creatures are human, making the flying horse awesome.
Due to the heroic mechanic, God”s Willing, Chosen By Heliod and Boon of Erebos all serve multiple functions. Sometimes you’ll want to protect your guys by casting the spells at the right time, and other times you’ll just want to cast it immediately to get the effect. Chosen by Heliod gets the nod over other spells because it replaces itself and you get to protect your guys from burn.
The sideboard is more of the same thing: killing dudes, disrupting game plans and presenting hard to kill threats.
I’ve seen a couple of sweet rogue brews, which I’ll cover in a future article. And while control decks are obviously not present, I feel that there’s enough tools to get them going, even without something like Supreme Verdict in the format.
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