I've been meaning to try something new in Standard for a while now. I have been playing nothing but Monoblue Devotion and UW Control for months and although I have been successful with both decks, I wanted to switch it up a bit. Naya Hexproof has always been a deck that has been the death of me. It's actually one of the reasons I stopped playing Monoblue Devotion decks in tournaments and switched to Supreme Verdict decks. I never thought that I would be the one be the one piloting the hexproof deck, but sometimes you just want to beat people up with green dudes.
I used the list that Rob Hunsaker used to win the SCG Open in Portland, OR over the weekend. Here's the list:
I have actually never played a hexproof deck in Standard before. I have played GW Hexproof (also known as Bogles) quite a bit in Modern and even played it at Pro Tour Valencia earlier this year, but I never played Naya Hexproof or the Bant Hexproof deck that was very popular last year. It looks like a very easy deck to play. You just play your hexproof dudes, suit them up, and bash face. At least that's what you did with Modern Bogles. This deck however was actually a bit harder to play than I thought.
The biggest challenge with the deck is that it's three colors and has a very painful manabase. There are zero basics in the deck and seven temples that come into play tapped. Therefore you have to sequence your land drops optimally and have to think many turns ahead. This is usually the case when playing Magic anyway, but with this deck every land drop is extremely relevant. You may have to miss playing a one-drop and play a temple in order to be able to be able to play your important spells on turn three or four. You also have to think about the damage you are taking from your lands. For example, in my matchup against Boss Sligh, I had to play my spells a turn later than normal just to avoid taking two from my shocks. Remember, this deck plays twelve shocklands and four Mana Confluence, so you will be losing most of your life from your own cards.
Mulliganing is another thing that's very difficult with this deck. It seems pretty obvious that you want to keep a hand with a hexproof creature and enchantments, but there aren't actually that many enchantments in this deck, at least compared to Bogles. With Ajanis, Selesnya Charms, and Boros Charms in the deck, awkward hands happen more often than not. Add the shaky manabase into the equation and you will be shipping hands quite frequently.
Let's see how we did:
Match 1: BUG Control
Match 2: Boss Sligh
Match 3: Boss Sligh, Match 2
Match 4: Monogreen Devotion
So we went 3-1. Not bad. The Boss Sligh matchup is very tough and I felt like I got lucky to beat it. My opponent did mulligan and missed land drops in our third game which certainly helped, but I feel like if we are able to survive long enough to get an Unflinching Courage on a guy, the matchup is great for us. It felt a lot like the Bogle vs. Aggro matchup in Modern. If you drew your Daybreak Coronet, you win, if didn't, you lose.
The one thing I liked about this deck is how good its top decks are. Most aggressive decks have the weakness of running out of gas and relying on the top of your library every turn, and that is the main reason why I tend to avoid those types of decks. However, the difference between Naya Hexproof and another random aggro deck is the top decks in Naya Hexproof are really good. In most of my matches where I was losing I just needed to draw one aura or Ajani to not just stabilize, but actually win the game. You can say that it's a bit like a combo deck in that it can just win out of nowhere.
I also liked the fact that Standard is in no way equipped to deal with Naya Hexproof's creatures. Not all black decks are playing a full set of Devour Flesh, and that card is pretty easy to play around anyway with Voice of Resurgence and your other creatures. The deck's worst matchup is definitely Esper or UW Control. They play Detention Spheres to get rid of our enchantments and Supreme Verdict to wrath us. Some lists even run Celestial Flare which is an actual nightmare. We do have answers for some of those cards in Boros Charm and Keening Apparition but it's never a good thing to be reactive against a control deck. Every turn you keep mana up for Boros Charm is a turn you're not casting an enchantment and you're taking longer to kill them. That said, I've gotten destroyed by Boros Charm in response to my Supreme Verdict enough times to know that it's a very solid plan.
Overall I liked Naya Hexproof a lot and feel like most of its matchups are very good. Blue and Black devotion are everywhere right now making Naya a great choice going forward. It seems that control decks are becoming less and less popular which will give Naya a time to shine. While this deck does feel "lucky" it's harder to play than you may think and actually has many interesting lines of play. On top of that, the deck can be very tilting to play against. Many decks just have zero answers to your creatures and it's a terrible feeling to be so helpless in a game of magic. Sometimes you just want to be on the other side of the coin and want to be the one doing broken things.
Melissa DeToraFollow me on Facebook and Twitter!