Hello and welcome to another addition of Droppin' Baums. This week is very special to me. This is a week that I confidently felt like I made a great metagame call for Grand Prix Pittsburgh. I was not the only one smart enough to realize this was a great call. It won GP Singapore and put a copy in the Top 4 in the hands of Jack Kiefer. God-Pharoah's Gift is a deck that people have seemed to forget about. This is a huge mistake. It is one of the most powerful strategies in standard right now. When it comes to powerful strategies, the number one factor is can it beat red, and the answer is you 'betcha.
The reason the deck fell out of favor was because of a menacing two-drop Glint-Sleeve Siphoner. Blue-Black Midrange use to be everywhere before the printing of Goblin Chainwhirler. That pesky Goblin may have caused a lot of problems for me and other players, but this time it did me a huge favor for GP Pittsburgh – it controlled the amount of times I had to play against the horrible matchup Blue-Black Midrange. That number was zero. Let's check out the list that lead me to a 12-3 and 20th place finish.
Now this isn't my exact list I ended up playing, but mistakes were made. Merfolk Trickster is a card I didn't get to test very much but in theory it seemed to make sense. Unfortunately that is not how it played out. The card was for sure lacking the power that a two-mana interactive spell should possess. I played against seven red decks and bested it five of those times – not bad numbers against the strongest deck in the format right now.
I learned a few things after playing the games. It is very easy to make your mono-red players play your game instead of playing theirs. Being able to recognize when and how you should approach getting your GPG into play is the most important aspect of the deck. There are times that you should go for it on turn four and there are plenty of times where it is not correct. Being able to eternalize Sunscourge Champion and force your opponent to deal with it or leave up Abrade for future problems really slows down your opponent enough to be able to take over the game. Even when you don't have the Refurbish, if you have a GPG in the graveyard with a powerful creature to target you put the fear of God (Pharaoh's Gift) in them. The versatility of the list is the reason I decided to dust off the powerful seven-drop artifact. In the past it was such a one-dimensional deck that you either got disrupted or you didn't. Now there are ways to get around the disruption, which is huge. Let's get to the sideboarding!
This matchup is the reason to play the deck. It is the single most popular and dominant deck in the metagame right now. Being able to play a haste 6/6 flying lifelink Angel out of nowhere is just way too hard for red decks to deal with. That said, we don't always have a lot of time to set the combo up correctly and can still get run over. Being able to even say you have a 65% chance to beat your red opponents was enough for me to want to play the deck. One big play is discarding GPG and Sunscourge Champion early so you can both threaten the combo and be able to have a backup plan when your opponent is holding up Abrade mana.
These matchups come down to patience. You have to make sure that you aren't just throwing away your Refurbish when it is your only way to get a GPG into play. You want to wait till turn six so you can back up the powerful spell with a counter. Another great plan is to just play a Nezahal, Primal Tide and just defend it all the way to the finish line.
This matchup is a train wreck. It is the sole reason this deck fell out of favor in the past. Everything they do is bad for you. Early hand disruption, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, countermagic, AND a five-mana creature that straight wins the game. That's just too much to overcome. You have to get lucky and just go for it most of the time. If this is a popular deck in your local or GP metagame this isn't the deck to play. I didn't expect much of this deck and I was correct for last weekend's GP. This might not be the case in future events.
These matchups are straight laughable. Being able to have a combo element and access to three Fumigates is just a disaster for them. Being able to Fumigate away there only form of interaction in Thrashing Brontodon is big game.
Well there you have it folks, UW GPG is one of the most powerful decks in standard and I am very happy last week cemented that statement. As always leave your comments and concerns in the section below. I will see you next week to recap US Nationals! GL to everyone competing and make sure to tag me on Twitter after you win with this fantastic list.
See you next week,