Hello boys and girls. Last week we talked about decks that would remain good in Standard post-rotation: Big Red Eldrazi, Bant Company, and finally a black/red aggro deck, be it Vampires or not. This week I'm getting some of the gears going. I want to brew around some of the sweetest cards in Shadows over Innistrad. Today we are going to talk about The Gitrog Monster and Triskaidekaphobia, which is not only an enchantment but a real word that means the fear of the number thirteen.

These decks are all untested but they will be good starting places if you want to pursue these types of strategies. I haven't had enough time yet to sleeve these decks up and give them a test run, especially since Shadows over Innistrad is not on Magic Online, and that's where I get the majority of my testing done. Now that that's out of the way, let's dive into these decks shall we? How about we start with everyone's favorite frog, The Gitrog Monster!

It's time to GitGud then tell our opponents to Gitrekt!

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The Deck

This deck is basically a B/G "The Rock" deck that has a curve stopper at five mana, reminiscent of Spiritmonger. Both are 5/5 Golgari monsters that will close out a game if they connect. However, The Gitrog Monster will draw you a bunch of cards and can actually ramp you since it allows you to play more than one a land a turn. The goal of this deck is to grind your opponents to dust, then finish them off with a Planeswalker or a couple of creatures. Let's break the deck down!

Nissa, Vastwood Seer. At its worst it's a Borderland Ranger. At its best it's a Planeswalker that will gain you an absurd amount of card advantage and threaten to kill your opponent's with a swarm of 6/6 lands. It may be correct to just run two Nissa, Vastwood Seer. However, I want to start at one. Running two is a bit greedy in a deck with only three Forests.

Den Protector. As long as this card is in Standard I feel like Greenwarden of Murasa has little chance to see play. Den Protector does everything Greenwarden of Murasa can do but for cheaper and with evasion. This deck can mill a lot of cards over thanks to Mindwrack Demon, so Den Protector is a good way to get back cards that will help you take over the game.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. This creature will be the go-to card for black control and midrange decks. Not only does he provide much-needed life gain, but he is also a source of card advantage. He can also turn into a mini Baneslayer Angel by just eating a single Vampire. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is going to be great in Shadows over Innistrad Standard.

Hangarback Walker. This card was fine to great before Shadows over Innistrad and now it's just fantastic! It still does everything it did before but now it also fuels delirium well since it will count as both a creature and an artifact. I expect this card to be in many decks that want to turn on Delirium relatively quickly. Hangarback Walker is not only great for delirium though, it is a great card against aggro and control decks since they will have a hard time dealing with it if they can't exile it. Even if they can you can To the Slaughter yourself and make a bunch of tokens if you deem it worthy.

Mindwrack Demon. I underrated this card when I first saw it. It is going to be great though. It turns on delirium quickly and is a 4/5 flying trampler that will end your opponents quickly. That's a lot to get for a four drop. This card will only be a problem if you can't trigger delirium, however I don't see that being a problem for this deck. Mindwrack Demon also has five toughness, which is going to be huge at fighting Chandra, Flamecaller and Grasp of Darkness.

The Gitrog Monster. Here is our lovely friend and the inspiration for this deck! The Gitrog Monster screams "build around me." While we are not breaking him here since we can't dredge, we are going to get a lot of value off him. The Gitrog Monster is a great beater and plays well with our lands. It allows Evolving Wilds to draw us a card as well as fetch a basic. Blighted Fen now kills an opposing creature and draws a card. And Drownyard Temple mitigates his sacrifice a land drawback! I wanted to start with only two The Gitrog Monsters, but if he proves as insane as I think he might be, then we can go up to three.

Grasp of Darkness. This is looking to be like the best removal spell in Shadows over Innistrad Standard. It will kill basically anything during the early to midgame. Late game you can Shrink a threat then block it with any of your creatures to kill anything that has more than four toughness. Only reason I'm not running four is because I'm not sure we can with the all the colorless land.

Ultimate Price. While bad against some decks, it should still have a target against every deck. Against control it will hit Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Against Eldrazi it will be able to kill a Thopter Engineer or a Thunderbreak Regent. Even if it is somehow just dead it's only a singleton in your deck and you shouldn't draw it every game.

Ruinous Path. To the Slaughter is fantastic but you won't always have delirium. Sometimes you also want to kill a specific threat and in these spots Ruinous Path will be more valuable than To the Slaughter. Then again, late game you might have seven mana and will be able to not only kill a threat, but also gain a creature out of this spell.

To the Slaughter. Feels so good to get a Planewalker and a creature at instant speed for the low cost of three mana. This deck should be able to assemble delirium and turn this spell on pretty quickly. I initially didn't think this card was going to be that great in Shadows over Innistrad Standard but I don't think delirium will be as hard to get as I thought it would be.

Drownyard Temple. This is a great card to mill since we can ramp with it at instant speed. It's also great sacrifice fodder to The Gitrog Monster. I love Drownyard Temple and think it will be a big player, not only in Standard but also older formats.

Ob Nixilis Reignited. A Planeswalker that gains card advantage, kills creatures, and if left uncontested, will kill our opponents as a result of us drawing cards? Where can I sign up? Ob Nixilis Reignited is fantastic in any black attrition deck. This is what Vraska the Unseen wanted to be but just wasn't.

Duress. Sometimes you just gotta nab that ramp spell or make sure the way is clear for your Ob Nixilis Reignited. Duress is a fine maindeck card, I just wouldn't run more than two until we know more about the Shadows over Innistrad Standard metagame.

Read the Bones. Can't cast Painful Truths in this deck so this is the next best thing. It's honestly not even that much weaker; scry two is a very big deal. Would I rather have another card over scry two? Yes I would, but that's not an option for this deck. Read the Bones will more than carry its weight in this deck.

Ever After. This card has so much flavor! It also happens to be a great top-end in the late game. What's better than reanimating The Gitrog Monster, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Mindwrack Demon, or Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet late game? Reanimating two of them, then putting this card back into your deck for potential future use. The Gitrog Monster and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet are worth nine mana, but we would only have to spend six to get them into play with Ever After.

Oath of Nissa. Can fuel delirium and is a decent way to find a threat or ensure we hit land drops early on. I'm not sure which is better though, Oath of Nissa or our next card.

Vessel of Nascency. This card really fuels delirium by putting an enchantment into the graveyard and putting three other cards into your graveyard when you crack it. However, it only will get us permanents, not spells, and that can be scary. It is also a three-mana investment. Testing will only tell which is better: Oath of Nissa or Vessel of Nascency.

The Sideboard

Deathmist Raptor. A card I want to bring in against other midrange decks that have a lot of removal and control decks since Deathmist Raptor is a recurring threat and we will have plenty of removal to sideboard out.

Pitiless Horde. This is mostly for the ramp deck so we can put on a faster clock on them. Could also bring it in against control decks since it also puts a quick clock on them and is dashable after a board wipe.

Mind Rot. Another card for ramp and possibly control decks. Nothing fancy, but sometimes you need to get two cards instead of just one from Transgress the Mind or Duress.

Read the Bones. A good card to have additional copies of against other attrition matchups where they aren't putting much pressure on us. Will ensure we hit our land drops and spells in a timely fashion.

Languish. Very good against things like Vampires or Company decks. Also a little combo if we have an active Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet out.

Well that's it for The Gitrog Monster deck. The next deck I wanted to briefly discuss involves the card Triskaidekaphobia. This will definitely be a pet deck of mine that I will work on after I figure out what decks are good in Shadows over Innistrad Standard.

* * *

Apollo 13 launched on April 11, 1970 and experienced an oxygen tank explosion.
The Space shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on the 113th flight of the Space Shuttle.
Friday, October 12, 1307 the Arrest of the Knights Templar was ordered by Phillip IV of France.
There were thirteen people at the Last Supper.
Traditionally, there were 13 steps leading up the gallows.
Kids officially become teenagers at the age of thirteen.
According to Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants, there are 13 dirty words.
Fear the number thirteen.

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The goal of this deck is to get your opponent's life total to 13 and let Triskaidekaphobia take care of the rest. We have multiple Triskaidekaphobia to help accomplish this goal. We also have Caves of Koilos to help us stay away from 13 life. Call the Bloodline can also gain us some life in tokens and ensure we stay above 13 so we won't die to our own enchantment. Anguished Unmaking is another card that can ensure we stay away from the number 13 along with Read the Bones and Ob Nixilis Reignited. From Under the Floorboards can make us a small army of zombies for five mana, but if the game goes long, we can discard From Under the Floorboard to Call the Bloodline and make a bunch of zombies at end of turn to kill our opponent or poke them until we can manipulate their life total and make them hit 13. Last but not least, we also have Essence Depleter to drain our opponent's life total and help us get them closer to the dreaded number… 13.

I'm not sure how good this deck is but it does look like a blast to play and I will give you all an updated list once I test it more on Magic Online. Until then I hope you enjoy playing The Gitrog Monster and Triskaidekaphobia. If there is any card in particular you want to see a deck around let me know in the comments and I'll see what I can do.

As always, thank you so much for reading.
Until next time, avoid the giant frogs and the number 13,
Ali Aintrazi
@AliEldrazi