This past weekend I played Golgari Midrange at Grand Prix New Jersey. I had been testing a lot of different variations of this deck and wasn't finding any one of them to be all that successful. That is when I thought about how strong Karn, Scion of Urza was in the Red-Black Chainwhirler decks from last season. That was a card that was only added to those deck after a lot of tuning. Even without an artifact theme, the card advantage it provides is pretty absurd.

The deck is fairly streamlined, and if you can keep a planeswalker in play over the course of multiple turns you are going to almost always win those games – the card advantage provided simply gets out of hand. The way to maximize the value of your planeswalkers is to back them up with removal and get them into play quickly. The eight mana dorks are key pieces of acceleration, to be able to get your big spells out a turn earlier. This is extremely important, especially in mirror matches.

The amount of times I cast a Karn, Scion of Urza on turn three and the opponent realized they were straight-up dead was frightening. This deck can do just that with a surprising amount of consistent. Karn, Scion of Urza also is a good way of ensuring your fifth and sixth land drops for other haymakers.

You do need to make some cuts to make room for the additional acceleration and removal spells, so my list doesn't have as much explore synergy. Cards like Midnight Reaper, Wildgrowth Walker and Seeker's Squire simply didn't make the cut. The sideboard contains plenty of matchup-specific removal options, and I expect that players start to adapt lists similar to this one moving forward.

Perhaps the biggest vulnerability of the deck is losing to mana screw, though every deck is going to run into that issue. That one match against Wizard Red was a bit frustrating, but overall the deck did its thing most of the time in these games. I like how it plays out against other midrange strategies, specifically because of its ability to get ahead on cards and get cheap creatures into play. We were somehow able to beat a draw featuring multiple copies of Knight of Grace from our Selesnya opponent.

This deck is surprisingly resilient and doesn't fold to any one strategy. This is the exact type of deck to pick up if you want game against the entire format. I will seriously be considering it as an option come Pro Tour time.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield