It goes without saying, but I love brewing decks. With Guilds of Ravnica out, I've really been enjoying trying the new Assassin's Trophy format. With that said, sometimes I like to use these videos to do something slightly different – highlight what other people are working on. Today, that means paying homage to master of hatebear strategies himself, Craig Wescoe, and the new Knight of Autumn Hatebears deck he shared a few weeks ago.
I can't do the deck any better justice than Craig did himself in his writeup – seriously, go check it out – but I will say that strategies like are often underrepresented and underappreciated in Modern. This is one of those rare decks (outside of combo) where the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. We all know Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a great card, but why play this deck when you can just play Humans instead? Why play Path to Exile alongside tax effects? Why play green-white without Voice of Resurgence or Collected Company or Chord of Calling?
By and large, the answer is Leonin Arbiter. The Arbiter offers an effect that nothing else in Modern does – more decks than you realize want to search their library, from fetch lands to Path to Exile to Chord of Calling to Whir of Invention to Expedition Map, and Arbiter can for the most part just completely shut them off. Combined with our cards it forms a well-tuned machine that turns Path to Exile into Unmake and Ghost Quarter into Strip Mine. It's a raw power that is incredible against many decks.
But not all of them, and that's where Hatebears struggled in the past. Knight of Autumn doesn't completely change that, but it goes a very long way to fixing it. Having interaction with artifacts and enchantments in game one is enormously important for this deck, and life gain is extremely relevant as well with Burn such a large part of any given Modern metagame.
Add in the fact that Flickerwisp and Restoration Angel can rebuy the Knight – which even at its "worst" as a 4/3 attacker is quite relevant – and you have access to multiple effects the deck never had before.
Is that enough to take Hatebears to the top of the Modern metagame? Craig seems to think it's enough to at least bring into relevancy, and I tend to agree. This deck combines midrange green elements I love with the taxes and land destruction I'm always a sucker for and does it in a consistent and powerful way. That's certainly enough to dust off those Flickerwisps.
Thanks for reading,