It seems like I love the black, white, and red color combination almost as much as I love BUG. Well, not quite as much, but the colors always appealed to me. I remember brewing with Flayer of the Hatebound and Unburial Rites in Standard once Avacyn Restored was released. Those were good times. I can't really explain why enemy color combinations are more appealing to me than allied combinations, but they certainly are.
The deck we're looking at today is much like a deck that was being played when Zendikar first came out. People immediately realized that creatures like Steppe Lynx and Plated Geopede were going to be real good, as the frequency that they could become two or three power creatures was quite high. Considering the fact that red and white also had access to 12 fetchlands (four Arid Mesa, four Scalding Tarn, four Marsh Flats), the creatures in the deck were often double that power.
The deck we're playing today was taken from such an idea, I imagine, as Magic Online user esella went 4-0 with it in a Daily Event. Take a look.
This is as aggressive as it comes, I think, and the deck has a lot of similarities with the Standard Boros Burn list. Let's see how the deck looks in action, then we'll come back and talk about some of the individual choices.
BWR Landfall vs. BW Tokens
BWR Landfall vs. Merfolk
BWR Landfall vs. Monoblue Tron
BWR Landfall vs. American Control
Wow, this deck is straight outta Zendikar. I haven't attacked with a 5/5 Plated Geopede or a 4/5 Steppe Lynx in quite some time.
Other than the landfall creatures, the deck has some rather interesting choices, and it looks like it was trying to take a page out of the GW Hate Bears list. For example, the four Kor Firewalker in the maindeck ensure that we'll probably never lose to monored (given that we actually draw them), but against most other matchups it's simply a 2/2 for a very specific mana cost.
While Dryad Militant didn't really shine in the matches we ended up playing, I can definitely see the appeal of having the 2/1 dryad. For one, it gives the deck a fifth through eighth one-drop. For two, it does a very good job of neutering decks that need or benefit from instants and sorceries in their graveyard, such as American Control or Pyromancer Ascension. In fact I imagine the Dryad would be something of a priority to get rid of in the latter matchup.
The Dark Confidants are great in this deck as we literally don't have any maindeck card that costs more than two mana. Two is the top of our curve! Furthermore, every land we draw is often between +2/+2 and +4/+4 when it comes to damage so extras are not only welcome but somewhat necessary. Sometimes (as is common) Dark Confidant can become a very real liability, however.
The two Tidehollow Sculler seemed a bit random, but it's a card that is very often useful, so I didn't really question it too much. It does kind of seem like a card you would want four-of, but it doesn't seem like an utter necessity. Either way, it's another two-drop with a lot of utility.
One thing you can tell from the Merfolk matchup is that I am not very good at playing aggro decks...and this is why. I never know when to hold back and when to try and force through damage. I imagine we could have won the long game, but I think we were a little too hasty with our removal. Then again, he did have a Spellskite, and anything we tried to kill his lords with would have ended up targeting the artifact horror instead. This kind of meant that we were forced to get rid of the Spellskite before we could even target him with something like a Lightning Helix or Lightning Bolt. Another issue was how much damage we took from our own cards. Things like fetchlands, shocklands, Dark Confidant, and Thoughtseize can really add up, and while Kor Firewalker can gain us back a few points here and there, it often isn't more three or so per game.
As you could tell from the Monoblue Tron match, sometimes the deck has enough burn to simply be a burn deck. This is what I mean when I said it was similar to the Boros Burn deck in Standard. We basically have eleven cards that can just burn the face, which is pretty significant. This usually means that after we sneak a few points in with our landfall creatures, we can sit back and let the burn spells do the rest of the work.
The American Control match was actually just a complete blowout. I wouldn't even really consider it a good barometer of what the deck is capable of. In game one we were completely overwhelmed by the triple Restoration Angel draw. This goes to show how bad four toughness creatures are against the deck if we don't have an almost constant stream of fetchlands or a Plated Geopede and a burn spell to combine with its first strike. As you can see, without some combination of those things, we were kind of locked out. In game two we were completely overwhelmed by the infinite removal draw. I actually don't know why we didn't scoop as soon as we saw his hand; it was somewhat disgusting. Neither game was particularly close or in our favor, but that's how things go sometimes.
The deck is actually a pretty efficient aggro deck, but I do think it could benefit from something like Path to Exile so that we have a way to deal with four toughness creatures, such as Restoration Angel or Spellskite. As you can see from our matches, these are the stats that ended up giving us the most trouble. In a pinch we could even Path one of our creatures for a landfall trigger or two.
Outside of the lands and the Dark Confidants, the deck is actually fairly cheap to put together. Unfortunately, this is a deck where including the fetchlands matters more than most. Either way, if you have access to them and are looking for a new spin on aggro decks, you should give this one a try. It has been doing fairly well on Magic Online, and I've seen it cash in a handful of Dailies.
That's about all I have for today. Be sure to check back on Wednesday for our exclusive Conspiracy spoiler! Thanks for reading and I'll see ya then.
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV