Deadguy Ale is an archetype that has been around for around ten years now. The name originated from Team Deadguy that included such members as Jon Finkel, Dave Price, and Chris Pikula. The deck was originally a black/white brew with a ton of disruption that won through creatures like Dark Confidant, Nantuko Shade, and Hypnotic Specter. The deck ended up taking Chris Pikula to the finals of Grand Prix Philadelphia in 2005.
Nowadays the deck looks much different, but the spirit is very much the same: play cheap, efficient creatures; play cheap, efficient hand disruption spells; and play cheap, efficient removal.
Nevertheless, as for my own story, this past weekend I was planning on going to a PTQ. I had no idea what to play - because Modern is pretty much all over right now, but with a core of maybe five great decks - I just knew I wanted something that was well-positioned against the field. On Friday, during a period of uncertainty, I messaged Craig and asked if he had an updated BW list and if he thought it was well-positioned His reply was "yes and yes" along with the following list.
I liked the deck a lot, but it had some differences from what I was playing earlier in the day. I didn't know if four Fulminator Mage was good in the maindeck and I wasn't sure if eight one mana discard spells were really necessary. While I ended up missing the PTQ (due to putting my own Cube together instead), I did choose to run the deck for today's article. Let's see if my ridiculous concerns were valid.
Deadguy Ale vs. UR Pyromancer
Deadguy Ale vs. Affinity
Deadguy Ale vs. Nivmagus Combo
Deadguy Ale vs. Gifts Tron
Well, a 4-0 is something you don't come across too often in Modern. To say I was thrilled about those results and regretful of not taking this list to the PTQ would be an understatement, despite the blast I had Cubing with Melissa, Justin, and Mike instead.
One of my immediate contentions was the fact that the deck was lacking a Vault of the Archangel. This card was in the initial list I played and it was a game changer. Being able to trade your tokens with things like Courser of Kruphix and Restoration Angel was huge, and the lifegain is actually very relevant with the prevalence of Burn right now. I wasn't sure how the deck would fare, let alone if it was justified to cut a single land like this from the deck. Turns out the deck still performed fine. When I asked Craig about Vault, he said it was a fine card, but Mutavault was more important. Coming from a background with Pack Rat in Standard, I understood why.
Another card that was surprisingly absent from the list was Liliana of the Veil. This was also in my original list, and it was great at killing creatures or forcing a discard while we put something like Lingering Souls in the bin (#value). I don't want to sound repetitive here, but as you can see the planeswalker simply wasn't needed. Same for the other three-drops I tried, Brimaz, King of Oreskos. While I loved the cat, we had enough things to be doing on turn three with a full set of both Lingering Souls and Fulminator Mage.
Speaking of Fulminator Mage, Craig said the deck didn't have a very good matchup against Tron and these were to help that out. Well...we beat Tron! To put it simply, the card was impressive against any deck with relevant nonbasics. It's great against manlands, Tron pieces, a splashed third color, 75% of the lands in Affinity...the list goes on. I wasn't sold on this guy at first, but he definitely proved his worth.
Sword of Fire and Ice was another interesting inclusion, as a two-of no less. The original list I played had one Sword of Light and Shadow, which I liked; the lifegain seemed relevant and getting back a Dark Confidant or a Pack Rat seemed useful. Come to find out there are certain decks that simply can't win once you equip a Sword of Fire and Ice. It's that good. We're also netting the same number of cards to discard to Pack Rat so that was never an issue. One other sword I might consider, simply because the deck has uses for mana and to get around troublesome green creatures, would be Sword of Feast and Famine.
One card I've seen played recently is Disfigure. While I think it competes well with Darkblast, I'm not sure which is better. I can't imagine there are realistically that many situations where you would actually want to dredge a Darkblast back, so this is where I think Disfigure would shine. Personally I was tempted to add two or so Zealous Persecution to the deck. They do so much. They make Courser of Kruphix much easier to attack into, they kill Spirit Tokens, Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch, Dark Confidant, most of Affinity's creatures, and they act as kind of mini Overrun. I might be trying the card out in the coming weeks, but it's definitely something I have my eye on.
While I regret not playing the deck at the PTQ, I'm glad I asked Craig for the list, and that it performed just as well as expected. If you guys have any upcoming Modern events, I would highly recommend checking this one out.
Thanks for reading and I'll catch you on Thursday!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV