I have more experience with W/G Hatebears than I do with any other deck in Modern. I made Top 8 of GP Pittsburgh with it last year, played it in the most recent Modern Pro Tour, and ended up switching to it last-minute last weekend for GP Indianapolis. Even though I did not do well in Indianapolis, my read on the metagame (that Hatebears is well-positioned) was confirmed; it made Top 8 of both Grand Prix Indianapolis and GP Lille. W/G Hatebears only comprised about 1% of the field between the three Modern GPs last weekend, yet it accounted for 8.5% of the Top 8 decks. This means W/G Hatebears was likely the best-performing deck on the weekend!

As an aficionado of the archetype, I wanted to show off what the deck is capable of. Semerau made a sweet play in the Top 8 against a Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle opponent that is fairly common, yet many people had never seen it before since the archetype is fairly low on everyone's radar. The Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle player paid two mana into Semerau's Leonin Arbiter and then sacrificed a fetchland to search his library. Semerau responded by casting Restoration Angel to blink the Leonin Arbiter. Since the Leonin Arbiter blinks back as a new card, the opponent would have to pay another 2 mana in order to search. People fail to consider Leonin Arbiter as a relevant blink target for Restoration Angel, but Hatebears players know – and now so does everyone who watched the Top 8.

This is the list I'll be piloting today in the videos, which is Brandon Semerau's exact maindeck configuration with a few minor sideboard tweaks:


What to Sideboard IN?

Sunlance comes in against Affinity, Merfolk, Infect, Burn, and basically any deck with multiple targets for it. I even like it against Bant Eldrazi; Eldrazi Displacer is colorless.

Tectonic Edge and Life from the Loam come in against Tron, Valakut, and any deck where we just want more ways to interact with lands or have too many cards we want to board out.

Rest in Peace comes in against Dredge, Jund, and any graveyard-based combo deck.

Stony Silence comes in against Affinity and Tron.

Scavenging Ooze comes in against any deck with graveyard interaction, including Snapcaster Mage or Tarmogyf. It also comes in against Burn for the life gain.

Dismember comes in against Infect and Bant Eldrazi but can also come in against mostly any creature-based deck, especially if they have Tasigur, the Golden Fang. I'm hesitant to bring it in against decks with Lightning Bolt because of the life loss.

Kitchen Finks come in against Burn, Jund, Jeskai, and any damage-based or attrition-based matchup.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence is a bullet against Elves, but can also come in against decks with fliers or otherwise important activated abilities.

Gaddock Teeg is the one card Brandon did not play in his sideboard that I would not leave home without. Teeg is great against Tron, Ad Nauseam, Jeskai, and any Collected Company deck. It's also reasonable to bring in against Become Immense.

What to Sideboard OUT?

AEther Vial is a non-bo with Stony Silence.

Path to Exile comes out against decks without creatures. I shave 1-2 against Tron since they only have Wurmcoil Engine and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

Leonin Arbiter against Affinity since they only have 1 basic land and no search cards.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben against creature-based decks.

Scavenging Ooze against decks that deal us large chunks of damage and aren't reliant on the graveyard, though only if all our other creatures are better.

Qasali Pridemage against decks without targets. It's best against Merfolk (Vial/Seas) and Affinity.

Flickerwisp is bad against Electrolyze, Golgari Charm, and effects that kill low-toughness creatures.

Wrap Up

W/G Hatebears is one of Modern's most disruptive, interactive decks. It has been a top choice of mine ever since Birthing Pod (Hatebears' worst matchup) got banned. It will likely remain a top choice of mine for the foreseeable future, although I will continue to experiment often since Modern is so wide open and has so much room to explore and create.

Craig Wescoe