I was a bit torn on what to do for my video article today. Honestly I am more interested in the release of Khans of Tarkir and saying goodbye to Return to Ravnica than I am in playing with the same decks I've been using all year. I have tried out some new decks with little success such as Monoblack splash Goblin Rabblemaster and various Chord of Calling decks, but nothing was better than playing with something top tier. I finally decided to give GW Aggro a try when I saw this list that finished 3rd at the SCG Open in Washington DC last weekend.
I played a lot of GW Aggro during my testing for Pro Tour Theros in Dublin last October. In fact I was actually going to play GW at the Pro Tour until our team discovered Monoblue Devotion. While I used to be a huge advocate of this deck, I always felt that it had a few problems. For one, I always hated the manabase. You need green and white mana by turn one or two in order for this deck to be playable. Unlike other two colored decks, you can keep a hand that is missing a color and still be fine due to having scrylands and board control. With GW Aggro, that option is not possible. If you keep a hand that is missing a color and you don't draw that color within two draw steps, you will be severely punished. We have Temple Garden and Mana Confluence for fixing, and Temple of Plenty is not always a card that you want in an aggro deck. The above list plays two scrylands and I think that's a good balance so that you are still capable of getting aggressive draws.
Another thing that I was never a fan of in GW was that the deck had very little reach. Often you are able to get your opponent down to five or less life, but if they stabilize you have no way of punching through. GW these days has Ajani, Caller of the Pride which can just win a game out of nowhere, but if your opponent is at a high life total even Ajani may not be enough. One card that I've always liked out of GW decks is Trostani, Selesnya's Voice. It's capable of breaking the midrange and aggro matchups wide open. The above list plays a lot of cards that help out Trostani like Call of the Conclave and Advent of the Wurm, and if you are able to get an extra token every single turn you will have the extra push you need to finish off stabilized opponents. The lifegain attached on to it is an added bonus but sometimes it can be relevant.
Daniel Snow's list had everything I was looking for in a GW deck so I decided to take it though some Magic Online two-man queues. Take a look!
GW Aggro vs. Jund Midrange
This matchup seems like it would be pretty tough for us, but as you could see in the video our opponent made a few key misplays that definitely helped us out. One-for-one removal is really good against us but luckily for us we were able to land a Trostani in the third game to counteract some of that removal. Trostani was really overwhelming for our opponent in that game and it made me wish I played her more during the two years she was in Standard.
GW Aggro vs. Monowhite Control
One thing that I've noticed about playing Magic Online during this time of year is that people are playing a lot of brews. My guess is that the majority of players are a little bored with the Standard format and are just trying out decks that they had in mind that were not quite good enough. I thought that the Monowhite Control deck was really interesting and had a lot of potential. While I didn't see that much of his deck, I think that some Nykthos and Heliods could make that deck great. White devotion was a deck that just never made it, but Elspeth is game over against a lot of decks and I think that this deck has the tools to be good. Too bad we won't really get a chance to find out.
GW Aggro vs. Naya Hexproof
The Naya Hexproof matchup was a clear example of why I prefer not to play decks like GW Aggro. I felt like I just wasn't in control of the game at all. We have a really hard time beating an Unflinching Courage and our opponent had not one but two of them. While there are answers to that card, we can't really clutter up our sideboard with too many of them. Giant first strike hexproof creatures are also a problem for us and this matchup seems pretty bad overall. While we can't make all of our matchups good it's frustrating to not have answers to what our opponents are doing.
GW Aggro vs. GW Lifegain
Well, sometimes you play against draft commons. While our opponent was obviously not playing a top tier deck, the life gain was annoying and this match was actually a grind. GW has a hard time against an army of 2/4s and sometimes you get the draw of all little dudes and no ways to bust through. Luckily for us our opponent wasn't putting much pressure on us and we had plenty of time to find what we needed.
Overall I am a fan of the deck and it's a good change of pace from playing control and devotion decks over the past few months. This deck can do some powerful things and can win quickly against an underprepared opponent. While this deck is usually not my style, I did enjoy playing it and would consider playing it for an upcoming SCG or TCGplayer Open, like the one in Santa Clara, CA this weekend.
Thanks for reading and be sure to come back tomorrow where I'll be giving my opinion on the new Magic set release and Standard rotation policy!
Melissa DeTora@MelissaDeTora on twitterwww.facebook.com/melissa.detora on Facebook