Drana, Liberator of Malakir was one of the standout cards from Battle for Zendikar. Everyone was immediately excited about her, but I was a little on the fence. I think this was because, at the time, the set seemed a little lackluster to me - littered with a ton of cards that seemed like slightly tweaked existing cards - and Drana seemed like Vampire Nighthawk 2.0. While the abilities were quite different, they were both 2/3 vampiric fliers for three mana.
Now, to be fair, I think Battle for Zendikar turned out to be a great set for Constructed, and the two secondary abilities on Vampire Nighthawk and Drana, Liberator of Malakir were nothing alike. I was actually pretty eager to play with new three-drop, and while I would have loved to see an Allies list incorporate her, I think the deck we're trying today is a pretty unique offering to the metagame.
The Magic Online Champs Qualifiers took place a little over a week ago, and this list was played to a 5-0 finish by Magic Online user Eluna. That's pretty impressive considering how unconventional this list is and how competitive these events usually are. I was pretty eager to see what made the deck so great, and if cards like Forerunner of Slaughter and Drana, Liberator of Malakir really had a place in the current Standard environment.
Let's take a look.
B/R Aggro vs. B/G Aristocrats
B/R Aggro vs. R/G Ramp
B/R Aggro vs. Red Aggro
B/R Aggro vs. Abzan Aggro
Well, I have to say, the results were nice. Of course Abzan seems like a pretty rough matchup. Our deck has very little card advantage while theirs has a pretty good deal. Things like Wingmate Roc and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar can be pretty problematic, as a single 2/2 Knight Ally can take out any of our one- or two-drops with ease. This means we usually want a flier to get the job done, but even Flamewake Phoenix takes at least two turns, and that's if they don't +1 him.
Other than that though, the deck performed great. We're just fast enough against things like Ramp where we don't really care what they're doing. Even though a lot of our removal is dead, we have enough high power creatures in the maindeck to still manage to get the job done, and bringing in Duress postboard is pretty great against them. You might say the ramp deck we played against didn't actually do much against us, but that's kind of how the ramp decks work. They either live long enough to cast a huge monster, or they don't actually do anything.
Another great aspect of the deck is that it has a ton of cards that seem great against Jeskai Black, like Fiery Impulse, Draconic Roar (both of which are great against Jace, Vryn's prodigy), and creatures that don't really care about being countered like Bloodsoaked Champion and Flamewake Phoenix. You can also save your haste creatures like Forerunner of Slaughter and Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury for when the coast is clear. Thunderbreak Regent is also just as good as it used to be, and it's basically impossible to kill and feel good about. Don't even get me started on having two in play at the same time. I just wish that Flamewake Phoenix was a dragon...
Ultimately I thought the deck was pretty sweet and I would definitely be willing to play it again.
That's about it for today. I've created a public page on Facebook for all of my Magic content things, so be sure and give me a like. Friend requests are hard to keep up with and a lot of people just wanted to follow my Magic content rather than my personal posts. If you're looking to get updates on when I post a new video to YouTube, know when I have a new article, see when a new podcast goes live, or want to join in some cool discussions, be sure and give the page a "like."
I'll be back again on Monday with another sweet Modern brew, and I think I found a good one! Get hype. Thanks for reading and I'll see ya soon!
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