Well, I was all set to write about Sultai Superfriends this week, since I was donated a couple of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon on my daily stream and I've been dying to cast some Ugins, but then Adam Yurchick went and showed off a pretty saucy BR Aggro build in his article yesterday. So we'll postpone the Ugin casting until next week in order to take a look at the spicy meat-a-ball we're going to be trying out today...
You had me at Brutal Hordechief. Despite the fact that authors never really get to choose their own preview cards, I always feel a bit of attachment to the ones I get. Detention Sphere, Vault of the Archangel, even Grim Haruspex, you always want them to do well; they're like your children. So seeing that the deck had Brutal Hordechief in it, I couldn't wait to try out a deck sporting Hellrider 2.0! Especially alongside things like Stoke the Flames, Goblin Rabblemaster, and Outpost Siege. These were some of the best cards in the format, and this is a much more aggressive list that the ones we've previously seen.
I piloted the list in my daily stream yesterday (starting at 2 pm PST) and I ended up winning two out of two matches with it. So, not a bad start! This also helped me decide to play the deck after I saw what it was capable of and felt a little more comfortable with it.
Anyway, enough talking. Let's see it in action.
BR Aggro vs. UW Heroic
BR Aggro vs. Jeskai Tokens
BR Aggro vs. RW Midrange
BR Aggro vs. GR Devotion
One of the things I like a lot about the deck was that, when I was playing against UB Control, burning them out was a very real possibility. The fact that Bloodsoaked Champion keeps coming back and your dash creatures have haste is pretty relevant in that regard. I'm wondering if Mardu Strike Leader has a place in the deck somewhere. It's a great follow up after a Crux of Fate, and the fact that the body that comes into play is a 2/1 is pretty huge. It's also great at triggering raid if we have enough mana for that to be useful.
Another thing is that this deck is often okay with naming dragons with Outpost Siege. I didn't think this would be the case, but with all the maindeck burn and the haste creature that we're able to attack with, a lot of times they're put in a position where they can't wipe the board without dying because of all our 1/1 Goblin Tokens.
Speaking of Outpost Siege, it was a card that was blowing my mind. Khans is an awesome mode on the card and a great way to get a free Phyrexian Arena every turn without the life loss, especially in a deck where you can cast everything with a mere four mana. But the second mode...whew! I First off, I didn't realize that it triggered whenever a creature left the battlefield. I assumed they would specifically have to die (and hit the graveyard). This is huge because it triggers upon your dash creatures leaving play, along with triggering if our opponent casts something like Anger of the Gods which exiles your creatures. Secondly, I didn't realize you could hit creatures with the ability; I thought it was simply a Hissing Iguanar ability! Being able to pick off opposing creatures or deal the last point to a Stormbreath Dragon after an opposing Anger of the Gods is huge! I could definitely see finding room for a third in the deck, especially since I wouldn't mind having one set to khans and one set to dragons (or two set to dragons!).
The Peak Eruption in the sideboard is clearly for Chained to the Rocks, but I'm not sure if the card is seeing enough play to actually warrant the use of Peak. I'm not sure we wouldn't rather just have something else, like two more Wild Slash or two more Eidolon of the Great Revel. I would assume the Shatter is meant for Whip of Erebos which could end up giving this deck some problems, what with the life gain and all.
Finally, Brutal Hordechief was every bit as exciting as I thought he would be. Any time a creature has an instant target on his head upon entering the battlefield, you know they have to be good, and Brutal Hordechief makes you want to make attacks that you ordinarily wouldn't simply because he allows you to sneak in an extra three, four, five damage per attack. It really adds up, and the life you gain is fairly relevant.
I think I would consider taking out the one maindeck Bile Blight and replacing it with a maindeck Wild Slash; at least switching the sideboard and maindeck copies with one another. The only issue I actually had with the deck was mana related, which is funny, considering the deck is only two colors. Sometimes you need double red on turn three and you have double black, sometimes you need double black for Hero's Downfall, and you have mostly red. It doesn't happen often, but we do have a high density of double colored spells. That doesn't really take anything away from the deck, however; despite playing seemingly underwhelming cards like Battle Brawler and Mardu Scout, the aggro is real here.
That's all I have for today! Head back here on Monday for some more Modern action and make sure to stop by my Twitch channel, Monday through Friday, at 2 pm PST where I'll be streaming some Drafts along with Standard and Modern matches. Thanks for reading and I'll see ya then!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday - Friday, starting at 2 pm PST