I was all set to play a BG Reanimator list today, complete with four Priest of the Blood Rite (which was specifically what sold me). Constructed Leagues have also begun on Magic Online in the past week, and I ended up trying the deck out in my first League; once you select a deck, you're stuck with that deck throughout the five rounds of the League. During my first match I ran into someone who complimented me, telling me he loved my content, then proceeded to bash my face in with legendary creature after legendary creature.
The best part? Most of them were buffed by Hero's Blade! I shook off my loss and asked the player if I could get the decklist from him in order to use it in an article. He was more than eager to oblige, mentioning that the deck could use a few cuts, but that I was welcome to play it as is or with changes.
This was the list Bradley Vogt sent over.
I immediately recoiled in horror at the deck having 63 maindeck cards but, to be fair, I did like all of them. Nevertheless I had to Remove three cards in order to put us at the standard 60. I ended up going with one Brimaz, King of Oreskos, one Heroes' Podium, and one Rattleclaw Mystic. Brimaz seemed like he would be difficult to cast, especially if our goal was to have a Hero's Blade in play on turn two; Heroes' Podium was legendary and pretty expensive; and we still had 26 lands and seven other mana creatures after removing a single Rattleclaw Mystic.
With the deck slimmed down, I was eager to see how it played against opponents that weren't me.
(Videos arranged in a playlist within the player.)
This deck was a lot sweeter than I expected it to be, but there were still plenty of cards I would adjust. For one, I didn't really like Brimaz, King of Oreskos. The double white is actually pretty difficult since so many of our lands don't produce white, and we would specifically need a Sylvan Caryatid as our mana creature. If we're playing a Sylvan Caryatid on turn two to cast Brimax, we're not casting a Hero's Blade, which is one of the main selling points of including Brimaz!
Considering they're legendary, I would also cut one Anafenza, the Foremost and one Surrak, the Hunt Caller. Both of these guys are spectacular in the deck, but the risk and downside of drawing multiples over other cards we can cast is simply too high.
Unfortunately I also wasn't thrilled with Xenagos, God of Revels in the deck, but this could be more personal preference than anything, especially with how useful haste is. I suppose my biggest issue is that we simply don't have the ability to reliably (if ever) turn him into a creature.
A few creatures I could definitely see adding are Liliana, Heretical Healer, Polukranos, the World Eater, Sidisi, Undead Vizier, and Tasigur, the Golden Fang. Each of these presents us with some very unique options and three of them will trigger ferocious to gain haste in conjunction with Surrak, the Hunt Caller. Sidisi also gives us something powerful to do with those late game Rattleclaw Mystics and Sylvan Caryatids.
The mana base was surprisingly solid. I might cut it down to 25 lands since we have seven mana creatures. I think whether we remain at 25 or go up to 26, one thing we definitely want is an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. Not only do we have a ton of black spells in our deck, but it also "turns off" our Mana Confluences, of which we have four.
There were several cards in the sideboard that I thought should simply be in the maindeck; specifically Courser of Kruphix and Siege Rhino. While these aren't legendary and don't get the equip bonus from Hero's Blade, they're often just too good to leave out if you're playing their colors; Siege Rhino more so than Courser I believe, but both are excellent. I'm not sure what else we could cut to make room for them without changing The General spirit of the deck, but I felt it was worth noting that I had no problem with adding the nonlegendary rhino to the maindeck.
One thing I did miss was removal. I felt like I was always eager to board in Crackling Doom as the deck has virtually no way to stop a large threat; we're simply trying to be bigger and faster than our opponents, and it often works, but sometimes it doesn't unfortunately.
This deck was a blast to play, and it was even a strategy that our own Craig Wescoe mused about a few weeks back. While I'm not sure if it's a Tier 1 strategy, it definitely held its own against some of the more powerful cards and strategies in the format and I bet it could do even better with a few tweaks.
While we missed Modern this week due to PAX Prime, I'll be back on Monday with some videos so be sure and tune in then. In the meantime you can check out my podcast, Freshly Brewed, with Ali Aintrazi and be sure to subscribe through iTunes or help us out over on our Patreon. Thanks for reading and I'll see ya soon!
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