Last week we discussed the deck that Team Revolution teammate Brad Nelson took to the Pro Tour. It was a RW Midrange deck that was also an aggro deck, and also a control deck. It played a ton of roles very well, and it rewarded the pilot for being able to switch gears quickly. After the Pro Tour, despite how well Brad performed, he posted to our Team page with the following...

The only problem was that he never told us the updated list! Needless to say, I can only imagine that the list he piloted to a Top 8 finish at Grand Prix Los Angeles was something close to that list.

DECKID=1218785

As you can see, the deck is very similar to the Mardu deck some of the other Team Revolution members piloted at the Pro Tour. That list looked like this:

DECKID=1218217

The problems the team found with this were that it had a lot of removal, and answers to a ton of threats, but it had a hard time closing out games. It had no way to put any amount of pressure on the opponent and the deck had so few threats that they were often easily handled by the opponent.

Well, based on Brad's record it seems as though he fixed both decks - the RW deck and the Mardu deck - in one fell swoop. I have to be honest: I was looking for an excuse to play with Butcher of the Horde ever since it was spoiled, so I'm pretty stoked that there are four copies in here.

Let's take a look at what the deck has going for it.

Mardu Midrange vs. UB Control

Mardu Midrange vs. Abzan Midrange

Mardu Midrange vs. Abzan Midrange, Match 2

Mardu Midrange vs. Narset Control

So, 4-0 seems pretty good. I think these games did a great job at outlining how versatile the deck is and how strong each individual threat is. It's funny, because Seeker of the Way and Goblin Rabblemaster are simple 2/2s, but they command so much respect due to their sizable board presence. The same is true with Hordeling Outburst. The amount of synergy this card has is simply unreal. It triggers prowess for Seeker of the Way, it pumps Goblin Rabblemaster when he's attacking, it gives you three 2/1 lifelinkers with Sorin, Solemn Visitor, it provides us creatures to sacrifice to Butcher of the Horde for his ability, and it allows us to have creatures to attack with for Wingmate Roc. That's a favorable interaction with almost every permanent in the deck!

One card I was surprised to see excluded was Mardu Charm. It does a ton of work, killing creatures, making tokens, and acting as a Duress where we have no Thoughtseize. I'm not sure, but I feel like the possibility of it being better than Hordeling Outburst is possible. I won't guarantee it because 1) Brad knows the deck much better than I do, and 2) the interaction between the goblins and Goblin Rabblemaster could be huge, but having another answer to things like Fleecemane Lion and half of a Wingmate Roc could be good. Meanwhile if you're making tokens, you only make one less, and at instant speed, so tricks with Seeker of the Way are a real possibility. The warrior tokens having first strike for the turn is also not of zero value.

The difference between this deck and the Mardu deck that some members of Team Revolution took to the Pro Tour is that it has a tremendous amount of threats. It's almost the Mardu version of Jeskai Tempo in that regard. It has similar planeswalkers, and the same two and three-drop creature packages. One thing we lost is Stoke the Flames, but we gain Crackling Doom. I wasn't completely sold on this card at first, but then I realized that it forced the sacrifice of their creature with the greatest power. That's insane! This is going to hit the creature you want it to hit 90% of the time, be it a Siege Rhino or an activated Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker. The best use of the card, bar none, is the Extinction of monstrous Fleecemane Lions. This is a card that has very few answers in the format, but Crackling Doom is one of the best.

Just as with Brad's previous incarnation of the deck, he has a ton of ways be a control deck after sideboarding, including Anger of the Gods, End Hostilities, Elspeth, Sun's Champion, and Read the Bones. Glare of Heresy is also fantastic in the format right now as it Removes 90% (again with the 90%; these are exaggerations, clearly) of the decks threats. We're talking about Wingmate Rocs, Siege Rhinos, Fleecemane Lions, Elspeth, Sun's Champions, Banishing Lights, Anafenza, the Foremosts, and Sorin, Solemn Visitors. That's pretty much everything except Rakshasa Deathdealer.

I didn't know how this deck was going to play when I first loaded it up, but after playing some matches with it and seeing how many angles it attacks from, I am a huge fan. The amount of damage it can deal from spells, coupled with how many "must answer" threats the deck has is just through the roof.

This weekend I'll be covering the TCGplayer MaxPoint Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana from October 24th to October 26th along with Marshall Sutcliffe. This is going to be an incredible Standard event, so if you're in the area, be sure to come by (and even compete). If you're not, be sure to catch all the action at home and use the hashtag #TCG50k!

That's about it for today. Thanks for reading and I'll catch you on Thursday. And Friday. And Saturday... Sunday too! Then on Monday. And by then you should be sick of me.

Frank Lepore
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