Sometimes you think of a deck, and another writer steals your thunder and posts it before you can. That sucks, especially if that writer is Jay Lansdaal. Other times you come up with a deck and a few pros play something similar at a GP right before you write your article. I’m not sure if that sucks or not yet, but the success of David Ochoa, Eric Froelich and others at GP Cincinnati certainly validated my plan to go with a BR Control build this week for FNM. After missing some weeks due to travel I was finally ready to give Run DMC a try.

Starting Point

You can see the original article here. For ease of reference, here’s the rough list I was using as a starting point:

Yeah…some bad ideas here. The deck definitely didn’t need all those maindeck sweepers, and although I stand by my statement that Desecration Demon isn’t great right now I don’t think there’s an obvious replacement in BR. Diversifying the colour of your game-ending threats seems important, though that might be wrong in a format filled with Dark Betrayals.

I was worried about vulnerability to Detention Sphere, so I wanted my sideboard to have an answer to that. Sadly that means splashing either white or green. White also gives me access to Blood Baron of Vizkopa, so that seemed like the best way to go. I also wanted to up my Connections count. Chandra, though she draws me cards the turn after I drop her, seemed unimpressive aside from that. As much as I love the card I didn’t feel like this was the place for her. I was prepared to cut Liliana as well but if I am splashing white her plus ability would be even more important.

The slot that caused me the most trouble was playing a 25th land (Temple of Silence) over the third Rakdos Keyrune. I wanted four white sources but instead of just running 4 Godless Shrines I thought an extra scry land would be useful in a deck with a lot of answers but not many threats. Here’s the list I played:

Just typing that sideboard out causes me physical pain. What a mess. I needed at least one more Revoke, though in hindsight Wear // Tear would have been better. That’s probably results-oriented thinking though, Revoke Existence is the better card in the current metagame. Slaughter Games only showed up once, against Bant Walkers, which is exactly where I wanted it and it won me game 2. I didn’t get to cast Gild but the one time I drew it, I had lethal on board. It might be less important with Revoke in the 75 but I feel like it’s better than people are giving it credit for. Flame-Wreathed Phoenix is a card that seems like it could be very good, plus the 2 devotion to Mogis made me want to give it a go in here.

Game Action

Round 1 I would face one of the many white heroic decks in the building, and in fact lost game 1 to an early Fabled Hero that I couldn’t answer. I kept a hand with no red sources and never drew one, despite staring at a hand full of removal. Oh and apparently Alpha Authority grants hexproof, who knew? Fortunately I was well-equipped after sideboarding to deal with this sort of deck, and the Drown in Sorrows did work for me in the next two games. Mogis made his first appearance, made my opponent read the card, and promptly had him tanking each upkeep. If that sort of thing continues, I might find my initial assessment is correct.

Bant Walkers was up next, and the deck did exactly what I built it to do. Thoughtseize and Rakdos’s Return kept him in topdeck mode for game 1 while Stormbreath Dragon and Mogis ground him down. Double Slaughter Games basically ended game 2, though I did need a Stormbreath Dragon off the top to take out a dangerous Kiora. Rakdos Keyrune was also refreshingly good here, as expected. The deck felt a little weak to control in game 1 but with all my removal also hitting their walkers, the number of dead cards is smaller than you would think. As an aside, Liliana of the Dark Realms actually won me game 2 here as she just kept ticking up and used her -3 twice to pump a Rakdos Keyrune. I love that planeswalker so much…

At 2-0 I was pretty happy and very impressed with the work of Mogis in the deck. A hard-fought loss in 3 to a BWR Control deck was a little tilting, but I feel like the matchup is pretty even. The games he won were on the back of hitting his Rakdos’s Return a turn before mine, and landing his Blood Barons while I couldn’t find mine. Again I kept a hand with no red sources in this one, and again I didn’t draw one despite running 14. The white sources I added were not at the expenses of any red ones, so that isn’t the problem, but maybe I need either another Liliana or another Mountain. I know which way I’m leaning! (Hint: not the one that taps for mana).

Round 4 saw me paired up with another brew, this time the Trading PostTymaret, the Murder KingPurphoros, God of the Forge list that’s been floating around a few places. It might not sound like much but let me tell you, Goats are hard to beat when you can’t remove Trading Post. Having constant access to a creature meant he could consistently recur Tymaret, turning the Goats into real threats. With only a few ways to exile things and not really putting any pressure on his life total, this spells disaster for my deck. Wear // Tear would certainly have helped, but I think it’s still a hard one to win.

Going 2-0 0-2 is never a pleasant experience, but I had one more round to try and turn the record around. I was happy with the deck’s performance for the most part, my losses coming as they did in a tight match and against a fringe deck that is hard to answer. Nonetheless I wanted to finish strong, and GR Devotion was exactly the kind of deck I knew I was well-equipped to beat. He never got the insane Burning-Tree starts that the deck is capable of running out, but I think I could have handled that anyway. I did side out Mogis for this one (and the previous one, actually) as he seemed subpar against that deck, but I’m not sure that’s right when my game plan against any devotion deck is to kill as much as possible.

Deck Thoughts

Mogis was excellent almost every time I drew him, the one exception being against the Trading Post deck. Even there he was a 1-life shot a turn instead of two, so not a total blank, but close enough. He attacked relatively often but I think one more devotion-adding card would have been a good idea. It wasn’t until round 3 that I realised he cost 4 mana and not 5, which is a great indicator of how rusty I am at this game. There’s some tinkering to be done but I feel like Mogis is a real card, perhaps even more so than Karametra.

The rest of the deck performed about as expected, though my control matchup in game 1 was better than I thought. I still don’t like Desecration Demon in the current metagame, he is way too easy to deal with in multiple ways and in a deck light on win conditions that’s a huge drawback. I have considered Nightveil Specter, but he lacks punch and is a card the entire field is ready to beat. Maybe Journey into Nyx will bring me something amazing, but for now I think we’re stuck with Des. Yeah, that’s his name. Wanna make a big deal about it?

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix was good, very good. Neither choice is particularly good for the opponent unless they have removal, and frankly most creatures are bad in the face of removal. It’s possible I should just run 4 of these over Des, but that would likely mean cutting Erebos and I don’t think I want to do that. God I wish we had Reaper from the Abyss or Massacre Wurm right now!

There is definitely power here, and it’s worth looking at if you enjoy the deny-everything style of deck that just wants to fill the opponent’s graveyard and then eventually kill them. Some of the numbers can be tweaked (we absolutely want four Mortars in the 75, for example) but the concept and base of the deck is solid. I’m not sure what I’ll be jamming this week, but I have a feeling it will include Vraska, the Unseen or Duskmantle Seer. Maybe both? I might jam both. I’ve done dumber things.

Thanks as always for stopping by. Brew on!