Mad Mantel – Evolution



I actually got to play some Magic.


It wasn’t FNM but a tournament that happens every Sunday. It is free entry with the top spot getting $100 store credit. More often than not the top four split. The tourney is about an hour away from me and draws most of the better players in the area. I figured it would be a good testing ground for my latest brain baby: Turboland.

The sideboard is rather sloppy as this was an impromptu tournament for me.

I’m not going to make this a tournament report. Long story short, I made the top eight but lost before top four. Which means I missed out on the prize.

Even with the loose sideboard, the deck felt great. I did feel like I was a bit disadvantaged in the pseudo mirror match as my opponent could sit back and rely on counters to put him ahead, and I had to jam spells to try to get him to make a mistake. This being the case, getting a Cavern early was like Christmas.

The aggro match-ups went how I expected. I could hold my ground unless they had multiple Ghor-Clan Rampagers in the early game. The sideboard should be changed of course, but I think that main deck could use some tweaking too. I don’t want to head into the Bant Flash territory, but I think moving towards Bant Control could be correct.

While I’m comfortable with counterspells, I don’t think they are the best place to be right now, at least maindeck. I want to stay in the tap-out zone. I was not impressed by Urban Evolution. Against the control decks it didn’t seem to do enough, and against aggro it was even worse. Ramp is the name of the game with this deck, but this sacrificed a lot of tempo. This made me sad, because I love the card. I think that if the format slows down, or if we get a threat that will dominate the board (a la Avenger of Zendikar), then this card will see a massive surge in utility.

The open slots would go to flush out play sets. The cards that I first would try to fill are the Thragtusk, Azorius Charm, and Sphinx’s Revelation. Many people do not like Revelation right now because of Voice of Resurgence, but this deck has no problem main-phasing them to refill the hand and get more life as a resource.

If I (or you) start to feel that Revelation is really not where I want to be, then I was also very impressed with Jace. I think an Elixir of Immortality would be pretty nice, but I also have a problem of jamming that card into places that it doesn’t need to be. It gives some longevity to the deck, but I don’t think it provides more than the fourth Revelation or Jace. I would even feel comfortable going up another land.

Moving on to the sideboard, there are many problems with it. Many of the choices fall into the “too cute” category, and several just don’t do enough.

Trostani was a wonderful speed bump, but I often found myself without a way to take advantage of the time that I bought with her. If Trostani is going to stay then I think other changes need to be made. Either a good source (or multiple sources) of tokens or just being more creature dense.

Simic Charm was just bad. I grabbed it because it is a pet card and I wanted to protect lands from Acidic Slime, as well as having a bonus of Protecting other sideboard cards from things like Abrupt Decay. I had thought the bounce would help against aggro, but I rarely left mana open since I was ramping or sweeping the board so much.

Progenitor Mimic is another pet card, but it always feels super impressive. I’m not sure how I feel about it just quite yet. I think it fits into the same category at Trostani and that it needs a different build to really be good; it needs more creatures to copy. This and Trostani work very well together, but they need more support cards around them. This just isn’t a deck that can take advantage of it.

Acidic Slime did good work, which it always does. The problem was that the best thing I could do with it was to copy it with Progenitor Mimic. Otherwise it had very little impact and felt like an expensive Oblivion Ring. Once again, it didn’t seem to fit.

Silklash Spider and Renounce the Guilds were both thrown in to meet the fifteen card requirement and never came in.

Rest in Peace was there for Junk Aristocrats, but I had the same problem with it that I had with Trostani. When I played it, it bought me time but not much else. My threat (because let’s be honest I only really had Aetherling) could end the game quickly, but it didn’t take over the game as much as I had hoped.

I started to tweak things more and more and found that I kept going towards other versions of Bant. When I went more towards control, I wound up very close to Reid Duke’s list, and when I went towards being more aggressive, I found myself pushing closer to Flash. I think both are contenders, and even the Bant Ramp can be viable given a few changes or a shift in the metagame.

While working on things, I kept getting echoes going through my head of my original article on these Turboland builds. I think I want to be greedy and go for a fourth color.

My original list was this:

This was my starting point, but I took some considerations into account from my experience with the list I played.

The first things I dropped were the Temporal Masterys and the Urban Evolutions. Next up I wanted to drop the Elves because they were too fragile and never really impressed me as a source of ramp. Next up was the number of Aetherlings. I like him and he ends the game, but I don’t need the full four. The number gets cut in half to two. I think Blast of Genius falls into the same category as Urban Evolution. It may be a bit better since it can affect the board, but I’d still rather have something early.

Here is where the list is currently.

I once again have some odd numbers that are there so that I can test them out. The numbers on the charms and the Snapcasters may need to be tweaked. It feels odd having only two Snapcaster Mages, but I really just want him as utility to get more soft copies of other cards. Having the option of getting extra uses out of charms or sweeper spells is really why the flashy man is so good. I also may want to change up the split on Verdict and Terminus. They both have their place, but different strokes for all the opponents out there.

The mana has felt pretty stable for how greedy it is, which gives everything quite a bit of play. The field may change with Grand Prix Miami, but I think this shell can be changed to meet it reasonably well.

One of my favorite parts of this deck is that it has the potential to just burn the opponent out with Helix, Snapcaster, and Ral Zarek.

As always, let me know your thoughts. Here in the comments or tweet @Writer1007.