Hey guys, is anyone interested in taking over the primer? I've been dissatisfied with the state of modern for awhile, and I would like to drop out now, rather than go through the whole process of relearning a new meta.
As for the primer, it's in very good condition. Considering how little we grew in the TC days, the primer is pretty darn extensive. If you regularly follow the board, play the deck competitively, and have a good grasp of all the deck/card tagging tools, shoot me a PM.
Tournament report from a PTQQ today (Made T4), a bit different take on the deck as I have been experimenting with many things will have comments after report, but first my list. Sorry not good at formatting could use help with that.
[ deck ]
# card name
[ /deck ]
Remove the spaces in [ deck ] and you're in business. You can also type out the deck, highlight the list, and click the "Deck" button in your editing tool bar. Here's what it looks like done. If you hit the "quote" button, you can see what I've done to your list.
Hey, thanks for you help.
Well, this is my first time at this store so I really don't know what I'm up against. Drown in sorrow is good against affinity and tokens imo. The thing is I only have 2x stony silence right now. I have more zealous persecution though.
It's super tough to make a recommendation against an unknown meta. Just going by global meta, the top 8 are Burn, Delver, Affinity, Pod, Scapeshift, Jund, Twin, and Control. I honestly can't say much about new delver, as I haven't played against it. As for the others, you already have solid sideboard options against them, just up the numbers where you can. Torpor Orb is a good option for an unknown meta, too, as it stops more budget decks like combo elves and death and taxes, while also being a good tool against pod and twin.
The 60 looks solid. Unless I have the card somewhere in my main as well, I don't like only have only 2x/1x of cards in my sideboard. This is super true of cards that can be an instant wins (like stony against affinity). Is drown in sorrow a Damnation stand in? What's it trying to hit? Do you know what you're likely to play against?
I'd drop Sin Collector, Mirran Crusader, move Zealous Persecution to the main (replace a kill spell of your choice). That gives you room to get some of those sideboard options to 3x.
Is Phyrexian Arena an alternative to Bob? 1 more mana for less life loss and same card advantage, plus its much harder to remove.
It's not ideal. While having a big pile of 3 drops isn't really a problem, it's always advantageous to play on a curve. T1 thoughtsieze, T2 Bob, T3 Souls/Liliana/Brimaz/whatever is what we really want to do. The life loss is probably about the same. Bob can be 0 when you flip a land, but arena can be 1 when you draw a lingering souls. Also, bob requires you to reveal the card. The "harder to remove" is good and bad. Sometimes, you need to not deal damage to yourself. Still, the B difference in cost is very significant.
There are 12 3-drops in Elenar's list, and Pack Rat effectively makes it 16. I'm going to say again that I feel like this deck has too many 3-drops.
That aside, this deck looks pretty interesting. It seems like a good alternative for people who don't want to shell out for Goyfs or just want a competitive black midrange deck that does something different than BGx.
Could you elaborate on what makes a large number of 3 drops bad? The majority of the best BW options are 3 drops (pack rat, Liliana, Brimaz, Lingering souls, fulminator, kitchen finks, phyrexian arena, blade splicer). In a few cases (brimaz and Liliana come to mind) their best attributes are the low 3 cmc. Our 4 cmc and greater threats are limited to Elspeth, sorin, resto angel, hero of bladehold, batterskull, phyrexian obliterator, and baneslayer angel. All of which are powerful, but not the kind of card you run as a 4x (a hand full of batterkulls would not be great, and flipping them off a bob would be even worse). If you mean the curve is too high, we have no choice. Comparing to jund (and including scooz as a 3 drop), they sit at 12. The 4 goyfs make 16. There's no replacement to Goyf (as the $200 price tag indicates), so I feel this deck is as equivalent as it gets.
Nice Primer and all, but does this really belong in the Established section? Established is for developed decks that make up the metagame. This section is also known as Tier 1.5-2, and as far as I know, this deck does not have the results to be in the Established forum.
Wow. The Seek part is excellent vs Tron. Nice tech and it's certainly quicker than Stain the Mind/Memoricide. I think we should look into Fiendslayer Paladin, too. It can't be Decayed, burned, etc. Definitely a sb consideration.
Table of Contents:
2) The Deck
2.1) The Core
2.2) Additions and Alternatives
6) Tips and Tricks
7) Match Analysis
By definition, midrange decks start by controlling the early game, then cruising to victory on 1 or 2 large threats. BW Midrange is a different take on the traditional BGx Midrange deck. It eschews green mana in order to play a more consistent mana base and utilize utility lands. Much like other black based midrange strategies, it starts out on a base of hand disruption and Liliana of the Veil. From there, our game winning threats aren't the giant Tarmogoyf or Primeval Titan used in other decks, but rather resilient, difficult to answer creatures such as Pack Rat, Brimaz, King of Oreskos, and Hero of Bladehold.
The biggest advantage BW Midrange has over other B/x/x decks is Pack Rat. We are basically replacing Tarmogoyf in our deck with Pack Rat under the assumption we will win a long grindy game. This card also helps to make our mid to late game discard spell draws relevant as every card in our deck is a Pack Rat once we have one in play. Another advantage to playing this deck is the utility lands thanks to our 2 color mana base. Most lists currently run as many as 6 colorless sources and have little to no mana problems because of them (This includes one of the most aggressive man lands mutavault) Finally the black white color combination gives you access to one of the best cards in the format, Lingering Souls. Very few cards can hold off affinity like this card does, while also interacting very well both with Liliana and Pack Rat. We also have a fantastic suite of kill spells to keep the field clear, and some of the best sideboard cards in Modern.
BW aggro-control already exists in the form of BW Tokens. BW Midrange began to arise with the printing of Pack Rat and Brimaz, King of Oreskos, as they can close out a game without the need of Anthems like a traditional token build.
In early 2014, the deck gained rapid popularity on MTGO, placing 4-0 in dailies, solidifying its possition as an established deck. From there, Chris Dearing (MTGsal's immapwner) earned 1st place at a PTQ in Little Rock, AR on June 2014, firmly putting BW Midrange on the map. The deck has also gained the attention of pro players such as Craig Wescoe.
The name "Deadguy Ale" dates back to the legacy midrange deck of the same name. The legacy deck was designed a decade ago by team Deadguy, which included big name magic players such as Jon Finkel, Dave Price, and Chris Pikula. As the story goes, Rogue Deadguy Ale was their brew of choice while brewing the deck, and the name has since become synonymous with BW Midrange. If you're wondering "why are we still using the name after all these years?" the subject has been discussed in depth here.
2) The Deck:
This is generally the core of the deck that should remain almost entirely unchanged. The number of thoughtseize equivalents is flexible so long as you keep at least 7 discard spells. I would suggest keeping 4 of every other card in this shell.
The cards below are the most common choices to make up the remaining core of the deck. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run them, but all successful decks start with these core cards. The list is divided by what role the card plays in the deck.
ThoughtseizeB 1cmc and 2 life to see your opponents whole hand and then taking whatever nonland card you want from it. Mkay. It's usually called the second best spell in modern after Lightning Bolt.
Path to ExileW Always run 4. It’s usually considered among the premier removal spells in modern.
Slaughter Pact2B More expensive and conditional than Doom Blade, but being able to play it the turn before you pay for it allows you to tap out playing our numerous sorcery speed cards, and be ready for whatever craziness your opponent will cast on his turn.
DarkblastB Becoming popular thanks to the very common Robots match. The dredge mechanic is useful, as you can Darkblast on the upkeep, dredge instead of drawing, and Darkblast again. Also, if we have Bob on the field, we still get a card off the top. That's serious advantage.
Liliana of the Veil1BB The premier 3 drop walker. Liliana can quickly chew up a players hand, or force our opponent to sac the creature left behind after our path to exile. It can also be run from the sideboard.
Lingering Souls2W Always run 4. It is usually considered to be amongst the best spells in the Modern format, some decks splash white just so they can have it.
Dark Confidant1B Should need no introduction. The card advantage Bob produces is unparalleled. It is important to keep the average cost of our deck low to minimize our life loss to him.
Pack Rat1B Our winning creature of choice. Pack Rat can turn our extra draws from Bob into more rats, creating a serious amount of damage. It's important to make sure the field is safe before casting.
Hero of Bladehold2WW Some use her as a alternative to the Planeswalkers. She does put a ton pressure on the opponent if she is active, but not doing anything for the first turn when costing 4cmc is pretty steep.
Brimaz, King of Oreskos1WW Run no more than 3. Hail to the King! At first glance, Brimaz is a weaker Hero, that competes with our 3cmc slot token generators. In reality, the 3cmc is a benefit (see explanation below), and he puts serious pressure on your opponent. He also decreases your reliance on Intangible Virtue, as he produces Vigilance creatures.
Tidehollow ScullerWB In a perfect world, it’s a Thoughtseize with a 2/2 body for 2cmc. Sadly the world we live in (modern) is pretty far from perfect. The biggest problem is that he always eats removal, thus returning whatever card you chose. As such, an easy conclusion to draw is that Sculler should always take the removal spell. This is not entirely true, as Sculler really shines as a tempo choice. You get an opportunity to see your opponent's hand (always good), and then choose the card they most need. They can then waste a turn killing the sculler (a psuedo time walk), or try playing without a (hopefully) key piece of their deck. This can create a 1:1 trade. We both spend a card from our hand, and we both spend a turn of our time. Because we have Dark Confidant, stalling for a turn is still powerful as we can draw a card. TL:DR Sculler is worth 3 or 4 slots.
Marsh Flats Our fetchland. Can get our Plains, Swamps and Godless Shrines
Arid Mesa The other fetchland that get get us plains. Not strictly needed, but it does help a bit.
Fetid Heath Filter that mana! So we can drop a Auriok Champion on turn 2 from our turn 1 Thoughtseize enabling Swamp into a turn 3 Lilana. As it only provides a colorless mana on it’s own and doesn’t synergize with Isolated Chapel, running more than two is not recommended.
Vault of the Archangel It really helps restore our life total. Because the deck doesn't require too many colored mana sources, we can get away with a few colorless option.
Mutavault It's a Rat! It's a Golem! It's a 2/2! It's a land! Like most midrange or control decks, it's good to have a man-land win con back up. Mutavault is our clear choice due to the synergies listed above.
While the core cards above usually make up most of the 60. There is definitely opportunity to change some things depending on your local meta, or personal preferences.
Elspeth Tirel3WW Considered the premier walker for BW Tokens, Tirel's power should not be underestimated in this build. Every ability is relevant to our game-plan. Even the final wrath ability leaves our Rat tokens untouched. Unlike the other walkers, Tirel can actively recover a bad board state.
Elspeth, Knight-Errant2WW One of the best walkers in Modern, she can provide a chump blocker each turn for that goyf, give you card advantage vs. control or provide you with a faster clock. Starting on 4 loyalty and having two +1’s means she is very resilient. It should be noted that only buffing or producing 1 creature a turn is great for stabilizing a powerful board state, but not for creating one from scratch.
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad2WB In this deck he proves to be very much like the Knight-Errant. His -2 for a permanent anthem is great, and the lifelink on the tokens he produces should not be underestimated.
DuressB Shouldn’t be in the main 60 unless your meta is combo and control heavy. Generally, you want thoughtseize of inquisition.
Dismember1(P/B)(P/B) A great card that sees a lot of play both mainboard and sideboard in others decks.
DisfigureB 1cmc instant speed removal that works against the majority of modern staples is never a bad thing.
Engineered ExplosivesX It can shut down bogles, robots, and merfolk easily. Definitely an option over doom blade, depending on your meta.
Doom Blade1B It's simple and effective. Sometimes, you just need to kill something.
Zealous PersecutionWB A one turn anthem for your team, and negative anthem for theirs. It can act as a pseudo sweeper against robots and bogles (in response to them casting an enchantment). It has the benefit in the late game of making an attack lethal, and ruining your opponents combat math.
Mirran Crusader1WW Strong against Goyf and bogles. A few successful decks have ran it, and it's also recommended by Craig Wescoe.
Auriok ChampionWW Being protection from black and red means she won’t be getting removed too easily. Giving 1 life for each creature entering the battlefield means you’ll be gaining pretty much life from all your tokens.
If you have two in play she acts as a hard counter for the combos of Splinter Twin and Murderous Redcap.
Still, in some match-ups she is close to a dead card and usually the first one to be side-boarded out.
Blade Splicer2W A colorless Golem with First Strike can swing for real damage, and can block creatures with color protection (eg, etched champion). She can also chump block, and has the benefit of giving Mutavault First Strike, too.
Kitchen Finks1(G/W)(G/W) A great option to compensate for the deck's self damaging nature. The WW casting cost can be a deterrent. It also doesn't pair well with RiP, which is a common sideboard card.
Restoration Angel3W A 3/4 Flyer with Flash can be a great surprise play all on its own. Couple that with the ability to blink Blade Splicer, reset Kitchen Finks, or take a second peek at an opponents hand with Tidehollow Sculler is very powerful. Still, it can be gimicky, so currently resides in the "alternatives" section.
Baneslayer Angel3WW A very quick game ender. She's our Thundermaw Hellkite. Some players avoid her due to the high cost (and risk of flipping it to Bob), but untapping with one is probably a win.
Blood Baron of Vizkopa3WB Similar to Baneslayer Angel, but trades flying a 1 point of power/toughness for pro white and black. Since WB are the most common removal spells, this increases the odds of untapping with it still alive.
Squadron Hawk1W Hawks used to be staples. They can be pitched to Liliana, Pack Rat, or be equipped with a sword to become a real threat. Unfortunately, the are weak on their own, and the deck risks loosing consistency to run them over Tidehollow Sculler.
Emeria Angel2WW In a build with 8 Fetchlands, she can be an army in a can. She does die to removal/bolt, but we are playing disruption. As a flier, it can be an evasive threat vs Tarmogoyf while leaving behind chump blockers and pingers. Because she's a 3/3 the risk of loosing a 4 mana investment is still very high.
Ghost Quarter/Tectonic Edge Having a way to remove pesky land is great. Generally the goal is to remove land with powerful effects, like man lands, or to stop Tron/Scapeshift. Keeping your opponent off a color of mana is a secondary goal.
More to come!
We could talk about sideboard for days. Ultimately, run what works in your meta. If you don't know what that is, there are a few solid options for "unknown" metas, but the ideal option is to go to events, and learn the meta.
In general, it is best to run the Hatiest Hate Possible. You don't want to inconvenience your opponent, you want to ruin their day. Keep that in mind when making sideboard selections.
Rest in Peace1W A ‘hard’ alternative to Relic of Progenitus, as it has a continuous effect. Does tamper with your own Lingering Souls, so don't bring it in against Snapcaster Mage. It's not worth locking out one of your best cards, too.
Grafdigger's Cage1 The cage DOES NOT STOP LIVING END. It does, however, stop Storm and Pod (and our own Lingering Souls). It is a powerful solution to 2 very specific decks. Rest in Peace also hurts those decks, and has broader applications, so generally, the cage is not recommended.
Stony Silence1W Artifact hate. Shuts down the most troublesome cards that Affinity has, as well as significantly slowing down Tron (and stopping Birthing Pod). Seeing as those two decks are amongst the most popular, the consensus is that anything between 1-3 of this particular card is common sense.
Aven Mindcensor2W Flashing this guy in can severely hamper decks that like to search their library, such Pod, Amulet of Vigor, and Scapeshift. It can slow down Tron as well. Being a 2/1 flyer means he’ll be pulling some extra weight as a damage dealer, especially with a sword.
Torpor Orb1 Stops ETB effects, most notably souls sisters, combo elves, and amulet of vigor (namely Primeval Titan). Obviously, it's a big no no if you're using Blade Splicer or Kitchen Finks. A good choice against local metas with budget players, as the decks listed above are lower tier, but cheap decks.
Suppression Field1W Stops twin, and slows down pod. Good option if you play against both decks in your meta.
Disenchant1W Simple and effective. It's a good way to take out artifacts and enchantments (big surprise, right?). Bring it in against Bogles, Robots, and lower tier strategies like Heartless Summoning and combo elve's Cloudstone Curio.
Sundering Growth(G/W)(G/W) Probably the "better" disenchant, as the ability is the same, but will almost always net you another token. The only draw back is the WW casting cost.
Oblivion Ring2W Oring needs no introduction. It's fantastic, broad hate against anything that needs to go away. It is sometimes played over Disenchant or Sundering Growth as it has further applications in other matches.
Fulminator Mage1(B/R)(B/R) Another card with very clear uses. He brings the added bonus of letting us tap out on our turn to play token producing sorceries, while still having an answer to Urza Lands and Scapeshift. Can be subbed for Rain of Tears.
Surgical Extraction(B/P) A great way to remove all possibility of a combo after forcing a discard with Thoughtseize. When played properly, it can be utterly back breaking, and doesn't even require mana.
ExtirpateB Similar to Surgical Extraction, but requires mana for the benefit of Split Second.
Memoricide3B A more expensive Surgical Extraction, but has the benefit of not needing a target in the graveyard. Make sure you know the correct name of the card you want gone.
Stain the Mind4B A memoricide with convoke. It can still cannot be played before turn 4 (as we have no turn 1 creatures), but with Bob + Spirit Tokens already on the field, it can leave mana open for other spells.
Damnation2BB Very powerful against decks that win via creatures. Often, a well timed field wipe is a win against Pod, Affinity, or Merfolk. The "can't be regenerated" clause is also very important against Jund win cons like Thrun the Last Troll. Damnation gets a slight nod over Wrath of God, because of the BB cost. That mirrors the BB cost we're looking for in Liliana of the Veil and Fulminator Mage.
Wrath of God2WW Can be run over or alongside damnation. The WW casting cost is a slight step in the wrong direction for our curve.
Here are some in depth articles about BW Midrange, taking a look at the decks strengths, weaknesses, specific matchups and so on.
I highly recommend that you read them.
6) Tips and Tricks:
At its simplest, the combination of hand disruption, spot removal, super efficient creatures, and the best hate/sideboard cards in the game can spell VICTORY in any meta. Still, to really push the deck over the top, it is important to understand the decks various interactions.
The first question in every game: Do I keep this hand?
Since we have powerful black control cards, and fantastic White hate, if you have previous knowledge of your opponent's deck, mulligan to a card that helps. This is especially true in game 2/3.
If there is no advanced knowledge to draw on, focus on having a playable hand. This means two sources of two colored sources of mana, ideally (W/B)(W/B), but BW isn't horrible. Finally, the deck plays best on a curve. Thoughtseize into Dark Confidant into Liliana of the Veil or a 3cmc creatures is a classic midrange environment.
Lingering Souls - It's a Sorcery. Mutavault is all creature types, including Rat and Golem (if you use Blade Splicer). Remember to include it when you count Pack Rat's power/toughness Darkblast can be played multiple times in a turn. Cast on your upkeep, then dredge back into your hand on your draw. You can do this AGAIN if you have a draw trigger from a sword.
Finally, don't over extend. A common mistake is to flood the field with all we got (despite having enough already in play to push for lethal), only to get blown out by a sweeper. Sometimes, you have to aggro it up, but do not do that unless it is mandatory.
7) Match Analysis:
There is plenty of room for variation in BW Midrange. For the matchups section, I've listed the major competing decks, and all none-core cards that help against that match. Your sideboard will not fit all these cards. Generally, you need to pad your mainboard a bit with what you think you're going to fight.
In general, BW Midrange decks have flexible slots in their main deck removal, and probably a few personal touches. These will be what your drop for appropriate sideboard cards. It's important to not harm the core of the deck when sideboarding.
The key against burn is to gain life or stop any of their spells. They run out of gas fast, and rely on players hurting themselves to get faster wins. Try to only Thoughtseize if you know it can take a spell that would hurt you more than the 2 to cast. Don't shock lands in or fetch unless necessary. Watch out for sweepers in game 2/3.
+ Burrenton Forge-Tender
+ Auriok Champion
+ Kor Firewalker
+ Pulse the Fields
Same game plan as RG, but no more red sweepers to worry about. They favor the Academy Ruins package, which fuels the super fun Mindslaver lock. Fortunately, Stony Silence and standard land destruction makes that tough. If they do get the lock, you can request they play it out. It takes about 10 minutes to mill out a deck 1 turn at a time. They have to use Academy Ruins, draw the mindslaver, cast and activate the mindslaver, pass the turn, then draw your card, tap your land, and pass the turn back. You can get lucky, push the game to time, or catch them in an error. Be very cautious of mass return spells, like Cyclonic Rift and Aetherize.
+ Stony Silence
+ Aven Mindcensor
+ Tectonic Edge, Ghost Quarter or Fulminator Mage