Falcon Fly By: Lean Mean Black Green Machine

Hey everyone!

The Falcon is back with some modern action. If you have read any of my articles at this point you would know of my love for all things Jund. That love can fluctuate between Red and White depending on how I feel and how the meta is shaping up, but at the base of both of these decks are the two primary colors of Black and Green.

The decks skeleton and primary function come from the Black/Green base. The bells and whistles come from the third color. I’ll take some time explaining the positives of both colors and then I will go over why I believe that two colors is currently better.

RED

TerminateLightning BoltKolaghan’s CommandRaging RavineShatterstorm
Ancient GrudgeChandra, Torch of DefianceHuntmaster of the Fells

The biggest things we lose from not playing red in my opinion are Terminate and Raging Ravine. Both of those cards are the most powerful things you can be doing in these colors. One of the best man lands ever printed and one of the best removal spells. The snowball effect of Raging Ravine being able to win the game on its own is great. And having a Terminate in hand gives you the comfort of being able to deal with anything.

The sideboard cards are versatile and you have some powerful card advantage effects in Huntmaster of the Fells and Kolaghan’s Command. And the cards are very efficient for what they do.

WHITE

Path to ExileLingering SoulsSiege RhinoGideon, Ally of ZendikarStony Silence

Gideon and Siege Rhino aren’t exactly mainstays in Abzan decks. They come and go, but If I were to sign up to an event playing this combination I would auto include those cards. Path to Exile is another in the line of efficient removal spells. Takes care of just about everything at the low low price of your opponent getting a basic land. Between this and Fatal Push you have very efficient removal spells allowing you to cast two spells in one turn very early. Siege Rhino and Gideon are some of the best top end threats. Both gaining value upon entering (Drain and gain from Rhino and a 2/2 Knight token from Gideon) and both are hard to deal with.

Lingering Souls is the single best card in this color combination. It’s built in card advantage, a clock that can win the game, four flying chump blockers, and discard fodder for your Liliana of the Veil and Collective Brutality.

Out of the sideboard we lose Stony Silence, Timely Reinforcements, and Rest in Peace. All of these cards absolutely hose their competition and are great to see. Shambling Vent out of the land base is another card worth mentioning because of the lifegain and activation cost.

THE COST

That can be summed up in a few words. We lose consistency in the mana base and it costs us life for our lands to enter untapped when we need them. Do we have access to all of our colors? How much life are we spending for the first three turns of the game trying to cast a spell each turn? Also we don’t have that much room for colorless lands. Especially if we are playing Siege Rhino.

THE ANSWER

Just Black and Green baby!

For reference here is the list I ran to little success at Syracuse and to great success at a PPTQ.

You might read little success at the big event and say that maybe it’s not the best list. But when I say luck wasn’t on my side, TRUST ME.

I opened with a hand game 3 against affinity on the play with:

Verdant CatacombsMarsh FlatsFatal PushDark ConfidantAbrupt Decay
Maelstrom PulseFulminator Mage

And I lost….I even drew my sideboard copy of Creeping Corrosion. So yeah, not a great day. But in my defense I got a free ride, room, and we ended up getting free Renaissance Fair tickets, (shout out to my boy Jamal,) so I really won that weekend secretly.

Fast forward to the PPTQ, we ended up in a top 8 position on the draw versus Green White elves with the Devoted Druid combo. We had a strong tournament and I played a variety of decks. I played against G/R tron and if I could have drawn a 3rd land we could have had some game versus a turn 4 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. That’s very difficult to say when you’re playing any form of a Black Green variant. With the mainboard land destruction, sideboard Fulminator Mage/Surgical Extraction, and 3 Maelstrom Pulses you have the ability to deal with various permanents and remove them from the game completely.

What I love about the land base, along with the ability to play Tectonic Edge and Ghost Quarter, are the manlands. Treetop Village only costs you two mana to activate and it’s a 3/3 with Trample. Trample works very well with all of your removal spells. If they try double blocking you can remove one and trample over the other. Hissing Quagmire on the other hand costs a little more and is a little smaller. But the upside is that it taps for both of your colors and has deathtouch. Which in a world of Tarmogoyfs, Death’s Shadows, Gurmag Anglers, Tasigur, the Golden Fangs, and Primeval Titans, it attacks planeswalkers and can block and trade with just about everything.

Another positive in this list is that with all the life you can save with your hyper efficient manabase you can afford to play another Thoughtseize over the 4th Inquisition of Kozilek.

The biggest question I still ask myself is about Go for the Throat. It fits the role we need it to, but there is some merit to Victim of Night and Murderous Cut.

Tireless Tracker is also great. 100% recommend you try it. And we get fetchlands!

The one mistake I made is thinking of the PPTQ as a smaller version of the Open. I should have added some Flaying Tendrils to my sideboard. I was floating the idea even before Syracuse and should have pulled the trigger. But there are a few flex options for this deck still. Eternal Witness, Traverse the Ulvenwald, Grim Flayer, Garruk Wildspeaker, and some mainboard/sideboard fluctuations.

I personally enjoy this list and very much recommend it to anyone looking to PPTQ this season. A buddy of mine borrowed this list and has been doing extremely well with it. His friend has also picked it up and went to the finals of a PPTQ.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Good luck at your next event!

As always, Stay humble and stay hungry.

Falcon Out.

Deck of the Week – Ramunap Red

This Deck of the Week features Pro Tour winning Ramunap Red.

Weekly Ward S2 E27 – Final Countdown

Dan and guest host Jon recap the MTG weekend, preview the Pro Tour, and talk winners & losers in Hour of Devastation.

Deck of the Week – Four Color Control

Dan goes over a spurprise deck, four color control.

Most Impactful Hour of Devastation Cards

I believe that despite being a small set, Hour of Devastation will have a large impact on the standard format. There are many cards that are somewhat under the radar that have the ability to create new archetypes and cards that might help defeat former great decks such as G/B Constrictor and Mardu vehicles. This list below is what I believe will be the top 10 most impactful cards for constructed, as well as ideas on which decks to put them in, that I have found after testing a significant amount for this upcoming pro tour in Kyoto.

1. Champion of wits

Champion of Wits

This card will add consistency to fringe archetypes that showed up in the past such as Temur Emerge, U/R Zombies, Grixis Gods Pharaoh Gift (I’ll get into that later) and 4 color Haunted Dead/Prized Amalgam decks. Champion of Wits has the potential to propel these decks to being tier one or close to it. This card provides value and increased consistency early, and is also a great creature to emerge Elder Deep Fiend from. I expect this card to be in the top 8 of many local events this weekend and the open in Cincinnati. Buy this card while it is still $2.

2. Hour of Devastation

Hour of Devastation

This is the best board wipe we have seen in a long time in standard. It cleanly deals with Gideon, any creatures that hit the table before it, and also stops indestructible creatures such as Selfless Spirit, Avacyn, and Crested Sunmare. This card will help bring back control in standard and I will be busy working on creature decks that can beat this card.

3. Abrade

Abrade

Finally a good main-deck answer to Heart of Kiran for decks that do not play black, such as my favorite Temur Energy. Abrade is one of the best removal spells printed in a while as it cleanly kills a wide range of things from Oketra’s Monument, to Winding Constrictor, to Gearhulks. Expect to play against this card a lot and try to play more with x-4s.

4. Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

Nichol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

This is a powerful top end that works extremely well in decks that play Chandra to play it as early as turn 4. Bolas is best when its 7 damage to the face ability is relevant, so you want to play bolas in decks with Glorybringer and not in decks that play Torrential Gearhulk. Bolas is meant to be a proactive card and not a reactive one, since it’s best at closing close games.

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5. Hour of Promise

Hour of Promise

Hour of Promise is Explosive Vegetation that hit the gym nonstop for a few years. It gets any two lands and comes with 2 zombies most of the time, making it well worth 5 mana and a great reason to play negates in your sideboard this weekend. This card will make it that people can still register Ulamog for standard by fetching 2 Shrine of Forsaken Gods.

6. God- Pharaoh’s Gift

God-Pharaoh’s Gift

I played against a Grixis cycling deck in a standard league online that played this card along with Aarchfiend of Infinir, Curator of Mysteries, Vizier of Tumbling Sands, Glorybringer, Locust God, Insolent Neonate and some other cards. I was defeated soundly and my opponent’s deck felt extremely powerful and very real. I would not be surprised if this card creates a Living End style standard deck that is very good.

7. Claim // Fame

Claim // Fame

My modern decks of choice recently have been Death Shadow variants and this card slots right into Jund and Grixis Shadow. It brings back Death Shadow and Tarmogoyf, giving them haste. Works better in Grixis where they have access to Thought Scour. I will most likely be registering this card at SCG Syracuse if I decide to go there instead of GP Minneapolis.

8. Pride Sovereign

Pride Sovereign

Army in a can creatures are almost always good and that is what this Aslan impersonator does. G/W Tokens is an ideal home for this card, time will tell if that deck has the tools to beat Hour of Devastation and efficient enough removal to hang with the other threats of the format.

9. Crested Sunmare

Crested Sunmare

This card has the potential to have a whole deck built around it as most of the time it’s a 5 mana 10/10. The key with this card is the power level of its support cards and if a good enough core can be built around it I expect this card to see a lot of play. Life-gain is typically not a strong mechanic, but I am confident I’ll be riding this horse to victory at some point.

10. The New Gods

The Locust GodThe Scarab GodThe Scorpion God

The new gods are more playable than most of the Amonkhet gods, besides Rhonas and Hazoret. Expect to play against these as one-of’s in most mid-range decks that can cast them as they are great mana syncs and are very difficult to get rid of. Try to have access to at least one way to remove them in all of your standard deck lists.

These are my top 10 impactful cards from the new set that I will be expecting to play against at Pro Tour Hour of Devastation and at the tournaments that will be played this weekend. Some of these cards are currently great buys if you will be needing them for this weekend as many cards in this set are being undervalued in my opinion. I hope this article helped you guys out on deck ideas and what you might have to face this release weekend.

Matt Tumavitch