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.

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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.

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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.

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Weekly Ward S2 E26 – Wizards Bronze Bombshell

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Right before the show Wizards of the Coast made a major Pro Tour changing announcement. Dan & Kevin discuss it, along with recaping SCG Cincinnati.

Weekly Ward S2 E25 – Top 10 Creatures

Kevin & Dan recap SCG Invitationals, talk Hall of Fame requirements, and then give you their Top 10 Creatures.

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Standard Gauntlet for the SCG Invitational

Finally, we no longer have to deal with the potential threat of the game ending on turn 4 in standard. Splinter Twin combo and Aetherworks Marvel are gone and we are about to enter a great standard format filled with all sorts of potential new archetypes. This SCG Invitational is going to be a bit of a different tournament than normal because it will be the only major event in a particular format. The prerelease for hour of Devastation is actually the week after the invitational adding many new powerful cards to the format and again shaking it up giving old decks new tools and creating new decks. Based on Magic online results since the banning of marvel, 4 top decks have emerged to be the leaders of standard, but there is also a complete tier 2 list of decks that are right up there in power level to compete at the top. These are the 4 main decks you can look forward to playing against in the standard portion of the invitational or any local events that you might be playing in:

MONO-BLACK ZOMBIES Featured by Gerry Thompson on 2017-06-15 (Standard)

This deck won the last pro tour and will certainly be a force in the new standard. It’s incredibly strong game one but can be beaten with a solid sideboard plan due to how linear the deck is. A key to beating this deck is to have removal spells that exile and board wipes. I would expect to play against this deck multiple times this weekend.

This is an updated list of the deck I won the SCG Classic in Baltimore with, Negates are no longer needed in the main and maybe not at all. This deck is super solid against pretty much everything outside of Mardu Vehicles which has been the deck I have lost to the most playing this.

This deck is also very solid and will be very popular, maybe number one in popularity although I do believe it is the weakest option of the big 4 decks. It’s weakest without drawing Snake and is an easier deck for opponents to play against

Mardu vehicles is extremely strong, but is somewhat weak to zombies, especially in game one. Although it gets significantly better post board. It’s capable of fast nut draws and contains all of the remaining cards that people thought should be banned in standard, Gideon and Heart of Kiran.

These will be the 4 main decks for the Invitational and other standard events this week. I do not think any one of these will be more than 20% of the metagame though, and standard will be extremely diverse and fun. Week one formats like this are always the most fun to play in. A very important tip this weekend is to play a deck that is proactive with cheap interaction and strong threats. Playing decks like U/R control or B/G delirium control will most likely be fatal to whatever tournament you are playing in, because your answers will not line up in ways to combat the diverse field full of midrange aggro decks that you will end up facing.

Here are some other tier two options that I believe are completely viable for this weekend.

I’ve yet to play any games with this deck, but I do believe it to be the fifth option behind the 4 decks posted above due to the success the deck has had on magic online. In theory it seems powerful in going over the top of the midrange agro decks in current standard.

Mono white is capable of extremely powerful and fun things, and has proven itself on magic online the past few weeks. I would not be surprised at all to play against this deck at any event you go to.

Right now for the standard portion of the Invitational I am leaning towards playing Temur Energy in standard because of how well it lines up verses everything that isn’t Mardu and I will be working on that matchup all week. Baral’s Expertise being added to the deck has greatly improved many matchups as well as the sideboard Aethersphere Harvesters. The energy mechanic is another aspect that other decks do not have access to and is extremely powerful as it was the surrounding core of the two recent decks to be banned, 4 color Saheeli and Temur Marvel. I believe zombies is the second best choice followed by Mardu and then G/B with Metalwork Colossus closing the gap as it gets more and more tuned. Another deck that I believe will emerge at some point as a tier deck will be a B/W midrange deck that plays gifted Aetherborn. It’s too early in the format to post a list I’m confident in, I believe it’s too early to know how many of each card to play in the deck because it is reactive and not proactive.

Hour of devastation is closing in and many of the decks that I listed above will remain as strong choices getting new upgrades such as Abrade and Eternal Ammit, I believe Nicol Bolas is the best card for standard spoiled so far followed by Ateral Ammit to improve Mardu, maybe zombies and maybe G/B and then Abrade as a clean answer to so many threats in the standard format.
Standard is destined for greatness now that the toxic cards are now gone. Good luck to all playing this amazing format this weekend.

Matt Tumavitch