After considering the players in my bracket and their known favorite decks/colors, I had narrowed down my deck choices to U/W control, Mono Black, or B/W midrange. I definitely didn’t want to play control in a best of five, four round tournament, though it was probably the correct choice. I noted two, possibly three mono black decks on my side of the bracket. I had no interest in playing the horrendous mirror match all day, so B/W midrange it was. The choice was possibly influenced by playing the deck for the last three months.
Matthew Nemchik’s Orzhov Midrange
The deck is not overwhelming against any one particular deck, but has all the right tools, particularly after boarding, to be strong against most of the field, and since we were playing best of five the sideboard advantage was huge.
One of the main differences you might notice in my list is not running four (or even three) Underworld Connections main. I Personally don’t like running four Connections in the main due to how many times I find multiples in my hand as I’m losing to a turn three threat. Instead, I play two main, with one Liliana of the Dark Realms as a psuedo-Connections (thanks James McCoury for the idea). It is at worst a clunky removal spell, but at best it is mana-fixing for White and a free card for rats. She can also surprise opponents with her +x/+x ability as well.
The Ratchet Bomb isn’t really needed. It could be your pick of removal spells, Duress, Sin Collector, or whatever floats your boat really It was added due to my round one opponent being Boros devotion. playing ratchet bomb on two against a bunch of two-drops, then dropping a Desecration Demon on 4 seemed good.
Round 1 – Stephen Houk – Boros Devotion
This was a pure case of removal being red devotion’s bane. His one win came from a double boros charm for eight that surprised me. The reach from the deck is real, but as long as you curtail the early aggression and not be too greedy with tapping out for your threats, the matchup is pretty easy.
Round 2 – Dan Fountain – Mono Black Devotion
Sadly, black decks are a little bit boring to play against one another. It’s mainly a game of who lands the relevent threats first, those threats being Underworld Connections, Whip of Erebos, Erebos, God of the Dead, and Pack Rat. I believe after board my deck becomes much better against mono black which helped me to win all three post-board games. The underlying way each game played out was the same. The player that won resolved Underworld Connections first, and drew more Pack Rats.
Round 3 – Joel Gagnon – Rakdos Devotion
Similar to my round one opponent’s Boros devotion, Joel’s deck was mono-red splashing black for Dreadbore and Rakdos’ Return. His deck had explosive potential early game just like Stephen’s deck did, a permanent answer for Desecration Demon in Dreadbore, and a late game threat in Rakdos’ Return combined with the Nykthos engine to fuel it. I still believe black holds the advantage in this matchup, but it is much MUCH closer.
Game one Joel kept a hand I would have been scared to keep, but he drew the running mountains needed to fuel a savage beat-down that forced me to block with my Mutavault or die on turn five, even after I Thoughtseized away his two drop. He took that game shortly after.
After board things got a little easier since I had Doom Blades to limit the early aggression and Sin Collector to nab Rakdos’ Return. It’s surprising how much that Black splash does for Red decks. It’s definitely a deck I would recommend, despite winning the next three.
Round 4 – Kurt Fruth – Mono Blue Devotion I feel B/W midrange is highly favored in this matchup. Desecration Demon is a house. After game one, you also get to bring in answers for Thassa, God of the Sea and her Bident, the only cards you care about. I brought in Sin Collector as well to look for counters/Rapid Hybridization/Cyclonic Rift. Pretty much the game plan was keeping Thassa inactive with my removal, taking away the answers to my threats with disruption, and slamming superior threats on the table. We both lost a game from mulliganing then keeping one landers so this match played out more like a best of three.
Overall, I really like B/W mid-range’s position in the meta. It’s very versatile, with only glaring weakness being very aggressive decks, which represent a VERY small percentage of the meta.
Going forward, I would adjust what your sideboard/main board is based on the future meta. If R/G monsters becomes the top dog, main board Lifebane Zombie. If control and mono Black rise up, main board more Underworld Connections. If you start seeing a lot aggro you still have the option of Drown in Sorrow out of the sideboard, but there just aren’t enough aggro decks out there to need to run that.