Here it is, the culmination of a three-week process to find and play a Standard deck that suits me. In the first week I put out a cry for help. I was tired of playing pet decks and weird last-placers. I wanted to see what it feels like to play a real, hard-hitting, meta-sensitive deck. In week two I playtested a deck that I liked. I made proxies, traded for (and bought half of) the deck, and finished the sideboard.

Last week, I woke up early for Dragon’s Maze Game Day. I was excited. I was ready to win. Here’s the decklist:

Giaco Aggro

Creatures (27)
Vexing Devil
Flinthoof Boar
Burning-Tree Emissary
Ghor-Clan Rampager
Experiment One
Gyre Sage
Thundermaw Hellkite

Planeswalkers (2)
Domri Rade

Spells (8)
Searing Spear
Bonfire of the Damned
Lands (23)
Kessig Wolf Run
Rootbound Crag
Stomping Ground

Sideboard (15)
Mizzium Mortars
Pillar of Flame
Glaring Spotlight
Legion Loyalist
Ground Seal
Act of Treason
Pyreheart Wolf

I really like this deck. I think it has a lot going for it. It needs a few tweaks and changes (which I will discuss below) but overall this deck really played fluidly in playtesting. There’s a certain strange thrill in casting multiple Burning-Tree Emissary‘s that you’ve got to play to believe.

Round One was against Bant Auras. I was excited but I didn’t really know what it was exactly that Bant Auras did. In Game one, when he turn one played a land and said, “go,” and I dropped a Vexing Devil…I felt great. I played a Burning-Tree Emissary into a Flinthoof Boar turn three and now I was riding high. What does Bant Auras even do? Why is it supposed to be so nasty? And then his deck started picking up steam, and soon I was staring down a Geist of Saint Traft that I just couldn’t deal with, loaded up with auras and slamming me to zero before I knew what hit me. Game two went similarly with Invisible Stalker doing most of the work. I sided in a Glaring Spotlight and some Pyreheart Wolf‘s but they never showed up. I couldn’t outrace him and my deck felt super light on the back-end.

0-1 in rounds. 0-2 in games.

But no matter, on to Round Two. I played good guy and store regular Jon with his, I don’t know, Thragtusk and Restoration Angel deck? I’m sure there was more to the deck than that, but I’m still so shell-shocked by that classic duo. Game one I got Jon down to one before he stabilized and crushed me. In the back of my head I heard my boss saying, like a mantra, “If you got your opponent down to one life but lost…you could have won somehow.” He’s right, I’m sure I missed an attack, or misplayed my timing of something. Game two I fared no better, getting him down to two life before he got his deck under control and smushed me.

0-2 in rounds. 0-4 in games.

Prize payout started at 3-2 (even though, because this was Magic Game Day, everyone got a pack for playing). I needed more practice with my deck, so I sat down determined for Round Three. I’d be lying if I said I was in high spirits. I felt dejected, with the wind knocked out of my sails a bit. My opponent, Mike, is a seriously good Magic player and not someone I wanted to tangle with in the 0-2 bracket. Game one he showed me what his Progenitor Mimic deck could do, and I felt like I was witnessing a Shock and Awe campaign on my board state. But game two I came back quick, hitting my curve perfectly and swinging before he could start building a dangerous board state. And game three I struck hard enough to eek out a win as well.

1-2 in rounds. 2-5 in games.

Round Four I played an opponent who ran Orzhov Zombies. His deck was a home-brew and my aggressive deck was just too fast. It was a decided victory from early on in both games, and especially when I drew three Ghor-Clan Rampager‘s in three turns. What? Not fair, but it was fun to play.

2-2 in rounds. 4-5 in games.

Round Five I played James. An extremely nice guy with a fun deck. He was creating big threats with Boros Reckoner and Silverblade Paladin, but I recommended that he consider not soul bonding the two together. It removes the threat of Reckoner if I can never get damage in on him. I’ll happily chump block your double-striking Reckoner with a Burning-Tree while I build up my late-game board state (which by now I was learning how to deal with). And a strange thought occurred to me: I was giving someone else Magic advice. I looked at a deck I was playing against, saw where there could be a small tweak, and explained it succinctly. (I hope, maybe I didn’t. If not, sorry James!) This was a first for me. And I look forward to playing against James’s deck again as he keeps working with it!

3-2 in rounds. 6-5 in games.

Game Day held a lot of downs and ups (in that order) for me, and it showed me a lot of things I want to tweak in my deck. I think I want to switch the Bonfires for Mizzium Mortars. And Gyre Sage, the card that I love so much, is probably out for a Firefist Striker or something. Help me! I need that perfect two-drop! And then there’s the question of Lightning Mauler and Rakdos Cackler and oh! It’s all too much to comprehend right now. But one thing’s for sure…I love this deck. I love this play style. And I want to thank all my opponents, readers, friends, and colleagues for their invaluable support and advice. I’m going to keep with this Standard thing. I think I like it a lot.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.