Power and Toughness—GW Aggro (FNM #3)

At FNM I sleeved up/borrowed (upon realizing I’d left my deck at my girlfriend’s place) a Luis Chato designed alternative GW Aggro (that differs from this deck and its variations). Chato GW Aggro (and he’s not that stoked about me posting the list but said it was fine) is focused almost exclusively on the short game. There are no Thragtusks, no Angels of Serenity, no Restoration Angels, no Smiters, and no mana dorks. The fat is trimmed and we aren’t ramping into anything. It’s all small dudes that get bigger or double strikier and things that make it likely to crush with them very early on. Here’s the list with some next-to-each-card-commentary as to how they performed and what I think about ’em:

4 Champion of the Parish – sometimes awesome, sometimes not awesome.
3 Dryad Militant – I have now played maybe 30 matches with this deck and have played zero reanimator decks and seen this card be relevant maybe once vs. a Bant mid-range deck.
3 Doomed Traveler – good at pumping Champion, good at surviving a board wipe and for reapplying returned-to-my-hand’d Rancor.
4 Knight of Glory – usually very good, sick in the Zombies matchup (if/when there is one)
4 Mayor of Avabruck – this card is surprisingly amazing, Luis and I have been trying to put Mayor into a deck since makingdudes.dec upon Mayor’s release; he double pumps Champion, he flips and makes more dudes (in wolf form) – endlessly good (even at eating removal so your Paladins or whatever live)
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben – almost always good and only almost because of Ajani, Rancor, and Faith’s Shield become occasionally uncastable (especially Ajani); Thalia’s first strike ability paired with Rancor is super awesome for f’ing over opponents creatures big time.
4 Silverblade Paladin – always great
3 Sublime Archangel – usually good (unless you ever have two in your hand)
4 Rancor – the only way to break through their dorks
2 Faith’s Shield – this card was read twice during FNM when I played it; it’s really good and I’ve gone up to three in the current build
2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride – sometimes Ajani wins games when I cast and -3 him; sometimes he distracts other players and gives me a Timewalk; sometimes he +1s for days; sometimes he’s in my hand because I’m stuck on two lands or three lands and a Thalia in play
2 Oblivion Ring – good 80% of the time
4 Temple Garden
4 Sunpetal Grove
3 Cavern of Souls – super important for both anti-counter-style and casting Mayors.
8 Plains
1 Forest
2 Gavony Township – I have gone down to one Township; this card can be amazing late game but I don’t really want to go late game so no need for more than one; usually if Township is relevant I’m facing more than one Thragtusk and probably losing
2 Fiend Hunter – in creature match-ups almost always gets sided in over O-ring
1 Oblivion Ring – control? I don’t often side this in
3 Elite Inquisitor – always vs Zombies and always amazing in this situation; usually in place of Dryad Militant
2 Ray of Revelation – Luis has since changed this to Erase as Militant makes the casting cost expensive and the flashback irrelevant; sided in vs Bant, anything with Detention Spheres.
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben – any kind of control matchup gets +1 Thalia
2 Purify the Grave – I have never sided this in as I’ve yet to play against a Reanimator/graveyard strategy
1 Dryad Militant – I have never sided this in as I’ve yet to play against a Reanimator/graveyard strategy
3 Selesnya Charm – this card has helped me win the turn before I would’ve died countless times by killing a fat blocker/beater or more often +2/+2 and trampling my dude (after he’s already Paladin souldbonded); side it in against anything with Dragons or big beaters; probably the #2 most sided in card behind Fiend Hunter (so far)

R1 vs Jund (I think?)
I’d talked to Orlando Santiago on the train the day before FNM about Brayan’s Jund list he was working with its Gravecrawlers, etc. I kinda knew what I was in for with this matchup. It isn’t the regular Jund with Tusk and Olivia, but really I can’t be sure as our games were very short. See, when I play Brayan at 20ss he gets mana screwed about 95% of the time. G1 he was ok but timely O-rings kept Nighthawks from killing my dudes and gaining him life. I had mulled to five then drew extremely well. G2 he mulled to six and after an “aw fuck it” he played a Mountain, the only land he’d play all game. We played one more for funzies and I don’t remember what happened during the match (was kinda like G1) and I won.


R2 vs UWB Superfriends
Tim and I have history on our email list of hating the style of the other player. Last week he wiped the floor with me and my Reanimator build. This week I crushed G1 on the back of some kinda Paladin Rancor’d awesomeness (and his lack of land for a Supreme Verdict). G2 he got all his planeswalkers in play and kicked butt (probably Terminus’d, too). G3 I got him for exactsies, Thalia being a key component of his not being able to win.


R3 vs BR Zombies
I get crushed G1, just crushed. He killed all my dudes and smashed me with his and won off Blood Artist triggers. G2 was time for the Elite Inquisitor to shine and shine he did. G3 I punted and paid for it double time facing down two Falkenrath Aristocrats in back-to-back turns.


R4 vs UW No Delver
On TNM I scooped G2 to Mike Herbig when he countered something saying “I just don’t want to play anymore” which he found surprising. The round after I did the same thing against Richard when he killed the only creature I had for miles. Sometimes the game’s that frustrating and I’m that bad at plowing through it. This time against Mike I had answers in Cavern and Thalia. As usual I don’t remember the games (maybe we played three?) but do remember that Thalia was an absolute house and this match-up is very in-my-favor. Mike seemed to be sitting around waiting for a Pike and when he got a Pike it didn’t seem to matter.

3-1 and awarded six packs; I traded all the value cards from those packs for the missing cards in my version of the deck so I didn’t have to play Luis’s.

Post game thoughts: #1 Mayor is insane. #2 Faith’s Shield sets opponents back in a big way. I haven’t used it to make a dude unblockable yet. It’s always to make it pro-red, pro-black, or pro-whatever-color-their-removal-spell-is. This is why it goes up to three and Ajani goes down to two. Ajani is too late game and I’d rather just hang onto my creatures already in play, already bonded, already Rancor’d, than try to cast a probably four casting cost planeswalker. Faith’s Shield is much more synergistic. #3 There’s a bunch of stuff to monkey around with in the side board. Maybe less Purify the Grave? Maybe no O-ring? Luis suggested Nearheath Pilgrims for matches where Knight of Glory is irrelevant and I tried it out on MTGO last night and was VERY impressed. #4 I am thoroughly unimpressed with Dryad Militant – but, again, haven’t played many matches where the card is even relevant. It is usually a 2/1 dork that doesn’t pump Champion and isn’t pumped by Mayor. One drop creatures are important. I wonder if there’s another one out there that’s better (by way of having more synergy).

I’ve gone 3-1, 2-2, and 2-2 in Standard dailies with this deck. One of the 2-2s was on the back of being housed by RDW and Zombies and the other should be at least a 3-1 after I punted clicking “cancel” when TRYING to soulbond a Paladin to a Champion. VERY frustrating. I’ve been having trouble with RDW and Zombies, apparently. These two match-ups feel like they should be ok. After having my ass handed to me at 20ss Monthly Modern (playing Geralf’s Messenger Jund instead of Finks Jund – a serious error) by UR Snapcaster Burn (all I saw were Rift Bolts, Lava Spikes, Lightning Bolts, and Searing Blazes) Luis says to me “you need to be able to play better against Red,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Later kids,

27 Responses to “Power and Toughness—GW Aggro (FNM #3)”
  1. Nothing hurts more than dying to burn. Actually the Punting on the MODO match. Thats terrible, it was a common problem I had with Modo from the start. Deck looks tight! I agree with the +1 Shield and -1 Ajani.

  2. tim akpinar says:

    You didn’t have Thalia in G3, she was the super clutch all-star in G1. G3, I died to missing my t4 land drop while being stuck with 2 verdicts in hand.. actually, after rereading the whole rnd 2 recap, I think you reversed g1 and 3.

    Also, 2 Sublimes in hand aren’t the worst thing in the world, they stack! But I guess it’s a little higher than the sort of curve you’re going for.

    • Matt Jones says:

      My memory from games/matches from two days ago is week at best! I’m gonna have to start writing these things down. I didn’t have Thalia in G3 but she was super clutch in G1 and G3, did you mean to say G2 I didn’t have thalia? I’m sure i reversed the hell out of everything. I’ll get it right this FNM 🙂

  3. Li Xu says:

    Maybe try Cathedral Sanctifiers for the red matchups? 1 drop human + lifegain!

  4. Rich Stein says:

    Have you tried Restoration Angel in the Sublime Archangel slot? If you’re going to run a 4-drop Angel, Restoration Angel seems much better, especially in a deck with Silverblade Paladin for blocking tricks.

  5. Matt Jones says:

    Just played this version and beat Bant pretty severely. G1 Faith’s Sheild saved a Thalia and Restoration Angel saved a Champion (wiped its counters but didn’t matter as Resto was the three damage I needed). G2 I boarded in 2x Erase, 1x Thalia and out 1x Ajani, 1x Knight of Glory, and …? I forget what the third thing was. I mull to six (one land seven) and keep a tolerable one land (plains) hand (something like plains, Champion, Champion, Rancor, Rancor, Paladin). Ended up getting Champion D-sphered, top deck erase, Champions come back as 2/2s (both trigger 1x on each other). Then Paladin followed by Rancor & Paladin following turn. Really good top decked lands, erase, and Paladin.

    2 Oblivion Ring
    3 Faith’s Shield
    3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
    3 Cavern of Souls
    4 Mayor of Avabruck
    4 Knight of Glory
    4 Silverblade Paladin
    3 Doomed Traveler
    4 Temple Garden
    1 Gavony Township
    9 Plains
    4 Champion of the Parish
    4 Sunpetal Grove
    3 Restoration Angel
    3 Dryad Militant
    1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
    1 Forest
    4 Rancor

    1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
    3 Cathedral Sanctifier
    2 Erase
    3 Elite Inquisitor
    2 Selesnya Charm
    2 Nearheath Pilgrim
    2 Fiend Hunter

  6. Junie says:

    How did the match with zombies go? I would assume that the matchup would be favorable, as you have 7 zombie hate bears between the side and the main.

    I’ve been playing Luis’ original build here in Seoul. I’ve been running 4 Caverns because almost everyone at my LGS plays American/Bant control/midrange. I also put 2 Riders of Gavony in my sideboard because of Olivia. I thought I was ascending to the next level when I tried out Wild Beastmaster…nope.

    • Matt Jones says:

      I haven’t played yet against Zombies with the new Bears. We’ll see. I’m in a Daily now – http://www.twitch.tv/mattjonesrules. Good to hear from you Junie! Was wondering who was checking on the blog from Korea!! We miss ya, man. There’s lots of Bant here, too – Bant and no-delver Delver. Chase suggested Beastmaster and it seems really bad …? We had Riders in the side and I maindecked it a couple times. It was pretty awesome and also pretty meh. I’m trying all Restoration Angels as a kinda late game Faith’s Shield in the event that I have a chance turns 6 or 7 but haven’t gotten there yet.

      • Chase says:

        What can I say? I have to go through all the bad ideas to get to the good ones. How has resto done vs sublime archangels?

      • Matt Jones says:

        Sublime over resto. Resto just didn’t do it. This turns where you win cuz of sublime are necessary.

      • Rich Stein says:

        Ideally you should test a bunch of different matchups, and have a proxy in your deck that just says “Four-Mana Angel.” Every time you draw it, write down whether or not it would be better as Restoration Angel or Sublime Archangel. Then play it as that card.

        Ultimately you’ll know which match-ups which is better in, and then based on which match-ups you need more help with, pick that Angel.

      • Matt Jones says:

        This is a good idea!!

      • Zac Clark says:

        Solid! Though I’ve been using Riders of Gavony… which has its merits too

  7. Junie says:

    Sadly, I can’t watch, as Twitch is blocked here. But give us updates! Anyway, I really miss you guys and the shop. I’ve been playing RDW mostly (of course) and it’s a pretty solid deck right now, I think. Nothing better than bonding a Pyreheart Wolf with a Lightning Mauler than swinging into your opponent’s lone Thragtusk/Angel of Serenity/whatever.

    • Matt Jones says:

      Why would twitch be blocked? So weird. Updates: after round 1 I’m 1-0 after some of the loosest play of my life. This counts the six years of drug and alcohol abuse when I thought I was at my loosest. Played UW No-Delver. My opponent was thankfully worse than me at magic minus the super lucky draws. This results in my victory in two games.

      • Matt Jones says:

        Have fallen to 1-1 after two deadly games against RDW. G1 lost to Thundermaw. G2 lost to 2x Hellrider. Not sure what I could’ve done. Cathedral Sanctifier was unimpressive (played 1 of).

  8. Junie says:

    What do you think about trying Centaur Healers in the board over Sanctifiers? As a RDW player, I almost hate them more than I hate Thragtusk. Obviously, he’s not a human, but he kills everything RDW has outside of Thundermaw.

    And I should clarify: Twitch is blocked at work, not in the entire country.

  9. Junie says:

    Oof. Bring back the Sublime Archangels!

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