3 Minute Abs, 5 Minute Wins

Those ads lie. You can’t get those abs (or buns) of steel in 3 minutes. You gotta work hard for them and after a few months you’ll look cooler. The same is NOT true of a 5 minute win. I promise if you use my product, you’ll be getting wins in 5 minutes! Yes, not 30, not 20 not, 10 . . . 5 minutes! Or at least that’s what happened today at a non-sanctioned event I went to.

I was running my WR Humans deck that I had built a week or so ago, and I managed to win a few of my games in less than 5 minutes (not the match, but the game). It’s a lean, mean, human fighting machine! After I got home, I made a few adjustments, took some advice, and I think it will be even better than before at coming events.

Take a look and tell me what you think.

Lands (22)

  • 2 Slayer’s Stronghold
  • 2 Cavern of Souls
  • 4 Clifftop Retreat
  • 6 Mountains
  • 8 Plains

Creatures (26)

  • 4 War Falcon
  • 4 Champion of the Parish
  • 4 Lightning Mauler
  • 3 Precinct Captain
  • 3 Fencing Ace (took out Elite Inquisitor)
  • 2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
  • 2 Silverblade Paladin
  • 1 Riders of Gavony
  • 2 Hellrider
  • 1 Odric, Master Tactician (instead of 1 Riders of Gavony)

Spells and Other (12)

  • 4 Silver-Inlaid Dagger
  • 4 Searing Spear
  • 4 Bonds of Faith

Sideboard (15)

  • 4 Oblivion Ring
  • 3 Rootborn Defense
  • 2 Faith’s Shield
  • 2 Rest in Peace (or Grafdigger’s Cage)
  • 2 Ash Zealot
  • 2 Zealous Conscripts

I had to make some painful cuts, and others that were more obvious. The frame is still pretty much the same. There are 12 One drop cards (Champion, Dagger, War Falcon), 20 Two drops (Bonds of Faith, Spear, Fencing Ace, Thalia, Mauler, Precinct Captain), and then 2 Three drops and 5 four drops. The average mana cost is a PERFECT 2.0 at the moment, with a land ratio of 36%. This means you can keep a two land hand and still be in a good position to cast most of the cards in your hand.

While the mana has stayed the same, as well as the 1 drop cards, there has been a lot of action in the two spots. Gone are the Elite Inquisitors and in their place are Fencing Aces. The Inquisitors would be good against Zombies, but there aren’t any in the metagame at the moment. The Aces have the potential to be a lot more potent against your opponent, especially if you can attach a Silver Dagger on him on turn 3. He could be potentially hitting for 8 damage if he’s not blocked on that turn, along with whatever other creatures you have in play. Fencing Ace is also easier to cast on turn 2 than the Inquisitor. I was finding myself somtimes screwed with hand of 3-4 Precinct Captains and Elite Inquistors, and with only 1 white mana to use. The other two drop addition is Searing Spear, because no red aggro deck would be complete without some burn. It works great as early removal, and later on as direct damage when you can’t attack as easily anymore. I ended up moving the Ash Zealots to the sideboard since double red is hard to cast at the moment. I still think it could see some play against control though.

In play, the Captain has been pretty useful, especially when teamed up with a Silverblade Paladin because when he hits twice, he puts two Soldiers into play. There are still quite a bit of first strike creatures on this squad (11), but not as many as before. I decide to go with more speed instead. Speaking of which, I took out two Riders of Gavony and in their place put a Odric, Master Tactician and 2 Hellriders. The Riders are useful if you’re going up against a tribal or some deck with a lot of the same creatures, but Odric is amazing when teamed up with a Lightning Mauler to give him haste. Being able to choose who to block and who not to block can take out an opponent’s entire team before you know it and single handedly win you the game.

I was having a little problem with Thragtusk and Centaur Healers today, which is why I decide to throw in 2 Hellriders as well. Against slow decks without any defense, you could finish the game on turn 4 with him in play. He also adds a point of damage if you’re attacking in the air with only your Falcons because of some ground defense. Speed is absolutely CRUCIAL with this strategy.

How to play it

Learning what hand to keep, with which mana, and in what order to play things is going to take some practice. I can only tell you what has worked well for me so far. Lead off the match with a War Falcon or Champion of Parish. This is a must. Look at your hand and see where you can take advantage of your opponent the easiest. Will they have a blocker on turn 2? Go with your flyer. Will they be wide open to attack? Go with your Champion. You have to start putting on the pressure early, and not let up. If your hand can’t do anything until turn 3, toss it back. Also be careful of cards that  have the double mana symbol. Getting stuck with mostly double white in your hand can be a death sentence if you don’t draw any mana.

Turn two opens up your options a little bit. If you have a Dagger in hand, playing a Fencing Ace would be great, but so would your other two drops. If you’re playing against red and know that a possible Pillar of Flame is coming for your Champion next turn, it might be a good idea to put a Bonds of Faith on him to keep him out of range and then attack. If you don’t have anything else, Lightning Mauler would be fine too, but hold off on soulbounding him. He’s best used on turn 4.

Turn 2 could possibly be a Paladin if you’re lucky, but for the most part I use this turn to equip my humans and to play more creatures. Turn 4 is what can make or break the game. If you played first, you could have a huge advantage over your opponent with 3 creatures on the board already and probably a good 6 damage done to them. At this point, casting an Odric, Riders of Gavony, or Hellrider could end it for your opponent. If you’ve been saving up your Lightning Mauler’s soulbound, this is the time to use it. Odric is my favorite target, but the Riders are also great.

After turn 4, your deck will start to slow down, so be careful how you play your cards. If it’s against control, watch out for a board wipe. Against GW or GWR decks, life gain could be a problem. Laying a Bonds of Faith on a Thragtusk to pacify him could be your best bet at taking out a big threat. With only 22 mana, hopefully each card from there on out will be a threat against your opponent. This is why a fast start is sooo important for the deck. Without it, you will easily fall behind due to lack of card draw and life gain (and if life gain is the case, you might want to think about putting some Nearheath Pilgrims in your deck!).

Sideboarding effectively will also be important. Rootborn Defense is important against UWR and other control decks to prevent Supreme Verdict from doing its thing. Oblivion Ring is also good for tough enchantments or permanents your humans can’t deal with, and the Zealous Conscripts should help you to take over their big creature and attack them with it. Faith’s Shield could also help to push through those crucial points of damage. Think about the cards you’re facing, and side in appropriately. I usually take out cards like Bonds of Faith first, and after that use my better judgment to decide what to take out. Four spaces if usually enough though.

Today’s Results

I went 2-1 at a very tiny non-sanctioned event, but I did get some really good data. I played against a Naya midrange and a Bant Enchantment control deck, and when I drew fast hands I always won. I won my first game in under 5 minutes: Turn 1 War Falcon, turn 2 Precinct Captain (18 life), turn 3 Silverblade Paladin (Soulbounded to the Captain – 11 life), then a turn 4 Riders of Gavony naming their only creature in play for 13 damage in one attack. Seeing a deck work so efficiently is scary, but it’s definitely doable with this one. If you can keep a good, fast hand and your opponent gives you too much leeway, you can be finished with your entire match in less than 10 minutes.

So to wrap things up, you can’t get great abs in 3 minutes, but you can get a win at your local Magic event in 5 if you get the right cards with this deck! Good luck and let me know if you have any suggestions or feedback from using this deck! I’m sure this deck will only get stronger after Gatecrash. Thanks for reading!