The Japan Metagame Diaries: Fate Reforged Game Day

AleshaWhoSmilesAtDeath

Someday, someone will best me. But it won’t be today, and it won’t be you. –

Flavor Text from “Last Word”

 

The Horde has treated me well these past 2 weeks.

Last week I made top 8 of a 50 person PPTQ in Nagoya with Mardu Tokens, going 5-2 but losing in the first round of the finals. The days leading up to Fate Reforged Game Day I thought I’d try something different and used my Mardu Warrior Aggro deck nicknamed “Aleshacrats” at a 8 person casual in town. The deck did really well, beating Abzan aggro, Jeskai Tokens, and Mardu Midrange to finish 3-0. I was confident that it would do well, so I played it at a 38 person midnight Game Day. The results were less than satisfactory.

I went 1-3, beating Esper control 2-1, but then losing to Abzan aggro, BW control, and Mardu Midrange. Black’s removal suite of Drown in Sorrow, Bile Blight, and Crux of Fate proved to be too much for me.  The top 8 of this event was pretty interesting and a big change from a week ago. Gone were the Abzan midrange and Abzan aggro decks, and in their place 2 UB control, 2 GR Midrange, BR aggro, Abzan reanimator, and a UG Yisan Combo deck made the top 8. Okay, one Abzan midrange deck made the top 8, but surprisingly enough the UG Yisan, the Wandering Bard deck took home 1st place and the Ugin Spiritdragon playmat.

It played Elvish Mystic, Kiora’s Follower, Yisan, Prophet of Kruphix, and a bunch of powerful green monsters like Arbor Colossus and Polukranos, World Eater to over power opponents. With Prophet of Kruphix in play, the deck was able to search for a creature each turn with Yisan, and if you had Kiora’s Follower in play you could even do it twice in one turn. Couple this with blue counterspells and card draw and you have a potent deck. On Saturday night there was another midnight Game Day but this time Temur midrange took home the playmat and first place.

After my 1-3 finish on Friday, I decided the Mardu aggro deck still needed some work. Before switching back to Mardu Tokens for Sunday’s Game Day, I made another revision to the warrior deck. I think this is the next step in the deck’s evolution.

 

Aleshacrats (Mardu Aggro)
75 cards, 15 sideboard
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
3 Battlefield Forge
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Mountain
1 Mana Confluence
3 Plains
4 Caves of Koilos
4 Swamp


23 lands

4 Mardu Woe-Reaper
4 Bloodsoaked Champion
4 Battle Brawler
4 Chief of the Edge
2 Athreos, God of Passage
2 Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
3 Butcher of the Horde


27 creatures

2 Chandra, Pyromaster
2 Hero’s Downfall
4 Valorous Stance
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor


10 other spells

Sideboard
2 Crackling Doom
2 Bile Blight
2 Hushwing Gryff
2 Mardu Ascendancy
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
3 Thoughtseize
3 Erase


15 sideboard cards

 

My big mistake was using Outpost Siege instead of Chandra, Pyromaster. Her ability to clear the way of blockers is essential if you want to win the game quickly, while it still allows you to get card advantage if you want to use the zero ability. I also decided to add in another Sorin, Solemn Visitor and put in Hero’s Downfall instead of Harsh Sustenance. It still gives me the life gain and power-up, but it also gives me unconditional removal to deal with planewalkers or other big creatures. I think the changes will solve the deck’s problems. I also added in Bile Blight to the sideboard to give me more ways to deal with opponent’s early creatures like Fleecemane Lion, but that could change in the future. I’ll be testing this out in the future, but for now I’ll be focusing on my Mardu Tokens deck.

 

Fate Reforged Game Day, Sunday

 

Going into Sunday’s tournament I had my reservations. Would my Mardu Tokens deck be able to repeat its success from the past week? Was the top 8 just a fluke? The metagame for Nagoya continued to show how unpredictable it is. Sunday had a large amount of RW midrange and Sultai decks, but GR continued to show up a lot as well. I had faced a wide range of decks with my Mardu tokens deck before so I was ready for whatever the metagame threw at me. A higher than expected 24 people showed up for the Game Day at Hobby Station Osu (4 other places were also holding a tournament in town on Sunday). Historically, I have never done well at large Game Day events. The first time I won a Game Day was during Dragon’s Maze, and it was at a 5 person midnight event. The second time I won was at a 11 person event, where I only had to fight through a top 4 to get the playmat. I’ve made top 8 two other times on top of that, but that was it.

Sometimes it does boil down to luck, but other times you just have to want it. After a 1-3 tournament on Friday, I wanted it pretty bad . . .

 

Butcher’s Feast (Mardu Tokens)
2nd place, Fate Reforged Game Day
3 Battlefield Forge
4 Plains
1 Caves of Koilos
4 Mountain
4 Nomad Outpost
1 Mana Confluence
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Swamp


24 lands

2 Stormbreath Dragon
4 Butcher of the Horde
2 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
2 Brutal Hordechief
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
1 Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury


15 creatures

2 Murderous Cut
2 Crackling Doom
4 Hordeling Outburst
3 Valorous Stance
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Stoke the Flames
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor


21 other spells

Sideboard
2 Crux of Fate
2 Outpost Siege
2 Anger of the Gods
3 Thoughtseize
3 Erase
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion


15 sideboard cards

 

Not much has changed other than going up to 4 Hordeling Outburst and dropping the 2 Magma Jets in favor of Murderous Cut. I wanted to add in Monastery Mentor due to all of the spells I have in the deck, but I felt like it made the deck too susceptible to board wipes like Drown in Sorrow or Anger of the Gods (especially if I dropped Brimaz for him). I’m not ruling out playing with 2-3 Mentors, but I’m not sure he’s good in this metagame just yet.

 

  1. Round 1: Sidisi Whip (won 2-1) – I got in a quick win game one thanks to Goblin Rabblemasters and my opponent not drawing any Whip of Erebos, but he managed to push a game 3. Erase and Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker were great in that game and Brutal Hordechief sealed the deal.
  2. Round 2: BUG Control (won 2-0) – 5 tokens by turn 3 into a turn 4 Brutal Hordechief easily won game 1, and a well controlled stream of tokens drained my opponent of all his removal and won the match in game 2.
  3. Round 3: GR Chord of Calling (won 2-0) – love that this player was using Chord of Calling. I had played this type of deck at the Last Sun and did horribly with it, but this deck has some new tricks up its sleeves with Fate Reforged. It’s unfortunate that uncontested tokens and Brutal Hordechief ran away with the first game, and double Butcher of the Hordes made short work of him in game 2.
  4. Round 4: Intentional Draw

 

FRF Game Day results

FRF Game Day results

 

TOP 8: Mardu Tokens (me), Temur Midrange, Green Devotion, RW midrange, RW Citadel Siege Midrange, BUG Control, GR Midrange

 After 4 rounds of swiss I was sitting pretty at 3-0-1 and in third place. The top was bleeding with red based decks, but a Green Devotion deck with Whisperwood Elemental had powered its way through them all and was sitting right behind me in 4th place. Even though the deck may seem like it lacks consistency, it drew the cards it needed when it mattered the most and was able to deal well with the metagame of UB control, RW midrange, and GR based decks.

 

Quarterfinals: Mardu Tokens Vs Temur Midrange

 

My first opponent in the quarterfinals was the winner of one of the Saturday Game Day events in town. He was playing a powerful Temur midrange deck with Ashcloud Phoenix, Yasova Dragonclaw, and Flamewake Phoenix, but without board wipes or trample there was no way he was getting through my army of tokens. I flooded the board with them and Brutal Hordechief and easily ran past his defense in game 1. I sided in Crux of Fate in game 2 thinking he would over commit to the board and when he did I wiped his board and followed up with a Butcher of the Horde for the win. My removal such as Stoke the Flames and Crackling Doom really came through for me in this match up. WON 2-0.

 

TOP 4: Mardu Tokens (me), GR Midrange, RW Citadel Siege midrange, RW Midrange

Semifinals: RW Midrange Vs. Mardu Tokens

 

The semifinals pitted me against my round 4 opponent that I intentionally drew with, and luckily I didn’t play him for fun during that 50 minute break so he didn’t know what I was playing or how to play against it. I’ll have to admit that his Chained to the Rocks were a pain in the ass when they kept getting rid of my Rabblemasters and Butcher of the Hordes, but he only had so much burn to go around. Curving out with tokens turn 2 and 3, backed up by Sorin, Solemn Visitor and a turn 5 Sarkhan made short work of him in game 2. WON 2-0.

 

FINALS: Mardu Tokens Vs. RW Citadel Siege Midrange

 

I’m not really sure if this deck is seeing any play outside of Japan or not, but it’s been popping up here and there in Nagoya over the past few weeks. The deck plays cards like Raise the Alarm, Brimaz, King of Oreskos, and Ashcloud Phoenix as well as a playset of Citadel Siege from Fate Reforged. The idea is to play the Citadel on turn 4 then protect your threats with Gods Willing or Valorous Stance until they are too big to deal with. My opponent easily got around the removal in my hand in game 1, but I was able to even it up with double Goblin Rabblemasters protected by my own Valorous Stance in game 2. In game 3 I mulliganed to 6, saw 3 mana of each color, 2 Sorins, and a Stoke the Flames and thought it was good since I could play almost my whole deck if I drew well. I ended up drawing 7 mana in a row and was dead with the extra Sorin in my hand. I probably should have thrown back the hand and mulliganed to 5 since I was on the draw, but variance caught up with me and stole sweet victory. I beat myself and I need to live with that and accept it. LOST 1-2

Final record: 5-1-1.

 

The Future Looks Bright

 

Mardu Tokens is a real deck and has the results to prove it. Top 8 of 2 high level events is nothing to scoff at, and with 2 more PPTQs coming up soon I’m feeling good about my chances with it. I haven’t seen many players promoting Brutal Hordechief but I can’t recommend him enough in this deck. He can easily end the game on turn 5 if your opponent doesn’t get rid of him and you have the mana to activate his ability. Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury is another card not getting the love it deserves. he’s stolen quite a few games for me and can create a huge swing in tempo if your opponent doesn’t expect it. He’s perfect as a 1-of.

As a bonus in today’s article, I’d like to share my recently redone Mardu Control deck. Special thanks to all of the Cardboard Samurai in my Facebook group that helped me work out its problems and make it a lean, mean, killing machine.

 

Sarkhan’s Fate (Mardu Control)
75 cards, 15 sideboard
1 Battlefield Forge
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
5 Mountain
4 Swamp
2 Plains
4 Nomad Outpost
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Temple of Silence
3 Temple of Malice


25 lands

3 Monastery Mentor
3 Goblin Rabblemaster
3 Stormbreath Dragon
3 Ashcloud Phoenix


12 creatures

3 Magma Jet
2 Bile Blight
3 Read the Bones
2 Crackling Doom
3 Hero’s Downfall
2 Murderous Cut
4 Crux of Fate
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion


23 other spells

Sideboard
2 Outpost Siege
3 Nyx-Fleece Ram
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
3 Thoughtseize
3 Erase
2 Anger of the Gods


15 sideboard cards

 

This build is much better than my first try, but it doesn’t have any matches under its belt just yet. One of my friends is currently taking it for a run on MTGO and will get back to me with results soon hopefully. There are tons of good removal spells in this deck, which have great synergy with Monastery Mentor, and it even sports a good amount of creatures that can run away with the game if left unchecked. Burn might cause some problems, but that’s why you have Nyx-Fleece Ram in the sideboard. The addition of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in the side gives it a great match up against slow burn decks such as Sidisi Whip and UB control, and Outpost Siege is an insane card advantage engine. I really think this deck has what it takes to do well in this metagame, and I look forward to trying it out after grabbing a PPTQ win with Mardu Tokens this weekend.

That should do it for last week’s metagame report, and barring some really good results I don’t think I’ll post another one for another week or so. I have some other interesting content planned in the mean time, so be sure to check back soon to read it. If you have any questions about the decks or sideboarding, I’d be happy to help. I’d also like to hear how your Game Days went. If you have any info on the top 8, winners, or just what the general metagame was like I’d like to hear about it! Thanks for reading.

 

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