Historically Speaking -Drangels and Angons
I honestly would have been happy finishing this current MTG Arena season at Diamond (Which I achieved last time I wrote), but since then I have been on an absolute tear and figured I should go for it. Last week, after winning again and again with my mono red burn deck, I set another milestone for myself in MTG Arena; I reached Mythic.
Some people will tell you that making mythic is nothing special, but you still have to win rather often to keep pushing your rank higher and higher so you don’t fall back down the ladder. It took me forever to get to Diamond Tier 2 but once I did it just took a night of grinding to get to Mythic. This will make the climb next season much easier since I’ll be starting at Platinum instead of Gold or Silver like I have in the past. I’m also looking forward to the increase in prizes.
Updates, Updates, Updates
I didn’t solely play my mono red burn deck to reach mythic. Some of those wins came from my Waste Not deck as well so I thought you’d might like to see what I’m currently running in each deck and why I made the changes that I did.
Just a few changes to the deck after talking with other people that have tried it. I went up to 4 Thermo Alchemists and 4 Guttersnipes to give me more reach and give my spells more bang for their buck. The Rampaging Ferocidon moved to the sideboard because I was running into less and less mono white life gain decks and more of the sick new mono red goblins deck.
I also decided to try out Bonecrusher Giant as a 2 of instead of 4 Runaway Steam-Kin, and the reason for this is that Steam-kin really isn’t all that good as a late draw. When you do draw it early and have enough spells to take advantage of it, the card is good, but sometimes it just sucks up removal early on and the chance is lost. While it definitely helps the deck to explode from time to time, I could see what my testing partner meant. Bonecrusher Giant is just an all around better value card. It’s much better late game.
The sideboard changed considerably due to the decks that I was seeing more and more of as I climbed higher in the ranks. Tormod’s Crypt is key in shutting down Kethis combo or other Thassa’s Oracle decks, and is really the only way red gets any graveyard hate. Fry got dropped because there simply weren’t enough targets for it. Yeah it’s fine against control decks, but if you’re wasting a turn to kill a walker instead of burning the player out you’re doing something wrong. It doesn’t hit Uro either so what’s the point in playing it? I thought Weaver of Lightning would be cute against token decks and the like, but it simply wasn’t doing enough against creature decks, especially Goblins. That’s why I audibled to Flame Sweep and it’s done me rather well so far. I also added in a Shredded Sails to kill Golos decks since I don’t really have any other way to interact with him and other artifacts. Smash to Smithereens can’t come quickly enough . . .
This recent build has been the most consistent for me. Playing a Thermo Alchemist to take advantage of Spectacle cards early has been great, as has using turn 2 Magma Jets to smooth out draws. I still feel like I run out of cards from time to time, so finding the right card to help reload will be key. Right now Risk Factor seems to be doing a good enough job. Depending on the metagame it can steamroll everything or get totally nerfed. At the moment it’s doing really well against the slower Temur Reclamation decks, but might struggle against mono white life gain.
The big changes for Waste Not was switching the numbers of Bonecrusher Giant and Murderous Rider so that I can have earlier interaction against fast decks like Goblins. Those first 2-3 turns are very important. The other big change I’ve made to the 60 is adding Moment of Craving to reduce the impact of aggro decks. If I can keep them at bay until turn 4 usually I can start taking control. Everything else is pretty much intact.
I moved Bedevil to the sideboard since I already have enough removal main but still wanted it for the versatility against planeswalkers and artifacts. Witch’s Vengeance is a new addition and one of the most popular new sideboard cards in Historic.
It’s great against any and all tribal cards and is only 3 mana which he’s considerably. It hits just about everything in the goblin deck, but also doesn’t fare that bad against the occasional BW vampires or mono green elves deck.
Other cards I’ve added to the sideboard is a 2nd Virulent Plague because many of the Field of the Dead decks are running Shark Typhoon as another win condition and having 2 assures you’ll draw it easier and also keep those flying shark tokens in check. For control decks I added in Duress which should make dealing with problematic planeswalkers easier, but aside from that not much else has changed. I’m considering adding back in Pharika’s Libations though to deal with all of the Reclamation decks showing up in Historic, but I’m not quite sure if I want to just focus on gutting the deck with Necromentia instead. It’s a tough call.
This deck has been doing rather well against aggro decks like Goblins or other low to the ground strategies like Gruul in no small part to all of the removal it plays and it’s ability to get rid of all of your opponent’s card advantage. The Bant Ramp/Reclamation match up still needs some work but I should have it figured out in the next week or two.
Drangels and Angons
With Amonkhet remastered only a little more than two weeks away from dropping in Historic, I felt it was time to revisit one of the first decks I had tried out in Pioneer when I was getting a feel for the format. Red White midrange control had put up some good results from the Frontier days, so I built the Pioneer deck based on that. It didn’t do well against combo decks, but was really good against aggro. Gideon of the Trials and Glorybringer will make great additions to the deck, and therefore I went about designing this deck with them in mind. How could I take advantage of both planeswalkers and dragons in one deck? Seeing what I currently had to work with in the Historic pool, I had to get creative but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this prototype brew.
It has board wipes galore to deal with aggro decks, and planeswalkers that are difficult for control decks to deal with once they hit the board. If you run out of board wipes, Sarkhan the Masterless’ static ability makes it incredibly difficult for creatures to attack as the Dragon Eggs and Gadrak all count as dragons and will ping opponents when attacking. Turning on Gadrak, the Crown Scourge will be difficult early on though unless you can use a Deafening Clarion to wipe the board of an aggro deck. He’ll always just be a big blocker unless you have all for artifact walls from Birth of Meletis in play or have Karn, Scion of Urza make constructs.
Since we don’t have that many good dragons in Historic yet, I decided that the 4 and 5 drops were better served with Angels instead. While the dragons keep attackers at bay, Angels can go on the offensive. Aurelia is a big beater in the sky that is also a good blocker, Shalai stops you from being targeted by burn and effects like Expansion/Explosion, and Lyra stops aggro decks like Goblins dead in their tracks.
In the sideboard I have Tormod’s Crypt for graveyard strategies, Grafdigger’s Cage to stop goblins from playing cards from the top of their library and Tocatli Honor Guard to stop their ETB effects, Sorcerous Spyglass to stop Ugin from wiping your board and ending you (which it will, I guarantee it), Blood Sun for Field of the Dead match ups, Ixalan’s Binding for game ending cards like Ugin or Ulamog, Leyline of Sanctity for burn and Reclamation decks, Elspeth Conquer’s Death for other midrange decks and control, and Settle the Wreckage for go wide strategies like elves that can totally disregard any number of dragons you have blocking after they cast Craterhoof Behemoth.
What this decks currently fails at is getting you value and keeping you in control of the board. Yes it can wipe boards easily, but it’s very slow to take them over. The planeswalkers can help you build to inevitability, but due to it’s midrange nature it can also fold easily to decks like RB Sacrifice, forcing you to get rid of one of your few creatures. I think Waste not decks would also hurt this strategy significantly. While I like the look of this deck on paper, I don’t think it will be playable in ranked historic until Amonkhet is released. Give it a spin in one of the traditional historic tournaments though! It should have enough power to make your money back and more.
See you Next season
The first season of M21 on Arena is sure to be over by the time many of you read this article, but hopefully the lists won’t change very much once August rolls around. You can expect another update as soon as Amonkhet comes out on MTG Arena, and hopefully this RW midrange deck will do much better with all the upgrades its getting! I also hope that I can finish out this season ranked in the top 1200 on Arena and join in one of the Mythic Qualifiers! I’m currently in the 96 percentile so just a few more wins and I can join the pros!
Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on Twitter @yoschwenky if you want to exchange ideas or leave your comments below!