Hello there, fellow Planeswalkers. It’s my pleasure to share with you a deck list I’ve been tinkering with for the past few weeks, one that I’ve very fond of. In fact, fond is probably not strong enough of a word. When I gush about this deck I feel my heart-rate accelerate, my vision turns rosy, and I experience other physical sensations best left to the imagination. Why? Because this is deck is straight-up sexy. It’s got high-percentage match-ups against the decks I hate losing to the most—Blitz, Esper, & Junk Rites—a strong sideboard plan against the current Meta, and most importantly is an absolute blast to pilot. Allow me to re-introduce G/W Blink!
1xGarruk, Primal Hunter
Why Rites When You can Blink?
G/W Blink is a creature-based control deck with a shell very similar to Junk Rites. However, it trades away the sudden lottery-winning ability of Junk Rites (Hoof!), with the value-building consistency of blink, and avoids all the graveyard hate in the progress. The great thing about this deck is outside of Aristocrats Act II, there are few other decklists in standard that have the same level of card-to-card synergy. Let’s give an extreme (but viable) example. You have Restoration Angel, Thragtusk, and Trostani in play. For one white mana (Cloudshift), you can blink your Angel, which blinks Thragtusk, which will provide you with a 3/3 Beast Token, the ability to untap your creatures, and oh yeah, 15 life. If you manage to mix in your Rhox Faithmender then the fun really begins. You can often gain enough life to put the game out of reach against even the most daunting threats (double Hellrider, Double Reckoners into Blasphemous Acts, etc.). And I won’t even get into what a blinking Angel of Serenity does to a Junk player. It’s just dirty.
However, the real strength in this list is how the deck transforms Acidic Slime from an above average card into something truly cringe-worthy. I wish I could bottle up the look of my latest Esper opponent who experienced a turn 3 Slime into a turn 4 Conjurer’s Closet. It makes you understand why Moses looked so harrowed coming down from Mt. Sinai: having to come to terms with something that far beyond you is exhausting!
Enough with the Jokes, What About Results?
I’ve played this deck in 7 events to date in its current form with 1-2 card differentials. I won/split four Friday Night Magics (~30 people), split Top-4 at a Weekly Standard, and punted out of two other tournaments. Certainty nothing to write home about, but nothing to ignore either considering how many life-gain triggers I miss on a game-by-game basis!
I look forward to piloting this in bigger tournaments.
Naya Blitzing into a Wall
The most consistent match-up for G/W Blink is aggro. I have play-tested extensively against Naya Blitz, G/R Aggro, and Jund Aggro and our hero-deck stands tall. If your opponent is on the play game 1, and you don’t know they’re playing aggro, you will lose slightly more than 50% of the time. It’s quite unavoidable given the speed of current Meta, but the match-up shifts heavily in your favor post game 1, simply due to the fact that you now know what kind of hands to keep. Hint:Thragtusk.
The amount of life gain and combat tricks is hard for any aggro to overcome. If you have a mana ramp (pilgrim/farseek) into a Thragtusk with a blink, that’s game. If you have fiend hunter into Cloudshift, there goes two of their threats. Trostani and Rhox both buy you a reasonable amount of time. Post sideboard, Centaur Healers are transformed by Rhox Faithmenders and Trostani’s into life-gaining nightmares.
One of my favorite things to do against aggro is to attack into haste-decks while holding a Cloudshift or Resto Angel in hand. The sudden two+ blockers plus whatever blink effect usually ends the aggression right there. Another fun combat trick is to chump block something scary with a, say, a borderland ranger and then blink the ranger pre-damage to buy some time and ramp up.
Sideboard Plan: -1xAngel of Serenity, -3xAcidic Slime | +3 Centaur Healers, +1 Rhox Faithmender
Esper Can’t Even Control My Own Mana Base
I’ll be honest, I think Esper players are sadists. You have to be, to play that deck against another human being. When I first fell in love with the decklist for G/W Blink by Yaco Zaragoza, the idea of giving Esper some of their own medicine was my main reason to go out and buy four Restoration Angels at $20 a card. Yes, that hurt, but I had plans to payback that pain… with SLIME! How were they going to beat me, I asked myself, when they didn’t have any lands for their “answers”.
Well, they beat me as usual. Slowly. Methodically. Like face-less dentists going to work in a colorless room. The sad truth is, a turn 3 slime just doesn’t happen “quite” enough to ensure a winning % against Esper. I needed something more than just Land Destruction. I needed Mass Land Destruction. So in came Bramblecrush. Not only did it channel well with Slime, (a turn 3 bramble into a turn 4 slime is pretty hilarious) it was an answer beyond Oblivion Rings to Planeswalkers like Sorin, whose bats will give your Thragtusks fits all day. It’s also a nice security blanket in your SB against cards like Assemble the Legion.
It was a start, but Esper will get around Land-D if they’re on to you. I needed something else to endure their twin bombs of Sphinx and Verdict. I went with Nevermore over Rootbound Defense, simply because I always had better things to do then hold 3-mana open in case of Verdict. Nevermore just felt more aggressive, and that’s how I want to attack Esper. Make them constantly fear my cards that deny them of all their fancy interactions.
Even after the above changes it was still a tough match-up. I needed something that let me re-fill my threats. Or I’d simply go “E” after the first Sphinx. I decided Triumph of Ferocity was slightly better than a second Garruck. It’s bonkers how many extra cards you draw if you resolve an early Triumph, and it really lets you keep up your foot on their throat in terms of Land destruction and drawing into cards that give you the edge like Garruck or Conjurer’s Closet.
Sideboard Plan: -2xFiend Hunter, -1xRhox Faithmender, -1xAngel of Serenity, -1xOblivion Ring, -1xBorderland Ranger | +2 Bramblecrush, +2 Nevermore, +2 Triumph of Ferocity.
Why Rites when you can Blink? No, seriously!
I am something silly like 70% against Junk Rites players. The match-up is pretty much a mirror except whereas they have Rites, you have Blink. I believe this is an advantage, because your Angels of Serenities can trump their Angels (and Hoofs); your acidic slimes are better than theirs; and post-sideboard, they may lose their tricks whereas you won’t thanks to Rest in Peace. Somberwald Sage is an all-star in this match-up, or any match-up really where they’re light on removal. A Turn 3 Angel is nothing to scoff at.
The one thing a Rites player will have have in their favor, besides the consistency Mulch and Salvage gives that deck, is Lingering Souls into an early Craterhoof. If they can Rites an Early Craterhoof, that’s probably the game. At least you still get the satisfaction at staring at them in disgust, I suppose.
Sideboard Plan: -2xFiend Hunter, -1xRhox Faithmender, -1xBorderland Ranger, -2xOblivion Ring | +2xSomberwald Sage, +2xRest in Peace, +1 Acidic Slime +1xNevermore (on the play) or +2xNevermore (on the draw).
What about Dragonmaze?
Two cards that I plan on playtesting for Dragonmaze is Voice of Resurgence and (of course) Legion’s Initiative. Legion’s Initiative is potentially insane, allowing you to blink the board, and not just one creature. The idea of 4/4 Reckoners, 2/3 Voice of Resurgences (outside of pillar), and 4/5 Aurelia’s also make me giddy. I think the future of G/W Blink is Naya Blink. I believe Domri could also see play in the deck along with Elvish Visionaries as the engines to plow forward. I am VERY excited to playtest my vision, I’ll probably follow up with a second post once I organize my ideas.
I believe this deck is sitting solid in the current Meta. If you’re tired of Rites, and you’re down to try out this synergistic beast of a deck, I wish you the best of luck! Just remember… Learn to love the Thragtusk, again and again and again!