FNM Deck: GW Midrange Aggro

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Would like feedback on fine tuning the following FNM deck. It is inspired by the winning decks in 2012 States Alaska and 2012 States Prince Edwards Island, but adapted to the cards I currently own. It also draws on Woodbok's excellent article on GW Aggro/Midrange cards and archetypes (forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t...). There is nothing new here, and some of the combinations are probably getting borderline stale (Restoration Angel / Thragtusk), but should still be effective.

Creatures (23):


Other(14);
[deck]2 Call of the Conclave
2 Entreat the Angels
3 Farseek
4 Rancor
3 Selesnya Charm[/deck]

Land (23):
[deck]11 Forest
2 Plains
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Gavony Township
[/deck]

Some things I am wondering about:

1. Following change?
+1 Selesnya Charm
+2 Call of the Conclave
+1 Restoration Angel 
-4 Strangleroot Geist

2. Sideboard? Currently have:

Sideboard (15):
[deck]4 Dryad Militant
4 Ground Seal
4 Oblivion Ring
3 Pithing Needle[/deck]

3. Mana base? I have a hard time figuring out the balance between Forest and Plains once I start including a lot of Arbor Elf and Avacyn's Pilgrim (or for that matter, the balance between those two elves and Farseek).

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Silverblade Paladin

I've definitely thought of him, although I currently don't own any. What would you take out?
T1, Dork,
T2, Smiter,
T3, Silverblade, Rancor on Smiter, swing for twelve.Laughing

Any questions?

The only thing better would be a miracle Revenge of the Hunted, but that's probably just greedy.

Strangle root could go, or the Entreats and the Calls, or Trostani; you really don't need to populate with this. Silverblade is better than any of it.
Call of the conclave is the weak spot here. that and probably swagtusk(did... did I just say that?)

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Strangle root could go, or the Entreats and the Calls, or Trostani; you really don't need to populate with this. Silverblade is better than any of it.



Populate is just bonus with Trostani. The fact that she survives much red burn and has the lifegain should help against red aggro.

I agree that Silverblade is good and is top choice for the shopping list.
Call of the conclave is the weak spot here. that and probably swagtusk(did... did I just say that?)



You can call him Swagusk, Shmagtusk, Overratedtusk, but I'd be happier with countersuggestions. If he goes, what would you put in?

So far looking at:

+1 Selesnya Charm
+1 Restoration Angel
+4 Silverblade Paladin
-2 Call of the Conclave
-4 Strangleroot Geist

I often see Centaur Healer in the sideboard for G/W. Worth it?
I don't know what your money situation is, but if you can afford it I'd also run a few Sublime Archangels over swaggy. Swag isn't really doing much here unless you're getting thrashed by aggro, and a few angry elephants should fix that right up. I'd put him in the SB in exchange for sublime.

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I don't know what your money situation is, but if you can afford it I'd also run a few Sublime Archangels over swaggy.

I don't mind spending money if there is real value (I think Silverblade Paladin is a good example). My concern with Sublime Archangel is the lack of toughness, which makes her vulnerable to Searing Spear and the like. Can you expand more on what Sublime Archangel gives me, compared to, for example Restoration Angel, Entreat the Angels, or Thragtusk?

With you running 4 rancors and so many 3 drops (assuming you put in silverblade paladin), I would think maxing out your mana dorks would be a good move over throwing in farseek.


If your meta is seeing a lack of spot removal (happens sometimes in a field of hexproof, thragtusks, and falkenrath aristocrats), try somberwald sage. it can allow for some silly 3-4th turn plays.

The only card that really seems like an obvious cut is call of the conclave. Card just seems plain weak in comparison to everything else happening in the deck.
Your deck looks really solid. That said, DONT PUT IN SILVERBLADE PALADIN

If you want a Silverblade deck, it'll look very different from what you are building. If you want 3 drops, use Loxodon Smiter and Wolfir Avenger. The Avenger is so-o-o good against so much of the meta (stomps thragtusks, has flash for UW Flash matchup, lives through Supreme Verdict)
Pretty much, if you want to play Silverblade Paladin, you need to have Sublime Archangel to really make it worth it. Otherwise its very meh. But Sublime Archangel + Silverblade Paladin is a combo that cannot be beaten in combat, period. Its a must-answer 1-2 combo that can keep coming even if you remove half of it.
Sublime also doesn't require you to topdeck it to be really good (instead of overly expensive) and kills better than Thragtusk or Resto-Angel.

That same vein, not a huge fan of Entreat. It might work well (never tried it in a GW build myself) but it seems to be way too mana heavy to cast from your hand
Call of the Conclave has never been very impressive to me in a non-token themed deck. 
You should run 7-8 mana dorks, for sure. 
Thalia is an amazing card to run maindeck, no matter what kind of deck you are going for.


 Also, your sideboard is rather meh. Instead of Ground Seal, run Purify the Grave or Rest in Peace. Centaur Healer is a fine choice, as it gives you edge against aggro decks. Same for Trostani, which should probably be in your sideboard.

Right now I'm running something similar to Brian Kibler's top 16 deck from the recent GP, except I dropped Silverblade Paladins for more Wolfir Avengers (that guy really is good) and a Resto Angel. 

(at)MrEnglish22

The way I look at it, Sublime Archangel by herself fills all the requrements for running exalted. She herself has exalted, and she gives all of your other creatures exalted. If followed by another, double bonus since the exalted stacks. If followed by a miracled entreat, all of those creatures (min two, but you also have to look at late game) gain exalted. If followed with Craterhoof Behemoth, you either just won or will the next turn. The list can just keep on going on.

After a bit too much rambling my point is that the archangel should go in, but I am unsure what to take out for it.
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There is already a lot of good advice here, which I need to digest (but keept it coming). For grin's sake, I went back and tried to look into Call of the Conclave some more. Six recent #1 finishers used it at the States level: Alaska, PEI, Massachusetts, Illinois, Delaware, and NJ. Half are aggro, half are midrange.

This does seem to show that Call of the Conclave may have more value than suggesting here. The question is what it is: Other than being a cheap 3/3 creature, none of the six decks I looked at so far use populate, except one that has Trostani, Selesnya's Voice.

Incidentally, the other cards all six have in common are Avacyn's Pilgrim, Loxodon Smiter, Rancor, and Selesnya's Charm. Five out of six use Arbor Elf, Silverblade Paladin, and Sublime Archangel.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, I'm definitely not trying to build a deck by statistical analysis. For example, I'm keeping Entreat the Angels even if it turns out to be the weakest card, just because I enjoy the entertainment value of occasionally miracling it (I am an FNM player, after all). But I do enjoy looking at what winning decks are using.
So far looking at:

+1 Selesnya Charm
+1 Restoration Angel
+4 Silverblade Paladin
-2 Call of the Conclave
-4 Strangleroot Geist

I often see Centaur Healer in the sideboard for G/W. Worth it?



Healer is for aggro match-ups to help recover a bit of life as well as help stop the bleeding; he's big enough to sort out most Zombies and other fast creatures. These decks don't really seem to have that much trouble with those sorts of decks so it's not clear to me. I've been running a few Healers main-deck, but I plan to pitch them for Silverblade.

Your changes are positive but on second glance I think maybe Farseek is the first thing to reconsider. If you get a Dork on turn one, you want to drop a beat-stick turn two rather than hunt for a land.

Conclave is about the cheapest way to get a 3/3 you'll find in Standard today; tokens have a few, additional weaknesses, but 3/3 is still 3/3. It doesn't suck. Trostani doesn't suck either, but she does slow things down. You might think about the side-board for her or just think about replacing her with something more aggressive. Sigarda, Host of Herons is a thought, Wolfir Silverheart is another.

Imagine Silverheart and Silverblade soul-bonded. . .

Garruk, Primal Hunter is a card to think about. He survives most board wipes and can help restock afterwards. Just be sure to have plenty of anti-enchantment in the side-board.


Incidentally, the other cards all six have in common are Avacyn's Pilgrim, Loxodon Smiter, Rancor, and Selesnya's Charm. Five out of six use Arbor Elf, Silverblade Paladin, and Sublime Archangel.



I'm not sure Sublime works here as well as Resto. Resto is the best combat trick ever and that alone is worth the price of admission. Sublime needs bodies to make her exalted work and she needs double-strike even more. With Resto, it's not such a big deal who gets bonded with Silverblade; in fact you probably want Silverblade to come out turn three AFTER Smiter. Then Resto can un-tap Smiter and ruin your opponents whole day.

Sublime needs a different build to be worth her cost ($$$, not mana). Resto is actually a little more resilient if not as powerful and has many more uses. Her ability to abuse Thragtusk is probably a good enough reason to go with her here instead of Sublime.

Neither is a bad idea and neither is cheap, although Resto is a good bit cheaper than Sublime. Resto is definately more fun than Sublime.

Neither is a bad idea and neither is cheap, although Resto is a good bit cheaper than Sublime. Resto is definately more fun than Sublime.

This shouldn't affect the discussion in general, but as a personal note, I already own 4x Angel of Restoration but have no Sublime Archangel.

Your changes are positive but on second glance I think maybe Farseek is the first thing to reconsider. If you get a Dork on turn one, you want to drop a beat-stick turn two rather than hunt for a land.

I think you are right about Farseek.

-3 Farseek
+1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
+1 Arbor Elf
+1 Selesnya Charm

Sigarda, Host of Herons is a thought, Wolfir Silverheart is another.

I have 2x Wolfir Silverheart in the deck list.

Imagine Silverheart and Silverblade soul-bonded...

If I do the above, I need to figure out who to take out for Silverblade Paladin.

Garruk, Primal Hunter is a card to think about. He survives most board wipes and can help restock afterwards. Just be sure to have plenty of anti-enchantment in the side-board.

I had two of him in at one point. Sundering Growth is a sweet enchantment removal card that I was mainboarding in an early version of the deck.
This shouldn't affect the discussion in general, but as a personal note, I already own 4x Angel of Restoration but have no Sublime Archangel.




On the contrary, ownership is a very valid criterion. I've got both and I haven't pulled the Sublimes out of the Exalted deck they're in although I have just pulled the Silverblades. I'm going to give the another go this Friday and maybe switch to something else after that.

Resto and Thrag are just such a perfect combination, like Silverblade and Sublime are. In this case though, I'm hoping Silverblade and Smiter will pair up for some quick wins while Resto and Thrag go the distance for the tough ones.

 In this case though, I'm hoping Silverblade and Smiter will pair up for some quick wins while Resto and Thrag go the distance for the tough ones.

Currently, I'm playing Azorius at FNM, but this is going to be my deck after Christmas.

So this is my current thinking:

Creatures (25):


Other(12);
[deck]2 Call of the Conclave
2 Entreat the Angels
4 Rancor
4 Selesnya Charm[/deck]

Land (23):
[deck]9 Forest
4 Plains
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Gavony Township
[/deck]

The changes are:

-3 Farseek 
+1 Arbor Elf
+1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
-4 Strangleroot Geist
+4 Silverblade Paladin
+1 Selesnya Charm
Your deck looks really solid. That said, DONT PUT IN SILVERBLADE PALADIN
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Right now I'm running something similar to Brian Kibler's top 16 deck from the recent GP, except I dropped Silverblade Paladins for more Wolfir Avengers (that guy really is good) and a Resto Angel. 

I'm not ignoring your advice, but I'd like to see what you are suggesting in a comprehensive list. Do you have your deck posted somewhere?

Also, your sideboard is rather meh. Instead of Ground Seal, run Purify the Grave or Rest in Peace. Centaur Healer is a fine choice, as it gives you edge against aggro decks. Same for Trostani, which should probably be in your sideboard.

This is all solid advice. The sideboard is an afterthought at the moment, I haven't put any real consideration into it yet.

 In this case though, I'm hoping Silverblade and Smiter will pair up for some quick wins while Resto and Thrag go the distance for the tough ones.

Currently, I'm playing Azorius at FNM, but this is going to be my deck after Christmas.

So this is my current thinking:

Creatures (25):


Other(12);
[deck]2 Call of the Conclave
2 Entreat the Angels
4 Rancor
4 Selesnya Charm[/deck]

Land (23):
[deck]9 Forest
4 Plains
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Gavony Township
[/deck]

The changes are:

-3 Farseek 
+1 Arbor Elf
+1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
-4 Strangleroot Geist
+4 Silverblade Paladin
+1 Selesnya Charm



So I'm running basically the same list, except I have:

-1 Arbor Elf
-1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
-2 Call of the Conclave

+4 Sublime Archangel

It's worth it. You don't need 8 dorks when your curve tops out at 5, so even if you're against the Archangels I'd take 2 dorks out and add another Smiter and another Call, or even get rid of the calls entirely and add in Thalias. I feel like between Entreat and Thragtusk, you have plenty of token-generators.

For SB I have:

3x Thalia
4x Knight of Glory
3x Rest in Peace
3x Centaur Healer
2x Garruk, Primal Hunter

Which pretty much covers Rites, Zombies, Aggro, and Control as best as this deck can.

I've been tinkering with removing the entreats and boarding in Sphinx's Revelation and Hallowed Fountain. Haven't tested it yet, but the life gain and CA seems like it would be sick, and between Glacial Fortress and Hinterland Harbor there's plenty of UW and UG lands already out there.

I've also playtested Garruk, Primal hunter. It's been lackluster in my meta though, so I'm having second thoughts.

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

Anti-enchantment cards are highly recommended for the side-board. I run Ray of Revelation myself. Oblivion Ring and Detention Sphere are so common, one really must have something.

War Priest of Thune is actually worth considering here, as he can do more than just blow up enchantments. With a little flicker, he can blow up more than one. He also doesn't mind Thalia hanging about.

Zombie hate is groovy, but this deck shouldn't really be scared of Zombies anyway, rather, it's the other way around.

I also run only six dorks, four Pilgrims and two elves. Rancored dorks can actually win games. Silly, but it's true.

The other differences are I run O-ring and Cloudshift\. The latter is big fun and can be effective in many ways; dodging removal, as a combat trick, abusing enters- and leaves-the-board effects, etc. It's mainly just big fun.

I've never actually thought of playing Sublime and Resto. . . It does seem like a bunch of 4+-drops.
I'd say to cut all but one Restoration Angel, the interactions it presents are cute, but not much more- When you get max value out of it, you're usually already winning. In contrast you could be playing Acidic Slime or Wolfir Avenger who do work more condusive to what your deck is trying to accomplish. Similarly your end-game looks to be a little torn between Tusk and Silverheart- both of which are impressive value, but they perform in entirely different situations, perhaps putting one in the board to commit more to the other will make your games smoother.

Entreat the Angels seems mediocre here since hard-casting it often puts you behind, you can populate the tokens but once again if you're in that situation, you're probably already dominating the game. Similarly, multiple Rancors creates some nutty hands, but since you're trying to play a slower, more powerful game, every Rancor beyond the first loses value (since Trample doesn't stack in multiple instances.)
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So I'm running basically the same list, except I have:

-1 Arbor Elf
-1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
-2 Call of the Conclave

+4 Sublime Archangel

It's worth it. You don't need 8 dorks when your curve tops out at 5, so even if you're against the Archangels I'd take 2 dorks out and add another Smiter and another Call, or even get rid of the calls entirely and add in Thalias. I feel like between Entreat and Thragtusk, you have plenty of token-generators.

I don't currently have any Sublime Archangel and I don't think I will invest the $100 to put her in this deck, even if it would be a good idea. But I am going to try your idea of -1 Arbor Elf and -1 Avacyn's Pilgrim. For now I'll go +1 Loxodon Smiter / +1 Call of the Conclave.

For SB I have:

3x Thalia
4x Knight of Glory
3x Rest in Peace
3x Centaur Healer
2x Garruk, Primal Hunter

Which pretty much covers Rites, Zombies, Aggro, and Control as best as this deck can.

That seems solid. My sideboard is mostly an afterthought at this point. Can you expand more on the role of Garruk, Primal Hunter? What about Sundering Growth or Rootborn Defenses as options?
Anti-enchantment cards are highly recommended for the side-board. I run Ray of Revelation myself. Oblivion Ring and Detention Sphere are so common, one really must have something.

I was thinking of Sundering Growth, but I like Ray of Revelation. I came back to the game during M13, so I am not that familiar with the cards in the Innistrad block – didn't even know that existed.

War Priest of Thune is actually worth considering here, as he can do more than just blow up enchantments. With a little flicker, he can blow up more than one. He also doesn't mind Thalia hanging about.

More good ideas. The problem with GW is that there are a lot of good creatures to choose from. But I guess that's a nice problem to have.

Zombie hate is groovy, but this deck shouldn't really be scared of Zombies anyway, rather, it's the other way around.

I take it that means you do not run Knight of Glory in your sideboard. Do you mind listing your SB?

I also run only six dorks, four Pilgrims and two elves. Rancored dorks can actually win games. Silly, but it's true.

I'm going to switch to 3x Arbor Elf and 3x Avacyn's Pilgrim. However, I often find that when I put Rancor on one of the elves, I end up regretting it.

The other differences are I run O-ring and Cloudshift\. The latter is big fun and can be effective in many ways; dodging removal, as a combat trick, abusing enters- and leaves-the-board effects, etc. It's mainly just big fun.

Cloudshift looks like an interesting option. I do find often that I don't have the mana to put in Restoration Angel when I want to. I might put in Armada Wurm instead, to increase the number of Cloudshift targets.
So I'm running basically the same list, except I have:

-1 Arbor Elf
-1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
-2 Call of the Conclave

+4 Sublime Archangel

It's worth it. You don't need 8 dorks when your curve tops out at 5, so even if you're against the Archangels I'd take 2 dorks out and add another Smiter and another Call, or even get rid of the calls entirely and add in Thalias. I feel like between Entreat and Thragtusk, you have plenty of token-generators.

I don't currently have any Sublime Archangel and I don't think I will invest the $100 to put her in this deck, even if it would be a good idea. But I am going to try your idea of -1 Arbor Elf and -1 Avacyn's Pilgrim. For now I'll go +1 Loxodon Smiter / +1 Call of the Conclave.

For SB I have:

3x Thalia
4x Knight of Glory
3x Rest in Peace
3x Centaur Healer
2x Garruk, Primal Hunter

Which pretty much covers Rites, Zombies, Aggro, and Control as best as this deck can.

That seems solid. My sideboard is mostly an afterthought at this point. Can you expand more on the role of Garruk, Primal Hunter? What about Sundering Growth or Rootborn Defenses as options?



Garruk will accrue counters while you're dealing with board wipe after board wipe. His ult can win you the game, and his ability to generate creatures post-board wipe is pretty amazing. I'm reconsidering my build, though, after testing it against a couple of UW control decks. It's a bad match up for this deck.

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

Garruk will accrue counters while you're dealing with board wipe after board wipe. His ult can win you the game, and his ability to generate creatures post-board wipe is pretty amazing. I'm reconsidering my build, though, after testing it against a couple of UW control decks. It's a bad match up for this deck.

Thanks for the explanation. My meta (although my experience is limited) doesn't seem to include a lot of UW.


Zombie hate is groovy, but this deck shouldn't really be scared of Zombies anyway, rather, it's the other way around.

I take it that means you do not run Knight of Glory in your sideboard. Do you mind listing your SB?



I actually have been running Knight of Glory in my side-board; I've just decided to cut it. That's not because it doesn't do well at it's function - it certainly does - but this deck is very vulnerable to control so I'm shifting towards that. I haven't had much trouble with Zombies. Glory might be a keeper if you face a lot of Zombie decks. Centaur Healer is also pretty good anti-Zombie tech but I suppose he's really anti-aggro in general; the Knight is probably better versus Zombies.

My side-board needs some help as well, but here's what's there now:


The cage's work against all sorts of graveyard shennanigans. The Needles are for Planeswalkers. Rays are for O-rings and D-spheres. Sigarda is for match-ups where Garruk isn't needed and more beats are better, also she is for match-ups where there is targetted removal or burn. Thalia is control hate but she also helps a little against any spell-heavy deck. I think the O-ring is there to make fifteen, I dunno. . .

The only thing I've had real, positive experience with so far is Ray; it won a game for me last time out.

The only thing I've had real, positive experience with so far is Ray; it won a game for me last time out.

Ray of Revelation is on my shopping list.

I'm looking at Dryad Militant vs. Ground Seal vs. Grafdigger's Cage vs. Rest in Peace to shut down graveyards. It seems like Grafdigger's Gage might be the way to go.
Smiter and Resto are awfully good to not be four-of's. I suppose the same could be said of Thartusk, but Smiter is what you want turn-two every game. Smiter followed by Silverblade presents your opponent with a major dilemma; they have to have an answer or die very quickly. Throw Rancor into the mix and the urgency increases. You can do significant damage before a control player untaps his turn-two Guildgate.

Resto is so versatile and effective it's hard to overstate her value. It gives you the option to hold back casting until your opponents end phase which just makes their decisions even harder. Throwing her into a combat and simultaneously untapping a fatty turns combat on its head. Any turn you leave four mana open they will have to wonder if you're going to drop an Angel and ruin their afternoon.

You also have quite a few five-drops; you might be well served to drop a couple for another Smiter and another Angel.
My meta (although my experience is limited) doesn't seem to include a lot of UW.

I take that back: At least 3 out 14 decks tonight were blue or blue/white.

My meta (although my experience is limited) doesn't seem to include a lot of UW.

I take that back: At least 3 out 14 decks tonight were blue or blue/white.




How did you do? Was this still with the Azorius deck?
How did you do? Was this still with the Azorius deck?

I did great, because I had fun, which was the goal of the deck. In terms of results, I went 2-2: 1-2, 2-0, 1-2, 2-0. And I learned more about how to handle Planeswalkers. This was with the Azorius Deck: tappedout.net/mtg-decks/azorius-primer/ (except I only have 2x Geist of Saint Traft, so I ran with +1 Dungeon Geists). I wish FNM was Standard every Friday.

I wish FNM was Standard every Friday.



I wound up playing my standard deck last night at FNM because I didn't know it was extended. I lost the first game of the first match and won every game thereafter! I actually have an extended deck but it's not as good as my standard deck.

Just to close the loop, I think this is going to be the final deck list:

Angels of Selesnya

Creatures (25):


Planeswalker (2):
[deck]2 Garruk, Primal Hunter[/deck]

Other(10);
[deck]
2 Entreat the Angels
4 Rancor
4 Selesnya Charm[/deck]

Land (23):
[deck]10 Forest
3 Plains
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Gavony Township
[/deck]
Sideboard (15):
[deck]4 Centaur Healer
3 Grafdigger's Cage
4 Ray of Revelation
4 Pithing Needle[/deck]

Cutting down one each of Arbor Elf and Avacyn Pilgrim and removing Farseek has really helped. The deck might very well be stronger with Sublime Archangel, but it's just not a purchase we're interested in right now. So many deck ideas, so little time, so many cards to buy...