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B/G Control at the MOCS

It happened again!

I went 0-4 in a major tournament (MOCS Playoff) and the same deck finished 1st in the same event in the hands of PT Champion Lukas Blohon! On top of that, while I’m writing this, Seth Manfield is 9-0 with the same archetype at GP Providence.

What’s happening to me? Why am I unable to win at Magic anymore?

In my defense, I have to say that once again I faced 2 ugly matchups in all 4 rounds. I played 3 times against Jeskai Control with Nahiri, the Harbinger, which just wrecked me. I also faced Josh Utter-Leyton’s Grixis Zombies, which didn’t feel like an easy matchup at all.

I thought that this deck was very well positioned now. Its worst matchup, Marvel, has disappeared, and U/W Flash, which is all over the place right now, is a positive matchup. It turned out that I only faced control decks where B/G was unable to gain an advantage. I thought that I could fix the matchup by adding cards like Nissa, Vital Force and Seasons Past to the sideboard, but those cards just gets Negated without really changing the matchup. I even lost with a Liliana, the Last Hope emblem in play!

I’m starting to question my plays. I used to always smile and go on in the face of defeat, but now I have to think that this can’t just be variance. The life of a Pro player isn’t easy if you aren’t as good as Lukas Blohon or Lee Shi Thian. Sometimes you lose, and when you lose for 6 months in a row it’s very hard to keep smiling.

But my job is to bring you deck news every week, so here I am, explaining to you the difference between my 0-4 deck and Lukas’s winning deck list in the MOCS Playoff.

B/G Control

Andrea Mengucci

Lukas Blohon

Lands

I once again played 1 more land than the winning deck list. I’m probably more scared of mana screw than most, but I think that this deck needs to hit its land drops until turn 5 and I see Traverse the Ulvenwald more as a Demonic Tutor than a Sylvan Scrying, so I want to naturally hit my land drop until the late game and then start jamming monsters with my Traverses. I’m also not a fan of 4 Evolving Wilds. On the one hand they help you reach delirium, and hit double-black on turn 2, but they also disrupt your curve.

Fear of Planeswalkers

I was so scared of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. So scared that I chose to play 2 Ruinous Path and 1 To the Slaughter main deck in a world of Smuggler’s Copter. I truly miss Hero’s Downfall, and I think that if the options are this bad, I should just ignore planeswalkers and hope to snipe them with Transgress the Mind or have a 4/4 Grim Flayer  in play and a removal spell in hand. In two of my losses I faced Nahiri, the Harbinger on turn 4, and twice I had To the Slaughter in hand with no delirium—this made me feel so stupid and I regretted my deck choice.

Pilgrim’s Eye of Filigree Familiar

I playtested both cards and found that I liked Pilgrim’s Eye more, even without a splashed color. This deck is mana hungry, as I said before, and Pilgrim’s Eye offers card advantage right away. Also don’t forget that Selfless Spirit and Rattlechains are popular now. Filigree Familiar was very underwhelming. It’s maybe better against R/W Vehicles, but in some matchups your opponent can just ignore it and you won’t get any advantage out of it.

Verdurous Gearhulk

The Gearhulk is a powerful Magic card, and one that has seen some play in a B/G shell. There 2 versions of G/B nowadays, one, more aggressive (EFro style), and one more controlling (Lukas’s style). I believe that this creature only belongs in the more aggressive version. Despite the fact that EFro loved his build, I found it weak—Gnarlwood Dryad being a 1/1 on turn 5 didn’t make things any better. It’s very hard to get delirium without Vessel of Nascency and Grapple with the Past, and that deck suffers a lot in that regard. I do believe that Blossoming Defense is a great card for green aggressive decks, but those decks are poorly positioned against U/W Flash and control decks.

Sideboard

I thought that I could fix control matchups by adding powerful expensive cards like Nissa, Vital Force, Ob Nixilis Reignited, and Seasons Past. It turned out that those cards always got Negated and I always lost the card advantage race. Tireless Tracker is still the best card to beat control, and if I were to play this deck again I would be playing 4 copies between the main deck and sideboard.

Flaying Tendrils is another nice piece of tech to beat R/W Tokens and R/B Zombies, but I wouldn’t board it in against U/W Flash and Mardu Vehicles.

That’s all for this week. This weekend I’ll be battling at GP Warsaw where you can find me along with other CFB Pros for some gunslinging and bounty events. See you there!

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