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Breaking Through – Bringing Bloodhusks to Dallas

Typically when I show up to a tournament with some rogue creation, I leave with one of two results:

I brought the wrong deck to this tournament and lost. (IE Paris, San Juan)
I brought the right deck to this tournament and won. (IE Amsterdam, Oakland)

Rarely have I faced an outcome that wasn’t one of those two, but this time I did just that. I brought the right deck (albeit 2-3 cards from perfect) and lost. It is easy for those critical of my approach to the game to claim otherwise and just say I brought the wrong deck, but quite frankly, I could care less about the naysayers. The bottom line was that my deck felt awesome, and for the most part, played awesome. I had really good sideboarding plans and when they were executed properly, all of my match ups felt more than favorable. I did make a few mistakes regarding the building process, which I will discuss later, but for the most part, everything felt solid.

The astute reader may wonder why I lost then. The obvious answer is that I played bad, although as far as I know, that isn’t the case here. Most, if not all, of the matches I actually lost, were about as non-interactive as a gamer at a school dance, for one reason or another. Granted, I could have been making mistakes in the games I won, but with admitted bias, I felt like I played pretty well. What is my sob story then? What excuses have I to offer?

Well let me preface any of this by being candid and saying that I am not a huge fan of hanging my hat on excuses. My losses are my own, regardless of why they happened. If it was variance, so be it. That is part of the game after all. If it was on my own hands, then I need to look at my mistakes and rectify them. If it was for some other reason, I just need to let it go and move on. But, for the purposes of this article, and what effectively amounts to a story, I will tell the tale of “excuses.” Just know that I wear my failures on my back and blame no one but myself (and any judges who DQ me of course).

Nationals Qualifiers are right around the corner and everyone is looking for a list to play, so fear not, you will find one below (but I am making you scroll down for it, if you are one of THOSE people). If the Grand Prix in Dallas is any indicator, we should see a ton of Jace decks, and decks designed to battle them, show up. So what does that have to do with that I played? Well, I happen to think this deck is well positioned against both sides of that spectrum, despite narrowly missing day 2 with it myself.

Alright I lied, this will go easier if I just post my list now:

Bloodhusking

 

Yes, he’s back. And yes, it is good (Zaiem can vouch for me in the forums). I honestly felt like I couldn’t lose to any deck I played assuming I hit my land drops, didn’t mulligan to 5, and didn’t draw obscenely bad. So what happened? Well, I missed land drops, I mulliganed to 5, and I drew obscenely bad. But at least 2 of those “Excuse” fall directly on me. Let me explain.

I am addicted to spells. They are just so much cooler and flashier than lands! As a result, I have had a bad habit of being 1-2 lands short in most of my decks. Remember Magical Christmas Land? Man, was I lucky not to get mana screwed every single game with that beast. The concept of being a land short always sits at the back of my mind when I build, and yet I fall into that trap time and time again. This time, I tried to rectify the situation by included the 26th land in the sideboard, a sort of “meet you in the middle” gesture if you will, but I should have just pushed the bad habit aside and ran it main.

The mana actually works out pretty well if you don’t start getting Tectonic Edged from the opponent. Unfortunately, it just so happens that the best deck in the format runs 4 Tectonic Edge, and it also happens to be the deck you want to never miss a land drop against the most. Punt.

Part of the reason this mistake came up, was that although some other people played the deck at the tournament, I pretty much singlehandedly did the testing for it. Without a proper system of checks and balances, it was difficult to catch such a small error. Poor choice in spells is something that is much easier to pinpoint and discuss, even if someone has never played the deck before, but a small error in the number of lands just went unnoticed. I even had the board plan against the other UB control decks just going up a land, and yet it never dawned on me to just go with 26 in the main. So naturally, a few missed land drops in just that exact match up came in the 9th round and kept me from making it to day 2.

My other biggest mistake of the tournament came early on and was a total rookie mistake that I should have avoided. I was pitted against RUG and had a spicy battle in game 1 that went over 28 minutes in length. I came away with the win but the game was long and drawn out, ending with me having 18 lands in play while my opponent had 20. I looked at the clock and realized that time was not on my side, so with a single pile shuffle and some riffles, I went to game 2. In that particular game, I took firm control of the game early. I led with a Preordain into an Inquisition of Kozilek that took a Preordain from the opponent, leaving him with only the following.

 

That, plus 2 lands in play for my opponent, looked to spell out good things for me. I then landed a Jace Beleren, drew some extra cards, cast a Mana Leak on a Precursor Golem, kicked a Gatekeeper of Malakir on a Sphinx, and things looked awesome. Then 11 lands greeted me off the top while my opponent clawed back into the game and eventually won. I had failed to shuffle well enough to avoid this due to being in a hurry to finish the match. Game 3 had us push the clock and my opponent just got a faster draw than I, which grabbed him a win in turns.

Aside from these self-created mistakes, and an untimely mull to 5 or two, the deck performed beyond expectations, which was surprising considering I had high expectations to begin with. So, enough about how terrible I am, lets get to the meat and potatoes of the deck itself.

The Deck Itself (and other inventive titles)

The inspiration for the deck actually came from the poison deck that Brian Kibler was championing. Without sounding too harsh, I though that deck was terrible and could easily be upgraded by simply getting rid of the gimmicky poison stuff. Jace, the Mind Sculptor seemed better than Tumble Magnet. Abyssal Persecutor seemed better than Phyrexian Vatmother. Grave Titan seemed better than Skithiryx. Go for the Throat seemed better than Contagion Clasp. And while Gatekeeper of Malakir is admittedly worse than Phyrexian Crusader, he was not that much worse.

While I took that concept and began to work on it, the results from the Grand Prix in Europe came in. Blue/Black control looked to be a semi-legitimate contender, but I still did not like some things about it. While its control elements were fine, it seemed like ending the game could be pretty difficult. Against CawBlade specifically for example, you could only suppress their threats for so long with things like Tumble Magnet before they would eventually break through. It turns out that 6/6 flying tramplers for 4 mana tend to solve that problem. The 4 bears and 2 Grey Ogres added to the deck also help against planeswalkers by trying to keep things like Jace on an otherwise empty board honest. So in summation, we took the UB control list and added a little horsepower.

The Cards

Obviously some card stand out more than others, so I should probably go over their existence.

Bloodhusk Ritualist

This is the most likely head turner, but he may very well be the best card in Standard that no one knows about. While Mind Sludge would be spectacular, it just doesn’t fit into anything. Ritualist on the other hand, attacks the format in a very powerful way. Look at the typical Valakut game for example. Valakut looks to play a few ramp spells and lands while you fight them with countermagic and Inquisitions. Then, at some point, they reach the magical number of 5 (or 6) mana and are just looking to untap. Conveniently, they tend to have about 2 to 3 cards in hand at this point. Bloodhusk Ritualist comes in and takes all of them with pretty high consistency. There are only 6 lands in the deck that don’t produce Black, and 2 of them contribute to the Ritualist anyway, meaning it is unlikely that all of your mana cannot go into this monster..

Against CawBlade, once you play the match up enough times, you soon realize why this guy is good. There are basically two different scenarios that can occur if you hope to win. One path involves finding an opening for a Persecutor where there are little to no negative repercussions and taking advantage of that. Maybe this is due to a mana choke from the opponent, or you Inquisitioned him and made sure the coast is clear, but regardless, this is the more unlikely of the two scenarios.

In the other scenario, you play a game that amounts to draw-go, occasionally dealing with the opponent’s threat or two but planning for the long game and trying to keep walkers off the board. Here you will eventually draw multiple hand disruption cards and can then clear the way for a Ritualist that will take their entire hand, putting you firmly ahead. Remember that this Vampire is Spell Pierce proof, which means weeding out the 1 to 2 Mana Leaks they will draw is not too difficult.

Abyssal Persecutor

Being a Black win condition is a tough gig these days, with Swords flying around and what not. Luckily, Persecutor manages to at least trample over the opposition if they are wielding a Sword. Persecutor is also quite good against Gideon, since a single Tar Pit will have the White Walker dead in one turn and even without it, at worst he trades 1 for 1 with the 5 mana spell.

The biggest thing Persecutor provides though is a Titan deterrent and an aggro stopper. So many times in testing, Boros would have to 3 for 1 themselves just to get this guy off the table, and once they did, there was often another one waiting in the wings. It comes down fast enough that it actively disrupts the aggro decks plan of getting you to X life and burning you out. Grave Titan is awesome against aggro if you get it down fast enough, but at 6 mana, you may already be at 5 or so before that happens.

Meanwhile, in Titan land, Persecutor matches up favorable with every Titan other than big ole Frosty, which isn’t seeing much play right now. Obviously an active Valakut makes Primeval Titan a rough trade as well, but outside of that case, this manages to take out the opponent’s 6 drop more often than not while applying a ton of pressure in every situation where they don’t have a 6/6 in play.

Sphinx of Jwar Isle

Its been awhile since this bad boy was fashionable, but I think he is quite good right now. On defense, he is excellent at stopping the Sword bearers from CawBlade outside of a Colonnade, which the rest of your deck is equipped to handle. He takes out a Gideon in 2 turns, cannot be Jaced, cannot be Tumble Magneted, and stops Hawks where they fly. Shroud is a highly advantageous ability right now, and this is the best of the bunch in that regard. As I alluded to earlier, my first round RUG opponent came to the same conclusion, so I expect this guy to rise in popularity once again.

Peace Strider

I got a ton of crap for this guy at the tournament, but he was the best thing available to fill the role we needed. Basically we were looking for another card against Red decks and we wanted something that came with life attached. Vampire Nighthawk seemed fine until you realize that he just gets Bolted and does nothing. Peace Strider at least trades for what amounts to 2 Bolts and has synergy with Jace if nothing else. Obviously not the flashiest of slots, but it got the job done.

Matchups

In general, I was happy with just about every match up I could have faced in the tournament. Boros and Valakut are particularly easy, as you just have to much removal and/or disruption for them to really get a foothold. No one really had a tough time with any of these match ups and rightfully so.

CawBlade is definitely closer than those two match ups are, but it is still in your favor when played correctly. Like I mentioned, so long as you hit your land drops, you can actually wait them out much better than they can you, especially since stuff like Squadron Hawk gets weaker as the game goes long while Bloodhusk Ritualist gets better, and Abyssal Persecutor stays excellent. Just be patient and try not to pull any big triggers first.

RUG was a match up that I didn’t design the deck for, but it turns out to be quite good. Between 8 main deck ways to fight off Titans and Cobras alike, combined with plenty of countermagic and hand disruption for Walkers, you pretty easily run them out of threats. Again, an Inferno Titan or Raging Ravine does not match up that great with a Persecutor even when you don’t have removal. Jace is the only card you need to fear here.

Vengevine decks can be a little scary if they come out too fast, but your deck is pretty well positioned against the 4/3. You have 6 creatures that just flat out block the plant for eternity and can even begin racing it at some point. The biggest issue here is Sword, since they can overload the board and you don’t have any Wrath effects. That said, if you pull the rug out form under them and take out Shamans and Cobras, you tend to have enough time to get an offense mounting. I would still rather face Boros than Vengevines though.

Red decks are tougher than Boros, but are patched up by the sideboard quite a bit. Luckily Koth is much worse against us than most control decks, since Persecutor is a house there. Early removal is key here and being on the play is a nice gift.

Sideboarding

The sideboard is a pretty dynamic one, and you should definitely take advantage of that as you play out the tournament. Here was my sideboard guide going into Dallas though. Some plans were so good that you felt the match up just got insanely good post-board, like against CawBlade.

Boros

Out

 

In

 

Valakut

Out

 

In

 

CawBlade

Out

 

In

 

Mono Red

Out

 

In

 

Then add 2 of the following depending on the build

 

UB Control

Out
4 Gatekeeper of Malakir

In

 

RUG

Out

 

In

 

Kuldotha Red/Goblins

Out

 

In

 

Vengevine

Out

 

In

 

If they run Stoneforges, take out another Bloodhusk for the second Ratchet Bomb.

Changes Going Forward

Obviously the main thing here is to incorporate another land into the main deck This most likely means moving the Tectonic Edge to the main and cutting one of the lower impact spells (think 1-ofs like Deprive or Into the Roil here). I would also then look to reinforce the color ratio of the lands a bit, since we are adding a colorless land. This likely means moving one of the Islands or Tarn to something with a little more stability.

Once that move gets made, you free up a sideboard slot, which is nice, but you need to use the extra space to help out the control match ups, since the card you cut likely was a role player in those match ups. Anything from a Negate, to another Duress, to another Jace Beleren, to another Bloodhusk Ritualist is acceptable, and will depending on personal preference for the most part. At that point the sideboarding guide changes slightly, but I think you guys are smart enough to roll with the punches on that one (fingers crossed, Brad Nelson excluded from this statement, love you Brad!)

Wrap Up

In general though, I feel this deck is very well positioned for this weekend. Writing an article about it does expose it a little bit and make some of the cards lose a small amount of value, but not so much that they deck loses its appeal in my opinion. Obviously there are only a few days until Nationals Qualifiers, so I would suggest that anyone interested in this deck get as many reps in with it as possible just to learn how to properly play with a card like Persecutor, which can be a strange thing to experience the first few times you do so. Good luck to everyone this weekend!

Conley Woods

73 thoughts on “Breaking Through – Bringing Bloodhusks to Dallas”

  1. Mini sludge? I’m sure I’m not the only one who forgot about that card. Interesting deck but it seems like there is a lot of fat that can be trimmed. Was Black Sun Zenith under performing? That card seems like an auto include for UB control decks. When you win with so called “bad” cards it makes victory all the sweeter. Neat article.

  2. Jonathan Sheets

    Man, I -knew- Ritualist had potential since Mind Sludge and Jace aren’t exactly on speaking terms.
    Nice article, also enjoyed the Dredgevine stuff.

  3. isnt doom blade pretty much strictly better in the meta right now? You basically have to choose whether you want to kill grave titans, vampires, and infect creatures, or if you want to kill golems and inkmoth nexi. I think the 4 rug lists in the top 8, will mean more golems are going to be seeing play, and doom blade is probably strictly better, at least at this point in time

  4. thats in comparison to go for the throat, for some reason i didnt say that in my first post

  5. If I had spare money to put into standard I probably would run something like this list, it seems pretty sweet. Although I really don’t like ratchet bomb, and I’d probably have a split of doom blades/GFTs in both the main and sideboard.

  6. Conley – I understand how Ritualist gets their business in the Valakut matchup if they’re down to two cards, but it seems like more often they’re going to be at 3-4 and you’ll get everything but their big nasty. Is the matchup played more or less as allowing them to play their ramp while leaving permission up and praying they don’t have the Summoning Trap for the turn or two where you need to bridge the gap betweem them hitting 6 mana and you being able to clean them out with a Ritualist?

  7. Not at all, you pretty much counter all of the noncreature stuff and kill all of the creatures, they often are forced into playing around leak etc as well. Remember, you have 5 other discard spells to slow them down and reduce their hand size as well, its not just like UW where all you have is countermagic. A resolved Titan isn’t even game since you can kill it and then Tec Edge their Valakuts away. The match up is quite easy when you factor in all of the different ways you have to interact

  8. Point, I guess I’m so used to playing without meaningful spot removal that actually having it is somewhat confusing and terrifying. Thanks for the interesting look into a unique deck. 🙂

  9. Hey, like the list but a few comments:

    It seems that the deck has only 59 cards as listed, but you talk of a single deprive, so i think that is what is missing.

    Another thing: about sideboard; it seems that you have 2 blade and 2 disfigure, but I find that odd. The extra speed can be good, but wouldnt the ability to kill precursor golems etc be more important than casting it a turn earlier? (though it does seem strong to spend turn 2: IoK and disfigure.) just wondering. Thx. And more MTGO videos 😛

  10. argggh…why do you do this to me Conley…now I just wanna play this….there’s too many decks in standard…lol

  11. Can we get an explanation of the brad Nelson deal?

    I thought I saw you on twitter saying you’d never do a team event with him.

  12. I have disliked almost every single deck you’ve ever posted but THIS…

    Conley, this is F*$&%ng beautiful.

    Sorry about the “bad beats”. 26 land in control decks! MONEY!

  13. I’d like to see conley draft, these standard concoctions are spot on, but he seems like a limited mindset applied to a constructed environment. Maybe once the full set’s out.

  14. No consideration to the double black maelstrom pulse? (Hexmage)

    I’ve been working on a persecutor list that abuses hexmage to protect him by taking out Jace, Gideon and tumble magnets, and paired with discard, it can be pretty powerful.

  15. The deck is good. Though precursor golem is somehow a problem. I would expect RUG to run 2-3 of them, so I would change 1 gftt to doom blade. leave main deck have it and into the roil against it.

  16. I wanted to play a really similar list, and i have got all the cards in the list excepting jaces :(, so sad… I tried to play it with out it but it is essential to win jaces wars and to be able to unsumon the abyssal. I guess i will just have to sell my persecutors before standard rotate, without getting to play with them again 🙁

  17. I playtested it, in 2-mans, twice vs DarkestMage running Caw-blade. This deck is not good vs Caw-Blade. Persecutor is too slow, and discard is sweet but everyone runs multiple swords, or just waits until a later turn if they can play around it.

    Persecutor is still terrible since you don’t want to tap out and play him, because they can counter him or play Jace, either one is bad for you. Trampling over birds to kill Jace is pointless since Jace just bounces him. After board, he’s even worse, since now they have condemns or oust, so you are spending 4 mana to their 1.

    It seemed better than Wafo’s UB vs Aggro, and I only played Valakut once but I was land light and got crushed both games.

    All the spot removal seemed bad, I never boarded it all in. I would suggest cutting a persecutor, a go for the throat, moving a doom blade main deck, and playing some kind of sweeper, and an additional flashfreeze. 4 Gatekeeper was awful, I would also cut 1 for Liliana who can find you a removal spell for Persecutor, or just a counterspell, although I didn’t have Deprive in my list.

  18. @”I could care less about the naysayers”

    It’s “couldn’t” not “could”. You *couldn’t* care less about the naysayers.

    If you “could” care less that means you do care some amount, when you are trying to imply that you don’t care at all.

    /pedant

  19. It’s a good thing BT was here to fix your deck, Conley.

    I certainly feel silly, gauntleting entire formats when I could’ve been running a couple 2-mans vs. DarkestMage.

  20. @BT

    What, you mean Micheal Jacob playing a tier 1 deck was able to handle you easily? Color me shocked. N00b.

  21. I’m not sure, am I a N00b because I lost to a good player, or because I was playing a bad deck?

    Things went quite differently in our caw blade rematch when I headed back into the queue with the deck I’m going to continue playing. We actually play strikingly similar lists with maindeck sun titan, I think the only difference is he maindecks into the roil over what I’m guessing Mortapod in my list, although it could be mana leak, impossible to tell.

  22. Looks sweet for the current meta, but I can’t see it beating any red decks if they become popular again.

  23. You forgot to say peace strider not only gains 6 life but also takes a card out of their hand, effectively trading for 3 bolts!

  24. Its kind of frustrating to be playing Bloodhusk Ritualist, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, and Peace Strider a few days before regionals then have a widely-read author actually write about them at the last minute.

    I hadn’t thought about changing to Go for the Throat and playing Abyssal Persecutor though. Seems to be a nice upgrade over playing those slots as more discard.

  25. @PV

    How? 1 Bolt to kill Strider, 1 Bolt to undo the life…

    @Conley

    This deck looks sweet!, haven’t testet it yet, but i suspect plant matchups are crappy (wich is not very important, by the way).

    Also wanted to say your Troy Polalamalu draft is the funniest piece of work ever (not the first one to say it i’m sure)

  26. Pingback: Sick Regionals Tech! (Or Shameless Hit Whoring 101) | Mixed kNuts

  27. @BT

    If you disagree with someone BT then there are better ways of letting them know without being unpleasant about it. I think you can clearly see from the replies YOU have recieved that you might want to try being more polite when making comments. It might even make you a better person and generally improve your ability to relate in a positive way to other people.

    I’m very impressed with your punctuation though, you dont see that enough on internet forums.

  28. ritualist, for value. Amazing. I take that card waaaay too high on modo; but it is a BEAST. how can someone argue with a surprise, “LOLz, discard your hand, I get a 2/2”

  29. I don’t disagree with Conley, I was just posted my thoughts after playing the deck, it seems like a work in progress that could use feedback. I’m not trying to become best buds with anyone posting here with my anonymous name, I just thought I would leave a comment for the deck in the comments section of the article it was posted in, maybe spark some discussion on a more finely tuned list.

    I had all the cards on modo so it was trivial to put together, and I figured people might want some feedback. Considering how few people bother to even test decks before commenting on them, the acrimonious response doesn”t bother me. I played UB all through Scars standard, so the deck felt very familiar, but there’s definitely a reason I stopped playing it once Besieged came out.

  30. Peace Strider seems interesting, but is Skinrender not better? Against the decks you want to gain life, isn’t killing a guy more relevant than the three life?

  31. This makes me miss my abyssal persecuters soo much 🙁 I traded them at $25 value, so it felt right, but god i LOVE that card… I should’ve tried harder to make it work. So sexy. Love the deck.

    *Tip of the hat good sir

  32. @swills
    It’s idiomatic. Did you get his meaning? Good, then it’s fine. If you had your way we’d all talk like dictionaries and encyclopedias. Let language breathe.

  33. @sp

    Its well known that americans can’t speak English but apparenlty you aren’t even trying anymore.

    @BT

    Starting with I played TWO GAMES vs caw-blade and then saying it loses to caw-blade is the problem.

  34. I’m really confused about the story with the very long game 1. If you’ve up a game, how isn’t the clock your friend? The RUG player is under the same incentive as you to avoid a draw, but he needs to pull 2 wins to do it, while you can either draw that game or get 1 win. I want to be absolutely clear that I’m not advocating for slow play here (intentionally doing that would be stalling), but there is no need to rush your shuffling to try and squeeze in 2 games unless you’re really certain that you can’t win on the draw.

  35. Gavin: “If I told you I had a Conley U/B deck, what two facts would you immediately assume to be true about it?”

    Me: “It has Abyssal Persecutor and too few lands?”

    Gavin: “Exactly!”

  36. Scrubs and their loathing of jtms. Valakut is actually the very subtle problem. If there was no valakut, decks that handle Ux control decks handily would be more viable. No jtms means that blue would vanish from competitive play…while that may be a wet dream to many players who have absolutely no stake in the competitive circuit, it is quite bad to eliminate Ux control entirely. Even if 5c control were possible right now, players having to play five colours in a control deck for standard indicates that the cardpool is intentionally slanted toward creature decks.

    I am especially confused by the players who complain about jtms because it isn’t like they’d be winning games against capable players if jtms wasn’t in the format…

    Enjoy feeling like you achieved something when you finish with an even match record, this weekend, boys!

  37. Abyssal Persecutor makes sideboarding sooo awkward… For example in some MUs you want to take out gatekeepers… But then you can just find yourself in a situation in which you can’t kill your persecutor anymore…

    It also makes you play GffT which is inferior to Doom Blade right now…

  38. @Spinnelcaek

    Funny, that’s exactly what has been said over Twitter and Erwin’s Magic Show.

    Are you a parrot?

  39. @sti It’s well-known that in English, the contraction of “it is” requires an apostrophe.

    Also, I love the deck, Conley. You’re doing us a favor by posting your creations, and I, for one, appreciate it.

  40. if anyone has conley on facebook could you post the new list here please? I’ve sent a request a while ago but I haven’t been added yet so I don’t get to see the new list 🙁

  41. First point, vs. Aggro the Sangromancer is better than Peace Strider. Sure you need to kill something or make them discard to gain life, but it is a better beater (as a flyer) and combos well with all the removal, with the Bloodhusks, and with the Inquisitions. 3 Side is fine.

    Black Sun is also useful vs. aggro. Run 1 main and 2 side.

    For discard, I like 2 Liliana Vess and 1 Bloodhusk. On a quiet board of draw-go, Lily gets the Bloodhusk, and next turn it is kicked for their hand. Naturally after Inquisition vs. leaks as Conley describes.

    Lily with a Jace in play is “play any card in your deck” and change. It was half the story in the European blue black results. I agree with Percy over a few Graves as win conditions.

    I like 4 Percy and 2 Sphinx of Jwar Isle main as the beater creatures.

    With Lily in the deck, it becomes sensible to run 1 and 2 ofs in tool box fashion. Hence 1 Bloodhusk, 1 Black Sun main for example.

    I like only 2 Gatekeepers and replace the other 2 with Into the Roil. It can recur the Gatekeepers; stop a sword hit; and get your Percy off the board for the win.

    Side board elements – 2nd and 3rd Black Sun vs. Aggro, plus 3 Sangromancers.
    2 Doom Blades and 2 Flash Freezes to be able to go up to 6 strong kill spells vs. Titan decks and 6 counters vs. Valakut. I also like 1 Memoricide in the side (with Lily etc). I don’t like the 5th Inquisition – Duress or the 5th Leak – Deprive. 4 Inquisition plus 4 Leak is consistent and sufficient disruption. They can be made 3-1 splits if you must have the mix.

    I consider the solid core of the deck, which I’d never tweak, to be –

    4 Preordain
    4 Mana Leak
    4 Jace TMS
    4 Inquisition
    4 Throat
    4 Percy

    The rest is tun-able, but there should be 2-3 additional large WCs (preferably flyers) and 2-3 long term card advantage from Bloodhusk plus Liliana Vess.

    For the extra beaters, I consider all of the following to be contenders –

    Sphinx of Jwar Isle (my preference ATM because it is great vs. Caw Blade)
    Frost Titan (underrated now and still great vs. Valalut Primevals and RUG Infernos)
    Conscreted Sphinx (punishes a rival Jace, lack of big instant speed removal in non-black decks)
    Wurmcoil (vs. aggro, SB mostly)
    Drana (underrated and very strong vs. small creature decks, Elves, Shaman, Birds alike)
    Massacre Wurm (SB, specialized)

    Other 1 ofs that can make sense in the SB to work with Lily are Memoricide and Consuming Vapors.

    There is definitely a deck here, but this version is not yet fully tuned IMO.

  42. My version of this idea —

    I see the core that cannot be changed as –

    4 Preordain
    4 Mana Leak
    4 Jace TMS
    4 Inquisition of Kozilek
    4 Go for the Throat
    4 Abyssal Persecutor

    We add

    2 Into the Roil
    2 Gatekeeper of Malakir
    2 Bloodhusk
    2 Liliana Vess
    2 Sphinx of Jwar Isle

    I go prefer 2 Roil and 2 Gatekeeper to 4 Gatekeeper. Either can remove Percy for the win, but Roil can reuse an existing Gatekeeper or Bloodhusk, or (most important) stop a sword or Gideon hit in progress at instant speed.

    I like 2 Liliana to tutor up the Bloodhusks when needed, or a way of removing Percy for the win, or anything else needed. I think they were the most important feature of the successful European blue-blacks. I agree with Conley in preferring Percy to Grave Titans, but I think the Lily’s are better, and fit the theme of card advantage through discard.

    My side vs. aggro –

    +3 Black Sun’s Zenith
    +3 Sangromancer (prefer to Peace Strider)
    +2 Drana (cheaper beater who kills things)
    -2 Lily
    -2 Bloodhusk
    -2 Sphinx
    -2 Roil

    My side vs. Valakut –

    +1 Mind Control
    +1 Memoricide
    +1 Flashfreeze
    +1 Doom Blade

    -2 Gatekeeper
    -2 Roil

    Side vs. Caw Blade

    +2 Vampire Hexmage (removing Jace or Gideon is more important than creatures)
    -2 Gatekeeper

    Last sideboard can be 1 Consuming Vapors vs. artifact decks (e.g. Tezz), when Throats need to be sided out.

    I think there is a deck here but don’t consider it fully tuned yet…

  43. Why do continue to say it has a good matchup vs. Caw-Blade? Inquisition, the 1 duress and 1 Into the Roil are the only cards in the deck that even do anything to them. Not to mention how terrible the deck is against Squadron Hawk. Sure Persecutor might help a bit, but on turn 4 you’re getting hit with a pro black creature, most likely with counter back up for any equip response shenanigans. Or they Just jace bounce forever.

  44. Hey man, I just queued for Nats with your deck, and just wanted to thank you for posting the list, it was inspirational. I stopped playing magic for a long time and recently started playing again I used to play abyssal persecutor back before alara rotated out, a kinda bad aggro deck with abyssal persecutor and Sarkan the Mad at the top of the curve. Was using terminates gatekeepers and 2x fling as sac outlets. I then switched and started playing JTMS and creeping tar pits, still more of an agressive list with random beaters like Nantuko shade and vampire hexmage, using more copies of into the roil since there was no go for the throat. But I gave up on the deck and since september I’ve been playing vampires/mono-red/elves/gw quest.

    This weekend going into the nats qualifier I had no idea what to play, and I was set on just borrowing a Valakut deck my friends were advocating… then I saw this article. I remembered how much fun it is to slam those persecutors down, borrowed a whole bunch of cards from friends, sleeved it up, and completely crushed with it! I ended up going 7-1 after 8 rounds of swiss, finishing in 3rd place out of 187. Game record was 14wins-3losses. My only loss was to a Naya Shaman deck that really was just bad beats. Here’s the 75 I played:

    4 Gatekeeper of Malakir
    4 Abyssal Persecutor
    4 Go for the Throat
    4 Inquisition of Kozilek
    4 Jace the Mind Sculptor
    2 Grave Titan
    4 Mana Leak
    2 Bloodhusk Ritualist
    1 Duress
    4 Preordain
    1 Into the Roil
    4 Creeping Tar Pit
    4 Darkslick Shores
    4 Drowned Catacomb
    4 Tectonic Edge
    2 Island
    5 Swamp
    1 Scalding Tarn
    2 Verdant Catacombs
    ::Sideboard::
    3 Flashfreeze
    2 Doom Blade
    1 Duress
    2 Disfigure
    1 Jace Beleren
    1 Wurmcoil Engine
    1 Volition Reins
    1 Black Sun’s Zenith
    2 Ratchet Bomb
    1 Deprive

    Thanks again for the list :). Oh and btw, bloodhusk ritualist was a freaking house!

  45. @Wyatt, played cawblade twice yesterday, was a walk in the park. You keep mana leak open turn 2, turn 3 you duress/inquisition leaving mana leak mana open, they’re either forced to let it resolve or forced to use their counter, allowing you to have mana leak open for when they try to cast their 2 drops again the next turn. Post board you have a 2nd duress, volition reins, 2 ratchet bombs, a 5th jace and a deprive, and I brought in black sun’s zenith too. That in combination with the bloodhusk ritualists is just a beating against that deck. U/B always has an awesome game against u/w, the crappy little hawks don’t change that

  46. Love the deck and the fb update. I ran this at our regional qualifier and only lost to decks using graveyard recursion (Vampires, Monowhite sun Titan/Emeria). Seems like it could use a leyline or two. Just my 2 cents

  47. After some testing squadron hawk and mystic are too much for this deck to afford. If they go first and drop turn 2 mystic, then I am in big trouble. Now they can put sword in play, and if they top deck squadron hawk, before I establish jace advantage. Its very difficult to win at that point.

  48. I played against someone using this deck last saturday at regionals. He used every card in the list except the bloodhusk ritualist. I thought it was a neat deck he had at the time even though it could not handle my red deck and the level of experience I have with it.

    Game 2 he did win with the peace strider (he played two) which put him in really good position. Hopefully this card does not catch on. Its a great piece of tech.

  49. 1). People calling for jace to be banned are fools. Pure and simple. You don’t just play around jace. You also play around stoneforge mystic, valakuut, and other cards in the meta. Jace is basically like compulsive research. He just goes into every deck that plays blue because he’s the best card drawer in the format. He’s also interactive and skill-intensive unlike truly banworthy cards like bloodbraid elf.

    2). This deck is pretty fun and I’ve been looking to use my abyssals for a long while now. People who say this deck is beaten by turn 2 mystic need to learn how to mulligan. You have 5 discard effects that all hit sword at one mana. Wait for them to tap out on turn 2 and then take their sword. Duh. Love the tech and I’ll be testing this bad boy at my fnms in order to see if it’s viable for nationals.

  50. Gah, you should wurm in a Mortarpod somewhere. it is an out to your persy´s and kills nasty cobras and soon to be equipped hawks.

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  52. Haha, I went back and read my suggestion after seeing his final list, just out of curiosity.

    Take out an abyssal? Check
    Take out a GFFT? Check
    Move a doom blade main? Check

    I also thought a sweeper and/or Liliana might be helpful, but then again I only got to play 5 rounds in the queues. Additionally flashfreeze would probably be better than peace strider, and I would probably play at least 1 sweeper md or board, but pretty close.

    After a million negative comments, nice to know nobody else bothered to test and try to improve it (minus Conley, who I’m sure didn’t need my help)

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