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Chasing Victory – (Hex)mages and Thopters and Swords, Oh My!

 

“LSV”: you really did break it
“LSV”: didnt you
Me: lol
Me: played some games have you
“LSV”: been depthsing today
“LSV”: its pretty unstoppable
Me: im fully aware!

I’ll be honest, I had my fair share of luck during the PTQ I won, and even the one that I t4ed before that. For example, in round one of the second PTQ, I made a 20/20 on turn one, on the play. Naturally, my opponent didn’t have the Path.

In a later round, after having seen my opponent’s entire hand, I played my third land and Slaughter Pacted his Vendilion. The odds were slim that he would draw a Cryptic next turn to kill me (by bouncing my land), and sure enough he did. Sadly for him, he elected to simply pass the turn.

After that game, during sideboarding:


3:33 PM sneakyhomunculous: i need say this in sbing
3:33 PM sneakyhomunculous: so no one can see
3:33 PM sneakyhomunculous: i ripped cryptic
3:33 PM sneakyhomunculous: and couldve bounced
3:33 PM sneakyhomunculous: a land
3:33 PM sneakyhomunculous: and killed u lol
3:33 PM sneakyhomunculous: so bad
3:33 PM Thage: lolol
3:33 PM sneakyhomunculous: yeah sick play

Sometimes you just run good!

As I write this, PTQ results are pouring in over Facebook, and so far, it looks like my Depths/Foundry hybrid won three PTQs in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Detroit, in addition to making a couple of other Top Eights. Luis also seems to endorse the deck, if that above AIM chat is any indication. The results from this weekend further justify what I already knew: This deck is for real.

For reference, here’s the list I used to win my PTQ:

As I said in my last article, that’s very close to the list that I would recommend. However, a few things have happened in the last couple of weeks. For starters, the mirror is going to be extremely popular. Secondly, Elves is now a deck that you probably have to worry about.

Here is the list that I would be playing with today:

Nearly everyone seems to have ditched the sideboard Foundry and Sword, which I suppose I’m fine with. I wanted to bring in the extra copies of those against decks like Bant or Zoo which would be incredibly weak to that combo. They keep in the maximum copies of Path to Exile and other assorted garbage, and may keep hands that are otherwise weak, but have something like double Path or a single Ghost Quarter.

Opponents who haven’t played with the Depths deck typically overestimate the power of their disruption. I liked being able to max out on Foundries so that I could quickly pressure decks that try to overload me with disruption.

The thing is, I don’t necessarily need to pressure them when I’m packing quad Thirst for Knowledge and probably have inevitability. I should probably be trying to slow the game down.

So the deck is very good, that much is certain. Now how do you beat it?

From my experience, nearly all of my opponents have attempted to fight me with the wrong tools. During the last PTQ, I 4-0ed Faeries, and most of them sided in Relic of Progenitus, but for some reason didn’t seem to have Extirpate or Leyline of the Void. Granted, it’s not like my deck was popular at that point, but come on. Relic is terrible against Sword of the Meek.

Zoo decks are typically prepared for one part of the combo, but not both. If they do pack their deck with things like Ancient Grudge or Path to Exile, they often skimp on the threats, giving you enough time to work around their removal. There’s a delicate balance to be found.

While I am siding in more removal against Zoo decks, they should still be trying to fight me with cards like Meddling Mage, Gaddock Teeg, Kataki, and possibly Knight of the Reliquary. I probably have to find ways to kill each of those creatures at some point, all the while being pressured.

What you should name with Meddling Mage varies heavily on the situation. As I noted in my last article, my opponent could have locked up the game by naming Thopter Foundry when I had a Sword of the Meek in play, but instead named Damnation which didn’t even happen to be in my deck. I would probably just name whatever combo piece you can’t beat at the moment, rather than worry about what flavor of removal is in their deck.

Onto the matchups!

SAITO ZOO

I played against this deck frequently in the first PTQs, but it seems to be dying out. The Saito style Zoo decks can usually be identified by its Noble Hierarchs and Bant Charms, while foregoing pure aggressive cards like Kird Ape, Steppe Lynx, and Tribal Flames.

They will often bring in Meddling Mage, sometimes Ancient Grudge, and sometimes Negate (despite it being incorrect).

+ 3 Deathmark
– 1 Into the Roil, 1 Duress, 1 Dark Confidant

Bobby is actually pretty solid here, as like I said, they tend to overload on answers rather than aggressive cards. The damage you take is manageable, and the matchup is more about attrition post board anyway. That said, you probably don’t want to draw multiples of them.

Some of these midrange Zoo decks might try to catch you off guard with Blood Moon, so if you think you see an abnormal amount of basics or something like that, maybe you should consider keeping in the bounce spell in addition to siding in the Dimir Signet.

I would sideboard roughly the same vs. Bant, although I would consider bringing in a Darkblast.

5c/FAST ZOO

This deck is more concerned with racing than anything, so you can expect them to come out of the gates blazing. This matchup is much harder than Saito’s deck, despite Saito having more cards that interact with and disrupt you. Given enough time, you will be able to assemble either combo and be able to protect it, so rather than try and overload you with their answers, they just try to kill you. Overall, that plan is much more effective.

+ 3 Deathmark, 1 Chalice of the Void, 1 Darkblast
– 3 Dark Confidant, 1 Into the Roil, 1 Duress

Drawing one Confidant is almost always fine, as is Darkblast. Depending on their deck, Darkblast could become an absolute all star against them though. Kataki and Steppe Lynx are both incredibly threatening cards that Darkblast is quite good against. Feel free to keep in a [card]Duress[/card] or Confidant rather than bring in that Darkblast though.

ACTUAL MIRROR

I’ve had a lot of people tell me that this mirror is incredibly frustrating, but I think it’s quite the opposite. There are plenty of decisions to make on both sides, and watching someone perfectly craft a game state by choosing the right card with Duress, playing their lands in the right order, and knowing what to discard to Thirst for Knowledge is incredibly elegant.

My advice to someone who doesn’t want to play the deck because they dislike mirror matches would be to play better, or practice more so that you gain the ability to play better.

+ 1 Meloku, 1 Echoing Truth, 2 Duress, 2 Extirpate, 2 Darkblast
– 1 Slaughter Pact, 3 Vampire Hexmage, 3 Dark Depths, 1 Chrome Mox

If you are really worried about the mirror, you could play a maindeck Extirpate instead of the Duress, but overall, I wouldn’t want more than two Extirpates in this matchup. With all the Duresses flying around, you really want a bunch of action, so that you still have some game after you get disrupted. Extirpate just kind of sits there and looks stupid, unable to do anything.

UW FOUNDRY

Supposedly your “bad” matchup, at least until you gain access to your own Foundries. Suddenly, the matchup is a completely turnaround.

+ 2 Extirpate, 2 Duress, 1 Meloku
– 1 Chrome Mox, 2 Vampire Hexmage, 2 Dark Depths

They probably have Path and Cryptic maindeck with stuff like Repeal, Aether Spellbomb, and Celestial Purge also in their 75. Thopter Foundry is a way more reliable backup plan, but I still want to keep in one of each combo piece in case they manage to Extirpate you. Meloku is a solid second backup plan.

If they are extremely heavy on artifacts, you should definitely bring in the Hurkyl’s Recall.

UG SCAPESHIFT

Is this deck even being played anymore? Killing them with Dark Depths is probably way more reliable here, despite them having answers to your 20/20 but not necessarily your Foundry. Foundry is just way too slow, and it takes way too long to put you out of range of their combo kill.

Extirpate is a solid backup plan, combined with your seven Duresses. The Foundry plan is there in case they have a plethora of bounce spells, or to make a bunch of blockers to stave off their horde of 1/1s.

+ 2 Duress, 2 Extirpate
– 1 Into the Roil, 2 Thopter Foundry, 1 Sword of the Meek

Slaughter Pact is kind of useless, but they might bring in something like Tarmogoyf or Vendilion Clique. Your matchup is so good that you can afford to defend yourself against their potential sideboard plans without weakening your matchup too much.

FAERIES

Of all the decks in Extended, I feel like this is probably the one that is the most threatening. Despite my excellent record against it, that very easily could have been the opposite had they been prepared for me. However, I can’t bring myself to play Faeries, at least right now.

My deck is faster, plays discard instead of counterspells, which at the moment seems much better, and has two extremely powerful combos. Compare Bitterblossom to the Foundry combo for a second.

Still with me? While that comparison isn’t exactly fair, to some extent it is. Sure, the Foundry combo requires two cards to work effectively, but what is Faeries if not a deck that relies completely on synergy? Is Spellstutter Sprite good on its own? What about Mistbind Clique?

Those cards all tend to feed off each, so if I’m going to spend my time trying to assemble certain combos, I’m going to do it with combinations that actually win me the game.

I’ve tried to build a Faerie deck that I would like, but let’s be honest, all I did was try and figure out the best way to jam the Foundry combo into it.

+ 3 Duress, 1 Meloku
– 2 Dark Depths, 2 Vampire Hexmage

You could bring in a Darkblast to defend against Vendilion Clique and you could take out the Into the Roil to do it, but that leaves you incredibly vulnerable to Leyline of the Void.

A few people have told me that you should bring in the Chalice to counteract their [card ancestral vision]Ancestrals[/card]. While I agree that is probably a fine plan, it seems kind of awkward to have a miser’s Chalice in the deck when you need to have access to it at a very specific time. There are certainly enough tutors to find it though, so it’s probably worth doing, especially since if they don’t ever resolve Ancestral, it’s very hard for them to fight through your barrage of discard.

Faerie players, listen up! You need real graveyard hate to fight me. Your deck is already somewhat resilient to 20/20s, but right now, you simply can’t beat an active Thopter Foundry. At the very least, play a Pendelhaven or two to help with the mirror match. I would probably look into adding a land in the first place, but I would also consider cutting a Mutavault for a second Haven. You can thank me later.

ELVES

While we weren’t even close to worried about this deck at the Pro Tour due to our overabundance of Chalices and Explosives, those cards kind of suck now. Thankfully, Darkblast is randomly good again, so that should give you enough hate cards to be favored in this matchup.

+ 3 Deathmark, 2 Darkblast, 1 Chalice of the Void, 1 Dimir Signet
– 3 Thopter Foundry, 2 Sword of the Meek, 1 Duress, 1 Thirst for Knowledge

The Signet comes in to fight Blood Moon. Your 20/20 should take them down with little resistance, whereas the Thopter combo is vulnerable to the various Viridian Shamans and Ancient Grudges that they should have.

Duress actually isn’t the worst depending on how their deck looks post-board, but I’d say that typically you’d rather have more Thirsts or Beseeches than a couple Duresses.

AFFINITY

This should be an easy matchup, even without the Hurkyl’s Recall. They should be somewhat prepared for you with Pithing Needles, Thoughtseizes, and possibly their own Thopter Foundries (why aren’t more Affinity decks playing these?), but you have the tools to work around all of those cards.

+ 1 Hurkyl’s Recall
– 1 Into the Roil

You could try being more creative and siding in Duresses and maybe out some of the Thopter pieces, but overall, I’d say this quick swap is probably best.

ALL-IN RED

Blood Moon or no? You should have enough answers for their other stuff

+ 3 Deathmark, 2 Duress, 1 Dimir Signet, 1 Echoing Truth
– 3 Thopter Foundry, 2 Sword of the Meek, 2 Thirst for Knowledge

GR SCAPESHIFT

Let’s play the Blood Moon or no game again, except this time, their deck is slower (although certainly better vs. the field, but not like that says much).

+ 2 Duress, 1 Dimir Signet, 1 Echoing Truth
– 2 Thopter Foundry, 1 Sword of the Meek, 1 Slaughter Pact

None of their creatures are very threatening, so you don’t need the Slaughter Pact.

 

HYPERGENESIS 

This one is probably a relic of the past, but hey, I’m trying to be thorough here.

+ 2 Duress, 1 Chalice of the Void, 2 Extirpate
– 1 Slaughter Pact, 1 Into the Roil, 2 Thopter Foundry, 1 Sword of the Meek

Extirpates are for the off chance you manage to Duress or Muddle their Hypergenesis.

LIVING END

Cheap to build, probably better than Hypergenesis regardless, and nearly immune to graveyard hate if you side out the Living Ends for Hypergenesis. Overall, a solid deck, although I’m pretty happy I didn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of losing to it in the finals.

+ 1 Tormod’s Crypt, 1 Chalice of the Void, 2 Duress, 1 Dimir Signet, 1 Echoing Truth – 2 Thopter Foundry, 1 Sword of the Meek, 3 Dark Confidant

My goal is to set up some sort of defense to getting comboed right away, whether it be via Duressing them or finding my Tormod’s Crypt or Chalice. Dark Confidant is a little slow and midgame you would rather have Thirst for Knowledge as a card drawer. Thirst also works better with Muddle, should that be your only means of defense.

The Thopter combo is quite good against them, but they still have things like Ingot Chewer. You can assemble it once the game is mostly locked up, and then even a few Living Ends won’t help them. The best strategy is to race at that point, and try not to trade with their guys, as it makes their further Living Ends actually useful.

 

DEATH CLOUD 

Another easy matchup, for multiple reasons. They probably have few ways to deal with Dark Confidant, Thopter Foundry, and 20/20s. Night of Soul’s Betrayal is annoying, but it’s like a much worse Blood Moon.

+ 2 Duress, 1 Echoing Truth
– 1 Slaughter Pact, 1 Engineered Explosives, 1 Thopter Foundry

MARTYR

Oh look, another easy one, although this one could actually be somewhat difficult if they have the right tools. Boarding into a beatdown strategy is an effective way to throw the Depths player off guard, and the plethora of discard makes the game more about luck rather than who has the best matchup.

Assuming they don’t have an aggro sideboard plan, I would board like this:

+ 2 Extirpate, 2 Duress
– 1 Engineered Explosives, 1 Sword of the Meek, 2 Thopter Foundry

The Foundry combo is excellent against them, but you often have plenty of time to tutor for it. You reap much higher rewards by drawing the Depths combo pieces earlier than the Foundry ones. However, if you feel like your Foundry combo might get trapped by an Oblivion Ring or broken up by an Extirpate or Hide/Seek, maybe you should side out some of the Depths pieces.

DREDGE

Typically an easy matchup, and one that you are naturally set up to do well against. Hexmage can remove their Bridges and your combo is much faster than theirs, plus you have disruption. Sure, they can Iona you, but you have Into the Roil and Slaughter Pact for outs, so you should be fine. The only danger is from them getting a quick combo kill, or setting up a board position that you can’t win from, like one with a bunch of Narcomoebas and zombies.

+ 2 Extirpate, 1 Tormod’s Crypt, 1 Echoing Truth, 2 Darkblast
– 1 Into the Roil, 2 Thopter Foundry, 1 Sword of the Meek, 1 Duress, 1 Dark Confidant

Well, there you have it. Right now, this is absolutely the deck to beat. If you are seriously trying to win a PTQ, you need to know the ins and outs of this deck, whether you are trying to play it or know how it’s going to fight you.

I think I covered everything (except maybe Burn, but come on, that’s a waste of both our time), but if you need to know anything else, hit me up in our wonderful forums!

GerryT

89 thoughts on “Chasing Victory – (Hex)mages and Thopters and Swords, Oh My!”

  1. Way to humiliate sneakyhomunculous…

    In my experience, the Faeries mirror is NOT about winning 1/1 against 1/1 combat, as it may have been in Standard. Pendelhaven is too good to be cute.

  2. Also, due to you guys’ refusal to give me the Beastmaster Ascension list, I was forced to play Jund and actually win tickets and QPs, instead of having fun.

  3. Agree with LSV. Congrats for breaking the format, it is a huge feat. Can you do the same for Legacy? Would be priceless to end once and for all with the (overrated) 20+ archetypes hype that runs around there.

  4. Just wondering about the mono-red burn matchup. I assume it’s just all about thopter combo but just wanna make sure.

  5. I played this in the Bay Area PTQ last weekend and took the slot. Wish I could say it was due to tight play, but no, the deck is just ridiculous. Playing a combo deck that contains Counterspell/Demonic Tutor as a split card is… nice.

  6. Stephan Mercatoris

    This deck was running all over the place in Atlanta this past weekend. I missed on T8 playing against Tim (the guy who won playing dark depths) while piloting R/G Scapeshift. I’ve already picked up my dark depths as I expect them to rise in the near future and I expect to be playing them in the near future :).

    This deck’s too good :).

  7. Night of soul’s betrayal kills off both combos.. By locking out thopter foundry and vampire hexmages..

  8. Damping Field seems really good at slowing down both of the combo’s and probably fits better in more decks than NOSB.

  9. To sum it up, fae mirror is all about the Jitte. If no player has a Jitte, it all comes down to Bitterblossom, and if no player has a Bitterblossom, Ancestral Vision is the key. This is my experience (however fae mirror is soooo random… or I cannot play the deck properly :D).

    Good job with the deck Gerry, it is awesome.

  10. The best part about Pendelhaven is making a thopter token a 2/3 in response to the Sword trigger, if they don’t have another artifact you’ve stopped their combo… for now…

  11. Markus Thibeau, it isnt all about thopter foundry, u summon a 20/20 indestructible with flying, what can monored possibly do against it? At least in 1st game…

  12. At first I thought playing 2 combo’s i one deck was rubbish as it was diluting the power to get both combo’s but the ability to naturally draw one piece and only having to tutor one or pitching a redundant piece to thirst or chrome mox makes this deck really strong.
    Still it’s far from the ‘format-breaker’ this article makes it out to be I think.
    There are a multitude of ways to fight this I think:

    ghost quarter + ancient grudge, both only fight one part of the combo but do so extremely well because they are discard proof. (given you have an actual clock going on besides that)

    bant charm, not the cheapest answer but deals with either combo

    celestial purge, removes either the token or thopter foundry itself

    (with worldwake) knight of the reliquary into bojuka bog or ghost quarter though in the case of bojuka it does require leaving the knight untapped.

    repeal also does pretty well still, stopping the DD-token or delaying the other plan which usually relies on a chrome mox for speed.

    Seems to me extended is playing either zoo in the right configuration (domain, 1-drop, saito, rubin etc.) with the right board cards for the metagame or playing the best combo deck that is the least hated at the moment (DD/foundry , scapeshift, dredge, possibly elves). Fae is out I think because of it’s abysmal performance against the cheaper decks that are always bound to show up (burn, allinred) and mediocre performance against zoo because of their speed or backup plan (fire/grove).

  13. Versions of this deck were all over the Lexington, KY PTQ. I am surprised it didn’t win although it did take 3rd. In watching the matches it is not a deck to pilot for the faint of heart. Pretty damn impressive deck.

  14. How is your matchup against the B/G version of the Depths deck? It seems as if they should combo faster, but are more susceptible to random hate cards. But heads up, do you think you are favored or is it a bad matchup?

  15. I think people are overestimating their ability to disrupt the thopter combo. It doesnt matter if you put a piece in the graveyard. In fact go ahead put both pieces in and I will play academy ruins get the foundry back and start making thopters.Everyone already knows that there are tons of ways to deal with a 20/20 flying indestructible but there are few situations where you are able to effectively able to deal with both combos. Sideboarding is where this is a thing of beauty because say game 1 you win with dark depths and they side in the hate for that and then game 2 they have a bunch of dark depths hate in hand you kill them with foundry and sword. Great job Gerry I must say this deck is awesome.

  16. I used to play normal dark depths. That deck was good enough to provide winning records. This deck is miles better.

    Grats, and welcome back.

  17. Jonathan L Melamed

    I don’t know what do you gain by exposing sneakyhomunculus…
    Besides that the article is pretty good as well as the deck…

  18. I playtested against Dark Depths/Thopter hybrids on MODO weeks ago. Guess Gerry is the first one to get it right though.

  19. This is what I have really missed the most about the absence of Gerry T, strategy articles about relevant formats with thorough matchup analysis and tournament performance to back it up. A lot of writers will only briefly explain their decks and then post sideboarding strategies for like 4 decks when extended is a format with around 15 or more decks being played. There are only a handful of people who’s articles are consistently this informative, LSV and PV come to mind. The cynicism and humor are just gravy. This reminds me of the awesome B/W Tokens articles from last year when that actually was the best deck in standard. Thanks for giving us a good read while everyone else talks about Treasure Hunt and Abyssal Persecutor.

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  21. Dark Confidant is among your best cards against Living End; I can’t really understand taking that guy out. You cite Thirst “working” with Muddle as a reason … but Violent Outburst is an instant, and Bob is better than Thirst in the matchup in 3 important ways: a) it costs 2 rather than 3 (sub-theme to point a is that you always can resolve it before blood moon also). b) it doesn’t use up any of your blue mana, which are often already in short supply. c) if your defense is muddle, Bob clocks them in the meantime so you don’t necessarily have to try and do anything else. Just because your opponent punted you g3 of the PTQ finals by not playing outburst while you were tapped out and summarily lost to duress+muddle doesn’t mean that all Living End players ignore the status of their opponents’ mana =P.

    Following up on that, why hasn’t that punt been bandied about more? It was pretty awful. The guy had demonic dread as backup and was either a) just being a moron or b) playing around Land+Damnation rather than Discard+Counterspell, against an opponent who didn’t have Damnation in his 75 (try watching replays maybe?) and had missed multiple land drops. If he doesn’t mess that up he rides his bye-filled day (so. much. Zoo. must. be…) all the way to Puerto Rico.

    Anyway, awesome article, and BEAUTIFUL deck; I agree it’s the best in the format and I’ve found my new enemy to combat for Oakland. It might just be right to join the crowd this time. I ain’t a-feared o’ them mirror thangs.

  22. It might not be tier 1, but I was wondering about the matchup against Bant. This is a deck that doesn’t seem to get much attention or play but seems to T8 several times. Any thoughts on this matchup?

  23. It is pretty awesome to have articles on decks and formats as opposed to Set Reviews (which i think if we are realistic) have basically 0 value.

    Going to be interesting to see what happens in Oakland.

  24. Is the life loss so important that Sunken Ruins and River of Tears get the nod over Watery Grave?

    How much would I give up using Water Grave?

  25. Kuranyi: Uhh, yeah…

    MtgVeteran: Nope, not a typo.

    Markwerf: Play some games, and you’ll realize the deck is a lot more resilient than you think.

    Aras: Unsure. They are definitely faster, but they also have a lot of bad cards and can’t really beat your Thopters.

    Melamed/emeng: He’s a big boy, he can handle it. It was more for humor than for humiliation, and he was probably expecting to get made fun of once he told me in the first place.

    Fiend28: http://www.deckcheck.net

    p3: As long as I know that someone appreciates it, I’ll keep writing.

    Shyft: If we’re talking about punts in the finals of that PTQ, feel free to point out how that match shouldn’t have even been close had I been playing close to optimal.

    My point was that I feel like tapping out on turn two without accomplishing anything to stop them is basically asking to get blown out. I am not going to keep a hand with no defense and a turn two Bob, and if I do have some sort of defense, like Muddle or tutor for Crypt/Chalice, or whatever, I’m not casting that Bob for a few turns. At that point, I’d rather cast Thirst on turn four-ish than Confidant, and get some instant rewards. There are plenty of matchups where you can lead with Bob and they don’t do anything threatening, but this isn’t one of them, imo.

    Miz: Bant is basically a slightly rougher Zoo matchup, but I sideboard roughly the same, as I mentioned in the article.

    Grannyspayback: You can often manipulate the River of Tears to be Watery Graves that don’t deal you damage and Sunken Ruins are great for turning on Muddle when you have stuff like Urborg. Watery Grave pales in comparison to both of these lands. I’ve seen some people cut basics for a couple Graves, but then you open yourself up to Blood Moon even further.

  26. jotram: Well, perhaps your five minutes of testing is more valuable than the several PTQs the deck has won in one weekend, but for now I’m going to go ahead and disagree.

  27. I’m surprised they didn’t edit out the quote with sneaky considering it did nothing for the article and was in general rude and immature. But Gerry gets some sort of satisfaction out of things like that so I doubt it’ll stop anytime soon as long as it is allowed.

  28. Oh I’m sure it’s better than I’ve experienced, but still, something like half your lands don’t produce colored mana on their own, another 4 are legendary, and another 4 EBT tapped, another 4 cost 2 cards, and none of them produce both U and B without help. On top of that you only have 2 swamps in the deck, making beseech the queen more expensive Tolaria West. Given that it’s a combo-based deck, it seems like if you run a little poor you’ll get stuck mulliganing into oblivion over and over. I haven’t taken the time to test properly, but it seems like a few watery graves might help cast your thoughtseizes/duresses on turn 1, your muddles on turn 2, and let youi beseech for hexmage/thopter/foundry in a pinch.

    Also, you lose to thoughtseize into duress into extirpate into cranial extraction so it’s a terrible deck, obv.

  29. “The Signet comes in to fight Blood Moon. Your 20/20 should take them down with little resistance, whereas the Thopter combo is vulnerable to the various Viridian Shamans and Ancient Grudges that they should have. ”

    The signet then becomes the target of said grudges and shamans. Isn’t there another option?

  30. Sunken Ruins is the pure, unadulterated nuts land for the deck. Also, Gerry, my point is that casting Thirst is almost as risky because Violent Outburst is an instant. They might only have Demonic Dread, which would be nice, but a pretty large number of games playing LE (and Hypergen, pre-Austin) has shown me that the 2cc vs 3cc is relevant far more often than the instant speed of Thirst in terms of how open you leave yourself – though it is awkward that on the draw you aren’t running bob out there without a mox or a chalice. My guess is that in a way we’re both right; it’s probably right to keep bobs on the play and thirsts on the draw, since bob on the draw is dead without a mox and thirst just requires them to have dread, not outburst.

    I didn’t realize you had also kicked it in in that match! The opposing punts were a lot more evident because, y’know, his hand kept getting revealed somehow.

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  32. sneakyhomunculous

    Gerry is clearly the stoneblade has anyone played this deck? And i deserve to be made fun of, he was just running like brett blackmann ran back in his JSS days. I am an idiot and punted harder than calosso fuentes punts his life on a regular basis. Insanely standarddd

  33. sneakyhomooooounculous

    Gerry is clearly the stoneblade has anyone played this deck? And i deserve to be made fun of, he was just running like brett blackmann ran back in his JSS days. I am an idiot and punted harder than calosso fuentes punts his life on a regular basis. Insanely standarddd

  34. Pretty sure that Pendelhaven does not stop the combo. Can someone check that?

    “If a 1/1 creature that could not be equipped by Sword of the Meek enters the battlefield under your control, you may return Sword of the Meek to the battlefield when the ability resolves. The Sword will fail to become attached to the creature, but it will remain on the battlefield.”

    Y/N?

  35. Calosso AKA SNEAKY

    Gerry is clearly the stoneblade has anyone played this deck? And i deserve to be made fun of, he was just running like brett blackmann ran back in his JSS days. I am an idiot and punted harder than calosso fuentes punts his life on a regular basis. Insanely standarddd

  36. Xambin: Not really. The Signet allows you to bounce and then make them discard a Blood Moon or just bounce Blood Moon and kill them. I moreso want a Signet (or two actually) vs Moon decks that DON’T have a plethora of artifact removal, but you should bring it in vs the Moon decks that do regardless.

    Vs the decks that have Viridian Shamans, you don’t necessarily have to cast the Signet on turn two. Holding it might up working better.

  37. so the other day I was playing in an 8 man, right? I gave this deck a huge beating. Naw I’m just kidding, I’ve never beaten that deck in my life.

  38. I agree with Steve. Based on the Gatherer entry, it does not seem like Pendelhaven stops the combo. There is no “intervening if” clause, which means it only checks the creature when the ability triggers and not when it resolves. Please correct me if this is wrong!

  39. because this deck is the best extended deck by far (thanks gerry) why dont u consider playing leylines for the mirror, like u advised the faery players to do? in my experience the mirror match its all about the thopter combo…

    one more thing… why do u run an extra copy of each thopter combo piece if u never board it in against any matchup?

  40. Quackquack: Extirpate seemed a little better for the mirror (and against other Thopter decks) because it’s easily tutorable via Beseech and isn’t close to useless if it’s not in your opener. Leyline is vulnerable against decks like UW Thopter that have Cryptic Commands whereas Extirpate is almost always going to get them.

    That said, I haven’t testing Leylines for the mirror but that was definitely something that I was going to get around to.

    As I said in the article, I used to run the extra copies in the board, but no longer do, which the updated list reflects, so that would be why I don’t ever bring them in.

    Jotram: Good to hear!

  41. Alex B "HearthfireHobgob"

    Hey GerryT sweet article indeed very helpful, I am dissapointed in the Elf portion. You didnt really give Elves an idea on beating it? I recently Top8’ed my first PTQ with elves and would like to play it again at GP oakland.
    What should my overall strategy be when playing against this Archtype? Should I race it, go beatdown? I know boarding in Blood Moon will create problems on your side but is that it? Should I just run six Moon effects? My buddy said Worship would be pretty tricky against it, but I don’t see it sticking with all the hand disruption+bounce? Anyways would love the advice thanks.

  42. Alex: A quick clock with a little disruption is all you need. I’m not sure whether Blood Moon or something like Thoughtseize is more effective, but other than that, there’s not really much you can do. You’re effectively a mono green creature deck, so the amount of things you can do to the DD deck are somewhat limited.

    If you are on the Blood Moon plan, I would diversify and play plenty of them so that you don’t blown out by a single Echoing Truth or Thoughtseize.

  43. Alex B "HearthfireHobgob

    good point, I will def keep testing. This DD list def seems legit though. So many sick plays! Good job. It really does feel like legacy in standard…

  44. Hey Gerry, have you seen the UW Thopter version packing Iona + Polymorph? What do you think about it? And have you faced an UW version with Vendilion and Meddling Mage in sb?

  45. The decklist is on starkingtonpost, Jan 28th decks of the week:

    1 Academy Ruins
    3 Hallowed Fountain
    1 Marsh Flats
    2 Mutavault
    3 Scalding Tarn
    3 Seat of the Synod
    4 Snow-Covered Island
    3 Snow-Covered Plains
    1 Tolaria West
    1 Watery Grave
    1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
    4 Ancestral Vision
    3 Chrome Mox
    3 Engineered Explosives
    3 Mana Leak
    3 Muddle the Mixture
    4 Path to Exile
    2 Polymorph
    4 Spell Snare
    3 Sword of the Meek
    4 Thirst for Knowledge
    4 Thopter Foundry

    Sideboard:
    2 Celestial Purge
    1 Echoing Truth
    2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
    2 Negate
    1 Polymorph
    3 Shadow of Doubt
    1 Threads of Disloyalty
    3 Wrath of God

    Also, I missed the matchup analisys against Hive Mind. How does your deck plays out againsts it?

  46. Repeal over into the roil because against anything CMC 3 or less, repeal is a better card. It bounces a Marit Lage token and cantrips for U.

    Denys, what happens when that deck draws Iona? Just because it’s a one-of doesn’t mean it can’t/won’t happen. Looks good though otherwise.

  47. I’ve actually removed both swamps in place of two more islands. I found myself come short for early transmutes, and rarely imprinting blue onto chrome mox. I think cutting the third beseech seems a lil much, sort of goes against running all the 1 of’s.

  48. @Matt: Yes, that blows … I was thinking about using an artifact creature instead, like Sundering Titan or Sphinx of Steel Wind so you can discard for Thirst and then put back on top with Academy Ruins.

    The sweet thing about Iona is that against a couple of decks is an auto-win. Even against Gerrys list, Iona for black is hard to deal with because it stops both combos and you have only into the roil for answer. I believe is steals some games without taking a lot of slots from the maindeck.

  49. Denys: You’re right, I didn’t include a Hive Mind analysis. Shame on me.

    From my experience, DD vs Hive Mind plays out like last years Elves vs TEPS matchup. Elves had a huge advantage because on average, they were a turn faster AND has disruption like Thoughtseize. As long as you try to find some discard, you should be able to easily defeat them.

    + 2 Duress, 2 Extirpate

    You could also bring in the Signet and/or the other bounce spell, but what you take out depends on what you expect them to have against you. Slaughter Pact is useful against Magus of the Moon, but you already have some bounce and they might not have a Moon effect anyway. Explosives is good against Empty the Warrens tokens, which they might bring in against you, and it can also sometimes kill Blood Moon.

    Do you think they are going to have a bunch of Repeals and stuff? Well, then maybe you want to keep in some Thopter pieces and beat them that way, even though it is glacially slow.

    On average, I would say you are going to end up shaving Thopter pieces and cutting the Slaughter Pact, but feel free to switch that up depending how many nonbasics you see from them (as it lessens the chances of them having Moons).

    The Polymorph deck seems gimmicky, but could be an alright plan vs something like Zoo or Bant. I haven’t played against it but I don’t imagine it would be very difficult.

    The UW deck with Meddling Mage seems like a bad Bant deck. Keep in some extra removal so that you don’t get aggroed out and you should be fine.

    MTGVet: The only one of that only Beseech can fetch is Extirpate, and even then I don’t need or want it until later. Repeals are clearly for the mirror.

  50. @GerryT: I guess they’ll bring the moon effects in, its the best they can do. Chalice of Void is not bad, its another way to beat their combo.

    The thing about the deck is that most of the time I take out the dark depths parts … I dunno, maybe too many path to exiles around here. Seems that people still got problem to handle thopters anyway.

    @MtgVeteran: Yes, took out the third Beseech definitely. I also took out the Pact and Doom Blade and replaced with 2 Vendilion Cliques and 1 more Engineered Explosives. I guess its a personal choice, cant say its working wonders.

  51. Tolaria can fetch Explosives and Chalice. Muddle can find Echoing Truth. That leaves Darkblast as the ONLY card that only Beseech can tutor for post board. Leylines function as extra Extirpates.

    So I don’t see what your big objection is…

  52. Because Beseech finds everything, instead of only having Muddle to find two drops or Tolaria to find lands/EEs. There are reasons to play it, but you can cut it if you want.

  53. I’ve tested this deck a bit, and I feel it’s incredibly susceptible to Chalice on 2. It only has one explosives for it, although it does have 6 tutors for it. Once my opponent made the mistake by dropping it when i had a hexmage in play so i could sac it to remove the counters, but other than that, it is really awful to see them tap 4 for a chalice on 2. Are you simply not expecting them to show up that much in the current format? I really feel like i want to have a second answer. Thoughts?

  54. What deck has Chalice in it? I have a couple Repeals maindeck now, plenty of tutors, and Academy Ruins, so I’m not all that worried about it.

  55. @Gerry: You are right on the chalice vs hive mind thing. However, Erik has a point on the chalice for two … The original version of hexmage depths played 4 of, but I think thats it.

    Is there anything useful from WWK to add to this deck?

  56. The deck does have some mad plays that it can make, but against UW Thopter it just dies in my experience. I played against the deck 4 times at a PTQ and lost only due to a series of play mistakes on my part (I went 7-3 against the DepthsThopter). I think that it can have a better match-up vs. Control, but against Aggro I think that it’s an incredible deck.

  57. Some SB advices are not corect, a lot of decks now runing Damping Matrix that locks evrything unles u have Into the roil or echoing truth, i lost a game to that because this advices, so now somthing has to be changed because this deck is just hated by evrybody and i think its realy hard to win somthing with that now.

  58. I’ve said this a million times before, but you need to learn how to sideboard on your own. If people are now playing Damping Matrix (which they weren’t when I wrote the article), then you need to adapt. For example, I now keep in Echoing Truth against most decks, and even have some Repeals maindeck.

  59. Forgive me for my ignorance of the deck, but why would we side out DD/Hexmage against the mirror? Is it because of the darkblasts or the possibility of getting strip mined?

  60. Yep I made some changes straight afterr I lose to siding out bounce on ZOO, just wanted to say that those tips about siding are not 100% corect and i didnt wrote its your fault just pople changing some cards trying to protect themselvs against both combos. Thx anyway for those advices most of the time they help.

  61. how bad is land destruction for this deck? stuff like ghost quarters, molten rain and stone rain, do those cards even do anything?

  62. Strangely, I found Pentad Prism works as an interesting replacement for Chrome Mox. I know it seems silly to replace the mox with it, but it has advantages and provides some great turn three plays in testing. On top of it, the prism can still be played turn two with two counters which enables two mana for Muddle the Mixture if necessary.

    Just a suggestion.

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