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Valuable Lessons – Demonic Rising

Welcome back to Valuable Lessons. Last week, we discussed BWR Humans in the current Standard environment. The BWR Human deck is continuing to perform very well with its ability to seamlessly transition between an aggressive and controlling approach within each game. Today, we’ll briefly talk about the BWR Human deck, and focus the majority of our attention on the newest/oldest best flavor-of-the-week deck, Golgari Mutilate.

Let’s take a quick look at my updated list for BWR Humans:

[deck]Main Deck
1 Swamp
4 Godless Shrine
1 Clifftop Retreat
4 Isolated Chapel
3 Blood Crypt
3 Cavern of Souls
3 Sacred Foundry
1 Dragonskull Summit
3 Plains
4 Tragic Slip
4 Falkenrath Aristocrat
3 Skirsdag High Priest
4 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Doomed Traveler
4 Blood Artist
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Xathrid Necromancer
4 Cartel Aristocrat
2 Lingering Souls
Sideboard
3 War Priest of Thune
2 Zealous Conscripts
1 Sin Collector
1 Mizzium Mortars
2 Lingering Souls
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
1 Appetite for Brains
3 Intangible Virtue[/deck]

My list from last week has continued to perform well on Magic Online. In fact, this exact main deck has been rattling off 4-0s in Daily Events, regularly Top 8’ing Premier events, and it put up a 12-4 record in the hands of an old friend over two PTQs last weekend. We don’t need to make any changes to the main deck, but we can cut the [card]Boros Reckoner[/card] from the sideboard for a copy of [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card] or [card]Bonfire of the Damned[/card]. My sideboarding would be the same as it was last week. The deck hasn’t been prompted for change in the last few days, and we shouldn’t be too hasty to mess with a very good thing.

[draft]mutilate[/draft]

The major story in Standard this week is the success of Golgari Mutilate. The deck has existed for a very long time, performing well in Magic Online events from time to time, but rarely posting the kind of results that draw major attention. That all changed this week, though. The deck dominated Standard Daily and Premier Events on Magic Online and proved that the latest versions of the deck are forces to be reckoned with.

Let’s take a look at the latest version of BG Mutilate:

Xanzure (1st Place)
Standard Premier #5832018 on 08/17/20131

[deck]Main Deck
1 Forest
2 Golgari Guildgate
3 Mutavault
4 Overgrown Tomb
10 Swamp
4 Woodland Cemetery
4 Desecration Demon
2 Disciple of Bolas
2 Geralf’s Messenger
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Thragtusk
3 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Demonic Rising
2 Doom Blade
2 Duress
4 Mutilate
1 Primeval Bounty
1 Putrefy
3 Sign in Blood
2 Tragic Slip
1 Underworld Connections
Sideboard
2 Appetite for Brains
2 Curse of Death’s Hold
1 Demonic Rising
3 Devour Flesh
2 Duress
3 Lifebane Zombie
2 Underworld Connections[/deck]

[draft]mutavault[/draft]

We can observe a lot of innovation in the GB Mutilate deck over the last few weeks. [card]Mutavault[/card] is probably the most important change the deck could have asked for. It used to rely very heavily on [card]Desecration Demon[/card] to pressure opposing planeswalkers, but [card]Mutavault[/card] changes the dynamic in a way that caulks the previously eyesorish holes and paints over them.
[draft]demonic rising[/draft]
[card]Mutavault[/card] also allows the deck to play unique cards like [card]Demonic Rising[/card] that present especially difficult problems, especially for decks like UWR. [card]Demonic Rising[/card] has the potential to churn out a constant stream of 5/5 Demons that should be enough to overcome any number of [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card]s. Unfortunately, our Demon plan won’t be very effective against the more aggressive decks in the format. Similarly, the midrange strategies can outrace Demonic Rising with a single [card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/card]. That being said, the deck may need an extra creature in the main deck. Still, I think Demonic Rising is excellent in this strategy and certainly belongs somewhere in the 75. I laughed at Brad Nelson when he first told me about Demonic Rising in Standard a few weeks ago, but my opinion was quickly swayed when he started regularly destroying opponents with it.
[draft]lifebane zombie[/draft]
A single copy of [card]Lifebane Zombie[/card] in the main here seems perfect to me. It lets our deck put pressure on the opponent, it increases the value of our [card]Mutilate[/card] against other [card]Thragtusk[/card] decks, and it work as an excellent preemptive [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] plan.

It couldn’t hurt to have another copy of [card]Geralf’s Messenger[/card] or [card]Disciple of Bolas[/card] either, the [card]Vampire Nighthawk[/card]s are very reasonable at doing what they do, but I could easily see cutting one of two to bulk up on the cards that give this deck a leg up on the competition.

[draft]primeval bounty[/draft]

The singleton [card]Primeval Bounty[/card] provides the deck with even more long term inevitability. The deck regularly overcomes massive Sphinx’s Revelations without ever resolving Disciple of Bolas.
[draft]olivia voldaren[/draft]
We may be reasonably happy with the current setup of the GB decks, but we probably want more ways to deal with [card]Olivia Voldaren[/card]. A few [card]Appetite for Brains[/card] in the sideboard will help us out a bit, but we’re going to want another [card]Putrefy[/card] in the main deck.

Here’s the list I’ll be testing out this week:

[deck]Main Deck
2 Golgari Guildgate
4 Mutavault
4 Overgrown Tomb
10 Swamp
4 Woodland Cemetery
4 Desecration Demon
2 Disciple of Bolas
3 Geralf’s Messenger
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Thragtusk
2 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Doom Blade
1 Duress
1 Lifebane Zombie
4 Mutilate
1 Primeval Bounty
2 Putrefy
3 Sign in Blood
2 Tragic Slip
1 Underworld Connections
Sideboard:
2 Appetite for Brains
2 Curse of Death’s Hold
2 Demonic Rising
3 Devour Flesh
2 Duress
2 Lifebane Zombie[/deck]

The deck gives us a tremendously strong game plan against anything we might find ourselves up against in the current Standard environment. Let’s take a look at the expected matchups and talk about our sideboarding plans.

Jund

In

[draft]2 Lifebane Zombie
2 Appetite for Brains
2 Demonic Rising[/draft]

Out

[draft]1 Tragic Slip
1 Duress
2 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Scavenging Ooze[/draft]

Burning-Tree Emissary Decks

In

[draft]3 Devour Flesh [/draft]

Out

[draft]1 Primeval Bounty
1 Duress
1 Underworld Connections[/draft]

UWR

In

[draft]2 Duress
2 Appetite for Brains
2 Demonic Rising
2 Lifebane Zombie[/draft]

Out

[draft]2 Tragic Slip
4 Mutilate
2 Abrupt Decay[/draft]

Hexproof

In

[draft]3 Devour Flesh
2 Duress[/draft]

Out

[draft]2 Putrefy
1 Underworld Connections
1 Primeval Bounty
1 Lifebane Zombie[/draft]

Unburial Rites

In

[draft]2 Appetite for Brains
2 Lifebane Zombie[/draft]

+2 [card]Demonic Rising[/card] if they don’t have [card]Lingering Souls[/card]
+2 [card]Curse of Death’s Hold[/card] if they do have [card]Lingering Souls[/card]

Out

[draft]1 Duress
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Tragic Slip[/draft]

BWR Humans

In

[draft]2 Curse of Death’s Hold [/draft]

Out

[draft]1 Duress
1 Lifebane Zombie[/draft]

BG Mutilate has been silently taking over Daily and Premier Events on Magic Online over the last week and a half. Hopefully this column sheds some light on the strategy, gives us more solid sideboard plans, and helps us formulate sideboarding strategies against the Green/Black deck’s postboard configuration against our own strategy!

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