A Netdecker’s Guide To The Metagame

Overture

It’s the first week of Throne of Eldraine Standard and things are moving at an absolutely breakneck pace! There’ve already been multiple pro level tournaments with the new set, and each of them brought innovation to the metagame in notable ways.

You could be forgiven for not keeping up with all these events, but luckily for you, I have. I even shoutcasted one of these tournaments, the Fandom Legends Caster Cup, won by Arena Decklists’ own Bryan Gottlieb — his second tournament win in four days! I’ve spent the past week immersed in the Eldraine metagame, and I’m here to tell you everything I know so far.

So You Want to . . . Win Quickly?

Mono-Red Aggro

Mono-Red is always good in week one, right? Well, I’m not so sure this time.

Classic Mono-Red builds have struggled due to lacking the ability to actually push damage through with their early creatures, mostly because they’re all crappy 1/1s that get bricked by everything. None of them even made the 5-0 dump!

After my failures with traditional red, I decided that if I were going to play a ton of Raging Goblins anyway, maybe I should lean into it. The following is the list I played to lock up my Top 50 Mythic finish at the end of last month:

4 Fervent Champion

4 Gingerbrute

4 Grim Initiate

4 Scorch Spitter

4 Chandra’s Spitfire

3 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

4 Shock

4 Cavalcade of Calamity

4 Light Up the Stage

4 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

3 Castle Embereth

18 Mountain

Sideboard

2 Embereth Shieldbreaker

3 Chandra’s Pyrohelix

3 Experimental Frenzy

4 Lava Coil

3 Redcap Melee

Scryfall Deck Link

First things first. Yes, Tin-Street Dodger should be in the deck. No, it should not be a replacement for Gingerbrute. Mtg-max 5-0’d with this list on MTGO despite being tricked into playing Grim Initiate over Dodger (which I think happened because Gerry Thompson forgot to include it when posting the deck to the Arena Decklists Patreon Discord). The list should look like this:

4 Tin Street Dodger

4 Fervent Champion

4 Gingerbrute

4 Scorch Spitter

4 Chandra’s Spitfire

3 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

4 Shock

4 Cavalcade of Calamity

4 Light Up the Stage

4 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

3 Castle Embereth

18 Mountain

Sideboard

2 Embereth Shieldbreaker

3 Chandra’s Pyrohelix

3 Experimental Frenzy

4 Lava Coil

3 Redcap Melee

Scryfall Deck Link

The biggest problem with the deck is that if your opponent is curving out with creatures that can block Raging Goblins, you’re in a ton of trouble. This is the Hill Giant Theory, where a deck full of 3/3s will always beat a deck full of 2/2s, or, in this case, 1/1s. You’re the smallest thing going; all you want to see is decks that play tapland into tapland, and you will win those matchups. 

A note on sideboarding: I basically don’t, at least on the play. The deck is very much a synergy-based deck. Chandra is the card with the most matchup variance. She’s amazing against decks that run sweepers, and less so against decks that run creatures. Sometimes she comes out for cards like Lava Coil and Experimental Frenzy in those matchups. On the whole, you’re a synergy-based deck, so you need redundancy in your cards. 

I have one more Mono-Red list I want to bring up here. MTGO/MTGA grinder and Arena Decklists writer Bobinchese came up with something of a fusion of the archetypes, adding more burn spells to the Cavalcade deck to arrive at the following:

4 Fervent Champion

4 Gingerbrute

4 Scorch Spitter

4 Tin Street Dodger

4 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Shock

4 Cavalcade of Calamity

4 Slaying Fire

4 Light Up the Stage

4 Skewer the Critics

2 Castle Embereth

18 Mountain

Sideboard

3 Redcap Melee

4 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator

4 Lava Coil

4 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

Scryfall Deck Link

I’m very interested in this list. It gets to play some actual very good cards in Slaying Fire and Bonecrusher Giant, and playing good cards is generally pretty important to winning games. It loses Torbran and Chandra’s Spitfire, which represents a lot of the burst, but this appears to be an attempt at making a more traditional red list with Cavalcade involved to make the one-drops not atrocious. It could be a compelling way to move forward with the archetype. 

I don’t think Cavalcade is necessarily going to have legs forever, nor do I think that Runaway Steam-Kin / Frenzy decks will be dead in the water forever, but Frenzy needs some love before it can really shine again. That, or for people to disrespect red. For now, it’s as weak and as clunky as it’s ever been. 

As I was writing this, Aaron Barich hit Rank 1 Mythic with a more traditional Mono-Red list:

4 Fervent Champion

4 Scorch Spitter

4 Rimrock Knight

4 Runaway Steam-Kin

4 Bonecrusher Giant

2 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

2 Experimental Frenzy

4 Shock

4 Slaying Fire

4 Light Up the Stage

4 Skewer the Critics

3 Castle Embereth

17 Mountain

Sideboard

2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

2 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

4 Lava Coil

2 Redcap Melee

2 Experimental Frenzy

1 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator

2 Flame Sweep

Scryfall Deck Link

Rimrock Knight is an excellent inclusion due to the synergy both sides of the card have with Fervent Champion, and I like the lack of Ember Hauler and Tin-Street Dodger here. They’re fairly taxing on your mana to utilize them properly. Fervent Champion is secretly the best of the Raging Goblins, because if you have multiple copies it’s suddenly an extremely powerful card. If you’re a Runaway Steam-Kin lifer, this is a great starting point.

Black-Based Aggro

Aggro isn’t just mono-red, though. Knight of the Ebon Legion and Spawn of Mayhem represent an extremely powerful aggressive core, and there are a variety of ways people have been attempting to exploit them.

The baseline list tends to look something like this, played by Gab Nassif in the Fandom Legends Caster Cup:

3 Footlight Fiend

4 Gutterbones

4 Knight of the Ebon Legion

4 Blacklance Paragon

4 Lazotep Reaver

4 Priest of Forgotten Gods

3 Midnight Reaper

4 Murderous Rider

2 Rankle, Master of Pranks

4 Spawn of Mayhem

3 Drill Bit

4 Castle Locthwain

17 Swamp

Sideboard

1 Legion’s End

4 Duress

1 Dreadhorde Invasion

4 Noxious Grasp

3 Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage

2 Rotting Regisaur

Scryfall Deck Link

The plan here is pretty clear. Play the best aggressive cards in the color backed up by disruption in the form of Drill Bit, Rankle, Master of Pranks, and Priest of Forgotten Gods. Get card advantage from Midnight Reaper and Castle Locthwain, with Rankle and Priest pulling double duty. It might finally be Spawn of Mayhem’s time to shine — every time I play it I am just blown away by the power of a flyer that size at that cost. The core of this deck is absolutely real, but the supplemental packages are still up for debate.

Here’s the version VTCLA 5-0ed with on Magic Online.

4 Gutterbones

4 Knight of the Ebon Legion

4 Blacklance Paragon

3 Midnight Reaper

4 Pelt Collector

2 Order of Midnight

4 Murderous Rider

4 Questing Beast

4 Spawn of Mayhem

2 Assassin’s Trophy

8 Forest

4 Overgrown Tomb

9 Swamp

4 Temple of Malady

Sideboard

1 Disfigure

1 Drill Bit

3 Duress

3 Find // Finality

2 Garruk, Cursed Huntsman

3 Noxious Grasp

2 Vivien, Champion of the Wilds

Scryfall Deck Link

It’s built around a similar core, but splashes green for Questing Beast and Pelt Collector. This gives the deck access to another powerful one-drop (which are in short supply in standard right now) and the best aggressive four-drop in the format.

This is as good a time as any to present VTCLA’s Rule of Questing Beast. Y’all ready? There is no profitable way to block a Questing Beast. Zero. The best you can hope for is a trade. It will never be anything less than a one-for-one. Want to chump it? Nah, can’t do that. Want to prevent the damage? Nope. Want to block it with something bigger? Deathtouch. I’m sure we’ll all internalize this rule at some point, but this early in the format there’s value in stating it explicitly.

I am less than sure about the land count here, but I am very sure that this deck is good. Playing the best curve-out cards in the format is absolutely a viable strategy, and there’s not much that can go under this with a lot of reliability. 

Piotr ‘Kanister’ Glogowski brought a version of this deck to the MPL Split, with an Edgewall Innkeeper-based Adventure sub theme instead of the aggressive curve of VTCLA’s build. 

4 Foulmire Knight

4 Murderous Rider

4 Edgewall Innkeeper

2 Order of Midnight

4 Lovestruck Beast

4 Questing Beast

3 Rankle, Master of Pranks

1 Massacre Girl

3 Assassin’s Trophy

4 Once Upon a Time

2 Legion’s End

2 Find // Finality

2 Fabled Passage

5 Forest

4 Overgrown Tomb

8 Swamp

4 Temple of Malady

Sideboard

2 Ashiok, Dream Render

1 Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage

2 Disfigure

3 Duress

1 Massacre Girl

4 Noxious Grasp

2 Veil of Summer

Scryfall Deck Link

I like the land count in this build a lot more, as the cantrips and card advantage engines allow trimming a couple off the top. I think this is a good marriage of powerful aggressive cards in Questing Beast and Rankle with a synergistic engine built around Edgewall Innkeeper. 

White-Based Aggro

But wait, there’s more! You wanted an aggressive deck with some value engines? Brilliant deck builder Yoman5 has you covered. He’ll have a sideboard guide and a more in-depth breakdown out soon, so I’ll leave the deeper stuff to him, but I couldn’t discuss aggro in the format without mentioning, if you’ll pardon the pun, the elephant in the room. 

Venerated Loxodon is messed up. It just is. The following deck is a fusion of the Adventure decks and a typical Selesnya weenie aggro plan. It’s held together by Once Upon a Time, which gets the best cards in the deck as well as situationally important cards like Giant Killer, Faerie Guidemother, and Conclave Tribunal. One card that has really impressed me is Lovestruck Beast. The 5/5 body is extremely good at shutting down other ground based aggro decks if they’re not going wider than you, which most are not. 

4 Edgewall Innkeeper

4 Faerie Guidemother

4 Venerated Loxodon

4 Giant Killer

4 Lovestruck Beast

4 Shepherd of the Flock

1 Trostani Discordant

2 Flower // Flourish

4 Once Upon a Time

4 Raise the Alarm

4 Conclave Tribunal

4 Temple Garden

2 Castle Ardenvale

8 Forest

7 Plains

Sideboard

2 Knight of Autumn

3 Gideon Blackblade

2 Glass Casket

3 Vivien, Champion of the Wilds

2 Devout Decree

3 Questing Beast

Scryfall Deck Link

Reid Duke registered something similar for his MPL Split.

4 Edgewall Innkeeper

4 Faerie Guidemother

2 Flaxen Intruder

4 Giant Killer

1 Emmara, Soul of the Accord

1 Shepherd of the Flock

4 Lovestruck Beast

2 Trostani Discordant

4 Venerated Loxodon

4 Flower // Flourish

4 Once Upon a Time

4 March of the Multitudes

1 Unbreakable Formation

1 Castle Ardenvale

8 Forest

8 Plains

4 Temple Garden

Sideboard

1 Unbreakable Formation

2 Gideon Blackblade

3 Veil of Summer

4 Devout Decree

2 Knight of Autumn

3 Questing Beast

Scryfall Deck Link

His list relies a little more on traditionally strong Selesnya Tokens cards like March of the Multitudes and the full complement of Flower // Flourish, as well as a few extra Adventure one-drops at the expense of Conclave Tribunal and Raise the Alarm. I think both of these versions are worth exploring as aggro decks with explosive starts and strong engines. 

But maybe you want something that’s simple, cheap, and easy to win with. This deck costs about fifty bucks in paper right now, and I’ve loved every minute of playing with it: 

4 Faerie Guidemother

4 Giant Killer

4 Law-Rune Enforcer

4 Loyal Pegasus

4 Venerable Knight

4 Tithe Taker

4 Venerated Loxodon

4 Conclave Tribunal

4 Raise the Alarm

4 Unbreakable Formation

4 Castle Ardenvale

16 Plains

Sideboard

4 Devout Decree

4 Gideon Blackblade

3 Glass Casket

4 Hushbringer

Scryfall Deck Link

You all know what this is. This is traditional White Weenie, piloted by maxxattack on MTGO to a 5-0 finish in a Standard League. The strongest part about this list is how easily it can create boards full of powerful fliers. Flying as a keyword is very strong right now — a ton of decks gum up the ground very easily, and you can win races against those decks through a combination of flyers and chump blocking. If Adanto Vanguard were still in the format, I’d call this a slam dunk, but as is, it does have some significant weaknesses to decks that run board wipes. You all should be familiar with what this deck does, and it does it very well. 

As you can see, even though the traditional week one killer Mono-Red Aggro might not be available right now, there are a multitude of aggressive options to explore in Throne of Eldraine Standard.

So You Want to . . . Play Control

As far as I can tell, there’s only one pure control deck left in the format. Bryan Gottlieb won Fandom Legends with it. Carlos Romao placed second in the Fandom Caster Cup with it. You should know it by now. Presenting: Esper Dance of the Manse!

3 Murderous Rider

4 Teferi, Time Raveler

1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General

4 Golden Egg

4 Guild Globe

1 Wishclaw Talisman

4 Oath of Kaya

3 Doom Foretold

3 Dance of the Manse

4 Thought Erasure

4 Kaya’s Wrath

1 Castle Vantress

3 Fabled Passage

4 Godless Shrine

4 Hallowed Fountain

1 Island

2 Plains

2 Swamp

4 Temple of Silence

4 Watery Grave

Sideboard

2 Devout Decree

2 The Elderspell

3 Duress

2 Disenchant

3 Noxious Grasp

2 Dovin’s Veto

1 Realm-Cloaked Giant

Scryfall Deck Link

Let’s get this out of the way. This is not a combo-control deck. This is not an Eggs deck. This is classic do-nothing Esper. This is a Thought Erasure, Kaya’s Wrath, Teferi, Time Raveler deck. 

As far as the cards that are new to the archetype go, Golden Egg and Guild Globe cantrip and fix your mana, allowing you to still play Erasure, Wrath and Teferi in your deck with a post-rotation manabase. Doom Foretold provides you a way to deal with problematic permanents now that you no longer have the ability to tuck them away with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Dance of the Manse is the combination win condition and advantage engine that the deck sorely needs in the absence of Dominaria’s mightiest hero.

You’re not always Dancing where X=6 in order to make a giant board of 4/4s. Sometimes you just Dance for four, get back three eggs and a Doom Foretold, draw three cards, and make your opponent sacrifice a nonland, nontoken permanent on upkeep. It’s an incredibly strong play pattern for six mana, and there are a fair few possibilities with it, like getting back Oath of Kaya instead of an egg to kill the small creature your opponent might have wanted to sacrifice to Doom Foretold. 

If you want to play a relatively fair control deck, this is your deck. It’s very powerful, and the Dance package does a lot to replace the power of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. I think this is the only good version of control that I’ve seen so far.

So You Want to . . . Play the Best Cards

We all knew this was coming. Oko is absolutely broko, and there’s a 100% viable strategy of just slapping good green cards in decks with accelerants and going to town. There are tons of versions of this list, but I’ve been particularly impressed with two. The first is Brad Nelson’s list from Fandom Legends on Thursday.

4 Gilded Goose

4 Hydroid Krasis

4 Leafkin Druid

4 Paradise Druid

4 Voracious Hydra

3 Brazen Borrower

4 Wicked Wolf

4 Oko, Thief of Crowns

4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

4 Breeding Pool

3 Castle Garenbrig

10 Forest

4 Island

4 Temple of Mystery

Sideboard

3 Veil of Summer

2 Shifting Ceratops

1 Brazen Borrower

2 Aether Gust

3 Lovestruck Beast

2 Agent of Treachery

2 Disdainful Stroke

Scryfall Deck Link

What impressed me about this was just how clean it was. Running purely the good cards, before the set was even released — honestly, a deckbuilding masterpiece in its simplicity. It’s like a fine Swiss watch: no movement is wasted. Some version of this core will be good every single week of this format. Gerry Thompson has been playing this archetype and has released a deck tech video on it which I think is very valuable for those wishing to play this deck as well as those wishing to beat this deck. Check it out here.

So what version do I like right now? Well, Jessica Estephan took this Bant list to her week one MPL Split.

4 Oko, Thief of Crowns

4 Teferi, Time Raveler

4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

1 Once Upon a Time

4 Gilded Goose

1 Arboreal Grazer

4 Hydroid Krasis

4 Leafkin Druid

1 Paradise Druid

2 Voracious Hydra

1 Deputy of Detention

3 Risen Reef

3 Wicked Wolf

4 Breeding Pool

4 Fabled Passage

5 Forest

4 Hallowed Fountain

1 Island

1 Plains

4 Temple Garden

1 Temple of Mystery

Sideboard

1 Deputy of Detention

2 Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves

2 Glass Casket

2 Negate

2 Veil of Summer

2 Questing Beast

2 Agent of Treachery

2 Disdainful Stroke

Scryfall Deck Link

I have a couple of quibbles, but playing Teferi in this strategy feels extremely powerful. This deck is basically mono busted cards, with only Arboreal Grazer, Deputy of Detention, and the ramp package being possible exceptions. I do wonder if a cleaner version of this list exists, which would basically looks like Brad’s list but with Teferi and sideboard bullets, but I digress. I have to commend Jess for going in on the let’s just play the good cards strategy — it’s tried and true, and she saw success in her MPL Split play because of it. 

So You Want to . . . Do Unfair Stuff

There are two big signs that a deck is doing unfair stuff in the format right now. The first is Fires of Invention. The second is Field of the Dead. 

Fires of Invention

A week ago in the streamer event, I asked myself the question “What deck already plays one card a turn, and might want to play two of them for free?” That led me to the Jeskai Planeswalkers core. Bryan Gottlieb arrived on my stream and together we built a pretty basic version of the deck, which I have linked here for the purposes of demonstrating the evolution of the deck in case you wanted to see what the literal day one version looked like. 

Fires of Invention is obviously powerful, and there are a lot of things you can do to abuse it. The basic idea with the Jeskai shell is that Narset, Parter of Veils could find Fires when you didn’t have that, and could find threats when you didn’t have those. Fae of Wishes // Granted allows for a potent wishboard strategy, tutoring up silver bullets and playing them in the same turn with Fires of Invention.

Zach Kiihne arrived at a similar list, 5-0-ing a League with a build featuring Shimmer of Possibility and Drawn from Dreams:

4 Fae of Wishes

4 Narset, Parter of Veils

4 Teferi, Time Raveler

3 Sarkhan the Masterless

1 Ugin, the Ineffable

2 Prison Realm

4 Fires of Invention

3 Shimmer of Possibility

4 Deafening Clarion

2 Drawn from Dreams

2 Time Wipe

2 Fabled Passage

4 Hallowed Fountain

4 Interplanar Beacon

3 Island

2 Mountain

1 Plains

3 Sacred Foundry

4 Steam Vents

3 Temple of Epiphany

1 Temple of Triumph

Sideboard

1 Sarkhan the Masterless

1 Casualties of War

1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno

1 Command the Dreadhorde

1 Disenchant

2 Dovin’s Veto

1 Garruk, Cursed Huntsman

1 Kaya’s Wrath

1 Mass Manipulation

2 Mystical Dispute

1 Negate

1 Planewide Celebration

1 The Elderspell

Scryfall Deck Link

Martin Juza focused on activated abilities. With Fires on the battlefield, he could invest otherwise unused mana into cards like Cavalier of Flames or (while Juza did not opt for this inclusion, I feel like it’s worth noting) Kenrith, the Returned King. Juza registered the following for his MPL Split.

4 Cavalier of Flame

4 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Cavalier of Gales

1 Niv-Mizzet, Parun

4 Teferi, Time Raveler

4 Fires of Invention

3 Aether Gust

4 Deafening Clarion

3 Drawn from Dreams

4 Castle Vantress

4 Fabled Passage

4 Hallowed Fountain

2 Island

2 Mountain

1 Plains

2 Sacred Foundry

4 Steam Vents

2 Temple of Epiphany

4 Temple of Triumph

Sideboard

3 Ashiok, Dream Render

3 Devout Decree

2 Disdainful Stroke

4 Mystical Dispute

3 Realm-Cloaked Giant

Scryfall Deck Link

This setup enables a lot of surprise lethal attacks out of nowhere with Cavalier of Flames, and opts to gather card advantage from Drawn from Dreams and Cavalier of Gales (which combines with Fabled Passage’s shuffle effect to turn its Brainstorm ability into much more than that). The lack of Fae of Wishes is interesting, and to me suggests that the package might be superfluous, although constructing sideboards in week one is very difficult, so it might just be easier to run Fae and a wishboard if you don’t exactly know what to expect. 

Yoman5 took the mana sink idea even further, and created a Temur Fires deck utilizing Wildborn Preserver. 

4 Wildborn Preserver

4 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Brazen Borrower

2 Questing Beast

4 Sphinx of Foresight

4 Cavalier of Flame

4 Cavalier of Gales

4 Fires of Invention

4 Growth Spiral

4 Breeding Pool

2 Castle Vantress

4 Fabled Passage

1 Forest

2 Island

1 Mountain

4 Steam Vents

4 Stomping Ground

4 Temple of Epiphany

Sideboard

1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno

4 Fry

3 Flame Sweep

3 Veil of Summer

2 Thrashing Brontodon

2 Aether Gust

Scryfall Deck Link

Instead of running any kind of board wipe package, or really any catchup mechanism at all, Yoman opted for pure power — aiming to kill the turn after Fires came down. Make no mistake, this is a powerful strategy. It might not be incredibly well positioned, but if uninterrupted, I think it’s one of the strongest things you can be doing in the format. 

Let’s talk about the other strongest thing you can be doing in the format.

Field of the Dead

4 Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

4 Arboreal Grazer

4 Hydroid Krasis

4 Realm-Cloaked Giant

4 Growth Spiral

4 Teferi, Time Raveler

4 Once Upon a Time

4 Circuitous Route

1 Blossoming Sands

1 Boros Guildgate

2 Breeding Pool

1 Castle Vantress

2 Fabled Passage

4 Field of the Dead

2 Forest

1 Golgari Guildgate

2 Hallowed Fountain

2 Island

1 Izzet Guildgate

1 Plains

1 Plaza of Harmony

1 Selesnya Guildgate

1 Simic Guildgate

2 Temple Garden

1 Temple of Malady

1 Temple of Mystery

1 Tranquil Cove

Sideboard

3 Knight of Autumn

2 Negate

1 Planar Cleansing

2 Veil of Summer

1 Unmoored Ego

2 Aether Gust

1 March of the Multitudes

2 Deputy of Detention

1 Time Wipe

Scryfall Deck Link

Bryan Gottlieb obliterated the Fandom Legends Caster Cup with a Bant-based Field of the Dead deck focused on Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and Once Upon a Time. Once is incredible in this deck, searching up the important lands, Golos, and Realm-Cloaked Giant. Golos is rarely getting activated in this deck, but tutoring for Field of the Dead is so incredibly strong that it doesn’t matter.

I wanted to draw attention to the power of Fabled Passage in this deck. The ability to generate blockers at instant speed is very powerful, and on a more basic level, playing one of them after a Field is already on the board doubles your Zombies for that land.

This deck is Thanos, it’s inevitable. It does its thing every single game. It will make Zombies if you let it get to turn five, it will stabilize with blockers and Hydroid Krasis, and it will kill you. I think this deck is very powerful right now, with the ability to adapt to a lot of different situations. Moreover, I feel like this deck occupies the week one role that aggro decks usually do; it’s the baseline. You have to have a plan for this, or it will beat you.

This covers the main decks that I would be interested in playing. My basic understanding of the metagame leads me to believe that the Oko and Golos decks are a little too good against the pure aggressive decks to make me want to take any flavor of mono-colored aggro. If I wanted to play aggro, I’d play some version of Golgari Questing Beast — especially after the rise of Golos — or one of the Venerated Loxodon decks that looks to beat Oko Ramp with a wide board and Golos Field with speed. Further, I think that it will be hard to go wrong registering a variant of the Golos Field list or the Oko Ramp list. 

There are some underexplored decks that I’d like to cover as well.

Bonus Track

So You Want to Play . . . Something Else

Excellent MTG streamer Crokeyz popularized a Jund Adventures deck built around not just Edgewall Innkeeper, but Lucky Clover as well. LordTupperware proceeded to get third place in the Fandom Legends Caster Cup with the following.

4 Edgewall Innkeeper

4 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Beanstalk Giant

4 Foulmire Knight

2 Order of Midnight

4 Lovestruck Beast

4 Murderous Rider

4 Lucky Clover

4 Once Upon a Time

2 Legion’s End

1 Blood Crypt

4 Fabled Passage

6 Forest

2 Mountain

4 Overgrown Tomb

1 Stomping Ground

6 Swamp

Sideboard

1 Assassin’s Trophy

4 Duress

2 Legion’s End

4 Noxious Grasp

2 Shifting Ceratops

2 Veil of Summer

Scryfall Deck Link

This deck does pretty well against black-based aggressive strategies in my experience. Either one of the key cards (Lucky Clover and Edgewall Innkeeper) are enough to stabilize and out-value the black based decks. Lucky Clover turning Stomp into something that deals four damage is very important, and this deck has surprising ability to gum up the ground. It is obviously extremely important to get one of those two cards on the battlefield ASAP. Without them your deck is mostly just draft chaff. 

I think the bad matchups for this deck are Esper Dance and Bant Golos. Esper is perfectly content to let you commit to the board, Wrath you, and kill you. Cantripping is fine for them when they get to wipe your board with one card, and they have excellent supplementary disruptive tools in addition to a quick I win button in Dance of the Manse. Not ideal. 

Golos, of course, just does its thing. You aren’t fast enough to kill them, and you aren’t powerful enough to outvalue the Zombies. However, there may have been some innovation on this front courtesy of John Rolf, who built the following for his MPL Split.

4 Edgewall Innkeeper

4 Foulmire Knight

3 Knight of the Ebon Legion

4 Order of Midnight

4 Smitten Swordmaster

4 Lovestruck Beast

4 Murderous Rider

2 Once Upon a Time

4 Lucky Clover

1 Assassin’s Trophy

2 Find / Finality

1 Vraska, Golgari Queen

6 Forest

8 Swamp

1 Fabled Passage

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Temple of Malady

Sideboard

3 Noxious Grasp

2 Legion’s End

2 Thrashing Brontodon

3 Duress

3 Veil of Summer

2 Reaper of Night

Scryfall Deck Link

The addition of Smitten Swordmaster means you have a semi-viable clock once Golos gums up the board with 2/2 Zombies. A couple Knights on the board, a couple Lucky Clovers, and suddenly you’re draining tons of life for one black mana. Is this reliable? I doubt it. Is it necessary? Maybe. I can’t really see a path to victory as the adventure deck without this kind of plan.

One thing I don’t understand about Rolf’s list is that he’s not running four Once Upon a Time. Once is at its best in decks like this, which need specific cards in order to function optimally.

A word of warning: Lucky Clover is not a ‘may’ ability. The copies resolve first, and the original adventure spell needs to resolve in order for the creature to go on the adventure and be castable from exile. This comes up a lot with Murderous Rider and Order of Midnight, and you should keep it in mind when playing this deck. 

Coda

Hopefully this article satisfied all your netdecking needs. As always, you can follow me on Twitter and on Twitch. Let me know what decks you liked the most, and good luck with whatever your goals are, be they winning your FNM or climbing to Mythic. 

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