Do you like casting Embercleave? Do you like playing a 2 color aggro deck with 8 untapped dual lands? Do you enjoy playing cards from Throne of Eldraine because that set in its entirety was pushed beyond belief? Well, then I have the deck for you!
I was tinkering with a bunch of aggro decks and remembered that Knights was still a legal deck, but has seen functionally no play. Since the slower Yorion decks are seeing increased play on the ladder, I figured maybe it’s time to try the deck out for the first time since the rotation.
This is functionally the list I started off with and I’ve been extremely impressed with it so far. A near perfect 8-1 record on ladder (my one loss to color screw), with 3 of those wins being in high Mythic before rotation makes me think this deck has more legs than it lets on. Who needs more of an introduction? Let’s get into the card choices.
2 Giant Killer: I’ve been loving Giant Killer right now. It’s a 1 drop in a pinch but a good removal spell in the late game for creatures that can give you trouble. Furthermore, the tapping ability is super good in the late game when you have excess mana. Like my Winota deck, I do the 2/2 split between the maindeck and board and have been quite happy with it.
4 Venerable Knight: The little 2/1 that could. For the first time in awhile, this card has more text than being a 2/1! Cheap Knights work really well in this deck with cards like Worthy Knight, Inspiring Veteran, and Acclaimed Contender. I board them out relatively often, but it’s great game 1 and for giving you fast starts.
4 Worthy Knight: One of the major payoffs for playing RW Knights. The amount of value you can accrue off Worthy Knight can get out of hand quickly if not killed instantly. Against decks that lack a lot of interaction, playing this on turn 2 can be a death sentence. Furthermore, with Monogreen making waves because of Rumti, Worthy Knight goes nice and wide, something they can’t deal with effectively.
3 Rimrock Knight: Unfortunately, every deck has to have it’s worst card, and Rimrock Knight is it. For what it’s worth, it’s the worst card in Gruul Adventures as well, but it’s much better here than it is there. The Knight creature type and the synergies with Fervent Champion, Maul of the Skyclaves, and Embercleave still make me happy to include it.
4 Inspiring Veteran: A 2 mana 2/2 lord? Need I say more? The cards amazing in the deck and can obliterate your opponent before they can stabilize. It’s not uncommon to be able to go, 1 drop, 2 drop, Inspiring Veteran and 1 drop to immediately have a commanding board presence.
3 Shatterskull Smashing: There aren’t many aggressive decks in Standard and flooding out is a real issue so having a few of these has been very nice for me. Furthermore against other small creature strategies, it’s not difficult to get a 2 for 1 off this.
4 Acclaimed Contender: A great card that hasn’t seen it’s time in the sun. Although a 3 mana 3/3 isn’t the most impressive stats wise, the ability to dig into your deck to find more gas is quite powerful. With 4 of these and 4 Embercleave, you should be able to find Cleaves more or less every game, which is really Contender’s primary function.
2 Maul of the Skyclaves: Embercleave’s little brother. I’ve been a huge fan of Maul so far but unlike my RW Winota deck, Maul is the lesser of the two in this deck. The evasion matters less than the raw damage output, but I’m still more than happy to have a few Maul in my list. That being said, the evasion can be very nice as well and can also make a strong blocker in a pinch.
4 Bonecrusher Giant: Is it a surprise I’m playing 4 of the best red card in Standard? Although it has no synergy within the deck, it does have synergy with winning games of Magic, and that’s good enough for me.
4 Embercleave: The best card in the deck and the biggest payoff to playing a bunch of cheap creatures. Everybody knows how powerful this card is and I’m assuming no explanation is needed here.
2 Giant Killer: Fills out the 2 from our main deck. Bring this in against any strategy that’s playing multiple large creatures.
2 Containment Priest: Although it’s not amazing, you can catch creatures trying to come back off of Yorion’s second trigger to help secure the win. Although this doesn’t stop the enchantments coming back, the creatures are generally the more problematic for this deck.
4 Glass Casket: One of the best removal spells around. Bring them in against small creature decks.
4 Hushbringer: More anti-Yorion tech. All of their creatures have ETB abilities and only our Acclaimed Contender gets hit here. They need to Glass Casket or wrath the board in order to get rid of this pesky Fairy.
3 Embereth Shieldbreaker: The Great Henge is the best card in Standard, make sure you have plenty of ways to answer it.
MATCHUP AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE
Evergreen warning in my deck guides: I’m not the biggest fan of definitive sideboard guides as they can placate your ability for on the fly decision making, but knowing how I approach each matchup is obviously extremely helpful. There you go. Now onto the matchups.
MONO RED AGGRO
|+4 Glass Casket||-3 Rimrock Knight|
|-1 Maul of the Skyclaves|
This matchup can be challenging because your game plans are so similar, but I believe we have the better board plan. Trade as much as possible and keep their Anax off the board and you should be ok.
MONO GREEN / GRUUL
|+4 Glass Casket||-3 Rimrock Knight|
|+2 Giant Killer||-2 Maul of the Skyclaves|
|-1 Venerable Knight|
The main reason to play a strategy like Knights, you are a proactive deck that has an extremely strong matchups against the other aggro decks. I said a similar thing with Winota, but this deck is significantly scarier for Monogreen as this has more high priority targets for their few removal spells. Kill their big guys and bean them with your little idiots.
ROGUES / MILL
|+4 Glass Casket||-2 Maul of the Skyclaves|
|+2 Containment Priest||-4 Venerable Knight|
I know what you’re thinking, a matchup we don’t board out Rimrock Knight? Crazy, right? Venerable Knight loses stock as it does not attack well into Soaring Thought Thief and Maul of the Skyclaves is really bad against Rogues game plan of 2 mana removal spells and counterspells. This should be a very good matchup for you as Rogues struggles against other fast strategies. Just flood the board and kill their important things.
|+4 Glass Casket||-1 Embercleave|
|+2 Giant Killer||-1 Maul of the Skyclaves|
|-4 Venerable Knight|
This deck has recently increased in popularity from it’s good results in the CFB Clash. Giant Killer is nice here as well to kill Magmatic Channelers, Kroxa, and Bonecrusher Giant. Glass Casket comes in for functionally the same reason. Your equipment isn’t great against their plethora of removal spells so trying to flood the board gets precedence.
|+4 Glass Casket||-3 Rimrock Knight|
|+2 Giant Killer||-2 Acclaimed Contender|
|+3 Embereth Shieldbreaker||-4 Venerable Knight|
Board out some of your weaker creatures and bring in all the removal you can muster. This matchup can be challenging, but your equipment are excellent here. Make sure you keep the pressure up, try to keep their board clear, and you can beat them.
|+2 Containment Priest||-2 Giant Killer|
|+4 Hushbringer||-4 Acclaimed Contender|
This is where the hate bears come in. This matchup can feel impossible if they curve Glass Casket into Skyclave Apparition, but if they don’t do exactly that, it’s much more manageable. By virtue of them playing 80 cards, the deck isn’t always going to have the same starts, so this is definitely a winnable matchup, especially if you cast a Hushbringer to turn off their deck.
That’s all I got for today! I hope you enjoy smashing players with probably the least appreciated archetype on ladder right now! If you like my content, you can check me out on Twitch as well. Have a great day!