Hey all, I’m Raphael, though I go by my IGN pokeking. I’m a competitive grinder from the DMV who used to play a lot of IQ’s and PPTQ’s. I’ve been one round away from the Pro Tour, though I’ve never managed to qualify. I just started getting back into competitive Magic with the release of Thrones of Eldraine on MTG Arena. In the first 4 days upon release of Throne of Eldraine, I managed to grind to top 1000 Mythic at the end of the month. Then, in October I hit Mythic on day 2. Currently sitting pretty at Rank #31.
I’m mostly a constructed player, so I’ll be covering the beat on optimal builds and the development of the meta as we progress through Thrones of Eldraine and onwards. It’s a pleasure to meet you all.
With the big event coming up tomorrow (Win Every Card Challenge) I wanted to get everyone ready with what’s my pick for the best deck for the BO1 format. BO1 as a format differs in a few fundamental ways from BO3, and while I’m mostly a BO3 player I wanted to give you my take on how to approach BO1.
First, let’s delve into the differences between the formats, as well as peculiarities:
- In BO3, you play two post-sideboard games, which mean with proper tech and deckbuilding you can find specific answers to things that are hard to out game one. Some decks are built to be game one decks.
- In BO1, it’s important to play a polarizing strategy, either heavy control, heavy aggro, or heavy combo.
- In a BO1 format where you can only get a max of 2 losses with 11 wins, it’s critical that your deck both be resilient on the play and the draw, and execute well either way.
- This leads me to the conclusion that for this particular event, the vast majority of people will slant towards heavy control decks as they:
- Play well on the play or draw
- Fit into the aforementioned category of a highly polarized deck
With that in mind, let’s delve into what the premier control strategies of the format are:
- Golos Decks: This deck’s strategy is to ramp into field of the deads and make a horde of zombies and then subsequently kill you with them. There’s a ton of different strategies that fit this bill, but the overarching archetype is extremely prevalent right now and is believed by many to be a top contender in the format
- Fires of Invention Decks: Extremely popular right now on MTG (I mean who isn’t a sucker for a Timmy deck), this deck plays a lot of quality planeswalker threats that it cheats out with fires of invention. It features teferi and a couple control elements, and the most popular (at Mythic) version of this deck right now features the U/R Cavaliers
- Oko Food Variants: Ah yes, Oko, the $40 3 mana format warping planeswalker card. Comes along with a bunch of buddies all with powerful ETB effects, but really the deck just sits on Oko til it wins with a Nissa into hydra or troll king or whatever threat the deckbuilder deems fit. Somewhere between ramp and control, this deck is also a contender for best deck in the format.
With the control decks down, I’d also like to cover a couple aggro decks that you’re likely to see:
- Mono Red: Though this deck has fallen out of favor a bit, it’s still very powerful and Torbran is a good card. This deck plays a classic RDW strategy including the ever-powerful steam kin experimental frenzy engine.
- Mono Black: Man, there are 101 ways to build mono black which is wild because the formats at the smallest point we’re at and we’re going back to Theros soon, home to the most powerful mono-black deck of all time. This deck plays all sorts of burn cards in some variants, including the ayara, witch’s oven, cauldron familiar package which I believe is super powerful. Look forward to my next article in which I’ll be featuring my take on this deck (though my version is BR).
- Mono Green Stompy Variants: Stompy has been looking to break through forever and with the printing of henge, the easiest glimpse of nature to cast in standard since the original, the deck is certainly powerful right now. I particularly like the GB variant featuring rotting regisaur, aka henge for 2. Also, Assassin’s trophy gives the deck a lot of play against Field of Dead decks and is just a catch-all answer.
Looking at all these decks and realizing the format is BO1, I realized that more than anything, where I really wanted to be was a new, quite powerful Throne of Eldraine card.
And that card is, Drum Roll Please…….. Hushbringer.
Man, Hushbringer just does it all in this format. Against Golos, it shuts down their grazers (if you manage to rush it out) but even more powerful it hits their Golos, the namesake of the deck.
Against current iterations of fire of inventions, it shuts down their cavaliers which is their engine for drawing through their deck and filtering to the quality of cards they need to win.
Against food, it shuts down all their relevant creature ETB triggers.
Against mono-red, the 1/2 flying lifelinker body is relevant.
Against mono-black, it shuts down their cauldron engine.
Against stompy, it shuts down their yorvo, pelt collector, barkhide troll.
Card is, simply put, straight insane in BO1, especially when they can’t sideboard answers to it.
With this realization, all that’s left to do is build the best shell around Hushbringer. Here’s what I settled on (also shoutout to Runeclaw Barich for demonstrating the power of the GW deck).
4 Giant Killer (ELD) 14 4 Faerie Guidemother (ELD) 11 4 Edgewall Innkeeper (ELD) 151 4 Hushbringer (ELD) 18 4 Lovestruck Beast (ELD) 165 4 Oakhame Ranger (ELD) 212 2 Trostani Discordant (GRN) 208 2 Unbreakable Formation (RNA) 29 3 Once Upon a Time (ELD) 169 4 March of the Multitudes (GRN) 188 4 Flower // Flourish (GRN) 226 4 Temple Garden (GRN) 258 9 Plains (XLN) 261 8 Forest (XLN) 277
Deck updated: October 3, 2019
- 21 Lands/Once Upon a Time/Flower //Flourish: A common theme you’ll notice in pretty much every deck I build is that if there is a way to cut down on lands to put in more consistency instead, I will. This deck only needs 4 lands and with Flourish being a powerful finisher and OUaT allowing you to find a creature if you’re flooded, these options will mean you have to mulligan way less. Seems pretty good in a BO1 where losses are pricey
- Adventure engine: Innkeeper is glimpse of nature and lets you churn through your deck. It gives your deck the ability to grind and curve out more naturally while drawing cards. In my playtesting, it may be the best card in the deck and the GW adventure cards are plenty powerful. The combat trick (Faerie Godmother) in conjunction with lovestruck beast will surprise kill opposing Oko’s and other planeswalkers and gives the deck some play.
- Oakhome Ranger: While this card is probably not as powerful as venerated loxodon, this is the only concession we make in return for the marquee card in the deck, hushbringer. Oakhome Ranger does a pretty good impression and makes it hard for field decks. It also gives you more tokens which is valuable with our 4 copies of march of the multitude. It’s a bit pricey for 2 1/1’s but the anthem effect is well worth it and the versatility along with it fitting in the adventure engine makes it a good selection.
- Trostani Discordant: But… But this card get’s hit by Hushbringer!!! The thing is, we need a critical mass of anthem effects in the deck, hushbringer won’t necessarily stay on the board, and even if it does dropping this card in the right situation will sometimes allow you to hit the critical mass to just take over the game.
- Unbreakable Formation: Yeah this card’s real good once you hit critical mass, but it kind of makes your opening hands look meager oftentimes. 2 just feels right.
The deck is straightforward to play and executes a streamlined powerful game plan. Along with it’s positioning against the polarized decks in the meta, I think it’s a very reasonable pick for the BO1 win-every-card in standard format.
Disagree? Have any good changes to make to the list? Comment below and I’ll be sure to reply. Thanks so much all, until next time!
- October 3, 2019: Deck guide added.