Raise Your Standards – All Aboard the Golgari Train

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  Ever since Guilds of Ravnica was released, Golgari decks have reigned supreme.  Golgari decks have recently won two different Magic Online (MTGO) PTQ’s as well as going 5-0 on MTGO Leagues.  No one has yet to find a direct way to defeat these Golgari decks consistently.  And, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  With that in mind, this week I have for you a few different builds of Golgari decks.  Let’s get started.


10/06/2018 MTGO PTQ

At the first MTGO PTQ after rotation, the following deck came in first.  Let’s take a look at it.

Golgari Midrange - (by YAMAKILLER)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
1 x Vivien Reid
3 x Vraska, Golgari Queen
3 x Vraska, Relic Seeker

Creatures
1 x District Guide
3 x Golgari Findbroker
4 x Jadelight Ranger
4 x Llanowar Elves
4 x Merfolk Branchwalker
2 x Plaguecrafter
3 x Ravenous Chupacabra
Instants
4 x Assassin's Trophy
2 x Cast Down

Enchantments
2 x The Eldest Reborn

Lands
8 x Forest
4 x Overgrown Tomb
8 x Swamp
4 x Woodland Cemetery
Sideboard
2 x Arguel's Blood Fast
3 x Dead Weight
1 x Deathgorge Scavenger
4 x Duress
2 x Golden Demise
1 x Plague Mare
1 x Vraska's Contempt
1 x Wildgrowth Walker

Merfolk Branchwalker   Ravenous Chupacabra   Golgari Findbroker

This deck is all about value.  It doesn’t attempt to use any cards with the new Golgari mechanic, undergrowth, at all.  It utilizes Merfolk Branchwalker and Jadelight Ranger to control the flow of lands that you draw.  It also plays creatures such as Plaguecrafter and Ravenous Chupacabra as a way to control your opponent’s side of the battlefield.  Either of these creatures works well when returned to your hand from the graveyard by Golgari Findbroker, as it allows you to get multiple uses out of the same creature.  Alternatively, Golgari Findbroker could also find The Eldest Reborn instead.

Vivien and Vraska are quite the pair, and when any of your planeswalkers are on the battlefield, you opponent will have to fear that you will destroy an important permanent they control.  Both Vivien Reid and Vraska, Relic Seeker also have ways to improve your side of the battlefield, either by finding a creature from the top of your library or by creating a 2/2 Pirate creature token.

This deck also runs a full playset of Assassin’s Trophy.  It’s a card that was incredibly hyped during preview season, so it’s no surprise that the first showing of this style of deck would include a full playset.  Keep an eye on the number of copies future decks include of this card to determine what the correct number to include in a deck should be.


10/13/2018 MTGO PTQ

The following weekend there was another PTQ on Magic Online.  Let’s take a look at the winning deck of that tournament.

Golgari Midrange - (by TIXIS)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
2 x Vraska, Golgari Queen
3 x Vraska, Relic Seeker

Creatures
1 x District Guide
4 x Doom Whisperer
2 x Golgari Findbroker
1 x Izoni, Thousand-Eyed
4 x Jadelight Ranger
4 x Llanowar Elves
4 x Merfolk Branchwalker
3 x Ravenous Chupacabra
3 x Seekers' Squire
2 x Wildgrowth Walker
Instants
2 x Assassin's Trophy

Sorceries
2 x Find // Finality

Lands
8 x Forest
4 x Overgrown Tomb
7 x Swamp
4 x Woodland Cemetery
Sideboard
1 x Izoni, Thousand-Eyed
1 x Wildgrowth Walker
1 x Find // Finality
1 x Arguel's Blood Fast
3 x Duress
3 x Moment of Craving
2 x The Eldest Reborn
1 x Vivien Reid
2 x Vraska's Contempt

Doom Whisperer   Jadelight Ranger   Wildgrowth Walker

This deck also uses creatures with explore, but this time Seeker’s Squire has been added in addition to Merfolk Branchwalker and Jadelight Ranger.  Their purpose isn’t only to smooth out land issues, but to also put creatures into the graveyard for the undergrowth ability on Izoni, Thousand-Eyed.  You’re also using explore as a way to grow Wildgrowth Walker into a massive attacker.  This creature can grow out of control very quickly.

This deck also plays a full playset of Doom WhispererDoom Whisperer is a creature that must be dealt with as soon as it enters the battlefield.  If left unchecked, it will quickly be able to finish an opponent off.  However, if it is destroyed before you’re able to attack with it, you can still squeeze some value out of it by paying 2 life to surveil 2.

I’d like to note that this deck is only running two copies of Assassin’s Trophy.  Is four copies too many, making it so you draw one in your opening hand too often, since you likely don’t want to play it until after your opponent has already played anywhere from 4-6 lands?

Another thing to note is the rise in popularity of Golgari decks.  The PTQ on 10/06 only had one Golgari deck in the Top 8.  At the PTQ on 10/13, there were six Golgari decks in the Top 8.  That’s a massive surge.


Going Forward

The final deck I have for you this week is from the bi-weekly data dump from MTGO of decks that went 5-0.  Let’s take a look at an example of the latest version of Golgari Midrange decks.

Golgari Midrange - (by HATAHATA)

Main Deck Sideboard
Creatures
4 x Glowspore Shaman
2 x Golgari Findbroker
2 x Izoni, Thousand-Eyed
4 x Jadelight Ranger
4 x Merfolk Branchwalker
4 x Molderhulk
4 x Plaguecrafter
4 x Ravenous Chupacabra
4 x Stitcher's Supplier
Sorceries
2 x Find // Finality

Enchantments
3 x The Eldest Reborn

Lands
7 x Forest
4 x Memorial to Folly
4 x Overgrown Tomb
4 x Swamp
4 x Woodland Cemetery
Sideboard
3 x Deathgorge Scavenger
3 x Kitesail Freebooter
2 x Kraul Harpooner
3 x Necrotic Wound
1 x Reclamation Sage
3 x Wildgrowth Walker

Glowspore Shaman   Stitcher's Supplier   Izoni, Thousand-Eyed

Before diving into this deck, I want to be clear of one thing.  In the data dump, there were multiple Golgari decks.  This is just the one that I picked to showcase, so there are still other builds being played to success.  This is not the only version of Golgari decks doing well currently in the metagame.

This deck continues the trend of using creatures with explore as a way to fill up the graveyard with creatures.  It also uses other creatures like Glowspore Shaman and Stitcher’s Supplier for the same purpose.  Those creatures that are put into the graveyard help fuel the undergrowth abilities of both Izoni, Thousand-Eyed and Molderhulk.  The deck also plays Plaguecrafter and Ravenous Chupacabra as a means of creature removal.

Notice though that this deck doesn’t play any copies of Assassin’s Trophy.  Perhaps the deck has evolved to such a place where an answer to any permanent the opponent plays is no longer needed?  It’s also moved the Wildgrowth Walker to the sideboard.  Maybe it’s better to get your guaranteed 6/6 Molderhulk out as quickly as possible, than to try to build up a Wildgrowth Walker over time.  It also helps that Molderhulk can return a Memorial to Folly from the graveyard.  And Memorial to Folly can return a Molderhulk from the graveyard.  Enjoy looping those cards over and over.


Wrapping Up

As you can see, the Golgari midrange deck has been evolving from week to week.  Is it the best deck of the format?  Or does it simply have a lot of people iterating on it because it plays in such a unique place — the graveyard?  Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.  Or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.  And, don’t forget to like our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/) to be sure to be notified when a new article is posted.

Also, be sure to check out my articles every week on CoolStuffInc.com.  I have a new article there every Friday as well.  If you like the innovative decks I write about here each week, you’ll want to check out my articles there as well.

Be sure to join me back here next week for another installment of Raise Your Standards.  I’ll see you then!

— Mike Likes

 

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Mike Likes

Mike started playing Magic back in 1994, but gave it up at the end of 1995. He came back to the game during the Lorwyn block and has been playing ever since. Around this time, he opened and ran his own comic & game store, while also raising his newborn daughter. After 8 years, he sold his business and moved to Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. With the debut of Kaladesh, his entire family became regular Magic players. He now has hopes of competing alongside his wife and daughter at a Grand Prix or similar event in the future. #MTGDad

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