Beating the Trials

So it’s 4pm GMT and some of the new Amonkhet spoilers have just been revealed. Man, there is a one card that I’m talking about.  I’m sure everyone knows about him by now.

It’s Gideon of the Trials.

So just to let everyone in on a little secret, I already love Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.  I’m already thinking that he is one of the best planewalkers ever made.  With him,  this brings in a lot of opportunities for a more controlling Mardu deck in standard.

This is something I have just built as a rough idea:

Mardu Control:

4 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Walking Ballista
1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
3 Archangel Avacyn

2 Gideon of the Trials
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Nahiri, the Harbinger
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

4 Heart of Kiran

1 Oath of Liliana
2 Oath of Chandra
4 Unlicensed Disintegration
3 Fatal Push

4 Inspiring Vantage
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Spire of Industry
2 Shambling Vent
1 Needle Spire
2 Canyon Slough
3 Plains
2 Swamp
1 Mountain


2 Release the Gremlins
2 Shock
1 Fatal Push
2 Aven Mindcensor
3 Lay Bare the Heart
1 Stasis Snare
1 Cast Out
2 Painful Truths
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

So this is my rough draft of a mardu control deck for the next format and I can’t wait to play.

Until the new set is out, I should talk about something else that thing is actually another Mardu deck (this is my flavor of the week) and that is a modern deck.  Credit for this goes to one of my friends, Wayne Dillon, who has put me on it for an upcoming Axion Mega GPT, where the top prize is 2 flights to Vegas for the Grand Prix.  The deck is more of a black white shell splashing Nahiri combo but it has been fairly strong in testing.  Currently, it only really struggling with bigger control decks U/W, Jeskai, etc.  Apart from those decks, it has been doing well against Death’s Shadow, Zoo Burn and even Tron (that might actually be more of a luck thing though).

The current list we have is below:

B/W Nahiri Modern

3 Nahiri, the Harbinger
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Liliana of the Veil

1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4 Wall of Omens

4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize
4 Lingering Souls
3 Fatal Push
3 Path to Exile
2 Night’s Whisper
1 Collective Brutality
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Blessed Alliance
1 Hero’s Downfall

3 Concealed Courtyard
4 Shambling Vent
4 Marsh Flats
2 Arid Mesa
2 Bloodstained Mire
2 Godless Shrine
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Blood Crypt
2 Ghost Quarter
2 Swamp
1 Plains


3 Fulminator Mage
1 Kozilek’s Return
1 Damnation
1 Wrath of God
2 Stony Silence
2 Rest in Peace
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Wear // Tear
2 Collective Brutality

Now, this deck might look like just another slow modern deck.  I’ll give you the truth.   It does spin its wheels a little sometimes.  When it turns the corner and tries to finish the game, it does it incredibly fast, either with Lingering Souls and Gideon or by hitting Nahiri’s ultimate and just throwing an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn at them.

There is a big elephant in the room.  If your playing modern and you believe that Death’s Shadow decks are clearly the best deck, I’ve got a secret.  I’m gonna give everyone a look at the list I’d play.  This list was taken to a top 8 of an MTGO PTQ by the man who taught me how to play Magic, team Scotland member Chris Davie:

Abzan Shadow

4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Polluted Delta
4 Marsh Flats
1 Verdant Catacomb
2 Godless Shrine
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Swamp

4 Mishra’s Bauble

2 Path To Exile
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Fatal Push
2 Lingering Souls
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Thoughtseize
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald

3 Liliana of the Veil

4 Death’s Shadow
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Ranger of Eos
4 Street Wraith


2 Fragmentize
3 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
2 Collective Brutality
1 Tidehollow Sculler
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Lingering Souls
2 Fulminator Mage

Now the idea with this version of the deck is to overload opponent’s cheap removal spells with your Lingering Souls and Ranger of Eos in the main.   This gives you a more resilient mirror match as well as a better match against the aggro decks of the format. If I was personally going to play a version of this deck at an event in the coming weeks, this would be the exact 75.  I trust this man’s judgment.

Like always, I hope this has been informative to everyone  and look forward to hearing feedback from you.

Until next time,

Brandon Balfour


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