Know Yourself: Deep Diving with Hatebears


Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Know Yourself. I know I stirred the pot last week more than intended, so this week I will be doing a roll back into a different topic entirely: sharing with you the final iteration I have gotten to and my current list for the R/W hatebears deck, which was shown first in one of my earlier articles. I will be going through specific card choices, sideboarding against some of the top decks that are currently in Standard, and why I think that this is a good deck moving forward. SO! Onto the list!

R/W Hatebears by Forrest Winstead

22 Creatures

3x Aven Mindcensor

4x Glory-Bound Initiate

3x Glorybringer

4x Harsh Mentor

4x Kinjalli’s Sunwing

4x Tocatli Honor Guard

6 Planeswalkers

2x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

4x Gideon of the Trials

4 Instants

4x Abrade

4x Magma Spray

1 Enchantment

1x Cast Out

23 lands

4x Aether Hub

2x shefet dunes

4x Inspiring Vantage

4x Mountain


4x Stone Quarry

15 Sideboard cards

2x Authority of the Consuls

1x Aven Mindcensor

3x Bishop of Rebirth

3x Cast Out

2x Crook of Condemnation

2x Rampaging Ferocidon

2x Vance’s Blasting Cannons / Spitfire Bastion


This deck utilizes plenty of cheap “good stuff” creatures to punish popular creatures and decks, pressure the opponent to find removal, and finishes them off with 4/4 lifelinkers and dragons while stopping them from executing their game plan. Lets go over the creature categories. A quick aside, though; the lands are mostly for fixing, aside from 2 Shefet Dunes that push damage later in the game once you need to close. Nothing of note there.

These creatures are the core of your deck. They prevent the opponent from executing their game plans and all attack for modest to small amounts of damage.

Tocatli Honor Guard is specifically a house against Temur and other energy decks, dismantling their energy synergies by stopping the counters from ever appearing in the first place. If they can’t remove it, you have to get aggressive and capitalize before they can. I can’t even list the amount of creatures this just neuters outright.

Kinjalli Sunwing pairs well here with honor guard, making sure hasty red creatures are given their dues to wait around and keep the pressure off of you. Glorybringer especially dislikes an active sunwing.

Aven Mindcensor does okay here, more synergizing with your instant speed removal and being evasive more than anything, but the joy of mindcensoring an Attune with Aether is not to be undercut.

Harsh Mentor stops Bristling Hydra, Hazoret The Fervent, Bomat Courier, Whirler Virtuoso, The Scarab God, and Rhonas the Indomitable from getting off scot-free with their abilities, and pressuring your opponent to only activate if necessary.

These two are your heavy hitters. They are the powerful creatures that put the nail in the coffin for your opponents, and are the best at getting into the red zone. Initiate makes racing a breeze, and I really shouldn’t have to sing the praises of the tempo hole Glorybringer digs for your opponent. It is so incredibly powerful, and the key to making this deck win once the key creatures are on the battlefield. Gideon is also sort of on this list, but we will get to him.

Following these, 4-ofs of the best non-energy based removal in standard make an appearance, and hate on graveyards and artifacts alike, killing most things we care about in the format currently, aside from scarab god. We have 1 cast out main for hedging, but against control, we like to have more in the board.

Our planeswalker package shores up some of the difficulty this deck has had: 4 Gideon is a cornerstone of an aggressive white strategy, and can single-handedly pick-up games against control. He stems the bleeding from cards like hazoret, and can really put your opponents in a squeeze if he hits the battlefield on an empty board. Think of him has a three-mana 4/4 indestructible in combat as well, and he just becomes gravy. Chandra solves two problems this deck has: we cannot kill a 4 toughness creature without her, and we cannot draw extra cards in the main board without her. She is just as powerful as ever, and while I know the price is high, she is going to continue to be powerful for a long, long time, so I would get comfortable with her price tag till rotation next fall.

In the next section, I will be going over the sideboarding choices I normally do for the main three decks in standard following worlds, and why. So, should you want to adopt this deck, you have some guidelines as to what to do, along with a popular MTGO matchup for good measure. So, here’s what I’ve found:


Against Ramunap Red:




For this matchup, we play the role of a psuedo-control deck. We want to deploy our Gideons and initiates after we lock up the board with early removal and Tocatli Honor Guards, following this with Sunwings and cheap removal. the second cast out is mainly a way to answer Hazoret consistently post board, which is one of the trump cards that sneak out a win if left unchecked. (along with this, tagging Chandra is nice as well)

One consideration I have found is to put Chandra back in on the play to pressure life totals and race, but that is purely a preference choice. I prefer to not try to race in the early game against the mono red menace, but that’s just me. I just prefer to put myself in a winning position and THEN end the game, not try to out tempo the 1 drop.deck that ramunap is in the early game.

Against Temur Energy:


In this matchup, we want to disrupt their energy and hasty threats and just grind with blasting cannons and Chandra. If done correctly, we can be looking at up to three different cards a turn with both online. This then lets us use the flipside of bastion to start closing the game, since not even cannons AND Chandra can out-grind Temur, especially if our honor guard dies. Without honor guard, we will be out-ground by their Rogue Refiners. Gideon proves to be a little too frail in this matchup with hydra posing a significant threat to his health, so we trim on him. We also trim on mindcensor due to Whirler Virtuoso, which is punished painfully by Rampaging Ferocidons that take its place.

Against U/B control:



In this matchup, our goal is rather defined: use Bishop of Rebirth to pull creatures out of the bin in order to prevent scarab god from reanimating them against us, casting out their win conditions, and slamming into their life total with Gideon and Initiate. Honor Guard and Sunwing do splash damage on Torrential Gearhulk in terms of power level, and keeping in the two abrade makes sure we can kill gearhulk or trade in combat with the god if needed. cast out goes up to four in order to make sure we can hit their Scarab god consistently, which is very nice to have and one of the better reasons to be in white against this deck.

Against Abzan Tokens:



This deck has been running around on MTGO and has had many an article written about it and many a video filmed, so I feel covering this deck is a good idea for players adopting this deck moving forwards. This matchup has two clear lines of play: take to the skies, and punish their gameplan. They are notoriously bad against flying threats outside of Angel of Sanctions, and ferocidon if unanswered really crushes their gameplans, single-handedly changing the tone of the game. This however still feels like a bad matchup, with not enough mainboard cards to cut for sideboard upgrades. perhaps some magma spray could be cut for blasting cannons, but I am skeptical that would be impactful enough. Gideon doesn’t make the cut here for two reasons: too many creatures that his +1 is irrelevant, and his 0 is never getting in for damage. Cast out also comes in to help against Anointed Procession and Hidden Stockpile.

Overall, I feel this deck is a solid deck for players looking for something that attacks the current meta, albeit in ways new (hatebears) and old(Chandra + Glorybringer). I also personally love playing this deck, as after working through iterations, it plays very smoothly, now being tuned.

What do you think? Is this a deck you might pick up? let me know in the comments!

See you next week!

-Forrest W.



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