Raise Your Standards – It’s a Chainwhirler World

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  Last weekend Grand Prix Brussels and Grand Prix Orlando took place.  At both of those tournaments, if you only looked at the top 8 decklists, you would think that the dominance of Goblin Chainwhirler decks was over.  However once you look further down through the top 32, you begin to see the prominence of decks featuring Goblin ChainwhirlerGoblin Chainwhirler wants you to remember he exists and he has asked (demanded?) that I make decks with him as the focus of my article this week.  Since I didn’t want to be whacked with his chain, I agreed.  So this week we’ll be taking a look at a variety of decks featuring Goblin Chainwhirler that have all gone 5-0 on Magic Online (MTGO).


Mono-Red Aggro

The first deck I have for you is a Mono-Red deck that should have no trouble casting Goblin Chainwhirler on turn three.  Let’s take a look at Mono-Red Aggro.

Mono-Red Aggro - (by VENOM1)

Main Deck Sideboard
Creatures
2 x Ahn-Crop Crasher
4 x Bomat Courier
2 x Earthshaker Khenra
4 x Ghitu Lavarunner
4 x Goblin Chainwhirler
2 x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
4 x Soul-Scar Mage
Instants
4 x Lightning Strike
4 x Shock
4 x Wizard's Lightning

Enchantments
4 x The Flame of Keld

Lands
22 x Mountain
4 x Abrade
3 x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 x Chandra's Defeat
2 x Fight with Fire
2 x Hazoret the Fervent
2 x Insult // Injury

Soul-Scar Mage   The Flame of Keld   Wizard's Lightning

If I could only use one word to describe this deck, I would use ‘Fast’.  Having cards that top out at a converted mana cost of 3 means that you shouldn’t have any trouble emptying your hand.  And that’s exactly what you’ll want to do so you can play The Flame of Keld as early as possible.  After all, if your hand is empty after you play The Flame of Keld, you won’t have anything to discard when you place the first lore counter on it.  You’ll also want to make sure you have a lot of threats on the battlefield when the third lore counter is placed on The Flame of Keld to ensure maximum damage.  This is also a good time to exert your Ahn-Crop Crasher if you have one in play to minimize the amount of blockers your opponent can use.

This deck also has 12 instants that can cause direct damage to either your opponent or their creatures.  This can give the deck enough reach to finish off an opponent in the event you’re not able to push through enough damage during combat.  You can either use those instants to clear out blockers, or just deal the damage directly to the opponent.


Mostly-Red Aggro

The next deck I have for you shares some similarities with the Mono-Red deck but adds just a hint of Black.  Let’s take a look at Mostly-Red Aggro.

Mostly-Red Aggro - (by DARKLILOU)

Main Deck Sideboard
Creatures
3 x Ahn-Crop Crasher
4 x Bomat Courier
4 x Goblin Chainwhirler
4 x Hazoret the Fervent
2 x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
3 x Rekindling Phoenix
4 x Scrapheap Scrounger
4 x Soul-Scar Mage
Instants
3 x Abrade
2 x Lightning Strike
3 x Shock

Lands
1 x Canyon Slough
4 x Dragonskull Summit
19 x Mountain
1 x Abrade
1 x Banefire
4 x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 x Chandra's Defeat
1 x Cut // Ribbons
4 x Glorybringer
2 x Insult // Injury

Hazoret the Fervent   Scrapheap Scrounger   Rekindling Phoenix

By adding a light splash of Black, you now have access to a couple of key cards.  The first one – Scrapheap Scrounger – is in the main deck.  With the light splash of Black, Scrapheap Scrounger becomes a returnable threat that can come back from the graveyard multiple times.  Because of that potential to come back from the graveyard, this deck has removed a few of the direct damage spells, so be sure to make them count.

The Black also enables the lone copy of Cut // Ribbons in the sideboard.  While Cut can be played even without any Black sources, Ribbons could not.  Ribbons adds a little more reach that could finish off your opponent unexpectedly.

In addition to the Black splash, this deck takes a step toward becoming a midrange deck, with the addition of Rekindling Phoenix.  While the deck is still very aggressive, Rekindling Phoenix allows you to stabilize during the mid-game if you start to fall behind.  While you still want to win the game during its early stages, you’re not completely blown out if the game goes a few turns longer than you’d like.


Black/Red Aggro

Next up we have a Black/Red aggro deck.  It’s much more committed to playing Black cards than the previous deck was.  Let’s take a look at it.

B/R Aggro - (by ESTEAT)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
2 x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Creatures
3 x Bomat Courier
2 x Glorybringer
4 x Goblin Chainwhirler
2 x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
2 x Pia Nalaar
4 x Rekindling Phoenix
4 x Scrapheap Scrounger
2 x Soul-Scar Mage
Instants
4 x Abrade
3 x Unlicensed Disintegration

Sorceries
1 x Cut // Ribbons

Artifacts
2 x Heart of Kiran

Lands
2 x Aether Hub
4 x Canyon Slough
4 x Dragonskull Summit
14 x Mountain
1 x Swamp
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Chandra's Defeat
1 Doomfall
3 Duress
2 Hour of Glory
3 Karn, Scion of Urza
2 Magma Spray
1 The Eldest Reborn

Chandra, Torch of Defiance   Cut // Ribbons   Glorybringer

This deck embraces the fact that it’s two colors and uses some of the best tools available in each of them.  Like the Mostly-Red Aggro deck, this deck includes Cut // Ribbons, however this time it’s in the main deck.  This deck also is fully capable of utilizing Scrapheap Scrounger to its fullest.  In addition to those cards, the Black also allows Unlicensed Disintegration to be played, which is one of the best removal spells in Standard.

The Black also allows a number of great sideboard options.  Doomfall and Duress are great ways to remove troublesome cards from your opponent’s hand.  Hour of Glory is an easier-to-cast version of Vraska’s Contempt, minus the life gain.  It’s especially good against decks featuring Hazoret the Fervent, Rhonas the Indomitable, or The Scarab God.  Finally, The Eldest Reborn is a great card to play when your opponent is playing a control deck as you can get them to sacrifice their planeswalker and play it for yourself later on.


Grixis Midrange

The final deck I have for you this week takes the B/R Aggro deck and splashes a hint of Blue to create Grixis Midrange.  Let’s take a look at it.

Grixis Midrange - (by RUSHI_00)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
2 x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 x Karn, Scion of Urza
1 x Liliana, Death's Majesty

Creatures
2 x Glorybringer
4 x Goblin Chainwhirler
2 x Rekindling Phoenix
4 x Scrapheap Scrounger
1 x The Scarab God
2 x Whirler Virtuoso
Instants
4 x Abrade
2 x Harnessed Lightning
2 x Magma Spray
4 x Vraska's Contempt

Artifacts
2 x Heart of Kiran

Lands
4 x Aether Hub
4 x Canyon Slough
4 x Dragonskull Summit
2 x Fetid Pools
5 x Mountain
2 x Spirebluff Canal
4 x Sulfur Falls
1 x Swamp
1 x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 x Chandra's Defeat
2 x Doomfall
4 x Duress
2 x Jace's Defeat
2 x Negate
1 x The Eldest Reborn

The Scarab God   Liliana, Death's Majesty   Whirler Virtuoso

The Blue splash in this deck allows you to play a couple of top notch threats, Whirler Virtuoso and The Scarab God.  While this deck doesn’t have a lot of ways to produce energy, Whirler Virtuoso will likely be able to produce a couple of Thopter tokens before your opponent manages to remove it.  One great way to produce energy is to target your own creature with Harnessed Lightning.  You are able to spend 0 energy when the spell removes, so it basically turns your 2 mana into 3 energy.

Little needs to be said about The Scarab God, as it has been one of the premier players in Standard for over a year.  Don’t overlook The Scarab God‘s beginning of upkeep ability because you can quickly take down an opponent’s life total simply by activating The Scarab God‘s ability to create a zombie or by using the +1 loyalty or -3 loyalty ability of Liliana, Death’s Majesty which both create zombies.  You’re often able to create a ticking clock, counting down your opponent’s life points while you build up your army for defense.


Wrapping Up

Goblin Chainwhirler is a very polarizing card.  Either you love it or you hate it.  There’s no doubt that it’s powerful and is seeing a lot of play in Standard.  What are your thoughts on it?  Do you love it or hate it?  Let me know by leaving a comment.  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 GatheringMagic.com / 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 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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