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Martin Juza Golgari Cat Oven Deck Guide Featured Image with Cauldron Familiar

Golgari Cat Oven: Standard Deck Guide

This is the deck I played at Mythic Championship VII to a 9th place finish.

Golgari Cat Oven

8 Swamp
7 Forest
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Temple of Malady
2 Castle Locthwain
4 Midnight Reaper
1 Massacre Girl
3 Paradise Druid
4 Gilded Goose
4 Cauldron Familiar
4 Murderous Rider/Swift End
3 Wicked Wolf
1 Vraska, Golgari Queen
1 Bolas's Citadel
2 Casualties of War
4 Witch's Oven
4 Trail of Crumbs

Sideboard
1 Assassin's Trophy
1 Vraska, Golgari Queen
1 Bolas's Citadel
2 Massacre Girl
1 Casualties of War
2 Duress
1 Noxious Grasp
4 Shifting Ceratops
1 Return to Nature
1 Wicked Wolf
Arena Import

4 Gilded Goose (ELD) 160
7 Forest (ELD) 269
4 Trail of Crumbs (ELD) 179
4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Midnight Reaper (GRN) 77
4 Witch’s Oven (ELD) 237
3 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
3 Wicked Wolf (ELD) 181
4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253
4 Temple of Malady (M20) 254
2 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
1 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99
4 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
2 Casualties of War (WAR) 187
1 Vraska, Golgari Queen (GRN) 213
1 Bolas’s Citadel (WAR) 79
8 Swamp (ELD) 258

Sideboard
1 Wicked Wolf (ELD) 181
1 Assassin’s Trophy (GRN) 152
1 Casualties of War (WAR) 187
2 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99
4 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 194
2 Duress (M20) 97
1 Return to Nature (ELD) 173
1 Vraska, Golgari Queen (GRN) 213
1 Bolas’s Citadel (WAR) 79
1 Noxious Grasp (M20) 110

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For reference, this is Piotr Glogowski’s winning Jund Sacrifice deck:

Jund Cat Oven

4 Blood Crypt
4 Overgrown Tomb
2 Swamp
4 Stomping Ground
1 Mountain
5 Forest
3 Fabled Passage
2 Castle Locthwain
2 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King - Foil - Brawl Deck Exclusive
2 Massacre Girl
2 Thrashing Brontodon
4 Cauldron Familiar
3 Beanstalk Giant/Fertile Footsteps
2 Murderous Rider/Swift End
4 Mayhem Devil
4 Gilded Goose
4 Witch's Oven
4 Trail of Crumbs
4 Casualties of War

Why did I choose Golgari over Jund?

I tested with Stan Cifka for this tournament, and we liked the Golgari version better in an unknown field. Jund is definitely better in the sacrifice mirror, because you have access to Mayhem Devil, which triggers when any player sacrifices a permanent, not just you, and Korvold, which can easily finish the game in one or two turns. Our goal was to maximize all the synergies. I was never a fan of maindeck Brontodon, but it’s a great sideboard card if you expect a lot of Embercleave and Fires decks. Bolas’s Citadel was our tech the mirror, which we expected to show up in big numbers.

The advantage of Golgari is being able to play four Midnight Reaper, which gives you an amazing card draw engine with Cat and Oven. You only need to play a few games to realize that you really want to have as many Midnight Reapers in your deck as possible, as it often just wins games on its own.

Jund takes a lot of damage from its lands and draws extra cards from Korvold, so it’s fine to only play two or three Midnight Reapers, but it still felt like a big loss.

Because of an easier mana base and Wicked Wolves, Golgari feels better against most other creature decks, which we expected to show up. I was very surprised that there was only ONE Embercleave deck in the entire tournament.

My record at the tournament was 9-4, good enough for a 9th place finish. I felt confident playing against most decks, but got my ass kicked by the Simic Flash decks, where they always had way more cards I needed to kill than I had removal in my deck. Between a quick Lovestruck Beast, Nightpack Ambusher, and Nissa + Hydroid Krasis, they can easily overrun you with card advantage, especially when it’s backed up by counterspells. This deck wasn’t exactly on our radar, so it’s hard to see that as a mistake. There were also only three of those decks in the entire tournament and I unfortunately got paired against two of them. Jund would have definitely been better against Simic Flash, as a resolved Mayhem Devil is a huge problem for them.

How does this deck work?

There are many small combos in this deck, most importantly Witch’s Oven + Cauldron Familiar (the “Cat”). Oven allows you to sacrifice the Cat every turn for Food and then bring it back, draining your opponent for 1 in the process. If you add Midnight Reaper to this equation, you also draw an extra card per one of these cycles. With Trail of Crumbs in play, you can spend one mana per cycle to dig deeper into your deck and find the missing pieces. Even just Gilded Goose + Trail of Crumbs means you can tap the Goose, sac one of the Foods for mana, and use that mana to pay for the Trail trigger.

Eventually you bury your opponent with card advantage and drain them out. Cards like Murderous Rider and Casualties of War help protect you against decks like Jeskai Fires that would otherwise go over the top of you.

What are you looking for in an opening hand?

Pretty much any decent combination of lands and spells is fine. Ideally you want to assemble your synergies as fast as possible, but even a “value” hand like four lands, Trail of Crumbs, Murderous Rider, and Wicked Wolf is perfectly fine. I usually only mulligan hands with too few lands or too many expensive cards. You don’t want to start with two 6-drops in your hand. Also if you know what your opponent is playing, that helps a lot when deciding what to keep or mulligan. For example, you don’t want to keep a hand with Massacre Girl, Murderous Rider, and Wicked Wolf against U/W Control, because none of those cards are good in the matchup.

Tips and Tricks

• You want to find one Oven and one Cat first, then get more Ovens to be able to repeat the cycle more times. Extra Cats don’t really help here, but you can still find some use for them. When you have a lot of extra Food, attacking Cats mean that your opponent either has to take the 1 damage or block it and have it go to the graveyard, which means that you will be able to sacrifice Food, trigger Trail of Crumbs etc. The same is true if you have a Midnight Reaper in play, your opponent usually will not want to give you an extra card.

Gilded Goose and Trail of Crumbs let you tap the Goose, sac a Food for mana, and use that mana to pay for the Trail trigger, which is pretty much your ideal start in the first two turns.

• In the Jund version, don’t crack Fabled Passage to just thin your deck—save it for Korvold or Mayhem Devil later.

• You can use Wicked Wolf to sacrifice your Food instead of paying mana to trigger Trail of Crumbs. This will usually happen at the end of your opponent’s turn or when you are attacking.

Massacre Girl has a trigger that does all the killing, it’s not an ability of the creature itself. It creates a delayed trigger that means that even if Massacre Girl is no longer in play and something else dies, everything gets a -1/-1 again. You can also use Cats and Food to create more -1/-1 effects between all the triggers to kill bigger creatures.

• With Bolas’s Citadel out, you can “change” the top card of your deck with Midnight Reaper and Trail of Crumbs.

Sideboard Guide

Hayne Esper Control

Out: 1 Massacre Girl, 1 Wicked Wolf, 1 Casualties of War, 4 Murderous Rider, 1 Cauldron Familiar
In: 2 Duress, 4 Shifting Ceratops, 1 Bolas’s Citadel, 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen

Jeskai Fires

Out: 1 Vraska, 2 Wicked Wolf, 3 Paradise Druid, 1 Bolas’s Citadel, 1 Massacre Girl, 1 Cauldron Familiar
In: 2 Duress, 4 Shifting Ceratops, 1 Return to Nature, 1 Casualties of War, 1 Assassin’s Trophy

Keeping a Wicked Wolf is fine as it nicely answers their Sphinx of Foresight.

U/R Flash

Out: 2 Casualties of War, 1 Bolas’s Citadel, 1 Massacre Girl, 1 Wicked Wolf, 1 Swamp
In: 4 Shifting Ceratops, 2 Duress

Board out one land here because you take out a lot of expensive cards and Swamp doesn’t help you haste out a Shifting Ceratops.

Jund Cat

Out: 1 Massacre Girl, 1 Cauldron Familiar, 1 Witch’s Oven
In: 1 Casualties of War, 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen, 1 Noxious Grasp

This is what I had written down before the tournament, but I kept adapting on the fly, depending on how exactly was my opponent’s deck built. Usually that meant that I only kept two Oven + two Familiar when my opponent’s had a bunch of enchantment and artifact removal like Brontodons and Return to Nature to break up my combos or destroy my Citadel. In that case, it’s better to just have 4 Wicked Wolves and try to kill them by simply playing creatures on curve and get ahead on cards with Midnight Reaper if they want to trade.

Golgari Cat

Out: 1 Massacre Girl, 3 Wicked Wolf
In: 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen, 1 Bolas’s Citadel, 1 Casualties of War, 1 Return to Nature

Golgari Knights Adventure

Out: 2 Casualties of War, 1 Bolas’s Citadel, 1 Swamp
In: 2 Massacre Girl, 1 Wicked Wolf, 1 Noxious Grasp

U/W Control

Out: 2 Casualties of War, 1 Wicked Wolf, 1 Massacre Girl, 3 Paradise Druid
In: 2 Duress, 4 Shifting Ceratops, 1 Bolas’s Citadel

U/G Flash

Out: 2 Casualties of War, 1 Bolas’s Citadel, 1 Massacre Girl, 3 Wicked Wolf, 1 Swamp
In: 1 Noxious Grasp, 4 Shifting Ceratops, 2 Duress, 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen

Vraska looks bad against their deck but you are bringing it in to answer their sideboard cards: Sorcerous Spyglass and Lovestruck Beast. If this deck gets more popular now, add a full playset of Noxious Grasp in the sideboard, it’s your best card against them.

Rakdos Sacrifice

Out: 3 Midnight Reaper, 1 Bolas’s Citadel
In: 1 Wicked Wolf, 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen, 2 Massacre Girl

You don’t want to have your Midnight Reaper stolen by Claim the Firstborn and sacrificed to Oven, Rankle, or Priest of Forgotten Gods.

Temur Reclamation

Out: 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen, 2 Wicked Wolf, 2 Casualties of War, 1 Massacre Girl, 1 Murderous Rider, 1 Paradise Druid
In: 2 Duress, 4 Shifting Ceratops, 1 Bolas’s Citadel, 1 Return to Nature

Simic Ramp

Out: 2 Casualties of War, 1 Cauldron Familiar, 1 Massacre Girl
In: 1 Bolas’s Citadel, 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen, 1 Wicked Wolf, 1 Noxious Grasp

At first I thought I wanted to be the control deck with Massacre Girl, but it’s better to just go after their mana guys with removal and Wicked Wolves and try to kill them before they start casting huge Hydroids, because that’s not a game you can win.

Gruul Aggro

Out: 1 Bolas’s Citadel, 2 Casualties of War, 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen, 2 Paradise Druid
In: 1 Wicked Wolf, 2 Massacre Girl, 1 Noxious Grasp, 1 Assassin’s Trophy, 1 Return to Nature

4- and 5-Color Japanese Fires

I’ll be honest here, we had no clue how to sideboard in that matchup and our plan was to just hopefully not get paired against them 😀

As usual, here is where you can find me

Twitch – https://twitch.tv/martinjuza
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MartinJuza
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/c/martinjuzamtg

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