Our team, composed of 17 players—notably Seth Manfield, JC Tao, Andrew Brown, Neal Oliver, and the 12 other sickos below—ended up splitting into 4 decks.
Actually, 11 played Esper Planeswalkers, 3 played White Weenie, 2 Black/White Midrange, and 1 Bant CoCo. The team deck clearly was Esper and those that didn’t play Esper either felt uncomfortable style-wise or, like me, reminisced of 0-5 dropping with Esper decks.
The reason I didn’t play it was because it reminded me of PT Theros where I played Esper, but the list was so inbred that it ended up being awful since our expected metagame was completely wrong. In Madrid, I felt the same—the deck changed so much in 4 days based on the 3 matchups we were expecting to face that I was scared people would show up with totally different decks.
To be fair, that is sort of what happened—but the deck didn’t turn out to be terrible against those decks.
I sleeved the following 75.W
Myself, Tim Wu, and Ben Friedman played this list—sort of a mix between Boss Humans and Gerry T’s UW Humans. I liked the 18-lands, infinite-1-drop version because of how good it was against Bant CoCo, but that version could never beat Languish. I liked the blue version because of how great the sideboard was—Dragonlord Ojutai and Negate gave you some really good post-sideboard games against Languish decks or just any noncreature strategy altogether.
I mashed those two ideas together and came up with an in between version. 20 lands instead of 22 from the blue version, and I cut Reflector Mage because I found the card underwhelming in most matchups except the mirror, where I was disadvanted anyway because I played more lands. I would end up drawing 1 or 2 too many, something the mirror punishes you hard for.
Going up to 22 lands after sideboard when you bring in more Gideons, Ojutais, and counterspells made much more sense. Also, you technically always have 12 blue sources in your deck based on the fact that Knight of the White Orchid is always active against decks where Negate and Dragonlord is good.
We didn’t do very well but I still think the deck was a good choice for the field. I definitely lost 2 matches to my own misplays and played against a super rough matchup (WR Tokens). Going forward, I’m hesitant to play White Weenies strategies since Languish will most likely rise in popularity with Esper Dragons, Esper Planeswalkers, and BG Seasons Past Top 8’ing the Pro Tour.
Initially, we thought playing a bunch of removal would do it against White Weenie and Bant CoCo, our 2 biggest enemies. While that was true against WW, it wasn’t against Bant—they have so much gas we couldn’t compete. That’s how Neal Oliver and Andrew Brown came up with the idea of playing high loyalty planeswalkers that draw cards.
They generally don’t die the turn you cast them and provide enough card advantage to compete with Bant.
This card looks strange, but in fact was the missing piece to make the deck work. Besides Clip Wings, this card can’t be killed. It was initially added as a way to block Lumbering Falls and Sylvan Advocates post-Languish, but eventually we realized that other black and red control decks would also never be able to kill it since they are based around Chandra, Flamecaller.
Alongside Dark Petition, it became a great 1-of.
This card is bad, but ended up being a necessity against random cards that people might play. Going forward, I suggest Negate instead.
This little transformational sideboard package was mostly to take advantage of people who had no idea what our 75 looked like. They don’t see any creatures and you get them with your sideboard plan. Jace is also great because you’ll always have cards to board out and it will be the best card in your deck post-board as it’ll never die (assuming your opponent doesn’t know about it).
Kalitas is phenomenal when uncontested against creature decks. Dragonlord Ojutai was put there to fight White Weenie’s blue sideboard. You can block their Ojutai even if they have Always Watching—and if they don’t have Ojutai, then it’s great because they won’t have removal in their deck. This may sound a little too inbred and narrow—granted, it is—the guys who played the deck said they wouldn’t run Ojutai in the future.
Going forward, I’m not sure the creature sideboard plan will still be good because Seth Top 8’d with the deck and obviously the list is out there, but the core of the deck is still strong and should remain a decent candidate.