Gray Merchant of Asphodel, fondly known as “Gary” to most, is coming back in Theros Beyond Death, so it seemed appropriate to feature a Pioneer deck that utilizes his power. Of course, he was already legal in Pioneer, but that’s no reason not to show your devotion to him. Let’s look at the list.
4 Champion of Dusk 4 Dusk Legion Zealot 4 Gifted Aetherborn 2 Gray Merchant of Asphodel 2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet 4 Knight of the Ebon Legion 3 Murderous Rider/Swift End 4 Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord 4 Thoughtseize 4 Fatal Push 4 Castle Locthwain 4 Mutavault 1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx 15 Swamp (339) 1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth Sideboard 1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet 2 Blightbeetle 2 Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage 3 Duress 1 Grasp of Darkness 3 Leyline of the Void 3 Noxious Grasp
Gameplan: This is a classic midrange strategy, and can adapt to what the opponent is doing as a result. This deck uses Thoughtseize, Fatal Push, and Murderous Rider to deal with opposing threats, and a collection of 2-4 cost creatures to pressure them (with a Vampire sub-theme thanks to Sorin).
- Thoughtseize – This is the best black card in the format, and essential at making sure you can interact with any deck.
- Fatal Push / Murderous Rider – They have stuff. You want to kill that stuff.
- Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord – Sorin plays very nicely with all the Vampires in the deck, and helps this deck clock the opponent very quickly.
Tips and Tricks
- Mutavault is a Vampire, so get that Sorin value. Likewise, you can sacrifice it to Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.
- A big enough Champion of Dusk will deal enough damage to you that Knight of the Ebon Legion will trigger end of turn.
This deck is really sweet, and is a bigger take on the mono-black aggro decks that are floating around. Historically (or in this case, Pioneerically), being a little bit bigger than your opponent is where you want to be. Take it a spin and find out for yourself!