fbpx

Breaking Through – Dredging Born of the Gods

When we last saw our hero, he was being brought back from the graveyard at the cost of a Forest and Swamp…

AlL right, so our “hero” in this case is a Lich Lord, but my mother said I could be whatever I wanted when I grow up… so…

Prior to Born of the Gods, I was working on a Standard deck that dumped a lot of cards into the graveyard and then tried to use them to enable various other cards in the deck. To simplify the concept, I called the deck GB Dredge, as the only other places you see Dredge is in Eternal formats that aren’t Modern. Some people in various forums have gotten upset that I called a deck Dredge when there are no Dredge cards in it, so you might hear the deck called B/G graveyard or something along those lines. Regardless of what you want to call it, when we last left it, it looked something like this:

[deck]Main Deck
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Carytid
1 Manaweft Sliver
4 Lotleth Troll
4 Nighthowler
3 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
2 Shadowborn Demon
4 Nemesis of Mortals
3 Thoughtseize
4 Commune with the Gods
4 Grisly Salvage
8 Forest
4 Overgrown Tomb
7 Swamp
Sideboard:
1 Deadbridge Chant
1 Gift of Orzhova
3 Golgari Charm
2 Nylea’s Disciple
2 Shadowborn Demon
1 Ultimate Price
4 Skylasher
1 Hero’s Downfall[/deck]

While the deck started in a very different place, this is where I last left it, molded mostly to handle the popular archetypes at the time. Main deck [card]Thoughtseize[/card]s were a concession that control and Mono-Blue were both very popular and Mono-Black had not quite taken over yet. It was one of the three best decks, but most would say it was not the best deck at the time.

I actually really liked my matchup against both Mono-Black and Esper due to the resiliency of my threats and how each threat was sufficient in and of itself. I rarely needed to overextend, because a turn 3 [card]Nemesis of Mortals[/card] plus [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] already demands an answer. Once it was, a bestowed [card]Nighthowler[/card] on an [card]Elvish Mystic[/card] was the next threat. Eventually [ccProd]Jarad[/ccProd] would push through whatever removal they had and then end the game. That same game plan, however, did not seem to work out very well against Mono-Blue.

I set the deck aside because of the metagame tightening up and matchups getting worse. Born of the Gods has a few new tools to potentially help the deck, and today, I wanted to go over those and see if we can improve the list enough to get it back into fighting shape. Before we move forward though, let us take a look at one of the older lists. By comparing the list above and the list below, you can begin to see what was important to the deck in the first place so that we can know what is important to the deck now.

[deck]Main Deck
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Elvish Mystic
3 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
4 Nemesis of Mortals
4 Nighthowler
2 Shadowborn Demon
4 Sylvan Caryatid
2 Voyaging Satyr
4 Commune with the Gods
4 Drown in Filth
4 Grisly Salvage
2 Whip of Erebos
9 Forest
4 Overgrown Tomb
6 Swamp
Sideboard:
1 Deadbridge Chant
2 Gift of Orzhova
3 Golgari Charm
3 Lifebane Zombie
1 Nylea’s Disciple
2 Shadowborn Demon
3 Thoughtseize[/deck]

If you take a look, you can see that over time we trimmed the number of spells in the deck. This is because the creature count was proving far too important to be watered down by unnecessary spells. These spells, like [card]Whip of Erebos[/card], obviously did something, but they made the deck too inconsistent. Whip of Erebos was a great card to discuss for the sideboard, where it can come in against important matchups though.

When [card]Drown in Filth[/card] turned into [card]Lotleth Troll[/card], the style of the deck almost changed with it. We no longer had reliable answers to [card]Master of Waves[/card] or [card]Pack Rat[/card]. Instead, we had Thoughtseize and we needed to take advantage of the window of time it provides us. Lotleth Troll gives the deck another threat, cheaper than the others. He puts a lot of pressure on the opponent early, is tough to kill, and then becomes a great body for a Nighthowler or to sacrifice to Jarad to close out a game. Instead of answering the problems, we had to push past them.

I specifically wanted to see if Born of the Gods could continue this aggressive trend for the deck. If we can be a fast deck that avoids most of the common pitfalls for aggressive decks, that would be really potent. One of my big concerns for this traditional mold of the deck is that [card]Drown in Sorrow[/card] is now a card. While the deck is in no way cold to an [card]Infest[/card] effect, it does hurt our strategy against Mono-Black specifically. We tend to try to beat their removal by deploying many threats. To deploy many threats, we need lots of early mana. If they waste spot removal on our Elves, then our solitary threats are more likely to survive. On top of that, they are not using that time to put their own offense on to the table, giving you time to recover.

If they manage to get off an early [card]Thoughtseize[/card] and take your cheapest threat, then follow that up with a [card]Drown in Sorrow[/card] on turn 3 killing a couple of mana dorks, it is going to be very difficult to mount enough of an offense to come back, unless they just totally brick for a long while.

With Mono-Black being so popular right now and Mono-Blue close on its heels, I wanted to take that knowledge with me as I combed over Born of the Gods for new technology. Here are the cards that I noted:

[ccProd]Satyr Wayfinder[/ccProd]

[draft]satyr wayfinder[/draft]

This is the exact type of card that I think the deck needed. I certainly wanted to get one more enabler in the deck, which is why [card]Drown in Filth[/card] was in the list for so long and why [card]Lotleth Troll[/card] was basically the only viable alternative to that. Wayfinder gives us a 2-drop that is going to put at least 3 cards into the graveyard every time he comes into play, so that definitely counts as an enabler. And the card type he grabs is a type we don’t really need in the graveyard. [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] doesn’t mind seeing a land or two hit the bin early and if you need to do that, you can always decline to grab anything with this, but outside of that, this just helps our land count make more sense.

One of the reasons we have only 19 lands is to increase the number of creatures in the deck. If our creatures act as our mana sources, what can we get away with? This is pretty likely to find a land most of the time and because he is not a removal target, I would argue he is online about as often as something like [card]Voyaging Satyr[/card] would be. But when you do hit with this guy, you are good to go from there on out, which is a confidence this deck used to lack. Our mana relied heavily on mana Elves which meant it was fragile. While we still have a similar structure, this lessens the reliance on those Elves a bit.

[ccProd]Herald of Torment[/ccProd]

[draft]herald of torment[/draft]

I highlight this guy because of some of my comments earlier about the deck. This card gives us another 3-mana threat that does not die to [card]Drown in Sorrow[/card] and becomes another anti-sweeper aura in the mid- to late game. With the potential addition of Satyr Wayfinders, the number of valid early game targets we have for both Nighthowler and Herald has gone up even further. When you dedicate a substantial portion of your deck to being 1/1s and 1/2s, you need to have a use for those guys in the late game. The bestow mechanic gives us that, along with cards like Lotleth Troll, so that the effect is not as problematic. And because many of those creatures have replaced lands, the impact they have is perhaps higher than they would have been in a normal deck as just a basic Swamp or whatever.

[ccProd]Odunos River Trawler[/ccProd]

[draft]odunos river trawler[/draft]

This guy excites me but for a different version of the deck altogether. If our goal is to become more aggressive, adding a [card]Gray Ogre[/card] that generates some card advantage is not exactly in line with that. In addition, the number of enchantment creatures we have is fairly low right now. Obviously Nighthowler would be the big score but we would need Herald of Torment or some other options as well.

If we go ahead and add Herald of Torment to the list, then what would we be cutting to make room for this? We would already be cutting a lot of the suspect cards for Wayfinders and Heralds. I don’t think cutting down on the number of Heralds would be good either, at least not if we wanted to remain aggressive. There is a potentially more controlling idea that I will talk about later though.

[ccProd]Graverobber Spider[/ccProd]

[draft]graverobber spider[/draft]

I looked at this guy about three times before deciding he just didn’t have the gusto. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of activating this guy when he goes unblocked to just get in for lethal damage, but that feels like something that just won’t happen often in Constructed.

Four mana is a lot to invest into the initial body, which is not very impressive on its own, and then into the activated ability. If this eats an [card]Ultimate Price[/card], you have sunk 8 mana into doing nothing. If a metagame comes up in which a 2/4 reach body is extremely appealing, maybe we can look at this again, but I was just not impressed.

[ccProd]Scourge of Skola Vale[/ccProd]

[draft]scourge of skola vale[/draft]

I mention this guy briefly because I did consider him for a short period of time. The idea that he would transform cards like [card]Sylvan Caryatid[/card] into something of value in the late game, all while dumping it in the bin, seemed attractive. However, because this guy comes out so small and needs to tap to use its ability, it will often sit in play for 3 turns before it is big enough to start attacking. Neat idea, but too clunky.

[ccProd]Phenax, God of Deception[/ccProd]

[draft]phenax, god of deception[/draft]

This is the card that could warrant an entirely different style for this deck. If you take a second to read this card, pay close attention to the fact that this can target any player. That means this can both enable your deck in spectacular fashion as well as win the game for you when you get a commanding board position.

This is where cards like [card]Odunus River Trawler[/card] might be more handy as you are playing a slower game, and rebuying [card]Nighthowler[/card]s as well as Phenax is a huge game. Also, there is some potential hope for the [card]Graverobber Spider[/card] here as well because the 4 toughness is much more relevant, as is the pump ability.

Obviously I am just spitballing here and have not actually built this list yet, but I will be working on it in my spare time whenever I am not testing Modern.

The New Crew

Before we depart, I wanted to leave you with where I would begin in terms of this new aggressive approach to the deck. We are focusing heavily on [card]Lotleth Troll[/card], [card]Nemesis of Mortals[/card], [card]Nighthowler[/card], and [card]Herald of Torment[/card] to get in a lot of early game damage. [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] and [ccProd]Jarad[/ccProd] both provide a means to burn the opponent out should they recover from our earlier threats.

[deck]Main Deck
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Elvish Mystic
3 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Lotleth Troll
4 Nighthowler
4 Herald of Torment
2 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
4 Nemesis of Mortals
4 Commune with the Gods
4 Grisly Salvage
8 Forest
4 Overgrown Tomb
7 Swamp
Sideboard:
3 Golgari Charm
3 Shadowborn Demon
4 Skylasher
4 Thoughtseize
1 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord[/deck]

That even upped our creature count to 33, which is a heck of a lot of deck space. We do lack direct answers to anything our opponents can do with this deck though, so in testing, I will need to keep monitoring how often we have the upper hand or how often we are on the back foot. I also wish the mana was slightly better, although the Wayfinders do help with that.

Hopefully everyone have a great weekend at the release events. Hopefully I will have some sweet Phenax lists ironed out for next week so stop back then if you are interested. Thanks for reading!

Conley Woods

Discussion

Scroll to Top