For this Pro Tour, we decided to go with a very proactive GW Township deck. Don’t tell R&D, but we’re basically just playing Pod without Pods. The deck is pretty focused on a singular game plan—play a swarm of resilient creatures quickly, add a Wilt-Leaf Liege, and get your opponent dead as soon as possible. To supplement this plan, we have Gavony Township to help make our guys bigger than theirs when the games get grindy as well as a token amount of disruption in Thoughtseize and Path to Exile to keep people honest.
Deck Difficulty: Easy
GW is the deck to play if you expect a field full of traditional Abzan decks. Their Lilianas are completely useless, as they either -2 and upgrade your Voice of Resurgence or kill one of your four Lingering Souls tokens, or +1 and risk giving you a free Loxodon Smiter or Wilt-Leaf Liege. Of course, to pick up that edge against the fair decks, some matchup has to suffer and in this case it’s the unfair combo matchups. You still present a fast clock and a bit of disruption so you certainly aren’t completely dead to combo opponents, but if I know going into a tournament that everyone is going to be Storming, Scapeshifting, or Hive Minding, this is not the deck I would choose to play.
8 Mana Creatures – These are absolutely huge for the deck, letting you cast your impressive 3-drops a turn earlier, activate Gavony Township ahead of schedule, and actually become legitimate brawlers in their own right after a few Townships or a Wilt-Leaf Liege. Strongly consider mulliganing hands that don’t contain these.
4 Voice of Resurgence, 4 Lingering Souls, 3 Kitchen Finks – These creatures make up the “resilient threat” category, often trading for two or more of your opponent’s removal spells if they want to kill them.
3 Wilt-leaf Liege, 3 Gavony Township – A typical problem with running resilient creatures over larger more efficient ones is that your guys get brickwalled by opponents’ Tarmogoyfs and Siege Rhino. Fortunately this 6-pack of pump effects lets you rumble right through them. Note that Liege double-pumps creatures that are both green and white meaning that a good number of creatures in our deck get a full +2/+2 from his effect.
4 Path to Exile, 2 Thoughtseize, 2 Pridemage – These are the cards that let you interact with your opponent. Modern is a big format and people are going to try and do unfair things so in addition to trying to kill them quickly, you often need a Path to take out that key Pestermite before he brings along a few million friends. The key aspect about this disruption is that it’s inexpensive and versatile, meaning that it doesn’t take too many resources to leave it up.
3 Loxodon Smiter, 4 Siege Rhino – These are your efficient creatures that are more than capable of winning the game by themselves. In a different metagame, I could imagine playing something like Knight of the Reliquary instead of Smiter, but being a 4/4 for no work as well as dodging counterspells is a big enough deal against decks like Twin and Scapeshift that for now I think Smiter is where you want to be. Rhino really needs no justification, but he does cost 4 mana in a format where people are sometimes trying to cast turn 2 Primeval Titan, so I would not consider all 4 to be locked in if you’re expecting a lot of that kind of thing.
Chalice of the Void – This card is crippling to Storm and Boggles, as well as somewhat effective against Amulet Combo and Burn. Against Burn and Boggles you typically set it to 1, while against Storm they basically cannot win if it’s on 2. Chalice on 0 disrupts opposing Pacts out of Amulet, meaning that you can actually Path their Primeval Titans without having to face down another one the very next turn.
Stony Silence – Affinity is mean, best turn their powerful relics into useless stones.
Zealous Persecution – An answer to opposing Lingering Souls, as well as a strong card against other mana dorks or token decks. If something like the mirror becomes popular, consider adding more of these.
Sword of War and Peace and Ajani, Mentor of Heroes – Both of these cards come in against UWR control to help give you some more staying power. With that deck having performed so poorly at the Pro Tour, I imagine you could shave down on these as I don’t think it’ll be very popular.
Slaughter Pact – Additional removal, excellent against Twin in particular.
Thoughtseize – Gotta keep ’em honest somehow.
Relic of Progenitus – This was in case we had missed some kind of broken Dredge deck at the PT. Probably not necessary anymore.
Leyline of Sanctity – A hedge mostly against Burn. It’s fine if you don’t draw it in your opening hand, as it’s pretty easy to hardcast on turn 3 off a mana guy.
Best Cards Against Us
Because we’re playing such a straightforward deck, the cards that look good against us generally are. Sweepers are the main category of sideboard card to be concerned about (Pyroclasm, Anger of the Gods, Wrath of God, etc). The other category of cards that are good are mostly just combo cards that don’t let us interact in combat (Splinter Twin, Storm cards, Hive Mind)
Splinter Twin (Close, but slightly unfavorable)
Your game plan here is to put them on a fast clock to force them to go off before they can protect themselves from a Path. In the post-board games, things tend to slow down as they bring in Anger and perhaps a Keranos/Batterskull sideboard package so be wary of that.
GBx Midrange (Very favorable)
This matchup is great as their removal spells are generally not very good and your creatures can easily grow bigger than theirs. Thoughtseize generally comes out, but can end up being good if you suspect they have sweepers like Damnation coming in.
Burn (Slightly favorable if you win the die roll)
This matchup ranges from feeling very easy when you win the die roll and curve a mana guy into a 3-drop to completely unwinnable when they’re on the play and curve Goblin Guide into Searing Blaze on your mana guy. Your sideboard cards are extremely high impact, so try to keep hands that either have those or can create some very fast pressure.
Amulet Combo (Slightly unfavorable)
This is usually just a race where you’re trying to set up a kill faster than theirs. This is obviously incredibly difficult in games where they have Amulet, but Path to Exile is relevant disruption and sometimes their first Titan is too slow. Post-board, Chalice on 0 lets you stop their Pacts, denying them the ability to find a second Titan after you path the first one.
I hope that covers most of the major questions you have about the deck! Let me know if there are any others in the comments.