I’ve been playing a fair bit of standard in preparation for some upcoming PPTQs and one deck I have particularly enjoyed the heavy Energy Variant. Although missing some of the cards, I was able to settle on the version below:
The deck is enjoyable to play and has a fair bit of interesting decision making and power, both early on and late in the game. The deck has two key axis it plays on. The first is the now well-established Black/Green counter synergies, relying on Winding Constrictor, Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Walking Ballista and Verdurous Gearhulk to make creatures huge, or in the case of Ballista, make a machine gun that mows down the opponent’s board. The second key axis also leans on the Constrictor a bit, but tries to take advantage of the Energy mechanic with Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Greenbelt Rampager and Longtusk Cub to get creatures well above rate for their mana-cost or draw a bunch of extra cards.
The first game day ended up with a fourth-placed finish with some interesting results. In one game, two Walking Ballistas ended up so huge I won by removing 18 counters in one go to burn out the opponent. In another, I was able to attack by opponent down to 2 life by the end of the fourth turn. As you can see, the deck goes a variety of ways! The explosive starts were the main route to victory on Saturday, but a loss to CopyCat in the Swiss and the Semi-Final put paid to my hopes.
Today’s game day had fourteen players, so it would cut to Top 4 – these situations are always rough, especially with friends – I prefer to haveas many buddies in the Top 8 as possible (had it cut as usual, half the field would’ve been close friends!).
The first round I was paired off against a UB Zombies deck. Those decks can always be scary due to the sheer amount of 2/2’s that can be made by Cryptbreaker and Diregraf Colossus. The deck also had some quite terrifying plays at times – off a Gisa and Geralf, a 5/5 Diregraf Colossus was played, bringing back two Prized Amalgams, turning an empty board into a fairly scary one. However, the deck’s lack of interaction with my board state allowed for me to get some massive blockers out and an Aethersphere Harvesters were able to chip away effectively. For the second game, it was simply a case of a quick start involving Constrictor (hereby known as ‘Snake/Snek’) into a Rishkar and Gearhulk.
Second up was a sort of mirror match. Up against a strong player with a Jund Energy deck – although some of the synergies are the same, the red allows useof energy focussed cards like Harness Lightning and Voltaic Brawler. The deck also eschews the Snake in lieu of the recursive power of Scrapheap Scrounger and the card advantage and versatility of Chandra, Torch of Defiance. The latter would prove to be a problem in almost every game. It is hard to remember the details of these first games, as all three were intense back and forth games. The pivotal third game highlighted the strength the Jund version had in the mirror – although both decks removed the early threats, a resolved Chandra caused a big issue and put me very behind in card advantage. Eventually it ended up with my Skysovereign and various creatures working together to take down some creatures before the crewing creatures would get removed, but Scrapheap Scrounger could keep coming back to apply pressure. Eventually, one of his creatures survived a Skysovereign hit with a Blossoming Defense, leaving me dead on the swingback.
The next couple rounds provided good match ups for us – a GW Modules deck was up first and it was another deck that struggled to deal with the aerial threat of Skysovereign. A mulligan to five for them in game two didn’t hurt our chances. The win and in for the top 8 was against a Red White humans deck that was extremely explosive – as evidenced by having three 2/1’s out on turn two! However, a deck relying on one-power creatures tends to fall prey to Walking Ballista, as was the case. Kalitas in game two was also particularly effective, providing plenty of chump fodder and gaining enough life to get well out of reach. That was enough for the Top 4.
The first game of the Top 4 was a little daunting – I was against a BW Midrange deck that knocked me out of both Kaladesh Game Days. It utilises Cultivator’s Caravan, Scrapheap Scrounger, Eternal Scourge and Ayli to grind most decks to a fine paste. I feel fortunate to have escaped that one with a 2-0 – in the first game I had a the typical quick start with Rishkar and a Gearhulk that was too hard to come back from. Game two I felt I won on the first turn – I had played Greenbelt Rampager on turn one, which got fatally pushed in response to the bounce effect. I then rolled out two Glint-Sleeve Siphoner that couldn’t be removed. Left unchecked, they regularly drew two cards a turn and overwhelmed a land-stuck opponent.
The final pitched me back against the Jund Energy version again. These games ended up a little less grindy and simpler. One game was another in which having two active Glint-Sleeves drew plenty of card advantage and I was able to win the removal war off the back of it. This meant my pressure ended up too much to keep up with. Aethersphere Harvester again played a strong role in the other game, due to a lack of flying defense – the key play being a Blossoming Defense pumping it to take out Chandra before it could generate enough card advantage,.There was never an answer to the Harvester and that sealed the win.
This is a bit scattered and rushed, but it’s always good to share. If you like powerful decks that are a blast to play and can do silly things, do try BG Energy!