Hello everyone! This past weekend was definitely a crazy one. APG Richmond was scheduled and I was excited to play. Unfortunately, winter storm Jonas had other plans and hit the East Coast hard. The event was ultimately rescheduled a few days before the weekend. When I heard the announcement, I was disappointed that I was not able to play but also relieved since I was concerned about traveling to Virginia with the storm about to hit. Ultimately I feel this was a good call as Richmond received about a foot of snow and here in Pennsylvania we got almost 2 feet of snow. Though I was not able to play this past weekend, I wanted to share the deck I was going to play at the event.
In preparation for the event, my team decided that we wanted to develop a non-reflect deck that was able to contend in the meta (this was before the errata was announced). We deemed that Vlad was the most likely choice for a deck that could defeat the many incarnations of Reflect that were around. Playing black and red gave us access to the best and cheapest removal. However, I also wanted to play Hera in order to destroy Change the World and provide card advantage. We built the first drafts of a Blue, Black, Red (I will be calling this color combination Grixis moving forward) Vlad. In our early tests the deck matched up fairly well against several variants of Reflect. Grixis was a great color choice and we were impressed with how it was preforming. There was one significant issue we ran into which was the deck lost to Split Heaven and Earth. We then decided we needed to change the colors around or accept losing to split. We ultimately decided to simply add green for Keen sense in the board to give us some protection from Split. We also decided to play 12 stones to give us a small advantage against other Vlad lists. Here is the last draft of the list I was going to play at Richmond:
4 Cheshire Cat, the Grinning Remnant
4 Hera, Goddess of Jealousy
2 Dark Faria, Shadow Princess of Ebony
2 Zero, the Magus of Null
2 Susanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword
4 Scorn of Dark Alice
2 Rapid decay
3 Spiral of Despair
4 Stoning to Death
4 Flame of the Outer World
1 Awakening at the End
1 Marybell, the Steel Doll
4 Magic Stone of Dark Depth
4 Magic stone of Scorched Bales
4 Magic Stone of Black Silence
1 Ebony Prophet/Abdul Alhazred, the Harbinger of Despair
3 Barrier of Shadow
2 Dark Pulse
2 Mephistopheles, the Abyssal Tyrant
2 Marybell, the Steel Doll
3 Keen Sense
2 Unseen Pressure
This card is great. For only one will, it draws you cards which helps improve the consistency of the deck, and it chump blocks very well, which buys time against aggressive decks.
At Richmond, I expected to see a lot of regalia, especially Change the world. When trying to beat Reflect, the most powerful card they play is Change the World. Hera destroys Change and draws a card which is exactly the kind of effect we want in the deck.
I like the role Faria plays in the deck. She provides extra removal and some life gain against aggressive decks and is also a decent clock against slower decks.
This was a card I chose because it gives a small board wipe against many of the small resonators that are being played in the reflect list. It also has quick cast which helps to keep our deck reactive and flexible.
This is our big finisher and is really great in the deck. It also punishes people for playing Gwiber which is one of the larger threats in the current meta. Even when casting this card for its full cost, it is worth the investment and I really like having this card in the deck.
The Non Resonators
Scorn of Dark Alice, Spiral of Despair
Discard is one of my favorite forms of disruption and it is very powerful. It reduces the options the opponent has to play and slows their game plan down significantly. Reflect’s filter ability becomes significantly less effective when the opponent has very few cards in their hand which is one reason why I chose to play a significant amount of discard in the deck.
Thunder, Rapid Decay
These are the 1 will removal spells. They both destroy most resonators that are being played in the meta and provide different options to our removal suite.
Stoning to Death, Flames of the Outer World
These are the 2 will removal spells. Stoning is great because it kills everything whenever we need and Flames can’t be stopped or responded to. These along with the 1 will removal spells provide a versatile removal suite that give the deck the ability to kill almost any resonator.
This card helps keep our hand full in the long game. As the game drags on, we are trying to 1 for 1 our opponents; trading our removal and discard spells for their resonators or cards in their hand. Eventually we will use all the cards in our hand and will be top decking which is something a control deck does not want to do. This card provides us a way to fill our hand back up to give us more options in the long games
Awakening at the End
I was surprised how much I liked having this card in the deck. It helps when the opponent plays multiple resonators all at once and our removal can’t keep up with the number of resonators they are playing. This card kills most resonators being played and anything this doesn’t kill can be cleaned up with the rest of our removal.
Change the World is a very oppressive card and I wanted to have more than 4 ways to remove it in the main deck. Marybell can also act as another resonator against other control decks or if the game runs long.
The deck was powerful and I was very excited to play this deck. Vlad has been my Favorite ruler since she was printed and I enjoy every opportunity I get to use her. I am looking forward to playing at Richmond in March and I’m also very excited to begin brewing with the errata in effect. Hopefully the Meta will be more open and other rulers can become more viable. I hope you enjoyed reading and keep an eye out for my next article. I have some exciting brews I’ve been working on that I’m really excited to share. While I don’t want to give too much away, it has something to do with Crimson Girl and Pricia, Beast Queen in Hiding.