I was requested last time to battle through a Daily with Marc Lalague’s GP Anaheim-winning list, and I’m a sucker for legitimate requests. Here’s the deck:
Grand Prix Anaheim Winner by Marc Lalague
Well then. That was a fairly short Daily, so let’s go over what we learned. First, I don’t like the GR deck in this metagame. It’s the epitome of a middle-of-the-road deck, with a lot more negatives than positives. Let’s just look at a pros/cons list for the deck:
- Fairly good game against every deck in the format, both Game 1 and Game 2. You’re not really horrible in any matchup, since you are aggressive with sufficient removal to clear the way against aggro or to protect yourself.
- Lots of sideboard options with green and red cards, with Tree of Redemption and Bonfire of the Damned for extra control.
- Can be an aggressor that transforms into a slower board-control deck.
- Your mana-fixing is very good; it’s rare a game goes by without you having every type of mana you need.
- Hellrider and Wolfir Silverheart are both very good cards.
Warning: My cons list is going to be pretty long, since I think it’s a little more important to explain why I think something is bad.
- You’re devoting 11 slots of your deck pretty much just to straight fixing. Borderland Ranger is a fine card, and the best of its class, but Dawntreader Elk has to sacrifice itself to fix your mana, which sometimes you can’t afford to do. Abundant Growth does replace itself when you play it, but it sadly is still taking up slots in your deck that could improve your matchups, not just your ability to cast Strangleroot Geist into Hellrider.
- You’re pretty much an underdog in every matchup Game 1. The deck puts up an initial front of aggro, with your Geists and your Hellriders and your Silverhearts, and uses Bonfire and Devils Play to clear the way. However… sometimes you have to use those cards defensively to stop yourself from dying, and you lose a lot of momentum to play your threats so Silverheart isn’t just a 4/4 and Hellrider does a little more than just 4 damage. You also draw a bunch of mana-fixing, which is great, but those cards don’t do a whole lot. Grizzly Bear is a fine card, but it pales in comparison to their Cloistered Youths, Strangleroot Geists, or even Scorned Villagers.
- The main con is that you’re a bad version of other decks. You can’t out-aggressive Boros, Jund, or Naya, and you can’t out-control the various Miracle decks. You can sideboard to be more aggressive against Miracle and more controlling against aggro, but you can still draw all the aggressive or control cards Game 2 in the wrong matchups.
- Falkenrath Aristocrat is a terror and I can never beat it.
Note that I’ve yet to play against Reanimator with this deck. Reanimator has fallen in popularity with the advent of a ton of Jund and Boros, but I assume the matchup is about even. They can durdle and you can kill them quickly enough, but they can also just churn out a quick Griselbrand and you’ll stare at it, questioning your life decisions.
So, it’s pretty obvious I don’t like this deck. It puts up sporadic results still, but it just feels underpowered for the format. There are better Hellrider decks, there are better Wolfir Silverheart decks, and there are better Bonfire of the Damned decks. Jamming them together isn’t the worst thing in the world, but the shell around them isn’t nearly as good as the other options. And note that I’m not just 0-2ing this one Daily and writing the deck off; I’ve played a few days’ worth of Dailies with the deck, and only cashed a couple of them.
That said, I could be wrong. I didn’t win the GP, after all, and this deck did. Help me figure out what I got wrong in the comments, if you please.
Thanks for reading!
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