My story with W/r Humans starts with my preparations for GP New York that was this May. College had gotten more or less completely in the way of me playing Magic on a regular basis. The main side effect of that was I didn’t have a Standard deck, or hardly any Standard cards for that matter. The deck that was definitely the easier for me to get together in the week and half leading up to the event, both because I owned some of the cards already and it was cheap, was Mono-White Humans. At the Grand Prix, I finished 10-5 in the end. No cash, but definitely with a ton of knowledge about the deck’s ins and outs. It was at this event that the red splash in the sideboard saw play for the first time. I was a little reluctant to try it, but I tried it out at FNM and an IQ the day before the PPTQ. I finished 9th at the IQ and thought the red was good enough to keep. Below is what I played at the PPTQ.
- 4 Battlefield Forge
- 18 Plains
- 4 Thraben Inspector
- 4 Town Gossipmonger // Incited Rabble
- 4 Dragon Hunter
- 4 Expedition Envoy
- 3 Kytheon, Hero of Akros // Gideon, Battle-Forged
- 2 Anointer of Champions
- 4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
- 2 Hanweir Militia Captain // Westvale Cult Leader
- 4 Knight of the White Orchid
- 3 Gryff’s Boon
- 4 Declaration in Stone
- 4 Always Watching
- 1 Gryff’s Boon
- 2 Tandem Tactics
- 1 Silkwrap
- 1 Hanweir Militia Captain // Westvale Cult Leader
- 2 Stasis Snare
- 4 Reckless Bushwhacker
- 4 Needle Spires
Round 1 – U/R Spirits – Kasun Wong
Kasun and I play each other at what feels like every other tournament. I know his tendency to play blue decks, both tempo and control, and he knows that I usually like playing midrange and control decks. Unfortunately for him, W/r Humans was pretty far off my modus operandi when it comes to deck selection. His deck seemed very well positioned against G/W Tokens and Bant Humans, but it didn’t really have a way to get back board control against W/r Humans.
Round 2 – Esper Humans – Al
Al and I played on Friday at FNM. He’s been working on this deck for a while and he admitted to me that the Humans mirror-match was rough for him. It’s definitely an unknown deck, so knowing what its makeup was from Friday helped me immensely in this match. Ultimately, his 3 color manabase let him down as he fell behind in both games due to his enters-the-battlefield tapped lands.
Round 3 – Esper Dragons
This matchup can be kinda ugly if they have multiple board-wipes on back-to-back turns, so Reckless Bushwhacker and Needle Spires are all-stars here. I won game 1 very handily on the draw, but lost game 2 by the narrowest of margins. In game 3 I flooded the board and he tried to stabilize with Dragonlord Ojutai and Dragonlord Silumgar, but I dumped most of my hand on the board. His Languish was good, but not good enough as a surged Reckless Bushwhacker took the match for me.
Round 4 – B/W Eldrazi
Black decks without Languish have a tough time against W/r Humans. It kinda makes you realize that even though Languish makes black decks good against W/r Humans, the spot removal spells are still losing value by trading 1-for-1 and, usually, trading their 2 or 3 mana spell for your 1 or 2 mana creature. I don’t remember a ton about this game, but I do remember top-decking a Reckless Bushwhacker in game 2.
Round 5 – G/W Tokens – Nick
I was very happy to see Nick here, as G/W Tokens is a very good matchup for W/r Humans, and ID-ing here guaranteed that there would be at least one copy of it in the top 8.
Round 6 – W/U Humans – Dave Gross
Dave and I are friends and have tested for events before, so seeing our names paired up against each other in the final round of swiss felt great because we could both draw in and lock our spots in the top 8.
Quarterfinals – G/W Tokens – Nick
Seeing this pairing in the Quarterfinals made me very optimistic. The rest of the top 8 was: 2 Bant Humans, 1 U/W Humans, 1 other G/W Tokens, 1 B/W Control, 1 4-Color Rites. Nick was the 4 seed and I was the 5, so he got the important option to play in the matchup. Game 1 was hardly a contest, as G/W Tokens without the threat of Tragic Arrogance folds easily to small creatures and/or Gryff’s Boon. He edged out game 2 as we entered a board stall that ultimately went his way with Archangel Avacyn and Linvala, the Preserver. That was bad news. But, the good news was I would be on the play for game 3. I looked at my seven card hand hopefully. Well, that’s really bad. Mulligan. How about six? That one’s bad too? Ok let’s take five. My five card hand was: Plains, Reckless Bushwhacker, Dragon Hunter, Town Gossipmonger, Declaration in Stone. Best hand yet! I kept it and scried a Plains to the top. Nick kept seven cards but seemed a little reluctant. His first land was a Canopy Vista, and his second land was a Westvale Abbey and no turn 2 play. Once I saw this I knew the makeup of his hand was filled with relatively expensive cards but no third land (or at very least no fourth land). I dumped my hand on the table and he never drew his third land. Onto the Semis!
Semifinals – Bant Humans – Sean Morse
This match went rather quickly. Game 1 I got stuck on one land with 4 copies of Thalia’s Lieutenant in my hand. Eventually I drew the second land and his draw wasn’t explosive enough to punish me for missing a few land drops. Eventually, I topdecked an Always Watching, which helped me keep back enough blockers to prevent his lethal attack and kill him on the crackback with an Incited Rabble that was being carried by a Gryff’s Boon. Game 2 he struggled on lands and couldn’t get back into the game.
Finals – U/W Humans – Dave Gross
It had to be Dave. Now, there’s a good side and a bad side to facing a friend in the Finals of a qualifier type of tournament. The good side is that either you or your friend are going to win the whole thing. The bad side is that one of the two of you is going to be very disappointed. This was the first match of the top 8 that I was on the play for and it felt good. The summary of this match is: Always Watching is a powerful Magic card, Stasis Snare is excellent, Tandem Tactics is a blowout, Dave is a super honest and good dude (I thought he fully declared blocks and I cast Tandem Tactics when it turns out he was still thinking, but pretended like he didn’t see it to maintain the integrity of the game).
All in all, the deck is great. The red splash is fantastic and hardly costs you anything. If I were to change anything from the 75 I played at the PPTQ, I would remove the Silkwrap, and put a Magmatic Chasm there. It helps with the Bant Humans and Bant Company matchup immensely, since the way they gain an advantage in the game is they clog the board and eventually become too large for you to handle.
The deck’s matchups are great right now, in my opinion. You are favorable against G/W Tokens, and have a manageable matchup against Bant Humans and Bant Company. Various Languish decks can be challenging, but the red splash gives you much-needed reach in that matchup and allows you to bring that matchup to close to 50-50. I’m officially a big fanboy of the deck.
Next up, smashing that RPTQ….hopefully.
Until next time.