Modern Marvels: Mardu-ing it Right

Another week. The exact same 75 cards.

That's not my typical play. I refuse to believe a deck is perfect and normally will do some sort of tweak if for no other reason than to try something new. Usually I try to adjust my sideboard based on what decks I saw last week or with some new tech to play with my matchup numbers. This week, however, I decided I wanted another crack with the same stuff. I felt real close last week and wanted a bigger sample size before changing things.

Round 1: Scott W – Azorius Super Friends
I started off the night against the store Judge and all around good guy, Scott. He has been playing his UW Control deck for a while now, so I knew what I was up against right away. Having little experience against this type of deck in general, let alone with my brew, I was nervous and excited to see how it would end up playing out. Our first game did not last very long as I was able to land a Butcher of the Horde with some help from Thoughtseize (why was that card ever not in this deck?) and I rode him and some Kolaghan’s Commands to victory. The second game wasn’t much longer as the tag team of Thoughtseize and Duress were able to pick apart his mulled-down-to-five hand and Young Pyromancer and Butcher closed him out without much trouble, despite him landing a Tamiyo, the Moon Sage.
Board: -4 Lightning Helix, +4 Duress
Record: 1-0

Round 2: Scott M – Zoo
I sat down for my second round against another buddy. I remembered he played Zoo and got excited for my best matchup. Our first game was really back and forth. Lightning Helixes abounded and kept the board relatively clear and life totals buoyed on both sides. Eventually Butcher flew over the top with Lifelink for the win.  Game two had a similar feel to it. I was able to keep his attacks to a minimum with some early spot removal and eventually got the board in my favor with a large amount of tokens. With one card in hand, he attacks with his only creature: a Ghor-Clan Rampager he had reluctantly cast as a dude instead of a pump spell. With my life total at 10 and his at 9, I knew I could win in the next two turns with my army of Spirit and Elemental tokens. I blocked with 4 of my 7 tokens, enough to kill his guy and leave behind enough for lethal the turn after next. Out of nowhere he casts a BECOME IMMENSE to save his dude and Trample over for 6 damage. I didn’t hit the burn spell, and he did. A game I thought I had locked down ended up with him on top. I had not expected the Delve spell in a Zoo deck, and paid the price for it. I’m not going to lie, I tilted a little following this game and played it all back in my head really quick to see if there was something else I should have done. Game three was a real nail biter, but I ended up with a massive token army to stymie his offensive and Fly to victory with the low life total of 6. Bullet dodged, I moved on to the next round.
Board: -1 Thoughtseize, -1 Chandra Pyromaster, +2 Anger of the Gods
Record: 2-0

Round 3: Billy – Elves Inc.
Another good friend, another known matchup. I knew I needed to have some cheap interaction in order to have any chance, so I mulliganned aggressively. My opening seven had only a single Land and no castable spells, so it had to go. My six had a Lingering Souls and five Land, which wasn’t going to work either. My five and four and no Lands between them, and I was forced to settle for Sacred Foundry, Swamp, and Butcher of the Horde. At least I had all three colors, right? Ugh! Billy had to go down to five himself to find a worthy hand, but his Elves quickly put the game away led by Ezuri, Renegade Leader off a Collected Company. With my back against a wall, we started game two. Luckily I was living right and lived the dream of Pyro into Souls into Butcher while he was stuck derping around with mana dorks and Elvish Visionaries. His life total dropped in two large chunks and that was that. Game three went according to script. I had a ton of early removal for his Lords and then landed a turn four Ajani. I won the Thoughtseize lottery on turn five or six, nabbing his Craterhoof Behemoth. With his help I was able to stall the game long enough to draw into the second red source for Anger of the Gods to clear the field. With the threat of Ajani’s ultimate looming, Billy stopped playing Lands in hopes of having some left after a one-sided Armageddon. This bought me enough time and enough turns to simply use Ajani’s Lightning Helix ability to close it out.
Board: -2 Kolaghan’s Command, +2 Anger of the Gods
Record: 3-0

Round 4: Kyle – Jeskai Control
Finally, someone I didn’t know! We didn’t quite hit 16 players, so this was the last round. I was the only 3-0 player left and was paired against the only 2-0-1 player (drew in an earlier round and his opponent then went on to lose a match somewhere) so we couldn’t split Top 2 and had to play it out. Turns out, he was playing a traditional UWR Control deck. Game one was super frustrating. I kept a four Land opener and didn’t miss a Land drop until turn 15. FOURTEEN straight Land drops! We each dealt with the other’s ManLands with Ghost Quarters, Tectonic Edges, and Paths to Exile. We traded value back and forth and got in for little bits of damage at a time. After 30 minutes, he was able to cast a Sphinx’s Revelation for over six cards and simply buried me in card advantage. I knew I had a rough road ahead of me to dig back out of this hole, but I didn’t want to end up dreamcrushed in the final round. I couldn’t keep my first hand of game two and I started to feel the tilt starting to come on. Luckily my six was two Lands, a pair of Butchers, and a pair of Blood Moons. I knew better than to try a Moon on turn three without having hit my own Basics yet, so I waited. I dropped a Butcher turn four and let him Path it so I could get my Plains to go with my Swamp and non-Basics. A Duress off the top took away his Mana Leak and it was Blood Moon time. He tried to get fancy and cast a Snapcaster Mage targeting his Path to Exile. He cast his Path targeting his own Snapcaster so he could go get the Island he wouldn’t have once Moon hit the table. Luckily, I had seen this coming and left a red source open for a Lightning Bolt on his guy in response to the Path. He was completely blown out and I was in the driver’s seat. Next turn, Butcher number two joined the party and he conceded shortly thereafter. It was a quick game. I knew there was time left in the round for game three so I refused to look at the clock. I didn’t want it affecting my play for the deciding game of the match. I asked him once again if he wanted to intentionally draw, but he did not. After a few “draw, Land, go” turns, we ended up in Turns after time was called. I was in no position to win. I played defensively now, knowing a draw was just as good as a win for me at this point. His three burn spells were not enough for my 11-point life total and the game, and match, was a draw.
Board:-4 Lightning Helix, +4 Duress
Record: 3-0-1 FIRST PLACE

Winning the night felt good. Only losing a single match in nine rounds over the last two weeks has really validated the time I’ve spent brewing and tweaking this deck. I love the amount of back-and-forth play it has. I almost never feel truly out of a game and it has some draws that are terribly difficult for an opponent to handle. I like to think it’s a “Fair” deck playing unfairly.

I would really love to hear some other opinions on this deck. I want to tune it to perfection and take it to a major event at some point. Let me know if you have any thoughts and ideas. Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and as always, “Keep Mardu-ing it Right.”