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GW Aura Guide

2018/02/14 00:00 

    • Christian Calcano
    • Hareruya Pros Blog

Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan is in the books and what an amazing PT it was.

Our team managed to put 2 players into the top 8 in Javier Dominguez, which was his 1st and very well deserved, and Andrea Mengucci (and in 8th place...from Italy!!!) getting his 3rd!

I managed to lose my voice in excitement as I cheered for two of my best friends making the top 8. These are the kind of moments that we work for and it’s a great feeling to see our hard work pay off. They both decided to play Humans for this event but I chose a different deck for myself, GW Auras (or Bogles as it’s also known).

RancorSlippery BogleDaybreak Coronet

I finished 10-6 overall going 6-4 in Modern and 4-2 in Draft. I’ll go over what my draft strategy was for this PT, how and I why I chose to play Auras, and my thoughts on the deck going forward in this metagame. So without further adieu, here’s the decklist I played:

Leading up to the PT I was locked in on Affinity. I had played it in a couple of events prior with decent success as well as in a few MTGO leagues. Limited has always been my strongest format, and it was the deck that felt the most similar to a draft deck to me. However when we arrived at our house in Bilbao everything changed. I was getting slaughtered by just about everything my teammates threw at me. Even against Humans and Burn, which were the decks that I wasn’t totally getting crushed by, were still taking games off me. After this beating and Andrea Mengucci’s advice, I decided that I wasn’t going to play Affinity.

I woke up Wednesday and decided that I would choose between Burn and Humans, as they were both proactive decks with good game plans. I was leaning more heavily towards Burn because I felt that more players were expecting Humans and it was also better positioned against decks like Tron, Lantern, and Control, which Humans was not. I spent the majority of the day playing Burn and found that the deck often relied on keeping 1 land hands and have the game come down to whether or not you draw the 2nd, or you drew too many lands (3-4) and died. The sequence in which you played your lands and burn spells was also crucial, and I wasn’t entirely confident in my ability to make the correct decisions.

I went to bed on Wednesday night still unsure about what to play. It wasn’t until Thursday when I started discussing how to sideboard with Burn that the thought of running Auras crossed my mind. When I asked how to sideboard against Auras, Burn Master Yam Wing Chun simply told me, the matchup is almost unwinnable, but no one is going to play it.

Yam Wing Chun
Image Copyright: Wizards of the Coast

That’s when I went to Javier Dominguez and asked him how did Auras stack up against the metagame we were expecting. To my surprise, almost all the top decks were good matchups for Bogles (Humans, Affinity, Burn, Storm, Jeskai), with Tron, Eldrazi Tron, UW, and Lantern being some of the worse matchups. I had Tomoharu Saito add Auras to his spreadsheet which gave every deck a score based on expected metagame, and how good/bad the deck’s matchups were. It confirmed my initial thought as Auras scored as high as our top deck, UW Control.

I decided there and then, that I would play Auras at the PT, and Javier and Andrea agreed that it was a good choice. I’ve played the deck before at a Grand Prix a few years prior, so I knew that the most difficult part of the deck would be my mulligan decisions, followed by sequencing my auras correctly.

Mainboard and Sideboard

I looked up the most recent 5-0 lists on Magic Online and to my surprise I saw that none other than Stainerson (Thomas Ashton) had 5-0d with the deck recently. He may not be a household name, but Tommy is very well respected amongst all the American pros, and I knew that taking his list and changing a couple of cards would be the way to go. Side note, he also played Auras at the PT and finished 8-2 with it.

Hyena UmbraCartouche of Solidarity

In the main deck I didn’t change too much, simply cut a 《Triclopean Sight》 and an 《Unflinching Courage》 for a 2nd 《Hyena Umbra》 (Javier recommended play no less than 6-7 of this effect), and a 2nd 《Cartouche of Solidarity》 (serves well as a chump blocker in races, and as protection from 《Liliana of the Veil》).

A nice thing about the sideboard is that you get a lot of powerful hate cards for the more difficult matchups such as Gx Tron, Living End, and UW Control.

Stony SilenceEthereal ArmorRest in Peace

《Stony Silence》 is of course one of the better ones, and it also counts towards 《Ethereal Armor》 which is important to remember. Same goes for 《Rest in Peace》 against Living End.

Gaddock Teeg

《Gaddock Teeg》 is probably the next best to 《Stony Silence》 against the Gx Tron decks. In hindsight it would’ve been nice to have a 3rd as there were more Tron and Control decks than I expected and it’s very effective against control as well shutting off 《Cryptic Command》, 《Engineered Explosives》, and Wrath effects.

Path to Exile

We also wanted the 3rd and 4th 《Path》 as it’s important against decks like 《Death's Shadow》 where you need to get rid of their 《Shadow》 to win the race.

Spirit Link

The 《Spirit Link》 are incredible against Burn. Since the life gain from it is a triggered ability and not lifelink, that means that a creature with that and a 《Coronet》 will gain you twice the amount of life. Another important thing to know is that enchanting an 《Eidolon of the Great Revel》 with it is insane. Every time the 《Eidolon》 triggers, you will gain 2 life, which will force them to have to spend a removal spell on their own 《Eidolon》 if they have any intention on trying to burn you out.

Ethersworn CanonistEidolon of Rhetoric

We opted to play 2 《Rule of Law》 effects in 《Ethersworn Canonist》 and 《Eidolon of Rhetoric》 not only for Storm, but for Control as well as they’re just additional creatures that can be suited up with Auras.

Seal of Primordium

I didn’t want to be completely cold to cards like 《Chalice of the Void》 and 《Ensnaring Bridge》, so we included one 《Seal of Primordium》.

As a general rule of sideboarding with this deck, the cards that you’re generally going to take out in most matchups will be 《Leyline of Sanctity》, 《Gryff's Boon》, 《Spirit Mantle》, and 《Unflinching Courage》. The rest of the deck is essentially the core so you rarely touch those cards in sideboarding.

In Pro Tour -About Draft-

On to draft now, I ended up 4-2 overall going 2-1 in both my drafts. This format is the complete opposite of 3x XLN. In that format all I wanted was to be as aggressive as possible with cheap creatures and auras. This format however all I want is to be as controlling as possible.

Calcano

Image Copyright : Wizards of the Coast

Black is the best for this, and I’m happy being BR, BW, or BG. UB is also possible but I feel that blue is the weakest color and the 3rd booster doesn’t help you much in blue if you’re drafting a Control deck.

If you’re cutoff from black then GW is also a great option. The goal is to prioritize removal, good blockers, recursion effects if you’re in black, and at least 2-3 finishers that can close out game.

Sun-Crested Pterodon

My first deck was BGw splashing white for 《Sun-Crested Pterodon》 (aka the Chicken amongst our team), and 《Luminous Bonds》. The second was a BW Vampires that also featured 2 《Sun-Crested Pterodon》. As you can see, I’m quite high on the Chicken, and it led myself and many of my teammates to some very strong records in Draft. At 5 toughness and with flying, it’s basically the best blocker in the format. Once you add another Dinosaur to the battlefield, you’re now able to slowly kill your opponent all the while rendering their team unable to attack thanks to Vigilance.

Luminous Bonds

I still think 《Luminous Bonds》 is the best white common/uncommon, but I think that the 《Pterodon》 is easily the 2nd best and it’s not even close. I think it’s better than all the other white uncommons, and I actively splash it in all my decks. I even pack 2 pick 1d it over a 《Reaver Ambush》 in my 1st draft while I was solidified in BG but had 2 《Forsaken Sanctuary》. I’ve had quite a bit of success drafting these types of decks and they’ve been very fun to play as well.

Conclusion

Overall it was a very fun PT and even though I lost the last 2 rounds to finish 10-6, I was happy with my deck choice for the event. I unfortunately didn’t get many of the matchups I was hoping for (faced Humans and Affinity a grand total of 0 times), but that’s part of the variance that comes with the Modern format.

As for the deck itself, I don’t understand why it’s played as little as it is now. The negative stereotype associated with it doesn’t make much sense to me as it’s just like any other Modern deck, it has a plan and it does it well. Going forward I think that things might get a bit tougher for Auras as there will probably be a bit of a rise in Tron, Lantern, and Control decks. However if BR 《Hollow One》 becomes more popular, then I could see the deck still being well positioned because in Yuuya Watanabe’s words, “10-0 matchup for Bogles”.

Slippery BogleHollow One

Well I hope you enjoyed reading and if there’s any questions you might have please feel free to ask in the comments section.

Thanks for reading,

Christian Calcano

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