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Article Top > Hareruya Pros Blog > Finding the Best Golgari Deck in Standard

Finding the Best Golgari Deck in Standard

2018/11/02 00:00 

    • Christian Hauck
    • Hareruya Pros Blog

Introduction

I am always a big fan of Midrange decks in general and if I have to choose between different decks on the same powerlevel, I will stick to the Midrange version most of the time. Don't get me wrong, I will gladly play a control or aggro deck if I believe it will serve me with the best win percentage for a specific tournament.

With Temur Energy at PT Ixalan, Mono Green Tron at PT Rivals, Mono Red at PT Dominaria and Death and Taxes at PT 25th Anniversary, Temur Energy was basically the only true Midrange deck I played last season.

Finding the Best Midrange Deck

With Grand Prix Lille 2018 and the Pro Tour coming up I really wanted to find a Midrange deck that can compete with the top dogs of the format. Luckily Golgari (Black-Green) Midrange did a pretty good job when you look at the online results, it won the first two online PTQs while having a astonishing presence in the Top 32 of the second one (1st PTQ Result / 2nd PTQ Result) .

At that time I was confident that Golgari was the best deck for the tournament, the PTQ pretty much proofed my evaluation of the format. The only problem was that there are so many different versions of Golgari running around and it's hard to figure out which one is the best.

《Gruesome Menagerie》 Version

Wildgrowth WalkerJadelight RangerGruesome Menagerie

I started with 《Gruesome Menagerie》 builds when Mono Red was more popular, this version utilized the "Explore" Creatures/《Wildgrowth Walker》 package the best giving these aggressive decks a very hard time, especially when you can return 《Wildgrowth Walker》 and 《Jadelight Ranger》 at the same time for 6 life while regaining board presence.

Watching Gabriel Nassif on twitch crushing Standard leagues with a similar version of the deck was a true delight, this was where I first noticed the power of 《Midnight Reaper》 in Golgari.

Midnight Reaper

I discarded this version when I faced the mirror more often, the Planeswalker out of the classic Midrange lists seemed to outperform the 《Gruesome Menagerie》 synergy when games go long. I can see coming back to the 《Gruesome Menagerie》 version when the meta shifts again to more aggressive decks being played.

Classic Version

Vraska, Golgari QueenVivien ReidVraska, Relic Seeker

I moved on playing a more "classic" Golgari List to get a feeling why people are playing specific cards and if the deck really is the big deal it seemed to be after the online PTQs.

Something I like to do when I'm exploring a new format is to play the most common Lists of the most common decks I can find without putting in my own ideas. This way you get to know the format by its core, which is very important when you want to change something to successfully attack the metagame.

That said I felt Golgari was good and consistent in what it did, but it didn't felt as powerful as I expected it to be after the online results. I really struggled getting my wins in with Golgari, just when I thought I found my deck for the GP it wasn't performing good enough to submit it.

Tocatli Honor Guard

Everyone was prepared for the Black-Green menace, people started adapting. Some exploited the weakness of Golgari lacking early removal, the white decks started playing 《Tocatli Honor Guard》 maindeck and the list goes on. There's also a PT coming up and I didn't want to waste my time playing only Golgari - so I discovered a lot of decks which I would consider playing at the Pro Tour but for the GP I really wanted to play this Golgari deck just because I wanted to play Midrange so bad.

Final Decklist and Card Coices

As I said in the beginning, just because I like the deck won't justify submitting it. I was ready to discard Golgari again, so if I really want to play it I had to make it work. After making some minor changes and playing more games I noticed something which was very interesting, people boarded in 《Carnage Tyrant》 in the mirror which wasn't something I did before.

After I did the same I slowly realized how much of a gamechanger the dinsosaur can be in those mirrors, especially when you follow it up with a 《Finality》 giving your "Hexproof" threat two counters and clearing his path to victory.

Carnage TyrantFind // Finality

It became more and more clear that games were decided by 《Carnage Tyrant》 and 《Find // Finality》 and it came to no surprise that people started maindecking the dinosaur over 《Vraska, Relic Seeker》. 《Carnage Tyrant》 and 《Find // Finality》 kept being the most impactful cards in my matches which led me to warp the the deck around these two cards, playing the full playset of both.

This is the Decklist I ended up submitting for GP Lille (12-3 / 12th place):

During the whole Grand Prix I was feeling very confident I had one of the best decks for the tournament, sadly I couldn't secure another Top 8 in the end. Let's talk about some of the card choices I made to clarify the unusual ones.

23 Lands (1 《Memorial to Folly》):

Memorial to FollyForestOvergrown TombWoodland CemeterySwamp

With 8 Mana Elves I think 23 Lands is where you want to be, beside the ramp you still have the green "Explore" creatures to secure your land-drops. 《Memorial to Folly》 is a land I loved in the old lists, it really helps you playing the grindy game. On the other hand the deck relies on curving into your threats, you don't want to mess up your curve by playing a lot of tapped lands, this is why I ended up with a single copy.

4 《Llanowar Elves》:

Llanowar Elves

4

You could write a whole article why you should or shouldn't play 《Llanowar Elves》 in the deck, I think you should play them and it's not only because you get to play a Beta card in Standard again and I own a playset. While Beta cards are awesome, 《Llanowar Elves》 just lets you get onto the board first which is what you want to be doing, especially in a Meta filled with Planeswalkers and when you are playing with 4 《Carnage Tyrant》.

4 《Druid of the Cowl》:

Druid of the Cowl

4

I cut the 《Seekers' Squire》 for the 《Druid》, while being fine in the deck I never liked 《Seekers' Squire》. The 《Druid》 fulfills a similar role by helping you get to 6 Mana while providing a 3 toughness blocker in the early game. Ramping up is more efficient in this version of Golgari and the 《Druid》 is the perfect body to put 2 counters on after a 《Finality》 when you don't have a 《Tyrant》 laying around or if you want to play around 《The Eldest Reborn》 follow up to protect your 《Tyrant》.

2 《Midnight Reaper》:

Midnight Reaper

2

The 《Reaper》 became the 3-Drop of choice besides 《Jadelight Ranger》, I was impressed by him when I played it in 《Gruesome Menagerie》 builds and I like it here too. Your creatures tend to trade off a lot and 《Midnight Reaper》 making these trades unattractive for your opponent. He also works as a Sweeper protection against 《Deafening Clarion》 or 《Cleansing Nova》 letting you commit more creatures to the board and more often than not 《Finality》 will kill some of your own creatures where the 《Reaper》 will refill your hand.

2 《Karn, Scion of Urza》:

Karn, Scion of Urza

2

I think 《Karn》 is the weakest card in the Deck but I wanted a proactive 4-Drop which I can play on turn three. 《Golgari Findbroker》 wasn't the best play on turn three when you are facing an empty graveyard. You don't have any artifact synergies but an early 《Karn》 is extremely hard to kill and he will provide you with more cards and help finding the impactful ones.

4 《Carnage Tyrant》 & 4 《Find // Finality》

Carnage Tyrant

4

Find // Finality

4

This basically is what makes the difference, being the first player having a 《Tyrant》 on his side of the battlefield gives you a huge advantage. Hoping to double or tripleblock the 《Tyrant》 isn't really a good option because a single removal will be a blowout and there is always the possibility to 《Finality》 away all the blockers lined up. That's why 《Tyrants》 tend to trade for each other, which is the safest way to get rid of an opposing dinosaur. Luckily with four 《Find // Finality》, 《Find》 will make sure that you are not running out of 《Tyrants》 anytime soon.

Sideboarding Guide

I know some of you came for a sideboard guide, so I won't leave you without sharing how I boarded at the GP.

Golgari Mirror:

Against Golgari Mirror

Out

Merfolk Branchwalker Merfolk Branchwalker

In

Vraska's Contempt Vraska's Contempt

Mono-Red

Against Mono-Red

Out

Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves
Midnight Reaper Midnight Reaper
Find // Finality Find // Finality
Karn, Scion of Urza Karn, Scion of Urza

In

Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker
Cast Down Cast Down
Vraska's Contempt Vraska's Contempt
Ritual of Soot Ritual of Soot

Boros/Jeskai Angels:

Against Boros/Jeskai Angels

Out

Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves
Midnight Reaper Midnight Reaper
Find // Finality Find // Finality
Karn, Scion of Urza Karn, Scion of Urza

In

Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker
Cast Down Cast Down
Vraska's Contempt Vraska's Contempt
Ritual of Soot Ritual of Soot

Jeskai/Esper Control:

Against Jeskai/Esper Control

Out

Druid of the Cowl Druid of the Cowl Druid of the Cowl Druid of the Cowl
Ravenous Chupacabra Ravenous Chupacabra

In

Duress Duress Duress Duress
Vraska's Contempt Vraska's Contempt

Izzet Drakes:

Against Izzet Drakes

Out

Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves
Find // Finality Find // Finality Find // Finality Find // Finality
Midnight Reaper Midnight Reaper
Karn, Scion of Urza Karn, Scion of Urza

In

Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker
Duress Duress Duress Duress
Cast Down Cast Down
Vraska's Contempt Vraska's Contempt

White Weenie/Boros Aggro:

Against White Weenie/Boros Aggro

Out

Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves
Midnight Reaper Midnight Reaper Carnage Tyrant
Karn, Scion of Urza Karn, Scion of Urza
Vivien Reid Vivien Reid

In

Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker
Ritual of Soot Ritual of Soot Ritual of Soot
Cast Down Cast Down
Vraska's Contempt Vraska's Contempt

Mono Blue Tempo:

Against Mono Blue Tempo

Out

Druid of the Cowl Druid of the Cowl Druid of the Cowl Druid of the Cowl
Vivien Reid Vivien Reid Karn, Scion of Urza Karn, Scion of Urza
Find // Finality Find // Finality Find // Finality
Midnight Reaper Midnight Reaper

In

Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker Wildgrowth Walker
Duress Duress Duress Duress
Ritual of Soot Ritual of Soot Ritual of Soot
Cast Down Cast Down

Selesnya Tokens:

Against Selesnya Tokens

Out

Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves
Karn, Scion of Urza Karn, Scion of Urza Midnight Reaper Midnight Reaper

In

Duress Duress Duress Vraska's Contempt
Ritual of Soot Ritual of Soot Ritual of Soot Vraska's Contempt

Conclusion

You can contact me on Twitter if you have further questions, I am off trying to find the next best deck for the Pro Tour, thanks for reading and have fun hitting for seven!

Christian

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