Standard Fare - RW Aggro Good Enough for SCG Open in Houston? [Edward Eng] February 08, 2015 01:00

The Star City Games Open in Houston is just around the corner, and I'm super excited. I just moved to Houston in September after living in Taipei, Taiwan for the past 11 years. So this will be my first SCG Open.

Since moving to Houston, I've been lucky enough to hit up quite a few shops and meet a ton of people within the Magic community. Houston is an awesome place! I've even had the chance to get out to Austin, Dallas, Denver, and San Antonio to jam some GPs and PTQs. Texas (and Colorado) are sweet! Play the game, see the world.

Since Khans of Tarkir came out, I'm pretty sure a lot of people in Houston have noticed that I've been on Temur a.k.a. Temur Challenger as SCG's 2014 Dallas Open champion, Collin Rountree, would call it. I came in 94th at GP San Antonio and 101st at GP Denver with the deck. Not bad, but not great.

Here's the latest version of the deck that's sitting on the bench.

Standard
Temur Aggro/Midrange - Edward Eng

Creatures (25)
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Rattleclaw Mystic
3 Heir of the Wilds
3 Goblin Rabblemaster
3 Savage Knuckleblade
2 Boon Satyr
2 Shaman of the Great Hunt
2 Ashcloud Phoenix
2 Stormbreath Dragon

Spells (11)
2 Stubborn Denial
3 Wild Slash
1 Temur Charm
1 Crater's Claws
2 Xenagos, the Reveler
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

 

Lands (24)
3 Forest
3 Mountain
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Fontier Bivouac
3 Mana Confluence
3 Yavimaya Coast
2 Shivan Reef
1 Temple of Mystery
1 Temple of Epiphany

Sideboard
1 Winds of Qal Sisma
2 Neutralizing Blast
2 Force Away
2 Negate
2 Disdainful Stroke
2 Destructive Revelry
2 Lightning Strike
2 Scouring Sands

With the release of Fate Reforged, I decided to give Jeskai Tokens and Monastery Mentor a try to see if I could find even better success. I did 'poorly' with the deck at an FNM and a PPTQ. I think the deck is powerful but also very hard to play optimally. I felt it wasn't my style, so I decided to keep searching. I needed something good for an upcoming PTQ in Dallas. I couldn't find anything until I reached out to my old '90s teammate and former Pro Tour competitor, Ray De Guzman, who's out in the Philippines. I told him that Jeskai Tokens wasn't working out for me and didn't feel that Temur was cutting it anymore. I was kind of interested in going more streamlined with RG Monsters, but Ray pointed out that the deck doesn't really have any tricks to give you an advantage.

   

He was on a Gerard Fabiano, Ali Aintrazi Sultai Midrange/Control hybrid at the time and thought maybe I could jam that. I didn't have the cards or experience with the deck so we kept chatting and came across Danny Goldstein's RW Aggro deck at SCG's Washington D.C. Open. The deck looked sweet and felt like my style. Settled.

Standard
RW Aggro - Danny Goldstein

Creatures (12)
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Monastery Mentor
3 Seeker of the Way
1 Soulfire Grand Master

Spells (25)
2 Outpost Siege
2 Collateral Damage
4 Lightning Strike
3 Magma Jet
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Stoke the Flames
2 Valorous Stance
4 Hordeling Outburst

  

Lands (23)
6 Mountain
5 Plains
4 Battlefield Forge
2 Mana Confluence
4 Temple of Triumph
2 Wind-Scarred Crag

Sideboard
2 Hushwing Gryff
1 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Erase
2 Magma Spray
2 Wild Slash
2 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
2 End Hostilities
2 Glare of Heresy

A few days later, Pro Tour Fate Reforged competitor, Randall Gay, and I headed to the Dallas PTQ. He felt confident with Abzan Aggro and I was ready to rock with RW even though I was going in cold with the deck. Overall, I played decently well with just a few mistakes considering I didn't have time to play any tournies with the deck beforehand. I might've won the only match I lost prior to my top 8 win-and-in match if I played a little better against BradNelsonRW.dec.

I got paired up against future Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir competitor, William Lowry, in the 7th and final round. I lost to his G(r) Devotion deck in two games as Randy was railbirding. Afterwards, I talked to Will and Randy about the match and we all seemed to agree that it's not a great matchup for RW Aggro. Back to the drawing board.

   

I didn't want to give up on the deck so quickly, but I felt that Monastery Mentor underperformed a bit and Randy agreed. On the flip side, Seeker of the Way was an all-star and Outpost Siege was bonkers. I made some adjustments and took this to another PPTQ in Houston.

Standard
RW Aggro Version 1 - Edward Eng

Creatures (12)
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
Monastery Mentor
4Seeker of the Way
1 Soulfire Grand Master
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Spells (25)
2 Outpost Siege
2 Collateral Damage
4 Lightning Strike
3 Magma Jet
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Stoke the Flames
2 Valorous Stance
4 Hordeling Outburst

 

Lands (23)
6 Mountain
5 Plains
4 Battlefield Forge
2 Mana Confluence
4 Temple of Triumph
2 Wind-Scarred Crag

Sideboard
2 Hushwing Gryff
1 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Erase
Magma Spray
Wild Slash
Valorous Stance
1 Arc Lightning
2 End Hostilities
2 Glare of Heresy

I got a bye after going 0-2 against GR Midrange/Ramp and Jeskai Tokens. Then I rattled off a couple of wins against RG Aggro and UW Heroic to squeak in at 8th for a chance to battle my way into the RPTQ. It turns out I had to play my first round opponent in the top 8. Surprise! GR Midrange/Ramp here we go again. I can't remember game 1 that well, but he got it. Game 2 was an uphill battle for me as he eventually formed a board lead by a monstroused Stormbreath. But Outpost Siege proved its power again and drew me into an End Hostilities to wipe his board leaving him with a Xenagos, the Reveler. His Satyr token ate my one sandbagged card, a Magma Spray. OS drew me into a bunch of token makers and I eventually overran his Satyrs, Xenagos, and him. Unfortunately, Game 3 didn't go well for me as I started out a bit slow and he quickly amassed a large board of creatures and planeswalkers. GGs.

So it still seems like Gx decks are a tough matchup for RW Aggro. Is it winnable? Indeed, but I think the deck still needs some tweaking. I often hear about how strong Stormbreath is, but I feel the card is a bit too slow and clunky for RW Aggro. However, Flamewake Phoenix might be the answer. And speaking again of Stormbreath...since a lot of RW's would-be answers with the exception of Stoke the Flames are white, what's a better way to deal with an opposing dragon? Control Magic? Maybe we'll find out this weekend at the Open.

Hit me up in the comments and let me know if you think RW has what it takes to shine in Fate Reforged Standard.

Thanks,
Edward Eng a.k.a. Eddie

Connect with Edward Eng on Social Media

Follow Eddie on Twitter
Befriend Eddie on Facebook

Add Galactic Treasures on Social Media

Follow Galactic Treasures on Twitter
Like Galactic Treasures on Facebook