This week in Magic: A GP Providence Primer

den protector


Welcome back to another edition of “This week in Magic.” This weekend, GP Providence will be rolling into town. The format – Standard. So there is a good chance that if you’re reading this, then you’ll be going to the event. However, if you’re like me, there is a good chance you’re also undecided about which deck to play. Well, you’re in luck. Today, we’re going to go over what kind of a field you can expect. While I’m not attempting to define the meta that will be in Rhode Island, I will be going over the different kind of decks that exist out there.


Esper Dragons

First up is Esper Dragons. Esper dragons is the control deck of the Standard format. Typical deck lists will contain three to four Ojutai’s and probably two of the 3/7 version of Silumgar. That version is the best to go against token decks and gives Abzan the most trouble since it can block and kill almost everything in the deck and most of their kill spells become useless.


If the Esper player knows what’s best for them the deck will have a full package of Scorns. So be aware of what you’re throwing down turn two. If it’s something you can’t part ways with, then you better hold on to it until the path is clear.


So how do you play against this deck? Well, like many control decks, early aggro can give it problems. Having played Abzan Aggro against Esper, my gameplan was to make sure I had a turn one Warden ready to hit the board. Your chances of winning were better if you could play him turn one over any other play on turn two. That’s not to say playing either Rakshasa or a Fleecemane is any less of a play. Both are solid two drops in their own respects.


If you’re thinking of playing control, matchups like this will always be a nightmare and treating the clock like it’s your friend will help you out here. This war of attrition will surely test your patience. It all comes down to who can’t stand the game of “draw – go” and plays a spell first. Whatever you do, don’t give into temptation.


Mono Red

This deck just never seems to go away, and it never will. Red has always been the home to cheap and efficient spells. That’s why it will always be a contender and will always be something you have to keep an eye for.


I think one of the scariest creatures in this deck is Foundry Street Denizen. The potential for this guy to hit like a truck every turn is through the roof. Okay, maybe it’s not that high, but it’s high enough to be concerned about. Why? Thanks to other cheap creatures and spells like Hordling Outburst and Dragon Fodder, there is always a constant flow of little ugly men coming from your opponent.


After the Denizen, it feels like every other spell they cast can be a threat. Whether it kills you on your own or helps cast Stoke the Flames. From here, it all comes down to whether or not your opponent can count to 20.


I know I make it sound like it’s completely useless to play against the deck, but Red’s worst matchup are big creatures. So decks like Mono Green, GW Devotion, or Abzan Control will give it problems since they can drop early blockers. Oh, and one last piece of advice, don’t be afraid to block and trade with their creatures. The longer their creatures are on the board the more of threat they become to you.


Mono Green or GW Devotion

I know I come off as a guy who loves playing Mono Red, but I also love playing Mono Green. There is nothing better than flooding the battlefield with lots of fatties, especially if you can land them early in the game. As of right now, the sickest play Mono Green has is curving out into a turn one elf, turn two Raptor, into a turn three Surrak. Someone please pass me the salt.


Surprisingly, this deck also gives control a run for their money. The reason being is that control can only do so much against the deck. The key card here, and in a lot of matches, is Whisperwood Elemental. To have a constant engine churning out creatures is a problem for everyone. If you can’t deal with an early elemental then prepare yourself for a battle.


So how do we deal with this? As I said Whisperwood Elemental is a key card in this match up. Without it, the deck is very weak to board wipes. Therefore, spells like Crux or End Hostilities will make your opponent sad. If Whisperwood is on the board, make sure you find a way to remove it before casting your board wipe. Single removal spells like Downfall and Ultimate Price are still great to bring in more of, however, you only have so many copies of these removal spells. Another great answer to this deck is Deathmist Raptor. Which leads me into my last deck to be prepared for.


Abzan Control, Midrange, and Aggro

There is a reason the Abzan color scheme is one of the most popular, and that’s because it’s the most powerful. It just seems to have an answer for everything. This would also be my choice to bring if I were going to the GP. More specifically, I’d be piloting Abzan Megamorph.


With a balance of strong, self-efficient creatures and a strong removal package, Abzan feels like the complete package. If they haven’t already, many of the Abzan players have begun switching to the Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor package. I made the change last week having playing a couple week of Abzan Aggro already. At first I wasn’t sold on the whole idea. In fact, I thought the combo was just trying to be too “cute.” I have never been so wrong.


First of all, Deathmist Raptor on it’s own is just silly. A 3/3 for three mana, has deathtouch, and the ability to come back if you flip a morph creature. It’s unfair almost. Combine that with the ability of Den Protector who can bring other cards back from your graveyard and talk about some amazing card advantage. Although, the combo does have it’s downsides. It’s extremely mana greedy. To play a Den Protector and flip it the same turn takes at least five mana. So if you want to play a Den Protector, flip it, and cast an Ultimate price you’re looking at seven mana (eight mana if you want to Downfall). Did we forget to mention that you also need the right color combination for all your spells?


On that note, we’ll end things here fo the week. Just remember that no matter what deck you choose, get plenty of sleep, shower before the event, and wear a belt. See you all next week.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!



The Extra Life 2015 campaign is underway. Donate today!




Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!