BWR Midrange in Standard

July 8, 2019

Hi guys…Today we’ll carry on our Standard analysis talking about a deck I’m having success with: BWR midrange, also known as “The Unpresentable One” (because, come on, who could have fun playing such an unaesthetic color combination?). I found this list while searching for new brews on Magic Online and decided to give it a try, after making a few changes. A friend of mine missed for the tiebreakers the top8 of an online PTQ with this list:

26 lands

4 Blood Crypt

3 Clifftop Retreat

4 Dragonskull Summit

4 Godless Shrine

4 Isolated Chapel

2 Mountain

4 Sacred Foundry

1 Vault of the Archangel

12 creatures

1 Angel of Serenity

2 Aurelia, the Warleader

4 Boros Reckoner

2 Obzedat, Ghost Council

2 Olivia Voldaren

1 Thundermaw Hellkite

22 other spells

2 Blasphemous Act

3 Dreadbore

4 Faithless Looting

2 Liliana of the Veil

4 Lingering Souls

3 Mizzium Mortars

1 Tragic Slip

3 Unburial Rites


3 Gloom Surgeon

2 Pillar of Flame

2 Purify the Grave

2 Rakdos’s Return

2 Sever the Bloodline

3 Slaughter Games

1 Thundermaw Hellkite



Something about the deck:
I started with 3 maindeck Liliana of the Veil but after two or three matches removed one for the second Blasphemous Act, who is simply too good against more than ¾ of the field. If I were to play this deck tomorrow, I’d play just one Liliana of the Veil, adding the third Olivia Voldaren. In a deck full of removal like this, Liliana of the Veil is mainly a concession to Esper and Turbofog, because you don’t really have to fight Jund’s own Liliana of the Veil while playing a deck with 11 flashback spells (with four of them being Lingering Souls, the nuts against the -2 ability). I can see myself cutting the third too depending on the meta: with midrange being popular, I’d like to have the second Thundermaw Hellkite maindeck.
The rest of the maindeck is ok. The real strength of this deck is its flexibility. Most of your cards can play offensive and defensive role at the same time. Removal spells, although being cheap, can have a long-game utility in every matchup (Mizzium Mortars is the perfect card to discard with Faithless Looting in certain matchups ). Oneshotting your opponent with Boros Reckoner/ Blasphemous Act combo is obviously the icing on the cake. Unburial Rites is very good, but it isn’t the main plan of the deck and can be easily boarded out whenever your opponents will side in graveyard hate.
Your gameplan is very linear: stay alive until you can cast/reanimate your big legendary pet (Obzedat, Ghost Council, Aurelia, the WarleaderOlivia Voldaren) and carry it on to the victory. Faithless Looting is a key card, which allows you to keep land-light hand, dig for what you need and make advantage from Lingering Souls and Unburial Rites
In general, the deck is great against aggro, decent/good against midrange (and the matchup improves after board), pretty bad against Sphinx’s Revelation control (slightly better after board), decent/bad against Junk (depending on the Junk buildings and their sideboard plan).
Let’s now take a look at the sideboard plan.
Aggro (Blitz, RG, Monored, Aristocrats)
You have all the tools you need to fight them: cheap removals, Lingering Souls to block, full set of Boros Reckonerv (the real nightmare) and Olivia Voldaren or Obzedat, Ghost Council to close the game.
+3 Gloom Surgeon +2 Pillar of Flame -2 Aurelia, the Warleader -1 Thundermaw Hellkite (keep it in against The Aristocrats removing Unburial Rites) -1 Angel of Serenity (see Hellkite)-1 Unburial Rites. On the play you can keep in 1 Angel of Serenety depending on how your opponent is aggressive/ how many Threaten effects he is boarding. Threaten effects and Hellrider are the most common way in which we can lose against those deck after board, so play around them if you can.
Midrange (Jund, Naya, Bant)
It’s a fair game, but generally your creatures have a stronger impact on the game and you have more removal than they do. Thanks to Dreadbore and flyers you don’t have to worry too much about their planeswalkers .
Against Jund one of the main issues is Kessig Wolf Run, so don’t be shy and try to race them whenever possible.
+2 Rakdos’s Return +2 Sever the Bloodline +1 Thundermaw Hellkite + 3 Slaughter Games -3 Unburial Rites -4 Lingering Souls -1 Faithless Looting
+2 Sever the Bloodline +1 Thundermaw Hellkite +2 Pillar of Flame -1 Liliana of the Veil -2/3 Lingering Souls -1/2 Unburial Rites (depending on the hate they boarded)
+2 Rakdos’s Return (play it carefully because of Loxodon Smiter) +3 Slaughter Games +1 Thundermaw Hellkite +2 Sever the Bloodline -1 Tragic Slip -1 Liliana of the Veil -2 Blasphemous Act -4 between Lingering Souls and Unburial Rites

Control (Esper, Turbofog)
First game could be tough if you aren’t able to press them before they resolve a big Sphinx’s Revelation. You still have cards they can’t deal with (namely Obzedat, Ghost Council: always try to play around Dissipate with it) and Dreadbores and flyers to try and kill their Jace, Memory Adepts/Jace, Architect of Thoughts. After board you have several ways to stop their card advantage, although an early Witchbane Orb is definitely an issue.
+3 Slaughter Games +1 Thundermaw Hellkite +2 Rakdos’s Return -1 Tragic Slip -3 Mizzium Mortars -2 Blasphemous Act (you should keep them against Turbofog taking out an Olivia Voldaren and a Lingering Souls
It really depends on the version they’re running. We’re slighty favored against the more comboish one (with Somberwald Sages and a lot of 1 drop, no Restoration Angel) because we can kill their mana guys and hope they don’t reanimate more than an Angel of Serenity. We’re the underdog against the midrange one, especially against the one with Acidic Slime maindeck. Acidic Slime is our number one enemy. We side in a lot of really good cards, but it can just stop us from casting them. I’m trying to focus on an alternate sideboard plan, but I still couldn’t came up with something better than the one I’m currently playing.
+2 Sever the Bloodline +3 Slaughter Games +2 Purify the Grave +2 Pillar of Flame -1 Liliana of the Veil -4 Lingering Souls -2 Mizzium Mortars -3 Unburial Rites (they usually board Deathrine Shaman or Purify the Grave). Against the midrange version, especially on the play, you can keep the Mizzium Mortars and leave out the Pillar of Flame

If you want to play something different, you like the midrange style and you’re a fan of “Name-and-Surname” cards, this is the deck for you. I think it’s a really good choice in an aggro metagame, and if you manage to come up with a better Junk sideboard plan, feel free to send me an e-mail!
See ya next time on this screen
Alessandro Portaro


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