Qualifying with Wolf Run Bant

by Niv Shmueli on April 24, 2013

Hello everyone,
So for my article I thought about writing an article about how to choose a deck for a tournament, basically after going 0-2 drop in my local modern ptq where I played Grixis Delver, I did some thinking and knew that my deck choice was wrong.
But since then I played in 2 WMCQs and a magic online ptq, all with the same deck and I did well in all of them including winning the last WMCQ.
So I’m not going to go over every match and specify the details on every game because; 1. I really don’t remember 100% of the games and don’t want to give you false information and 2. Let’s be honest you don’t care about the tournament, you want details on the deck and the deck list that I got to during my testing, so let’s do that.

So the deck I chose to play was Wolf-Run Bant.
When I started testing for the WMCQs\PTQs I checked out a lot of decks, starting from UWR and Junk as the main 2 decks. Basically UWR is my style of play (Boros Reckoner\ Aurelia, the Warleader although I liked the Boros Reckoner much more) and I played Junk for a while as it is a very good deck, close to the best in the format.
After playing with those 2 decks I really didn’t like them, UWR was being way too “fair” when people are playing turn 4-5 Angel of Serenity or turn 2 they have 3-4 creatures in play (thanks to Burning-Tree Emissary) I felt like playing a turn 3 Boros Reckoner and grinding them out as I like usually won’t do it in this format. I didn’t like Junk because it’s not my cup of tea and also people are going to pack a lot of hate against it, although the deck is good against hate I didn’t feel like it’s good against the really aggressive decks (Naya Blitz, Rg “saito” aggro) and I knew those would be a huge part of the metagame in my local area.
After dispatching those 2 decks I tried Esper, I’m a huge fan of Obzedat, Ghost Council and Esper seemed like it was good especially after Ben Stark Top 4’d the Pro Tour with it.
After just losing a bunch with Esper I quickly threw it away as I didn’t feel like it was worth trying to figure it out with such little time for so many big standard tournaments.
So I was basically hating all the decks in the current format until I tried Melissa De-Tora’s Wolf Run Bant list.
After playing some 8 mans\daily’s with it on MODO I knew this was the deck to play, I think that people don’t give this deck the credit it deserves.
I kept crushing Junk and was doing fairly positive against the aggressive decks and was doing much better than I thought I would against Esper.
The match ups I was worried about were UWR Aurelia control as it’s very similar to Esper control only instead of bad 6 mana wraths they had tons of counterspells + more Snapcaster Mages.
Then later on The Aristocrats v2 came up and I was ok against it but not great.
This is the list I started with which I made top 8 of my first WMCQ.

I combined this list from Kyle Boggemes and De Tora’s list and I really liked it.
In the Top 8 I lost to Jund mainly on my bad plays game 1 and mulliganing out game 2 but defiantly deserved it since he played much better than I did game 1 (it was a long grindy game).
So I went back to the drawing board (aka deck editor on Magic Online) and started to update my list as I went on and discovered which parts I liked more and which parts I liked less.
First thing I noticed was that Augur of Bolas is pretty bad, but I didn’t want to cut them all since they are still important against aggro so I went down to 2 Augur of Bolas and from there also to 2 Restoration Angels.
I added the 2nd Angel of Serenity to the maindeck so that gave me more room in the sideboard, I also went down to 2 Dissipates in the maindeck as they were good against Junk\control but terrible against anything else basically, and the Junk matchup is so good so I was fine with hurting it just a little bit, and I was adding a 2nd Angel of Serenity to the maindeck so that helps in that match up a lot (and in the control match up).
So after some changes this is the deck I played and Top 4′d a Magic Online PTQ.

So I took Sigarda, Host of Herons as an idea from Mellisa’s update on her article but I really did not like it throughout the tournament, the control decks will keep some wrath effects against you and a 5 mana 5\5 is not going to stop them from doing their stuff or easily countering it… I knew I wanted something that once I played it I was going to win in a high % against control\other midrange decks.
So I went x-1 in the ptq losing in the Top 4 to UWR Aurelia control straight up, like I said before that match up is a nightmare.
I also lost in the swiss to naya midrange from my poor playing, should have won that one probably.
So after playing with the deck in this long PTQ I learned more about the deck and the first thing I noticed was that 2 Angel of Serenity was too many “big cards” as Sphinx’s Revelation is better but 1 Angel of Serenity is something I wanted.
Also Sigarda, Host of Herons had to go for something better, something that wins you straight up the game against midrange/control…I knew I wanted to Assemble the Legion.
After playingAssemble the Legion in the UWR’s sideboards I really liked it, if I ever got to untap with it in a clogged up board or an empty one I usually won since I could back it up with some counterspells\removals and control\midrange decks usually only have like 1-3 outs to it, and when you have Jace, Memory Adepts\random creatures (especially Loxodon Smiter) that they already might of used those Detention Spheres\Oblivion Rings on then you can make sure that Assemble the Legion will stick, oh and making a bunch of tokens+