Last updated on October 13, 2021

Soul Shatter - Illustration by Wylie Beckert

Soul Shatter | Illustration by Wylie Beckert

The World has a new MTG Champion! Yuta Takahashi won the crown after an impressive 10-0 run during the Standard portion.

I suspect the ladder will be filled with decklists from Worlds for the foreseeable future, the most popular being Izzet Dragons, Grixis control, and mono green aggro. You have two options with this in mind.

First, pick one of those decks and be prepared to face plenty of mirror matches. The second option is the one I’m about to offer to you: run a different deck and develop a cohesive sideboard plan against the field. I like my take since no one will be prepared to face a “rogue” deck that has a good chance against what’s currently being played.

That being said, let’s get down to business and dig into today’s deck: Orzhov Sacrifice Midrange!

The Deck

Blood on the Snow - Illustration by Martina Fackova

Blood on the Snow | Illustration by Martina Fackova

The Strategy

Liesa, Forgotten Archangel - Illustration by Dmitry Burmak

Liesa, Forgotten Archangel | Illustration by Dmitry Burmak

This deck is full of gas and it doesn’t have a signature card that stands out from the rest. It piles multiple synergies that leads you to victory one way or another.

Be aware that this is a grindy deck and decisions may vary from one game to another unlike with more linear decks like mono green. You’ll usually end up playing long games.

The Creatures

Shambling Ghast and Eyetwitch are the first creatures on the list. Both fill a similar role, which is to be killed for value. The Ghast can either ramp you or deal with 1 toughness creatures and it’s a perfect blocker against X/2 attackers. Eyetwitch can chump or trade and give you an extra card from the learn board which I’ll talk about in a bit.

Both look like nice value creatures, but they provide even more value if you pair them with Skullport Merchant. Getting an extra card plus Ghast and Eyetwitch’s effects is huge. One Ghast usually turns into divination with the Merchant and any other creature you have turns into a cantrip.

These three creatures represent the deck’s core along with Deadly Dispute. They’re present in every sacrifice build. That being said, why is Orzhov () the better option?

Well, Elite Spellbinder provides a clock and a tempo play, which is one of the main reasons to run white. Given that you have ways to bring it back from the dead, getting to recur into its ETB effect is enormous.

Next you have Liesa, Forgotten Archangel which provides even more synergies with the deck’s core package since every creature you control that dies now gets returned to your hand at the beginning of the next end step. Very similar to an inexorable planeswalker we know of.

The Planeswalkers

Speaking of, Kaya the Inexorable provides similar synergies to Liesa but better. Creatures return to your hand immediately and Kaya leaves a cute spirit behind each time.

Imagine a scenario where you activate Kaya’s + ability on a Shambling Ghast and sacrifice it with Deadly Dispute or Skullport Merchant. This gives you three or four pieces of card advantage. That’s pretty neat.

But wait a second, Kaya isn’t the only planeswalker here. Lolth, Spider Queen provides you with fodder if you don’t have creatures to sacrifice. I’ve never had its – ability trigger but you can get to it with relative ease with this deck specifically, especially after a board wipe (if it leaves Lolth intact). Still, getting to draw an extra card every turn is precious even if the ultimate doesn’t happen, and the price is very cheap compared to what Lolth offers.

The Removal

One of the upsides of running white is that you have access to cards like Vanishing Verse. It exiles any mono-colored permanent for . This is extremely relevant in a format ruled by mono green and red dragons. Sure, it doesn’t fully deal with Esika’s Chariot, but very few cards outside counters do anyways.

You also run a very particular card for complicated boards: Blood on the Snow. Midrange decks don’t normally run board wipes, but this one has the special effect of bringing a creature or a planeswalker back from the graveyard. Bringing Shambling Ghast back might not seem very appealing, but that’s the worst target you can get since every other option provides very significant value once they’re brought back.

Elite Spellbinder is annoying when paired up with Blood on the Snow because you’re cleaning the field and you’ll be wrecking your opponent’s hand right after. This is back-breaking in some cases and annoying for them at the very least.

Speaking of mass removal, The Meathook Massacre is a new addition from Midnight Hunt. Wipes usually act the turn they get cast and then go to the graveyard, but that’s not the case with Massacre. This is an enchantment that stays on the battlefield after its wipe has wreaked havoc to give extra value for your sacrifice game plan.

Finally, Soul Shatter is here to handle creatures that are hard to deal with. Goldspan Dragon is typically your main target.

The Learn Package

These aren’t part of your deck, but you run a proper learn package since you run Eyetwitch and have a few ways to return it to play.

Environmental Sciences will be your go-to learn card in all games since it not only searches for land and fixes your mana but it also happens to give you a couple life points in the process. You’ve got a diverse list of other lessons depending on the situation.

Containment Breach can deal with pesky enchantments and artifacts like Esika’s Chariot and it and Pest Summoning also very good when you need creatures to block or sacrifice. Necrotic Fumes is handy when you need removal. You also have the best lesson, Mascot Exhibition, to add multiple bodies on the field.

The Lands

Last but not least is the land package.

While not a land to the full extent, Emeria, Shattered Skyclave is handy since you’ll usually end up in flood situations where you’d rather have a pair of angels. Especially after the whole board is cleared. Still, it can be used as land on a pinch. Faceless Haven, Cave of the Frost Dragon, and Hive of the Eye Tyrant are the deck’s manlands. They provide some alternate ways to attack your opponent. Haven is the most powerful one, but the Cave and Hive’s abilities may be handy from time to time.

You also have Shineshadow Snarl and Brightclimb Pathway for a smoother mana base. You’ll find yourself using your black mana more often than not with the latter, so keep that in mind.

Common Interactions

Kaya the Inexorable - Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

Kaya the Inexorable | Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

  • You can kill an X/2 creature with a single Shambling Ghast using its first ability.
  • You can ambush a creature by giving it -1/-1 at instant speed. Just sacrifice Shambling Ghast with Deadly Dispute or Skullport Merchant.
  • Kaya the Inexorable‘s first ability lets you return a creature to your hand the second it leaves the battlefield. This is very useful when paired with Skullport Merchant.
  • You can add multiple counters to a single creature with Kaya the Inexorable‘s + ability to get that many 1/1 spirits when it leaves the battlefield.
  • Liesa, Forgotten Archangel works similarly to Kaya but it also exiles every creature that leaves your opponent’s side of the field.
  • Manlands like Faceless Haven that die in combat with Kaya’s counter or with Liesa in play return to your hand when they’re killed.
  • Emeria’s Call gives each other creature you control indestructible when it resolves so it’s best to play it pre-combat.
  • Don’t be afraid to fire The Meathook Massacre to deal the final points of damage. It can also be cast for = to make blocks harder.

Sideboard Guide

The Meathook Massacre - Illustration by Chris Seaman

The Meathook Massacre | Illustration by Chris Seaman

Mono Green Aggro

This is a match you’ll face very regularly on the ladder since mono green aggro is the most straightforward deck out there.

Rely on ramping into an early board wipe and dominate the long game with all your recursiveness and card value. The first few turns may be a little rough so try to chump block and not take too much damage too early. Learning into Environmental Sciences is fine but look to tutor for Pest Summoning most of the time.

Post-sideboard, add board wipes in the form of Crippling Fear and side out the totally useless Soul Shatter. Liesa is essential in this one as it’s the most reliable way to wall up and gain life. Just make sure not to get it killed by a random Blizzard Brawl.

 In

Crippling Fear

Out

Grixis Epiphany Control

This is a deck that will give you a hard time since you don’t apply too much pressure in the early stages of the game and you’ll get dominated by multiple copies of Alrund’s Epiphany in the long run. The key here is to disrupt them with your Elite Spellbinder and generate more value than they can handle with your planeswalkers and manlands.

Duress and Go Blank are your best bets to win and you should trim your copies of board wipes that will be useless most of the time. Remember to always save a few copies of Vanishing Verse to take care of Lier, Disciple of the Drowned.

In

Out

Izzet Dragons

The World champion’s deck and potentially the best deck out there is hard to beat, but not impossible.

Again, Elite Spellbinder is your go-to creature to pressure your opponent and disrupt their hand. Kill every Smoldering Egg on sight and try to play around Jwari Disruption as much as you can when resolving key spells like your planeswalkers.

Post-sideboard is very reminiscent of Grixis Control with the exception that you now rely more on your spot removal since the Eggs can be a huge pain if they’re not dealt with. Hand disruption is key since you won’t be able to get behind Expressive Iteration so those should be your primary discard target. Go Blank is also key against Memory Deluge. You’ll leave your opponent very few options if you pair it with Elite Spellbinder.

In

Out

Temur Treasures

The underdog of the Worlds that had a very significant performance during the tournament. I suspect Temur Treasures will rise in popularity within the next few weeks. The deck’s strength relies on its haste creatures and Ranger Class to outvalue you at a reasonably fast phase.

Containment Breach is critical in this one. It should be one of the first targets from your learn board. You’ll have an easier time post-sideboard with one more board wipe at your disposal, but this is a more challenging match than mono green.

In

Crippling Fear

Out

Other Cards to Try

Reidane, God of the Worthy / Valkmira, Protector’s Shield

If you somehow end up playing tons of mirror matches or decks that run snow lands, you may consider adding one or two Reidane, God of the Worthys. It makes cards like Memory Deluge and Alrund’s Epiphany harder to cast.

Valki, God of Lies / Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter

Another option to disrupt your opponent’s hand very early is Valki, God of Lies. It’s also great to grab some of those aggressive creatures from your opponents. With a bit of help from Treasures you could cast its backside from time to time.

Hagra Mauling / Hagra Broodpit

If you’re looking at other options outside of Emeria’s Call, Hagra Mauling is an acceptable replacement that acts as additional removal when needed. Its drawback is that the land side will always enter the battlefield tapped.

Nighthawk Scavenger

Nighthawk Scavenger

Nighthawk Scavenger is perfect in aggro matchups. You might consider bringing a copy or two into your sideboard if you happen to be running into a lot to those.

Wrap Up

Shambling Ghast - Illustration by Dave Kendall

Shambling Ghast | Illustration by Dave Kendall

I like the recursiveness that this deck provides and the multiple ways to outvalue your opponents in each part of the game. What do you think? Did you like this build? What changes would you make? Please leave your feedback in the comments. I highly appreciate it!

If you’re thinking of piloting this deck to climb the ladder in MTGA, make sure you’ve got Arena Tutor at your side. It’s free, it tracks your matches, and it’s got Draftsim’s signature AI built right in. What’s not to love?

As always, take care and have a good one!

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