Last updated on March 2, 2023
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.
As expected the ladder is filled with decklists from Worlds, the most popular being Izzet Dragons, Grixis control, and mono green aggro. You have two options now: pick one of those decks and be prepared to face plenty of mirror matches, or run a different deck and develop a cohesive sideboard plan against the field. I like the latter since no one will be prepared to face a “rogue” deck with 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!
Blood on the Snow | Illustration by Martina Fackova
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 lead 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.
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 sacrifice outlets. Getting extra value plus Ghast and Eyetwitch’s effects is huge. One Ghast usually turns into divination with the likes of Fell Stinger, whose role in the deck is to serve as another sac outlet while holding its ground since deathtouch is a huge keyword against big creatures.
Professor of Symbology is the deck's next value creature. It provides value right away instead of making you wait until it dies. Learn is a fantastic mechanic, and getting a blocker plus any tutored spell from your sideboard is an advantage not many other decks can rely on.
One of the latest additions from Crimson Vow is vampires, and our favorite grandpa of the multiverse gets to join the ranks of this deck: Edgar, Charmed Groom. The deck might not have any other natural vampires to pump, but Edgar is a chunky creature that likes to trade for other giant creatures, not to mention that it starts creating its army later when it flips.
Edgar can also be sacrificed to get the party started and it's possible to have both Edgar and his coffin on the battlefield at the same time on some odd occasions. In that case the vampire side pumps all the other little tokens its coffin is creating.
Another Markov family member can be found in this deck: Sorin the Mirthless. For four mana it provides its protection in the form of a vampire with lifelink. Plus you get card advantage as a pseudo-Dark Confidant if you're willing to pay the price.
Lolth, Spider Queen provides you with fodder if you don’t have creatures to sacrifice. I've never had its -8 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.
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.
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, Infernal Grasp is here to handle creatures that are hard to deal with.
The Learn Package
Environmental Sciences is 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.
You also have the best lesson, Mascot Exhibition, to add multiple bodies on the field. One of the most common interactions is to cast Blood on the Snow, returning Professor of Symbology and grabbing Exhibition. This cleans the board and rebuilds it from one to to the next.
Last but not least is the land package.
Running two colors leads to a smoother mana base and because of that you can afford to run some colorless manlands in the form of Faceless Haven. This snow land can usually end games after you cast your multiple sweepers.
Finally, Field of Ruin is here to deal with opposing manlands.
- 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.
- Don't be afraid to fire The Meathook Massacre to deal the final points of damage. It can also be cast for X=0 to make blocks harder.
- One of the main ways to win is to create a board stall with your multiple tiny creatures. Then cast The Meathook Massacre when things get complicated and you'll usually end up with the win since you'll have numerous creatures dying and pinging your opponent for life.
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.
Grixis Epiphany Control
This is a deck that gives 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.
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.
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.
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.
Reduce to Memory 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.
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 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.
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?
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