Finland

Posted in Feature on April 9, 2013

By Sam Black

Sam Black is a Platinum Pro Player and longtime writer for StarCityGames.com. He is a respected deck builder and took over Daily Decks for the first half of 2013.

The Finnish WMCQ is significant not only because it was won by a relatively new and interesting deck, but because Sami Häggkvist won both the WMCQ and the PTQ with essentially the same deck! That deck was a WBR deck that somehow closely resembles both an Innistrad Block Constructed deck (a control deck that used Liliana of the Veil and Faithless Looting to discard Unburial Rites, Griselbrand, and Lingering Souls played by Tom Martell in Grand Prix Anaheim) and the WBR Midrange deck that's popular on Magic Online in Return to Ravnica Block Constructed.

Sami's deck uses the same core flashback cards, but instead of trying to set up the ambitious play of reanimating Griselbrand, this deck settles for returning a creature that costs a mere four or five mana. But it's still usually good enough to win the game, anyway.

Sami has a wide variety of two-mana removal spells (Dreadbore, Mizzium Mortars, and Ultimate Price), followed by three-mana plays that blunt an offense (Lingering Souls, Boros Reckoner, and Liliana of the Veil), into four- and five-mana creatures that can take over a game (Olivia Voldaren; Obzedat, Ghost Council; Thundermaw Hellkite). This curve lets him hold off and then trump creatures, and the combination of Liliana of the Veil; Obzedat, Ghost Council; and Rakdos's Return make life very difficult for control decks.

This is the kind of deck that historically has problems of "drawing the wrong half" of its cards in a given matchup—Mizzium Mortars against control and Rakdos's Returns against aggro—but Sami has Faithless Looting to pull it all together and help him construct a hand that has the right tools for the job.

With this deck and Brad Nelson's Act Two debuting in the same weekend, fans of red, black, and white decks, myself included, have a lot to consider moving f orward.

I look forward to seeing how Sami Häggkvist performs at both the World Magic Cup in Amsterdam and Pro Tour Theros in Dublin after his impressive weekend in Finland.

You can join him in Amsterdam, if you've earned enough Planeswalker Points, by winning a World Magic Cup Qualifier in your country on April 20–21.

Sami Häggkvist's WRB Midrange

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