Mardu Midrange at Grand Prix LA

Posted in Daily Deck on October 30, 2014

By Shuhei Nakamura

Shuhei Nakamura is a member of the Pro Tour Hall of Fame, former Player of the Year, and is one of just six players with more than 400 lifetime pro points.

Sometimes, the word "metagame" can lead to confusion or misunderstanding. That's because it's a word with an imprecise meaning and broad application, and it doesn't necessarily reference a specific tournament or environment. It's because of this that one-time World Champion Jun'ya Iyanaga has famously said, "There's no such thing as 'reading the metagame.'" I'm inclined to agree with him—partially.

I say partially because if we look back at the road a player has taken, we can see what at least that player thought the metagame would be. Which, in a sense, lets us define what the metagame was.

A week after the Pro Tour, we saw Brad Nelson participating in Grand Prix Los Angeles, playing not the RW deck from the previous week but instead a midrange Mardu (RWB) deck.

This deck is not looking to win on speed, but plays out slowly, with deepening layers of threats. It's still aggressive, but the mana curve is slower, shifted back one or two mana, and meant to prevent a blowout against cheaper cards in the early game. Rather than focus on the opponent's life from the first turn, it looks to take control of the board. It only starts warming up on turn three with the now-familiar Goblin Rabblemaster, and then continues to play threats with the aim of getting at least one to stick around and lead to victory.

With the addition of black, the deck has access to a wide range of removal, using cards like Crackling Doom and Murderous Cut to get rid of anything in the way. After that, the deck's strategy is to play simply better creatures and use them to win.

Brad's take on the metagame led to his building this deck and to adding another Top 8 to his résumé.

Brad Nelson's Mardu Midrange

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