Posted in GRAND PRIX LOS ANGELES 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 19, 2014

By Frank Karsten

No. 5 Ivan Floch from the Slovak Republic piloted a U/B Control deck to the Top 8 of Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir last weekend, but he switched to a different deck for this GP: he's playing a green-black deck that combines Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, Eidolon of Blossoms, and Satyr Wayfinder.

No. 5 Ranked Player Ivan Floch

Is it a devotion deck? Is it a constellation deck? Is it a graveyard deck? Honestly, it's a little bit of everything, but Floch and No. 10 Stanislav Cifka (who is also playing the deck today) described it as "G/B Enchantress." Here, take a look:

Ivan Floch – G/B Enchantress, Grand Prix Los Angeles 2014

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I sat down with Floch to learn more about this deck.

Could you lay out the game plan of this deck?

"The deck aims to benefit from milling itself and playing enchantments," Floch explained. "The payoff for milling yourself is a cheap removal spell in Murderous Cut and the ability to win the game by returning Hornet Queen with Whip of Erebos. The payoff for playing enchantments is that you can gain a lot of value out of Eidolon of Blossoms. Strength from the Fallen is the intersection between the two---we only have one because you don't want to draw one early, but you can find it with Commune with the Gods to close out a game."

Did you consider a splash for Sidisi, Brood Tyrant?

"The mana is the biggest issue. You either take more damage from your lands or are unable to cast your spells consistently enough. Also, the 2/2 Zombies are kind of irrelevant in this format as they are stopped by any Courser of Kruphix or Mantis Rider."

Why was this deck your choice this weekend? Did U/B Control get worse?

"We tested this G/B deck before the Pro Tour and liked it, but it was losing to more dedicated green devotion decks. We felt that Green Devotion wouldn't be played as much because it didn't make it to the Top 8 of the Pro Tour, and Whipping back a Hornet Queen is great against Abzan and Jeskai, so we made the switch."

"U/B Control didn't really get worse, but I don't think it was powerful enough in the beginning. It was good, but not better than the other decks. Control decks may be better later when Standard has sorted itself out and you know what cards to answer."

With your green-black deck, how do you sideboard against the top decks?

"Against Jeskai, I board in 3 Arbor Colussus and maybe 1 Hero's Downfall. Depending on the version, I take out 2 Brain Maggot and 2 Doomwake Giant. Against Abzan, I add 2 Pharika, God of Affliction (because the instant-speed deathtouch blockers are good against Siege Rhino and against Duneblast) and 1 Hero's Downfall (to kill Anafenza, the Foremost). I take out 2 Brain Maggot and 1 Strength from the Fallen."

Is the deck difficult to play?

"There are plenty of tough calls. For instance, I just got my third loss of the tournament, and I may have made a mistake in that match. I was playing against Mardu and had Nyx Weaver and six lands in play with Hornet Queen as the only card in my hand. I could return a land from the graveyard to cast Hornet Queen, but then I might lose to Goblin Rabblemaster. So I chose to return Eidolon of Blossoms instead, hoping that it would draw me into a land soon enough. But that never happened; he overpowered me with better spells and I lost with the Hornet Queen still in my hand."

That's definitely a though judgment call. It always fills you with doubt when it doesn't work out, but your line of play still makes sense. Even though you are now no longer in Top 8 contention, are you still happy with the deck or would you make any changes to it?

"I am still happy with my deck choice, though I would want the 4th Arbor Colossus in the sideboard since it's really good againt Jeskai. I didn't play against U/B Control or Jeskai Ascendancy combo all weekend, so I could cut a Thoughtseize or Stain the Mind. And I'm not convinced by Brain Maggot or the fourth Courser of Kruphix in the maindeck, so maybe those can be replaced by something else."

The brewing continues. As always.