Black-Green Midrange with (11) Reid Duke

Posted in Event Coverage on May 28, 2016

By Melissa DeTora

Melissa is a former Magic pro player and strategy writer who is now working in R&D on the Play Design team.

Eleventh-ranked player Reid Duke needs no introduction. He's a member of one of the top Pro teams, Team Pantheon, is a Platinum player in the Pro Player's Club and has a Pro Tour Top 8 and a few Grand Prix titles under his belt. This weekend he's piloting a Black-Green Midrange deck, very similar to (12) Sam Black's Great Aurora deck that he piloted at Grand Prix New York three weeks ago.

“I watched Sam's progress with his Great Aurora deck from Grand Prix New York. I liked a lot of things about it and I tweaked it to include Sylvan Advocate and Tireless Tracker, my favorite cards.” Reid went on to explain that he really liked the ramp elements of Sam's deck, but he didn't feel the need to include The Great Aurora or multiple copies of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. He did however feel that the ramp spells like Nissa's Pilgrimage and Nissa's Renewal were necessary in the deck. The deck is extremely mana-hungry and in addition to casting expensive spells, you also need mana to sacrifice clue tokens, awaken Ruinous Path, and activate creature lands.

Reid Duke

“My deck is a traditional midrange deck with some small elements of ramp,” explains Reid.

“I love Tireless Tracker and Sylvan Advocate. They are my favorite cards in Standard. Tireless Tracker is the best card advantage creature to play and Sylvan Advocate is the most efficient creature in Standard. I knew that I wanted to play these cards today so I built the best deck I could with them.”

Reid also played Black/Green Midrange at Grand Prix New York but his list was very different from what he's playing today. In New York, Reid opted for a more controlling deck with more copies of Seasons Past and Dark Petition. “I wasn't happy with the controlling Seasons Past deck. I wanted to play a deck that had more angles of attack, and the version with creatures keeps you from falling behind early.” In addition to Tireless Tracker and Sylvan Advocate, Reid is certainly playing some interesting creatures in his build including The Gitrog Monster, Woodland Bellower, and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.

Woodland Bellower is my pet card. It searches for all my favorite creatures. It kinda feels like Broodmate Dragon because it gives you a Sylvan Advocate which is very likely to be a 4/5 by the time you cast him. It matches up well against spot removal and Reality Smasher and it also survives Languish. I'm either searching for Sylvan Advocate or Tireless Tracker, and these creatures are good in all stages of the game.”

Speaking of Languish, despite Reid's deck being very creature-heavy, he opted to play Languish in his main deck. “Languish is tricky to play because I want to play creatures early, but it's really important to have Languish main deck because you need it against Collected Company and Humans. It's the best card to play in Standard right now. I'm only playing two copies main deck, but Dark Petition helps me find it when I need it.” Although Languish does sometimes kill your own creatures, Sylvan Advocate is likely to survive it and Tireless Tracker has already given you plenty of value by the time you cast it. Languish also has nice synergy with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Although it will often die to your own Languish, any nontoken creature that your opponent has on the battlefield when Languish resolves will give you a 2/2 zombie token.

“Sam didn't play Kalitas in his version, but I love it,” explains Reid. “It's great against Nantuko Husk decks and Collected Company, and lifegain in a slow deck can be valuable.”

Despite Reid's deck being less controlling and containing more creatures, He still opted to play a decent amount of ramp including two Nissa's Pilgrimage, two Explosive Vegetation and one Nissa's Renewal. The ramp helps Sylvan Advocate get big quickly so that it survives Languish. The ramp is also great with Seasons Past because it gives you more mana to cast the spells you return. The last thing you want is to have a handful of cards but not enough time to cast them all. Although Reid is not playing many copies of the Dark Petition/Seasons Past combo, he has been happy with the one copy of Seasons Past to search for when he needs to refill his hand.

Reid Duke's Black-Green Midrange

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