DECK TECH: B/W AGGRO WITH MARTIN JŮZA

Posted in GRAND PRIX STOCKHOLM 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 26, 2014

By Frank Karsten

Although Khans of Tarkir has pushed most players towards three-color decks, Platinum pro Martin Jůza is content with two colors only: He showed up with a B/W Aggro deck.

Martin Jůza

With several white early drops, the deck can quickly rush out of the gates, and it has a bunch of flyers and removal spells to close out the game. Here, take a look:

Martin Jůza – B/W Aggro, Grand Prix Stockholm 2014

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I sat down with Jůza, whose current record is 8-3, to learn more about the deck.

It looks similar to Mardu midrange deck, but without red. How did you arrive at the conclusion to cut the color?

"It's Brad Nelson's idea, and it makes sense," Jůza said. "Butcher of the Horde is not that great because it dies too easily, and Lightning Strike is mediocre because it doesn't actually kill all that much in the format. Goblin Rabblemaster and Hordeling Outburst were good in LA, but they die to Bile Blight and Anger of the Gods, and many people were adding those cards since last weekend. If everyone has those removal spells, then you are better off running Raise the Alarm and Brimaz, King of Oreskos."

"Meanwhile, Herald of Torment is very good against all of the ground creatures. I liked both Brimaz and Herald, but you can't play a double-black card and a double-white card in a deck with Chained to the Rocks. You need at least 6 basic Mountains for that, and then the mana base doesn't work. Cutting red was the solution."

So two colors it is. What are the good and bad matchups for your B/W deck?

"Mono-Red is the best matchup because you have all the life-gain cards. And the two-color mana base is great: instead of taking damage, you're actually gaining life with Scoured Barren. Jeskai is a good matchup for similar reasons. Abzan is close, very much play-draw dependent, but if you can trigger Wingmate Roc, you should be fine. The bad matchups are the Hornet Queen decks."

What is the ideal curve of the deck?

"Thoughtseize on turn one, Seeker of the Way on turn two, Brimaz on turn three, Sorin on turn four, and Wingmate Roc on turn five. I actually play 26 lands because you want to hit your curve and I have effectively eight five-drops in Herald of Torment and Wingmate Roc."

Can you explain some of your sideboard choices?

"Thoughtseize and Read the Bones are meant against control. Drown in Sorrow comes in against Mono-Red. Elspeth, Sun's Champion is good against Green Devotion and Mardu Mirange. Soldier of the Pantheon is great against Abzan Aggro and also comes in against control decks so you can take out your removal spells. Finally, Banishing Light deals with problematic cards like Whip of Erebos and Planeswalkers, and Silence the Believers can take out Stormbreath, Sarkhan, or Boon Satyr. I generally take out Thoughtseize against attrition decks; Raise the Alarm is too slow on the draw against green decks; and Bile Blight is bad against Abzan Midrange."

Would you make any changes to the deck?

"I would add Mass Calcify to the sideboard because Green Devotion is not a great matchup."

How big has the surprise factor been for you this weekend?

"People are not expecting Raise the Alarm, so sometimes they attack their Elvish Mystic People are also not expecting cards like Herald of Torment. And while they may have sideboard plans against all of the top decks, they usually don't know how to board against me."

Overall, the deck is filled with cards that are well-positioned right now, and as long as people don't know what to expect from it, the deck could be a strong contender in Standard.