DODGING MONO-BLACK FOR A DAY

Posted in GRAND PRIX UTRECHT 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on August 10, 2014

By Oliver Gehrmann

A deck we didn't exactly expect to put up huge numbers this weekend was Naya Hexproof (sometimes also referred to as Naya Auras). Bram Bexkens and Paul Wiederspan are the two players that felt like beating the odds, running a deck that has a somewhat less favorable match-up against the Mono-Black Devotion Decks.

I got hold of Bram Bexkens just moments after he lost his match in round 13 against Andreas Reling. Despite the loss, he was in a pretty cheerful mood. I also caught up with Paul Wiederspan after the conclusion of the last round and I was able to ask both players a few questions about their deck choice for the weekend.

Bram Bexkens ended up with a great result at his very first Grand Prix!


Why did you decide to play Naya Hexproof this weekend?

Bram Bexkens: "I'm not a very experienced players. I think it has a lot of good match-ups; it tends to do well against Mono-Red, Mono-Blue and Jund. Mono-Black is a terrible match-up because of Thoughtseize, though. They simply strip me off my creatures before I can cast them."

What do you think about the match-up against Mono-Black, Paul?

Paul Wiederspan: "As long as you have a creature out, there is little your opponent can do, even if he plays multiple cards that can cripple your hand. So I don't think the match-up is all that bad. If you win the first game, you still have two more shots to wrap things up.

"The worst match-up in my opinion is Rabble Red; it is simply too fast for the deck, but I was lucky enough to not have to go up against it this weekend."

Paul Wiederspan in the last round of competition today!


What was your day 1 like?

Bram Bexkens: "I went 7 - 2 at my first Grand Prix ever! I had no expectations when I came here and I hadn't had any plans for today; that certainly changed once I realized I had made the cut. My losses were to Mono-Blue Devotion and Mono-Black."

How has it been going today?

Bram Bexkens: "Today, I lost twice against Mono Black and one time against Mono Red since I never saw a Lifelink creature in that match. I'm still not feeling too beaten up against it and I'm very happy with my result."

Paul Wiederspan: "I ended up going 3 - 3 after 7 - 2 yesterday. It simply wasn't my day, but overall, I'm still happy with my performance."

Would you change anything about your deck at this point?

Bram Bexkens: "I don't play Voice of Resurgence and instead focus on the Hexproof creatures. I prefer the deck this way since my opponent will have even more dead cards in their decks against me. So while Voice is a great card, I still think it was the right call to not include it.

I would change my sideboard a little bit, though. Rather than Chandra, Pyromaster, I would put in a Glare of Heresy. I will have to think a little longer about additional changes..."

Paul Wiederspan with his favorite cards of the deck!


Paul Wiederspan on the other hand didn't play Chained to the Rocks because he felt like it was a bit of a gamble with so few Mountains in his deck. He instead went for a more aggressive approach, thanks to the help of Hammerhand. He liked the card a lot this weekend since it helped him to fight back after a board sweeper like Supreme Verdict.

Paul Wiederspan's R/G/W Auras

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Bram Bexkens is main decking 2 copies of Chained to the Rocks and he took out 2 copies of Selesnya Charm. He also main decked 2 copies of Banishing Light rather than playing them in the sideboard like Wiederspan and he made room for them by leaving out Hammerhand.

The rest of the lists are looking pretty much the same with only Wiederspan running a Temple of Triumph (Bexkens maxes out on Sacred Foundry instead) and Bexkens playing 2 copies of Gift of Orzhova (he cut 1 copy of Ajani, Caller of the Pride).

The sideboards are a little more different; Bexkens has Aegis of the Gods waiting to be introduced for games 2 and 3 while Wiederspan went with Glare of Heresy. A Chandra, Pyromaster serves as a silver bullet for Bexkens while Wiederspan instead added additional copies of his other sideboard cards like Deicide.