I don’t play standard very often because I don’t enjoy playing a lot of mirror matches, it is as simple as that. That being said this weekend I sleeved up a version of Ken Yukuhiro’s GB Energy deck from PT Amonkhet for a local PPTQ because I strongly believe that it wouldn’t be popular and it could be favored against Marvel variants, blue based control and Mardu Vehicles. It isn’t favored against Zombies however it isn’t a huge underdog either and Zombies is an underdog against both Marvel and Control so I felt I wouldn’t be seeing much of it in the field.
Ken’s Deck List
4 Attune with Aether
3 Heart of Kiran
After spending some time thinking about Ken’s deck I felt like a few changes needed to be made before I would be comfortable battling with it. I had two concerns with the main deck, they were the mana base and the inclusion of the three Heart of Kiran.
After putting the mana base through a lot of testing it became clear reducing the number of lands that come into play tapped and adding an additional green mana source would make the deck significantly less likely to need to mulligan. Having two untapped lands on turn two is a requirement for this deck to be successful, ideally it would be a green and a black source but two untapped green sources is also good enough to keep. Keeping a one land hand with Hissing Quagmire as your only land, even if you have an Attune with Aether, isn’t good enough to keep.
To improve the mana base I eliminated two of the Hissing Quagmire and replaced them with a basic Forest and a basic Swamp. At the same time I also decided that I wanted to swap out the Heart of Kiran so I turned one of them into an additional basic Forest taking the mana base up to 21 lands. These changes reduced the need to mulligan to well below 8% over 500 test hands. This left me with two Heart of Kiran to do something with. I felt that they would be better served as Dispossess so I swapped them one for one with the two in the sideboard.
These changes significantly improved the deck especially when a main board Dispossess can hit Aetherwork’s Marvel and Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot in the Marvel decks, Torrential Gearhulk and Dynavolt Tower in the blue based control decks and Heart of Kiran and Scrapheap Scrounger in the Mardu Vehicles decks. Essentially I had two dead cards against Zombies, which was a meta game gamble I was willing to take.
The final changes I needed to make were for the sideboard. I removed the Nissa and the 4th Heart of Kiran and added a 3rd Dispossess and a 2nd Lay Bare the Heart.
The PPTQ ended up only having 14 entries with a single Zombies deck and no Madu to be seen. The entire room was Temur Marvel and Blue control. I ended up favored in every match and was able to easily pilot this deck to the finals where I scooped to a friend.
What I learned playing the deck
- No one played around main board Dispossess game 1 and it was excellent
- The sideboard needed the 4th Grasp of Darkness as an unanswered Whirler Virtuoso can still steal games
- Lay Bare the Heart needed to be Transgress the Mind
- Greenbelt Rampager was the worst card in the deck and was always the card I wanted to take out when side boarding
- Heroic Intervention is a side board card I would consider moving forward
If you want to play this deck, I’d recommend the following version
If you decide to play this list please let me know how it goes and if you would recommend any additional changes.