Hello everyone, Luis Salvatto here and I’m writing it from my home in Buenos Aires. (I usually write in the planes xD)
Today, I’m going to talk about one of the most popular decks in Standard: Sultai Midrange.
Two weeks ago, one of my friends in Argentina won the first online Mythic Championship Qualifier since Ravnica Allegiance released and I asked him advice about the deck, to understand how it works and here is the article about all that information.
Here is the sweet decklist that gives my friend an invite to Mythic Championship London 2019:
4 《Breeding Pool》
4 《Overgrown Tomb》
4 《Watery Grave》
4 《Hinterland Harbor》
4 《Woodland Cemetery》
-Land (24)- 4 《Llanowar Elves》
4 《Growth-Chamber Guardian》
4 《Hydroid Krasis》
4 《Incubation Druid》
3 《Merfolk Branchwalker》
4 《Jadelight Ranger》
3 《Hostage Taker》
2 《Zegana, Utopian Speaker》
1 1 2 3 3 3 2
Differences Between This Sultai Decklist and the Others
This decklist is a little bit different from the others. This one it’s more like a Simic +1/+1 Counters deck with a black splash, to get a good use of 《Hadana's Climb》.
We knew that the deck to beat of that weekend was Nexus Reclamation and other Midrange decks so we try to create a build that was good against these two archetypes.
Playing Black as a Third Color
The first big difference is that we’re not playing spells that demand double black mana as regular lists do to avoid mana issues, so we’re missing cards like 《Ravenous Chupacabra》, 《Vraska's Contempt》 and 《Cry of the Carnarium》.
Playing 《Growth-Chamber Guardian》 Instead of 《Wildgrowth Walker》
The second difference is that we’re not playing 《Wildgrowth Walker》 as we prefer to play 《Growth-Chamber Guardian》 in that slot as it’s a better topdeck in the late game and it’s better against all matchups except Red Burn Decks. The sinergies between 《Growth-Chamber Guardian》 and 《Hadana's Climb》 is also better than it is with 《Wildgrowth Walker》.
Why Should I Try This Decklist over the Regular Ones?
《Hadana's Climb》 is a strong card in this Standard, but I think the answer depends on the type of decks you like the most. This decklist propose a lot more and commits more board than the regular one as it has less removals and your strength is based on playing big 《Hydroid Krasis》 helped by 《Incubation Druid》s.
The deck also has really good starts if we draw 《Hadana's Climb》 on the turn three (sadly, we can’t afford draw multiples so we can only play two). I can mention some of them to give you an idea on how many advantage you can get in the first few turns.
Good Start Number 1:
Good Start Number 2:
Good Start Number 3 (My Favorite):
Sideboard Guide and Matchups
As I told you before, this decklist was built to win Midrange matchups, that’s reason why our mainboard may be weaker against Control and Aggro, but in game 2 and game 3 we can improve a lot those matchups.
Mono Red Aggro
As we don’t have 《Wildgrowth Walker》 we must play more 《Moment of Craving》 than usual to make a time and reach big 《Hydroid Krasis》 to established the board and win the game. I prefer to take out the 《Incubation Druid》 as they are bad at blocking and they die with any red spell.
Try to keep your life total high in the first 5 turns and take mulligan if you have slow hands. If you keep that in mind you’ll easily defeat them.
Nexus Reclamation / 4-Color Gates
Remember that the key card is 《Wilderness Reclamation》, without it you will get them easy. The first game is really tough, as we don’t have any way to interact with their combo. Try to run at them, put pressure and go all in.
The other two games will be tough too, but we have a lot of ways to interact with their threats. Try to keep your mana up for your 《Negate》, 《Disdainful Stroke》 or a 《Thrashing Brontodon》 in play and to avoid tapping-out if it is unnecessary.
《Growth-Chamber Guardian》 is our MVP in this matchup. You can chain and make them grow at the same time as instant speed so you can keep your mana up during your opponent’s turn. This is one of the reasons why I prefer 《Growth-Chamber Guardian》 over 《Wildgrowth Walker》 as it’s awesome by itself.
The only difference between Nexus Reclamation and Gates is that Nexus plays 《Fog》 effects and Gates plays Sweepers. Against Nexus you can commit all the board you want and it will be okay.
This is a good matchup for us. We have to focus on card advantage, ramping with 《Incubation Druid》 and play big 《Hydroid Krasis》. 《Vivien Reid》 is a real threat as we don’t have 《Vraska's Contempt》, but they usually are behind us because they are slower.
This is a fair matchup. 《Pteramander》 is the new acquisition of the deck and it fits perfectly with all the cantrips and spells the deck plays. It creates pressure in the early game with evasion and it can turn in a big deal really quickly.
Nevertheless, we have some tricks to deal with it. 《Hostage Taker》 is really really good against 《Pteramander》. You can exile it and play it in turn 5 or in turn 4 with 《Incubation Druid》 or 《Llanowar Elves》. It’s very useful to block big drakes and also to put some pressures when the field is empty.
《Duress》 is one of the best sideboard cards against Izzet Drakes. It works well to discard 《Dive Down》s and 《Entrancing Melodies》 (remember that your 《huge Hydra》‘s cost is just 2 in play) and it cleans the hand of potential 《Disdainful Stroke》s that can target your 《Vivien Reid》.
Mono Blue Tempo
Their key card is 《Curious Obsession》, so try to kill their creatures as soon as you can. 《Thrashing Brontodon》 seems useless at the beginning, but when you can crush an 《Obsession》 with it, it feels really good. Now they are also playing 《Pteramander》, and with all the other one drop creatures 《Hostage Taker》 becomes crucial in this matchup.
Esper is growing a lot recent weeks. Players are building really good brews and we are almost there to have a tier 1 list of this archetype.
As they play 4 《Kaya's Wrath》, we intend to take some mana dorks out that have no impact in the game. 《Incubation Druid》 is still good because it allows you to ramp and reach big 《Hydroid Krasis》, so we keep them in.
Post board they bring a pack of good creatures such as 《Thief of Sanity》 (big trouble for us) and 《Hostage Taker》. Just try to put pressure without commiting to much resources and take advantage of cards like 《Hydroid Krasis》 and 《Growth-Chamber Guardian》.
If you like to play Midrange decks with some tweaks I strongly recommend to try this deck. It’s really nice to play and it has a lot of decisions to make regarding on how to chain spells and take the most of them.