Deck Tech: Joe Soh’s “Mardu Vampires”

Hareruya Media Team

Hareruya Media Team

By Tsubasa Tomita

Joe Soh is a great deck builder achieving some successes with original decks. Maybe some of you remember he won Grand Prix Kobe 2017 with his original White-Black Eldrazi.

In 2019, on the first Mythic Championship, he ended up 7-3 in Constructed Rounds and in 9th with his new deck – Mardu Vampires! Today, he was glad to answer our questions about this deck and others. Thanks to Joe for taking your time! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did 🙂

Joe Soh

Hi Joe, how was your result in day2?

Joe: 2-1 in Draft and 3-2 in Constructed Rounds. I lost to Marcio Carvalho in Draft and I lost to Reid Duke and Julien Berteaux in Constructed (both played Mono-Blue).

Joe Soh against Julien Berteaux

featured match against Julien Berteaux

Joe: They were very strong, and all of them top8ed 🙁

Looks you used a very unique deck! I heard there were only two in the field and another one is your friend.

Joe: Yes.

So, why did you come up this deck? Did you have something that inspired you “Yes, I got this deck!” inside?

Joe: I like cards such as 《Judith, the Scourge Diva》really really aggressive cards. So when I saw her, tried to build a lot of decks around 《Judith, the Scourge Diva》. I initially start to try Black-Red Aggro, but it didn’t work. Then I try Jund Aggro, also it didn’t work. I tried a lot of decks for a while, all of them just didn’t work.

Judith, the Scourge Diva

Joe: On one day, when I was browsing Internet I saw a decklist by someone, White Weenie splash 《Judith, the Scourge Diva》. From the deck, I got the idea – “Hey! White has a lot of best creatures, so maybe I can go Mardu“. Then I start looking and looking for and somehow I got help from a player from my previous World Magic Cup, then I started looking on the deck and this came up.

How long did it take for you to build this constructed?

Joe: About 1 week.

1 week, so you were thinking during this week.

Joe: Yes, I spend a whole week. Looking at 《Judith, the Scourge Diva》, I did just research, research and research. Then after that, we put the deck together and start testing.

I think the key card of this deck is 《Judith, the Scourge Diva》, isn’t it?

Joe: Though 《Judith, the Scourge Diva》 is a key card, actually she is a second one.

What is the first one?

Joe: That’s 《Dusk Legion Zealot》, which is a vampire that draws a card.

Dusk Legion Zealot

Is that draw mechanic you really want?

Joe: Yes, I initially played a vampire deck with 《Adanto Vanguard》, but somehow this deck is lacking a little bit. Although those cards are individually good, the deck synergies are on getting a lot of lords and creatures.

Joe: I started looking for cards, and this looks pretty good. When we started testing, though my teammates laughed at me saying “Are you sure you’re playing this card?”, I replied “ya, it worked very well!” and whenever I casted it, I don’t feel like I’ll lose a game.

Benalish MarshalLegion LieutenantVenerated Loxodon

So is the draw a key thing with the deck?

Joe: In most of the White Weenie – Azorius and Boros, one of the best draws are basically 《Benalish Marshal》 and 《Venerated Loxodon》. My deck can draw more cards than them, so when you cast 《Venerated Loxodon》 or a lord, your creatures go bigger and bigger than your opponent’s.

Though you won well during this tournament, how was this deck putting into the metagame? And what kind of archtypes were you planning to beat?

Joe: The deck I really want to beat was Simic Nexus. This deck has much faster clock compared to the White Weenie decks. In our testing, when playing against Nexus deck, 《Settle the Wreckage》 was a trouble, so we thought this matchup as “It’s either I kill you by turn 4 or you are going to kill me”. Then the new Nexus deck – Simic Nexus – doesn’t have 《Settle the Wreckage》, so we changed our mind, “OK, that’s gonna be our best matchup”.

Settle the Wreckage

Joe: In my last round, I played against a Simic Nexus and on the first game, he was skooped up with 3 lands. I went 1-drop, two 1-drops, next then cast a 《Legion Lieutenant》, attacked and cast a 1-drop, and that’s lethal for turn 4.

Being very confident about this deck and running in a lot of Pro Players, how did you feel now?

Joe: I think, in general, we predicted the metagame pretty well. We predicted Sultai Midrange, Mono-Blue and Nexus will be a Top 3 deck and actually most of the matchup I met were these decks.

Hydroid KrasisPteramanderNexus of Fate

After this tournament, do you have something to change in your deck?

Joe: Initially, we tested mainly with Sultai Midrange and Big Red that won Grand Prix Memphis, so we wanted more removal for 《Rekindling Phoenix》. But in this tournament there is more Mono-Blue and White Weenie, so I think 《Cast Down》 is more efficient than 《Conclave Tribunal》.

Also you were well in Draft Round. How did you practice? On MTG Arena, Magic Online or with your friends?

Joe: Generally I drafted a lot of time on Magic Online. Because I haven’t made the transition to MTG Arena, I did a lot on Magic Online, at my LGS, and many discussions with my friends.

How do you feel about MTG Arena?

Joe: Basing on the popularity, I think eventually everything will move to MTG Arena. But so far we are used to Magic Online, therefore we will be staying there for a while. Especially next Mythic Championship’s format is Modern, so I believe most of the preparation will be on Magic Online.

Where and with whom did you test this time?

Joe: I generally tested on my LGS. I’ve been going into “Cards & Hobbies” and “Attilan Games” and testing with my local teammates, Shawn Khoo and Nicky Woo. In addition, I’ve also been discussing with previous Grand Prix Hong Kong Champion, Chye Yian Hsiang.

Chye Yian Hsiang

Chye Yian Hsiang

Image Copyright : Wizards of the Coast

How was the metagame in your LGS and is it similar to Mythic Championship?

It’s very differently in LGS. I think players’ play base is on the card availability and they play more to enjoy the game than to win, so in our LGS, we had a lot of Sultai Midrange, which is basically Golgari Midrange from the previous Standard. Additionaly, there was a lot of guild decks, very accesible deck for new player, and also Mono-Red.

Was a great interview, thanks a lot to Joe!

By the addition of 《Judith, the Scourge Diva》, our old vampires can gain their power again. If you like them, give it a try!

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