This site is dedicated to the magic community, by giving you, (yes you!) the ability to share your expertise and insights. The community deck tech series is an opportunity for members of the Magic community who've had success with a constructed deck to share their experience with the deck. In each installment I'll be reaching out to players who went undefeated in an MTGO competitive constructed league and let them highlight their deck. You can check out the previous installment here.
Today's deck is a Blue White God Pharaoh's Gift piloted by Zxrogue to a 5-0 finish in a competitive standard league.
4 Angel of Invention
4 Champion of Wits
4 Minister of Inquiries
4 Walking Ballista
4 Chart a Course
4 Strategic Planning
4 God-Pharaoh's Gift
2 Cast Out
2 Search for Azcanta
Legendary planeswalker (1)
1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
1 Field of Ruin
4 Glacial Fortress
2 Ipnu Rivulet
3 Irrigated Farmland
1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
2 Angel of Sanctions
2 Authority of the Consuls
2 Jace's Defeat
2 Settle the Wreckage
1 Thopter Arrest
I'll let Zxrogue introduce himself:
"Hello, I am a newer player that started playing magic in summer of 2015. I really enjoyed the diversity of the game and I was immediately hooked. Weeks after starting I played in a Modern Masters 2 sealed pptq... I didn't win a game but I knew I wanted to invest more into this wonderful game. I have played in multiple Grand Prix's since then, my best finish was 13th at Grand Prix Seattle. Currently I stream a lot while attending school with the goal to entertain people from this wonderful community. If you would like to see more follow Squachief on Twitch."
He started by saying what he liked about Blue White God Pharaoh's Gift:
"I feel that the deck is very strong against the current meta. It can explode turn 4 or even turn 3 if you go Minister of Inquiries into Search for Azcanta. mill yourself for 6, flip search and Refurbish your God Pharaoh's Gift."
"It has a very linear game plan game one, you are getting a 4/4 every turn, because either your opponent simply has no main deck artifact hate, or but you are able to bring back your GPG multiple times."
"The reason why the deck is strong is that post board it is able to change into a midrange deck, and not rely on having to combo kill someone. Angel of Invention is a beast of her own in aggro matchups. Being able to play Angel of Sanctions allows you to go long against your opponent"
I asked Zxrogue about this spicy new Legend Dominaria brings to the table:
"Teferi is a card that gives the deck a long game. Being able to dig deeper in your deck or provide more resources for you to work with allows you to grind out your opponent."
"Also right now, enchantments are very popular, so being able to bounce a Ixalan's Binding or Cast Out goes a long way. It is another tool that the deck can use, having the diversity game 1 to bounce a nonland permanent or draw deeper so you can hit your combo. Before, the deck didn't have the option to play a blue white Planeswalker that actually benefited the deck. Dovin Baan, doesn't do what you need and would be a hindrance to the deck."
I asked Zxrogue what advice he'd give a player picking up the deck.
"I would say the hardest part of the deck is knowing how to sideboard. It's my biggest struggle with the deck, but to fix that requires a lot of practice and trial and error. So practice against popular decks and focus on how to sideboard. That is in my opinion the hardest part of this deck, because otherwise you are mostly using a powerful combo to win the game."
"As for tips, I would say remember to think if you want to use Chart a Course before attacking because you will want to ditch your Angel or God Pharaoh's Gift if it is in your hand, and it would actually be a liability to not be able to pitch a card. If you attack and can't discard your combo pieces."
"Also remember that fabricate is a trigger that when it resolves lets you choose to put counters out or servos. That means if your opponent kills your angel in response you can still get servos."
"Another thing to know is that God Pharaoh's Gift makes a copy, so the creature still retains its converted mana cost. So, if someone tries to fatal push your angel, its converted mana cost is still 5 and not zero"
So given all that, what problems is a White Blue Gifts player likely to run into. Zxrogue explains:
"I think this deck is strong but also has its fair share of weaknesses. Control is no longer blue black, blue white has become a popular choice. Authority of the Consuls is a strong card against the deck since it is able to prevent you from having the giant swing each turn. Control decks are also playing more cards that exile artifacts compared to before Dominaria."
"Another problem is that the mono green decks are able to swing hard and fast. A turn 2 Steel Leaf Champion is a clock that we can't even block. Ghalta also ends us very fast. Because we have to dedicate so many cards of a lower power to assemble a strong combo, it makes our fair game against them severely weak."
"Scavenging Grounds has been popular in the ramp decks, which is a strong way to interact versus our deck. If we go to combat and the God Pharaoh's Gift trigger goes on the stack, they can exile the graveyard and then we have to rely on luck that our minister mills a creature or we that we can sacrifice our Walking Ballista to have a creature embalmed. Unfortunately, the chances of us being able to do that are low due to our low creature count"
Based on his experiences I asked if there were any changes he might want to make to the deck for his next tournament.
"I would add Cataclysmic Gearhulk back into the deck, due to the rise in enchantments and token based decks. It is a very strong card for how the meta has evolved. Another would be add Fragmentize to the sideboard for its strength versus decks with Authority of the Consuls/Cast Out/Ixalan's Binding."
I hope you enjoyed this community deck tech. Thanks to Zxrogue for taking the time to share his thoughts and insights into his recent 5-0 deck. If you liked his analysis you can check him out over at his twitch channel. If you recently had a deck 5-0 published and would like to participate in a community deck tech you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or a cricketHunter on mtgo or reddit. Thanks for reading!