Grand Prix St. Gallen 2nd Place Report (Monger's Angeltouched)

March 6, 2019

 

 

Important Links

Challonge- https://challonge.com/msem2gpStGallen

Decklists and MSEM website- https://snapdragonfirework.wixsite.com/msem2/single-post/2019/02/14/Grand-Prix-St-Gallen

Instigator (scryfall but for MSEM)- https://msem-instigator.herokuapp.com/

MSEM Staples- https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AhsS6mxNTbFIPrUSZd278v7g28JYwOvrX4YcehOVdTg/edit

Discord- https://discord.gg/Zu5BXgy

 

Coming into Grand Prix St. Gallen I tested the decks I wanted to play for once. As a result, I was able to figure out which ones seemed the most powerful and the most fun. There were a few that I considered- colorless aggro, Salvation Engine combo, and Jeskai prowess, but far and away the one with the most potential was Angeltouched Selfmill. The deck was one of two brews that were spun off from my Gilded Hawk + charms testing (the other being Jeskai Prowess).

 

Why did Angeltouched perform so well in testing and in the GP?

1. Leyline Alignment Field. Leyline accelerates mana, and does it very, very well. In a deck that’s light on one and two drops, tossing down multiple spells T3 onwards can make up for a slow start. Having absurd amounts of mana lategame opens the door to other gross stuff as well. Also, sometimes you have WUBRG on T2 and just win.

2. Sheer resilience. The amount of recursion and card advantage lets it come back from bad starts, including quite a few mulligans to five. If the opponent removes a threat, it’s often able to drop another threat (or the same one) next turn.

3. High card quality across the boards. Pipsqueak said that most decks run 75% good cards and 25% acceptable cards (in the context of Roach running 95% good cards). I believe that Angeltouched falls into a similar category as Roach, with Angeltouched having a higher curve in exchange for playing Good Cards (mostly- Unqueched Greed isn’t topping any tier lists). This increased quality exists in the sideboard as well, as nearly every effect you want has been printed in gold and Angeltouched lands can also cast artifacts.

 

 

Deck Tech

Let’s start with the most important part: 

Lands (26)

18x Angeltouched X

Land

T: Add C.

T: Add A, B, or C (wedge). You can’t spend this mana to cast a monocolored spell.

-

Here they are, the centerpiece. Leyline may get all the limelight but Angeltouched do all the work. They give the deck near-perfect mana- note the near. Once you get three out you’re usually good, but it’s painful looking at a Garden (Sultai) and Crag (Mardu) with a Fellor Charm in hand.

Number I would run in the future: probably 18 still

 

4x Leyline Alignment Field

Land

T: Add C.
1, T: For each color among cards in your graveyard, add one mana of that color. 

-

Leyline, in all its glory. Look at it. +4 mana when fully enabled, a measly 1 to activate, and can tap for C itself as a bonus. The only awkward part is that it gives exactly WUBRG, making it hard to stack most spells without an extra land due to the deck’s abundance of colored pips.

(A digression: Leyline nerfs. The nerf I would advocate is increasing the activation cost to 2, T. This lessens the games where you have 5 mana on turn 2 while still preserving the grave-dependent mana acceleration to a lesser degree. Part of this is due to my belief that gravehate will become more common with the new Memento Mori and Abzan looking to resurge with Purging Watchkeep. I’ll also acknowledge that I want Leyline to still be playable after any changes are made)

Number I would run in the future: 4 barring a massive nerf

 

1x Tezmodo, the Golden City

Legendary Land

T: Add C to your mana pool.
2, T: Add one mana of any color for each card type among cards in your graveyard.

-

Unlike Leyline, Tezmodo actually helps to fix your mana (especially if you can feed Leyline mana into it) and increase the potential spells you can cast. It also maxes out at +4 mana thanks to the variety of card types but will more often be +3. Unfortunately, being Legendary restricts it a fair amount, it gives one mana per card (as opposed to Leyline which can be fully enabled with as few as 1-2 cards), and 2, T makes it slightly slower than Leyline, which it’s competing for slots with.

Number I would run in the future: 1, potentially 2 if Leyline gets nerfed hard

 

2x Ancient Ossuary

Land

T: Add C.

3, Discard Ancient Ossuary: Search your library for a land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

-

Whoops, what’s this spell doing in the lands list? If you ever have to play Ossuary you’re either in big trouble or about to win. Mostly used to find Leyline, or Tezmodo if there’s already a Leyline out. Instant speed means you can cast it if there’s nothing to hit with a counterspell/removal.

Number I would run in the future: 1-2

 

Creatures (10)

4x Unearthed Legion 1UB

Creature - Zombie Horror

Unearthed Legion's power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your graveyard.

At the beginning of your upkeep, put the top card of your library into your graveyard.

*/*

-

Legion is a potent win condition- as I believe Herzi put it, mostly it eats a removal spell but if it doesn’t it often wins the game. DeadlyMan and Archive Guardian for easy recursion mean it’s possible to recur as well, and a Soul copying it typically wins the game. Legion is quite vulnerable to gravehate, however, leaving it with low stats or outright a 0/0, so you can shave it postboard sometimes.

Number I would run in the future: 4

 

3x Archive Guardian 2BG

Creature- Elemental

When Archive Guardian enters the battlefield, return target card from your graveyard to your hand.
Conjure BG (You may cast this creature from your graveyard for its conjure cost. If you do, exile it when it enters the battlefield or if it would leave the battlefield.)

2/2 

-

“Mode 1” of Guardian, a bear plus a Regrowth, is very good. The four drop cost is a little awkward, but it’s still value. But what if you wanted more value from the graveyard? That’s where mode 2 comes in- a Regrowth castable from the yard. At five mana you can grab and immediately slam a three drop, and the mana acceleration of Leyline means that happens faster than most. Heck, Guardian grabbing and casting Soul (7 mana total) is sometimes a play.

Number I would run in the future: 3-4

 

3x Soul of Iscathia WURBG

Creature - Avatar

Flying, trample, haste
WUBRG: Create a token that's a copy of another target creature except it's all colors and has haste.
WUBRG, Exile Soul of Iscathia from your graveyard: Create a token that's a copy of target creature except it's all colors and has haste. 

5/5 

-

Soul’s primary function is to be an easy Leyline enabler, but like Archive Guardian, it has two modes. A 5/5 hasty flier with trample on top can provide a great amount of pressure. Being able to copy something once it’s out usually means the game is over soon. Again, though, mode 2 wins out with the potency of the clone ability from grave. It’s a passive threat against decks with a creature win condition and can also copy your own Legions. Unlike Guardian, however, Soul is always 5 mana. Unless you have a mostly/fully active Leyline and/or a lot of lands, it’s difficult to land. In addition, getting 4-5 colors in the graveyard has proved to be easier than I anticipate thanks to Oracle’s/Greed.

Number I would run in the future: 2

 

Planeswalker (6)

2x Ardy, Youthful Geomancer RG

Legendary Planeswalker - Ardy

[+1]: Untap target land.
[–1]: Exile the top card of your library. You may play that card until end of turn. If a land card is exiled this way, you gain 2 life.
[–7]: Untap each land you control. Lands you control become 3/3 Elemental creatures with haste until end of turn. They're still lands. 

Loyalty: [2]

-

Ardy started off as a four of as a cute combo with Leyline but has stayed in as a solid two-drop in a deck light on them. Untapping is nice with an Angeltouched and ridiculous with a Leyline, and the -1 gives Ardy solid lategame value. Ardy’s slot is probably the most tenuous without actually being cut- providing little grave value and being merely quite good on board is difficult to justify, but still better than other options.

Number I would run in the future: 0-2

Edit: Ardy met his demise with the testing of DeadlyMan as a four of, which also happens to be a two drop.

 

3x Rain Zai, Spiritscale BGW

Legendary Planeswalker - Rain

[+1]: Put the top two cards of your library into your graveyard. Create a 1/1 green Spirit Snake creature token with deathtouch.
[0]: You may sacrifice a Spirit. When you do, return target permanent card from your graveyard to your hand.
[–1]: Exile another target nonland permanent until Rain Zai leaves the battlefield. You gain 2 life. 

Loyalty: [3]

-

Rain Zai does a little bit of everything and a lot of removal. While he is vulnerable after the -1, if he can survive to plus he’ll probably survive subsequent combats. The plus and 0 are also incredible for this deck, with a very useful token that fills the graveyard in addition to recursion. Rain Zai has earned his spot many times over

Number I would run in the future: 3-4 (assuming the incoming changes don’t impact him too severely)

 

1x Helene Trant 2GU

Legendary Planeswalker - Helene

[+2]: Until end of turn, Helene Trant becomes a 4/4 Human Warrior creature with hexproof and trample that's still a planeswalker. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to her this turn.
[–2]: Draw two cards.
[–4]: You get an emblem with “Whenever one or more creatures you control deal combat damage to a player, draw a card.” 

Loyalty: [4]

-

Helene is in the same spot as Ardy of being solid on board and nonexistent in grave, but without the major benefit of being a two drop. The deck isn’t lacking in card advantage, real or virtual, so the typical drop into draw pattern of Helene is a little less good. Her original purpose was to be good in the control matchup but that’s a matchup other cards can improve imo. I’m sure this slot would be better off as another card.

Number I would run in the future: 0

 

Instant (9)

3x Fellor Charm RW

Instant

Choose one—
• Fellor Charm deals 3 damage to any target.
• Target creature gains lifelink and indestructible until end of turn.
• Attacking creatures get +1/+1 until end of turn. 

-

Fellor Charm has some good modes. Just being burn is enough to justify the spot, but it helps in other ways like dodging removal or winning a combat (or the game). Obviously, the value drops off significantly when there are no burnable creatures but 3 is probably still the right number.

Number I would run in the future: 3

 

3x Blood Frenzy BR

Instant

Target creature gets +3/-3 until end of turn.
Kindle 3—BR, Pay 3 life. (BR, Pay 3 life, Exile this card from your graveyard: Create three 1/1 colorless Elemental creature tokens. Kindle only as a sorcery.)

-

Blood Frenzy has been either Blood Feast or Blood Famine. It’s either killing a creature early then immediately leaping ahead in board presence or you’re desperately killing your own Archive Guardian in order to bin it. Still, I wouldn’t run less than three. The value of three 1/1s coming from the yard for a cheap price cannot be overestimated.

Number I would run in the future: 3

 

3x Crystal Wave UBR

Instant

Escalate 2 (Pay this cost for each mode chose beyond the first.)
Choose one or more —
• Counter target spell.
• Destroy target creature.
• Discard your hand, then draw two cards. 

-

Good ol’ Murder plus Cancel plus Dangerous Wager. This card is incredibly flexible, doing everything you want in matchups from control to aggro. Leyline means you can often start dumping your hand early, turning the last mode from Dangerous Wager into more of a Divination. Sometimes binning your hand can even be beneficial. The line of play is almost always one of the first two modes and escalate into the third one but getting the first two or heaven forbid all three off is a good feeling. Again, Leyline helps you get the most value out of this, since it’s easier to escalate as well as cast spells on your turn while still holding up mana.

Number I would run in the future: 3-4

Edit: As this is one of the cards that synergizes well with the four of DeadlyMan, it’s being bumped up to 4 for testing.

 

Sorcery (8)

4x Oracle’s Vision (U/B)

Sorcery

Each player puts the top three cards of their library into their graveyard.
Draw a card. 

-

Ignore how this is still monoblack, better Thought Scour and look at how much work it does for this deck. A one mana multicolored cantrip that fills the graveyard is exactly what it’s looking for. Run four.

Number I would run in the future: 4

 

4x Unquenched Greed (U/R)

Sorcery

Draw two cards, then discard two cards. 

-

MSEM may not have Faithless Looting but Looting isn’t multicolored anyway. Greed does enough to cement its status as a four of, though if sb slots become tight I could see shaving it postboard in grindy matchups.

Number I would run in the future: 4

 

Enchantment (2)

2x Deadly Manipulation UB

Enchantment

U, Discard a card: Exile target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. If you do, copy it. You may cast the copy.

B, Discard a card: Exile target creature card from your graveyard and pay its mana cost. If you do, create a token that's a copy of it. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

-

“DeadlyMan is back, baby!” I say, having never played with it before the changes and unbanning. While it may crumple to gravehate, the extra resilience of Legions and the opportunity to buy back both Fellor Charm and Crystal Wave means it can crush in the MB. Given how bad it is in multiple it’s “only” a two of, but if maindeck enchantment hate like Hunter’s Hideout see a lot of play it could be a three of mainboard. Never, ever put DeadlyMan in SB thought, since your opponents will be slamming all the gravehate possible. In fact, just board them out if they have even reasonable gravehate.

Number I would run in the future: 2

Edit: Herzi made a good point that excess copies can just be pitched to itself. I’m interested in seeing how the deck runs with 4.

Number I would run in the future: 4

 

Brief comments on sideboard

MSEM sideboard format: After decklists are made public, players have 24 hours to submit their sideboards. Thus, SBs are constructed with knowledge of all mainboards (but not sideboards). Since the SB depends entirely on the event, it’s hard to discuss a generic SB.

 

Most underrated:

Bahum’s Penace- great versus gravehate, great versus other gy decks, in general very good. Discarding your hand isn’t much of a cost, as silly as that felt to type, and drawing up to four cards is nice. The real value comes out when exiled-based gravehate has come down- at one point I gained 28 life from a single cast.

Bahum, the Warden- dealt with what it needed to deal with (artifacts/enchantments) and generated value afterwards sometimes

 

Most overrated:

Mindrip- so, so much more awkward to cast than Crystal Wave even though the ceiling is higher. A land and Leyline producing WUBRG is perfect for the 2UBR of an escalated Wave, whereas the XUUB of Mindrip is literally uncastable. Planning to just run another Crystal Wave or some Thought Blossoms in the future.

 

Just rated:

the rest

 

Potential cards

Mainboard:

Anguished Unmaking

Bahum’s Penace?

Encrypted Monument?

Lucien, the Grifter

Mpumo, Who Stands Alone

Neschume the Titanraft?

Shengin Heartland

Vitality Unbridled

 

Sideboard:

(everything on the MB list)

Bahum’s Penace

Bahum, the Warden
Chi Lee of the Underworld?

Compulsion’s Voice?

Cranial Violation?

Danuri Charm?

Farmer’s Repose

Frayed Nerves

Harvester of Secrets?

Heddwyn, the Law

Ignition Ritual

Insurgent Ballads?

Jara Jadefist?

Lady Heiffyd

Nataila, Raven’s Repented

Rain of Ruin

Ravage Relics

Return to Form

Shatter Façade

The Sun Also Rises

Thoughtgrinder?

Vitality Maestro?

Voidlife Orbs

Whistling Blades?

Youthful Savior?

Various hate artifacts

 

 

 

Grand Prix VODs

**VOLUME WARNING** I’m too lazy to post process the videos so the background audio is less background and more in your ears.

Vs UB Control (cajun) (2-0)

Vs WUB Aggro (elvendeath) (2-0)

Vs Esper Superfriends (Sylph) (2-0)

ID vs Monoblack Control (Pipsqueak). Final Swiss record: 3-0-1, first seed in the cut to Top 4

Vs Esper Ninjas (Fifth) (2-0)

Vs Monoblack Control (Pipsqueak) (1-2) 

ignore the misplays esp the one that loses me the gp pl0x :^)

 

Grand Prix St. Gallen Sideboard Document

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eVW6lsxcGf9OfRRlMZ6hkkaHwy8hNR5z/view?usp=sharing

This sheet contains what I thought would be good to take in and out against each deck, along with discarded SB options. Refer to the decklists link at the top for the decks.

 

General SB Guide

Immediately pull out all your DeadlyMans if they have gravehate in their SB.

Versus aggro: You’re looking for cards that will stem the tide, gain you life, and/or wipe the board. Cards from this GP’s SB: Nataila, Vitality Unbridled, Return to Form, Bahum’s Penace

Versus control/grindy midrange: Fellor Charm becomes bad if it can’t kill anything. Some Blood Frenzies may come out, depending on how easily they can deal with the tokens. Make sure you can deal with any planeswalker/artifacts/enchantments they may have. Look to outlast and outgrind. Cards from this GP’s SB: Mindrip, Anguished Unmaking, Bahum, the Warden, Helene Trant (Bahum’s Penace also counts as it would have been incredible against Deep Storage)

Versus combo: Bring in whatever silver bullet(s) you hopefully packed as well as general removal. Cards from this GP’s SB: Mindrip, Anguished Unmaking, Titan Snare (for Tron, Dragonramp)

 

 

The Future

There’s a lot of cool cards that I’m interested in testing (MB Vitality Unbridled, Neschume, Lucien) but it’s likely that the “ideal” version of Angeltouched Selfmill just pulls the wheat from the chaff and increases MB numbers, rather than investigating one ofs that would be better off in the SB.

example post-GPS deck:

 

With the remaining 2 sideboard slots being some sort of hate artifact (Titan Snare, Warrior’s Bane, etc)

 

While I’m sure that the deck will be weakened by whatever changes come through on Leyline and possibly Rain Zai, it’s still worth playing. Be careful bringing it to a GP, though- now that its worth has been proven, people are more likely to devote MB/SB slots to gravehate.

Look into Angeltouched Selfmill if you like playing Dredge or graveyard-based Delver decks.

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