Draft Report: Amonkhet R/G Beats (5-22-2017)

Amonkhet RG Beats (5-22-2017)

In today’s Draft Report, I want to talk about a fun R/G aggressive beat down deck I drafted earlier this week. I’ll talk briefly about how the games went down, but I would also like to discuss an interesting pick that came up, how I made my decision and how my opinion changed as the rounds played out.

Amonkhet Draft List: R/G Beats (5-22-2017)

Creatures (16)
Bloodlust Inciter
Initiate’s Companion
Bitterblade Warrior
Battlefield Scavenger
Nef-Crop Entangler
Nimble-Blade Khenra
Bloodrage Brawler
Ornery Kudu
Hooded Brawler
Thresher Lizard
Ahn-Crop Crasher
Khenra Charioteer
Desert Cerodon

Spells (6)
Tormenting Voice
Brute Strength
Deem Worthy

Enchantments (1)
Cartouche of Zeal

Artifacts (1)
Rhonas’s Monument
Lands (16)

On-Color Sideboard (11)
Warfire Javelineer
Tormenting Voice
Limits of Solidarity
Cartouche of Zeal
Brute Strength
Naga Vitalist
Dissenter’s Deliverance
Hapatra’s Mark
Spring / Mind


Deck Tech

This does a lot of the things Khenra Charioteer wants you to do in the R/G archetype. Not only is the Charioteer a 3/3 for 3 CMC with a relevant keyword, but it also gives that keyword to all of your creatures. It serves as the pivot point between the early aggression that red likes to throw out and the beefy bodies found in green.

Khenra CharioteerOne of the biggest concerns for the more aggressive decks in Amonkhet limited is not overrunning your opponent before they slow the game down with higher toughness creatures. Green and blue both have ways to dump creatures onto the battlefield that are often just too big to deal with in combat. By that point, the aggro deck needs to have a trick or two in order to get through and finish off the game.

Even though this deck is mostly red, the green elements like Khenra Charioteer, Colossapede and Rhonas’s Monument – combined with good pumps from Brute Strength – ended up transitioning smoothly from early to mid game more often than not. Of course, Amonkhet all-time champion Glorybringer certainly pulled its weight as always.

Perhaps the best effect in this deck was the ability to give Trample to the most relevant creature time and time again. In all, there were 6 cards that gave one or more creatures Trample (7 when I boarded in the 4th copy of Brute Strength), making it rarely profitable for my opponent to slow down the game via blocking in combat. A 6/5 Bloodrage Brawler with Trample after getting a Rhonas’s Monument trigger doesn’t care so much about an opponent’s Dune Beetle or Initiate’s Companion. When one of the most common strategies is to muck up the board and slow down the game, Trample poses a serious threat.

Match 1 vs. The Mirror

These games were a lot of fun, and in all honesty, the most difficult of the night. Things went back and forth quite a bit, but my opponent just had a bit more consistency. Add in Insult / Injury, and I was toast. Overall, his 2-drops were better (Channeler Initiate and Exemplar of Strength, if I recall correctly), and he was able to get there faster than I was. We actually sat together during building, giving each other recommendations, so I was more than happy to pick up my only loss from this matchup.

Cruel Reality

I love and hate this card.

Match 2 vs. U/B Turtle Up

This deck was AWESOME. My opponent went deep on alternate strategies to pick up the win with his U/B control deck. We’re talking big blockers like Dune Beetle, Ancient Crab and Naga Oracle to slow down the game, with a number of counters including multiple Essence Scatter, Censor and Cancel. He then played Cruel Reality in an attempt to grind me out, splashing white for Approach of the Second Sun. Unfortunately for him, Cruel Reality could not beat an uncountered Glorybringer, and I ended up winning 2-0.

Match 3 vs. W/B Mid-Range

While my opponent seemed to have a pretty decent W/B mid-range zombie deck, I can’t really say how well it would have played out here. In the first game, rather than mulligan to 5, my opponent kept a 6-card hand with no lands, and did not draw a single land in our match (and thus played zero spells). In the second game, I found myself off green mana for almost the entire game, getting overrun by Sacred Cats and a single Gust Walker. The third game, my opponent again kept a hand he probably should have pitched, playing a single land for the entire game. So overall, not great games of Magic: the Gathering.

The Picks: Deem Worthy vs. Magma Spray

Here are my picks in order from right to left (I’ll work on laying them out better in the future). As you can see, I started strong in red during Pack 1. After that, I tried going into a U/R spells deck, but blue quickly dried up. Pack 2 Pick 1 Glorybringer solidified me in red, and a second Khenra Charioteer gave me good incentive to splash green.

Amonkhet RG Beats (5-22-2017) Pick Order

At a prior draft, another regular limited player (my opponent in Match 1 here) posed the question of Deem Worthy vs. Magma Spray. He was leaning toward Deem Worthy for the ease of splashing and ability to either kill a large creature late-game or kill a smaller threat while drawing a card. I was leaning toward Magma Spray, since it could kill a threat early on and eliminate Embalm creatures entirely. After discussing for a few minutes, he convinced me to lean toward Deem Worthy as well. The upside is just so good, and there are few ways to deal with some of the format’s biggest creatures.

Gust Walker

Much better dead to Magma Spray…

Pack 1 Pick 2 posed this exact choice for me. With both Deem Worthy and Magma Spray in the pack, I thought back to our conversation. As you can see, I picked Deem Worthy. However, game after game, I found myself wanting Magma Spray more. I now think our logic with Deem Worthy was just wrong. Sure, it has a high ceiling. Drawing a card and killing a creature for 3R is great. However, in an aggressive format, it seems like killing a creature early on is just better. If my opponent has a turn-2 Gust Walker, there’s a good chance it gets in for two Exerted attacks before I can kill it with Deem Worthy. By that point, I’m actually getting further set by by taking a turn off from dropping creatures.

There were also plenty of games where I just could not spare the mana, or outright did not have it. There were few times where Magma Spray would be a dead card, but Deem Worthy was. For example, Channeler Initiate, Exemplar of Strength and others will usually become too big to destroy by the time you can cycle Deem Worthy, and they’ve often killed you before you can hardcast it.

In the end, I think I’m sticking with Magma Spray.