by Nolan LaMeres
As the sun sets on a standard sans Eldritch Moon, Nolan decided to reflect on his time with Humans during Shadows Over Innistrad.
I saw Always Watching and felt like it was going to be a great card, aggro and defense, what’s not to love. I saw some really solid synergies with some existing cards and the build began as U/W.
Being extremely new to deck building, and not sure on routes to take, I started with the 24-25 lands blue white combo, with the payoff you see above. Tithes, Ojutai late-game lockdown. The biggest fear at the time was Bant CoCo. I wanted a way to defeat their ground stall and still survive. I also enjoyed the Essence Flux bounce effect on Thalia’s Lieutenant.
Plus, I wanted to be punishing on their mana when the big swing finally came. It was about this time, I realize, I took interest in Death and Taxes and Spreading Seas in Merfolk…another journey for another time. Back to Humans.
Results of U/W
I took U/W to Gamesday for a great performance – somewhere in the 3rd/4th area. The deck did what I wanted it to do to a point, the fast aggro of Humans and the big payoff after Angels and Dragons hit the ground (air, whatever) it seemed to work, but I was noticing Reflector Mage outside Coco wasn’t as damaging, and the low costing humans early was doing more damage early and I would have won the game without Tithes or Ojutai. I lost to a CoCo deck in the Semi-Finals, and what I was afraid of it was faster it dumped more creatures and if Always Watching wasn’t out the point of the deck was lost. (Building a deck around a card is not smart, yeah I know that now) I knew it needed work, what I didn’t know was what direction to take, and I didn’t know that Tom Ross was about to go and break the deck.
So you like one-drops?
I’m sure you know the story or saw the deck, it became quite popular, efficient, smooth, and it won games and did so fast. I think I’ve always had a stubborn streak and chose not to run the exact copy of The Boss’ List, so here are the silly things I wanted to put into the deck to help with two things, my meta, and my creativeness. So I started with keeping the Archangel of Tithes, (I had not bought into the glory of Gryphs’ Boon yet) I also really, and still do, love Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit, which I ran as a 2 of.
Results of Mono-White
I love mono-white Humans, with a couple splashes to make me feel like a snowflake. It was mean and unfair and my games were over quickly so I could roam around use the restroom, get a snack, fresh air, some spying, whatever. My weakness, nemesis, dreaded matchup, card of bane, Languish. I, more often than not, ran face first into it and couldn’t recover.
I learned some discipline and some patients in my matchups vs just trying to win in 4 or 5 turns. It was still an easy-ish deck to play but it had some nice qualities to make it that much more dominant. But darn ol’ Control if it did it’s control thing I lost. I ended with a lot of 2nd and 3rd place finishes and if I dodged Control I won. Mono-White was just faster period.
If you can’t beat them join them. I did it, I followed in line with Tom Ross and just decided I was going to follow this deck that he had created. Leaving everything the same in the main deck, and a cheeky sideboard option to deal with control and board wipes. It was time for some vengeance on Control.
Sadly not a lot to report here. Still the 1st through 3rd FNM, I wasn’t able to do any large tournaments with this deck. I did loan it out to a friend who took it to a PPTQ and placed 2nd. I believe this was the final and best build of this deck. It did all the things the mono 1 drop did and when you sideboard in some lands that, with Always Watching, are now 3/2 doublestrikers. It was just a pure amount of enjoyment to watch your humans get board-wiped and then smack them in the face with your lands.
Shadows is past and now it’s time for Eldritch Moon, yes we have more humans to play with and they look pretty good. The creative side is flowing again and here are a few that caught my eye.
To splash or not to splash, change colors, up the mana cost, or just leave well enough alone? These are the questions I’m dealing with at the moment. I think control will still be the bane; now splashing Green for CoCo Humans seems strong enough; keeping the red and the addition of Hanweir Garrison for some silly Thalia interaction. Thalia seems good for tempo, but is it the right format?
These are two cards I really want to explore, I am leery of the big high-end payoff or major target threats. The scares of U/W remain. I do have dreams of Lone Riders, and Always Watching, casting an end of turn Blessed Alliance, and on the turnaround have a couple It That Rides as One. I didn’t say they were happy dreams, have you seen the art on this guy? Anyways, hopefully, this opening week will give me some insight on the future of the human’s deck, and if I’ll continue to sleeve it up. Worst case, it was fun while it lasted, or Humans in Modern…hmm?
© 2016, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.