Probable Act of Treason


Act of Treason ∙ Evan Erwin ∙ Petr Brodzek ∙
Baneslayer Angel (and lack thereof) ∙ Beating Jund Decks ∙
… and Act of Treason


In fact, “I’m the Best!” [-Toad]

Okay, that’s out of our system.

Let’s move on, shall we?

I was planning to play Naya Lightsaber at next week’s New York State Championship, but now that the cat’s out of the bag… Yadda, yadda, yadda. Naya Lightsaber was for sure the best deck to play at the World Championships (just read the coverage… I told Andre I was “100% sure” this was the case), but I am not likely to be sleeving it up next weekend.

Okay: Full disclosure: Like you, I might have problems picking up four copies of Baneslayer Angel in time. So… Time for an alternate way to win.

I immediately switched, mentally, from Naya to Red Deck Wins when I realized a paucity of Baneslayer Angels was going to be a possibility. Right after setting foot back on American soil, Evan Erwin called me, and when I said I was switching gears to Goblin Guides, he steered me in the direction of Petr Brodzek’s deck, which was a 5-1 perfomer on the first day of Worlds:

4 Ajani Vengeant

4 Burst Lightning
4 Earthquake
4 Goblin Guide
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Plated Geopede
4 Hellspark Elemental
4 Hell’s Thunder
4 Zektar Shrine Expedition

4 Arid Mesa
7 Mountain
4 Naya Panorama
1 Plains
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Terramorphic Expanse

2 Chandra Ablaze
4 Goblin Ruinblaster
3 Quenchable Fire
2 Volcanic Fallout
4 Path to Exile

The first thing that you probably notice about this deck list is its insane mana base. Four Terramorphic Expanses, four Naya Panoramas, not a Teetering Peaks in sight.

Having played this deck about 30-40 matches at this point, I can say that I am quite happy with Petr’s mana base; the deck shell is quite excellent. My main point of customization was / is the inclusion of Act of Treason to the main. You can read why I feel like this is the right thing to do, and a tasty way to do it, here.

Barely Boros

3 Ajani Vengeant

3 Act of Treason
4 Burst Lightning
2 Earthquake
4 Goblin Guide
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Plated Geopede
4 Hellspark Elemental
4 Hell’s Thunder
4 Zektar Shrine Expedition

4 Arid Mesa
7 Mountain
4 Naya Panorama
1 Plains
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Terramorphic Expanse

1 Ajani Vengeant
1 Act of Treason
2 Earthquake
4 Goblin Ruinblaster
3 Volcanic Fallout
4 Path to Exile

Here are the incentives and so on as I see them.

  1. This deck always beats Jund.
  2. This deck always beats Fog.
  3. This deck has action against most of the reasonable decks in the metagame.

I have been batting pretty well with Barely Boros [BDM came up with the name, in case you hadn’t already guessed]. My original theory was that it would be a decent, if not fantastic, choice against Naya Lighsaber (smash them for a ten-point swing when they tap for Baneslayer Angel)… But even when you pull that off you don’t necessarily win. So far, Naya Lightsaber seems like it might be the worst matchup for this deck.

On the other hand, Jund is super easy. If people persist in playing Jund in “one-third of the metagame” numbers, that actually paves quite an easy road for the deck. BDM was kind enough to humor me in some Barely Boros testing earlier this week, which you can check out over at Top 8 Magic here (plus, all the surrounding Podcasts).

Every session I do with the deck has been pretty encouraging; though none have been flawless (one of the defining characteristics of Naya Lightsaber early on was its long streak of “never losing”)… The down side of this deck is that when I have one black mark on a session, it is often the result of Naya Lightsaber, itself.

Anyway, here are the stats from the last go-round:


Game the First:
He opens up on Lacerator; I play Goblin Guide and elect not to attack. My attacking can just be a profitable exchange for him, but if he doesn’t attack and I don’t attack, I am “winning” thanks to the Lacerator’s Carnophage-ness. He figures this out and attacks (obviously I trade with the +1). He follows up with Lacerator; I follow up with Guide. Same dance.

There is a little stumbling on my part, after which I play a Plated Geopede. Annoyingly he has a Gatekeeper of Malakir. I was actually sandbagging him, so this is super annoying. He follows up with a Bloodghast, but I Earthquake the pair before there is any attack.

So… Zektar Shrine Expedition.

I pull the trigger, fully expecting I will have to Lightning Bolt it to avoid some kind of embarassing life swing. But somehow Somehow SOMEHOW… It connects. Really? How the heck does that happen?

You can’t really lose if you connect with one of those.

Game the Second:
I have a burn heavy hand that keeps him off guys and kills him as a kind of dirty combo deck.

It’s all Volcanic Fallouts and Lightning Bolts, you know. Dan Paskins would be proud (plenty of overload). Not a lot of interactions this game.


El Primero:
I stall on two but have a pair of Goblin Guides (and no Lightning Bolts). All my Guides give him lands. Did I mention I was stuck on two? Dead dead dead.

El Segundo:
Just demolished him on tempo. I chose to go first.

El… Whatever three would be:
He drew three Hell’s Thunders. Hell’s Thunder is like the third best card in the mirror. I have Blightning as #1 because I never beat it Red-on-Red, and Ajani Vengeant has to be the second best (due to the life swing, especially when you can snare a guy and steal an attack). But Hell’s Thunder is probably the third best. Obviously if you can stick a Zektar Shrine or Elemental Appeal, that has a high hand-in-hand with the dubya, but that isn’t really very easy to do with all the Lightning Bolts, Burst Lightnings, and Volcanic Fallouts that the opponent is sandbagging until the end of turn. Hell’s Thunder on the other hand is a somewhat smaller packet of damage that is very hard to stop. Like I said, he had three of them. Man down.

Archive Trap Trap Deck

Game One:
He set off two Archive Traps on a second turn Path to Exile… Which just set up a bunch of Hellspark Elementals (very embarassing); the Path not only gave me the “card advantage” but the mana to realize it. I won with about seven cards in library.

Game Two:
He sided in Deft Duelist, which was super awkward because I didn’t go all out with the Volcanic Fallouts. I actually always forget to do that! Why!?! It is good against Blue, right? Anyway I gunned one of the two Earthquakes I left in so I looked like a genius &c. (which is really what we’re going for here). The game was closer than it probably seemed from his side of the table. Deft Duelist!

G/W Allies

Game One:
I just about packed on turn one when he played a Soul Warden and I had no Lightning Bolt. Then he ran it into my Plated Geopede. I have never done that, but I have certainly run guys into Vampire Hexmage. Gotta read the Firstest Strikesies, paps!

Game Two:
This match didn’t really count because… Well, among other things, he left in Luminarch Ascension. As you may have guessed, it hit the battlefield on turn the second… and failed to ever accrue a counter. I really didn’t know what was up so I waited to kill him in response to Angel’s Mercy.

It would have been mad… um… irony-ic if I had packed to that Soul Warden.

Grixis Control

The first was a kind of a nice fencing match. I juked him with a super fast 7/1; he tapped his Crumbling Necropolis to respond, and I stuck Ajani Vengeant.

We went back and forth for a while, but he peeled back-to-back Blightnings to empty my grip (the second one actually stole a Lightning Bolt and a Burst Lightning when I had 5-6 mana in play), plus the Ajani!

However I had a sufficient life lead to eke out the last two points of damage. Probably from an unchecked topdeck.

I actually got off ultimate on Ajani this game!


I kind of wasn’t paying attention, though. He floated in response and had Magma Spray, which ate my Unearthed Hellspark Elemental. I was watching Notorious out of the corner of my eyes, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have fallen for it.

I couldn’t really lose after blowing up six lands, though… 🙂

So anyway, that was the last five. And no Jund this time around (though like I said, Jund couldn’t be easier); okay, the G/W deck probably doesn’t count.

Good deck, though.

And 100% Baneslayer Angel free (if not Baneslayer Angel resistant).


Currently Reading: THE HOBBIT (The Lord of the Rings)

P.S. Why not Black?

One of the first things I tried to test was Black instead of White in this strategy. I mean if Act of Treason is good, Slave of Bolas has to be super good, right? Blightning, as well, seemed like a huge upgrade to the spell palette. The problem was… White does quite well across the board, whereas Black never wins (ever). I lost multiple fights in a row to the Fog deck (unlikely at best)… But multiple in a row? You can’t necessarily argue with that action. As BDM pointed out in the Podcasts, the Barely Boros deck is quite servicable against Fog, if for no other reason, the ability to consistenly blow up all their lands.

facebook comments:


#1 Joe on 11.30.09 at 1:29 am

In the testing I’ve done with this deck (I made the changes you mention in the podcasts), I can never seem to get past a good Boros Bushwhacker draw. The full Boros deck seems more consistent in dealing massive damage with its turns. Maybe give some of those lists a try? You can def work in Earthquake and Act of Treason.

#2 vier1982 on 11.30.09 at 2:03 am

Nice deck. Three is tres and third, tercero.

#3 MTGBattlefield on 11.30.09 at 3:54 am

Probable Act of Treason…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#4 thepedestrian on 11.30.09 at 9:39 am


Isnt Mark of Mutiny strictly better then Act of Treason?

#5 JedDavies on 11.30.09 at 3:05 pm

No, it is not, if the Act of Treason is not lethal…

#6 Norm on 11.30.09 at 8:05 pm

Congrats on the Naya Lightsaber win. Awesome. The deck looks good but how does it do against bushwacker?

#7 worm333 on 12.02.09 at 8:59 am

I love everything about this deck. I am going to play it at NY States. Balls to the Wall Aggro with a smattering of mana denial seems very good right now with slow clunky cipt mana bases abounding.

Since I never actually test, how would you board against the Naya deck since I assume it will be popular? I am guessing like -4 Goblin Guide, -3 Hell Spark +4 Path +2 Earthquake +1 Act of Treason?

#8 AutoSponge on 12.04.09 at 6:07 am

I was inspired by this deck.

I won a small, 5-round swiss last night going 4-1 (loss to polymorph Iona when I mana screwed) with a version I’m calling “Nearly Naya.”

Nearly Naya sports a singleton Forest (add) and 4 Rootbound Crags instead of the Scalding Tarns. That allows me to run 3 Harrow and 4 Bloodbraids main. I admit the mana base is suspect in mid-range games against “Spread ’em” or MXL, but the trade off for ‘Braids helped more than once by cascading into Hell’s Thunder (7 for 2 turns) or Harrow (Zektar online) cast Hellspark (13 then 6).

I’d love to hear your comments.

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