Introducing Arena Rumble
Hello everyone! I wanted to take a quick second to introduce a new series we’re trialing at Daily Esports called Arena Rumble. In this series, I will be going into MTG Arena and playing or drafting a deck, recording gameplay footage (which you can find embedded below, or on the Daily Esports YouTube channel), and writing up an article about my card choices and experiences with the deck.
Ideally, this will be an educational experience for newer readers and viewers. I’ve been playing Magic: The Gathering since 2012 and have seen it change the lives of many people. It helped my younger brother learn to read when he was struggling in school. It’s allowed me to make friends with people I never would have interacted with otherwise. It even helped bring me out of my own anxiety-induced shell when I was younger.
My hope is that we can form a community here that fosters newcomers to the game and helps them learn through reading these articles, watching along, and interacting with others. Let’s begin, shall we?
When it comes to being an all-around deck with a balanced set of strengths and weaknesses, the midrange archetype is second to none. I break it down a little more in this article, but essentially being a mid-range deck means one thing: you want to out-value your opponent every step of the game. Black-Green Midrange is one of the best MTG Arena decks for playing midrange.
Below is the list I used in our video in the Best-of-1 format in MTG Arena.
The Explore Package: This deck has a semi-heavy reliance on the Explore mechanic. When you Explore, you look at the top card of your library. If it’s a land, you draw it. If it’s a non-land card, you can put it in your graveyard or keep it on top before putting a +1/+1 counter on the creature that allowed you to Explore. Green, as a color, tends to have very poor ways to draw cards. Explore allows us to have a way to filter the top of our deck while also buffing our creatures and, in the case we have Wildgrowth Walker on the field, offers us a way to gain a ton of life. In addition to all of that, these cards also give us something to do early on in the game.
As you can see, this package feeds into the concept of out-valuing our opponents. Most other decks don’t play creatures that let them decide what the top of the deck looks like in addition to drawing them lands now and then, getting buffed by +1/+1 counters, or gaining them life. We do, thanks to these three cards: Jadelight Ranger, Merfolk Branchawalker, Wildgrowth Walker.
The Removal Suite: Nearly every deck runs removal, and I’d say that all decks should run removal. Every deck has threats or ways to end the game, which means every deck needs answers to those threats. In the deck used in our video, this was my removal suite: Ravenous Chupacabra, Vraska’s Contempt, Cast Down, and Find//Finality. Notice how each of these cards are incredibly versatile in what they do.
Cast Down can hit almost any creature seeing big Standard play at instant speed for only 2 mana. Find//Finality can buff a creature and be a soft board wipe (meaning not every creature will die but a lot probably will), or recur creatures from your graveyard. Ravenous Chupacabra is a creature that can attack or block and an unconditional removal spell. Finally, Vraska’s Contempt can hit any creature or any Planeswalker while also gaining you 2 life. The utility of these cards allows you to use them in whatever way nets you the most value.
The Planeswalker Package: Planeswalkers are some of the most value-oriented cards throughout Magic: The Gathering. They come down, allow you to use two of their abilities for multiple turns in a row, and even have a huge third ability to potentially close out a game. As if that weren’t enough, opponents are often so scared of the value you’ll get from your Planeswalkers that they’ll attack them instead of you which means they effectively also gain you a little life.
In this deck, we’re running Vraska, Golgari Queen and Vivien Reid. Both of their +1 abilities help us get more cards in our hand, something we always want because then we have more options in what we can play. Their -3 abilities both function as extra removal to complement the aforementioned Removal Suite. Vivien’s ability can remove flying creatures (something Green has a hard time dealing with), enchantments, and artifacts, making her probably the most versatile removal spell in the whole deck. Vraska can remove any permanent that costs 3 or less mana which is also extremely useful and can help with a huge number of cheap pesky creatures, artifacts, enchantments, and even cheaper Planeswalkers like Dovin, Grand Arbiter or Sarkhan Fireblood. You’ll rarely be able to use the Ultimates on either of these cards, but when you do, the game is generally over.
The Finishers: As I said before, every deck needs answers because every deck has threats. Our big, game-ending threat is Carnage Tyrant. He cannot be countered and has Hexproof (meaning he can’t be targeted by opponent’s spells). Because of these factors, he absolutely destroys Control decks which is really good because Control decks tend to beat midrange decks.
More than that, the only real answer to Carnage Tyrant in Standard is Settle the Wreckage which only White decks can run. So if you play him against a deck that isn’t White, chances are you win unless they can build a massive board to block him. In our video, I explain that I’m running a Demonlord Belzenlok as a 3rd finisher because I only owned two Carnage Tyrants at the time of the recording. He’s a solid replacement if you have him, as flying and trample make him crazy hard to deal with.
The Rest of the Deck: We also run Llanowar Elves to help us get Planeswalkers and Carnage Tyrants down faster, Golgari Findbrokers to bring back our Planeswalkers and Carnage Tyrants, and The Eldest Reborn to make up for not running one more of each Planeswalker due to budget constraints.
This is a really fun MTG Arena deck to play. It honestly feels like it has game against most other decks out there with the exception of Mono-U Tempo if they get a good start (which we saw firsthand, ouch!). The life gain from Wildgrowth Walker is crazy good against the burn/Mono-R decks running around, Carnage Tyrant is brutal against Control, and Find//Finality helps you against other Midrange decks with that soft board wipe.
Overall, I hope everyone enjoyed the video and article! Feel free to subscribe to the Daily Esports Youtube channel or to me on Twitter (@AvinanDaily) if you’d like updates on when/if the next Arena Rumble will air.