Welcome to the Budget Depot! Its brewing season here at JankJunction and the decks are coming fast and furious. In episode #3 we take a look at RW Humans and see if this throwback to pre-kaladesh standard has what it takes to take on Mardu Vehicles and 4c Saheeli!
RW Humans $101 (39 tix)
Glory-Bound Initiate is the real deal. Sure it dies to everything in the format, but what playable two-drops don’t? Most of the time its swinging as a 4/4- 5/5 lifelinker and making it impossible for your opponent to race. Once always watching comes down this card moves to a whole new level. Exert has interesting gameplay implications. In my experience opponents prefer not to use removal on exerted creatures. That is often incorrect and I’m happy to take advantage of that for the time being.
Gust walker might not be getting any of the glory, but he sure is pressuring planeswalkers and opponents alike. This card is the MVP of the deck and won me so many games where the board had stalled out and I had no profitable attacks. I expect to see this card in any lists running humans and or Always Watching.
Honored crop-mate earns her spot in this list by being an aggressive two drop with relevant late-game implications. Giving the whole team +1/+0 is a great way to close out games. She brings all the Weapons Trainers to the yard and puts them to shame!
I’ve been wanting to play with this little dude since the spoilers were revealed. Being able to give your bigger creatures haste in the late-game is big game. Being able to give Combat Celebrant haste is a game-ender.
Devoted crop-mate is higher up the curve than we would typically like, but it allows us to grind out more games than in the past. Being able to swing and bring a Thalia’s Lieutenant back to the battlefield can create real headaches for the opponent. You are most likely only getting back one creature before he trades in combat, but the card advantage and combat implications are real.
Combat Celebrant is a ton of fun! I took a total of 1 extra combat step during my league testing, but the threat he creates puts the opponent under a ton of pressure. And if they don’t have an answer you get to win the game. Currently a 2-of in the deck, I often sided out 1 copy.
A mainstay of the humans decks since Shadows of Innistrad was released, Thalia’s trusty lieutenant continues to be the reason for the human season. She pumps the team, grows ridiculously large and can now be brought back from the dead due to one of the new editions.
I’ve heard people refer to Thraben inspector as the best creature in standard as a joke, but I’m not sure they are wrong. A one drop that blocks 1/1s and Mardu Vehicles ground creatures is great. One that can also draw you a card later is even better.
I’ve been skeptical of this loose-lipped 1-drop since the original lists came out. But after having played with the deck I can say for certain that it is just much better than expedition envoy. Going forward I can see moving this up to 3 or 4 copies.
Someone has to keep this rabble under control. I often cut this card in sideboarding, but if you expect grindy board stall games she really is a fantastic card.
Thalia was an all-star against the Saheeli combo decks and I brought in the two copies from the sideboard every game. All of her lines of text are relevant in that match-up. It slows down their game plan enough for us to eek out victories where without her we wouldn’t be able to.
As I mentioned before Always watching is great in any deck with exert creatures. Turning our two drops into 4/4 flyers or 5/5 lifelinkers is exactly as good as it sounds.
Magma Spray can’t hit face, which means it can’t stop the Saheeli combo. But lets be real, raise your hand if you’ve managed to stop a Saheeli player from comboing off with Shock? Yeah thats what I thought. This gets rid of scrounger and other problem creatures forever. It was fine in testing, but I cut it in a few matches where the opponent is playing a plethora of 2/3s.
Inspiring Vantage comes into play untapped most of the time and fixes for our red spells. Easy peezy.
I have a love hate relationship with Needle Spires. It is obviously fantastic, but there really isn’t anywhere on the curve where it feels great to play it. That being said, its a role player here allowing us to fix our mana and attack with a big double striker later in the game.
If you’re playing in paper and don’t have Aether Hubs yet you can probably sub these out for Evolving Wilds. Aether hub already sees a ton of play and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. Of note: We have no other ways to generate energy in the deck, so be choosy when you use your energy. Try to plan ahead. I didn’t run into issues with color screw, but it is something to be aware of if you have a Hub heavy hand.
Thalia holds the honor of being the most boarded-in card in my testing. She is a house against Saheeli.
Authority was actually great in my Saheeli match-ups. Now that the 4c lists are running 2 nissa, they only have room for one Nahiri and I didn’t have any trouble keeping these on the board.
2 more copies for the matchups where it really shines. Mostly Mardu Vehicles and zombie decks.
I’m going to defer my judgement on this one until I do some more testing. The concept was that you could mess with combat by blinking a Thalia’s lieutenant during combat. Another line is to swing with your exert creatures and then cast this to prevent them from dying or trading down. It is an interesting 1-of, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this exit the list once the meta shakes out.
This comes in against all manner of targets: Ulamog, Gideon (both versions), felidar guardian, etc. I think its worse now with Cast Out in the format. Having your Stasis snare Cast Out is a real concern.
I keep putting this old ally into sideboards and I really need to stop. It’s possible you want this vs mardu, but Glory-Bound initiate fills this roll and is maindeckable.
Vehicles are still tier-1 and until that is no longer the case fragmentize will continue to see play in sideboards. It has other targets as well, but you want to be killing Heart of Kiran with this.
2 Bloodlust Inciter
4 Expedition Envoy
4 Thraben Inspector
2 Town Gossipmonger
4 Glory-Bound Initiate
4 Gust Walker
1 Hanweir Militia Captain
4 Honored Crop-Captain
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
2 Combat Celebrant
2 Devoted Crop-Mate
1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
4 Always Watching
2 Magma Spray
4 Aether Hub
4 Inspiring Vantage
4 Needle Spires
2 Lantern Scout
2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
1 Vizier of Deferment
3 Authority of the Consuls
2 Magma Spray
3 Stasis Snare
Thoughts on the deck
We went 4-1 while beating three different 4c Saheeli decks. (1 Old version, 1 Glorybringer and 1 Marvel-Ulamog mashup). The games were close, but it felt really really good. The deck bring similar amounts of pressure as Mardu Vehicles and really throws them off their game. Post-sideboard the games felt even better. We did lose our only match against Mardu Vehicles. I believe they are favored somewhere in the 65-35 range. All in all I’m extremely happy with this list. It’s not the Jankiest brew by any means, but it is a competitive deck for under 40 tix. I would hold off on getting the paper version at the moment. There is definitely something up with some of the high paper prices and while linear aggro decks are often good in new formats its probably best to see where this lands in the meta before dropping $100.
As always I’ll be checking the comments if you have any questions or feedback! Thanks for reading!