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Goldfish Gladiators: WB Knights (Arena)


Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators, a new series with a twist: rather than taking place on Magic Online, Goldfish Gladiator is focused on Magic Arena. If you aren't familiar with Magic Arena, it's the next digital Magic client (currently in beta). While Magic Arena will eventually have normal Standard just like paper and Magic Online, it has a unique format right now, highlighted by the lack of Kaladesh block and a best-of-one (no sideboards) tournament structure, which means deck building is slightly different (so you probably don't want to build today's deck card-for-card on Magic Online or in paper).

This week, we're playing one of the most underrated tribes in Arena Standard: Knights! While our deck is more midrange than aggro, and you could even argue that it isn't a true tribal deck, since it relies on the late-game power of Karn, Scion of Urza and Treasure Map as much as it does the Knights themselves, we do have some tribal synergy, with Aryel, Knight of Windgrace and History of Benalia proving payoffs for playing a bunch of Knights. More importantly, Knight of Grace and Knight of Malice are really good in Arena Standard—they often stonewall aggro as 3/2 first-striking blockers, and they manage to dodge a surprising amount of removal against control. Can Knights compete in the Arena metagame? Let's get to the video and find out; then, I'll share some thoughts on the deck!

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Goldfish Gladiators: WB Knights (Magic Arena)

Discussion

  • While we had some rough patches along the way, we managed to scrape out seven wins in the end, showing that Knights are more than worthy to compete in the Magic Arena metagame!
  • The deck itself is a bit weird. When I think tribal, I normally think of an aggressive creature-based strategy, but our deck is more of a midrange or even controlling tribal deck. While all of our creatures are Knights, we're more likely to win in the late game by eventually generating a ton of card advantage and a huge board state than by janking out wins with an aggressive draw like Merfolk or Vampires. 
  • The two best Knights in our deck—by far—are Knight of Malice and Knight of Grace. Both of these cards are insanely good in the Magic Arena metagame. Against aggressive decks, they put up a first-striking wall of defense in the early game, buying us time to take over with our more powerful cards in the mid- to late game. Meanwhile, against control, they dodge removal like Cast Out, Seal Away, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Cast Down, and Vraska's Contempt. Strangely enough, if we can slip the correct Knight through countermagic on Turn 2 against a deck like UW Control or UB Control, it's very possible that we can ride it to victory. 
  • When it comes to going long, Karn, Scion of Urza and Treasure Map is perhaps the best package in Standard, and it's also very strong on Magic Arena. While we could theoretically go more aggressive and cut this package for cards like Dauntless Bodyguard, having these card-advantage engines is important to keeping pace with the control decks that have been increasing in popularity on Magic Arena
  • Otherwise, we have History of Benalia as our finisher, with the Saga being especially powerful in our deck, since along with pumping the tokens it makes, it also pumps all of our other creatures. Vona, Butcher of Magan and Aryel, Knight of Windgrace give us top-end threats that can win the game by themselves if our opponent doesn't find removal and a ton of good removal (which is one of the biggest upsides of playing white-black—the removal is the best Standard has to offer). 
  • One card worth mentioning individually is Doomfall. While it's typically more of a sideboard option in paper and on Magic Online, since there is no sideboarding on Magic Arena, the sorcery is more than worth a main-deck slot. While it isn't as efficient as an edict or a removal spell, the fact that it's a okay removal spell against aggro that isn't a dead card against control (like Seal Away), since we can always cast it as a bad Thoughtseize, makes it a very solid option for midrange and control decks on Magic Arena
  • All in all, WB Knights felt like a really solid option against the current Arena metagame. Against aggro, it has a ton of good blockers and removal along with a more powerful late game. Against control, we can use Karn, Scion of Urza, Treasure Map, and Arguel's Blood Fast to play the card-advantage game while our two-drops occasionally just steal a game by dodging removal. If you have the cards, it seems like a strong option for grinding out a collection in Quick Constructed!

Price

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  • Mythics—10: Obviously, 10 mythics is a lot, but there is some good news. First, Vona, Butcher of Magan is one of the starter mythics, so it doesn't cost a wildcard. Meanwhile, both Karn, Scion of Urza and History of Benalia are ultra-staples, so you might already have them in your collection, and if you don't, they should be among the first mythics from Dominaria that you wildcard. They go in multiple decks and are likely to see heavy play for as long as they are in Standard. The other mythic is Liliana, Death's Majesty, and while she is great in the deck, you can certainly get by without a copy if you don't have have one.

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  • Rares—13: Rare-wise, the deck has a lot of two-ofs in Treasure Map, Arguel's Blood Fast, Aryel, Knight of Windgrace, and Settle the Wreckage along with four Isolated Chapel and one Scavenger Grounds in the mana base. While 13 rares is a fairly high number from a meta perspective, the fact that you only need two of each is helpful, since it means you might have some of these cards from opening packs or as individual card rewards. Plus, if you end up spending wildcards for them, you stay below a full playset, so they don't go to waste if you open any of these cards as rewards in the future. The downside is that there aren't many good options, as far as substituting. You can play four Treasure Map and zero Arguel's Blood Fast, but otherwise, all of the rares (outside of maybe the Scavenger Grounds) are necessary to make the deck work.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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