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Much Abrew: GB Longbow (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, we had a clear winner as far as most popular Instant Deck Tech, with the the strange Modern hybrid of delirium and deathtouch—GB Longbow—taking home the prize. As a result, we are heading to Modern this week to see if Viridian Longbow is the secret to success in the format. The deck itself is interesting. The combination of Viridian Longbow and a million deathtouch creatures means it should be great against any sort of creature-based strategy, since we can just tap whatever creature is equipped to kill any creatures at will, which means the big question is if the deck can compete against spell-based combo decks like Ad Nauseam, Storm, and Titan Shift. Basically, is GB Longbow a deck that's designed to beat up on Death's Shadow and Eldrazi Tron, or does it have game against the Modern field at large? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll have some thoughts about the deck!

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GB Longbow (Instant Deck Tech)

GB Longbow vs. Burn (Match 1)

GB Longbow vs. GW Elves (Match 2)

GB Longbow vs. Affinity (Match 3)

GB Longbow vs. Storm (Match 4)

GB Longbow vs. Titan Shift (Match 5)

GB Longbow (Wrap-Up)

Discussion

  • First off, the record. As you might have noticed during the videos, I started off playing GB Longbow in a competitive league, in which we ended up 3-2. The problem was not only that the league contained a duplicate match against Burn (which we lost), but I also forgot to start the video recording in a match against Abzan (which we won), so to fill out the video series, I did a couple of games in the two-player queues, which we won. So, while our video matches were 4-1, our overall record with the deck was 5-2 (including 3-2 in the competitive league). 
  • As for the deck, it was surprisingly effective. Not only did it beat up on most creature decks (as expected), but we actually beat combo every time we faced it, taking down both Storm and Titan Shift, which is huge for the deck. If GB Longbow can actually keep up in matchups where Viridian Longbow is a dead card, the deck might actually be legitimate.
  • As for Viridian Longbow itself, the card was pretty mediocre or, at least, very high variance. While it did win us our match against Titan Shift by allowing us to kill a Primeval Titan and shot down some mana producers against Storm, most of our wins were thanks to the combination of an oddly fast delirium clock backed by good removal and discard. As such, I'm not actually sure we need Viridian Longbow in the main deck, especially as a four-of. Instead, it might be better to start with one or two copies in the main deck, with the rest in the sideboard to bring in against decks where it is especially good (midrange creature builds).
  • Our two losses with the deck were Burn and Affinity, which makes sense. Affinity is very fast, is good at going wide, and has a lot of evasive creatures, all of which are good against our deck, but most importantly, it has the unbeatable Etched Champion. We might want more sweepers in the sideboard because both Etched Champion and Mirran Crusader are almost impossible for the current build to beat (while we can theoretically get them with Liliana of the Veil, this doesn't happen all that often in practice). As for Burn, the match we won was mostly thanks to Gifted Aetherborn, which is our only good card in the matchup. It might be worth playing another sideboard card or two specifically for the matchup. 
  • Overall, the main deck felt pretty solid. While we are a bit light on delirium enablers, we usually managed to get four card types in our graveyard without too much trouble. Other than trimming back on Viridian Longbow itself, I'm not sure there's a ton to change. Gnarlwood Dryad did a great Wild Nacatl impression, while Narnam Renegade was also strong. The two one-drops combined allowed us to get off to some fast starts, and deathtouch means they still have utility in the late game, when they can kill Thought-Knot Seers and Reality Smashers on defense or attack through them on offense. 
  • So, should you play GB Longbow? I think the answer is yes. The deck not only performed great in its good matchups but was surprisingly solid in matchups where, at least on paper, it looks like the deck should have struggled. While the exact number of Viridian Longbows is up for debate, the GB Delirium / Deathtouch shell actually felt quite strong and helps to solve some issues with other aggro decks (specifically their creatures getting trumped by bigger midrange threats). 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! 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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