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Much Abrew: GR Werewolves (Standard)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, we had a super-tight battle for most popular Instant Deck Tech, but in the end, it was GR Werewolves for Standard coming out on top. While the tribe was pretty hyped back when Shadows over Innistrad released, so far it has fallen flat in Standard. Is it finally time for the tribe to flip its way through the format with the help of some powerful planeswalkers like Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Arlinn Kord and vehicles including Smuggler's Copter and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship? Let's find out!

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GR Werewolves Instant Deck Tech (Match 1)

GR Werewolves vs. Temur Summonings (Match 1)

GR Werewolves vs. UR Control (Match 2)

GR Werewolves vs. UB Summonings (Match 3)

GR Werewolves vs. GR Energy (Match 4)

GR Werewolves vs. Aetherworks Combo (Match 5)

GR Werewolves (Wrap Up)

Discussion

  • First off, as you probably noticed in the video, we made one change to the deck before playing the matches: adding Smuggler's Copter. I'm convinced that if you are playing a somewhat aggressive deck in our current Standard format (and don't have any budget considerations), the vehicle pretty much has to be in the deck. While Werewolves driving cars might be a bit of a flavor fail, Smuggler's Copter is so good it feels wrong to go without it. 
  • As for our record, we ended up going 4-1 in our five matches, and while we were probably aided a bit by running into a couple lower-tier decks (UB Control build and Aetherflux Reservoir combo), we also managed to beat Temur Aetherworks and UR (Dynavolt Tower?) Control, with our only loss being to GR Energy (which feels like a difficult matchup). 
  • Despite our good record with the deck, I couldn't help but feel a little bit disappointed. In most of our games, it felt like we were winning in spite of our Werewolves, rather than because of our Werewolves.
  • As far as individual cards, we had a handful that stood out as especially great. Blossoming Defense was key to beating control decks and good in a lot of other matchups as well. Smuggler's Copter was great as always, and both Duskwatch Recruiter and Lambholt Pacifist were solid, offering aggressive starts and even some card advantage when the game went long. The thing is, even though Duskwatch Recruiter and Lambholt Pacifist are Werewolves, they are really just strong Magic cards, and none of our standout cards really had anything to do with our Werewolf tribal plan. 
  • Meanwhile, our other Werewolves were pretty lacking. Geier Reach Bandit was rarely better than a 3/2 with haste, which isn't very exciting for three mana. Silverfur Partisan made us a couple of tokens, but its body is so small that it doesn't do much in combat (and might just be better in the sideboard for removal-heavy matchups). Ulrich of the Krallenhorde was good exactly one time, when it flipped to kill an opposing creature. Finally, Kessig Prowler and Village Messenger are passable for one-drops but feel below the curve in a Standard with Thraben Inspector, Toolcraft Exemplar, Bomat Courier, and Inventor's Apprentice
  • In the Instant Deck Tech, we talked about how there are really only two cards that push you towards being Werewolf tribal—Moonlight Hunt and Howlpack Resurgence—so how did these cards play out in practice? Howlpack Resurgence was very good, and the synergy with Lambholt Pacifist (allowing it to attack as a 4/4 on Turn 3 even if it doesn't flip) was great. We also got some sweet blowouts thanks to flash, either pumping our creatures in combat or fizzling removal spells. Moonlight Hunt, on the other hand, was extremely high variance. It's a great removal spell when we are pushing through damage with a bunch of creatures, but it doesn't do much to help us catch up when things go poorly and we are behind on board. 
  • Arlinn Kord has to be one of the most frustrating planeswalkers to play with. When we want it to be a Lightning Bolt, we're usually forced to make a Wolf, and when we want it to make a Wolf, we are usually stuck with a Lightning Bolt. While pretty much all of the abilities on the card are strong, the card doesn't play anywhere near as well as it reads.
  • So, should you play GR Werewolves? I think the answer is yes and no. The build we played in the videos is competitive, but most of the Werewolf cards simply aren't that good, or at least as good as other options. As a result, if you want to play Werewolves because you like the tribe and it's flavorful, go for it! I think the deck is plenty good for an FNM. On the other hand, to make the deck as competitive as possible, the right choice is very likely to drop the lesser Werewolves; add in more good green and red cards like Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Tireless Tracker, and Harnessed Lightning; and play a tribe-less GR beatdown deck, which seems like it could be very strong. If the foundation of Smuggler's Copter, Blossoming Defense, Duskwatch Recruiter, and Lambholt Pacifist were good enough to let us go 4-1 with Werewolf support, imagine if the bad Werewolves were replaced with legitimately good cards!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! Happy New Year, and 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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