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Much Abrew: Gruul Aggro (Standard, Magic Arena)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week was Ravnica Allegiance week for our Instant Deck Techs, with each deck tech featuring a new Ravnica Allegiance–influenced Standard deck. In the end, Gruul Aggro was most popular, so today we're heading to Standard to see if Gruul actually has what it takes to compete in the format. During spoiler season, Gruul was perhaps the most hyped guild from the set, but so far, it has fallen flat in Standard. The good news is that the tribe does have some powerful, aggressive cards like Gruul Spellbreaker and Rhythm of the Wild. How legitimate is the plan of smashing face with massive, undercosted, hasty creatures in Ravnica Allegiance Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we can talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Gruul Aggro (Standard)

Discussion

  • Heading into our matches, I was a bit skeptical of Gruul Aggro. It seemed like if the guild were good, it would be posting results, especially since it was a hot pick for best guild from Ravnica Allegiance during spoiler season. Thankfully, based on our experience, it seemed like the guild actually is good. We played a traditional constructed tournament and ended up hitting max wins with a 5-1 record while beating a pretty good cross-section of tier decks (Mono-Blue Tempo, Mono-Red, Izzet Drakes, and Sultai Midrange) along the way.
  • Gruul is perhaps the most straightforward of Ravnica Allegiance guilds. It only does one thing: play big creatures and smash face. The good news is that it does this very well, thanks to an abundance of undercosted, powerful creatures.

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  • Probably the best new card in the deck is Rhythm of the Wild, which is incredibly powerful. Against control decks, it gives us a main-deck way to beat counterspells, and against everyone else, it gives us the opportunity to steal games by giving our massive threats haste. Cards like Nullhide Ferox and Ghalta, Primal Hunger are powerful in a vacuum but even better when they can come down with haste and catch the opponent by surprise.

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  • The other big upside of Gruul Aggro is that we occasionally get some strange free wins thanks to Llanowar Elves and our three-drops. When we have a Llanowar Elves on Turn 1 into a Steel Leaf Champion or Gruul Spellbreaker on Turn 2, our opponent needs a hard removal spell pretty much immediately or they risk dying in just a few turns to our massive creatures.

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  • One of my concerns about the deck was that it doesn't really have much removal, with just three copies of Thrash // Threat and four Kraul Harpooner in the main deck. While this isn't a ton of removal, it did seem to be enough in most matchups, especially since, in a weird way, our massive creatures often turn into removal spells as our opponents are forced to double block or chump block fairly quickly. Kraul Harpooner was especially impressive, giving us a way to fight through the endless massive fliers of Izzet Drakes.
  • The only thing I didn't really like about the deck was the sideboard. While Cindervines is essential to have a chance against Turbo Fog, the rest of the cards feel pretty random and scattered. Standardizing the removal would be helpful, although we did pretty well in our league, even with the clunky sideboard options.
  • In the end, Gruul Aggro felt surprisingly strong. While the deck is somewhat one-dimensional, it seems like a solid option for Standard if you enjoy playing undercosted aggressive creatures and attacking early and often. Although fighting through decks with lots of removal and sweepers can be a challenge, with some careful play (and the help of Rhythm of the Wild giving our threats haste), the deck seems to have a chance against aggro, midrange, and control. If you're looking for an aggro option for Ravnica Allegiance Standard and like beating down with creatures, it's worth testing, at the very least.

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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