Last weekend, I took the updated Gruul Aggro deck list from my previous post to a Friday Night Magic event. I made a slight sideboard edit by dropping The Immortal Sun for a Banefire. The FNM event was at The Mighty Meeple with 23 players participating. The recent metagame for this shop is about 50% of the players with aggressive decks, 40% on control decks, and 10% for mid-range decks. There is a nice mix of casual, competitive, and, semi-competitive players at The Might Meeple. I will cover an updated sideboard guide, deck strategies, and FNM recap.
Updated Sideboard Guide:
Esper Control: -2 Lava Coil, -4 Collision // Colossus, -1 Lightning Strike, -1 Nullhide Ferox, +1 Vivien Reid, +1 Domri, Chaos Bringer, + 3 Cindervines, +2 Legion Warboss, +1 Banefire
Reclamation: -2 Lava Coil, -3 Collision // Colossus, -2 Nullhide Ferox, -2 Pelt Collector, +1 Vivien Reid, +1 Domri, Chaos Bringer, + 4 Cindervines, +2 Legion Warboss, +1 Banefire
Mono Blue: -3 Nullhide Ferox, -2 Pelt Collector, +1 Shivan Fire, +2 Lava Coil, +2 Legion Warboss
Mono Red: -2 Collision // Colossus, -1 Kraul Harpooner, -1 Pelt Collector, +2 Lava Coil, +2 Shivan Fire
White Aggro: -3 Collision // Colossus, -2 Kraul Harpooner, -1 Pelt Collector, +2 Lava Coil, +2 Shivan Fire, +2 Fiery Cannonade
Sultai Mid-range: -2 Kraul Harpooner, -2 Pelt Collector, +2 Lava Coil, +1 Vivien Reid, +1 Domri, Chaos Bringer
Gruul Aggro Mirror: -3 Kraul Harpooner, -1 Lightning Strike, +2 Lava Coil, +1 Vivien Reid, +1 Domri, Chaos Bringer
Nullhide Ferox is a beating against many decks in the format for game one. However, you need to expect more board wipes and other answers for games 2 and 3. I like to take one or two Nullhide Ferox out when bringing in the Planeswalkers and Banefire. Pelt Collectors are probably the weakest creature because they do not scale well later in the game. I like trading them out for Legion Warboss against control decks and Mono Blue. Shivan Fire and Lava Coil are all-stars against other creature strategies. Fiery Cannonade is used against go-wide match-ups such as Mono White or Azorious Aggro. You should not bring in Fiery Cannonade against Mono Blue. Cindervines are excellent against control and reclamation strategies.
Friday Night Magic Tournament Report: 3rd out of 23 Players
Round 1: Win 2-0 against Mono Blue
This match was over in two quick games. My opponent was playing Sphinx of Foresight in his deck. While it was strong scrying an extra three cards both games in the opening draw, Sphinx of Foresight is not good. My opponent was punished tapping out every time casting it on turn four or five. Gruul Aggro runs 8+ answers to every creature in Mono Blue. In addition, Mono Blue has no way to block or remove large creatures. My opponent sided in Deep Freeze for game two, but it was not enough to stop all of my threats.
Round 2: Win 2-0 against 4-Color Reclamation
The first game was over quickly as my opponent flooded out without finding card draw. The second game went much better for them as they landed a Cleansing Nova and Wilderness Reclamation. My opponent then played a Lyra Dawnbringer, but had no protection for it. I luckily drew Vivien Reid to take out Lyra Dawnbringer. Vivien Reid provided enough card advantage to close out the match.
Round 3: Loss 1-2 against 4-Color Gates
This was a tough match that I was unprepared to face. Gates Ablaze is incredibly strong against Gruul Aggro. In addition, the incremental life gain buys enough time for the Gates deck to find their pieces. I lost game one to double Gates Ablaze and a 10/10 Gatebreaker Ram. Game 2, my opponent stumbled on card draw and mana. I was able to close out the game before they could find a Gates Ablaze. Game 3 was quite close. I unfortunately drew two Skaargan Hellkite and Domri, Chaos Bringer in my first few turns. I got stuck on four lands and could not cast Domri, Chaos Bringer and play a Growth-Chamber Guardian on the same turn. I needed to do this to protect Domri from a Gatebreaker Ram on my opponents board. I believe my opponent should have played more aggressively this game. However, he found an Expansion // Explosion at the right time to draw four cards and close out the match.
Round 4: Win 2-1 against Sultai Mid-range
I quickly lost game 1 getting stuck on two mana for multiple turns. I let the game play out a while just to see what my opponent had in their deck. I was smart not to show a Nullhide Ferox or any combat tricks while I was losing the game. For game 2, I had an amazing start and my opponent stumbled on four mana. They were unable to hit six lands for a Find // Finality to wipe the board. Game 3, my opponent did not draw answers to a large Nullhide Ferox played on turn three. They tried to stabilize with a Hydroid Krasis, but I had creature removal in hand to get through the final points of damage. I was one turn ahead of them casting a Find // Finality to re-gain board control.