Mardu'ing it.

Image

Welcome to the Mardu Midrange Primer! Mardu Midrange is a deck that goes big, with Demons, Dragons, Planeswalkers and/or Birds. It's main strengths are its multiple fliers and ways of gaining life. The deck is occasionally tricky, but fun to play. If any or all of that appeals to you, read on.

Mardu Midrange was in the minds of many people before rotation. Most people started thinking about it the second they saw Butcher of the Horde spoiled. Brian Braun Duin brewed a lot of Mardu Midrange decks before the set released. Jon Goss came up just short of winning the first SCG Open after the release of Khans of Tarkir. The deck won multiple state championships (seen below) but only had one respectable finish at Pro Tour: Khans of Tarkir. However, the Horde bounced back and recently Top 8'd GP: Los Angeles with Brad Nelson at the helm. This weekend, Mardu Midrange took the top 3 spots in the TCGPlayer MaxPoints Championship. I believe it's appropriate to call in a teir one deck at this point.

The main reasons to be Mardu

Image

Know what's sweet to play after Rabblemaster? This guy. A 5/4 Flyer for four already reminds me of a Desecration Demon. Except instead of having downsides, this guy has THREE upsides. The mana is admittedly a downside, but this card just wins the game if it sticks. The main draw to this particular colour combination.

Image

Another premiere creature removal spell, another reason to be in these colours. It pretty much always gets their best creature, and gets around hexproof and indestructible. And it damages them. This card has been very good.

Image

Thoughtseize was one of the pillars of the format last season, and that isn't likely to change. With how much worse the mana bases are, the two life lost is likely to be a lot more important, but it's still too powerful to ignore. A lot of the more recent builds have been moving away from it.

Image

Best removal spell in the format. These two go together like peas and carrots. It does compete with Crackling Doom a little. A lot of players have been moving away from this one a little.

Image

Goblin Rabblemaster is turning out to be another pillar of the format. It seems like last season's Thoughtseize into Pack Rat is going to be Thoughseize into Goblin Rabblemaster this year.

Image

While he's likely not as strong as Goblin Rabble Master, he is another aggressively costed token creating problem creature. Without Lifebane Zombie to keep him down, it may be time for the Lion King to reclaim his throne. Also very good against aggro. Lately I have not been impressed by this card, but if aggro comes back, I'll dust him off.

Image

This guy is far better than I initially thought he was. The anthem + lifelink is huge and allows you to swing games you had no business winning. The minus ability is reasonable too, but the plus is the one we care about more.

Image

Because you need to feed the butcher and this is the closest thing we've got to Spectral Procession.

Example Decks:


Mardu Midrange by Jon Goss, 2nd at StarCityGames.com Standard Open on 9/27/2014

Deck
Creatures (14)
4 Butcher of the Horde
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
3 Stormbreath Dragon
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Spells (21)
4 Crackling Doom
4 Hero's Downfall
4 Lightning Strike
1 Despise
4 Thoughtseize
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Lands (25)
2 Mountain
2 Swamp
1 Battlefield Forge
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Caves of Koilos
2 Mana Confluence
4 Nomad Outpost
2 Temple of Malice
2 Temple of Silence
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard (15)
2 Suspension Field
2 Nyx-Fleece Ram
3 Magma Spray
2 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
3 Anger of the Gods
2 Despise
1 Harness by Force

Mardu Tokens by Jeremy Bowman, 24th Place at StarCityGames.com Standard Open on 9/27/2014

Deck
Creatures (16)
4 Butcher of the Horde
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
2 Wingmate Roc
2 Brain Maggot
4 Nyx-Fleece Ram

Planeswalkers (3)
3 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Lands (25)
2 Plains
3 Swamp
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Caves of Koilos
4 Nomad Outpost
4 Temple of Malice
3 Temple of Silence
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Spells (16)
4 Bile Blight
3 Crackling Doom
4 Hero's Downfall
1 Murderous Cut
4 Thoughtseize

Sideboard(15)
2 Banishing Light
2 Empty the Pits
2 Last Breath
1 Silence the Believers
1 Liliana Vess
2 Despise
4 Drown in Sorrow
1 Glare of Heresy

Mardu Aggro by Andy Fergeson, 26th Place at StarCityGames.com Standard Open on 9/27/2014

Deck
Creatures (18)
4 Bloodsoaked Champion
4 Butcher of the Horde
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Brain Maggot
2 Tymaret, the Murder King

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Lands (24)
1 Mountain
2 Swamp
3 Battlefield Forge
2 Bloodstained Mire
3 Caves of Koilos
4 Mana Confluence
4 Nomad Outpost
4 Temple of Malice
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Spells (16)
1 Crackling Doom
1 Devouring Light
2 Magma Jet
3 Mardu Charm
1 Murderous Cut
2 Raise the Alarm
2 Stoke the Flames
4 Thoughtseize

Sideboard (15)
1 Grim Haruspex
1 Jeering Instigator
1 Dictate of Erebos
2 Bile Blight
2 Dark Betrayal
1 Deicide
1 Ephemeral Shields
3 Magma Spray
1 Whip of Erebos
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Harness by Force

Mardu Midrange by Nathan Wulf, Iowa State Champion

Deck
Creatures (14)
4 Bloodsoaked Champion
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
3 Stormbreath Dragon

Planeswalkers (4)
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Spells (17)
2 Bile Blight
2 Crackling Doom
1 Despise
4 Hero's Downfall
4 Lightning Strike
4 Thoughtseize

Lands (25)
1 Battlefield Forge
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Caves of Koilos
2 Mana Confluence
2 Mountain
4 Nomad Outpost
2 Swamp
2 Temple of Malice
2 Temple of Silence
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard (15)
3 Anger of the Gods
2 Banishing Light
2 Bile Blight
2 Despise
1 Harness by Force
3 Magma Spray
1 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
1 Stormbreath Dragon

Mardu Midrange by Jon Stigall, Kentucky Champion

Deck
Creatures (11)
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Butcher of the Horde
4 Stormbreath Dragon

Planeswalkers (5)
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Spells (19)
2 Anger of the Gods
3 Bile Blight
4 Crackling Doom
4 Hero's Downfall
2 Murderous Cut
4 Thoughtseize

Lands (25)
1 Battlefield Forge
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Caves of Koilos
2 Mana Confluence
2 Mountain
4 Nomad Outpost
1 Plains
2 Swamp
2 Temple of Malice
2 Temple of Silence
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sdeboard (15)
1 Anger of the Gods
2 Banishing Light
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
2 Despise
1 Empty the Pits
2 End Hostilities
1 Harness by Force
2 Magma Spray
2 Nyx-Fleece Ram
1 Utter End

Mardu Midrange by Brian Saari, Minnesota Champion

Deck
Creatures (14)
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Butcher of the Horde
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
3 Stormbreath Dragon

Planeswalkers (3)
3 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Spells (18)
1 Sarkan, The Dragon Speaker
4 Crackling Doom
1 Crater's Claws
2 Despise
4 Hero's Downfall
4 Lightning Strike
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (25)
1 Battlefield Forge
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Caves of Koilos
3 Mountain
4 Nomad Outpost
1 Plains
2 Swamp
2 Temple of Malice
2 Temple of Silence
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard (15)
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Deflecting Palm
2 Deicide
2 Empty the Pits
1 End Hostilities
2 Magma Spray
2 Nyx-Fleece Ram
2 Thoughtseize

Mardu Midrange by Richard Grube, North Carolina Champion

Deck
Creatures (6)
4 Butcher of the Horde
2 Stormbreath Dragon

Planeswalkers (7)
2 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
3 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Spells (22)
2 Anger of the Gods
1 Crackling Doom
3 End Hostilities
4 Hero's Downfall
3 Lightning Strike
3 Mardu Charm
2 Sign in Blood
3 Thoughtseize
1 Utter End

Lands (26)
2 Battlefield Forge
3 Bloodstained Mire
2 Caves of Koilos
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Mana Confluence
2 Mountain
4 Nomad Outpost
2 Plains
2 Swamp
2 Temple of Malice
1 Temple of Silence
2 Temple of Triumph
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard (15)
2 Anger of the Gods
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
2 Empty the Pits
1 Lightning Strike
1 Murderous Cut
3 Nyx-Fleece Ram
2 Read the Bones
1 Thoughtseize
2 Utter End

Mardu Midrange by Donovan Lachney, Wyoming Champion

Deck
Creatures (8)
4 Ashcloud Phoenix
4 Seeker of the Way

Planeswalkers (1)
1 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

Spells (27)
4 Crackling Doom
4 Deflecting Palm
4 Lightning Strike
4 Magma Jet
2 Mardu Charm
3 Searing Blood
4 Stoke the Flames
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (24)
3 Battlefield Forge
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Mana Confluence
5 Mountain
4 Nomad Outpost
2 Swamp
4 Temple of Triumph
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard (15)
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
2 Despise
1 End Hostilities
1 Erase
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Magma Spray
1 Mogis, God of Slaughter
1 Murderous Cut
1 Reprisal
3 Satyr Firedancer
1 Searing Blood

Mardu Planeswalkers by PIERRE DAGEN, Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir

Deck
Planeswalker (8)
3 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
4 Chandra, Pyromaster

Sorcery (7)
2 Thoughtseize
2 End Hostilities
1 Tormenting Voice
2 Anger of the Gods

Instant (13)
1 Utter End
4 Lightning Strike
4 Crackling Doom
4 Mardu Charm

Enchantment (5)
4 Chained to the Rocks
1 Banishing Light

Land (27)
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Temple of Triumph
4 Temple of Silence
2 Battlefield Forge
1 Caves of Koilos
3 Evolving Wilds
3 Nomad Outpost
4 Mountain
2 Plains
1 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
2 Thoughtseize
1 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
1 End Hostilities
1 Anger of the Gods
4 Nyx-Fleece Ram
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Resolute Archangel
2 Read the Bones

Mardu Midrange by NATHAN HERKIMER, Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir

Deck
Planeswalker (6)
2 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
3 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Creature (13)
2 Stormbreath Dragon
4 Butcher of the Horde
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Sorcery (4)
2 Despise
2 Thoughtseize

Instant (12)
3 Crackling Doom
4 Hero's Downfall
4 Lightning Strike
1 Utter End

Land (25)
2 Mountain
2 Swamp
4 Nomad Outpost
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
2 Temple of Silence
4 Caves of Koilos
2 Temple of Malice
2 Mana Confluence
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Battlefield Forge

Sideboard (15)
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Thoughtseize
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
3 Magma Spray
1 Harness by Force
2 Suspension Field
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
2 Nyx-Fleece Ram
3 Anger of the Gods

Mardu Midrange by Brad Nelson, Grand Prix LA Top 8

Deck
Planeswalker (4)
3 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
1 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

Creature (15)
4 Seeker of the Way
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Butcher of the Horde
3 Wingmate Roc

Sorcery (4)
4 Hordeling Outburst

Instant (9)
4 Lightning Strike
4 Crackling Doom
1 Murderous Cut

Enchantment (3)
3 Chained to the Rocks

Land (25)
3 Battlefield Forge
6 Mountain
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Swamp
4 Nomad Outpost
4 Temple of Triumph
2 Caves of Koilos
1 Temple of Silence

Sideboard (15)
2 Magma Spray
3 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
2 Glare of Heresy
2 End Hostilities
2 Read the Bones
2 Banishing Light
2 Anger of the Gods

Mardu Midrange by Andrew Baekerstrom, 1st at 2014 TCGplayer.com MaxPoint Championship

Deck
Creatures (11)
4 Butcher of the Horde
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
3 Seeker of the Way

Planeswalkers (6)
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
3 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Spells (18)
3 Chained to the Rocks
4 Crackling Doom
4 Hordeling Outburst
4 Lightning Strike
2 Magma Jet
1 Murderous Cut

Lands (25)
3 Battlefield Forge
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Caves of Koilos
6 Mountain
4 Nomad Outpost
1 Swamp
2 Temple of Silence
3 Temple of Triumph

Sideboard (15)
3 Anger of the Gods
2 Chandra, Pyromaster
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
2 End Hostilities
2 Glare of Heresy
3 Read the Bones
2 Utter End

RYAN SCULLIN - WINNER, GRAND PRIX SAN ANTONIO 2014

Deck
Creatures (12)
3 Seeker of the Way
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Butcher of the Horde
1 Wingmate Roc

Spells (23)
4 Hordeling Outburst
4 Lightning Strike
1 Magma Jet
4 Crackling Doom
1 Utter End
1 Murderous Cut
3 Chained to the Rocks
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion

Land (25)
6 Mountain
1 Swamp
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Nomad Outpost
3 Battlefield Forge
2 Caves of Koilos
3 Temple of Triumph
2 Temple of Silence

Sideboard (15)
1 Utter End
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
3 Thoughtseize
3 Hushwing Gryff
1 Glare of Heresy
1 End Hostilities
3 Anger of the Gods
2 Read the Bones

Main deck cards worth considering

Stormbreath Dragon / Sarkan, the Dragonspeaker: Basically the same card. The meta will determine if Pro-White or Indestructibility is more relevant. After using Sarkan's ultimate, I am not super impressed with it, but the minus is also good. Stormbreath Dragon seems to be better in the current meta because it can't be charmed. A mix of the two is possibly correct.

Wingmate Roc: Competes with Stormbreath, meta dependent / Personal Preference which you run.

Bile Blight / Lightning Strike / Magma Jet: With no Doom Blade or Ultimate Price, these are our premium 2cc removal spells. They're good in different situations, so it's probably best to play the one that your manabase supports. Magma Jet also gives us some very welcome scry to help smooth our draws.

Elspeth, Sun's Champion: Not as amazing as last year, but still very strong.

Murderous Cut: Another premium removal spell. Doesn't play well with Empty the Pits, but is good in most other cases. Should likely be a 1 of. I like it enough to play it main.

Chained to the Rocks: A card that's near and dear to my heart. Brad ran it with 6 Mountains + 4 fetches, so I guess that's enough to play 3x.

Seeker of the Way: A card that can easily attack into hexproof plant and Courser. Also helps you gain life.

Chained to the Rocks: Not as good as it was at the beginning of the season, but still strong. Be careful targeting Siege Rhino in case they board removal for the chain, like Erase, Banishing Light, Utter End etc.

Sideboard Options worth considering:

Bloodsoaked Champion: This guy is very, very good. unfortunately, in a world of Sylvan Caryatids and Courser of Kruphix, he gets relegated to the sideboard.

Nyx Fleece Ram: Blocks all day and can trigger raid if needed. The lifegain is also useful with how much self inflicted damage you do over the course of a typical game.

Anger of the Gods / Drown in Sorrow: They serve similar roles. Anger is generally better, but you should play whichever one you manabase better supports.

Harness by Force: A long time favorite sideboard card, I like it in any sideboard that support it. With a bunch of midrange decks running around, this one should get you some value.

Empty the Pits: This card has been good in grindy midrange matches. When you're both on top decks, this card turns the game completely in your favor. Interacts well with butcher.

Liliana Vess: Best in midrange / control match ups. The +1 is what we're mostly concerned with, but the minus is also potentially useful.

Chandra, Pyromaster: The zero is the most important mode here, because we want to use it as a one sided Howling Mine. The +1 can also be clutch to get your Butcher through a Stormbreath Dragon.

Deicide: The gods are still cards. Purphoros, God of the Forge and Nylea, God of the Hunt are still seeing lots of play.

Deflecting Palm: Hard to say if we'll want it in this list, but it's been very good in the Jeskai Tempo decks that have been doing well in open this weekend.

Suspension Field: On of the only 2cc removal spells that hits nearly every creature you care about not named Goblin Rabblemaster or Stormbreath Dragon.

Banishing Light: It's a catch all. It's good.

Despise: Thoughtseize 5+6.

End Hostilities: Sometimes you board into a full blown Superfriends control deck. That's when you want a Wrath effect.

Read the Bones: Need card draw? How about a better, easier to cast Sign in Blood that pumps your Seeker of the Way so you actually net a life?

Utter End: 4cc, instant speed vindicate.

Erase: Tech vs Jeskai Ascendancy

Glare of Heresy: Good vs a variety of white threats.

Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtIsBmAfvq4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgFelFp0yyU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1H9xTm4cpQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geeryYwdd_M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4VyoN-nrz4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZcY6TJntsU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Iphx4S36L8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sulBi-TTJCk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOpaOLoMB1o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmIkAk-O97M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRPr_-PzMYU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMhPkjxGCRQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9VFrI0LuaI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhbS69BtZnw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i_DoWnea8Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqWZYoGzwmA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lfkbbp4FvsI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHDCCxf4M4E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka9JdRWoPd8

You can discuss this article here