Return to Return to Return to Ravnica (GRN) has been out for a couple of weeks now, and I have been shifting from playing only Limited to a more focused constructed approach due to my participation at GP Lille and PTGRN. A card I would like to talk about a bit is the new all-star Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy!

The talk of the town

Trophy during spoiler season and in Standard

Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy<i class=" title="Assassin’s Trophy" /> was properly the talk of the town during spoiler season but then the enthusiasm has faded a bit. This might be due to the small effect it has on Standard, the fact that there isn’t a big tournament on the horizon for Eternal and Modern players or just the card not living up to the hype – personally I don’t believe the latter and I’ll try to demonstrate why I think this is the case.

Golgari

Creatures (24)
District GuideDistrict Guide
Golgari FindbrokerGolgari Findbroker
Isareth the AwakenerIsareth the Awakener
Jadelight RangerJadelight Ranger
Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves
Merfolk BranchwalkerMerfolk Branchwalker
PlaguecrafterPlaguecrafter
Ravenous ChupacabraRavenous Chupacabra
Seekers’ SquireSeekers’ Squire

Spells (13)
Vivien ReidVivien Reid
Vraska, Golgari QueenVraska, Golgari Queen
Vraska, Relic SeekerVraska, Relic Seeker
Find // FinalityFind // Finality
Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy
Vraska’s ContemptVraska’s Contempt
The Eldest RebornThe Eldest Reborn
Lands (23)
ForestForest
Memorial to FollyMemorial to Folly
Overgrown TombOvergrown Tomb
SwampSwamp
Woodland CemeteryWoodland Cemetery

Sideboard (15)
Find // FinalityFind // Finality
The Eldest RebornThe Eldest Reborn
Vraska’s ContemptVraska’s Contempt
Arguel’s Blood FastArguel’s Blood Fast
DuressDuress
Golden DemiseGolden Demise
Thrashing BrontodonThrashing Brontodon
Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker

In Standard Golgari Midrange is currently the boogeyman of the format. These decks play a varying amount of Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy and even though it is a catch all card in the format, a lot of the other cards are more impactful in either applying pressure, getting more resources or closing the game.

Assassin’s in Modern

Trophying with Jund

Like in Standard, Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy has seen some play in Modern. Mostly it has just swapped slots with cards like TerminateTerminate, DreadboreDreadbore, Maelstrom PulseMaelstrom Pulse and others in Jund.

Jund

Creatures (14)
Bloodbraid ElfBloodbraid Elf
Dark ConfidantDark Confidant
Scavenging OozeScavenging Ooze
TarmogoyfTarmogoyf

Spells (21)
Liliana of the VeilLiliana of the Veil
Liliana, the Last HopeLiliana, the Last Hope
Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy
Fatal PushFatal Push
Kolaghan’s CommandKolaghan’s Command
Lightning BoltLightning Bolt
Inquisition of KozilekInquisition of Kozilek
ThoughtseizeThoughtseize
Lands (25)
ForestForest
MountainMountain
SwampSwamp
Blackcleave CliffsBlackcleave Cliffs
Blood CryptBlood Crypt
Bloodstained MireBloodstained Mire
Overgrown TombOvergrown Tomb
Raging RavineRaging Ravine
Stomping GroundStomping Ground
Treetop VillageTreetop Village
Verdant CatacombsVerdant Catacombs
Wooded FoothillsWooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Engineered ExplosivesEngineered Explosives
Nihil SpellbombNihil Spellbomb
Fulminator MageFulminator Mage
Huntmaster of the FellsHuntmaster of the Fells
Ancient GrudgeAncient Grudge
Kalitas, Traitor of GhetKalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Chandra, Torch of DefianceChandra, Torch of Defiance
Liliana, the Last HopeLiliana, the Last Hope
Collective BrutalityCollective Brutality
DamnationDamnation

On the other hand in BG Midrange (aka Golgari Midrage or The Rock) it has upgraded the removal suite to really be able to deal with everything without compromising the deck. Playing a deck like The Rock, you try to deplete your opponents resources with planeswalkers, hand disruption and big creatures. The problem occurs when you play against some linear combo strategies or decks that rely on cards that regular removal doesn’t affect, and while we did have Abrupt DecayAbrupt Decay for ages (a card that also has a lot of utility) it often didn’t catch the cards that were really deal breaking like Elspeth, Sun’s ChampionElspeth, Sun’s Champion, Jace, the Mind SculptorJace, the Mind Sculptor, Teferi, Hero of DominariaTeferi, Hero of Dominaria and Karn LiberatedKarn Liberated). The examples are primarily planeswalkers, since almost everything else isn’t really a big issue, but being able to kill everything while dealing with the walkers is just insane.
Something that is important in Modern (and other formats) that people rarely forget, is the flexibility Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy in the main deck gives to the sideboard options. You free up slots for big mana strategies, make the deck way better at dealing with strategies that either revolve around graveyards or other fringe strategies, which is pretty important in the new era of Dredge – which to be honest gives me the Chill! I am probably going to play a fine Golgari list for the next Modern GP – and prior to that I’ll see if I can post some online results, for all of you to follow.

Killing everything in Legacy

The biggest impact of Assassin’s Trophy

Ironroot Treefolk
Woodfall Primus
Doran, the Siege Tower
Assassin’s Trophy

The Legacy format walks and talks like the Ents from Lord of the Rings. It seems like nothing ever happens, it seems stale, and the people who play it are ancient! This is of course true but there is actually something going on, if you scratch a little under the surface. Black and Green isn’t really the most popular combination of colors among the majority of Legacy players. People are either psychotic about how overpowered they think BrainstormBrainstorm is or they just really want to play unfun combo decks. But even though people hate playing these colors, they love exploring possibilities to shape manabases in such a way that the deck gets the weapons from lots of different colors without compromising mana integrity or powerlevel. Abrupt DecayAbrupt Decay filled this slot for some time, and even though the ability “can’t be countered” is at its best in Legacy, it simply doesn’t kill everything, and in Legacy we have the opportunity to have access to “everything”.

At the moment, the people who want to use the Trophy to obtain trophies, are narrowed down to combo decks – but when moving like a glacier, it takes time for people to get cards and innovate decks, so it will take some time, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we are going to see a Tier 1 Jund, Rock or Abzan midrange list in Legacy again. One of the combo decks that I have played myself is Elves, and in this deck Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy is just insane. It might look something like this:

Elves by Julian23

Creature (29)
Dryad ArborDryad Arbor
Birchlore RangersBirchlore Rangers
Craterhoof BehemothCraterhoof Behemoth
Elvish VisionaryElvish Visionary
Fyndhorn ElvesFyndhorn Elves
Heritage DruidHeritage Druid
Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves
Nettle SentinelNettle Sentinel
Quirion RangerQuirion Ranger
Reclamation SageReclamation Sage
Scavenging OozeScavenging Ooze
Wirewood SymbioteWirewood Symbiote

Spells (13)
Glimpse of NatureGlimpse of Nature
Green Sun’s ZenithGreen Sun’s Zenith
Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy
Sylvan LibrarySylvan Library
Lands (18)
BayouBayou
ForestForest
Gaea’s CradleGaea’s Cradle
Misty RainforestMisty Rainforest
PendelhavenPendelhaven
Verdant CatacombsVerdant Catacombs
Windswept HeathWindswept Heath
Wooded FoothillsWooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy
Cabal TherapyCabal Therapy
ChokeChoke
MeekstoneMeekstone
Mindbreak TrapMindbreak Trap
Nissa, Vital ForceNissa, Vital Force
Surgical ExtractionSurgical Extraction
ThoughtseizeThoughtseize

While it doenst seem like this card is better in Legacy than Abrupt DecayAbrupt Decay, due to most of the cards that are actually worth destroying are often CMC3, Legacy is still a format with games that play out in all sorts of different ways. Being at 5 lifepoints and getting to kill a Gurmag AnglerGurmag Angler or being without creatures and getting to kill Jace, the Mind SculptorJace, the Mind Sculptor, can be and is often a gamechanger – the latter coming up more often than the Angler kill. It also gives you some minor percentage points against the more combo oriented decks. Being able to kill GriselbrandGriselbrand, Sneak Attack[mtg_link], [mtg_link]Elesh Norn, Grand CenobiteSneak Attack[mtg_link], [mtg_link]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, OmniscienceOmniscience, The Tabernacle at Pendrell ValeThe Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale and lands in general, can be the either the winning action or the action that gives you a single out, if everything falls in your direction.
I think that this is just the beginning of the Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy era – not that it will warp the current meta game, but it will definitely make an impact if a good BG deck gets brewed up, and more people start playing it in the board/main. So stay on the lookout for the trophies, and play basics accordingly!

That was all, I am looking forward to the upcoming tournaments, and you are always welcome to come and say hi or ask me questions about whatever! May the foils forever be in your packs!

 

This article was written by Michael Bonde in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com

Michael Bonde

Author Michael Bonde

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