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The Hero We Deserve


The big question coming out of Pro Tour Dominaria is this: how do you beat Goblin Chainwhirler? Red-based aggressive decks have shown themselves to be the dominant aggressive and midrange strategies in this format, with powerful cards like Goblin Chainwhirler, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and Glorybringer giving you ways to out-value other midrange and aggressive decks while applying enormous pressure to control decks. WIth that in mind, most players are going to be targeting Red decks as they make their deck selections in the coming weeks. As a consequence, some prudent players will be looking at ways to one-up the decks that can beat the Red menace:

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
This is a deck that is built to go big quickly. Your plan against Red is to buy yourself a little time with Gift of Paradise and Seal Away while you work your way up to Settle the Wreckage and Fumigate. Then you can follow up with Hour of Promise to stabilize your mana and find Arch of Orazca and take over the game from there. Against control decks, you have the value gameplan of Hour of Promise beatdown while you activate Arch of Orazca, backed up by Pull from Tomorrow and the back half of Spring // Mind to refuel.

If, like me, you are typically a fan of ramp decks, you might be looking at this and wondering what you're ramping into. It turns out that Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is just good enough to ramp out. If you can play a turn three ramp spell into a Teferi against control decks, they may just be unable to answer it. Alternatively, they might have a Cast Out or Ixalan's Binding, but you have maindeck copies of Naturalize.

Looking at this deck, it's very clearly a polarized. You have a ton of cards that are very good against Red and very good against Control, but relatively few that are good in both matchups. You're packing so many matchup-specific pieces of interaction that there isn't even space for an actual win condition outside of Teferi and Ipnu Rivulet. Your sideboarding is very straightforward as a consequence of how swingy your cards are. Against control decks you're cutting all your sweepers and removal for the full package of Negates, Disallows, and Carnage Tyrant. Against aggro you get to trim on Pull from Tomorrow, Cast Out, and other inefficient answers or late game spells in favor of Regal Caracal and more removal.

If the metagame truly is as narrow as it appeared to be at the Pro Tour, then a strategy like this seems like it might be a good call. If you draw the right half of your deck in Game 1, you can win against just about anything just by virtue of playing your haymakers a turn earlier than your opponents are ready for. In sideboarded games, you have some of the best cards in the format for both your aggro and control matchups and have all the tools to beat anything.

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